Rising fuel prices hitting landscaping businesses hard

Landscaping crews deal with surging diesel prices
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - We’re all feeling that pain at the pump, but for some, that concern is next level.

With regular averaging about $5 a gallon, some places already more, and diesel going for $6, it’s quickly adding up for some lawn crews, and it’s costing them big time.

“It’s kind of a tough spot to be put in. Between the truck and equipment, it’s a lot of gas, every week,” said Mike Ricciardelli.

Ricciardelli, who has been cutting lawns for 18 years, has never seen it this bad.

“Compared to the beginning of last year, it’s almost double the amount of gas I was using last year, as far as price wise, so it’s not an easy situation to be in,” he said.

As gas prices keep going up, Ricciardelli said he’s had to raise his prices a little.

Fortunately, he said most customers understand.

But for Paul Skerritt and his precision cutting services, that’s a move he’s putting off.

The rising fuel costs are costing him.

“Right now its anywhere from $800 to $1000 a week. I’m not making any more money. I’m actually losing money. Two years ago, it was $2 a gallon,” said Skerritt. “It’s not where we’re showing up to your house with a chain saw. I come to your house, I’ve got $300,000 worth of equipment, it’s got to get there, that’s the biggest problem right now.”

For Skerritt and his tree business, his issue is everything he runs, from his trucks to his chipper, uses diesel.

Diesel is set to see a tax increase next month.

“It’s just crazy. You still have to drive around; you still have to give people estimates and that’s only part of it. Everything I own is diesel, so it’s $6 a gallon. In July it’s going up another 20-30 cents, how are small businesses going to sustain it. Hopefully something changes,” Skerritt said.

Until it does, small businesses like these will be keeping a close eye on the prices at the pumps.

“They keep warning you that it’s only going to go up higher, so again, it’s that week to week thing, checking the gas prices, every time you drive by a gas station, you’re looking to see what the number is going to be,” said Ricciardelli.