Survey: Landscape architecture firms thriving

Updated Jan 5, 2016

Billable hours, hiring and inquiries for new work all jump

Business is booming for landscape architecture firms. According to the latest American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey, firm managers reported significantly higher levels of billable hours, hiring and inquiries for new work during the first quarter of 2015.

More than 80 percent of firms responding to the survey reported stable to significantly higher billable hours, a jump from 74.67 percent in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, more than 85 percent reported stable to significantly higher inquiries for new work, up from about 77 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Inquiries from potential clients remained strong at about 83 percent in the first quarter of this year, although that was a slight decline from the 84.64 percent reporting such inquiries during the first quarter of 2014.

The optimism suggested by the latest survey appears to be translating into future jobs. Of firms with two or more employees, 61.54 percent said they planned to hire during the second quarter of 2015, a notable rise from the previous quarter (50.63 percent). And among firms with 5-9 employees, about 55 percent indicated they will be hiring landscape architects, both experienced and entry-level.

The latest ASLA survey also revisited questions from a third-quarter 2010 Business Quarterly survey about why clients choose sustainable design techniques. The top reasons remained virtually unchanged from five years ago. They include meeting government requirements (54.79 percent), saving money on utility or maintenance costs (40.96 percent), reducing environmental harm (39.36 percent) and adding marketing cachet (31.91 percent).

ASLA’s Business Quarterly survey for the first quarter of 2015 was conducted April 17-30, with 191 primary firm contacts responding. The professional association represents more than 15,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 72 student chapters.

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