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CONTRACTOR PROFILE More Than a Mow-and-Go Crew ❯Page 10 BEYOND THE BLADE Turf That’s Forever Young ❯Page 28

One Good Turn

DESERVES ANOTHER Because being comfortable makes it easier to mow and mow for longer, zero-turn ergonomic innovation abounds in 2018.

❯Page 20



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Kawasaki Genuine Parts For those who push performance to a higher level, we offer oils, filters and tune-up kits as robust, reliable and efficient as your trusted Kawasaki engines. Built for maximum heavy-duty productivity, and proven on every job. Like you.


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Volume 30, No. 2 | March 2018

10 Contractor Profile


More Than a Mow-and-Go Crew Scooter’s Lawn Care began as a one-man band, but now the business sustains a team of skilled professionals who excel at lawn care.


4 Through the Grapevine 6 Industry Dirt


30 What’s on My Trailer? 41 Advertisers Index


42 C  utting-Edge Business

14 Dealer Profile A Family Business at the Forefront of Green Industry Equipment


McGavic Outdoor Power 12 prides itself on its dedication to service, and its devotion to customers who work and shape the land.

25 Special Focus Zero-Turn Mowers


32 Maintenance Equipment Walk-Behind Mowers

18 Supplier Profile Pound for Pound

As Avant Tecno expands its dealer network across the U.S., more landscape contractors are finding out how a compact articulating loader could prove to be the toughest workhorse they could add to their fleets.

36 Maintenance Equipment Trimmers, Edgers & Brush Cutters


38 Construction Equipment Utility Vehicles

20 Special Focus: Zero-Turn Mowers One Good Turn Deserves Another

Because being comfortable makes it easier to mow and mow for longer, zero-turn ergonomic innovation abounds in 2018.

41 Lawn Care Corner

28 Beyond the Blade Turf That’s Forever Young

Landscape contractors can add compost top-dressing to their landscaping specialties to help rehabilitate overtreated turf.

39 Lawn Care Corner How to Weed Out an Ineffective Herbicide Program

Follow these six easy tips to establish a successful herbicide program for you and your customers.

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MARCH 2018


3/8/18 9:42 AM


Pros The Management Resource for Landscape Contractors and Equipment Dealers

Published by AC Business Media Inc.

Growing the NEXT Generation


hat is the best way to manage and train green industry employees? As a result of the labor shortage facing the landscaping industry and the lack of experience many new hires may present this season while businesses try to multiply their numbers, it’s a question I ask almost every landscape contractor I speak with. The range of fantastic responses I’ve received runs the gamut. Fortunately (in my opinion at least), there’s no correct black-and-white or onesize-fits-all answer that absolutely satisfies this question. Maybe the management style that works best for you doesn’t work for the landscaping company next door. For example, is a my-way-or-the-highway training technique better than something a little subtler? If there were such a thing as best practices when it comes to landscaping employee management Is a my-way-orand training, what would they be and would they apply to only some companies and new hires, or all of them? the-highway All of these questions and many more plagued me as I training recently hired an intern to help out with the daily grind technique here at Green Industry Pros. Admittedly, hiring an editorial intern at a publishing company differs a bit from hiring a better than landscaper, but there are similarities. something a After reviewing several resumes and writing samples, I little subtler? ended up interviewing a couple of very capable and competent college students. What won me over with the intern I eventually hired was her personality, and familiarity with the industry and industry tools, such as the type of software we use, which is probably the most time-intensive part of training any new editorial employee. As I work to train the intern, I’m learning just as much about my training and management style as I am about her learning style. I’m trying out more of a mentorship approach to education than a micromanagement angle. (Of course, this is all my own opinion; she may tell you a different story!) When she first started, I had her observe the way I performed certain tasks, then encouraged her with the freedom to come up with her own standard operating procedures as long as they fell in line with my expectations of the end result. After the introductory observation phase, I threw her right in, making myself available for as many questions as she could muster. I told her that I wanted her to be comfortable enough asking me questions that a path was worn between my office and hers. I couldn’t be happier with the results. We’re both learning a lot and getting even more accomplished, each with our own specialties put to use. Had I hired someone with a different personality or less skill, however, I might’ve tried a different approach—more along the lines of a structured training or the micromanagement I mentioned earlier ... What’s your employee management and training style? Do you vary it from hire to hire or do you find that it can successfully stay the same from person to person? What are your best practices and why do you think they work for Carrie Mantey (920) 542-1238 you? Drop me a line to let me know what your approach is and why.


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MARCH 2018

201 N. Main Street Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 (800) 538-5544 Volume 30, Number 2


Publisher.............................................................................Deirdre D’Aniello Sales Representative.................................................................. Fred Ferris Sales Representative..........................................................Amy Schwandt Sales Representative............................................................. Sean Dunphy Sales Representative............................................................. Nikki Lawson National Automotive Manager ............................................. Tom Lutzke Vice Chair..................................................................................... Kris Flitcroft


Editor......................................................................................... Carrie Mantey Graphic Designer....................................................................Dave Haglund


Audience Development Director........................................Wendy Chady Audience Development Manager......................................Angela Franks


Senior Production Manager................................................... Cindy Rusch AC Business Media Inc. Chairman — Anil Narang President and CEO — Carl Wistreich CFO — JoAnn Breuchel Editorial Director — Greg Udelhofen Digital Operations Manager — Nick Raether Digital Sales Manager — Monique Terrazas Change of Address & Subscriptions — P.O. Box 3605 Northbrook, IL 60065-3605 • (877) 201-3915 Fax: (847) 291-4816 • List Rental — Jeff Moriarty, Senior Vice President of Business & Media Solutions • InfoGroup (518) 339-4511 • Reprints & Licensing — Erica Finger (920) 542-1230 • . Green Industry Pros [USPS 003-763 and ISSN 2168-121X (print), ISSN 2168-1228 (online)] is published seven times a year: January/February, March, April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/ December by AC Business Media Inc. Periodicals postage paid at Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Green Industry Pros, P.O. Box 3605, Northbrook, IL 60065-3605. Canada Post PM40612608. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Green Industry Pros, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Subscriptions: Individual subscriptions are available without charge in the U.S. to qualified subscribers. Publisher reserves the right to reject non-qualified subscriptions. Subscription prices: U.S., $35 per year; Canada/Mexico, $60 per year; and all other countries, $85 per year. All subscriptions payable in U.S. funds, drawn on U.S. bank. Back issues, if available, cost $10 prepaid. Printed in the USA. Copyright 2018 AC Business Media Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recordings or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission from the publisher.

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Brand Among Landscape Professionals

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THERE’S ONLY ONE NUMBER ONE.* Your Business is Our Business. Our quality manufacturing and superior service do more than help us sell equipment. Both have helped us earn the trust and loyalty of America’s hardest workers. People like the landscapers at Bud Jones and Sons, Inc., who for years, have chosen powerful, reliable STIHL products to maintain their customers’ beautiful landscapes and grow their business. Landscapers like them are why STIHL has been the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment among U.S. professional landscapers since 2007.* Visit your local STIHL dealer today and start powering up your business. To find a STIHL dealer: For product information: *“Number one selling brand” claim based on 2007-2017 syndicated Irwin Broh research of the U.S. professional landscaper market. ©2018 STIHL Visit

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Five Critical Lessons from Top Landscape and Lawn Care CEOs At Leaders Forum, an executive-level leadership conference of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), top industry CEOs shared their struggles and challenges on the way to success with panel host Scott Jamieson of Bartlett Tree Experts. Panelists included: • Jennifer Lemcke, COO of Weed Man USA. • Chris Joyce, president of Joyce Landscaping of Marstons Mills, Massachusetts. • Paul Fraynd, CEO of Sun Valley Landscaping of Omaha, Nebraska. • Mark Tomko, CEO of Metco Landscape of Aurora, Colorado. • Jason Mathers, president of Monarch Landscape Management of Houston, Texas.


1. Get out of the way and delegate. Fraynd confided that he (like many other CEOs) had a fear of letting go of control, but learning a way of management that allowed him to delegate things and then let employees take over was critical to success.

2. Financial planning is key. Tomko shared that, in the beginning, the company wasn’t focused enough on making projections and measuring against them in order to increase profits. 3. When the business grows, your role needs to change. Joyce had to learn the hard way that the role of the president or CEO changes as the business grows, and you need to shift from being fully hands on to focusing on managing people and creating development opportunities for staff. 4. Face problems head on. Sometimes it is easier when a staff person isn’t working out to give him or her more time, and hope it works out. But Lemcke learned that you don’t have time not to deal with a staff problem and that you can’t make everyone fit—sometimes a position or the career isn’t a good match for people and tough decisions are better in the end for everyone. 5. Retaining people is as important as hiring them. In the highly competitive environment to hire employees— keeping them is critical. Mathers learned that you can’t just hire people who fit at the time, and then struggle when the business grows and they aren’t a fit anymore. You need to create a system to help employees grow as the company grows.


In a word—no. The CEO panel seemed to coalesce around the idea that the perfect work-life balance is a myth. Instead you have to cut yourself a break and accept the fact that sometimes the business has to come first, sometimes your family’s needs come first and you do the best you can to carve out time for yourself. As Joyce noted, your business feels like another child, and it is important to take care of it and nurture it without guilt.


The executive panelists struggle with the email tsunami just like everyone else. What is their approach? 1. Turn off email notifications, which disrupt concentration. 2. Look at emails early in the morning and then don’t look at them again during the day. 3. Section off a few times a day to review emails and don’t look at them the rest of the day. Top industry executives share their struggles and challenges at an executive-level leadership conference of the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Retaining people is as important as hiring them ... You need to create a system to help employees grow as the company grows.


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MARCH 2018

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“In 2017, we were thrilled to begin sharing our mission and business model with entrepreneurs who are also committed to helping decrease the waste of one of our most limited natural resources.” ­

› Amazon, EPA Reach $1.2 Million Settlement Over Online Sales of Illegal Pesticides

› Annual Irrigation System Maintenance

Helps Prevent Water Loss

› Memphis Airport Splits Landscaping Work Between Two Small Businesses

– Russ Jundt, Conserva Irrigation

› Lawn Care Company Fined for

Death of 18-Year-Old

› Cars, Cash and Fences: How AJB

CONSERVA IRRIGATION SEES EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN FIRST SIX MONTHS OF FRANCHISING Conserva Irrigation—the only national outdoor irrigation company founded on the concept of water conservation—announced that it experienced strong growth in 2017 and continues its aggressive national expansion into 2018 with the signing of six new franchise agreements. Conserva signed a total of 35 new franchise agreements since beginning franchising in June 2017 and expanded into many new markets, including Houston, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; and Scottsdale, Arizona. Not showing any signs of slowing down, Conserva started off 2018 strong with signed franchise agreements for territories in Fort Worth, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; Long Island, New York; Palm Beach, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Richmond, Virginia. As Conserva continues its expansion in 2018, the brand is targeting markets such as southern and northern California; Seattle, Washington; and Denver, Colorado for growth. “In 2017, we were thrilled to begin sharing our mission and business model with entrepreneurs who are also committed to helping decrease the waste of one of our most limited natural resources,” said Russ Jundt, founder of Conserva Irrigation. “Our franchisees come from all different professional backgrounds and, as we continue to expand across the country

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Landscaping & Fence Gives Back

in 2018, we remain dedicated to providing high-quality service, the latest technology and the concept of water conservation to deliver the best irrigation system service in the industry.” Conserva Irrigation was founded in 2010 by Jundt, who became increasingly disturbed by the tremendous amount of water wasted by the typical irrigation system. As a solution to this problem, he developed a proprietary process to audit irrigation systems called the System Efficiency Score (SES) to rate the water efficiency of a system based on a numerical scale. Conserva’s signature SES rating system is based on studies published by the Irrigation Association and the Environmental Protection Agency. This systemized approach allows homeowners to understand how much water their sprinkler systems are wasting, as well as what improvements to make in order to reduce water consumption and lower water bills. Additionally, Conserva franchisees donated $17,500 to the Wyland Foundation in 2017, an organization dedicated to helping children and families around the nation rediscover the importance of healthy oceans and waterways. To fuel Conserva Irrigation’s growth, the company is seeking single- and multiunit operators with a range of experience levels, as well as those looking for add-on or conversion business opportunities. Potential franchisee candidates should be willing to invest between $43,550 and $80,250. Incentives are available for veterans, multi-territory agreements, and those with existing businesses or who are an employee of an existing franchisee. For more information, please visit

› Weber State University Helps Sponsor

Electric Mower Exchange

› Arkansas Judge Dismisses Monsanto

Lawsuit on Dicamba Ban

› OSHA Lowers Fine on Landscaping

Company by $10,000

› H-2B Petitions May Surge for the Second

Half of 2018

› Landscaper Faces Attempted

Murder Charges for Crash That Injured Landscaping Crew

› Eight Trending Commercial

Landscaping Designs

› Like a Roomba for Grass, Mow-ana

Maintains the Lawn at City Hall

› It’s Time to Rev Up Your

Lawn Mower for Spring

› Zimmer Tractor Is STIHL Territory

Dealer of the Year

MARCH 2018


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INDUSTRY DIRT SITEONE LANDSCAPE SUPPLY ACQUIRES ATLANTIC IRRIGATION SiteOne Landscape Supply, a large national wholesale distributor of landscape supplies in the United States, announced the acquisition of Atlantic Irrigation. Started in 1976, Atlantic is a leader in the distribution of irrigation, lighting, drainage and landscaping equipment, with 33 locations across 13 states in the eastern U.S. and two provinces in eastern Canada.

“Atlantic significantly expands the scale of our irrigation and lighting business in the eastern U.S. and Canada markets. This transaction represents the largest number of locations that we have acquired in a single acquisition in more than a decade,” said Doug Black, chairman and CEO of SiteOne Landscape Supply.

“The addition of Atlantic complements our existing branch network, and strengthens our full-line offering of nursery, hardscape, agronomic, irrigation and landscape lighting products.” ­ – Doug Black, SiteOne Landscape Supply THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONALS CREATES NATIONAL LANDSCAPE DAY In order to address the critical workforce shortage, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) announced the organization of Landscape Career Day, a nationwide program to bring attention to the rewarding careers that exist within the lawn and landscape profession. Industry companies are encouraged to host events at their places of business and within their communities that showcase industry careers and highlight the many professional paths that exist. To help companies host such events, NALP’s Industry Growth Initiative created a 21-page toolkit, available to everyone at The toolkit offers step-by-step instruction for successfully managing several types of events, from community service projects to career fairs to school presentations, and provides resources, including promotional fliers, digital ads, letters to invite elected officials and educators, a letter to request to host a school event, artwork for banners, activity guides and more. Companies are asked to register their projects with the NALP so the asso-


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MARCH 2018

ciation can track the number and types of events being held across the country, and communicate with event hosts. “Landscape Career Day is modeled after similar events held in other industries that have proven that positive exposure to a profession can dramatically impact students’ interest in pursuing related careers and educators’ interest in encouraging students to pursue related career paths,” noted Missy Henriksen, NALP’s vice president of public affairs. “We need to change people’s impressions of the profession by helping them touch and feel the important and rewarding work done by the talented men and women who help families, communities, and the environment each and every day.” The event and the supporting resources were created under the direction of the Industry Growth Initiative, which is charged with growing the green industry and its workforce. Supported by the voluntary donations of industry businesses, the program is bringing attention to the career opportunities through advertising, media relations, social media outreach and other needed public relations activities.

