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POWERlines

A Hatton-Brown Publication www.poweret.com

JESSICA JOHNSON

Embracing Lighthearted

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very October there are a few things I really look forward to: Alabama football’s schedule finally getting meaty, my twins’ birthday, the start of slightly cooler weather and the lawn and garden industry’s biggest event: GIE+EXPO. Yes, I know everyone everywhere says that. But it’s true: GIE+EXPO is the place to be as a lawn and garden dealer. We’ve got a fairly concise review of EXPO’s highlights throughout the issue, including company announcements, new products and Dealer Voices’ columnist Sam Stearns take on interaction with some reps on the show floor. But for me, one of the biggest highlights of EXPO is interacting with dealers and manufacturers that I swap emails with back and forth throughout the year. And then proceeding to embarrass myself by embracing the lighthearted nature of social media and ask them to take selfies with me. If you’ve been reading Power Equipment Trade the last few years, you’ve noticed we’ve had a renewed focus and energy on our social media offerings, especially during EXPO. One of my favorite things that we do is our #PETSelfieSafari, which is a fun hunt for new products featuring the smiling faces of everyone’s favorite PET editors with things like snowblowers and zero-turns. This is one of the ways PET sets itself apart at the show, often bumping into executives who ask, “So, are we going to take a selfie?” Slightly embarrassing, sure, but its unforgettable. It embraces the light-hearted, which is important in life. We’ve hope that each of you find it as entertaining as we do. In the coming years, I think it might be time to add pith helmets, after all, isn’t that what a safari is all about? For those not as active on social media as others, here’s a sampling of our favorites from this year…

Co-Publisher/Adv. Sales Manager David H. Ramsey Co-Publisher/Executive Editor David (DK) Knight Chief Operating Officer Dianne C. Sullivan Publishing Office Street Address: 225 Hanrick Street Montgomery, AL 36104-3317 Mailing Address P.O. Box 2268 Montgomery, AL 36102-2268 Tel: (334) 834-1170 Fax: (334) 834-4525 Editor-in-Chief n Rich Donnell Managing Editor n Jessica Johnson Editorial Adviser n Dan Shell Senior Assoc. Editor n David Abbott Associate Editor n Jay Donnell Contributing Writers Greg German, Sam Stearns, Dale Stotts Art Director n Cindy Segrest Ad Prod. Coordinator n Patti Campbell Circulation Director n Rhonda Thomas Marketing/Media n Jordan Anderson Advertising Sales Southern U.S. Randy Reagor Tel: (904) 393-7968 Fax: (334) 834-4525 E-mail: randy@hattonbrown.com Midwest U.S., Eastern Canada John Simmons Tel: (905) 666-0258 Fax: (905) 666-0778 E-mail: jsimmons@idirect.com Western U.S. & Canada Susan Windham Tel: (334) 834-1170 Fax: (334) 834-4525 Email: windham.susan4@gmail.com Europe & Scandinavia Murray Brett Tel: +34 96 640 4165 +34 96 640 4331 Email: murray.brett@abasol.net

Not to be excluded from the excitement around new products at EXPO, PET launched a new website in October! So exciting after months of dreaming and scheming and testing. Poweret.com is the go-to source for additional photos we couldn’t fit in the print issues, as well as some additional insights only available online. Look for additional coverage of this month’s dealer profile, Clatsop Power Equipment. Located just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean in extreme northwest Oregon just across the bay from downtown Astoria, the dealership has been a local fixture for 31 years, and during that time brothers Gregg and Bryan Mestrich have developed a nice little collection of antique chain saws and outboard PET motors. See and read more about the “Clatsop collection” at poweret.com! Contact Jessica Johnson, ph: 334-834-1170; fax 334-834-4525; e-mail: jessica@hattonbrown.com

Distributor Library Kathy Sternenberg Tel: (251) 928-4962 ksternenberg@bellsouth.net Classified Advertising Bridget DeVane Tel: (334) 699-7837 (800) 669-5613 bdevane7@hotmail.com Reprint Sales Patti Campbell Tel: (800) 669-5613 patti@hattonbrown.com

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Volume 66

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Number 6

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Our 723rd Consecutive Issue

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Founded in 1952

Renew or subscribe on the web: www.poweret.com

FEATUREstories

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CLATSOP POWER EQUIPMENT Diversity, Longevity In NW Oregon

2018 TRIMMERS, BRUSHCUTTERS Preview Models, Technology

FIVE MINUTES WITH

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Nick Ariens Of Ariens Co.

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GIE+EXPO SHOW REPORT Show Expands, Giveaways Abound

VALUEadded Power Suppliers ______________________________ 6 Dealer Voices________________________________25 Industry Voices ______________________________30 Showroom __________________________________32 PowerWorks ________________________________ 37 Distributor Library ____________________________38 Petcetera/Ad Index___________________________45 Dealer To Dealer _____________________________46

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Family dealership Clatsop Power Equipment, on the other side of the dunes from the Pacific Ocean, offers a diverse range of products, friendly service, beginning on Page 8. (Photo by Dan Shell; cover design by Shelley Smith)

Member Verified Audit Circulation Power Equipment Trade (ISSN 1063-0414) is published 6 times annually (February, April, June, August, October and December) by Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc., 225 Hanrick St., Montgomery, AL 36104. Subscription Information—PET is sent free to qualifying industry professionals in the U.S. All non-qualified U.S. subscriptions are $55 annually; $65 in Canada; $95 (Airmail) in all other countries (U.S. funds). Single copies, $5 each; special issues, $20 (U.S. funds). Subscription Inquiries—TOLL-FREE 800-669-5613; Fax 888-611-4525. Go to www.poweret.com and click on the subscribe button to subscribe/renew via the web. All advertisements for Power Equipment Trade magazine are accepted and published by Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc. with the understanding that the advertiser and/or advertising agency are authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof. The advertiser and/or advertising agency will defend, indemnify and hold Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc. harmless from and against any loss, expenses, or other liability resulting from any claims or lawsuits for libel violations or right of privacy or publicity, plagiarism, copyright or trademark infringement and any other claims or lawsuits that may arise out of publication of such advertisement. Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc. neither endorses nor makes any representation or guarantee as to the quality of goods and services advertised in Power Equipment Trade. Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc. reserves the right to reject any advertisement which it deems inappropriate. Copyright ® 2017. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Ala. and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. Postmaster: Please send address changes to Power Equipment Trade, P.O. Box 2419, Montgomery, Alabama 36102-2419. Other Hatton-Brown Publications: Timber Harvesting n Southern Loggin’ Times n Timber Processing n Panel World n Wood Bioenergy

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POWERsuppliers

Briggs & Stratton Invests $12 Million In Alabama In late October, Briggs & Stratton President and CEO Todd Teske as well as Senior Vice President and President- Global Engines & Power Dave Rodgers welcomed Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, Jr. to the Briggs & Stratton Auburn, Ala. Vanguard Engine production facility, where the company announced a $12 million investment to bring V-Twin Vanguard engine manufacturing to the U.S. Gov. Ivey exclaimed, “It’s an exciting day for our great state!” This move will create 50 jobs in Alabama. During the press conference, Teske commented that by moving production from Japan to the U.S. Briggs is able to bring manufacturing closer to its engineering arm as well as engine dealers and end-users. Auburn Mayor Ham with Todd Teske, as Dave Rodgers looks on. Rodgers, who commented that the Alabama move is part of a larger commercial growth strategy tion to the U.S.,“by moving to the U.S. Briggs has the ability for the world’s largest manufacturer of small engines, said to be more flexible—delivering the right product to customdealers can expect faster production times and faster shipers easier. People don’t want to wait, and Auburn has proven ping once the move has been completed. Production of with the 810cc to have the capabilities to do the commercial V-Twin Vanguard engines in the company’s U.S. plants is manufacturing in the U.S. This investment is in world-class expected to be phased in beginning in the middle of 2018 equipment to further capacity for the highest quality.” through the middle of 2019. Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, Jr. presented Teske with an offi“Previously made in Japan,” Rodgers said in an exclusive cial proclamation declaring October 30, 2017 “Briggs & PET interview about relocating Vanguard V-Twin producStratton Day” in the City of Auburn.

Dealers, OEMs Differ On Inventory Survey An article in the Equipment Dealers Assn. (EDA) United Voice newsletter shows results of a survey conducted by the (EDA) and the Association of Equipment Manufactures (AEM) that reveals differing opinions between dealers and manufacturers on satisfactory inventory levels in 2016 and 2017. Interestingly, both groups surveyed their members with the same questions. The survey showed dealers feel better about their inventories in 2017 than they did in 2016, as 43% of dealers who participated in the survey feel their new equipment inventory is just right. Another 43% say it is too high. The remaining 14% feel it is too low. By comparison, in 2016, 62% of dealers felt their new equipment inventory was too high, and 30% felt it was just right. Looking at used inventory, in 2016 59% of dealers thought their used inventory was too high. This year, that’s fallen to 48%. In 2017, 36% of dealers think their used inventory is just right, which is six percentage points higher 6

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than last year. According to the article, “Dealers have been more effective in managing their used inventory since the last survey,” Kim Rominger, CEO of EDA says. “This is vitally important for the health of our dealers.” In partnership with EDA, the Association of Equipment Manufactures (AEM) surveyed its members with the same questions. Results revealed differences, as only 6% of manufacturers think dealer inventories are too high compared to dealers’ 43%. A majority (72%) of OEMs feel 2017 inventory levels are just right, 72% feel that way about new equipment, and 76% about used equipment. In 2016, 43% of manufacturers thought dealership inventories were just right. Potentially driving the differences is that dealers have a more immediate point of view and are likely considering inventories of multiple brands, whereas manufacturers are focused only on their brand and longer-term perspective. “The discrepancy in the results between dealer and manufacturer participants is not surprising based upon the disparity in dealership group size and

the year that we have had,” Rominger says. “Large agricultural dealers tend to have higher-value, late-model, large used equipment without the diversity of the market enjoyed by small agricultural equipment dealers. Larger agricultural equipment seems to be moving more slowly and is requiring more effort or concessions on price than we are seeing in the small agricultural equipment arena.” Rominger adds while some regions are projecting record harvests, others face challenges such as heavy rainfall or drought.

