Gas Prices Taking Toll on Lawn Care

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- Gas prices are hurting all of us.  Just about every aspect of our lives is impacted in some way by rising prices associated to fuel.  The service industry is one that is suffering more than others.  Lawn care companies are spending hundreds even thousands of dollars every week on fuel.  While they don't want to raise the prices they charge their customers, some say its' getting to the point where they may not have a choice if they want their business to be profitable at all.

"It's like adding one and a half to two new employees in your payroll that you're not getting any work out of," said Charles Tosh.

Charles Tosh owns Tosh Lawn Care and they usually take care of about 140 lawns a week.  With the prices to fill up on the rise his worries are going up too.

"Off road diesel is $3.69 a gallon and gasoline is $3.45.  That's the first time in my lifetime I've ever seen off road diesel higher than gasoline," said Tosh.

He says he's not increased the number of gallons he uses but the price to fill up has more than tripled in the last year.

"Last year my average fuel bill for a month was right around $2,500.  This year I would not be surprised to see it at $5,000 to $6,500 a month," said Tosh.

Rodney Elwood owns Nature's Way Tree and Lawn Care and says it hurts his bottom line every time he has to fill up.

"It's a pretty big impact when you look at your gas credit cards and you're maxed out after a month or so," said Elwood.

Nobody wants to raise their prices for customers, but Tosh said they are looking at making a slight increase on May first.  However, even with that increase it won't make much of an impact.

"It's almost tripled and I can't triple my prices.  If I tripled my prices I would lose every customer I have," said Tosh.

In fact he's already lost some customers.

"Customers could not afford to have a mowing service come and mow their yard and had to go buy a push mower to do it themselves to save some money," said Tosh.

In addition to using fuel like diesel and gasoline in the mowers to get the job done, these companies also use diesel in large trucks to haul the equipment from job to job.  The on-road diesel is at a very high price too.  For companies who don't have portable diesel tanks, it could be costing them just to drive to the pump to fill up their tanks.