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A Hatton-Brown Publication


Summer Reading


like to think that I’m starting a tradition here at PET, as this is the second summer I am giving dealers a little summer reading. I’m sure your dealership is trying to beat the heat, and what I’ve started calling the summer slam: kids out of school, grass that doesn’t grow three inches and then stop, people on vacations and the constant battle over the air conditioning.

Another Ethanol Update I don’t think a month has gone by where I’ve not written something about ethanol, and it seems this one will not be any different. Recently, though a solid three months after the White House was supposed to have released its latest regulatory agenda, the Administration officially released the spring issue of the “Unified Agenda of Federal And Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.” This agenda is an all-encompassing plan that includes regulations on power plants, renewable fuels, ozone pollution, Clean Water Act jurisdiction, among other things. The two words dealers should pay attention to are, you guessed it, “renewable fuels.” Among the most notable goals in the sizable document are timelines for the release of greenhouse gas emission standards, proposed 2015 renewable fuel standard targets and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) regulations. Under the timeline set forth by the agenda, the EPA would release a proposed rule setting the standards in September and finalize them by March.

Social Media Use I know some of you just rolled your eyes at the term “social media” and I get it. But the fact is social media is here to stay. When I sat down with this month’s dealer, Barden Winstead, he had some interesting things to say about the Internet and the use of it in power equipment dealerships. While Land & Coates does have a Twitter account, blog, Facebook page and website, Winstead admits he doesn’t fool with it much. Winstead farms out his social media to a local PR firm, that handles all the posting, as well as design elements. “We had one of our guys, the parts manager, doing it, managing the content, and he just got too busy,” he confirms. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: It is imperative that dealerships have some sort of on-line presence. Most can’t be like Winstead and farm it out, but simply sharing manufacturer posts could go a long way towards engaging customers for many dealerships. Since I’m on the topic of posting on social media, did you know you can like PET and me on Facebook? It’s something new we’re trying out, in an effort to reach our readers, and we would love to be able to engage with dealers on that level. Simply visit us at or and click like. For example, I would love to hear what dealers think about the latest piece of chain saw news: country group The Band Perry using Stihl saws in their latest music video. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check Power Suppliers on page 6, or on Facebook of course! PET Dealer day is back! Mark your calendars for October 22, 2014 as GIE+EXPO brings a full day of dealer only activities, including seminars, technician training classes and welcome reception! Contact Jessica Johnson, ph: 334-834-1170; fax 334-834-4525; e-mail:


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 ■ Rich Donnell Managing Editor ■ Dan Shell Senior Assoc. Editor ■ David Abbott Associate Editor ■ Jessica Johnson Associate Editor ■ Jay Donnell Contributing Writers Dale Stotts, Greg German Production Manager ■ Cindy Segrest Ad Prod. Coordinator ■ Patti Campbell Circulation Director ■ Rhonda Thomas Advertising Sales Southern U.S. Randy Reagor Tel: (904) 393-7968 Fax: (904) 393-7860 E-mail: Midwest U.S., Eastern Canada John Simmons Tel: (905) 666-0258 Fax: (905) 666-0778 E-mail: Midwest/Northeast U.S. Utility & ATV (exclusively) Paul Holdsworth Tel: (847) 934-0084 Fax: (847) 934-0556 Email: Western U.S. & Canada Bill Albrant Tel: (951) 696-1473 Fax: (702) 442-2920 Email: Europe & Scandinavia Murray Brett Tel: +34 96 640 4165 Fax: +34 96 640 4022 Email: Distributor Library Kathy Sternenberg Tel: (251) 928-4962 Classified Advertising Bridget DeVane Tel: (334) 699-7837 (800) 669-5613 Reprint Sales Patti Campbell Tel: (800) 669-5613

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Volume 63 ■ Number 5 ■ JUNE 2014 Our 698th Consecutive Issue ■ Founded in 1952

Renew or subscribe on the web:


12 16 20 22

2014 CHAIN SAWS, ACCESSORIES Preview Of Latest Products


Six Location Dealership In Virginia



Focus On Customer Satisfaction

SUMMER SLAM Dealers Stay Busy

VALUEadded Power Suppliers ___________________________6 Distributor Library ________________________24 PETcetera/AD Index_______________________29 Dealer To Dealer _________________________30




Power Equipment Trade rounds up new for 2014 chain saw technology, products and accessories, beginning on Page 12. (Lead photo courtesy of Husqvarna, chain courtesy of Oregon Power, design by Shelley Smith.)

Member Verified Audit Circulation Power Equipment Trade (ISSN 1063-0414) is published 10 times annually (January/February and July/August issues are combined) 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 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 ® 2014. 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 ■ Southern Loggin' Times ■ Timber Processing ■ Panel World



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POWERsuppliers MTD Pursues New Battery Tech Boost Wheeled equipment manufacturer MTD Products has signed a joint development agreement with energy storage company Gridtential to produce more powerful and efficient batteries, replacing emission-heavy combustion engines in its lawn and garden fleet with electric power. “We see this partnership with Gridtential as the opportunity to meet our customers needs, while ensuring we maintain our role in embracing sustainable business practices at a price point that makes good economic sense,” Rory Bringhurst, MTD Executive VP of Product Development, says. According to Gridtential officials, the initial alpha battery units are maintenance-free, 6V AGM batteries that deliver high energy density, longer battery life and improved cycling performance.