“The addition of Atlantic complements our existing branch network, and strengthens our full-line offering of nursery, hardscape, agronomic, irrigation and landscape lighting products. Atlantic has a very talented and seasoned team with a rich history of providing exceptional customer service that spans more than 40 years. Overall, this is a terrific addition to the SiteOne family. “We are building upon the strong momentum from last year with two acquisitions so far in 2018 and a healthy pipeline as we look to add more leading companies to our team in the remainder of the year,” Black added.

“We need to change people’s impressions of the profession by helping them touch and feel the important and rewarding work done by the talented men and women who help families, communities, and the environment each and every day.” ­ – Missy Henriksen, National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Freddy & Cathey Daughtrey Owners, Daughtrey Lawn Maintenance Grasshopper Customers 32 years and counting

Committed to the Cut.™


we ride it.

As contractors, we have a simple professional philosophy—if we sacrifice quality, we sacrifice business. We stake our reputation on the beauty of our customers’ turf, so it has to be perfect. And if it has to be perfect, it has to be Grasshopper.


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©2018 The Grasshopper Company

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By Carrie Mantey

Although specializing in lawn care, Scooter’s Lawn Care now offers a full portfolio of landscaping services.

More Than a MOW-AND-GO C Scooter’s Lawn Care began as a one-man band, but now the business sustains a team of skilled professionals who excel at lawn care.


acob Godar, owner and CEO of Scooter’s Lawn Care Inc., was destined for entrepreneurship. He just didn’t know it yet. Right out of high school, he began working as a landscaping foreman, but within a few years, he found himself in the auto body industry. After a little self-reflection, however, he realized that automotive wasn’t what he wanted to ultimately do. He decided to return to landscaping in 2014 with a big splash—he launched Scooter’s Lawn Care, a premier lawn care and landscaping company in Springfield, Illinois, to serve both residential and commercial clients in Springfield, Chatham, Sherman, Riverton, Rochester and Jacksonville, Illinois. Over the next four years, Godar learned a lot about owning a small business. He says, “When Scooter’s Lawn Care first started, I was taking care of everything—from marketing and management to the actual lawn care service. Scooter’s was a one-man band. During this time, I was always on the lookout for opportunities that could make the business more efficient. Scooter’s now


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sustains a small team, most recently adding an operations manager and parttime designer. Having a team of support allows me to focus my time on making even more business improvements.” One example of Godar improving his business is when he identified that the company’s heavy reliance on rental equipment and/or manual labor to complete landscaping work was dragging it down. To save on labor time and long-term costs, and compete with the larger local operations, Scooter’s Lawn Care invested in some of its own landscaping equipment, restructuring its priority from equipment rental to ownership, to ease the drag.

The Ever-Important Equipment Purchase

Being a small business, Scooter’s Lawn Care focuses on flexibility when purchasing equipment. It’s better to invest in one machine with many uses than specialty equipment that only comes in handy every once in a while. Godar suggests attending green industry expositions and events to

MARCH 2018

get a good handle on new equipment and trending features—even putting them to the test when possible. “Business is about constantly learning. I am continually educating myself, particularly about the industry. When you broaden your knowledge, it helps you feel prepared when responding to a new opportunity. As a best practice for selecting new equipment, landscapers [should] make use of industry events and trade shows. When looking to purchase our own equipment, we demo various units from different manufacturers to make sure the investment is suited for our daily work.” When in the market for a mini skid steer, for instance, Godar acknowledges, “We knew the machine needed to be compact enough to easily fit through a standard yard gate and be extremely versatile since the company works on a range of landscaping jobs. The Ditch Witch SK752 mini skid steer was a perfect fit since it accepts a wide range of attachments to tackle multiple jobs and is more versatile than equipment with similar power. We saved

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significant time and labor since investing in the mini skid steer. A job that would take a week in the past now takes only two to three days to complete.” Godar warns that, while it’s essential to establish a piece of equipment is going to accomplish the work that’s required of it, the return on investment on its bells and whistles also needs to be present to make the purchase worth its while. “To run a successful business, it’s important to make sure that you don’t overinvest,” he says. “We depended on rental equipment and manual labor for a few years, but

O CREW after seeing the projects coming in, our first big purchase was the mini skid steer,” Godar recalls. “It took on all the larger yard-grading and landscaping tasks, and our teams consistently make good use of it. The machine helps our business tenfold. Scooter’s now aggressively targets larger landscaping projects, and we know the work gets accomplished on time and on budget.”

Godar says that, in addition to the Ditch Witch SK752 mini skid steer, Scooter’s Lawn Care invests in other business-boosting technology, such as tablets, and streamlined scheduling and billing software, to improve the productivity of its field teams. “New technology provides efficiencies from the job to the office. In the field, we provide our teams with tablets that are used to clock in and out, add job notes that are visible in the office, price a job and any number of other tasks. Ultimately, all these efficiencies make it easier for our customers. They know what’s going on with their job and that it’s getting done right.”

From One-Man Band Lawn Care to a Full Orchestra

Much of Scooter’s growth over the years came specifically from its lawn care savvy, especially after its services expanded to include fertilization and weed control. “We were dedicated to the work, earning a reputation for being a premier lawn care company. It’s still our most consistent market,” according to Godar. Surely, part of the company’s lawn care success is also a direct result of what it calls its Six-Round Fertilization + Weed Control Program, which “is guaranteed to improve the health of our customers’ lawns.” He elaborates, “It starts off in the spring with pre-emergent herbicide that stops the growth of grassy weeds. In the

second round, we add nitrogen-rich fertilizer to green up the lawns and help them build a healthy root system. The third round takes place in early June, right before it gets hot. It involves a light application of fertilizer and grub control treatment. The Scooter’s team is also on the lookout for weeds. Since some grassy weeds always grow during the summer, the fourth round involves touching up the spots that need weeding. The fifth round, which begins in the fall, involves another application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer to help lawns recover from the summer heat. We also check for broadleaf weeds. Finally, during the sixth round, we apply winterized fertilizer that is guaranteed to improve root growth and create an early spring green.” Although specializing in lawn care and starting out as a one-man band just four years ago, Scooter’s Lawn Care now offers a full orchestra of a team and a full portfolio of landscaping services that includes: • Landscape design and installation. • Lawn maintenance. • Lawn care, fertilization and weed control.

Jacob Godar launched Scooter’s Lawn Care, a premier lawn care and landscaping company, in Springfield, Illinois.

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“Scooter’s has grown as a business because we’re committed to delivering what our customers want. If we see a segment of our company growing, customers must be happy with the work.” Dependable machines like the Ditch Witch SK752 are important because they provide efficiencies on the job that let companies like Scooter’s Lawn Care take on more projects.

– Jacob Godar, Scooter’s Lawn Care Inc.

• Hardscaping. • Core aeration and over-seeding. • Gutter cleaning. • Pressure washing. • Holiday light installation and removal. • Snow plowing and ice melting. While Scooter’s Lawn Care takes care to serve its longtime customers just as diligently as it would its newcomers, brand-new landscaping jobs are becoming a critical component of the business. That’s why, as the company continues to grow, productivity and efficiency are increasingly becoming the order of the day. Godar says, “In 2017, at least two workers were out on large new landscaping projects every day. That’s why a dependable machine like the Ditch Witch SK752 is so important—it provides efficiencies on the job that let us take on more projects. And since we can depend on its efficiency, we’re starting to aggressively look for even larger projects.” Another way that Scooter’s Lawn Care takes advantage of efficiencies is by strictly offering weekly lawn care on a pre-scheduled service route. The


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company believes it is necessary to maintain the best-looking lawns for its customers, while staying fair to its other customers who expect consistent, timely and proactive service. “Weekly lawn care works best for our customers,” confirms Godar. “If it gets really dry in the summer, crew leaders might choose to skip a week. But if you don’t offer a weekly service in the spring, the grass grows very fast. We would then have to spend additional time to make sure our customers’ lawns are in prime condition.” To balance the number of accounts and services Scooter’s Lawn Care provides with the quality its customers now expect, the ranks of this landscaping orchestra are rising. At the peak of last season, Scooter’s counted eight people in the field each day. That number is expected to balloon to between 11 and 15 this season. The company plans to onboard the new recruits—the ones without any landscaping experience—by initially putting them on a mowing or lawn maintenance crew to learn the ropes.

MARCH 2018

“It’s the best way to provide training, letting them start with supporting tasks and then working their way up to full landscaping projects when ready. Recruitment is a significant task each season and we try many ways to find the right people. To date, we had the best results using Facebook ads, which led to some great hires. In relation to hiring sites or conventional ads, I’ve seen the best recruitment results using social media.”

Getting New Business to Pay Off

If Scooter’s Lawn Care continues its rhythm of sales from new business into this season, it may be partially due to the company’s focus on marketing, which takes many forms, such as AdWords, Facebook, direct marketing and newspaper ads. According to Godar, “This year, we’re looking to expand into radio. What’s important is that the marketing has a return on investment. We really focus on how various marketing efforts perform by constantly keeping an eye on the number of calls coming in and their closing rate.” Godar continues, “Scooter’s has grown as a business because we’re committed to delivering what our customers want. If we see a segment of our company growing, customers must be happy with the work. There has been a steady increase of landscaping jobs, for instance, so Scooter’s will continue to work those projects while looking for opportunities on larger jobs. But we’re also looking at new opportunities like landscape maintenance, which recently experienced some growth.” At the start of last year, Scooter’s Lawn Care was operating five fulltime crews focused on an array of landscaping services. The number of employees is projected to swell again this year. Considering the business started as a one-man band just four years ago, this now full orchestra is proving itself as more than a mow-and-go crew. It’s a symphony of efficiency and productivity. ›

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3/7/18 2:48 PM


By Angie Mellor

A Family Business at the


of Green Industry Equipment

McGavic Outdoor Power prides itself on its dedication to service, and its devotion to customers who work and shape the land. McGavic Outdoor Power is committed not only to quality parts and service for its customers, but also quality equipment from suppliers such as Exmark, Gravely, John Deere, Wright Manufacturing, Avant Tecno, Polaris, Honda, Toro, STIHL, RedMax, Billy Goat, Ryan, E-Z Trench, Enduraplas and more.


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MARCH 2018


or Brian McGavic, the saying “like father, like son” runs deeper than just genetic characteristics. His education and career path are mirror images of his father’s, and both men are now focused on the success of the family business—McGavic Outdoor Power. “My father, Pat McGavic, came to Kokomo, Indiana, to work for General Motors (GM) as an electrical engineer designing integrated circuits,” McGavic says. “In 1978, he left corporate GM and started the outdoor power equipment business. After 40 years, both my mother and father are still working in the business today.” Similarly, McGavic earned his degree in engineering from Purdue University and, after a stint in the corporate world, returned to the family business. In fact, McGavic’s corporate background with a company called EnerDel Inc. steered him back toward his landscape beginnings. According to an article in Morse Lake Living, “[He] was asked to lead a team of engineers to design and develop a lithium-ion battery system to be used in an electric green mower application for the Toro golf and turf division.” From there, he decided to take on the challenge of opening a McGavic Outdoor Power at a new location in Noblesville, Indiana. The dealership now boasts three locations in central Indiana: Kokomo, Marion and Noblesville.

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McGavic Outdoor Power carries Avant Tecno articulated loaders, machines that are increasingly attractive to landscape contractors for a variety of reasons.

At each of the three locations, the McGavic family prides itself on its commitment to its customers and community. “We’re a family-owned and -operated business that provides equipment sales, parts, and service for both residential and commercial customers. We represent premium equipment manufacturers for all seasons. Our mission is to serve those who work and shape the land,” McGavic says. With that mission in mind, he keeps the focus on parts and service, while crediting service and support for creating and keeping good relationships with his customers. According to him, “There is a lot of competition in the commercial market space around Indianapolis. I found that customers are hungry for good service and parts, and they appreciate it when the work is done correctly and in a timely manner.”

Third Location’s a Challenge and a Charm

Expanding the family-owned business to a third location didn’t come without challenges, nor did it come without

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McGavic Outdoor Power leverages its relationships with suppliers, such as Wright Manufacturing, to help grow the business and solve problems.

key. Considering another sales avenue for inventory, an Ebay store, also proved successful. In the winter months, the dealership additionally begins to switch gears to focus on its annual service sale to stay productive. “We always get a good response for this event. Most of our customers plan for this mower and landscape equipment service every winter,” McGavic says. “We offer service plans with free pickup and delivery annually. This helps keeps our technicians busy all year round.”

success. “The opportunity to grow came from our suppliers looking for stronger market share in certain areas,” McGavic Quality Equipment, says. After being encouraged by Exmark Parts and Service to expand into Noblesville, the business Because McGavic Outdoor Power is saw tremendous growth and the sales in committed to quality parts and service Noblesville shot quickly past the origifor its customers, it carries quality nal Kokomo location within five years. equipment from suppliers such as McGavic also notes the benefits of Exmark, Gravely, John Deere, Wright having three locations: “One benefit Manufacturing, Avant Tecno, Polaris, is certainly the three different econHonda, Toro, STIHL, RedMax, Billy omies and three different weather Goat, Ryan, E-Z Trench, Enduraplas patterns. We have seen dry condiand more. These suppliers help tions at one location and not at the McGavic maintain his commitment of other. We have seen a boost in the service to his customers. “Our suppliers economy in one location that is difhelp us in many ways through product ferent from the others. The diversity support and creative finance. We leveris certainly a benefit in some cases.” age these relationships to help grow the Moreover, through the obstacles that business and solve problems,” he says. arose from the quick success In particular, McGavic Outdoor of the Noblesville location, Power is one of the largest Exmark McGavic took the opporpropane dealers in Indiana. tunity to review and “This is a great alternaimprove some tive fuel source internal aspects and fits the landof the business, scaper market which allowed him very well,” to stay focused McGavic asserts. on his mission of “We converted providing the best our trucks in service. For him, Noblesville and computer software promote the – Brian McGavic, to track inventechnology.” tory between the Another McGavic Outdoor Power three locations was product line that

“Our mission is to serve those who work and shape the land.”