PERC Announces Award Recipients

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) announced a Pennsylvania dealer and a Louisiana landscape contractor as the recipients of the second annual Propane Leadership Award during Dealer Day at GIE+EXPO 2017. PERC awarded Louisiana-based Rotolo Consulting, Inc. and R.S. Hollinger & Son, Inc. in Mountville, Pa., with the honor. Brandt Martin (RCI) and Lynn Hollinger (R.S. Hollinger & Son, Inc.)

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POWERsuppliers each received a personalized Louisville Slugger baseball bat to commemorate the award. For R.S. Hollinger, bringing propane equipment to the dealership’s sales floor helped the company get a leg up on its surrounding competition, one of the factors that convinced Ebling’s Service Plus in neighboring Myerstown to acquire the company as Hollinger and his brothers plan for retirement. Hollinger said he sees R.S. Hollinger as an early adopter in a market he believes will only grow as demand increases for reduced emissions services.

Stotz Equipment, a 25 store John Deere dealership. A previous director and president of the FarWest Equipment Dealers Assn., he has also served on John Deere’s National Dealer Advisory Group for large ag dealers and John Deere’s National Dealer Advisory Council for turf dealers.

Ariens Awarded NJPA Contract

Pferd has announced a restructuring of its sales operations into three distinct regions: East, Central and West. At the same time, the company announced the appointment of Jeffery A. Hamilton as the new Regional Sales Manager, Central. The new structure of the sales operation was made to bring greater customer focus for each region. Hamilton will be responsible for all sales management efforts, including further developing the company’s sales team, new business development, strategic planning and enhancing working relationships with customers in the central U.S., comprised of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan and Iowa. Previously, Hamilton was a Sales Territory Manager and Applications Specialist with Pferd.

Ariens Co. was recently awarded a national cooperative contract by the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA), a first for the company, and will run until 2021. This gives buyers in both the U.S. and Canada the ability to purchase landscape and grounds maintenance equipment through the contract, valid in all areas where cooperative purchasing is allowed. The NJPA cooperative purchasing program leverages the national purchasing power of more than 50,000 member agencies, while also streamlining the required purchasing process. As a government agency, NJPA establishes and provides nationally leveraged and competitively solicited purchasing contracts under the guidance of the Uniform Municipal Contracting Law. This allows NJPA more than 40,000 members to save time and money, while also avoiding low bid and low quality responses. NJPA membership is available to government, education and non-profit agencies located in all 50 states. The Ariens and Gravely award is classified under contract #062117-ACO.

EDA Names Rosztoczy Chairman

Husqvarna Expands In Arkansas

Pferd Announces New Regions, Manager

The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) has announced the election of their new Chairman of the Board, Tom Rosztoczy. Rosztoczy has served on EDA’s board since 2015, most recently as treasurer and member of the audit and finance committee. He will serve as chairman for two years. “Tom has been a leader throughout his tenure on EDA’s board,” says Brian Carpenter, outgoing chairman. “I have complete confidence that he has nothing but the best of intentions for the association and that he will work tirelessly to ensure we are providing value to our members.” A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in industrial engineering, Rosztoczy is President and CEO of

From Far, Wide Dealers At GIE

Husqvarna Group held a groundbreaking ceremony November 8 in Nashville, Ark., marking the beginning of a new 350,300 sq. ft. distribution center and materials warehouse facility. The new facility is projected to be fully operational by the end of 2018. Serving primarily as warehouse, staging, and storage, the new facility is located adjacent the current manufacturing facilities in Nashville where chain saws, trimmers, blowers, pole saws, and hedge trimmers are made for the Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, Jonsered, McCulloch and Weed Eater brands. The new distribution center will significantly impact operational efficiencies by localizing distribution operations and automating the transfer of

GIE+EXPO has been lauded as the premier venue for lawn and garden power equipment dealers in the country to learn best business practices, new products and sharpen service skills. Dealers from as far as Hawaii have made the trek and stopped to say hello at the PET booth. This year? Our Traveler Of The Year Award goes to brothers Derek and William Inglis of Leinster Turf Equipment, a dealership in Trim, County Meath, Ireland, servicing mainly commercial and municipal accounts selling John Deere, Snapper, Tanaka and Masport, among others. finished product from the assembly line to the warehouse. The investment includes an adjacent four-acre site to be used as a trailer court. Once the new facility is operational, the company’s manufacturing, warehousing and distribution footprint in Nashville will exceed 874,000 sq. ft. “We’re always looking for ways to better serve our customers in an increasingly competitive market, and this new state-of-the-art facility will help us improve our product/cost value position by optimizing warehousing and distribution,” Jim Moore, Vice President and General Manager of Sourcing, Operations, and Supply Chain for Husqvarna Group’s Consumer Brands Division says. The ground-breaking event coincided with a “flip-the-switch” event for the company’s new solar power generating facility at its injection molding plant nearby.

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Local Reputation, Top Brands Keys To Dealership Success Clatsop Power Equipment recently celebrated 30 years in business thanks to diverse products, customer service. BY DAN SHELL ASTORIA, Ore. perating on the edge of the continent like Clatsop Power Equipment does presents both challenges and opportunities. One challenge is that when you’re backed up against the Pacific Ocean in extreme northwest Oregon, there’s only a 180° selling radius back to the east and up and down Hwy 101. Yet the maritime location and mild climate combine to create a diverse power equipment market along the Oregon coast. Located along the original Hwy 101

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Pacific Coast Highway in the Miles Crossing community just across the upper end of Young’s Bay south of downtown Astoria, Clatsop Power Equipment has operated in the same location for 31 years. Led by owners Fred and Ann Mestrich, the dealership followed Mestrich’s long career in the area as a vocational small engine instructor who ended up doing some work out of his garage at home before moving to “the intersection” at Miles Crossing where he owned a piece of property. Mestrich credits the dealership’s longevity and success to offering top, premium brands in each small engine category, plus a willingness to try and offer different things to serve the local market. As an example, Clatsop Power has carried outboard motors since it opened, and the company also has a small rental program. The couple’s two sons also play vital roles in the business: Bryan worked 25 years in the service department and has

moved into more of a leadership role in the showroom and at the parts counter the past few years. Gregg heads up Clatsop Power’s Evinrude outboard motor dealership, handling sales and service for a key part of the business. It doesn’t hurt that Mestrich is a true webfoot native Oregonian who grew up in the Astoria area—and he taught small engine mechanics for almost two decades in a vo-tech school located just behind his current business. During that time he also worked briefly for a local small engine dealership, and after that ran a small engine repair service out of his home garage until he decided to move and expand into whole goods at the current site in June 1986. He had bought a corner property at Miles Crossing—a funky intersection where four roads meet yet Hwy 101 has a no-stop right-of-way—as an investment, then ended up moving his business there. “A lot of my customers are former students,” Mestrich says.

Premium products from top brands are a big part of success, Mestrich says.

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From left, brothers Gregg and Bryan play key roles in the business, as do their parents and founders Ann and Fred Mestrich.

Markets The dealership carries Deere, Walker and Honda wheeled equipment (plus Honda generators) and Stihl handheld equipment. The Evinrude outboard dealership has been a part of the business since Day 1. “When dad opened the business his theory was to try and stay busy all four seasons,” Bryan says of the boat engine market niche. “It’s a big part of the business, and it brings in a different kind of customer for us so that’s good.” The coastal Oregon climate makes for a different power equipment market than the rest of the state: damper and more temperate, with a longer growing season. “The growing season here is almost twice as long as the valley. Here, we start about two months earlier, and while a lot of dealers in the state are winding down by late July, we don’t get a break here ’til after Labor Day,” Bryan says. He adds that the local area gets a lot of heavy sea fog that adds to the general dampness, and that means things like tougher bagging conditions with wet clippings yet better forestry conditions that allow timber fallers in the region to work more hours. (Each year in Oregon and other West Coast states, dry fall weather restricts logging activities maybe 3-6 weeks depending on ground conditions, but not so much within 25-30 miles of the Pacific Ocean and in the Coast Range mountains where it rains more and stays cooler.)

An Evinrude outboard dealership has been a big part of the business since Day 1.

The climate is one reason the Walker line was added seven years ago: “In our climate, everyone wants to bag because the grass grows too fast and mulching doesn’t work well because it’s so damp,” Bryan says. “That’s one of the reasons we added Walker because we really liked their bagging system.” And while the local timber cutting market may have changed drastically since the dealership’s founding, pro timber fallers still make up a good part of the handheld business, but it’s different than years ago. “We’ve seen a big decline in the number of logging saws we sell,” Bryan says, noting that while every logger out there still has a saw—or even a handful

of them—the days of the large contract cutter crews are over. Thanks to mechanization, “Crews of 20-25 fallers are now five or six timber fallers,” Bryan says, “We used to have customers who bought a new saw every year—and that was every pro saw guy. Now, the timber fallers buy a new saw every other year.” Overall, roughly 75% of the dealership’s business is from homeowners, commercial operators 20-25% and another 5% or so in municipal-institutional accounts. The local market is a major tourist area, with lots of for-rent properties and second homes that need lawn and garden maintenance.