Exmark Launches QR Friendly Website

With the launch of, Exmark has made the process of searching for equipment information easier. The new application uses QR code scanning technology to give owners the ability to quickly learn more about their machines. Exmark Director of Marketing Daryn Walters, says, “Our 2014 equipment includes a QR code next to the serial number on the model plate. When the QR code is scanned, it takes the owner directly to detailed information about that piece of equipment.” Using one of the many free QR code scanning applications available for smart phones, owners can quickly access a wide range of information about their equipment by scanning the QR code located on the model plate, including: equipment specs, detailed maintenance schedules, contact information and maps to local dealers, warranty information and special offers from the manufacturer. If a QR scanning application is not available, owners can access the same information by entering the serial number of a piece of equipment in on the website. The site also tracks all of the Exmark equipment in a fleet, including machines built prior to 2014. If a piece of equipment is sold or retired, its information can be hidden from view. Owners can also report a piece of Exmark equipment stolen on the site. 6

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Music Video Features Stihl Reigning Academy of Country Music (ACM) Vocal Group of the Year, The Band Perry, recently released their latest music video for popular single, “Chainsaw,” exclusively featuring Stihl equipment. The music video portrays the band as a “tree service for the broken-hearted,” helping to remove the evidence of a romance gone wrong: initials carved into trees. Behind the scenes, Stihl brought in Mark Chisholm, three-time world champion tree climber and arborist, who pre-staged the trees with cameras to capture the action from multiple angles. Stihl supplied all of the chain saws and protective equipment featured in the video as well as providing onsite product training for the band. The video was filmed at a privately owned and managed property in Oregon. The full music video for “Chainsaw” is available at 1v416Kt and behind the scenes footage is available at _w69tWrxb5E.

Excel Recognized As Kansas Exporter Fifty years ago a Kansas governor cut the ribbon to open Excel Industries in Hesston, Kan. Recently, the current governor took a tour of the plant and publicly recognized the company for its work in foreign markets. “Exports are critical,” Gov. Sam Brownback told local newspaper, The Kansan. “We are an exporting state...It is a key for us to thrive and we are doing that.” Excel Industries was formally recognized as the 2013 Governor’s Exporter of the Year winner during the visit. The governor toured the facility, which manufactures Big Dog and Hustler lawn mowers. Following the tour he, along with Brent Edmisten, Vice President of Global Supply Chain, Excel Industries; Linden Dalecki, Chairman, Kansas International Trade Coordinating Council; Paul Mullet, President, Excel Industries; and Chad Lane, Vice President of Global and Emerging Business, Excel Industries, spoke at a ceremony on the shipping

room floor to give pins to management and department heads. Excel Industries has grown by about 25% each year for the past two years, and reported $210 million in sales in 2013. Much of that growth has happened in the area of exports. “It is exciting to travel to South Africa and Brazil and see these mowers, knowing they came from a small town in Kansas,” Lane said.

E-Z-GO Acquires Tug Technologies

E-Z-GO has acquired Tug Technologies Corp. Tug, based in Kennesaw, Ga., manufactures ground support equipment servicing airlines, air-freight companies, ground handlers, government agencies and airports worldwide. Tug’s extensive product line includes cargo tractors, belt loaders, tow tractors, pushback vehicles, air-starts, ground power units, and mobile heating and airconditioning units. In addition to the design and manufacture of its products, Tugprovides service for ground support equipment, operating a network of 18 service centers at airports nationwide. E-Z-GO acquired Tug from Jacobson Partners, a private-equity firm based in New York, which had owned the company since January 2005. Post-acquisition, Tug’s products will continue to be manufactured at its Kennesaw facility by a workforce of more than 200 employees. The Tug brand will join E-Z-GO’s family of brands alongside E-Z-GO, Cushman and Bad Boy Buggies.

GenZe By Mahindra Michigan Facility Opens

Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group in Ann Arbor, to inaugurate the Mahindra GenZe electric two-wheeler facility and the North American Technical Center in Southeast Michigan. The Mahindra Group was also represented at this milestone event by Dr. Pawan Goenka, Executive Director and President of Automotive & Farm Equipment sectors. “The North American Technical Center and GenZe represent important disruptive product incubators for the Mahindra Group. The Mahindra Group already has a substantial presence in the United States with IT companies, Tech Mahindra and



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POWERsuppliers Bristlecone, and the world’s number one selling tractor brand based on volume, Mahindra USA. The new technical center adds to this footprint and reflects the Group’s continued commitment to North America. The GenZe by Mahindra is the first urban transportation vehicle to be offered by the Mahindra Group and the only two-wheeled electric vehicle of its kind in the United States. The compact design provides consumers with exactly what they need: ease of travel, specialized storage and an impressive range of 30 miles with many industry first features. With the top speed set at 30 MPH, there is no need for a motorcycle license to operate the GenZe in most states. Mahindra GenZe selected Ann Arbor, Mich. for its manufacturing facility following a nationwide search. This facility has the capacity to assemble up to 9,000 vehicles per year, with the ability to ramp up to 20,000 vehicles if needed. “We are excited to unveil the GenZe by Mahindra as the first electric urban two-wheeler designed and manufactured in the United States,” Vish Palekar, CEO, Mahindra GenZe says.


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“The GenZe is conceived for students and urban commuters who are desperate to break free from congestion, tired of increasing gas prices and the lack of convenient parking.

