SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Lawn care companies in the Springfield area are not only being hit by the labor shortage but also by rising gas prices.

Shawn Jones started 417 Mowing in the 1990s but he said this is one of the worst summers he can remember when it comes to gas prices and a labor shortage. He said the company can use as much as $500 of gas in a day.

Each crew makes around 30 stops daily and has had to make changes to use less gas. Those changes range from either keeping equipment at workers’ homes to changing the kind of fuel they use.

“We were using a high octane fuel,” Jones said. “If it doesn’t necessitate that we’ve scaled that back to the lower octane just to save at the pump”

Jones said the price of gas, combined with increasing pay rates for employees, has forced him to raise prices for customers.

“Just in order to cover all the bases and make sure they’re getting the same level of service, we did have to make that adjustment,” Jones said.

Jones has about ten employees, but he is looking to add more as he gains new clients because his current staff is working long hours.

These challenges are also affecting smaller lawn care operations like Ryan Feeney’s. Feeny is a college student who has around 20 clients and has had to turn some down recently.

“I’ve also had to, on some of my clients, raise the price for some of my yards,” Feeny said. “They’re just because, I mean, if it’s a bigger yard I got, I got to waste more gas and use more gas for it.”

Feeney is looking to expand his one-man mowing company but both gas prices and higher wages are delaying that dream.

“You factor in a lot of other things and it’s like, let’s say a yard is a $30 or something, then you got to pay somebody to help you. Then you got gas on top of that. So it’s definitely a big factor in that — on kind of wanting to expand or not,” Feeny said.