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The outboard dealership caters to boaters in the area and works with fall fishermen and duck hunters into the early winter and also with local canneries and several local oyster farms.

Operations

Service department operates with three technicians.

Gregg Mestrich heads up the Evinrude dealership’s sales and service efforts.

Clatsop Power operates with three full-time technicians: One dedicated to riding and wheeled equipment, the other dedicated to handheld and non-riding equipment, and Gregg, who handles the outboard engine and boat work. The staff features three Stihl Gold Certified technicians (including Bryan). Technicians work on a straight hourly pay rate. “In a small business like ours, we have to wear too many hats to do much flat-rating,” Bryan says. “You might be working away at a pile of saws then get word a piece of rental equipment has broken down and needs a visit.” Due to its rural location and local “go-to” reputation when it comes to small engine issues, Clatsop Power will at least look at any potential service job that comes in the door—and the service department will work on anything it can if possible. “We work on all brands and will look at just about anything.” Fred says, adding that a minimum shop charge is explained to customers bringing in potential service work. But he also likes the moment as a selling opportunity. “Talking about a customer’s repair job and equipment needs frequently leads to an equipment sale,” Fred adds. In addition to the family members and three technicians, the dealership also employs one full-time employee and a part-time employee. Offering solid employment is a key business philosophy for Mestrich, who says he strives to make sure he can always provide a 40 hour week plus benefits. Maintaining a stable staff provides a better business benefit than hiring extra help only to lay people off seasonally, he believes. “We’d rather run a little shorthanded and pay the overtime instead of PET having to lay people off,” he says.

Read And See More About Clatsop Power!

visit poweret.com Media Center

Clatsop Power has operated in same location 31 years.

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2018trimmerbrushcutterpreview (Material supplied by Makita)

Makita Gives Landscapers More: Efficient 4-Stroke, Convenient Cordless Makita is giving landscapers more trimming options that include efficient 4-stroke engine power equipment that requires no fuel mixing, and cordless power equipment engineered for commercial-duty performance but without the noise, emissions and maintenance of gas equipment.

4-Stroke Hedge Trimmers Makita offers three 4stroke engine hedge trimmers, and each are loaded with features for faster trimming: 20-in. 25.4cc MM4 Articulating Hedge Trimmer (EN4950H): Features an articulating gear case with 13 angle settings for efficient trimming of overhead and low-lying hedges. 24-in. 25.4cc MM4 Double-Sided Hedge Trimmer (EN5950SH): The 24-in. double-sided blade has high blade speed (4,200 SPM) for efficient cutting. 30-in. 25.4cc MM4 Single-Sided Hedge Trimmer (EN7350SH): Combines high blade speed (4,200 SPM) with an innovative scoop-shaped chip receiver for faster, easier clean-ups. Each Makita 4-stroke hedge trimmer features Makita’s mechanical automatic engine decompression for quicker, easier starts, and a multi-position lubrication system that enables these trimmers to be inclined to any angle for continuous operation.

No Fuel Mixing, Faster Starts, and More In addition to hedge trimmers, Makita MM4 4-stroke engine power equipment also includes string trimmers, brush trimmers, edgers, and pole pruners, as well as backpack and handheld blowers. For landscapers, engine seizure due to improper fuel and oil mixing is one of the most common failures of 2-stroke power equipment, and Makita MM4 4-stroke power equipment is the solution. These efficient 4-stroke engine solutions go beyond exceptional tool performance as they require no fuel mixing so users require only one gas can for all of their power equipment. They’re engineered to run quieter, idle smoother, have lower emissions and give users quicker and easier starts.

The Cordless Experts On the cordless side, Makita has been a leading innovator since 2005 when it created the 18V lithium-ion tool category with LXT. Today, LXT 14

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is the world’s largest cordless tool system powered by 18V lithium-ion batteries, with over 175 cordless solutions and an expanding line of cordless power equipment. For high-demand applications Makita created 18V X2 (36V) LXT technology powered by two 18V batteries. 18V X2 is engineered to deliver maximum power and run time for select highest-demand power equipment like blowers, trimmers, and chain saws (as well as tools including circular saws and rotary hammers) but without leaving the 18V battery platform or investing in heavier, high-voltage batteries with limited compatibility.

18V X2 String Trimmer Makita cordless power equipment includes the 18V X2 (36V) LXT brushless string trimmer (XRU09PT). It’s powered by two fast-charging 18V LXT batteries for maximum power and run time, and features an efficient brushless motor. Two fully-charged 18V 5.0Ah batteries deliver up to 60 minutes of runtime on the low setting on a single charge. The string trimmer rotates in the same counter-clockwise direction as professional-grade trimmers, and uses industry standard spindles (M10x1.25 LH). For increased durability, it features Makita extreme protection technology (XPT), a protective seal inside the tool engineered for improved operation in harsh conditions by channeling water and dust from key internal components.

Lower Noise, Less Maintenance Makita cordless trimmers—as well as chain saws, blowers and mowers—require no gasoline or 2-stroke oil mix, which is cost savings for users. Cordless equipment, especially brushless, requires little maintenance compared to gas-powered equipment and this is an added convenience feature for contractors. In addition, cordless power equipment has lower noise than gas powered equipment. Here is a comparison of two hand-held blowers: Makita 18V X2 (36V) LXT brushless cordless blower (XBU02Z): 60.2 dB(A) Stihl handheld 2-stroke gas powered blower (BG 86 C-E): 70 dB(A) Finally, battery-powered power equipment has none of the emissions associated with gas powered equipment. For more information, visit makitatools.com/ope

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2018trimmerbrushcutterpreview (Material supplied by Rotary Corp.)

Rotary Offers Vast Assortment Trimmer Line, Parts, Accessories A full line of commercial strength trimmer line, parts and accessories are among more than 9,500 items featured in Rotary’s new 2018 catalog for servicing dealers and distributors. A special 28-page trimmer section includes photos, illustrations and descriptions, plus a trimmer head application chart. Featured items for 2018 include diamond-cut line, quad-tex line, premium quad line, precut line—and Rotary’s best-selling twisted vortex line, which produces less noise and requires less operating power. In addition, Rotary offers a variety of fast loading trimmer heads, replacement spools, covers, housing and cam assemblies. Popular commercial trimmer systems with professional bump-n-feed heads are available for easy line advancing and dual line indexing with durable nylon construction and a large capacity spool for easy release.

World-Class Trimmer Line Using advanced technology and propriety nylon raw materials, Rotary’s trimmer line sets industry standards for durability, performance and unmatched quality. Rotary’s trimmer line is manufactured in the U.S. by Desert Extrusion, a state-of-the art production facility in Phoenix, Ariz., acquired by Rotary in early 2017.

Rotary Quality, Performance Superior tensile strength flex life l High impact strength l Outstanding wear resistance l Optimum performance in hot, cold, dry or wet conditions l

l Excellent

Rotary trimmer line products are sold in all 50 states and more than 75 countries around the world. 315 new items are listed in Rotary’s 2018 master catalog. It includes over 1,675 pages complete with photos, descriptions and cross referencing numbers for most all brands along with many hard-to-find and discontinued parts. The entire catalog may be downloaded in PDF format from the company’s userfriendly website at rotarycorp.com. Founded in 1957, the family-owned company operates eight U.S. distribution centers, plus a manufacturing division that produces lawn mower blades, edger blades and air filters at its state-of-the-art facilities in Georgia. Approximately 80% of Rotary’s complete line of parts are made in the U.S. In 2015, Rotary completed a major expansion and upgrade of its shipping and fulfillment operations. Next day delivery is now available to nearly 85% of Rotary’s customers in the continental U.S. with same day shipping for most orders received by 4 p.m. EST. For more information, visit rotarycorp.com. 16

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2018trimmerbrushcutterpreview (Material supplied by Husqvarna)

536 LiHE3 Hedge Trimmer From Husqvarna Designed for commercial-grade use, Husqvarna’s 536 LiHE3 battery-powered hedge trimmer complements the existing 536 LiHD60X battery-powered hedge trimmer by offering a slightly shorter (22-in.) knife, an extended shaft, as well as an articulating cutting head. The 536 LiHE3 model is powered by a lithium-ion battery that is interchangeable with the rest of the Husqvarna Battery Series lineup, allowing operators to quickly switch batteries between different pieces of Husqvarna equipment. (Battery and charger sold separately.) Powered by a highly efficient motor with top-of-the-line ergonomic design, the 536 LiHE3 provides optimal cutting results with user comfort and productivity in mind. For easier maneuvering, this battery-powered hedge trimmer includes an adjustable, pivoting rear handle for both vertical and horizontal cutting. Quiet and lightweight—weighing only 9.2 lbs.—other features of the 536 LiHE3 include a barrier bar, support cut, harness, transport guard

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and tools, an easy-to-operate, intuitive key pad. Husqvarna continues to lead in the battery-powered market segment with innovative technology that matches gas-powered equipment in performance, efficiency and durability. The Husqvarna Battery Series offers users power, performance and intuitive design. Husqvarna’s range of highly-efficient professional handheld products, driven by a powerful lithium-ion battery pack, ensures users significantly less noise and vibrations, with minimal maintenance and no direct emissions. For more information, visit husqvarna.com/us.

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2018trimmerbrushcutterpreview (Material supplied by Gold Eagle Co.)