Deere, Polaris Receive Tax Credit

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board recently approved incentives for the state’s largest manufacturing employer, Deere & Co., awarding more than $1.3 million in tax credits. The Moline, Ill.-based company requested the incentives for a planned expansion at a testing center in Cedar Falls, Ill. Deere is seeking to increase the capabilities of its Product Engineering Center, a tractor testing lab, by adding two new buildings and more equipment. In all, the project is expected to cost about $39.8 million. To receive the tax credits, Deere has to retain 29 jobs that each pay $18.84 an hour. Deere operates a number of buildings and factories in Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Ill. employing about 1,400 people

in the area, according to the authority board. The city of Cedar Falls plans to provide a five-year tax abatement valued at $82,548 for the project. The board also approved a $300,000 forgivable loan and $706,000 in tax credits for Polaris Industries. The Minnesota-based manufacturer plans to add 150 jobs to its plant in Milford, Ill. and install a new assembly line for its ACE off-road vehicle. To receive the incentives, 45 of those 150 jobs must pay a wage of at least $15.21 an hour. The awards mark the second time the authority has provided incentives to Polaris for the Milford facility. The board approved $109,962 in tax credits last year for the addition of six jobs.

New Hendrix Propane Mower Kits

Landscape professionals have another option for converting commercial mowers to propane with new EPA-certified conversion kits by Hendrix Progressive Fuel Technologies. The EPA certification also qualifies the kit for a $500 incentive through the Propane Education



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POWERsuppliers & Research Council’s (PERC) Propane Mower Incentive Program. The Hendrix kit can convert mower models featuring any of nine Kawasaki engines in three block sizes, including the Kawasaki 852cc FX 751V, FX 801V, and FX 850V; the Kawasaki 726cc FX 730V, FX 691V, and FX 651V; and the Kawasaki 603cc FS


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481V, FS 541V, and FS 600V. The kits are designed to provide optimal fuel efficiency and performance for geographic elevations ranging from sea level to 2,500 feet and from 2,500 to 5,000 feet above sea level. Each kit comes fully assembled and includes a detailed installation manual explaining how to adjust the engine idle and

fuel mixture to EPA-performance specifications. Hendrix Progressive Fuel Technologies offers on-site training, as well as phone support, for the conversion kits. For more information about the technology, or to purchase a kit or request training, contact Hendrix, (847) 5261700; website: www.hendrixsystems. com.



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CHAINSAWS2014 Rotary Chain Saw Parts Rotary offers a wide selection of chain saw parts, tools and accessories for 2014, including all types of chain for the most popular brands in loops or 25' and 100' reels. Rotary also has a vast lineup of high quality bars in a variety of sizes at value prices. Engineered for performance and reliability, Rotary’s commercial grade bars and chain are featured in a special 80-page section of the company’s new master catalog. Also included are assortments of bolts, links, sprockets, fuel filters and bar stud nuts. Plus a full array of chain saw filters, springs, carburetion kits, piston and cylinder assemblies, crankshafts, pole saw bars, repair tools, files and chain breakers. If it has to do with chain saw parts, Rotary has it! 4226 Call 1-800-841-3989; visit

Silvana Triplematic Sharpener Silvana Import Trading has just released its newest member of saw chain sharpeners from its Markusson brand. The Triplematic functions as a fully automatic saw chain sharpening machine, grinding the cutting link at three key points–the cutting edge, the raker and the gullet. Designed to optimize efficiency for a contractor’s forestry operations, it ensures that a “half-a-million dollar harvester” will always perform at maximum capacity: increasing the chain’s ability to remain on the bar, and reducing the amount of splitting and loss of valuable timber. Triplematic’s high grinding capability does not overheat or turn teeth blue. It features the standard equipment alongside value-added innovations. These include the stand, the link counter, the 110V to 12V converter pack and the unique new air-powered system, stretching the chain for absolute precision sharpening. Call 514-939-3523; visit 9856


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Tilton Total Saw Chain

Tilton Equipment now offers a more complete line of their XT series total saw chain. Total XT Pro chain is available in single-raker narrow-kerf, low-profile, .325 chisel, 3⁄8 semi-chisel, 3⁄8 chisel and chisel skip-tooth. Also available is the Total AK (Anti-Kickback) UL-classified low-kickback chain, available in narrow-kerf, 3⁄8 low-profile and .325 semi-chisel. Call 1-800-447-1152; visit 3376

Stihl MS 251 C-BE

The Stihl MS 251 C-BE homeowner chain saw features all the comfort and ease of the Stihl MS 251, but is easier to start and adjust on the fly. The powerful new Stihl MS 251 and MS 251 C-BE 45.6cc chain saws give users lightweight, ergonomic and environmentally responsible options for homeowner tasks like felling small trees, pruning and thinning, and cutting firewood. These chain saws run longer, can save homeowners up to 20% on fuel costs and have reduced emissions as compared to previous models. Both the MS 251 and MS 251 C-BE provide optimum cutting power throughout the RPM range but are also easier on the environment. 1697 Call 1-800-467-8445; visit



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CHAINSAWS2014 Echo Chain Saws

Ecopro Tools Chain Saws

Echo Chain Saws provide long, trouble-free performance. Every Echo chain saw is built to power through the toughest jobs for years of dependable performance. The saws feature a professional-grade, 2-stroke engine and an advanced ignition system that ensures fast starts either on the ground or in a tree or bucket. The CS-355T is lightweight, well balanced, comfortable to hold and has all the power needed to perform. Echo is so confident you will love our new top handle saws we are offering a 7-day money back guarantee. Try the CS-271T, CS-303T, or CS-355T for seven days, and if you are not completely satisfied with the exceptional performance of an Echo, simply bring back to the dealer. For rear-handle saws, the CS-620P is Echo’s highest HP per displacement chain saw. It also comes in a full wrap handle design, the CS-620PW. Call 847-540-8400; visit 6905

