In a survey conducted earlier this year, the Irrigation Association asked its members about their top business concerns, what they thought of licensing and their plans for services in the coming year. L&L got a sneak peek to share with you.
When asked what impacted their company most in 2011, irrigation contractors responded, in order:
1. The economy
2. Increased competition
3. Sales/marketing challenges
6. Water quality concerns
7. State rules and regulations
8. Water shortages due to drought
9. Too much water due to excessive precipitation
The top issues impacting contractors are, in order:
1. Preventing “fly by night” contractors from undercutting the profits of law-abiding companies
2. Licensing of irrigation contractors: creating and maintaining new laws
3. Incentives promoting the use of rain shutoff, weather sensor and soil moisture sensor devices
4. Local water policy rules and regulations that change significantly across regions
5. Water quality and storm water issues
6. Challenges to the irrigation profession by the plumbing profession
7. Local drought restrictions on irrigation, efforts to limit water use
Other interesting findings included:
- Ninety-one percent of contractors said they supported licensing, and of those, 67% say it should be mandatory to do business in a state.
- Forty-seven percent characterized the professionalism of their competition as poor; 52% rated the competition as good.
- Fifty-nine percent of contractors said they are increasing their focus on system maintenance contracts.
- Nearly half of companies surveyed – 47% -- have 10 or fewer employees in peak season. The two largest groups, or 78% of the respondents, have 25 or fewer.
- More than half of companies – 56% – offer healthcare to their employees, but 74% say the right package is hard to find. When they do find one, 59% say the package is sometimes or very difficult to retain.