Sta-Bil Keeps Fuel Fresh Will your power equipment start this spring? Will your trimmers, mowers and brushcutters be ready to roar back to life? They will if you used Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer before you stored them for the off-season. Sta-Bil keeps fuel fresh for quick easy starts. It removes water to prevent corrosion and cleanses carburetors and fuel injectors. Sta-Bil also protects engines from gum, varnish, rust and corrosion and prolongs the life of any engine. Sta-Bil eliminates the need to drain the fuel of your 2or 4-cycle engine. l Keeps fuel fresh for up to 24 months l Eliminates the need to drain fuel l Ensures quick, easy starts after storage l Prevents gum and varnish buildup l Effective in all gasoline, including ethanol blends l For all gasoline engines, including 2-cycle

“Fuel can deteriorate in as little as 60 days causing gum and varnish build-up in engines resulting in hard starting, poor performance and reduced engine life,” says Matt Banach, Brand Creative Director for Gold Eagle Co., makers of Sta-Bil. “Add Sta-Bil Storage Fuel Stabilizer to fresh fuel to prevent fuel deterioration; then fill your fuel tank. A full tank prevents water condensation from getting in the tank and causing corrosion. Draining fuel does not prevent varnish formation in engines as fuel is left behind in the fuel system. Plus gaskets can dry out resulting in leaks in the spring. Sta-Bil Storage helps guard against phase separation, prevents corrosion and cleans the fuel system. The Sta-Bil brand family of products has been used and trusted by both consumers and equipment manufacturers for more than 50 years. Sta-Bil has been recommended by more than 100 OEMs, and has been used and trusted by consumers for over 60 years. 20

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Whether for day-to-day use or during long periods of storage, you can rely on Sta-Bil’s powerful fuel additives to protect your equipment from today’s fuels. For more information, visit goldeagle.com.

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2018trimmerbrushcutterpreview (Material supplied by Stihl)

Stihl String Trimmers: Pick Your Power For more than 90 years, Stihl has been defining the future of handheld power equipment. We’ve applied this legacy of innovation to our line of string trimmers—allowing your customers even more options to pick their power with the extensive Stihl lineup of gasoline and battery equipment.

Stihl Battery-Powered String Trimmers STIHL FSA 90 R String Trimmer: The Stihl FSA 90 R delivers power while saving time and money on the job site. Features include: l Quiet operation, great for landscaping in noise-sensitive areas like school grounds, business districts or hospitals l Performance professionals need with the powerful brushless motor, which delivers a high cutting speed l Low vibration, reducing fatigue on long jobs “Light, powerful and easy. You just unlock, press the trigger and go.”—Marciaatoz, WA

Stihl Gasoline-Powered String Trimmers Stihl FS 91 R String Trimmer: The Stihl FS 91 R provides long run times, simplified starting and improved filtration, helping pros tackle tough jobs with ease. It features: l A simplified three-step starting procedure. To start, users simply purge the primer bulb, set the choke and pull the starter handle. l Rubberized handles for a comfortable grip l Straight, steel drive shaft designed for professional grade-durability “This is the only trimmer that you need on your trailer. It is powerful enough to do brush clearing jobs yet versatile enough for the trimming around the house.”—Nick23, TN With so many great options for users to pick their power, it’s no wonder Stihl continues to be a leading provider of power equipment among landscape professionals and consumers in America. For more information, visit STIHLusa.com. 22

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2018trimmerbrushcutterpreview (Material supplied by Sunbelt)

Trimmer Line Styles Explained By Sunbelt Trimmer line comes in several different styles, each with its own advantages and target applications. We’ll review three common types of trimmer line used, to help you better understand the variety of lines produced today and also to help you assist customers in selecting the right type of line for their applications.

ucts to your business, call today to find out how to become a reseller.

For more information, call 800/4380660; visit sunbeltparts.com.

Round Round trimmer line is a long time standard and works best in situations where it is not necessary to cut through thick growth of grass and weeds. It is less likely to break during contact with concrete and other types of objects.

Square Square line provides cutting edges that round line does not. This makes it better at producing an even cut and allows you to take on areas with heavy weed or grass growth. It is more prone to break if it comes in contact with concrete or fences.

Twist Twisted line adds strength and durability to traditional round line; it is commonly used by professionals as it is rugged and less likely to break and is also capable of handling thick, heavy weeds and grass. Sunbelt Outdoor Products offers all three of these styles of trimmer line in a variety of diameters. We carry three of the top industry brands: Professional, Titanium and Rino Tuff line. With variety and selection, Sunbelt is ready to assist dealers in getting the right line for their customers, with fast shipping from a nationwide warehouse network. To add these, and other great Sunbelt prodPOWER EQUIPMENT TRADE

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2018trimmerbrushcutterpreview (Material supplied by B3C Fuel Solutions)

Fuel Storage Issues Let’s talk about bad fuel issues, starting with condensation. The air inside the gas can/tank has moisture in it. When it comes

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into contact with cooler air in the tank or even the fuel itself, the water will condense. Then the ethanol in the gas will absorb the water to a certain point. Once the ethanol reaches a certain saturation point, it phase separates. Now the problems really accelerate. The ethanol/water mixture becomes very corrosive and will eat fuel system components. Carburetors and other parts need to be replaced. Plus, the ethanol-blended fuel dries out rubber and plastic parts. This will happen even on equipment used every day. Next thing you know, this equipment is coming back as a return. Not your fault, but is your problem! Before storing equipment, most owner manuals suggest to drain the gas and run the machine dry. Is there an alternative to going through all this trouble? What can stop these fuel issues from happening? The simple answer is using a quality fuel stabilizer, like Ethanol Shield, in all equipment, all of the time (especially in storage). It will protect against all of the ethanol issues, from dried lines to stale fuel. Another helpful tip is to keep the tank 95% full to reduce the amount of condensation. For a non-additive storage solution, customers can use a patented fuel drying and stabilization technology, Fuel Life, a patented fuel stabilizer that removes water and neutralizes the fuel decay-causing compounds that lead to engine problems. Used together, these products provide the “gold standard” of equipment protection all year long, including during storage. While bad fuel during storage could become your (and your customer’s) problem, there are solutions and benefits that include reductions in fuel-related warranty issues, increased customer satisfaction, and positive environmental impact with less bad gas disposal. Visit B3Cfuel.com.

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DEALERvoices

When In Doubt Be Professional While commonplace, it’s not always a good idea to let a high level of professionalism slide. Some people notice—and don’t respond well. BY SAM STEARNS

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t’s been a short time since GIE+ EXPO in Louisville, Ky., so a lot of it is still fresh in my mind. If you haven’t attended before, I strongly encourage you to make plans to attend next year. This year, as in every previous year, I was able to receive a lot of wonderful advice and coaching from experienced industry professionals that helps me get closer to attaining my goals as a business owner during the next year. As my business is in a position to grow significantly during the next few years, I was also interested in making contact with various OEMs and distributors whose products I would consider offering to my customers in the future, as well as with other companies that offer products and services that could help facilitate the growth of my small business. One thing I love about the EXPO, being a dealer, is the way I’m generally received by representatives from companies that see me as a potential customer. When someone is hoping to attract your business, they tend to be rather friendly and accommodating. That’s why I don’t worry so much about revealing my ignorance about something that’s new to me. You can straightforwardly ask one of these friendly representatives your “stupid” question, and they’re usually eager to help you understand their product or service and how it can benefit your business. I view it as a can’t lose interaction.

There’s a rather high level of professionalism that I like to see from the companies that seek to do business with me. The presence of this level of professionalism, or lack thereof, plays a significant role in my decision to do or not to do business with a company. “Professionalism” is a rather broad word that encompasses several different aspects, too many to address in this column. So today, I want to focus on the language representatives use with prospective customers like me. To the OEMs, distributors, and other companies reading this: Pay attention! I’m telling you how I expect you to interact with me. Readers may find me to be somewhat of a relic from a bygone era, but one thing I never adopted into my everyday vocabulary was the use of what we know as curse words. We all know what they are, so there’s no need to elaborate. Sadly, these kinds of words seem to be universally permitted in common parlance today, in stark contrast with what was considered to be appropriate a few decades ago. Even when it began to become acceptable to use such language in everyday conversation, it seems that business communication still maintained a higher standard of propriety. But even though business communication may still hold to a higher standard than that of everyday speaking, it still has devolved into something that would’ve been considered unthinkable years ago. As you probably realize by this point, it’s a major turn-off for me, and I know that although I’m almost certainly in the minority, I’m not completely alone. My suggestion to company reps is that they make an effort to raise their communication standards by eliminating such words from their vocabulary while representing their company. When you’re talking with a potential client with whom you are unfamiliar, you need to play it safe by keeping the conversation G-rated. Pretend you’re

talking to your grandmother at church. If the potential client peppers his half of the conversation with four-letter words and the like, then, and only then, might you consider it safe to interact with him in like manner. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a company rep starts using questionable language with me when I have never given that person any indication that it’s acceptable to talk to me like that. Did I ever use that kind of language when talking to you? Then why do you think it’s OK to use it with me? There’s absolutely nothing you need to communicate to me that requires you to incorporate foul language. Even if a prospective client would be accepting of that kind of language, I suggest you can still play it safe and be just fine for not matching his level of conversation. As a dealer, I have many customers who simply don’t care what comes out of their mouths. I can assure you that none of them have been offended that I don’t utilize the same kind of language in return. There is no situation when you need to talk that way, and there are some situations when you need not to talk that way. The safest policy is to maintain that same level of professionalism at all times, with every client. I wanted to make sure to give some space here to Walker Mowers, whose professionalism made a wonderful impression on me at EXPO. The rep that spoke to me was warm, engaging and respectful in every way. The way he interacted with me is exactly the way I seek to interact with all my customers, and the way I believe all companies should interact with people they’ve never met before. And not only that, but this Walker rep invited me and the young man with me to join him and his Walker cohorts for dinner that evening, which we were happy to do. During dinner, I noticed that even in a relaxed, social setting, the level of professionalism exhibited by the entire Walker staff didn’t lower one bit. That’s a wonderful example for all companies, in my opinion. I may never become a Walker dealer, but I’ll alPET ways remember that. Sam Stearns owns and operates Mr. Mowerman, Scottsburg, IN 47170; e-mail: mr.mowerman@hotmail.com. The views of Sam Stearns do not necessarily represent

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11/30/17 10:44 AM


Five Minutes With... Ariens Co.’s Nick Ariens PET asked Nick Ariens for a glimpse into working for a company that turned his last name into one of the most recognizable brands in lawn and garden.

