Landscapers struggling amid intense competition

High gas prices and unemployment could hurt landscapers.
High gas prices and unemployment could hurt landscapers.
The poor economy and rising unemployment may spell tough times once again for commercial landscapers this summer, on the heels of last summer's record-high gas prices.

Last year, landscapers had to contend with gas prices over $4 a gallon to power their lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers; this time around, the bad labor market could mean fighting off more competition from contractors looking for jobs.

In Illinois, landscapers are predicting that the increased competition will mean lower pay for municipal jobs as landscapers undercut each other with low bids, according to

"There's a lot of people out there who need jobs. Everyone with a pickup truck will be getting a trailer and a couple of mowers and trying to take business away from me," said landscaper Manuel Rubio, reported. "They'll tell people they can do the job the cheaper."

In Carpentersville, Illinois, village manager Craig Anderson said it received twice the number of bids this year for mowing municipal property.

Another thing for landscapers to consider this summer - some of their residential customers might just cut the grass themselves to save in tough times.