HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. — For 22 years, Wes Addington's mowing crews have been caring for lawns across Hamilton County.
"I started when I was 11. A neighborhood boy push-mowing," he said.
Gas was 79 cents per gallon.
"If I could just go back in time," he laughed.
At least he's not crying.
Like other landscaping companies, Wesley's Landscape and Lawncare has endured a $2-$3 per gallon price hike in a matter of months. Now, grass isn't the only thing they're trimming. They are cutting expenses any way they can.
"It's blowing me away and I don't know when the relief's coming," Addington said. "I never thought the prices would go this high."
Addington now employs 72 people. But it's not just gas for their mowers and trimmers he has to pay for. They also have to get to the job site and back with their trucks and trailers. Nearly 30 crews are deployed to area properties every day.
"Everything we do in this business is related to fuel," said Addington, who also serves as president of the Indianapolis Landscape Association.
So when will the added cost be passed on to customers?
"Very soon," Addington said. "I think we've absorbed as much as we possibly can."
He said businesses have already tightened up routes and even looked into electric mowers and alternative fuels, including propane.
"We're all gonna have to figure that out really quickly. Otherwise, it's gonna go south really quick for a lot of companies," he said.
Some have also added a temporary fuel surcharge — something other industries are doing as well.
Addington said, unfortunately, they have no other choice.
"It's tough," he said. "Not only the two years of COVID, then all the shipping concerns and supply demands, now it's the fuel. What's next?"
If only we knew.