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McGavic carries is Avant Tecno articulated loaders. He says the machines are not only attractive to landscape contractors as a result of their versatility, but also because they are “changing the U.S. mindset to alternatives to the traditional skid loader.” McGavic wrote an article, entitled “A Shift in the U.S. Mindset Considering Articulating Machines,” detailing the benefits of bringing this equipment to the forefront of American landscaping businesses. According to the article, McGavic feels a departure from the traditional skid-steer model can provide numerous benefits for landscape contractors. “We have seen a recent trend with European equipment technology starting to take off in the U.S. commercial market. A shift in the U.S. mindset from typical skidsteer loaders is giving landscapers a nice competitive edge economically and a better end product,” he explains. McGavic’s article notes some of the advantages of articulated machines include: the flexibility to use more than 200 attachments, less turf damage, extendable booms, improved operator efficiency, faster transport speeds, safer operation, better fuel economy and lower emissions, just to name a few. McGavic Outdoor Power prides itself on being a family-run business and its dedication to service. This service comes mostly in the form of parts and equipment, but more importantly, to its devotion to its customers who “work and shape the land.” From providing three locations to improving business practices and presenting customers with the latest information on landscaping equipment trends, McGavic Outdoor Power does just that. “I am extremely proud of the relationships that we have with our family, employees, suppliers and customers,” McGavic affirms. “We serve a lot of wonderful people.” Angie Mellor teaches communications and writing classes at Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin, while freelance writing and editing.

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By Gregg Wartgow


As Avant Tecno expands its dealer network across the U.S., more landscape contractors are finding out how a compact articulated loader could prove to be the toughest workhorse they could add to their fleets.


vant Tecno, an international loader and attachment manufacturer based in Finland, established its presence in the U.S. market in 2012. It proved to be ideal timing. The landscaping industry was already showing resurgent signs of life following the 2009 recession. And as the economic recovery continued, Avant Tecno continued to grow as well.

Demanding tree care contractors say their Avant loaders can pick up a surprising amount of weight while remaining lowimpact on existing lawns.


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“Avant Tecno USA started in May 2012,” says Jukka LylyYrjänäinen, president. “Since then, we expanded our sales and support team. A few years ago, we moved from our original facility in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, to our present facility in Arlington Heights, Illinois. We needed that larger facility to accommodate our growth.” Avant’s strongest geographical areas are the Northeast and Midwest. Its presence is now strengthening in the Southeast and West, as well as Canada. “We started with one regional sales manager. Now we have five, one for each region,” LylyYrjänäinen says. “That helped us grow our dealer network. Our initial goal was to establish 250 to 300 dealership locations. We’re about halfway there, which is right where we hoped to be at this point.”

A Unique Product with Coveted Productivity Gains

The Avant product is known as an articulated compact loader. Unlike a traditional skid-steer loader, the front and rear halves are two separate pieces joined in the middle. When the operator steers the machine, the loader’s body rotates on this central point. This allows the rear wheels to follow the front wheels, enhancing traction, stability and maneuverability. There’s another important benefit, Lyly-Yrjänäinen points out. “Because of their articulating design, which reduces strain on the loader body, Avant’s loaders can be built much smaller and lighter.” Avant currently offers six series of loaders ranging from roughly 40 to 56 inches wide. “Our loaders can fit into tight places like backyards and walkways,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen relates. “Our loaders can also use a smaller horsepower engine, which further reduces overall weight. Many loaders weigh 6,000 to 8,000 pounds. Ours weigh 1,500 to 5,000.” A smaller engine also translates into serious fuel savings— as much as 80 percent, according to Lyly-Yrjänäinen. Also as a result of the lighter overall machine weight, Avant equipment operators typically experience up to 80 percent less tire wear. “We’re talking about significant savings—several thousand dollars a year in operating costs,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen says. Another benefit of articulated steering has to do with the damage done to existing lawns. With an articulated loader, it’s almost non-existent, Lyly-Yrjänäinen states. This is important for landscaping or tree removal projects on existing

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An articulated compact loader consists of separate front and rear halves joined in the middle.

homes and businesses. “You don’t have to spend half a day laying down plywood,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen says. “When the project is complete, you don’t have to go back for cleanup because there’s no damage to the grass. We often hear that a contractor using one of our loaders can get a three-day job done in two days, or do a job with a one or two guys instead of four.”

says. “You sit nice and high with great 360-degree visibility. You steer the steering wheel with your left hand and operate a joystick with your right hand. Each loader also has two pedals for forward and reverse.”

Same Core Machine, but with Evolving Options

Avant’s product line continues to expand with more new models on the way. “A couple of years ago, we introduced Getting a Load of our first dual-speed units,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen says. “From This Nimble, Yet our 600 Series, the single-speed Model 635 can travel 9 Durable Design MPH. The dual-speed Model 640 can travel 14 MPH.” A lighter weight doesn’t Avant’s biggest loader, the 700 Series, also includes a dualsuggest a crippling speed option, enabling the operator to travel 18.5 MPH. lack of power, Lyly“This spring, we’re introducing a dual-speed unit from Yrjänäinen points out. the 500 Series,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen mentions. The 500 Series Since the entire body on represents the middle of Avant’s lineup. “With this size, the an articulated loader rotates, operator can now travel 12 MPH as opposed to 7.5. When as opposed to just the front looking at the price difference between our 500 and 600 wheels, the front axle remains solid Series, I think a lot of snow contractors are going to love and can handle a heavier payload. this machine. The 500 Series is already popular in many “Our machines can lift almost their applications, including sidewalk snow removal. The addiown weight,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen says. “When tion of dual speed should attract many more end-users.” you’re talking about the daily average load Another recent development from Avant is its foray for most landscaping applications, our into all-electric equipment. The company introduced machines get the job done.” its first battery-powered machine, the e5, at “Tree work can be hard the Green Industry & Equipment Expo “Our and these machines help (GIE+EXPO) in October 2017. The loader reduce the physical is powered by a lead-acid battery machines can toll on our tree crews,” and produces zero emissions. lift almost their own according to August Hoppe, “Our new e5 has a 1,984-pound weight. When you’re talking co-owner, president and general lifting capacity. And within the manager of Hoppe Tree Service next year, we’ll introduce an even about the daily average in West Allis, Wisconsin, an more powerful version with the load for most landscaping Avant loader user. “They are lowe6, which will be powered by the applications, our machines get impact on lawns and pick up a latest in lithium-ion battery techsurprising amount of weight.” nology,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen reveals. the job done.” ­ The landscape contractor As the Avant product line – Jukka Lyly-Yrjänäinen, who benefits the most from an broadens to include bigger Avant Tecno articulated loader is one who permodels, faster models and now forms a variety of tasks. “If all you’re all-electric models, the core design going to do is heavy lifting, you’d be of the machine has not changed. better off with a different type of machine,” That said, the company is always tweakLyly-Yrjänäinen says. “Our strength is the ing here and there to add value for end-users. multi-purpose approach with great maneuver“We are continuously upgrading our loaders,” ability and visibility, and lower operating costs. Lyly-Yrjänäinen says. “For instance, Avant has “Typically for most equipment manufactura hydrostatic drive system. There are no axles. ers, replacements parts represent roughly a third of the All four wheels have individual hydraulic drive business,” Lyly-Yrjänäinen continues. “For Avant, it’s in motors. Also, all attachments are running with auxiliary the 6 to 8 percent range. That says a lot about the durabilhydraulics. We improved our hydraulic system, reducity of our machines, along with the maintenance needs.” ing the number of hoses and connections. As a result, Related to operating costs, the Avant articulated loader we have better performance and less heat buildup.” is relatively easy to learn how to operate—an important With these features and capabilities, articulated loaders, consideration in a tight labor market—Lyly-Yrjänäinen pound for pound, might be worthy of your landscaping fleet. ›

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By Carrie Mantey

One Good TURN

Deserves Another Because being comfortable makes it easier to mow and mow for longer, zero-turn ergonomic innovation abounds in 2018.


ore zero-turn mower manufacturers are making a concerted effort to make you more comfortable on the job and they’re doing it for many reasons. The labor shortage that’s affecting the green industry is pressuring landscape contractors to cover more ground in a day with less workers. In turn, this pressure is stretching employee productivity to the point that employees are putting in long, grueling days. Because good employees can get easily hired down the street, one way to avoid sacrificing them to another enterprise is to purchase equipment that


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helps them get through the day more easily, productively, safely and comfortably, so they want to stick around longer, mowing with less effort and strain. The less fatigue and discomfort a landscaper experiences over the course of today, the more chance of seeing that employee tomorrow. And when team morale remains high, employee retention is more likely, which slows expensive employee turnover. Ed Wright, vice president of engineering, sales and marketing at Wright Manufacturing, confirms, “The landscaping business is becoming more competitive than ever and

MARCH 2018

there is a shortage of qualified operators. This means many companies are looking to increase productivity with equipment that is faster and more attractive to their workforce.” Landscapers can often spend the bulk of their workday on a lawn mower, which can be physically taxing day in and out. Maximizing operator comfort on a zero-turn mower can be the difference between saving or losing a valuable employee. “The terrain that mowers are used on can be brutal to the landscaper’s body as the mower traverses over bumps and around obstacles,” explains Ron Scheffler, product manager at BOB-

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CAT. “The operator needs to be shielded from what the landscape delivers so, at the end of the long workday, the operator still has energy to tackle other challenges and responsibilities.” Chris Vogtman, marketing manager at The Toro Company, agrees that operator comfort is especially essential in the green industry now because “the more comfortable an operator is, the more productive he or she is in the field. In an environment where landscape contractors are continually pressured to accomplish more tasks with fewer resources, it’s important to keep the company’s most important asset—its people—comfortable and safe, and as a result, more productive. If an operator is using an ergonomically friendly and high-quality machine, it could boost morale and productivity, plus reduce turnover.”

“In an environment where landscape contractors are continually pressured to accomplish more tasks with fewer resources, it’s important to keep the company’s most important asset—its people— comfortable and safe, and as a result, more productive.” – Chris Vogtman, The Toro Company Getting in the Comfort Zone

Comfort can mean different things to different people, so how do manufacturers determine what may be comfortable for most landscapers operating zero-turn mowers? This is when experience and customer feedback become part of the equation. Landscapers can tell you that an optimized operator position, lower vibration levels, ergonomic controls and intuitive operation all play a part. Personal customization is another way

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to get over the obstacle of conflicting comfortability. This means that zero-turn manufacturers must take a comprehensive approach to increasing operator comfort, addressing many of these concerns before going to market. Ruben Peña, product marketing manager at John Deere, says because customers are requesting more comfort features on zero-turn mowers, “The most important thing a manufacturer can do is to listen to the customer. Find out what comfort really means to him or her, and provide a solution that meets his or her needs. “Although comfort can mean different things to different people, a great place to start is with the seat,” suggests Peña. “For example, if machine vibration is a concern for an operator, it could cause discomfort over time. To combat this, John Deere offers a suspension seat, most recently on the ZTrak Z945M and Z955M mowers, to reduce vibration and increase ride comfort. The suspension seat offers a thicker bottom cushion, additional padding on the back with ergonomic contouring and adjustable armrests, improving comfort and the overall mowing experience.” Scheffler also believes seating with good suspension and isolating the operator from vibration are key to comfort. “BOB-CAT has high-back seats on all its sitdown zero-turn mowers, with an extra-high-back seat and lumbar-supported bottom on its commercial Predator-Pro RS mowers. Mechanical suspension systems with weight adjustability provide options for multiple riders. However, operators need to put in their true weight, and not their high school weight, for a better riding experience,” jokes

MARCH 2018


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usqvarna products are designed with the end-user in mind, and the new wheeled products being released this year further reflect the company’s focus on efficiency, productivity, durability and cut quality. New wheeled offerings include its first-ever stand-on line (V500), a new zero-turn (Z500) and walk-behind series

and safer maneuverability, and the transmission is on the top front of the frame to allow for better overall weight distribution. Integrating the Operator Presence Switch into the steering levers ensures that taking your hand off the levers results in immediate engine cut-off, thus reducing the risk of accident or injury. Another major safety

(W500), new 21-inch walk and push mower models, and the commercial Automower (Automower 550X). The company is the only manufacturer that can equip a full landscaping trailer with one brand. Safety has always been a priority for Husqvarna. The overall compact design of the new V500 stand-on series, which is initially going to be available in two deck sizes of 48 and 54 inches, focuses on traction and stability, and capabilities for hill holding and walk operation. Another key feature is its weight distribution, which is achieved by taking a different approach to the location of the engine and the transmission. The V500’s engine is mounted to the frame and lowered to result in a lower center of gravity

feature of the V500 is the lightweight deck lift that is located next to the operator deck. This design allows for less stress on the joints and muscles while lifting up the cutting deck. The V500 series also comes equipped with a flip-up anti-slip standing plate for rapid mount and dismount, as well as an extra-wide lean pad to safely keep the operator in a controlled position. Husqvarna’s current zero-turn lineup is full of innovative design features that further enhance productivity, durability, cut quality, serviceability and operator comfort. The new zero-turn mower series consists of eleven products, four Z500 models and seven Z500X models, ranging from 48 to 72 inches in cutting deck widths.