Oregon CS250 Chain Saw The battery-powered CS250 chain saw delivers a combination of power, performance and user-friendly features that make it a true alternative to many gas-powered chain saws. The CS250 comes equipped with a 14" bar and is perfect for cutting small to medium logs, though it can handle up to 12" of material. The built-in PowerSharp chain sharpening system easily sharpens a dull chain in as little as three seconds. The CS250 is powered by Oregon’s exclusive 40V Max premium battery technology, which utilizes lithium ion cylindrical cells that are specially designed for high power applications. Cylindrical cells provide high power density with lighter weight for a better user experience, including longer run times and constant no fade power. With no gas or diesel in the mix, Oregon’s cordless tools are environmentally conscious, with no toxic emissions and minimal maintenance. The CS250 can be purchased on its own, or as part of a kit that includes the 1.25 Ah, 2.4 Ah or 4.0 Ah battery pack. Weighing in at just 12 lbs with battery pack and outfitted with ergonomic design features, the CS250 offers portability and convenience to power through even the toughest jobs. Call 503-653-4759; visit 3579

With an extension pole the Ecopro Tools 12" chain saw shall be able to transform into a pole saw with a total length of about 2.35m. The brand new design, a multi-function platform, allows the tools to have multiple functions as a chain saw or pole saw. The chain saw can be converted into a fully adjustable pole saw in less than 1 minute. The advanced design allows the pole saw to pivot in different cutting positions, which makes cutting easier. This new kit comes with 40V 2 Ah battery pack and a fast 1 hour charge time. Call 855-326-7768; visit 3297

Cannon Bar Works Chain Saw Bars

All Cannon Bar Works bars are made from high grade, formulated, cold rolled and annealed steel. From the raw steel, each bar is laser cut. Once the steel is cut, it is heat treated and quenched. Then, the hardened bars are carefully straightened and surface ground to the ideal thickness. Surface ground bars are milled with CNC milling machines. Different milling patterns are cut. Once a bar is milled it is then given the precision ground groove. Every bar has a true and centered groove that is accurate to within .002” of the desired gauge. Next, is the rail hardening, the bar rails are hardened to 5 points more than the tie straps on most models and brands of chain. Bar lengths are also pressed at the heel in order to reduce vibration and prevent premature cracking from vibration. Bars are then put through a stress relieving system in order to expel tension that builds up in the bars through all of the different processes. Cannon applies gunmetal finish to most of the bars. Some longer lengths and specialty bars still have Cannon’s classic matte black painted finish. 6118 Call 1-888-604-9990; visit



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CHAINSAWS2014 Star Tron Fuel Treatment Ethanol fuel has been identified as the main cause of many engine problems, including “gummed up” carburetors and hard starts. Chain saws are especially affected by ethanol fuel. Ethanol fuel is formulated to be used within 30 days of blending; after this point it begins forming gums and other debris that clogs carburetors, making engines difficult to start and to run rough. Other side effects are clogged exhaust screens form excess carbon buildup and burnt pistons. Additionally, because ethanol produces less power than gasoline, engines cannot produce full power. The solution to these problems is Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment. The unique blend of enzymes are in a fuel base; Star Tron contains no alcohol, emulsifiers or oils. The enzymes stabilize all fuel for up to two years, preventing gum and debris formation, while breaking up any existing debris so that it can be eliminated as the engine operates. Star Tron allows for a more complete burn of the fuel charge. 6578 Call 800-327-8583.


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Husqvarna 550 XP Chain Saw

Light, sleek, and powerful best describe Husqvarna’s new 550 XP, a chain saw with a high power-to-weight ratio accompanied by outstanding throttle response. The engine’s speed climbs immediately to 10,200 RPM with the chain moving down the bar at about 64 feet per second. Husqvarna’s 550 XP chainsaw—for professional loggers and skilled land owners—features RevBoost, which provides instant high chain speed for efficient delimbing. Its unique X-Torq engine technology provides more power, up to 20% less fuel consumption and 75% less exhaust emission. The slanted cylinder design gives the 550 XP a lower profile, allowing for greater control. Plus, the retaining function prevents bar nuts from loosening. An optional feature is TrioBrake, which allows the chain brake to be activated either automatically by the inertia release mechanism or mechanically by your hand. 851 Call 704-921-6844; visit



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Dealer Sees Success In Customer Details Virginia’s Land & Coates operates six brick and mortar locations. BY JESSICA JOHNSON VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. arden Winstead, 38, President of Land & Coates Outdoor Power Equipment, isn’t your typical power equipment dealer. Born into the family business that was purchased by his father, Charles, 70, some


Brothers Barden, left, and Coleman Winstead focus on a select few product lines and making customer service a priority.


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The dealership only carries Stihl handhelds, which allows each location to carry the full lineup of products.

35 years ago, Winstead didn’t immediately work for dad after college. In fact, he says he didn’t even want to—not that it mattered. He says, “Dad had a rule that out of college we had to work somewhere else for five years before coming to work for the family business.” So Winstead got into commercial real estate for a while, before joining the Land & Coates team, where he’s been for the last 11 years. While the patriarch of the Winstead family is no longer involved in day to day operations, Barden and younger brother Coleman, 33, Vice President of Sales, have led the dealership through some tough times. The recession hit everyone hard, but the Winsteads were able to stay strong and expand during the tough time. Land & Coates currently operates six brick and mortar locations throughout Virginia, using a tried and true formula of good customer service and quick service to help keep a steady rhythm of business.

