High fuel costs impacting small businesses

High fuel costs impacting small businesses
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 7:34 PM EDT
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ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) - Alex Brown started his own landscaping company in 2016, providing lawncare services to homes and businesses throughout the tri-state area.

He tells WSAZ he travels anywhere from 300 to 500 miles per week in his work truck, visiting clients and providing free estimates. But as fuel prices surge across the country, higher than he’s ever seen them in his time as a small business owner, he might have to rethink some of his prices.

“It’s getting to the point where we’re either going to have to do a fuel surcharge or just raise prices in general,” he said. “Our consolidation of our routes, whether it’s mowing or grass fertilization, weed control is huge for us. If we can park the truck and do four or five services, that’s what we want to do.”

After crunching the numbers, Brown says his business uses somewhere between 700 to 900 gallons of gas a week. He estimates his fuel costs have jumped about 50% with about 20 vehicles out on the road.

“All of our mowers, our trimmers, our hedge clippers, everything runs off fuel,” he said. “That’s really something we’ve noticed on our bottom line.”

According to AAA, gas is about 44 cents a gallon more than it was about a month ago. Analysts say prices typically peak around mid-May but are now estimating the market may not cool down till July.

“Who knows how high they’re gonna go,” he said. “That’s the scary thought. We’re hoping for them to go down, but you just never know.”

Brown says they have their own fuel tanks on site, saving money where they can. But he’s also seen an increase in his price for supplies, as well.

“I feel bad for trucking companies that bring our materials, our mulch, so we feel that on our end,” he said. “So it affects everyone.”

He’s looking forward to the day they can get back to cutting grass, without having to save gas.

“I just hope it ends soon and hopefully we can get back to business,” he said. “Doing it the way we should be doing it.”

Seven states across the U.S. are now averaging prices well above $5 a gallon. The sting is especially being felt by those on a fixed income.

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