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The Z500 series sets several safety standards with all models coming equipped with an easy-to-fold Roll Over Protection System and automatic parking break. Fuel tanks were moved closer to the operator to ease switching from one tank to the other without operator distraction. Husqvarna also placed the indicator for the deck height within the operator’s line of sight, making it easier to see the set height without shifting position in the seat, ensuring safer operation. The pedal-operated deck lift system allows quick, hands-free operation to keep the driver focused. With over 1 million sold worldwide, Husqvarna brings 25 years of robotic mower research and development experience to the table. At GIE+EXPO 2017, Husqvarna gave audiences a sneak peek of its upcoming commercial model—the Automower 550X. Due to the company’s emphasis on safety, the Automower approaches cutting grass differently than competitors and stands out with a number of compelling safety features. Instead of using fixed heavy blades that produce a lot of kinetic energy, the Automower is designed with safer pivoting blades. When hitting an object, fixed blades can not only damage the object, but also get stuck. Pivoting blades simply fold away. The Automower also features several sensors so that, when the machine is lifted, the blades automatically stop spinning, and when it runs into an obstacle, the sensors stop and redirect the mower. As the company’s 2018 lineup shows, the commitment to putting safety first continues to be at the forefront when creating innovative designs and technologies, and is going to continue to drive the development of products that excel in productivity, durability and efficiency, while promoting safe operations. ■

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Scheffler. “BOB-CAT also has vibration dampening on the operator’s footplate to aid in the landscaper feeling more energetic at the end of a long workday.” Exmark Manufacturing focuses on increasing comfort by dampening the vibration that contacts the operator as well. “Anytime you can reduce bumps and vibration that reach the operator, it’s a good thing. Our suspended operator platform on Lazer Z and Radius S-Series models is a good example. The platform works in tandem with the design of Exmark’s full suspension seating system to deliver a smoother overall ride with increased operator comfort,” elaborates Jamie Briggs, Exmark product manager. According to Vogtman, comfort is a critical contribution to an outstanding mowing experience and, as a result, zero-turn manufacturers should continue to strive to design for comfort. He says, “Ergonomic is synonymous with productivity and efficiency. Specifically for the landscape contractor, features like cushioned seats, vibration isolation, ergonomic controls and Toro’s MyRIDE adjustable suspension system help reduce operator fatigue during long days on the job. “Providing a safe and comfortable environment from sunup to sundown was one of the key drivers in the development of the new MyRIDE suspension system, which allows operators to adjust their ride setting to match their personal ride preference. The system features a suspended operator platform that delivers 3.6 inches of travel and isolates the operator from the rest of the machine. This suspension system is available on select Toro Z Master and TITAN HD zeroturn mowers, where it delivers 3.0 inches of travel to the operator.” Toro also offers other vibration-isolating features on some of its mowers, including rubberized floor pans and 3D isolator mounts to keep operators comfortable and productive. Vogtman concludes, “Making a zeroturn mower more ergonomic all begins by listening to operators to determine


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specifically how we, as an equipment manufacturer, can offer a superior mowing experience. It’s our duty to design products around their needs.”

Extra, Extra, Extra

Many agree that control placement is another imperative to creating a more comfortable zero-turn experience for landscapers. After all, how productive can you be while straining to reach the controls? Briggs says Exmark tries to make controls easy to understand, find and access in order to streamline mower operation, making it as straightforward as possible. When it comes to ergonomic mower design, he says, “First and foremost is operator positioning, and achieving the right position of the control levers relative to the operator’s back and feet.” Scheffler echoes Briggs’ sentiment that controls should be intuitive and simple to learn, but takes it a step further to say that easy mower mounting and dismounting is just as important: “If a landscaper fumbles around interfering control handles during operation, that makes for a poorly ergonomic interface. Easyto-reach controls are a must to limit extreme bending, and the mower must be easy to get on and off.” Beyond the typical ergonomics landscapers think of when purchasing a zero-turn mower, according to Wright, safety belongs in the mix. “Machine balance, responsive controls and good

MARCH 2018

visibility are crucial to how easily operators can safely make the most of their machines. Professional operators have thousands of hours of experience and, if the machine responds sluggishly or sloppily, this limits how safe and confident they can be with the mower.” Did you know that cupholders are a major consideration for U.S. consumer car purchases? Does that translate to zero-turns as well? Vogtman emphasizes that it doesn’t hurt to throw in more peripheral features to enhance zero-turn comfort. For example, Toro offers “storage compartments for a cell phone, tools or other personal items, as well as a builtin cupholder, which comes standard on many Toro zero-turn mowers.” What else puts you at ease on a zeroturn mower after mowing day after day? Chances are, if it’s not being addressed now, it will be. Zero-turn manufacturers are making more headway every year to make you more comfortable on the job and that’s a very comforting thought. ›

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Zero-Turn Mowers The Option to Customize Your Ride Kubota Tractor Corporation recently released the Z700 family of zero-turn mowers with:

MyRIDE Revolutionizing Zero-Turn Comfort Toro added the MyRIDE suspension system to its TITAN HD 2000 Series zero-turn mower line based on contractor feedback. Built for maximum comfort, MyRIDE suspension is highlighted by: • A suspended operator platform that delivers 3 inches of travel and isolates the operator from the rest of the machine.

• A suspension seat that allows the operator to customize the ride with a weightadjustment knob, and for up to 3 inches of vertical travel while being able to slide fore and aft 6 inches. • An optimal combination of speed and torque.

• The reduction of impacts, bumps and vibrations for an optimized ride experience and increased productivity.

• Better overall efficiency, which means more horsepower to the deck and less heat into the oil, translating into a fast, quality cut, whether the turf is easy or tough, or the terrain is rolling or flat.

• A deluxe seat with padded armrests, and a single shock in front and dual shocks in the rear of the operator platform.

• A power-dense Parker TorqPact HTG 14 transmission, which is available for commercial turf applications.

• A five-point adjustment on the rear shocks to accommodate operators of all sizes and comfort preferences.

Smart Controller Offers a Wealth of User Data Exmark recently unveiled a Smart Controller for select Lazer Z S-Series commercial zero-turn riding mowers. Designed to provide a more robust operator interface and reduce downtime, the controller is characterized by: • A wealth of user data, including interlock status, total hours, fuel levels, maintenance reminders and machine health status. • A single LED status light to notify the operator if a malfunction occurs—a green light indicates the system is functioning properly and a red light indicates an active error, whereas an alternating green/orange light indicates a clutch reset is required. • Alerts for fuel level, engine temperature, oil pressure, charging system status and power take-off clutch overcurrent/reset. • A limp-mode feature to disable the cutting system in the event of a critical system error or to prevent permanent damage. • The choice of a 52-, 60- or 72-inch UltraCut Series 4 cutting deck on models with Kohler electronic fuel injection (EFI) gasoline engines, or a 60- or 72-inch UltraCut Series 4 cutting deck on EFI propane models.

Don’t Let Your Productivity Fall Flat with Flat Tires John Deere recently made the MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF airless radial tire available for its R Series QuikTrak stand-on mowers. According to the company, the TWEEL tire boasts: • The elimination of flat tires. • Increased uptime due to the avoidance of tire maintenance, such as checking and optimizing tire pressure, as no air is required. • A more consistent height of cut as there is no fluctuating tire pressure. • A longer tire life because the TWEEL lasts two to three times longer than a pneumatic tire with equal tread depth. • Reduced repair costs and maintenance, positively impacting the business’ bottom line. • The flexibility to be purchased with a 2018 John Deere R Series QuikTrak mower or as a standalone part.

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Zero-Turn Mowers Rolling Out the RED Carpet for Intelligent Engine Management Technology

Commercial-Quality Zero-Turn Mowing Country Clipper designed its XLT Series zero-turn mower as a commercial-quality machine, which is further highlighted by: • A travel speed of up to 8 MPH. • Optimal hillside stability.

With the introduction of the next generation of its patented RED Technology, Exmark provides performance, power, efficiency and versatility with its Lazer Z and Lazer Z Diesel commercial zero-turn mowers. Exmark says the features of its next-generation RED Technology include: • The ability to control mower power and efficiency with defined performance modes.

• Fabricated 48-, 54- or 60-inch decks. • A heavy-duty one-piece steel frame. • A 24-HP Kawasaki or 26-HP Kohler engine. • Availability of a point-and-go joystick or twin-lever steering. • A flip-up deck for easy access to the underside of the deck. • A pivoting front axle and deck. • An adjustable comfortable seat with padded armrests.

• A console-mounted LCD screen that monitors mower functions, and reports operation and property statistics, maintenance reminders and troubleshooting information. • The flexibility to operate at a lower RPM level—without sacrificing performance or cut quality—which reduces fuel consumption, noise and component wear. • The convenience of monitoring machine performance parameters and placing the mower in safe transport mode if necessary.

• Three multi-function push-buttons that allow the user to select from three operating modes or navigate the menu screens. • Six customizable engine speed set points for low, efficient and maximum modes, with or without the power take-off engaged.

Upgrading a Ferris Favorite with Enhanced Performance and Comfort Ferris recently upgraded the IS 600Z compact zero-turn mower to increase performance and operator comfort, while maintaining the cut quality that commercial landscapers demand. Updates include: • The addition of a 52-inch flat-nosed commercial mowing deck to provide professionals the versatility to select the best deck—44-, 48- or 52-inch—for their cutting needs. • The Hydro-Gear ZT-3200 1.125-inch axle for heavier loads with standard shock valves for added system protection. • An ergonomic mid-back seat with armrests and adjustable positioning for extra comfort. • Large springs mounted under the operator’s seat to provide additional support while mowing.

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For Prosumer and Smaller Commercial Operations Altoz created its XE HD zero-turn mower for both prosumer and smaller commercial operations. The XE HD additionally comes equipped with: • A Hydro-Gear ZT-3400 transmission and Kawasaki engine. • 48-, 54- or 61-inch cutting widths. • A fabricated steel Aero Deck featuring anti-scalp wheels and fully adjustable baffles to customize the cut for various grass conditions. • 23-inch rear tires and an adjustable high-back seat with suspension to provide a smooth, comfortable ride. • A 10-gallon fuel capacity. • A 10-MPH maximum speed.


• The on-screen display of an error/troubleshooting code when the system detects an error, while service history and error codes are logged for later reference.

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A Smooth Ride to Minimize Operator Fatigue Exmark introduces its Radius S-Series zeroturn riding mower with a suspended platform to deliver a smooth ride and minimize operator fatigue. The machine also offers: • Three independent coil-over dampers to isolate the cast aluminum operator platform from the mower chassis. • A 3-inch vertical travel capability that minimizes the effect of bumps and vibration. • A trailing arm design to minimize lateral movement of the suspended platform to increase stability. • Forward speeds of up to 9 MPH. • A choice of 48-, 52- or 60-inch UltraCut Series 3 cutting decks, or a 60-inch rear-discharge cutting deck. • An air-cooled 708cc Exmark twin-cylinder engine. • A heavy-duty canister air filtration system to protect the engine.

Next-Generation Tech on the Horizon Toro recently enhanced its Horizon Technology onboard intelligence system to increase productivity through defined performance modes, reduce fuel consumption, monitor machine health and allow for operator-defined maintenance reminders. Available on select Toro Z Master 6000 Series zero-turn mowers, the next generation of Horizon Technology further delivers: • A focus on productivity and fuel efficiency for the professional landscape contractor. • Three performance modes, including low mode, which helps reduce deck packing and discharge clumping in wet conditions; economy mode, which provides optimal performance in typical mowing conditions with reduced fuel consumption, emissions, noise and wear; and max mode, which provides maximum power for the most demanding conditions. • A larger display screen with plain text error codes and the ability to track machine hours by property.

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MARCH 2018


3/7/18 3:14 PM


By Carrie Mantey

Turf That’s FOREVER Landscape contractors can add compost top-dressing to their landscaping specialties to help rehabilitate overtreated turf.


well-manicured lawn—an easy and practical way to greet and set a tone for visitors—is a point of pride for many home and business owners. Nothing less than an immaculate first impression is acceptable. Any rogue leaves, thatch, branches, weeds or blemishes are intruders that must be rooted out by any means necessary, whether it be in the form of leaf removal, fertilizer and pesticide applications, mowing, irrigation, etc. One drawback of customers springing for these landscaping services over the years, however, is the unintentional depletion of organic matter in their soil. Fortunately for landscape contractors, compost can help rebuild organic matter as it includes macro and micro nutrients, fungi and bacteria. Landscape contractors need only add compost top-dressing to

“Naturally, a lawn is only as young as the soil it is rooted in. Top-dressing with new compost just once or twice a year is like adding youth directly to the soil. It invigorates the lawn, helping it to stay youthful and productive. A rich soil, appropriate conditions and the right plants are the basis of sound agronomics.” – Daniel Cote, Ecolawn Applicator their landscaping specialties to help rehabilitate overtreated turf. Plus, keeping soil healthy and fertile is just good business if you want to keep your customers happy. Healthy soil helps propagate a healthy lawn.


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MARCH 2018

According to Daniel Cote, president and founder of Ecolawn Applicator, “A blade of grass has a short lifespan—only about six weeks—and must continually produce new tillers or the lawn thins out. A healthy lawn needs to produce new tillers faster than the older grass blades die off. Young grass produces tillers faster than older grass, so one of the most important secrets to maintaining a healthy, thick lawn is to keep your grass young. “Naturally, a lawn is only as young as the soil it is rooted in. Top-dressing with new compost just once or twice a year is like adding youth directly to the soil. It invigorates the lawn, helping it to stay youthful and productive. A rich soil, appropriate conditions and the right plants are the basis of sound agronomics.” To keep your customers’ turf forever young and set up a successful compost topdressing application, Cote suggests that you first mow the grass to around 2 inches tall, which is an ideal height for top-dressing. Then assess whether core aeration or overseeding is needed before you proceed to filling up a spreader with your compost or compost blend to be spread onto the turf. For the best results, only use compost blends that combine soil, sand and compost, with a higher content of compost than any other materials. Starting at the farthest stretch of lawn, propel the spreader and material forth in a consistent pattern until the entire lawn is amended. Then water the turf for the next two days to speed up activation. While you can top-dress a lawn at any time of year, Cote advises applying compost during the growing season and avoiding

3/7/18 3:15 PM

Daniel Cote, president and founder of Ecolawn Applicator, is a proponent of compost as a natural slow-releasing soil amendment.

Research reveals that compost top-dressing has many benefits that traditional methods of lawn care cannot contend with, such as the ability to regenerate organic matter.

heat waves. Moreover, compost topdressing should be done at least once a year, but more than once a year if the turf in question is heavily used or the turf’s soil appears otherwise unhealthy.

Cote’s History with Compost

Cote first became enamored with compost in the mid-‘90s after purchasing some property. He wanted to improve the property’s curb appeal and value by enhancing its landscaping. One obstacle he faced, though, was a bylaw prohibiting the use of chemical fertilizers. A neighbor recommended he try to use compost instead, so when it came time, Cote aerated and reseeded the soil, then spread a full trailer of compost on the lawn with a shovel. He marvels, “My lawn was green and dense after three weeks. After these fantastic results, my curiosity was piqued and I wanted to learn more about the virtues of top-dressing.” More research revealed many other benefits of compost top-dressing that traditional methods of lawn care could not contend with. In fact, according to Cote, the natural slowreleasing soil amendment can:

• Supply a lawn with its annual fertilization requirements. • Provide organic matter and a good seeding medium. • Improve the structure of soil. • Restore trace minerals. • Stimulate microbial activity. • Increase soil’s water retention. • Neutralize pH. • Protect turf from harmful insects and the presence of weeds. • Prevent several diseases. • Reduce and replace fertilizer inputs. During his research, Cote also realized well-maintained turf is “the most important element in landscaping,” and determined that he could help environmentally conscious customers, municipalities, enterprises and landscapers attain that goal with a better way to spread compost. After all, using a shovel to top-dress an entire property is time-intensive, in addition to physically taxing and strenuous, and he could not find viable compost topdressing equipment already on the market—at least not equipment built to suit smaller residential areas. So Cote’s goal quickly became to create a simple and reliable machine

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that would spread compost on surfaces large and small, and in easy- and hard-to-reach places. When his design became a reality, he found he could top-dress 10,000 square feet by himself in less than an hour, making the application of compost to a lawn an even easier task and easier landscaping service to provide to increase customer satisfaction. “In North America, there are more than 160 million acres of lawn. Changing times mean there are restrictions on the use of synthetic fertilizers, chemicals and irrigation, especially in urban areas.” Cote warns, “A growing number of customers insist on having eco-friendly lawn care. Are you prepared to meet your customers’ needs?” As more and more regulations are put in place around certain lawn care practices and solutions (such as the use of synthetics), landscape contractors should look for more ways to appeal to the natural lawn-care market. Customers are going to look for landscaping contractors that have experience with more eco-friendly solutions, such as compost top-dressing, as they try to navigate new regulatory landscapes. ›

MARCH 2018


3/7/18 3:15 PM


By Carrie Mantey


of John Deere Quality throughout Southeastern Wisconsin With the Bucks basketball team playing close by and the prevalence of deer hunting in Wisconsin, it’s no surprise Dennis LaPlant Lawncare runs with the John Deere crowd.