Premixed fuel and fuel additives are big sellers for Land & Coates at all six locations.

Product Lines One of the reasons the dealership sees success, Winstead believes, is in the focused product lines they offer. While the dealership does offer a choice in mowers, selling both Toro and Hustler, when it comes to handhelds, Stihl is the only choice. “We’ve done well with Stihl over the last couple of years and it’s easy selling one,” he explains. The dealership also carries Honda Power Equipment and Kubota in two locations. The dealership has carried Toro “forever,” Winstead says with a laugh and took Hustler on about 10 years ago.

A tagging system, designed by Bob Clements, helps techs stay on track and cut turnaround time. POWER EQUIPMENT TRADE


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“We like being able to give people that choice.” One surprisingly hot item for Land & Coates is Stihl sunglasses, “We sell a lot of them. We’re constantly restocking them,” brother Coleman reports. Land & Coates stocks both TruFuel and Stihl MotoMix. Each product has sold well, surprising Winstead. “The guys wanted to bring it in and I said you were never going to be able to sell it,” he remembers, citing price point as one of the biggest reasons. Of course, with the continuing problem of ethanol-blended gas, the salesmen were able to sell a lot of TruFuel. Winstead himself is even a customer now, saying, “It makes sense for homeowners with a small yard, it’s so much easier. I will pay for the convenience.” The dealership also offers StarTron fuel treatment products for customers that want to use gas from the pump. Since the dealership caters to a vast customer base, for the past few years the store has offered Timber Wolf log splitters. Winstead is happy with the line addition, saying, “Timber Wolf is a great product, it’s new for us but has done well.” Honda engines are also very popular with customers.

Service Department Land & Coates keeps each location uniform in terms of service departments. A few years ago Bob Clements with Bob Clements International came into the dealership and helped make some organizational improvements and helped the dealership develop a system for checking equipment in and making sure that turnaround time was kept to a minimum. The system is similar to a hospital’s triage program: every piece of equipment is tagged with specific colored tags. Green tags mean the work is done, red tags mean the equipment is waiting to be looked at, and blue tags mean the equipment is waiting on parts. Each piece of equipment, once a technician has looked at it, is also tagged with a specific number. That number is then used on all paperwork and on plastic bins that house needed parts. Winstead says it has made things easier to find and “definitely works.” While the amount of techs varies per store, bigger stores have three plus a service coordinator, smaller stores have two, and every store uses the tagging system. “It greatly improves efficiency,” he says, allowing the service department to grow and work quickly without making as many mistakes. Land & Coates’ service department sees a wide range of issues, with the customer base being about 50/50. “We do a lot of commercial work, so we offer a lot of loaner mowers. If we can’t get it fixed in less than 24 hours, we will give them a loaner so they can go back to work and then call them when it’s ready,” Winstead explains in regards to commercial turnaround. This is used in part with the selling of commercial accounts. “If you buy from us, 18

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you get zero downtime,” he says, “It’s part of the package being sold.” For homeowners it varies with the time of year, trying to keep it at under a week. “With our new system, we look at stuff the day it comes in, so we can get parts on order and try to stay in front of it. That’s really decreased our lead times,” he says. The techs still see a lot of ethanol related issues coming into the shop, even though E-15 is not available in Virginia, so while they have the OPEI Look Before You Pump tags, the main focus is educating people on keeping fresh gas or using an alternative. Winstead says, “We try to educate our customers, run it out of gas, treat it with TruFuel or Stihl’s MotoMix as the last tank, so over the winter it’s sitting without ethanol in the gas.” “It’s gotten a little bit better, but we still see a lot of ethanol issues. It’s only going to get worse. When ethanol first got really bad, and we had a ton of people coming in, we didn’t like it. People thought we enjoyed the increased workload, but the ethanol issues were just as frustrating for us as the customers! We don’t want to just continually replace carburetors. Nobody wins when we’re doing that.”

on selling lawnmowers and tractors,” he says simply with conviction. It’s that attitude that helps Winstead stay focused on what’s important: selling equipment and servicing customers. “We try to add value in everything we do, both for the homeowner and the commercial guys,” Winstead says. He enjoys not only working for himself, but watching the family business grow. “Working for yourself is very rewarding. Making money is hard or else everybody would do it. I think everyone

in this industry is either growing or going away. We’ve grown a lot in the last five years and we are only going to continue to grow. Right now we are trying to internally refine our processes, get more profitable and get our systems totally in check,” he says, not ruling out a seventh location in the future. Adding, “It’s rewarding to work with the commercial guys and be a partner. We sell them the mowers, but also fix them, give them loaners, to do their jobs better. We help keep them going.” PET

Daily Operations The brothers take care of sales and store operations. Each store has managers, but Winstead doubles as Sales Manager and keeps up with inventory and equipment sales. A corporate Operations Manager keeps up with personnel and day to day stuff across all locations. With six locations, during the busiest time of the year, Land & Coates has about 60 employees, but will shrink back to less than 50 during the winter. “Having that many employees is a challenge. We hired an operations manager from within a couple years ago to help with just all the stuff,” Winstead admits. An outside PR firm that helps with all legal paperwork regarding employees and the hiring processes assists the operations manager. Winstead doesn’t believe that the dealership has enough need to a full-time dedicated HR person, so using the outside firm helps relieve some stress without the added personnel. “The HR firm started out just helping with little projects, like revamping the handbook, and it has morphed into more. They help us with things we don’t have time for. We need to focus POWER EQUIPMENT TRADE