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or Nick Ariens, every day, every week, at the Ariens plant in Brillion, Wis. is different. As the Director of Product Development for his family business, the oldest of Ariens Co. CEO Dan Ariens’ five children, says he genuinely enjoys coming to work every day. We grabbed him to find out what he thinks the industry might look like in five years and does the Babson College grad ever feel pressure working for his father? Power Equipment Trade: Working in a family business is not a Nick Ariens strange concept for power equipment dealers. What’s it like working for your family? Is it what you always wanted to do? Nick Ariens: You are right in that many of our dealer partners are family businesses, which makes it easy for us to connect with them on a more personal level: We understand the dynamics of family business! For me, working with my family is not an issue. We have long held (in an unspoken manner) that business issues stay at work and aren’t discussed at the dinner table. That is how we were all brought up. While hard to maintain at times, it creates a lot of time to “turn it off” so we can enjoy family gatherings without it turning into discussions on the merits of all-steel con26

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struction on snowblowers. In separating “work time” from “family time” it created an environment for me where I never felt pressure to join the business. We have one rule that we all know about: Should we want to join the business, we need to spend at least two years outside the business after school, and we have to qualify for the position. Because of this rule, I never considered Ariens during my schooling and it led to the start of a great career at General Mills. Only after I completed my MBA did I think about joining the business, and we happened to have a position open that interested me and that I qualified for. PET: Does seeing your name on the door cause you to stop and push harder sometimes? NA: Our vision statement is “Passionate People, Astounded Customers,” so were I not passionate about what I do I would not have a job here, regardless of my last name. It would be counter to our company culture. The nice thing about that being the foundation of our culture is that I don’t have to worry too much about the legacy of our brands, one of which carries my last name, because the people that work here care just as much as any of the family members do. We consider all of our employees to be part of the family and in their passion they act as though it’s their last name on the door as well. PET: As Director of Product Development, where do you see the most opportunity for dealers? I don’t see a product or product category in itself that is only an opportunity for dealers. In fact, I think if dealers want to compete against other channels—mass merchant and e-commerce,

for example on product alone that (in the long term) is going to be a losing battle. However, I see significant opportunity for dealers by being really good at the one thing other channels cannot provide: Full service cradle to grave solutions provider for their local populace. Dealers are the only channel today that offers customers a source for new products, fantastic service on maintenance and consumable parts, expertise on all things outdoor power related, and a potential outlet for their “retired” outdoor power products. By being really good at those things, consumers will have no choice but to engage and transact with their local dealers. PET: So, you’re seeing/projecting increased demand on high-end affordable machines? (Considering the launch of the new snow line and the pro-walk mower?) NA: We’re seeing growth across all categories at this point in our industry, so I wouldn’t say that our product launches indicated a unique trend—it just kind of happened that way. For example, last year we had several product launches in our residential zero-turn business. Next year, we will see both commercial and residential launches in lawn and garden and some exciting stuff in snow. PET: How do you see markets developing in the next 5-10 years? NA: We see a few trends in the product market for the next 5-10 years: Lithium ion as a power source, low or no maintenance products and automation (or at least intelligent assistance). Will all of these technologies be completely mainstream in that time? I am not sure yet, but certainly they will be much more important than they are today. In the marketplace, the trend for ecommerce will continue to grow, although I don’t think it will kill traditional brick and mortar. Back to my earlier point, dealers as full service providers

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will be critical. Further, I think having a significant digital presence as a dealer will be non-negotiable for a consumer. Everything from video “how to’s” to maintenance scheduling will be something a consumer will demand from their local dealer. PET: How important is the dealer going to be as cities are moving to mixed use communities and projecting more and more millennials in high rises? NA: This is a hard question to answer, because it varies so wildly from city to city. I would say this: A dealer has to own their market and understand their customer better than anyone. If a dealer is the market expert, any trends away from what we see today will be something they adapt to well in advance. If you are someone who is worried about what these trends mean to your business I would recommend doing a self-assessment and really coming to terms with whether you are a local market expert or not. If not, then start asking those questions today. If you are, you have probably already started to adapt your business model to the change you are likely already seeing.

DO YOU HAVE A STORY IDEA FOR POWER EQUIPMENT TRADE? Is your dealership doing something different than the other guys that sets you up for success? Do you have a technician who really knows his stuff, and designed something awesome that could help other dealers? Dan and Jessica want to know about it! Drop an email to jessica@hattonbrown.com with a few basics and we will be in touch. Don’t have a story but want to provide some feedback on an issue? The complaint department can be reached at dan@hattonbrown.com.

PET: What about the Ariens product offering? NA: We go to where the consumer is, and we do market research relentlessly. We have started seeing some of the movement you describe in certain areas and have developed product more closely suited to it. We have also seen that demand for more traditional products has not wavered (and is growing) in many areas. As a manufacturer we are largely ambivalent to these changes—we do enough research that I am confident we are developing products that consumers are demanding. PET: If you could develop any product for Ariens, what would it be? Think big! Think silly! NA: We have lots of “silly” product ideas in our R&D test center and model shop that may never see the light of day. Or they might be the next big thing. That is part of our process. I believe we have well over 100 R&D projects ongoing today, some small, some big. But unfortunately if I told you what they were, I’d be looking for a new job. I can PET say this though—stay tuned. POWER EQUIPMENT TRADE

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11/30/17 9:35 AM


GIE+EXPO 2017: Dealers Enjoy Huge Trade Show Industry’s biggest event continues to get bigger. LOUISVILLE, Ky. ontinuing to grow, attendance at GIE+EXPO 2017 was up by more than 7% from 2016 with more than 24,000 people attending. Visitors enjoyed expanded displays that were 9% larger than the year before. The increases reflect the show itself, which is growing in overall attendance, special event attendance and exhibit space at the Kentucky Exposition Center, said Outdoor Power Equipment Institute President and CEO Kris Kiser during a press conference on the show’s second day. Demand for outdoor booth space is also growing, Kiser said, pointing to the outdoor booths added in a parking lot adjacent the demo area. The outdoor space is almost maxed out, Kiser added,

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with a bit of additional room to expand back toward the main entrance area. “GIE+EXPO continues to grow in size as well as in its reputation as the industry’s gathering place,” said Kiser. “We’ve heard the contractors asking for an additional day to visit exhibits and demo equipment. So, in 2018 we’re giving them access to the show floor on Wednesday.” What that means next year is an earlier start for dealers when opening the main show floor during Dealer Day on the show’s first day. In 2018 the main show floor will open from 12 noon until 3 p.m. for dealers only, then from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. the floor is open to all visitors. New products remain the biggest draw and number one reason people attend GIE+EXPO, and this year there were over 1,000 exhibits indoors and out in GIE+EXPO and the co-located Hardscape North America trade show. The event included 226 new exhibitors, and the indoor show floor was 50,000

The 2017 event featured more than 200 new exhibitors.

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square feet larger than 2016. The 2017 equipment show saw the continued the expansion of battery-powered and rechargeable products. Stihl and Honda introduced automatic mowing systems, Husqvarna showed its longtime auto-mowing system, Oregon introduced the first 120V handheld rechargeable tool package and a growing throng of on- and offshore suppliers displayed battery-powered product seeking a private label or retail niche in the lawn and garden market. “One reason you’re seeing all this battery-powered equipment is because of ethanol,” said Kiser. Consumers are tired of gas and oil issues and ethanol-related fuel system repairs, “and the problem is not getting any better.” Commenting on the seeming resurgence of automatic mowing systems on display, Kiser said he’s heard of some landscapers trying them to save on labor. As an aside, Kiser noted that an industry group is working to finalize its first robotics standard, due out soon. “Robotics are coming, people, so we’d better get ready,” he said. Looking at Stihl’s recently introduced iMow rechargeable automatic mowing system, Stihl Inc. President Bjoern Fischer said the mower was part of Stihl’s ongoing effort to offer a full range of gas- and battery-powered products. “Battery technology is continually advancing that will allow expanded opportunities and more applications,” Fischer said, adding that battery-powered markets are “growing very fast. And you’ll also see more power and shorter recharge times as the technology advances.” Fischer also noted Stihl dealers performed well during the hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida. Many dealers in

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the storm areas were able to stock up on parts and product beforehand, and some distributors rented their own trucks and made deliveries when third parties weren’t running, he added. “It’s devastating to see how hard people are hit by these storms, but it’s rewarding to see dealers serving their communities with new products, service and safety equipment,” Fischer said.

