We are building Top Choice Lawn Care for the long run. We want you to use our services for the next 50 years. Every year we make small but important price changes that will help us avoid large and egregious price changes in ten years. Below you will see a less than comprehensive list of topics that I hope will help justify our price changes.
The projected inflation rate for 2017 is slightly over 2%. This is historically low, but still a real impact on the value of money.
As you know, this year has been a great year for the Austin economy. We currently have a 2.7% unemployment rate. This is great news and we are certainly all for it, but it also means that it is harder than ever to find excellent labor. In order to attract the highest level of employees we are often offering $15 per hour as a starting wage. This is over a 7% increase from last year. We are happy to pay this, but the reality is that labor is getting more expensive. We only expect this to increase next year.
Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented damages and people are starting to rebuild/renovate.
As people continue to move to Austin, the housing market continues to squeeze. The natural result of this is that houses and apartments are being built. Generally, the same industrious labor force that builds our homes and apartments are the same great people that mow our lawns. Since there are more construction jobs available, there are less people looking to do lawn care.
Austin continues to be a more expensive place to do business. As an example, the city council is currently considering requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees. While we provide PTO to some of our more senior team members (to include all the foremen), we are afraid that this could have a dramatic effect on our profitability.