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Customer Satisfaction Key To Market Share Quit worrying about being the cheapest, worry about being the one that makes the customer happiest— that’s the key to increased market share. BY JOHN WALKER


ver the past four months we have seen two important quotes by senior executives in the equipment business. They state that the equipment dealer’s customer loyalty is earned by the dealer and not necessarily by the brand name. It was Bill Ratliff who first proclaimed this, then followed recently by Gene Embury of Kubota: “Dealership brand will take on greater importance than the manufacturer’s brand.” He goes on, saying, “Customers are sophisticated enough to differentiate between a dealership that just happens to be close by and one that has superior knowledge and skills, and provides the equipment and services he needs.” Are manufacturers softening their thinking that the best and only way to measure their dealers is via market share performance? Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines says, “Market share has nothing to do with profitability. Market share says we just want to be big and that we don’t care whether we make money doing it!” As we have told so many equipment dealers over the years, market share is earned over a period of time and it cannot be earned by consistently being the low priced bidder. Market share can be earned by providing the customer with service before, during and after the sale of equipment at a fair and reasonable price. Customer satisfaction is an absolute necessity in any and all equipment dealerships. It is what draws the customer back time and time again to buy from a 20

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Market share can be earned by providing the customer with top quality, superior service.

particular dealership. Customer satisfaction should not be confused with customer good will. It is important to note that there is a fine line between good will and satisfaction. Good will does not always provide satisfaction. When you undervalue what you charge your customers (by cutting your prices) you also undervalue what you do for your customers. When you overvalue what you pay your customer for a trade-in in order to hold market share, you reduce your business prof-

Good service is the real product a dealer has to sell that keeps customers coming back.

itability. If you believe your price is right, stick to it. It is difficult, if not impossible, to remain in business if you cannot remain profitable. Customer satisfaction is how the customers view their relationship with the equipment dealer. It is what makes the customer come back time and time again for the dealer’s services. Customer satisfaction is a genuine feeling that the dealer cares after the sale has been made. Customer satisfaction is a caring attitude expressed by the dealership and all the dealership’s personnel towards the customer. Customer retention is earned through customer satisfaction. It has been said that equipment dealers spend six times the amount of money to capture a new customer versus what they spend in keeping that same customer. Is the equipment dealer’s emphasis misplaced? In today’s marketplace, customer retention means financial success. Customer retention is greatly determined by how you satisfy the customer’s needs after the sale. Every year, without question, some manufacturer or some association goes into the market to survey why customers buy from one supplier versus another. Every year the answer for the equipment



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dealer comes back the same. Despite all the money spent on these surveys, manufacturers and dealers alike pay little attention to the results. Results indicate that the customer comes back to the dealership because of parts availability and good service response time—a limited amount of “unscheduled down-time for customers”. Encourage customers to return to your dealership by treating them the way they like to be treated and by providing the services you would expect as a customer As we have written several times during the past several months, full service is the real product a dealer has to sell to customers. A customer can ill afford down time when product line is running, when fields need to be plowed, when streets need to be swept, or grass has to be cut or trimmed. World-class dealers are always there for their customers when they require service. Fortunately, we are seeing numerous manufacturers beginning to recognize this fact and encouraging their dealer base to pay particular attention to their customers’ product support requirements. Reader requests for our “specials” on specific manuals continue to be high, particularly when the concern for customer satisfaction is high on their list of priorities. We therefore continue offering our manual entitled, “Customer Satisfaction” for the special price of $16.99. This manual will be emailed and invoiced to you via email—eliminating handling charges or mailing charges. You only pay the invoice after you are satisfied with the product. If you are not satisfied, toss the manual

and the invoice; no explanation is necessary. When you ask for the manual please include in your email: your mailing address, and major product lines PET handled by your dealership. John Walker is President of Aftermarket Services Consulting Co., Inc., a Fort Mill,

SC-based international training and consulting company working with manufacturers, dealers and associations in parts and service marketing, managing and merchandizing techniques. For more information contact AMS, 817 Stockbridge Drive, #399, Fort Mill, SC, 29708; e-mail: amsconco@; web site:

Is 10 Minutes Of Your Time Worth $100? Power Equipment Trade is conducting a 2014 Reader Survey and we need your help. Please take the time to visit and click on the 2014 Reader Survey banner. Upon completing the survey and entering your contact information, you’ll automatically be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!

HURRY! The deadline is Thursday, July 31st! Limit one entry per subscriber. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.



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Dealers Step Up To Spring, Summer As usual, weather drives the business. BY DAN SHELL


ith a lingering winter now faded from the rearview mirror, dealers are looking ahead or in the midst of their spring selling seasons. ● Ron Clark at Clark Farm, Lawn and Garden in Greensboro, NC is hoping for more rain. “We need rain,” Clark said a few days before Memorial Day weekend. “Things are slow, and this time last year we were way ahead of where we’re at right now,” he added, noting that lack of rain slows service and sales and tradeins where a customer may be looking to upgrade to a better mower. “My yard at home has been mowed three times this whole season, so we’re desperate for rain,” Clark said, adding that his area has had only two good rains in the past six weeks or so, plus cool nights through most of May have also affected business by keeping grass growth to a minimum. “We’re not that far behind, about five days out, but people just aren’t coming in yet,” Clark said. “I do a lot of the pickup and delivery, and that’s dropped off as well.” The dealership’s major lines include Honda, Husqvarna, Ariens/Gravely and Kubota, and the business is also an Amerigas propane refilling station. “I’m a real weather person after following this business 55 years, and the secret is you gotta have rain,” Clark said. The business offers coupons on its web site,, and also advertises in local billboard and specialty publications—and with the local little league organizations. “Someone one time asked me how you can be successful as a power equipment dealer,” Clark said. “The an22

