IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WROC) — High gas prices are presenting challenges for the landscaping industry, as crews rely on fuel to start up most of their equipment. 

As fuel prices remain above average, a number of local landscaping businesses are seeing gas budgets nearly double this summer. 

For landscapers, July is their busy season. With regular gas prices still hovering around almost $5 per gallon, business owners say they’re working to keep up.

“It’s different from any other economic situation because if steak prices go up, you can buy poultry or fish. But, when gasoline prices go up, there’s nothing you can do,” owner of Irondequoit Landscape Jeff Riesenberger said. “We assumed it would be more of a temporary, short-term matter of weeks before this got resolved and now it’s been months. I really don’t see any way out of this right now.”

Riesenberger said his budget for gas has doubled. He says his company is spending roughly $2,500 in gas each week. The increases in labor costs and supplies are factors that are causing many in the industry to pinch their profits, he said.

For Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care, that means negotiating with vendors on fuel surcharges as not to pass that cost onto the customer.

“When you take all that into the overhead costs, we have to make hay when the sun shines,” Laurie Broccolo, owner of Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care, said. “We’ve figured out ways to get as much work done with a limited amount of labor, and then stretch that budget.”

As long as the high gas prices exist, it may also cause landscapers to reevaluate their spending in other areas.

“We’ll kind of have to throttle back a little bit and wait until next year and see what happens,” Riesenberger said. “Any of our excess revenues, which would be profits, are going to be heading to the gas pump.” 

When it comes to the dry summer seen so far, landscapers say the drought isn’t as much of an issue as is the heat, which affects not only plant growth but labor and limits the ability to do some of the work based on the weather.