News
Majority of Landscape Architecture Firms Report Stable or Improving Business
Securing project financing remains a problem for residential and commercial clients
2010-07-22

Washington, D.C., July 22, 2010 – Business conditions for landscape architects appear to be stabilizing, according to the latest American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey. For the second quarter in a row, over half of landscape architecture firms reported steady or above levels of billable hours and inquiries for new work – representing continued improvement from one of the worst years ever recorded for the industry.

Nearly two-thirds (65.4 percent) of firm leaders reported billable hours as steady or higher in the second quarter 2010, an increase from 56.4 percent last quarter and 32 percent this time last year. Similarly, 64.8 percent reported steady or above inquiries for new work – down from 72.2 percent last quarter but significantly higher than the 32.2 percent reported last year. Firms planning to hire decreased slightly from 21.6 percent to 17.3 percent.

“We know many firms still face major challenges, including client groups’ inability to secure financing for projects. Still, the survey findings represent continued progress in a very difficult economy,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA.

The survey also asked about residential and commercial clients’ ability to secure financing for projects compared to last year. Overall, only 5.3 percent of firm leaders responding that financing is easier now compared to 2009. In addition, 28.3 percent reported that financing was about the same, 39.8 percent reported that financing was more difficult and 26.6 percent didn’t know.

Compared to the first quarter 2010, your second quarter 2010 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 12.7%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 24.1%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 28.6%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 15.9%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 18.8%

Compared to the first quarter 2010, your second quarter 2010 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 10.0%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 28.2%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 26.6%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 16.2%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 19.1%

Year to year, compared to the second quarter in 2009, your second quarter 2010 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 12.6%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 16.3%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 20.2%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 15.5%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 32.4%

Year to year, compared to the second quarter in 2009, your second quarter 2010 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 15.6%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 19.8%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 23.2%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 16.0%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 25.3%

Do you plan on hiring nay employees in the second quarter of 2010? (multiple answers)
Yes, we’ll be hiring an experienced landscape architect – 5.3%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an entry level landscape architect – 5.8%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an intern – 4.1%
Yes, we’ll be hiring support staff – 1.6%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other design/architecture/engineering staff – 4.1%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other staff – 0.8%
No, we’re not currently hiring – 82.7%

Compared to last year, please describe the relative business conditions of the following sectors: 
Commercial – 16.2% improving; 32.0% about the same; 41.2% worse, 10.5% don’t know
Residential – 18.8% improving; 35.9% about the same; 32.1% worse; 13.2% don’t know
Public – 18.7% improving; 36.5% about the same; 29.6% worse; 1.2% don’t know

Compared to last year, how would you describe commercial or residential clients’ ability to secure financing for projects?
Easier than last year – 5.3%
About the same as last year – 28.3%
More difficult than last year – 39.8%
Don’t know – 26.6%

How would you describe your ability to collect fees from clients for services already rendered?
Most or all of my clients pay in a timely fashion – 46.5%
The majority of my clients pay on time, but some are late, require special arrangements, or are sent to collections – 37.6%
Few of my clients pay on time, and most are regularly late, require special arrangements, or are sent to collections – 13.9%
Don’t know – 2.0%

Compared to last year, how would you describe your ability to collect fees from clients from services already rendered?
Easier – 3.3%
About the same – 67.6%
More difficult – 25.8%
Don’t know – 3.3%

About the Survey
The ASLA Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics including billable hours, inquiries and hiring plans. The Q2 2010 national survey was fielded July 1 through 16, with 245 firm representatives responding.



contact

Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371
ktgrajales@asla.org
@ktgrajales

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