Come spring, this trailer is going to hit the road with several John Deere and Toro mowers in tow.


ennis LaPlant owns Dennis LaPlant Lawncare in Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, and predominantly focuses his efforts on the far southeastern part of the state. In fact, for approximately 35 years, he has proudly and primarily served the residential market in a beautiful and expanding territory surrounding Lake Michigan. While his lawn maintenance and mowing services always come with a friendly face, business still takes more than a smile to last this long in the business. It also takes planning and plenty of lawn maintenance equipment. Currently, a John Deere 54-inch walk-behind mower, two John Deere 345 tractors, a John Deere M653 zeroturn tractor and a Toro GrandStand stand-on/walk-behind are all waiting in LaPlant’s trailers to spring into

Company Name: Dennis LaPlant Lawncare Owner: Dennis LaPlant Location: Paddock Lake, Wisconsin

action this spring. With the Bucks basketball team and the prevalence of deer hunting in Wisconsin, it’s no surprise when LaPlant hints that he runs with the John Deere crowd. Of his equipment, however, the Toro and the John Deere zero-turn are LaPlant’s favorite because they “save me the most time and give me the best cut,” he says. With landscaping services holding pretty competitive in the market, any edge he can get over the competition is a good one. Wisconsin weather is ever-changing and unpredictable, even if you don’t live in the Frozen Tundra, so you have to

“The Toro and John Deere zero-turns save me the most time and give me the best cut.” – Dennis LaPlant, Dennis LaPlant Lawncare


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This Toro mower gets the job done, even in wet grass.

MARCH 2018

Years in Business: 35 years Geographical Coverage: Far southeastern Wisconsin, including the Paddock Lake, Camp Lake, Trevor, Center Lake, Bristol and Silver Lake areas Type of Clients: Primarily residential Services Rendered: Lawn maintenance and painting

take advantage of every time you can get out to customers’ properties to get a mow or some other lawn maintenance in. In that regard, LaPlant often turns to his Toro GrandStand mower to get the job done, especially when the grass is soaked after a storm. Because it works so well in wet conditions, there is less downtime for him to worry about and more properties for him to service. Another way LaPlant avoids unnecessary downtime is by not only buying quality lawn maintenance equipment in the first place, but also by adding the convenience of being close to a trusted outdoor power equipment dealership to have quick access to parts and repairs for equipment breakdowns. ›

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Walk-Behind Mowers Does Your Walk-Behind Stand Up to Tough Conditions? Toro says its 21-inch Commercial Heavy-Duty mowers consist of commercial-grade components that consistently stand up to the toughest conditions. Features include: • A rear bagging system with a wide opening and ramped tunnel to maximize bag fill. • A bagging capacity of 2.1 bushels to optimize productivity. • An easy-empty design to simplify clipping disposal. • A blade brake clutch system on select models, so the operator can disengage the blades without shutting down the engine. • A corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy deck for durability. • Replaceable steel wear plates to protect select models against bottom and side impacts. • A Kawasaki or Honda engine. • Maintenance-free transmissions to maximize productivity and minimize downtime.

A Compact Mower That Covers a Wide Area Sarlo Power Mowers designed the BigMo 34 Hydro walk-behind mower with a 34-inch cutting deck and hydro transmission. This wide-area, yet compact mower also offers: • A patented deck system that provides a quality finished cut. • The Twin Track cutting system with an in-line spindle built into a compact platform. • A 10.5-HP engine. • A commercial-grade hydrostatic drive system. • Seven cutting positions with a no-tools height adjustment. • Bearing-mounted, no-flat front swivel caster wheels. • Large rear turf tires. • An electric clutch. • Commercial, greasable blade spindles.

Well-Balanced Walk-Behinds Ideal for Slopes and Curbs Wright Manufacturing’s two newest Velke hydropowered walk-behind mowers can be specified with either a fixed or floating cutting deck. These walk-behinds come further equipped with: • An ideal balance to mow on slopes and climb curbs. • Availability of 32-, 36- and 48-inch cutting decks on the HC Series, whereas the larger LC Series comes with a choice of either 52- or 61-inch decks. • Suitability of the HC Series for mowing medium-size properties and in tight spaces, while the LC Series—with larger tires, reinforced frames and a wider stance—offers low impact on commercial properties. • Large flat-free caster tires that are not only gentle on turf, but also increase the mower’s maneuverability, even in tight spaces. • Intuitive controls that are easy to squeeze and isolate vibration. • An integrated Velke sulky latch, so the operator has a choice of walking or riding when a Velke sulky is attached, and the ability to secure the sulky in a folded position when the operator chooses to walk. • A light weight.

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MARCH 2018

Cub Cadet presents the SC700 four-wheel-drive walk-behind mower with MaxControl—a drive control that enables you to select front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive for enhanced versatility. For example, four-wheel drive is ideal for all terrains, including large yards and thick grass. The SC700 additionally boasts: • Dual levers to let users determine the speed of front- and rear-wheel tires, plus the ability to lock levers together for single-handed operation. • A 21-inch deck with dual-lever height adjustment. • An integrated front bumper constructed of tubular steel to add protection to the deck. • Aggressive tire treads with deeper channels and wider tire walls for improved traction. • An ergonomic handle for increased operator comfort. • An electric push-button start for added convenience. • A three-year limited warranty.


A Front-Wheel, Rear-Wheel or All-Wheel Drive Walk-Behind All in One

3/8/18 9:56 AM


SITTING ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF COMFORT. At Exmark, we’re using our expert knowledge in operator comfort and the game-changing science of ergonomics to make Lazer Z mowers more comfortable to use. Built around isolating the operator platform from the rest of the machine, the result is a full 3 1/2 inches of vertical travel that both increases comfort and reduces fatigue. This is made possible thanks to plush foam seats supported by vibration control stretch fabric and featuring a sophisticated suspension system, ISO mounts that allow side-to-side compliance, rear shocks adjustable to the preferred comfort level, and trailing arms eliminating side-to-side sway. Visit one of our 1,500+ servicing dealers to experience the most innovative and reliable mowing products on the market. You’ll see, first hand, why the most respected landscape professionals trust Exmark 2-to-1 over the next best-selling brand of zero-turn mowers.*


ATTRACTIVE RETAIL FINANCING GOING ON NOW See Dealer for complete financing details

*Based on U.S. Data study by Wiese Research Associates, Inc. Market Share and Additional Equipment Study (February, 2016).


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3/8/18 9:56 AM


Walk-Behind Mowers The Power to Get More Work Done on a Single Battery Charge Oregon recently released its newest cordless products for the 40-volt line, including: • LM300 and LM400 lawn mowers, which offer a range of features. • The Multi-Attachment System, which gives users a variety of options for landscaping by letting them create a custom tool set to meet their specific needs. The system comes with one powerhead that can add and interchange between four attachments, giving customers the option to buy only what they need. • 2.6- and 6.0-ampere-hour (AH) batteries with increased AH ratings to boost overall watt hours or how much work each battery can do.

A Full Day of Mowing on One Charge The ReVolt—an all-electric, 48- or 52-inch cut, dual-drive, wide-area walk-behind commercial mower—is the latest from Mean Green. According to the company, features include: • The ability to easily get commercial lawn care contractors through a full day of mowing on one charge. • A low-slung, wide stance with the battery packs hovering only 8 inches above the ground to achieve a lower center of gravity than gas-powered walk-behinds. • The ability to hug slopes with fewer worries about loss of control and oil starvation. • Reduced emissions and noise. • The option of up to two Green Monster battery packs.

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MARCH 2018


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Cordless Lawn Mower Delivers the Performance of Gas without the Hassles

Walk-Behind Productivity, Durability and Ease of Service Exmark’s Turf Tracer X-Series walk-behind mowers focus on commercial productivity, durability and ease of service. The walk-behind mowers, which come with 52- or 60-inch cutting widths, are also highlighted by:

Part of the STIHL Lightning AP Series battery system, the RMA 510 cordless lawn mower delivers the performance of a gasoline-powered mower without the hassles, according to the company. The RMA 510 additionally offers:

• A heavy-duty electromagnetic power take-off (PTO) clutch and single belt deck drive system.

• The power and runtime to handle small to medium suburban yards.

• UltraCut Series 4 cutting decks with welded 7-gauge deck reinforcements and large-flange, maintenance-free Lazer Z-style sealed bearing cutter housings with splined blade drivers.

• Instant starting, less noise, zero gasoline costs and no exhaust emissions. • A 21-inch deck to cover more lawn faster than previous models.

• Lazer Z-style belt shields that provide tool-free deck drive access.

• A holding slot for a second battery, so you can swap batteries and be ready to cut again in seconds.

• An enhanced control system that places all vital controls at the operator’s fingertips to increase comfort. • Twin-cylinder Kawasaki and Kohler engine options, including carbureted gasoline, electronic fuel injection (EFI) gasoline and EFI propane configurations.

• An adjustable handlebar, grass catcher and larger rear wheels for rough terrain. • Batteries and chargers that can be purchased separately or as a set.

WalkBehinds That Make Work Quick and Effortless


The Generac Pro line of walk-behind field and brush mowers make work quick and effortless for landscaping pros. Available with a 26- or 30-inch pivoting deck, these walk-behinds come further equipped with: • A brake, operated by a hand lever, on each wheel, so squeezing the lever on one side applies the brake to that wheel, allowing the mower to pivot easily.

þ No Maintenance þ No Downtime

• A 14.5-HP Generac G-Force engine with electric start on the 26-inch unit, while the 30-inch mower is driven by an 18.5-HP electric-start G-Force power plant.

• Power-steering functionality for better control and easier operation. • Adjustable handlebars and ergonomic controls.


THE MICHELIN® X® TWEEL® TURF™ Airless Radial Tire Family for zero turn radius mowers


• A geared transmission with three forward speeds and one reverse, so users can lock in their ground speed and focus on steering across uneven terrain.

þ Up to 3x Longer Life

Sunbelt Outdoor Products Phone: 1-800-438-0660 A&I Products Phone: 1-800-657-4343

Pair the best tires on the market with the strongest blades on the market for maximum machine uptime. XHT™ and Predator™ blades with patented Marbain™ technology last longer and require less sharpening than competing products. Visit

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MARCH 2018


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Trimmers, Edgers & Brush Cutters Quiet, Easy-to-Use Battery-Powered Trimmers The FSA 90 R professional straight-shaft trimmer from STIHL is powered by a 36-volt lithium-ion battery for excellent cutting performance. According to the company, the quiet, easy-to-use battery-powered trimmer further delivers: • A 15-inch cutting width.

These Skid Steer Brush Cutters Can Clear Trees as Thick as 5 Inches

• Instant starting with a squeeze of the trigger. • An innovative control handle with an ECOSPEED soft-stop trigger setting, which can extend the amount of work done on a single charge.

Solesbee’s Equipment & Attachments designed its skid steer brush cutter attachments for tough land-clearing applications. The brush cutter provides:

• A lightweight design, slim profile and ergonomic loop handle for easy handling and transport. • Suitability for landscaping in noise-sensitive areas like school grounds, business districts or hospitals. • The flexibility to purchase the batteries and chargers separately or as a combined set with the tool.

• The ability to handle trees as thick as 5 inches. • Three 5/8-inch steel bidirectional blades that turn clockwise and counterclockwise, and are sharp on both sides, allowing the operator to cut in both directions before needing to change blades. • 60- and 72-inch-wide mowing decks with reinforced 3/8-inch steel sides for durability. • A high-torque piston motor to power the attachment. • A hydraulic system that requires flows ranging from 17 to 30 GPM.

Five Times More Powerful Than the Average Handheld Trimmer Generac says its Generac Pro trimmer is about five times more powerful than a standard handheld trimmer and further boasts: • The easy takedown of waist-high weeds and grass with a 22-inch cutting width. • A Quick-Lock trimmer head that makes it possible to change the trimmer cord in seconds by simply inserting the replacement cord into the head and anchoring it in place. • Three cutting heights—2, 2.75 and 3.5 inches—for plenty of flexibility. • An offset frame that allows trimming right up against foundations, fence lines and other obstacles. • 16-inch wheels to cover a lot of ground with ease. • A cast aluminum nose plate to protect the trimmer from collisions and other rough handling. • A cord caddy that lets you carry replacement cord for quick change-outs in the field. • An optional DuraBlade attachment to take down thick brush and even woody material as thick as 3/8 inches.

A Brave New Landscaping Line Brave is debuting four new machines—a bed sculptor, brush cutter, edger and wire installer—all powered by Honda engines. More specifically: • The bed sculptor has a tungsten carbide landscaping rotor available in a 3-, 4- or 5-inch size, while optional interchangeable trenching rotors are also available. It operates with a double belt and pulley drive system, and is powered by a Honda GX270 commercial engine. • The brush cutter has a 26-inch cutting width and can handle saplings up to 3 inches in diameter. It features a hydrostatic drive system with one forward and reverse drive speed, and is powered by a Honda GX390 commercial engine. • The edger has a blade size of up to 10 inches and a maximum curb height of 10 inches. It operates with a double belt drive system, features steel wheels with 9-inch pneumatic tires and is powered by a Honda GX160 commercial engine. • The wire installer digs a 2-, 3- or 4-inch trench; places the wire; and recovers it with dirt at a rate of up to 25 feet per minute. It operates with a double belt drive system, features a tungsten carbide rotor and is powered by a Honda GX160 commercial engine.


