Grounds-care market continues to grow

Two factors that contribute to the year-after-year growth of the landscape and lawn-care markets have become more evident over recent years. For one, many homeowners now consider landscaping a home improvement rather than just an aesthetic tool. Second, today's more-common two-income families do not have the time to properly care for their lawns. Enter supply and demand.

The demand for lawn care is stronger then ever. Therefore, the number of firms and landscapers has increased to supply this demand's services. In 1984, the number of landscape and horticultural firms totaled 29,447. A decade later, that number more than doubled, reaching 62,228 firms in 1994 (see graph above). Concurrently, the number of landscape employees has increased nearly 87 percent from 158,059 in 1984 to 294,854 in 1994. This is a positive indicator for the industry, as is the U.S. Department of Labor's prediction that jobs for landscape architects, gardeners and groundskeepers will continue to increase through the year 2005 (see table above left).

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With annual revenues of $11.3 billion, do lawn-care industry's salaries rise as the number of firms and employees increase? Yes. According to the 1996 Grounds Maintenance Salary Survey, in the 10 years between 1986 and 1996, respondents reported a median salary increase of 42 percent. The median annual salary for a typical grounds manager is $37,410 with a 4.5 percent annual increase.

Source: County Business Patterns, 1984-1994, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic and Statistics Administration, United States Bureau of Census.

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