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Generation Next

Departments - Editor's Insight

Nicole Wisniewski | October 19, 2009

According to a recent Lawn & Landscape survey, the majority of landscape business owners are between the ages of 46 and 55 (33 percent), making them Baby Boomers. No wonder they relate so well to their customers who are also made up of a majority of this age group. Fifty-four percent of contractors say the average age of their customers is between from 46 to 55, followed by 30 percent who believe the average age of their customers falls between 36 and 45.

Generally speaking, the experience of older and more seasoned entrepreneurs puts them in a better position than younger owners to manage through downturns, many experts say. However, according to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, the tables have turned, and today it’s younger business owners who are geared for growth. Maybe landscape Boomer business owners can learn a thing or two from their younger counterparts.

Generation Y is the most optimistic group – 80 percent of these entrepreneurs have a significantly more positive outlook on business prospects vs. Generation X and business owners overall (each 55 percent) and Baby Boomers (52 percent).

This optimism extends across a number of areas:

  • They’re most likely to hire (36 percent vs. 25 percent of Generation X and 20 percent of Baby Boomers).
  • They’re most likely to have capital investment plans (58 percent vs. 41 percent of Generation X and 39 percent of Baby Boomers).
  • They’re most willing to take a financial risk (67 percent vs. 52 percent of Generation X and 47 percent of Baby Boomers).
  • They’re least likely to have cash flow issues (53 percent vs. 59 percent for Generation X and 64 percent of Baby Boomers).
  • They’re least stressed out by the economy (57 percent vs. 72 percent of Generation X and 71 percent of Baby Boomers).
  • They’re most likely to implement employee-friendly policies to battle the recession. Generation Y will allow employees to maintain a flexible schedule (44 percent), Baby Boomers will institute a hiring freeze (41 percent) and Generation X entrepreneurs will institute a salary freeze (39 percent).

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