A new year, same problems... with inflation!
Where to begin? Last year I may have referenced a “dumpster fire”, this past year, the fire jumped from the dumpster to our lawns. Excessive drought stress caused problems from fungal disease to high water bills, and/or dead damaged turfgrass. Along with climate conditions, another variable affecting us all is inflation…. pardon me, “recovery”.
We have all witnessed when the financial road ahead looks to be rough and bumpy, oil, and anything to do with food production are the first sectors to see increases. Like farming, my business is negatively affected by significant and sudden changes to commodities like urea, the main component of fertilizer.
Fluctuating in price like cryptocurrency, in December of 2020, urea traded for $250/t. By April, urea had increased to $450/t and by September of 2021, the cost exceeded $750/t. Fearful of overpaying, the instability in the fertilizer market has blenders locking out orders and turning business away. They can”t guarantee prices, nor can they produce enough material to supply market demand in the shallow “dips” before price increases. With many of the nation”s lawn care companies planning the 2022 season, this is causing a log jam throughout the industry, happening when many, like us, are trying to plan the next season.
Looking to the future, we can all expect to pay more. I think we all knew it was coming to some degree, but few knew increases in some sectors would be so extreme. Almost every business is understaffed and we, like most, are struggling in this new normal. Our prices will need to increase, even without the additional pressure from sky-high fertilizer prices.
While none of us like the increased expenses our future holds, I ask our customers to look back. It”s important to note, many have not seen price increases for two years, three years for some. When COVID broke, we were all navigating uncharted waters and I didn’t want to add additional insecurity with a price increase…. well, you know what they say about both, hindsight and good intentions. Please keep this in mind as you review your program for 2022.
The trend, in nearly every sector of business, is to “skimp”…. from Corporate America to the main street, whether for literal survival or old-fashioned greed, more buys less and customer service has disappeared from almost every area of our lives. Even if you can get someone on the phone or answer an email, there is seldom a resolution. We, consumers, are basically told to accept it and move to the back of the line. Who would imagine that corporate America would literally hang up after a recording explaining a high volume of calls?
I remain dedicated to preserving business as it has always been for us. We will continue to do the right thing, to educate our customers and offer recommendations that serve you and the environment over our bottom line. As you look over the proposal, please let me know if you have any questions. It”s important to understand our process and how our focus toward general good health is beneficial over chemical treatments for weeds, insects and disease. Prevention is the cure, and the benefit is healthier soil and less chemical use. We hope you will continue to use our service where a stubborn, idealistic owner promises to do right all the while it seems the whole world has gone crazy.