JUNE 2014

swer is easy—just add water!” ● Coming off a busy winter season that kept spring about two weeks behind until just recently, T&S Mower in Olmstead Falls, Oh. was still about two weeks behind on early service with fullblown spring just now arriving, said Garry Thompson. “We’ve had a late spring, but it’s catching up now,” he said in late May. Though the dealership is on the west side of Cleveland and doesn’t get as much legendary “lake effect snow” that piles up on the east, this past winter was a good snow year for T&S, Thompson said. Sustained warm temperatures arrived in early May, and the spring season has been catching up ever since as grass growth and spring rains have both picked up. Along with the new year, T&S is working in a new sales manager and the dealership is also on the verge of hiring a new trainee technician. “We feel like we’re real solid in the service depart-

ment, but we’re looking for a starting level trainee,” Thompson said, although he added if the “right guy” with experience and skill showed up, he’d have a job offer immediately. ● In the Deep South where spring was a bit late, damp and cool, full spring hit by early April and summer weather was in full swing by mid May. “We had a bit of a late spring, but once it picked up it took off. Business has been really good, and we’ve been selling quite a few Stihl machines,” said Buddy Pilkington with CTE Equipment in Montgomery, Ala. The region recently had several days of rain that slowed business a bit, “But as soon as the sun comes out business booms right after,” he added. Homeowner customers are currently given a 21-day notice on repairs, but actual time was less than two weeks if a customer dropped off something the last week of May. Landscaper customers get much quicker turnaround. “Exceeding expectations is a big part of what we do, so we try to get the work out a lot sooner,” Pilkington said. The dealership is also offering great prices on pine straw through late spring, with special discounts for landscape customers, Pilkington reported. The dealership also targets landscapers with equipment and accessory discounts and special offers throughout the season. “Our Saturday hours also help, because we’re one of the few open that day,” he said. PET

At CTE Equipment in Montgomery, landscapers are a major market segment.



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WI, MN, ND, SD, TX, OK, AR, OR, WA, AK, MT, ID, WY, UP of MI 8690

DISTRIBUTORS: For information about placing your ad in PET’s Distributor Library Section

Call Kathy Sternenberg


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Western U.S.


1709 Lamons Lane Johnson City, TN 37604 Website: Email: Pro/Consumer Lines: Scag, Giant-Vac, Brown Products, Velke, Grass Gobbler Voice: 800-752-1780 Fax: 423-926-1679




ler ELECTRIC w o F 800-843-1424 Bloomington, MN

Catalogs Available Distributors for Outdoor Power Equipment Parts, Small Gas Engines, and Snowmobile & ATV Parts Comet, NGK, Rotary, Prime Line, Gates, Martin Wheel, Tilltoson, Walbro, Zama & More 5417 Nationwide



For information about placing your ad in PET’s Distributor Library Section Call Kathy Sternenberg PA,NJ,DE,MD,WV,N.Va.,NY,CT,VT,MA,RI,NH,ME




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Southeastern U.S.


DISTRIBUTORS: For information about placing your ad in PET’s Distributor Library Section Call Kathy Sternenberg

251-928-4962 Nationwide

POWERworks 9009

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

607-638-9297 phone or fax ONAN ENGINE PARTS

McCULLOCH PARTS NEW - USED - CURRENT - OBSOLETE Fayetteville Equipment 113 Washington St. • Fayetteville, NY 13066 Phone: 315-637-8165 • Fax: 315-637-9286 1069

ZENITH Marvel Schebler - Z.E.E.M.S. Carburetors - Rebuild Kits All Service Parts


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


–Custom Rebuilding –Current & Obsolete Inventory Enginemasters Inc. We want your New Old Stock! P: 815-485-4545 Fax: 815-485-4559 3020


Ask For Ray 502-228-1462 • Fax: 502-228-7737 Also Have HOMELITE Parts


JUNE 2014


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

Shelby County Implement • Shelbina, MO 63468 Ph: 573-588-4731 • 573-588-2020 Fax: 573-588-4264 • Email: M/C, Visa and Discover Accepted 3524

Busy lawnmower, trimmer, snow blower and chainsaw sales, service and repair shop in business since 1965 includes all inventory, parts, equipment and a list of over 1700 current customers. Lots of traffic and tons of room for expansion and growth into new products. The business is on a 10 acre parcel and operates out of 10,000 square feet of interior space comprised of 3 buildings - a 42x90 clear span steel building for storage and work space, a 20 x 40 storage building. And a third building with a 32 x 60 showroom, office, additional storage area and a 24 x 80 service shop. 5454 Route 32, Catskill, New York. Come take a look .....................................................................$450,000

Call Steve at Steve Hubbard Real Estate 3821 Services. 845 246-2022



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Source: Todd Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In, StepWise Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-658261-9-8,

PERC Contest Winner Hosts Demo The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and Stoltzfus Farm Service Inc., hosted a Propane Mower Demo Day Event at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., March 19. Thirty-five professional landscape professionals attended the demonstration to learn about propane’s benefits and try out the latest propane-powered commercial mowers. Dave Steinhauer of Stoltzfus says, “We feel like we’re a part of making it a reality and giving contractors accurate, compelling information about propane’s benefits. We’ve already received a lot of positive feedback and expect that to

