Where is the Lawn and Landscape industry headed? What will it look like in five, ten, or 20 years? My dad started doing lawn care in Austin about 30 years ago and he has seen the industry change. I plan on Top Choice Lawn Care being around in 30 years. If we are going to be a strong, vibrant company that is still serving the great citizens of Texas, we have to be thinking ahead and prepare for the changes on the horizon. We must treat the changes as opportunities and not disruptions. Here are a couple of thoughts on topics that we wanted to share with you, our customers and whoever else wanders upon this blog post.
Electric Lawn Care Equipment
We are always trying to stay on the leading edge of the industry. One thing that we talk about pretty consistently is electric equipment. It definitely has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: There are some obvious advantages in regards to environmental quality and noise pollution. But there are some additional advantages that are often overlooked: ergonomics (less vibration for the operator), logistics (fuel), financing structure (you can finance batteries over an extended period). I could write quite a bit on each of these, but I’ll leave it here.
Disadvantages: The batteries have been improving tremendously. Demand has caused the market to improve the life-time, charge-time, weight and length of operation in each battery. The landscape industry is working hard to develop the equipment that will make the economics for large companies make sense. Unfortunately, the equipment is still not at the level that makes sense for most companies (including us). The operating time, power output and financial cost are all limiting. But, we want to communicate that we are committed to taking care of you – As soon as this option makes sense economically for you and for us, we will be happy to start transitioning. This is going to be a big change for the industry in the next five to ten years. We view this as an opportunity.
We have attached an article from a recent edition of Lawn and Landscape (an industry magazine) if you are interested in more information – Just click here or on the picture for the full article.
What does this mean for us and therefore you? I foresee a future where Top Choice is completely electric. I believe that the industry is headed this way and that it will become more and more affordable and efficient. The transition will include a period where we use electric hand tools (trimmers and edgers are already starting to reach the point of feasibility). Eventually, full sized mowers will become available, and then they will become economical. The transition will take time. It isn’t going to happen this year or probably for the next five, but we are committed to maximizing the technology available in the industry to serve our customers in the best ways possible.
Lawn cutting robots is already a thing. Crazy. Think: a Roomba for your lawn. Will this put us out of business? Unlikely, and if so, it won’t be for a long time. (I have inserted a video at the very bottom of the post if you’re interested). Long story short: they are very expensive, require an installed border (think invisible fence), can’t edge, and need a lot of maintenance. But this does not mean that they will not be important in the future. I can see a future where Top Choice will install a border for you and drop off robots periodically for service. Maybe…who knows?
Another common thought: Lawn Care robots sound dangerous (“will it eat my cat?”). They are working through the safety issues and have some promising ideas.
To conclude: I am not sure what the future will look like, but I am committed to figuring it out and providing the best possible services for you – because without you, we wouldn’t be here. Top Choice will be around in 30 years. We will adapt to the changes in the world around us. We love this business and this industry. Please let me know if you have any thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
Nolan “Lions and Tigers and Robots…oh my!” Gore