Dealer Events During GIE+EXPO 2017, PET live streamed eight dealer business management seminars from the poweret.com web site (footage now available at poweret.com, along with files of some presentations). Many dealerships are family businesses, and Sarah Hey of Bob Clements International gave a highly relevant presentation on working with family members in daily operations and overall business direction. A key to families working together successfully is plenty of communication, plus clear boundaries on business roles and behavior, Hey said. Communication also means having a clear plan on business direction and succession. “Lack of communication leads to a lack of trust that leaves room for doubt,” Hey said. She added that having non-family members in the business who can speak openly to family members are valuable business tools. Hey noted that among the biggest sources of conflict are unclear expectations and personality differences, and reminded dealers that anything that’s not addressed is allowed. Other Dealer Day events included focused education, basic and advanced tech training. Dealership consultant Bob Clements’ People, Process, Profit Boot Camp drew an average of 160 attendees to each of its three sessions. The Dealer Keynote Luncheon, sponsored by Gravely and Stihl, drew more than 400 participants to hear noted economist Alan Beaulieu discuss emerging economic trends and how to take advantage of them. During a reception on the show floor Wednesday evening, exhibitors held prize drawings and entertained dealers and retailers with music, food, beverages and games. Matthew Owen of Big Ridge Outdoor Equipment, Brevard, NC, won the $5,000 Stihl giveaway. Other exhibitors also held product giveaways: ● In the first-ever $20,000 UTV

Indoor show floor was 50,000 sq. ft. bigger this year, and outdoor space sold out.

Dealer opportunities included technical training, business seminars and plenty of networking.

Giveaway, Andy Popst of GTM Services, Largo, Fla., won $20,000 toward his choice of UTV from participating manufacturers Bob-Cat Mowers, Cub Cadet, Hustler Turf, John Deere, Kubota, Odes UTVs and Yanmar. ● Husqvarna Professional held a drawing for a Husqvarna total fleet solution valued at $35,000, including trailer, racking and a full range of all the Husqvarna wheeled and handheld equipment a pro landscaper would need, which was won by Michael Sell of Georgetown, Ky. ● Worldlawn Power Equipment gave away a Venom 32 in. compact stand-on unit to Joshua Tate of Tate Lawn Care, Warwick, RI ● Gravely zero-turn mower winner

was Danny LaChance of Pro Cut Lawn and Landscaping in Sabattus, Me. ● Mean Green Mowers gave away a Nemesis powerful electric zero-turn mower to Steve Lilly of Rain Barrel Gutter Works, Casselberry, Fla. ● Champion Lubricants held a giveaway of $2,500 worth of 2-stroke full synthetic oil, won by Donald LaPoint of Tender Care Lawn Service in Sulphur, La. Officials with GIE+EXPO have already announced dates for 2018: October 17-19. For more information, visit gie-expo.com. Other contact points include Facebook, info@gie-expo. com, Twitter @GIE_EXPO and 800/558-8767. Online registration will be available early in 2018. PET

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INDUSTRYvoices

Why Most CRM Tools Fall Short For Dealers Vanilla tech tools aren’t cutting it for dealers: your business isn’t straight out of the box, so why should your supportive technology be? BY JEFF WINSPER

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et’s first stipulate that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) technology tools don’t solve business needs. They should not define it, and they should not shape your sales strategy. The reality is quite the opposite. Your sales strategy drives sales behavior, and your CRM systems should be flexible enough to be in a supportive position to enable more efficiency and productivity. Here is the issue though: CRM systems aren’t built for flexibility “out of the box.” Most are built to serve and scale to the masses, not with pre-built industry knowledge into the offering. Think about it,Tour de Force, salesforce.com, Sugar CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, or any number of the 40 other CRM systems used by healthcare, high-tech, financial services, chemical and every imaginable industry: What does a salesperson’s daily life working at a local retail bank have anything similar to a manager for a

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admins such as sales operations staff, and yes, software development to make the vanilla taste like chocolate. Now the $35/per seat/per month ends up more like $600 to $1,000/per seat/per month. Sometimes even more if the software development ends up over $50,000 for “vertical” industry requirements. Often, this can take months to develop while #1-#6 are happening simultaneously. Thought leaders, such as Mark Danc1. The end result is any number of the er, President of Channelvation a confollowing outcomes: sulting agency that generates ideas on 2. Usage wanes 3. Lack of proper data capture is imgrowth in complex markets, continue to possible, weak, or uninformative publish the challenges for users to adapt 4. Improper industry metrics reportto a technology, versus a technology ing unavailable pre-built for the specific needs of the in5. Little, to none, value for sharing dustrial vertical. data into other systems No other industry should know to 6. Loss of productivity, tons of trainuse the right tool for the right job beting time and distraction ter than equipment dealers that provide tools for specific on the job applications. If you are frustrated with the vapid pie in No other industry should know to the sky CRM promise, or just starting to search use the right tool for the right job for a solution, we surbetter than equipment dealers mise to look for CRM systems that are comthat provide tools for specific on mercial grade, industrial the job applications for users. tested and meet the specific needs for users at PET the outset. Back to square one, after thousands Jeff Winsper is the President of Black of dollars, hours of training, years of Ink Technologies, which helps the power subscription costs, and worse, loss of equipment industry sell more, faster and potential revenue capture smarter. The SaaS platform provides more But alas, each CRM claims the abilivisibility across the entire supply chain— ty to make the system flexible for your from a manufacturing plant, to distributor, needs and for your industry. Of course, to territory managers, to dealers, to the this is true. But this requires additional local marketplace. Contact jwinsper@ advanced operators, centralized system blackinkroi.com. power equipment dealer, or a power sports manufacturer like Yamaha, or an industrial manufacturer like Morbark? Not much. Sure, each of those CRMs tout the easy swipe of a credit card starting as low as $35 per month to get you going. But as a manager trying to make the system adapt to their needs, the frustration level rises quickly.

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12/4/17 1:43 PM


ESOPs Maximize Proceeds, Flexibility BY LANCE FORMWALT

An ESOP can be a powerful succession planning tool because it provides key advantages for sellers, employees and manufacturers.

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f you are selling your dealership, you will run into many challenges along the way. Selling a dealership is not a simple process. Among other issues, three key issues near and dear to your heart often stand in the way of a deal: (1) can I find a suitable buyer?; (2) will the buyer pay me a fair price?; and (3) is the deal structured so it sufficiently minimizes how much I’m paying Uncle Sam? An ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) can help solve these issues. Finding a Buyer: It can be difficult to find a buyer. Issues like timing, geography, financial resources and manufacturer concerns often get in the way. If nothing else, these issues will limit your options to a relatively small pool of po-

tential buyers, and identifying and narrowing down that pool of potential buyers can be a time-consuming, trial and error process. With an ESOP, there is always a buyer because you make the decision to form the ESOP trust/buyer. Obtaining a Fair Price: Even though it is possible for you to come up with an objective fair market value for your business based on its performance, a transaction involves other variables: The number of potential buyers, the brands you carry and the current good standing of your buyers with your key manufacturers are just a few. An ESOP removes this uncertainty of third party factors beyond your control and allows you to obtain a price through a valuation primarily driven by your dealership’s performance. Minimizing Tax Consequences: Transactions with third parties can sometimes involve “win-win” situations when it comes to tax consequences. But for the most part, what is best for the buyer is not what is best for the seller. The best example of this is the decision on whether the transaction should involve the sale of stock or the sale of assets. A buyer wants to buy assets because the assets can be depreciated over time and result in tax benefits. A seller prefers to sell

stock to get the better capital gains tax rates. An ESOP eliminates this issue because the only potential option is a stock sale and therefore preserves a good tax benefit for the selling dealer.

Flexibility ESOPs can provide a solution to dealers not looking to sell their entire business. You can sell any percentage of ownership to an ESOP. This allows dealerships controlled by a single family to sell ownership and create liquidity over time. It also allows diverse ownership groups to be bought out at different stages. When considering these types of transactions involving ESOPs, several important factors should be noted. Minority Interest Discount: Because an ESOP will pay for an ownership interest based on a fair market value appraisal, you should be aware that the appraiser will often assign a discount for the sale of a minority interest. However, there are a couple of factors that can reduce the effect of this. First, an appraiser may not assign a discount if the sale of stock is accompanied by an option for the ESOP trust to ➤ 35

ESOP vs. Traditional Sale Assuming sale of Company valued at $15M with $3M Basis: Sale with ESOP Rollover

Stock Sale

Sale Price

$15,000,000

Sale Price

$15,000,000

Total *Appreciation of Sales Proceeds

$15,000,000 $ 3,000,000

Federal Tax State Tax Total *Appreciation of Sales Proceeds

$ 2,856,000 $ 600,000 $11,544,000 $ 2,308,800

Total Proceeds

$18,000,000

Total Proceeds

$13,852,800

* Assuming 20% of after tax growth Fed Capital Gains Rate of 20% + 3.8% Medicare State Tax Rate of 5% * Assumes $3M Tax Basis

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SHOWroom FEATUREproduct

Husqvarna V500 Stand-On Mower Rounding out its commercial mower portfolio, Husqvarna adds a stand-on mower series in early 2018. Designed for commercial-grade lawn care, the Husqvarna V500 series combines extreme efficiency and durability with a compact design for excellent maneuverability. Both V500 models, V548 and V554, will come with zero-turn capability and the ergonomic body cushion will provide maximum operator comfort. With a rapid mount-dismount, unbeatable maneuvering and ergonomic operation, operators get the best of zero-turn and commercial walk-behind combined. Backed by Husqvarna’s industry-leading 5-year limited commercial warranty, the V500s heavy-duty construction combined with industrial strength drive systems deliver long-lasting operation. Both models have a fuel capacity of 7 gal. Other features include tool-less tracking adjustment and removable deck covers, easy-to-reach transmission bypass and front-mounted hydro tanks and pumps for fast, convenient access and service. Available with a 48- or 54in. Commercial ClearCut deck, the V500 models provide excellent grass cutting and management. The V548 has a MSRP of $8,499.95; the V554 is $8,799.95. Visit husqvarna.com.