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MARCH 2018

3/7/18 3:29 PM


X Marks the Spot for Best-in-Class Tools Durable, Powerful and Trouble-Free Trimming Husqvarna recently unveiled its 525LST trimmer with durable components for trouble-free use and easy maintenance. The company says the professional trimmer also offers: • The X-Torq engine, which has more power, yet less fuel consumption and exhaust than comparable engines. • An air purge system that removes air from the carburetor and fuel system for easier starting.

ECHO designed its X Series to help landscape pros perform their jobs better. The lineup includes three trimmers/ brush cutters, an edger, a bed redefiner, six hedge trimmers and more. More specifically, according to the company: • The SRM-2620 trimmer/brush cutter includes a Speed-Feed head and Black Diamond line. • The SRM-2620T trimmer/brush cutter provides greater torque to handle tough jobs.

• An auto return stop switch and other intuitive controls that make the choke and purge easy to reach and understand.

• The SRM-2620U trimmer/brush cutter uses an ergonomic U-shaped handle for brush clearing.

• A lightweight, well-balanced and ergonomic design for minimal fatigue, so users can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

• The PE-2620 edger has a lighter, openfaced shield for easy operation.

• The BRD-2620 bed redefiner redefines flower and mulch bed edges seven times faster than a shovel. • The HC-2420 is ECHO’s lightest double-sided hedge trimmer with 24-inch blades to facilitate maneuverability in smaller areas. • The HCA-2620 hedge trimmer has an articulating shaft that simplifies trimming the tops of tall hedges.

Walk-Behind Brush Cutter Cuts Quickly and Efficiently

• The HC-3020 is ECHO’s longest double-sided hedge trimmer with 30-inch blades for greater reach. • The HCS-3020 is ECHO’s lightest single-sided hedge trimmer with 30-inch blades, speeding up sculpting and trimming jobs.

Billy Goat says its Outback BC26HHEU walkbehind brush cutter is effective on uneven terrain, works quickly in brush and operates with ease. The brush cutter additionally delivers:

• The SHC-2620 is a two-sided, shafted hedge trimmer with a simple fixed gear case for lighter weight to lessen fatigue. • The HCS-4020 is ECHO’s longest single-sided hedge trimmer with 40-inch blades for greater reach across wide hedges.

• A 26-inch-wide deck and high tip speed to improve speed and cut quality. • A Tuff Torq hydrostatic transmission with fully automatic enhanced traction control to optimize traction on uneven terrain and handle slopes up to 20 degrees. • Front wheel casters that help hold onto hillsides when locked and ease turning in tall grass.

A Professionally Landscaped Look for Sidewalks, Walkways and Driveways Add a professionally landscaped look to sidewalks, walkways and driveways with the STIHL FC 91 edger. The curved-shaft edger comes equipped with: • A high blade speed and one-touch stop.

• A pivoting brush deck that hugs the ground for a better cut, minimizing scalping.

• A large 710cc fuel tank and low-emission engine that delivers 30 percent longer run times than the FC 90.

• A cut height that’s adjustable from 1.77 to 3.74 inches.

• A vertical pleated air filter for better filtration.

• A cutting rate of just under an acre of brush per hour.

• IntelliCarb technology to maximize RPMs when the air filter begins to clog.

• Suitability for underbrush, berries, bramble, vines, tall grass, and small trees up to 2 inches in diameter and 6 feet tall. • A direct-from-the-handle forward and reverse lever. • Ergonomically angled plow-style handles with padded grips for comfort and protection.

• A simplified starting procedure enabled by a semiautomatic choke lever. 12397019

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Utility Vehicles Striking a Balance Between Providing a Smooth Ride and Hauling Heavy Loads Caterpillar designed its first utility vehicles—the gasoline-powered CUV82 and diesel-powered CUV102D—to deliver durability, comfort and maintenance simplicity. The company says these vehicles also come equipped with: • A steel cargo bed, 1,000-pound total rear cargo capacity and 2,000-pound towing capacity for a variety of applications. • A four-wheel independent suspension system with a front sway bar to provide stability at full load. • A long swing-arm suspension, custom-tuned springs and shocks to strike a balance between a smooth ride and hauling loads. • Ample ground clearance to ensure the vehicles navigate rough terrain with ease. • A 0.8-L three-cylinder gasoline engine delivering 50 HP on the CUV82 and a 1.0-L three-cylinder diesel engine delivering 25 HP to the CUV102D. • Smooth acceleration, clear sight lines, and engine braking capability to facilitate hauling and towing. • A passenger seat base that can be removed and stowed behind the driver’s seat to create floor space for hauling oversized items.

Kubota’s Fastest Utility Vehicle Yet Kubota recently unveiled the RTV-XG850 Sidekick as its fastest utility vehicle yet. The Sidekick offers: • Quick acceleration with a transport speed up to 40 MPH. • A cargo capacity of up to 15.2 cubic feet, or half a ton of gear, tools, supplies and building materials. • A 48-HP, water-cooled gasoline engine to provide torque for a quick and smooth take-off. • A selectable full-time four-wheel-drive system for traction and control on any terrain. • A continuously variable transmission with centrifugal clutch. • Speed-sensitive electronic power steering to improve handling and stability. • Tuned front and rear independent suspension. • A 2,000-pound towing capacity and a trailer hitch for a wide range of towing jobs. • An idle speed control and highland correction to ensure stable power for any situation.

Utility Vehicle Doubles as a Durable Workhorse KIOTI Tractor presents the two-row MECHRON 2240 utility terrain vehicle (UTV) as a durable workhorse. Features include: • A 22-HP Daedong diesel engine, continuously variable transmission with four-wheel drive, and standard hydraulic power steering for smooth and responsive handling. • A 1,300-pound towing capacity and two-inch rear hitch receiver. • A heavy-duty cargo bed with a 1,325-pound payload capacity. • Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, an adjustable wishbone suspension, large tires and enhanced frame rails for higher ground clearance and added support. • Availability in MECHRON orange or green, and with three tire options—heavy-duty worksite, turf or all terrain vehicle (ATV).

New Holland Rustles Up Four Seats for its New Utility Vehicle New Holland recently revealed its Rustler 850 utility vehicle as now available with a four-seat option, as well as a special-edition camouflage wrap. The Rustler further provides:

• A new grill design, and interior and exterior enhancements. • An optional hydraulic dump kit, and windshield kit in the operator’s choice of polycarbonate or laminated safety glass.

• 1,500 pounds of total capacity, 2,000 pounds of towing capacity and 1,000 pounds of tilt bed capacity. • A 62-HP electronic fuel injection engine precision-tuned to maximize power and optimize handling on off-road terrain. • On-demand all-wheel drive and electronic power steering. • Front and rear sway bars for increased traction and handling. • A rollover protective structure (ROPS), three-point seat-belt system, front-mounted steel brush guard, headlights and brake lights.


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MARCH 2018

3/7/18 3:32 PM

By Carrie Mantey



How to an Ineffective Herbicide Program

Follow these six easy tips to establish a successful herbicide program for you and your customers.


erbicide can be a lawn care specialist’s best friend. One of its primary advantages is that it can save labor throughout an entire season by providing weed control with a single springtime application, says Jason Fausey, Ph.D., director of technical services, Turf and Ornamentals, Nufarm Americas Inc. Compare that with having to constantly resort to manually pulling weeds—an unrelenting and time-intensive task. In most of the U.S., however, standard herbicide programs typically consist of more than just one herbicide and more than just one application to be effective. According to Fausey, “Most standard herbicide programs begin with an early spring application of a pre-emergent herbicide targeting

annual grasses. This is followed by a spring broad-spectrum broadleaf herbicide targeting any winter annual, and early emerging and flowering broadleaf weeds. Summer scouting programs can determine the need for a summer application of a broadleaf, sedge or grass herbicide. Then that is followed with a broadcast application in the fall with a broad-spectrum broadleaf herbicide.” Although Fausey’s example is textbook, not all herbicide programs should follow that exact regimen. The rule of green thumb is to stick with what works for each turf as every property and its weeds are unique, and if you find your herbicide program lacking, there are many ways to try to pinpoint the problem. Fausey warns, “Weeds escaping and becoming more

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difficult to control are great indicators that it is time to reevaluate your herbicide program. It could be due to the product selection, application timing, use rate, spray technique or weed resistance, but a close look at the program needs to occur.”

Six Ways to Make Your Herbicide Program Work

Follow these six tips from Fausey to establish a successful herbicide program for both you and your customers: ❶ E nsure your turf is healthy. “With all herbicides, it’s good to remember that healthy turf is the best way to reduce your weed pressure,” Fausey confirms. “If turf is stressed and growing poorly, the same is true for the weeds and applications made

MARCH 2018


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“Weeds escaping and becoming more difficult to control are great indicators that it is time to reevaluate your herbicide program.” ­

during these conditions often result in poor results.” K  now your enemy. – Jason Fausey, Nufarm Americas “Proper weed identification is critical in determining the proper herbiensure the greatest results for when cide selection. All herbicides have they are used. All herbicide prostrengths and weaknesses in the grams should incorporate only weeds they control. Knowing the those products that are effective primary target is key to building the on the target weed. No herbicide correct program,” declares Fausey. should ever be applied unless there “There are excellent herbicides that is a plan and need for the product.” are non-selective and control all ❹ F ollow correct application proweeds, as well as products that are cedures. “Be sure to read and selective and control just grasses follow label directions,” foreor broadleaf weeds. The correct warns Fausey. “All herbicides product selection begins with the can struggle to provide adequate proper weed identification.” control if the proper application M inimize herbicide usage to maxitechniques are not followed.”  mize its success. Fausey says, “The ❺ K now your equipment and its number of herbicide applications limitations, especially when selectshould always be minimized to ing between liquid or granular

Over 30 new blades for 2018

herbicides. “The primary factor for determining which formulation type to use is the application equipment. Sprayable formulations result in overall better coverage and results than granules, but not everyone has that equipment available,” says Fausey. K  ❻ now your audience before going organic. “There is a market for organic herbicides,” suggests Fausey. “However, customers need to understand before starting this type of program that organic herbicides require additional applications and do not provide the same level of weed control as traditional herbicides.” Once you successfully follow these six easy steps to creating an effective herbicide program, herbicide might not only be your best friend, but your customers, too. ›



Heavy-duty Attachments for Commercial Mowers







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MARCH 2018





(866) 537-6168 | JRCOINC.COM/GIP Visit

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A Specticle to Behold: Herbicide Sets New Standard Bayer Environmental Science says its Specticle G pre-emergent herbicide sets a new standard for residual control at the lowest use rates on the market. According to the company, the versatile herbicide is also highlighted by:

Spot Sprayers That Really Hit the Spot GEMPLER’S built its 12-volt Spot Sprayers for durability, and to suit a variety of commercial and residential applications. The spot sprayers additionally deliver: • The choice of a 15- or 25-gallon tank and 1.0- or 2.2-GPM flow rate.

• Up to six months of broad-spectrum control against more than 90 broadleaf and grassy weeds, plus annual sedges. • The ability to help maintain weed-free landscape beds for the entire growing season. • The power to save time, fuel and labor costs by reducing the number of treatments needed to achieve optimal results. • Up to 40 times less active ingredients than current standards.

• The flexibility to be mounted to allterrain vehicles, utilityterrain vehicles and zero-turn mowers, as well as utility carts towed by a tractor. • A thick polyethylene tank. • High-grade pumps, adjustable spray guns and hoses.

Organic Fertilizer Boosts Soil Fertility

• An EverFlo diaphragm pump.

Nantong NBC introduces its potassium humate with fulvic acid 65 as an organic fertilizer that can increase the fertility of soil, boost plants’ resistance to drought, and speed up germination and root growth. The company says the organic fertilizer also:

• 12-volt connection cables. • A 5-inch fill port including a tethered lid to prevent product loss. • A 15-foot rubber hose to ease application.

• Conditions soil and improves its structure by increasing the ion exchange capacity of the soil. • Boosts nutrient uptake and increases the content of humus in soil. • Prevents soil from contamination of heavy metallic ions as well as other harmful matters. • Promotes fertilizer efficiency, and the utilization of nitrogen and phosphorus.

ADVERTISERS INDEX Allen Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Billy Goat Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Exmark Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 The Grasshopper Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Husqvarna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13, 22, 23 JRCO Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Kawasaki Motors Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kubota Tractor Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 MTD Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 PECO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Progressive Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Rotary Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34, 40, 43 STIHL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Sunbelt Outdoor Products Inc . . . . . . . . . . 35 Visit

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By William Eastman

For more information, please listen to the associated podcast at www.

Part 2: Do you have what it takes to become a member of the elite 5 percent?

Growing Your Own Managers


left corporate consulting many years ago to focus on the engine of the American economy—the small business. The statistic that defined my decision was 90 percent of all new jobs were created by just 5 percent. These companies were very small—under 20 employees— and could overcome the odds to achieve exponential growth. I was hooked; it became my obsession. I found there were three groups of small businesses—the 80 percent that were surviving or just hanging on; the 15 percent that were successful, but uncertain about how to take it to the next level; and the cheetahs, the elite 5 percent. This

My experience with the 15 percent is they are at risk of going out of business because growth killed working capital—an inability to grow fast and under control. The core issue to getting hockeystick growth is the investment in branding, marketing and sales.

Are You in the 5 Percent? • Enhancing your offer by improving your existing products and services to become distinctive, and taking the pressure off price. • Professionalizing management to blend frugality with developing people. The starkest element of my experience working with the 80 percent is to attack cost and capacity first instead of pursuing revenue. Every 80 percent company that tried to move into the 15 percent group by increasing sales first went out of business.

You are a member of the elite because you dominate markets; you create the standards everyone is forced to copy.

Are You in the 15 Percent?

poses the question: How do the 80 percent make it to 15 percent and then become the elite 5 percent?

You are already doing better than most of the competition, and just one or two steps away from the 5 percent. The immediate need is to focus on: • Researching your market to identify high growth opportunities (customers with unmet or under-met needs that have solid financials and fit your processes). • Specializing your offer to solve unique customer problems. • Making a significant investment in marketing and sales.

Are You in the 80 Percent? If you are in the 80 percent, you are in the majority of small businesses—getting by, and needing to rethink where you are and what you are doing. The immediate need is to focus on: • Maximizing your resources to become the lowest cost producer. (This is not about price.)


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MARCH 2018

You are a member of the elite because you dominate markets; you create the standards everyone is forced to copy. This forces your competitors to play catchup while you are reinventing the business. This is a moment in time and fleeting. It is more difficult to sustain than achieve and a great time to sell if that is your long-term objective. The company may never be worth more unless you reinvent and take it to another level. The core issue is to reinvent the company—either its offer and/or how it does business. It can be anything except reinventing the brand. There is far more to building a business and joining the elite 5 percent, but it is beyond our scope here. If you would like more information, please visit ❯ William Eastman is a senior consultant at GreenMark Consulting Group.

