Central’s team recently attended GIE Expo in Louisville to meet with leading manufacturers and contractors to learn more about the latest industry trends.
In talking with the leaders of the top companies, five trends kept coming up in conversation.
We anticipate these trends to have a significant impact on contractors’ planning for 2019, so we wanted to share them with you here:
- Hiring, Training and Retaining Employees
In the educational sessions, speakers consistently repeated the phrase “a company’s most valuable asset is its people”. Contractors shared that they’re increasingly challenged in attracting the right candidates. For 2019, many firms indicated they would adopt a specific marketing strategy to improve the quality and quantity of candidates in their hiring pipeline.
- Using Equipment to Grow Productivity
With new employees in short supply, contractors were motivated to investigate power equipment that could increase the productivity of their existing work crews. The show demonstration areas had long lines to try out the latest machines. Among the most popular was the Toro Dingo, one of the most versatile machines because if its variety of attachments and ease of use.
- Cloud Software to Automate Contractor Business Operations
The industry is embracing cloud-based computing and smart apps to automate nearly every management task. From crew scheduling to fleet management, there are dozens of new – and better – software options for professionals to explore. The cost of software solutions has also declined dramatically, making them affordable even for the one-person operation.
- Consumer Demand for Wi-Fi Controls
Manufacturers indicated that many contractors were missing out on consumer demand for new app-based irrigation and landscape lighting controls. Higher-end homeowners want control from mobile devices. And they’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars to add these additional features. But many contractors are not offering the technology upgrades during service visits. Manufacturers reported that many homeowners are driven to buy these components online instead. Several savvy contractors mentioned they will offer these control upgrades as part of their 2019 irrigation start-up packages.
- Diversification into New Services
Several contractors remarked they “didn’t want to have all of their eggs in a small basket” and indicated they were attending the show to explore additional lines of business to drive growth and minimize risk in the years ahead. They said promising new offerings included landscape drainage, pest/critter control and outdoor audio.
What did you see at the GIE Expo? Share your feedback with Central on our social media pages or with your Central representative.