HANDHELD Echo Top-Handle Saw Echo Inc. has introduced the lightest gas-powered chain saw in North America with the announcement of the CS-2511T top-handle chain saw. The bar oiler is located on the top of the chain saw, as opposed to the bottom, which allows for easy-access by the operator. This also prevents the oiler adjustment screw from getting clogged with wood chips and debris. The bar oiler is adjustable so that the operator can adjust the flow level of oil depending on working conditions and clutch-driven. Thus, the oiler only operates when the chain is moving, saving oil and preventing oil from collecting under the saw during idle. The saw is available in 12- and 14-in. bar options with 32

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91PXL chain. According to the EPA 2017 Certification Data, the new CS-2511T is the most powerful in its class. CS-2511T MSRP starts at $379.99, backed by a one-year commercial warranty. Visit echo-usa.com.

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SHOWroom

MOWERS Spider 2SGS

Czech-based manufacturer of Spider remote-controlled slope mowers, Dvorak, has introduced a new option designed for turf areas around photovoltaic (PV) panels on solar farms. The new Spider 2SGS is adapted from the Spider ILD02 slope mower, and features upgraded hydraulic motors and a lower profile, making it ideal for maintaining the turf beneath and around PV panels. Rubber fenders have been added to reduce any impact damage to the sensitive framework supporting the panels. Jason Bristow, Spider’s Territory Manager for the U.S. and Canada reports that with four of the world’s top 10 solar farms located in the U.S. and the majority of states offering incentives to transition to renewable energy, this is a growing business opportunity. Shading can have a huge impact on the performance of solar photovoltaic panels, and because of how the panels operate even just a small amount can cause problems. The Spider 2SGS offers a maintenance solution to undercut the possible loss of generated income. Additionally, the Spider 2SGS is also the only machine on the market with test certification relating to thrown objects. Consideing the fragile nature of PV panels, Dvorak made damage limitation a priority and machines meet the approved international standards. Visit slope-mower.com.

While at GIE+EXPO, Gravely unveiled the completely redesigned Pro-Walk commercial walk-behind mower with welded deck designs in 36-, 48- and 60-in. sizes. The ProWalk incorporates enhancements that improve cut quality, durability, maneuverability and ease of use. One of the most notable changes, the Pro-Walk now features Gravely’s premium X-Factor II deck, a 10-ga., all-steel welded deck that comes backed with a lifetime warranty. The 10-ga. deck has an integrated wear bar on its front with two additional gussets to guard against the leading edge and to prevent baffle bending. The deeper deck also allows grass to move more freely through the space, improving efficiency and quality of cut. Now even easier to use, the Pro-Walk was designed with new, intuitive steering controls, which offer a shorter learning curve while providing precision handling. The new Pro-Walk controls position the operator in a neutral position, reducing wrist and arm fatigue. In addition, adjustable handlebars provide four height positions to accommodate operators of any size. Also, contributing to the machine’s ease of use, a wide wheel base, which includes 20-in. rear tires and semi-pneumatic front tires, provides superior hillside stability, while the flip-up side discharge chute increases maneuverability and reduces damage to the surrounding environment. The Pro-Walk series are offered with Kawasaki engine options and starts at a list price of $6,989. Visit gravely.com.

PARTS & ACCESSORIES Altoz TRX Accessories

Gravely Pro-Walk

The industry’s first tracked zero-turn mower, the Altoz TRX, now has two available accessories to increase ROI for users, a utility plow ideal for moving snow or light-density aggregate, and a spreader for easy application of light rock salt, grit, fertilizers and other fine materials. The utility plow design features durable all-steel construction, with a 7 ga. trip frame superstructure, adjustable 72-in. moldboard with 48-in. trip frame. A fully enclosed, sealed hydraulic operating system complements a steering-controlled mounted POWER EQUIPMENT TRADE

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SHOWroom controller with illuminated buttons for one-hand control. The spreader has a 3 cu. ft./180 lb. capacity, with design features like a 10-in. steel spinner with spreading width adjustable from 4 to 20 ft., and a modular steel frame. The spreader is powered by a 12V DC/7-10 Amp direct drive motor. The introduction of the Altoz utility plow and spreader expands the TRX’s abilities year-round, making it truly a machine for all seasons, conditions and environments. The entire line of Altoz zero-turn mowers are proudly designed by a team of engineers and manufactured in the U.S. Visit altoz.com.

Space-Saving Shelf Converter

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Providing optimal productivity and maximum storage, the new Lista Shelf Converter system transforms ordinary shelving into an efficient, high-density storage solution. Adjustable shelves, drawers, and trays convert existing shelving into uniquely customized storage to best fit your everyday storage needs. Compatible with multiple shelving manufacturers, this system makes updating your storage capabilities easier than ever. Designed to help maintenance and repair and assembly environments reach key efficiency, the Lista Shelf Converter storage system features an all-new 18 in. depth system of drawers, in addition to the existing 24 in. depth. Drawer heights range from 3 in. to 8 in. and offer both 200 lbs. and 400 lbs. drawer capacity solutions, offering an increased drawer cubic capacity of over 30% when compared to previous models. The converter frame is available in four sizes with multiple drawer width and height options. Frames consist of heights in 18 in., 24 in., 36 in. and 48 in.; with available widths of 30 in., 36 in., 42 in. and 48 in. The added shelf converter drawers are ideal for storing small parts, making inventory easier to locate, pick and manage. All recessed drawers extend fully to easily access items in the furthest corners, while a 400 lbs. capacity roll-out tray provides the perfect solution for larger, bulky items. Drawers can be labeled with hinged handle covers and Lista Script software to ensure optimal organization and improved product retrieval time. Visit listaintl.com

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31 ➤ purchase a controlling ownership interest (51%) in the future. Second, if a discount is assigned to the sale of a minority interest, a seller could also expect a “control premium” to be assigned to the second stage transaction when the rest of the ownership is sold. Maintaining Control: After an ESOP is formed, an owner that retains a partial ownership interest in the dealership may serve as the trustee for the ESOP and continue to be in charge of the day-to-day operations. Tax-Advantaged Funding: When owners are bought out by the dealership or other owners, this is usually done through seller-financing that often may be subordinated to other lenders, including the manufacturer-provided financing. A sale to an ESOP can be funded the same way with one very important benefit: income allocated to an ESOP will be tax-exempt (if the dealership is an S corporation) or the bulk of the principal payments (in addition to interest) will be tax deductible to the ESOP (if the dealership is a C corporation). These tax benefits can make payment of a note from an ESOP a more certain proposition than

regular seller-financing and also can support the payment of a higher interest rate (8-10% in today’s market).

Power If your dealership is a C corporation (or converts to a C corporation right before the sale to an ESOP), you can elect to defer paying tax on all or a portion of the proceeds from the sale as long as at least 30% of the dealership’s stock is owned by the ESOP trust. This deferral is very similar to a 1031 exchange involving real estate. The key to the deferral is that you must purchase “qualifying replacement property” within 12 months after the sale. As long as you maintain that investment or subsequent replacement investments (assuming the right investment structure is in place), you can defer paying capital gains taxes indefinitely with the possibility of avoiding the payment of any capital gains taxes if you hold the investments until your death. Even though a stock sale to a third party typically generates the best tax consequence for a seller, taking advan-

tage of the deferral option available through an ESOP sale as an estate planning strategy can result in a very large upside. In the example on page 31, a sale of a $15M dealership through an ESOP could leave you with 40% more proceeds than a sale of stock to a third party. Even though an ESOP may not work for everyone, in the right situations, an ESOP can offer significant advantages for the seller of a dealership. Due to these potential advantages, it makes sense to at least consider an ESOP when evaluating options as part of your succession planning. PET Lance Formwalt is the leader of the Equipment Dealer Group at Seigfreid Bingham, P.C. The firm also serves as legal counsel to equipment dealer associations and many individual equipment dealers. Lance may be contacted at lancef@sb-kc. com; 816/265-4106. This article is intended to provide general recommendations and is not intended to be legal advice. You should always consult your attorney for advice unique to you and your business. Please note that any estimates of tax consequences are based on the current tax code and could change based on future changes in the law or regulations.

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PETdec17_trimmer_cs.qxp_Layout 1 11/30/17 9:58 AM Page 36

2017 Editorial Index February

October

Powerlines Prep Time Is Now Page 6.

Powerlines New PET Show Features Page 3.

No-Nonsense Approach Builds Business Michigan dealership Wheels & Blades puts customers, quality tools, first. Page 10.

Family Keeps Tradition Alive Bryan Rottier and Steve and Barb Nohr follow in the footsteps’ of Barb’s parents selling quality products in their Wisconsin town. Page 12.

PowerGuide 2017 Page 14. Winter Product Spotlight Page 34. Dealer Enjoys Successful Second Act Chapel Hardware owner Paul Mayhan reinvented his career halfway through, taking on a hardware store and growing it into a servicing power equipment dealership. Page 22.

April Powerlines If Not You, Who? Page 5. Dealer Sticks With The Proven Process City firefighters see a need for a quality full service lawnmower shop, step in and fill the void. Page 10. Carolina Dealer Steps Up To The Challenge Hudson’s Hardware has doubled in size and seen some big results. Page 14.

Five Minutes With… Rotary’s Ed Nelson. Page 30. Dealer Spotlight: New Location Leads Expansion Page 32.

August Powerlines Summertime Busy Time Page 3.

Spring Products. Page 18. Industry Loses Leader In Death Of Fred Whyte Page 5.

June

GIE+EXPO Setting New Exhibit, Visitor Records Number of attendees and amount of booth space increase for the third year in a row. Page 16. Expo Elite. Page 18. Training To Close The Service Skills Gap. Page 32. Five Minutes With…Briggs & Stratton’s Todd Teske. Page 36. Dealer Spotlight: Fish, Turtles, Hamsters, Trimmers, Blowers, Saws. Page 38.