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Free catalog for servicing dealers. Call 1.800.841.3989 or visit Quality parts for less. ©2018 Rotary Corporation. Rotary is a registered trademark of Rotary Corporation. Available through servicing dealers & distributors.


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3/7/18 3:42 PM

Redefine a Full Day’s Work. Kubota Z700-2 Series

The Kubota Z700-2 Series terrain-hugging, zero-turn mowers provide all the horsepower you need to get the job done. This high-performing machine is Kubota’s fastest zero-turn mower, handling speeds up to 11.2 miles per hour. The Z700-2 now features a standard factory-installed, adjustable, premium suspension seat and wide-stance rear tires for a comfortable ride all day.


0 Down, 0% Financing for 60 Months* A.P.R.

See your local Kubota dealer for details. Offer ends 6/30/2018.

*$0 down, 0% A.P.R. financing for up to 60 months on purchases of select new Kubota Z700-2 Series equipment from participating dealers’ in-stock inventory is available to qualified purchasers through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A.; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Example: 60 monthly payments of $16.67 per $1,000 financed. Offer expires 6/30/18. See your Kubota dealer or go to for more information. Optional equipment may be shown.

© Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2018


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Volume 39

Success GUIDE

CLOSING THE DEAL Dealership Employees Demonstrate the Power of Social Media Page 8



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What kind of equipment can outdoor power equipment dealers sell to grow their customer base and stand out from the competition? Page 6

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© 2018 Husqvarna AB. All rights reserved.





Commercial customers can save up to 20% with same-time purchases and get extended discount periods up to 24 months.*

Company efficiencies and an attractive All-Year Dealer Program drive sales and increase your profits.

The depth and breadth of our consumer and professional products offer unlimited sales potential for your business.

We provide technical training and support so you can provide superior service and expertise to your customers.

For centuries we’ve worked to reduce the gap between man and machine. The result is tools that are powerful, ergonomic and packed with innovation. Now you can become a part of our industry-leading heritage as an exclusive Husqvarna dealer. With the trust and recognition of professionals around the world, we’ll set you apart from the competition. Learn more about our dealer opportunities at WWW.HUSQVARNA.US/NEWDEALER Visit *Some restrictions apply, ask for complete program details. This program is only available to companies or agencies who are involved in the commercial landscaping or arborist business on a full-time basis or use the equipment as a means of producing income.

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Connect with HusqvarnaUSA

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Volume 39 – March 2018

Cc o n t e n t s



Are You ‘That Guy?’


e joke about having “a guy” for everything in our family—a go-to expert or savvy artisan when we’re in need of something specific, whether it’s words of wisdom or a special Carrie Mantey trinket meant just for one of us. (920) 542-1238 You need a custom fillet knife for fishing? I gotta guy for that. You need a special frame for that autographed concert print? I gotta guy. You need farm-fresh eggs or a hunk of pork that makes your mouth water? We got guys for that, too. As an outdoor power equipment dealer, you can be “that guy” to your landscape contractor customers—a trusted expert whom these professionals can rely on for good advice, an honest opinion and quality craftsmanship. After all, you’ve been there and done that when it comes to helping customers identify the ideal machine for their needs. You’ve been there and done that when trying to pinpoint why this or that piece of equipment isn’t performing up to its full potential. You have the experience and know-how that allows your customers to trust you, and come back again and again. Through this expertise and trustworthiness, you establish a rapport with them and, as a result, a knack for acquiring repeat customers. From all of the profiles I’ve written for Green Industry Pros, I can tell you there is one constant factor behind every successful landscape contractor: It is a trusted dealer. And the landscape contractors I talk to aren’t ashamed to admit it. In fact, most are happy to talk up their outdoor power equipment dealers and what makes them the best. In contrast, of all the successful outdoor power equipment dealers I’ve spoken to, there are two common threads running through each conversation—the importance of education and establishing a sense of community within the dealership. Both of these tactics breed that trust “those guys” bring to the table. The question now is: Are you someone’s “that guy?” If not, can you become “that guy” by either improving your expertise, trustworthiness or social skills?

IN THIS ISSUE 4  Dealer Profile Dehne Lawn & Leisure—an Unexpected Family Business

While the industry has changed since the Keblusek brothers took ownership of their father’s business, they continue to work diligently to ensure their business values and store experience remain the same.

6  Dealer

Differentiation Differentiating the Dealership from the Competition

Selling propane equipment can help outdoor power equipment dealers grow their customer base and stand out from the competition.


8 Closing the Deal

Dealership Employees Demonstrate the Power of Social Media

Social media’s real power is in providing a space where people engage with other people to create and build relationships.

13 Dealer Stock 14 Wheeling & Dealing

Three Ways to Prepare for 2018 Sales Growth

Green industry equipment retailers are bullish about sales in 2018, but how should you get equipped to maximize the boom?


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Dealer Profile

By Angie Mellor


an Unexpected Family Business

While the industry has changed since the Keblusek brothers took ownership of their father’s business, they continue to work diligently to ensure their business values and store experience remain the same.


n his 26th birthday, Michael Keblusek and his brothers, Tom and John, buried their father who passed away in his sleep only six weeks after buying a new business. Their father, John Sr., purchased Dehne Lawn & Leisure after spending 25 years operating an Ace Hardware franchise in the south Chicago suburbs with his parents and brother. John Keblusek Sr. took over operations at the established equipment dealership in Northbrook, Illinois, in the middle of a drought on a Friday the 13th in 1988. The Keblusek brothers didn’t anticipate following in their father’s footsteps, but fate had other plans. At the time, Michael was working as a credit manager, John a department manager and Tom a graphic artist. But when their father passed away unexpectedly, they assumed ownership of Dehne Lawn & Leisure. “Our father always lectured that family will always be family, no matter what happens, and we should make every effort to be congenial. After sharing a bedroom for 21 years and working in the family hardware store, the transition seemed natural, almost pre-destined,” recalls Michael.

Quality Service by Committed Employees

“We operate a throwback mercantile establishment that still phones our customers to remind them to 4

The Keblusek brothers each bring their own personality to the table as part of their commitment to quality customer service.

service their equipment. We still do not have air conditioning. And we still make candid recommendations with honest rebuttal,” Michael says. The Keblusek brothers are committed not only to their customers, but also to their employees. One employee, Jim Pantle, worked with Dehne Lawn & Leisure for over 50 years, including when the business was still owned by the Dehne family. According to an article in the Northbrook Star, “Pantle has worked at Dehne Lawn & Leisure since 1967, repairing countless lawn mowers and snow blowers and string trimmers.” In the article, Michael notes how Pantle’s work ethic mirrored the brothers’ values of quality and commitment: “It’s not a glamorous

job, but I think there’s something honorable about somebody that can be a hard worker, and be reliable and dependable and selfless.” Securing and retaining employees like Pantle can make or break a business, and the Keblusek brothers understand that happy and welltreated employees make for quality customer experiences and a higher rate of customer satisfaction in return. The Kebluseks’ commitment to valuing their employees includes above-average compensation, fully funded healthcare, holiday pay, and vacation for both full- and parttime employees.

The Brothers Keblusek Furthermore, the Keblusek brothers


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Dealer Profile

each bring their own personality to disappointment. The constant drive diversified our brands and product the table as part of their commitfor lower price points encourages lines to broaden our customer base. ment to quality customer service. replacement, and suppresses parts We do well retaining and cross-sell“John, known to his fans as dude, and service sales.” ing our customers. And we adjusted is a brutally candid and thoughtful Michael also notes that generational our business hours in response to technician who instructs and advises differences in customers’ priorichanging shopping patterns.” customers with a passion The Kebluseks also not often seen in a retail reward customers for environment. Tom, who keeping their equipment knows most customers by well-maintained. “We ofname, does not hesitate fer pre-season discounts to spend as much time for equipment servicing as needed to address all and make appointments customer issues, whether for service in season. We or not they are relevant to try very hard to always – Michael Keblusek, Dehne Lawn & Leisure our business. I am the anahave service work in the lytical brother commissioned to keep ties should be considered in future pipeline. We do not promise immedithe boat afloat or at least make sure outdoor power equipment design and ate turnaround, but instead, encourthere’s space on the lifeboat when development. “Millennials are more age our customers to be proactive the time comes,” Michael says. socially responsible consumers. They about servicing their equipment,” From their father’s reminder of do not want to deplete natural reexplains Michael. “family will always be family, no sources and fill up landfills. They want While the industry has changed matter what,” the Keblusek brothenvironmentally friendly products that significantly since John Keblusek Sr. ers are able work as a team. “One provide long-term value,” he says. bought Dehne Lawn & Leisure, the cannot manage siblings, particularBaby boomers are also concerned Keblusek brothers are working dilily older siblings,” Michael admits. with the value and quality of equipgently to ensure that their business “I can only attempt to influence ment. “Consumers want products values and store experience remain them and persuade desired outthat last and function as promised,” the same. Whether it’s the 40-yearcomes. We are more cohesive when he adds. old Marantz receiver playing music things are challenging than in Michael feels that prioritizing in the showroom, or the authentic times of prosperity.” product quality and innovation can throwback experience that cannot garner a better profit and sustainbe reproduced by the Internet or a The Need for Industry ability for businesses that focus on big-box store, the Keblusek brothers Transformation parts and repairs. Not only can such continue to do it their way. In Michael’s opinion, there have changes be lucrative, but they can “Almost 30 years later, we are still been a lot of industry changes and also promote customer loyalty. “Peohere,” Michael says. He appreciates challenges in the last 15 years. Deple pay for quality. Dealers should the fulfillment working with his spite the trend of increasing online focus on brands that are dedicated family gives him. “I am grateful to sales, and equipment built to be to independent retailers and probe able to work with my wife and cheaply and easily replaced instead mote complementary products rather brothers. I am grateful for talented of serviced or fixed, the Kebluseks than foster transient brand loyalty,” and loyal employees who have bework hard to maintain a business Michael declares. come my friends. And I am grateful that prioritizes a personal relationto my benevolent customers who go Satisfying Customers ship with its customers. out of their way to patronize our and Upholding “We are in need of an industry family business. But sometimes I Family Values transformation,” urges Michael. “We still miss my dad.” need to promote a symbiotic relaDehne Lawn & Leisure makes its tionship between manufacturers and own adjustments and creates its own Angie Mellor teaches communications dealers. We need products that are innovations to adapt to changes and writing classes at Western Technipre-emptive, not reactive. We need in customer needs. According to cal College in La Crosse, Wisconsin, sustainable quality, not disposable Michael, “Like other dealers, we while freelance writing and editing.

“We are in need of an industry transformation. We need to promote a symbiotic relationship between manufacturers and dealers.”


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3/8/18 1:37 PM

Dealer Differentiation

By Jeremy Wishart


Selling propane equipment can help outdoor power equipment dealers grow their customer base and stand out from the competition.

Dealers should sell propane mowers because demand among contractors is growing.


or outdoor power equipment dealers, standing out from the crowd can be a tough task—especially in an oversaturated market where it can feel like every dealership is selling the same products and similar services. Fortunately, there are ways for dealers to offer real points of differentiation between their business and the dealer around the corner. Propane commercial mowers can be that point of differentiation. By 6

selling propane mowers, a dealership can both grow its customer base and stand out from the local competition for a variety of reasons.

1. There’s Growing Demand for Propane Equipment among Contractors Dealers deciding to sell propane mowers are setting themselves up for growth, first and foremost,

About 34 percent of landscape contractors are somewhat or very likely to purchase a propane mower within the next three years.

because demand among contractors is growing. Last summer, more than 15,000 commercial propane mowers were in operation across the country. Dedicated propane mowers are now produced by 12 manufacturers in a variety of zero-turn, wide-area walkbehind and stand-on models. There are six different Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- and California Air Resources Board (CARB)-certified aftermarket conversion kit manufacturers, too. If these numbers alone aren’t convincing that dealers deciding to sell propane mowers are setting themselves up for growth, a 2016 survey commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) found that interest in propane is increasing as well. The survey, which was conducted by Wiese Research Associates from a pool of 150 landscape contractors, found that 34 percent of those surveyed answered they were somewhat or very likely to purchase a propane mower within the next three years. Yet, in a similar survey conducted with equipment dealers, only a quarter of the 100 dealers interviewed responded that they currently offer propane options. By staying ahead of the contractor demand that’s


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Dealer Differentiation

coming, dealers can bring in new customers that may otherwise go elsewhere.

2. Propane Can Create Buzz for the Dealership Dealers are always looking for ways to increase sales with existing customers and reach out to potential customers. Entire marketing campaigns can be designed around a dealership making propane mowers available to create a buzz at the store. Green-minded contractors are going to be happy to know where the go-to dealership is to meet their equipment needs, and sales staff can use propane as a reason to reach out and invite existing customers into the dealership to see new products and start a dialog.

3. Propane Has Many Selling Points

Dealers have a lot of selling points to work with when it comes to commercial mowers powered by propane. It’s commonly known that propane has a clean emissions profile, which is a major selling point for greenminded contractors or those with public agency contracts in which sustainable practices can be a plus. Propane commercial mowers can also give a contractor’s bottom line a boost because of lower fuel costs and increased productivity. Propane typically costs less than diesel or gasoline, and contractors can ensure fuel costs remain low by creating an annual fuel contract with a propane retailer. This can protect against the fluctuations of fuel prices that can swing wildly within a single cutting season. Furthermore, sales staff can point out that refueling mowers is faster and easier with propane. Full propane cylinders are refilled or delivered on site, so mowers are ready when crews depart for the day’s

work, decreasing the time spent at gas stations filling tanks. And because propane mowers use a closedloop fuel system, propane can’t be spilled or stolen, saving contractors headaches and wasted fuel. Plus, contractors routinely report the power of a propane commercial mower is virtually indistinguishable from a gasoline unit with similar horsepower. It doesn’t have to cost more to switch to propane either. Start-up costs for propane equipment are comparable to gasoline mowers. A new unit is approximately the same cost as a new gasoline mower with help from PERC’s Propane Mower Incentive Program, which allows contractors to receive $1,000 for each new dedicated propane mower or $500 for a certified propane conversion kit.

4. Offering Propane Mowers Positions a Dealer as a Local Innovator By offering propane mowers, a dealership is positioning itself as the place contractors can go to find

the latest in emerging technology, products and services. It’s a cue to contractors that a dealership is staying on top of industry trends. Even if some customers don’t ultimately transition to propane mowers, that impression may have them coming back. Differentiating a dealership in a competitive market can be tough. Adding propane mowers can be a simple way to do just that. Propane can position a dealership as an innovator, bring in greenminded customers and even act as a conversation-starter for existing customers. Dealers who decide to offer propane mowers (or currently do) should start spreading the word by signing up for PERC’s Propane Equipment Dealer Point. This free online database that allows contractors to find local dealers selling propane equipment can be found at Jeremy Wishart is the deputy director of business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at jeremy.

