RENO, Nev. — Brett Gard's phone did not ring for weeks.
This was back in late March, not long after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gard, owner of Reno-based Tailored Lawn Care, started to temper his revenue expectations as he watched the economy grind to a halt and unemployment surge.
“We all got pretty concerned because I had hired a bunch of guys anticipating a really busy spring … and my phone was pretty much silent,” said Gard, noting his company's projected revenue was off by $18,560 in March due to COVID-related cancellations.
Three months later, however, Gard's phone won't stop ringing.
Whether out of a cure for feeling blue or scratching the itch on a green thumb, people have seemingly gravitated toward doing more yard projects. As a result, the demand for lawn care and landscape companies — categorized as essential businesses — is blooming in Northern Nevada and beyond.
“After that first three weeks, we picked up like crazy,” Gard said. “I'm not sure if it was because of the stimulus checks that people got, because we started getting a lot of one-off projects. I think there was a lot of people that were at home because they were working from home, and they were realizing there were different needs with their landscape.”
As a result, Tailored Lawn Care, which launched in 2014, had its best April on record, Gard said. Specifically, the company generated $63,118 in revenue — nearly a 100% increase compared to its April last year ($32,324).
While Gard feels COVID played a role in the uptick, he noted that, since last year, the company has added a marketing spend of $1,200 a month and boosted its social media presence.
Gard, who has 10 workers on staff, said he's looking to “ramp up” hiring to help meet the growing demand, adding: “we're just getting bogged down with work.”
Tailored Lawn Care isn't the only local business swamped with work.
Arbor Pros, a tree service company serving the greater Reno-Tahoe area, has nearly doubled its crew size, jumping from 16 to 31 workers, to address the increase in business since the pandemic hit the area, said owner Chayce Cassani.
Cassani added that by the end of the summer, he's hoping to grow his crew to 40 workers.
“It's gotten extremely busy,” Cassani told the NNBW. “I think it's because, one, the trees leapt out of the spring season. And, two, COVID definitely gave that boost of people being at home, looking out their windows, hanging out in their yards all day, saying, ‘hey, we need to do something about this tree or plant some trees.'”
On top of a spike in residential business, Cassani said the company has also seen a large influx of commercial work — from apartments to businesses to malls — to take care of mature vegetation and trees around buildings. In all, Cassani estimated the company's residential and commercial revenues are both up 25%-to-30% over the last couple months.
It's a welcome change of pace for Arbor Pros, which lost close to $100,000 in appointments that were scrubbed from the calendar during the first three weeks following the state shutdown, Cassani said.
“When COVID hit back in March, we definitely had a pretty significant slowdown in work,” said Cassani, citing cancellations by apartment complexes, HOAs and office buildings as the primary driver. “Since then, we've pretty much doubled the size of our company in a matter of a month, and gotten a bunch more equipment.”
Being on the brink of summer, Cassani and Gard each expect, due to the COVID effect and being more established in the market, to experience their busiest summers to date.
Cassani said he's projecting Arbor Pros, which made $1.5 million last year, to generate around $4 million in revenue over the next 12 months.
Gard said Tailored Lawn Care has grown 100% year-over-year for the last three years in terms of both number of revenue and clients, which he called an “unnatural growth rate.” A contributing factor, he said, is the surge of high-paying tech companies moving in from the Bay Area and expanding his clientele demographic.
“Now, our customers range from 20-year-olds all the way up to 80-to-90-year-olds,” he said. “I think any home service industry or provider is going to continue to see huge growth. That's something that's exciting and definitely unique to the Reno area.”