Times are Tight, are They Getting Tighter?

wci-chop-2.jpgThis may start off a little off-track, but I am going to try and bring it around to our industry.

Oil prices continue to rise, which means gas prices continue to rise. I have read/heard several knowledgeable people remark that gas will be $3.50 a gallon next year-not spike to that price but go there and stay there . . . ouch.

The various legs of the industry.

Let’s start with the maintenance guys who obviously use a lot of gas, prices will have to be affected with this part of the industry. I mean they use gas for everything. Plus those of us in the industry know there are a lot of fly-by-nighters out there, This crowd usually weeds itself out in times of turmoil.

Nursery folks will take a big hit, with heating bills rising the way the are, it’s going to be big bucks for greenhouse growers this winter(and future winters), costs will have to be passed along down the line. So will shipping rates from wholesalers moving materials to the retail side, or to the install contractors.

Will this effect what large contractors buy this winter at the shows? How about the over-all buying at shows this winter? This angle is something I will look at and investigate this winter at the CENTS show in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a big show, national folks come in to buy and sell it should be interesting.

And; of course . . . gas for trucks, we got lots of trucks . . . trucks everywhere.

The design/build side.

Contractors; how will this situation come to play on this end? There have to be consequences, and how companies react will definitely have a bearing on the design side. It may not be a great story.

There has to be some consequences on the low end and in the middle, especially the middle of the market. Adding in the slow down in housing sales . . . a double whammy.

The possibility of a slowdown in the $20,000-$50,000 seems very real to me. Looking at that it may be an even lower number on the low end. What about higher/bigger jobs?

$50,000-$125,000 I don’t know, it’s hard for me to make a guess on that range. Above $125,000 installs. . . I doubt there will be any problems, especially going even higher up in 6/7 figure jobs. That crowd is always there and will be making money no matter what comes up. The disposable income and the will to spend will be there.


How does all this affect Designers, especially free-lance or self-employed Designers?

I am already getting the vibe that smaller guys(contractors) are going to cut back on using my services as they feel things tightening . . . and; of course, this is the craziest thing they can do. Because . . . in adversity comes opportunity. This is their chance to further separate from their competitors.

By using my design/rendering skills we can further separate from others in the same price range. Providing superior skills, opportunity, solutions, and graphics when others are cutting back to survive.

This is how I will present my argument to those guys thinking about cutting back, and that will be my explanation when I approach other contractors this winter.

Separate yourselves, take advantage of the tightening market to raise yourself further. When things get tougher, opportunities open, being strong and pro-active will help you survive. Find ways to stand out in a time when mediocre is the accepted norm.

Be pro-active

So don’t look at all the bad news and get bummed out, and it’s bad news that will get worse . . . find the opportunity. Find the guys willing to accept the challenge, guys who want to be better, who demand to be better.

Let’s get busy, time to get back to work on my quick drawing rendering skills . . .

fence ideas

[ Very fast rendering for a fence/screen design. ]

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

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