There are 12 manufacturers that make dedicated propane mowers and six different certified aftermarket conversion kit manufacturers, too. GREEN INDUSTRY PROS DEALER SUCCESS GUIDE ■ VOLUME 39

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Closing the Deal

By Lindsay Paulson

Dealership Employees Demonstrate the POWER of SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media’s real power is in providing a space where people engage with other people to create and build relationships. efforts known as social employee advocacy programs. RDO Equipment Company was one of them.

Getting Social

RDO Equipment Company social employee and agronomist Nate Dorsey uses his Twitter account to share expertise and provide helpful advice just as he would in a face-to-face setting.


ocial media’s emergence as a business opportunity in the last decade has given many companies the chance to determine how it fit with their sales, marketing and communications efforts. Early on, some jumped on board with Facebook, a handful were excited to tweet and others were among the first to share photos on Instagram. Today, most businesses are present on at least one social media 8

channel, with the most social-savvy companies being able to measure and place value on their efforts. But looking outside of metrics, social media’s real power is in how it became a space where people engage with other people to create and build relationships. As companies realized the benefits of these personal connections, some began evolving traditional social media strategies into employee-focused and -driven

About two years ago, RDO Equipment launched an employee social advocacy program on Twitter, encouraging team members to have unique voices and connect with others on social media as representatives of the business and brand. Programs like this are growing. Research obtained and shared by MarketingProfs in 2017 shows interest in employee advocacy increased 191 percent from 2013 to 2015, and today, 90 percent of brands report they are pursuing some type of employee advocacy program. RDO Equipment Company’s social employees—in particular, its agriculture-, lawn and garden- and tree care-focused team members—are great examples of how key areas like culture, engagement and the bottom line can benefit from employee social advocacy programs.

Culture Boost One of the top goals companies have with employee social advocacy programs is to showcase their unique culture. While every business can claim it has a great culture, employees who show it are the proof.


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4 REASONS TO ADD DIXIE CHOPPER MORE Profits - NEW Products - BEST Programs - BEST Warranty

Eagle HP 3572KW shown





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Dixie Chopper; a different kind of mower, a different kind of opportunity. Partnering with Dixie Chopper provides you with more profits, better mowers, profitable programs, the best end-user warranties, and many other new dealer perks. Visit us online or call today for dealership opportunities.

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Closing the Deal

Chris Stanley, an account manager for RDO Vermeer, was one of the first social employees to create an RDO-branded Instagram account.

Showcasing culture is great for employee recruiting and retention, establishing the company in the community, and presenting the company as one with which others would want to do business.

Engagement Avenue Closely related to culture, employee engagement improves with social advocacy programs. And this isn’t just on social media, where employees engage with peers, businesses and the community. 10

Research from numerous sources, including the Edelman Trust Barometer, shows that, when employees are empowered to be ambassadors, they feel trusted and like a part of the company’s success, and therefore, more engaged in their jobs and the company. Engagement is a two-way street, Kirsten Jensen, founder of Next Action Digital and expert in employee social with employee social advocacy advocacy, regularly presents on the power programs also offering opportuof individual voices on social media. nities for external audiences to engage with brands. In 2016, organic reach on Facebook fell 52 Business Advantage percent—but social-savvy companies are finding ways to combat While culture and engagement are this trend. MarketingProfs research crucial for successful companies, shows content shared by employthe bottom line matters, too. Good ees receives eight times more news for employee social advocacy engagement than the same content programs is they can directly benefit shared by brands and LinkedIn the business, and its sales, marketstates that employee sharing helps ing and public relations efforts. generate two times more clickNearly everyone knows the saythroughs on content. ing, “People don’t do business with Employee advocacy programs businesses; people do business also build on a newer engagement with people.” Tying people, faces trend—micro-influencers. Tradiand names to the business adds a tionally, many social media marketperson-to-person connection versus ing strategies were based around person-to-business, and humanizes big influencers, for example, people the brand. with tens of thousands or even a Nick Arndt is an account manager million followers on Instagram or at RDO Equipment. Rather than use Twitter. Micro-influencers are the his Twitter account to blast messages same as big influencers in terms of of reduced prices and great financing how they engage and share content offers, he shares videos of close-up that promotes a brand, but it’s done Research shows that content shared on a smaller scale, by employees receives eight times for example, people with 100 followers. more engagement than the same Micro-influencers content shared by brands. can have a big impact and attract the attention of large brands. machine features and first looks at One of the biggest advantages with new equipment. Most importantly, he micro-influencers, and especially uses Twitter to showcase his customrelevant in a company’s employee ers and the equipment solutions he’s advocacy setting, is they’re specialable to provide. ized and credible in their area of While true in the social sense, expertise. Therefore, they have very business-to-business (B2B) organirelevant, engaged audiences. zations still have distinct buyers and


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GROW YOUR REPUTATION WITH CONTRACTORS BY OFFERING PROPANE EQUIPMENT. In an industry where your name means everything, you need to stand out from the competition. Adding propane equipment to your show room gives contractors a new solution for saving more while cutting their emissions — and leads to better business for you. With resources like Propane Equipment Dealer Point, a dealer search tool for contractors, you’ll be sure customers know where to find you. Go online to learn how to get started with propane mower sales today.



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Closing the Deal

FOUR TIPS TO START A SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEE SOCIAL ADVOCACY PROGRAM Tip 1: Identify a person or team to lead an employee social advocacy program. The person or team should be responsible for everything from initial employee training to ongoing program monitoring. Tip 2: Help employees identify culture moments that would make great social posts—a thank you to a coworker, a photo of the team’s volunteer effort or a link to an article to which they contributed input.

Nick Arndt, an account manager at RDO Equipment, uses Twitter to show off his customers and the equipment solutions he can provide.

markets, and characteristics that make them operate differently than business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. Employee social advocacy offers advantages here, too. For example, compared to B2C, the buying cycle in B2B markets is much longer, markets are smaller and more focused, and customers do more research and have more challenges when making purchases. Relationship-building, engagement and demonstrating expertise achieved through employee advocacy can be big game-changers in nurturing these potential customers from interest to final purchase. RDO product specialist Ben Hilde saw one of his tweets do just that. After sharing a tweet about a sprayer, an interested follower liked it, then asked about it at his local RDO Equipment Company store. After trying it, the customer ended up leasing it—then, more than a year 12

after Hilde’s initial tweet, shared his own photo of it in action on Twitter. Finally, events and trade shows offer another avenue to connect social employees with potential customers. Many events have social accounts employees can follow and start to connect with others who are linked to the event even before it begins. Most events have a special hashtag, too, allowing employees to join others in the conversation by tweeting photos or great quotes from presenters. They can even share relevant content from their organization on the topic. Chris Stanley, an account manager for RDO Vermeer, was one of the first social employees to create an RDO-branded Instagram account. His photos and videos from last November’s Tree Care Industry (TCI) Expo received a lot of engagement and numerous comments, including from other attendees—a great opportunity to connect with current and potential customers created from an employee social advocacy program and a few simple posts.

Tip 3: Coach employees to connect with people, businesses and companies important to their work so they can begin following, engaging and building a relevant audience. Tip 4: To establish a connection to the company and brand, have employees create consistent social handles that tie in the company name and include the company’s handle in their profile.

The benefits of employee social advocacy programs are clear both internally and externally. By sharing quality content, engaging people to create and build relationships, and representing the company with unique voices, employee advocates can be a great complement to a company’s social media strategy. Lindsay Paulson is a public relations specialist for RDO Equipment Company. Since 2008, she has worked in public relations, including content management and social media, primarily focused on business-tobusiness audiences in the equipment industry. Connect with her on Twitter @RDOLindsayP.


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Dealer Stock

A New Outdoor Power Equipment Line for Commercial Use Generac engineered its new Generac Pro line of rugged outdoor power equipment for commercial users, such as landscape contractors. The new line consists of the following products, many of which are powered by the company’s G-Force engine: • XC Series 6,500- and 8,000-watt portable generators.

Keeping an Eye on Customer Relationship Management

• XD5000E diesel-fueled portable generators. • 3,800-PSI, 3.2-GPM belt-drive pressure washers. • Walk-behind field and brush mowers with 26- and 30-inch cutting widths.

Black Ink Technologies recently released EyeOn Demand: Customer, a cloud-based customer relationship management product designed for the power equipment industry. According to the company, the analytics solution offers equipment dealerships:

• Tow-behind field and brush mowers with 44-inch decks. • Walk-behind trimmers with 22-inch cutting widths. • 60-inch power graders.

• The ability to set up product demonstrations, track call histories, email directly from the system, set up on-site visits with customers and view locations on a geo-map in less than three clicks.

• 34-ton hydraulic wood splitters with a road tow kit. • Chippers/shredders with a road tow kit. • Stump grinders.

• A user dashboard that provides a snapshot of progress toward sales goals and highlights the next best activity to pursue.

• Towable backhoes with 12-inch buckets. • Power wagons with 8-cubic-foot buckets and a hauling capacity of 800 pounds.

• The capability to identify, based on past average time between specific customer purchases, if the account is inactive or dormant, helping users to understand how to upsell or reacquire.

• Trash and semi-trash water pumps.

• A cloud platform for greater flexibility to quickly search, find and connect to commercial accounts and prospects.

Assortment of Trimmer Line, Parts and Accessories Rotary’s 2018 catalog presents a full line of commercial-strength trimmer line, parts and accessories among more than 9,500 items for servicing dealers and distributors. The catalog further features:

Ideal for Any Log-Splitting Job—Large or Small Toro says its log splitter combines durability, precision and reliability, making it ideal for any log-splitting job—large or small. The machine includes: • A 22-ton cutting force to split tough logs. • A Honda GX270 engine, ensuring productivity and jobsite efficiency.

• A special 28-page trimmer section that includes photos, illustrations and descriptions, plus a trimmer head application chart.

• A 12-second cycle time and 9-inch solid steel wedge, allowing for a rapid and clean cut.

• A variety of fast-loading trimmer heads, replacement spools, covers, and housing and cam assemblies.

• A dual wheel jack to assist in maneuverability over difficult terrain.

• Availability of popular commercial trimmer systems with professional bump-and-feed heads for easy line advancing and dual-line indexing with durable nylon construction and a large-capacity spool for easy release.

• The ability to be operated horizontally or vertically for greater flexibility.

• Trimmer lines with optimal tensile strength, flex life, wear resistance, and performance in hot, cold, dry or wet conditions.

• An adjustable swing-away towing jack with dual pneumatic tires that allow for simple transport in remote areas.

• A heavy-duty catch assembly and durable fenders to protect the machine.


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Wheeling & Dealing

By Mike Rittler



Green industry equipment retailers are bullish about sales in 2018, but how should you get equipped to maximize the boom?


onfidence in the green industry is on the up, according to a recent TD Bank survey of 115 retailers at the Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO). With 61 percent expecting purchasing volume to increase in 2018, retailers are upbeat about sales growth for the year ahead. So how can retailers capitalize on the increased demand?

1. Stock Up and Staff Up to Meet Demand

Retailers can start by planning key inventory pushes around seasonal spending habits. For example, in preparation for spring, start buying up popular equipment, such as lawn mowers, so competitors don’t meet demand for these larger purchases as consumers gear up for the warmer weather. The spring season is also a popular time for wider landscaping projects, so stock up on irrigation and other equipment as well. In addition to keeping inventories supplied, retailers may need to consider staffing needs. In fact, TD’s survey found that more than one in five businesses are already planning to grow their workforce over the next year. Having a full team of informed, attentive sales professionals is key to ensuring that customers receive enough one-onone face time and can get their last-minute questions answered on big-ticket items. 14

2. Establish Loyalty Programs to Keep Customers Coming Back The expected influx of customers presents an opportunity for retailers to boost customer retention through customized loyalty programs. Over half of retailers (52 percent) are not currently offering customers any form of rewards bonuses, coupons, discounts or free merchandise. Given that power and outdoor equipment are major expenditures for consumers, offering a lower price or cheaper add-on items to loyalty members can persuade consumers to spend big. Being able to bank rewards for future purchases can also entice customers back. Retailers can offer to sign up customers to their rewards program at online and in-store checkouts, making sure the process is seamless and allowing customers to accrue rewards points straightaway.

3. Partner with a Financial Institution to Offer Financing Retailers should also focus on how to expand their market share to customers who view large purchases as out of reach, even when accounting for member perks and discounts. By partnering with a financial institution, retailers can offer financing options to customers so that larger ticket items seem more manageable. They can take advantage of the current low-rate environment to

offer competitive rates, introducing their products to a new set of customers and boosting customer loyalty. Customizable financing options can boost overall customer satisfaction by allowing customers to pay a little at a time for large purchases, so they can enjoy the exact items they want when they want. When considering possible financing options to offer, retailers should focus on their core audience. TD’s survey found that 55 percent of customers who seek financing options fall in the 35- to 54-year-old age range. Many in this age group are already juggling a variety of different loans and payments on other items, such as their house, car and furniture. As an added incentive to sign up for financing, retailers can consider offering a low interest rate or even an initial interest-free period. The anticipated sales growth for 2018 provides retailers with an opportunity to expand their market share. To capitalize on this, retailers should start prepping early. Determining if inventory and staff are ready can help to make sure they capture the demand, while rolling out loyalty and financing options can help bind customers to the retailer, and draw them back for future purchases. Mike Rittler is the head of retail card services at TD Bank.


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Tighter turns and cleaner cuts, realized. Fulfilling customers’ ambitions moves you closer to yours.

You want to be the one that equips them to take their business to the next lawn, and the next level. Our promotional financing, tools and technologies make it easy to offer customers more purchasing power. They’ll also help you increase store traffic, raise average transaction size and build repeat business. Just right for your future. Find out how we can help you realize your ambitions. Visit or call us at 855-433-4756.

Credit extended by Synchrony Bank. ©2018 All Rights Reserved.

What are you working forward to?


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While their parts are in the mail, ours are in your hands.

This is productivity defined. If your equipment is in the shop waiting for parts, it’s not out there on the job making you money. That’s why we have your back with the industry’s strongest parts program, including putting the exact part you need in your hands within 24 hours.* It’s just another way we make sure you have less downtime and more done time. Parts are just part of the story. Learn more at

*See for complete details. © 2018 Briggs & Stratton Corporation

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Green Industry Pros +Dealer Service Guide March 2018  
Green Industry Pros +Dealer Service Guide March 2018  

Green Industry Pros provides landscaping and lawn care business tips, industry news, landscaping equipment advice, company best practices, a...