December Powerlines Embracing Lighthearted Page 3.

Tough, Efficient Mississippi Dealer Weathers Dry Spells John and Kelli Higgs fell into power equipment, and it couldn’t have worked better. Page 8.

Local Reputation, Top Brands Keys To Dealership Success Clatsop Power Equipment recently celebrated 30 years in business thanks to diverse products, customer service. Page 8.

At Shasta, Pro Saws Rule Roost Experience, exclusion focus work for northern California dealer. Page 10.

Duramatic Products Blades Made In The U.S. Page 11.

2018 Trimmer, Brushcutter Preview Page 12.

2017 Chain Saw Specification Charts. Page 13.

2018 Mower Preview Page 12.

Five Minutes With…Ariens Co.’s Nick Ariens. Page 26.

2017 Chain Saw Products. Page 20.

‘Mower Repair Guy’ Seeks Next Level Page 24.

GIE+EXPO 2017: Dealers Enjoy Huge Trade Show Industry’s biggest event continues to get bigger. Page 28.

Powerlines Throwback, Look Ahead Page 3.

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Shelby County Implement • Shelbina, MO 63468 Ph: 573-588-4731 • 573-588-2020 Email: sci63468@hotmail.com M/C, Visa and Discover Accepted 3524

Obsolete McCulloch & Obsolete Green Machine Bob’s Lawnmower Service 7632 State Hwy. 7 Maryland, NY 12116-3201

607-638-9297 phone or fax

CHAIN SAW AND TRIMMER SALVAGE

WISCONSIN ENGINE PARTS

BUY – SELL – TRADE Matthew Yoder • 417-754-1173

H&M Industrial Supply (800) 346-4331 2236

13463

Selling used parts for Stihl, Husqvarna, Echo, Jonsered, Efco, etc.

HOMELITE PARTS BUY & SELL NEW, USED & OBSOLETE

8100

Stihl * Homelite * Lawnboy * Briggs & Stratton New * Obsolete * Used Parts THOUSANDS OF PARTS!

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POULAN WEED EATER PARTS

NEW–OBSOLETE • BUY–SELL HARD TO FIND PARTS CLOSEOUT PRICES

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Call Kathy Sternenberg 251-928-4962

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PETcetera 11 Tips To Work Smarter, Not Harder 1. Make a “to don’t” list. Prepare a list that contains all the things you shouldn’t waste your time on—useless tasks, unnecessary meetings, worthless phone calls and so on. Then place it next to your “to do” list—and stick to it. 2. Carry a notebook and pen. Thomas Edison did it. Virginia Woolf did it. And so did Charles Darwin. They toted a notebook with them everywhere and wrote down ideas that popped into their heads... Page through the notebook occasionally. This is a fantastic way to spark ideas and to weave creativity into the fabric of your life. 3. Hone your elevator speech. Be able to explain who you are, what you do and why someone could benefit from your unique talents—in 30 seconds. Then cut your pitch to 15 seconds. Practice it. Sharpen it. Caveat: An elevator speech shouldn’t sound like an elevator speech. It’s really an exercise in being honest, concise and interesting. 4. Establish an opening ritual. Try to begin your day the same way. If you work at home, maybe take a short walk before you go to your office. Have a cup of tea or read or meditate before starting your work. An opening ritual will ease your mind, body and soul into the day. 5. Establish a closing ritual. Know when to stop working. Try to end each work day the same way, too. Straighten up your desk. Back up your computer. Make a list of what you need to do tomorrow. 6. Get used to the three “-ty’s.” Ambiguity; uncertainty; volatility. Projects collapse. Money evaporates. Customers go wiggy. Get over it. That’s the way it works. 7. Learn. Become a learning machine. Ask questions. Take smart people to lunch. Read. Read some more. Listen to audiobooks. Take classes. Go to conferences (which are also great places to network.) Added benefit: This makes life more interesting. Yet another benefit: Studies have shown that people who make constant learning part of their lives end up living longer. 8. Failing is OK. Not failing is not OK. If you don’t flop every so often, you’re not trying hard enough. 9. Guard your calendar. Make sure your time is focused on your one or two top priorities. Ask yourself, “Is this how I want to be spending my time right now?” Remember you are your calendar. So treat your calendar with respect. 10. Be paranoid. The good times won’t last. 11. And don’t be paranoid. The bad times won’t last either.

Coming in 2018

PET Dealer Survey

‘Stand Up And Be Counted!’ Look for an email soon from PET! PETevents JANUARY 14-16—Joint annual meeting of Deep South Equip. Dealers Assn., Midwest-SouthEastern Equipment Dealers Assn., and Southern Equipment Dealers Assn., Ritz Carlton Hotel, Amelia Island, Fla. Call 225-383-5064; visit dseda.org. FEBRUARY 5—Northeast Equip. Dealers Assn. regional meeting, Concord, NH. Call 800-932-0607; visit ne-equip.com. FEBRUARY 7—Northeast Equip. Dealers Assn. regional meeting, Lancaster, Pa. Call 800-932-0607; visit ne-equip.com. FEBRUARY 8—Northeast Equip. Dealers Assn. regional meeting, Liverpool, NY. Call 800-932-0607; visit ne-equip.com. FEBRUARY 10-12—Outdoor Power Equip. Aftermarket Assn. annual meeting, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, Fla. E-mail jhawes@opeaa.org; visit opeaa.org. FEBRUARY 25-28—Outdoor Power Equip. & Engine Service Assn. annual meeting, Westin Mission Hills, Rancho Mirage, Calif. Call 860-767-1770; visit opeesa.com. MAY 8-10—National Hardware Trade Show, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. Call 203-840-5622; visit nationalhardwareshow.com. Listings are submitted months in advance. Always verify dates and locations with contacts prior to making plans to attend.

ADlink This issue of Power Equipment Trade is brought to you in part by the following companies, which will gladly supply additional information about their products. ADVERTISER

PG NO.

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B3C Fuel Solutions

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In October, Power Equipment Trade delivered GIE+EXPO live with a new livestream feature covering a new series of 30-minute dealer management seminars. PET has archived the presentations at its web site, poweret.com, where dealers can still take advantage of management insights that were provided nowhere else but GIE+EXPO. Visit poweret.com and learn about better dealership management today.

PHONE NUMBER

Ahlborn Equipment

Seat Warehouse

27

855.700.7328

Stihl

2

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Sunbelt Outdoor Products

23

800.438.0660

TD Retail Card Services

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800.538.3638

Walbro

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520.229.5657

ADLINK is a free service for advertisers and readers. The publisher assumes no liability for errors or omissions.

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DEALERtodealer

A New Twist On 80/20 GREG GERMAN

Make some accessibility for key customers and emergencies, but schedule your time, and protect it, consider spending 80% of your day in tactical mode and 20% in planning. BY GREGG GERMAN

W

e have all heard the 80/20 rule as to how it pertains to a multitude of subjects: 20% of your customers give you 80% of your business; 20% of your part numbers provide 80% of your parts sales; the list goes on. Even though this rule is important, when it comes to how we plan for our future growth, most of us, including me, don’t follow it. In this case, I am referring to how we spend our day. 80% tactical and 20% planning would be ideal, but the reality is that most of us are spending 98% of our time reacting to issues, talking to customers, dealing with manufacturers and putting out the proverbial fires of operating a department or entire dealership. With the seasonal cycle of winter upon us, now is a great time to begin building new habits. I know that we all of great intentions of using these slower times to “get some projects done.” Again, the reality is that as activity becomes less busy, our focus becomes a

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bit fuzzy. It’s normal. We have worked hard all year and deserve some down time. I could not agree more. How we use that downtime is very important. My goal this winter is to change how I build my schedule and make the activity of planning a much more important component of my day, and my week. On an hourly basis, I am working towards creating eight hours of planning per week with that being sustained during both the slow and busy times. Over the next 60 days, I am working hard to carve out five hours per week for planning purposes. Then each month, add one more hour per week until I reach my goal of eight hours per week by next March. Because we all get multiple interruptions through the day,

During these dedicated planning periods, we will be identifying what the key areas are that we need to overcome to grow the business, attract the most talented staff and create greater value for our customers. the “closed door, no phone calls” is the best policy. Like me, most of you work with your office door wide open. That is great and I know our customers appreciate it, but unless you close the door,

people are going to interrupt this critical time. Sure, make some accessibility for key customers and emergencies, but schedule your time and protect it. I will be using some of this designated time to meet with my department managers to discuss their needs, hopes and dreams. During these dedicated planning periods, we will be identifying what the key areas are that we need to overcome to grow the business, attract the most talented staff and create greater value for our customers. I am also asking each of my departmental managers to create eight hours per week to plan for their department. In addition, I will be carving out some special time each week to brainstorm new ideas and additional ways to set ourselves apart from the competition. I know, you may be telling yourself that you already are doing this and this is not a new idea. It’s not, but a good reminder to change some bad habits, is always helpful. Here’s the challenge. By March of 2018, change your habits and your schedule, and make planning a priority. Carve out eight hours per week, every week, and make this long-term investment that will change the trajectory of your operation. Happy planning! PET Gregg German is President of German-Bliss Equipment, Inc. in Princeville, Ill., which operates three power equipment dealerships that market products for the lawn and garden, industrial and agricultural sectors. He can be contacted at P.O. Box 440, Princeville, IL 61559; fax 309-3852540; e-mail ggerman@german-bliss.com. The views of Gregg German do not necessarily represent those of Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc.

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Profile for Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc.

PET 1217 Digimag  

The December 2017 issue of Power Equipment Trade.

PET 1217 Digimag  

The December 2017 issue of Power Equipment Trade.