Stihl, PLANET Day Of Service

Stihl recently partnered with the City of Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach based landscape businesses, K&D Round’s and Man vs. Tree, to improve Redwing Park in conjunction with the sixth annual PLANET Day of Service. Stihl employees and their families volunteered their time over the course of two days to complete beautification projects including laying fresh mulch, planting annuals and perennials and removing debris. To learn more about the PLANET Day of Service visit:


“In the midst of the everyday chaos of running a business, leaders often don’t think about what they could or should say to motivate their employees,” says author Todd Patkin. Patkin speaks from experience. For nearly two decades, he was instrumental in leading his family’s auto parts business to new heights until it was finally bought by Advance Auto Parts in 2005. One of his most reliable growth strategies was proactively nurturing his employees’ attitudes about their jobs by engaging them in conversation. “They’d never bring it up themselves, but there are certain phrases your employees really want to hear from you,” Patkin says. “Some have to do with affirmation; others center on encouragement, reassurance, respect, gratitude, or trust.” More and more, organizations in all industries are realizing that there’s an almost-magical power in the synergy of teams. Here’s how that applies to you: your employees all have unique skill sets, experiences, and ideas—so tap into them! “Yes, your employees will be looking to you to steer your company in the right direction, but I promise, they know you’re human, and they don’t expect you to have all the answers,” Patkin comments. “So the next time you’re facing a difficult decision or brainstorming options, ask your team for help. Rather than losing respect for you as a leader, they’ll appreciate that you treated them as valued partners—and they’ll feel more invested in your company’s future because they had more of a hand in creating it.” Often, employees are anxious about asking the boss for what they need, whether it’s updated office equipment or more time to complete a project or advice. They may fear a harsh response, want to avoid looking needy, or simply feel that it’s “not their place” to ask for more than you’ve already provided. By explicitly asking what you can give them, you extend permission for your people to make those requests— and they’ll certainly appreciate it. “Be sure to treat any requests you receive seriously,” Patkin instructs. “If you can’t give an employee what she asks for, explain why and work with her to find another solution. Either way, this question, and the conversations it sparks, can give you valuable insight regarding how to improve your company’s operations, facilities, and culture.” “Remember, business is always personal,” Patkin concludes. “Specifically, it’s about reaching and motivating each of your employees on a personal level so that they care about contributing to your organization’s ultimate success.”

materialize into propane-equipment sales.” The event opened with educational sessions and a Q-and-A with industry experts followed by lunch and an afternoon of testing equipment. Speakers included Jeremy Wishart with PERC, Garry Busboom with Exmark Mfg., Brandon Fredricks with Kohler Engines Group and Chris Cafarella with Boulden Brothers Propane. Stoltzfus Farm Service Inc. of Cochranville, Pa., was the 2013 GIE+EXPO winner of PERC’s demo day event. Equipment dealers who visited PERC’s booth had the opportunity to sign up to win the dealer demo day, with Stoltzfus winning the drawing. The dealership provides equipment sales and service to customers in Chester and Delaware County, Pa., Cecil County, Md., and New Castle County, Del.

What Employees Want to Hear

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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



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Can You Believe It? Same Old, Same Old DALE STOTTS

While certain things are looking up for dealers, some concerns are staying exactly the same.


ere it is the middle of 2014 and this industry, plus those in control of our industry, is staying with the status quo. We always hear how change is good but I truly don’t see many changes. Many manufacturers continue to hold on to their old ways. The EPA is up to their old tricks and Mother Nature is still using her bag of tricks from dry weather in certain areas, floods in others, tornadoes, even earthquakes. Let’s take a look and see if you agree or disagree with this premise of “same old, same old.”

ventory—which is still current and in original packages—the answer has become more negative than positive. So, dealers must hold onto inventory they no longer have a demand for.

The EPA Now, I come to every dealer’s favorite entity, the EPA. As my last article’s focus was on the burning of wood and the new demands on wood burning devices for the future, the EPA is up to their old tricks. This doesn’t even start to talk about the new E-85 or E-15 fuel requirements—everyone associated with this industry knows nothing operating or being built today can operate on this fuel. Even the auto industry has several concerns, but this seems to fall on deaf ears.

Mother Nature

Manufacturer Demands

Now, as dealers we’ve never had any control over Mother Nature. But, I honFirst, looking at manufacturer demands estly was amused, and this isn’t the true on continued education, I will say there way to look at this, but as forecasters have been a few inroads made here. A are predicting a major 5-point or even few more manufacturers have discontinlarger earthquake for Oklahoma, global ued the on-site educawarming groups tion requirements, alkeep harping on We just continue to struggle how humans have lowing service techs to do this on-line. done so much damwith what is placed in front Yet as this change age and if things of us. Many times we have has been made, many don’t change we are still require a fee to little or no say, the outcome doomed. Now forewatch and take the casters can’t actualalways will affect our lives test. This still ranges ly say where, or from an upfront fee even when this as well as our family’s lives. of $30, or more, and I major tornado is still have not gotten a legitimate reason going to hit, but they do know that it is for this. But then, I’ve also attended upgoing to happen in the future. date seminars that were at no cost, even Don’t get me wrong: to a certain for the provided lunch. Quite an advancepoint I agree, we as inhabitants on this ment in the educational process. earth have done some damage to the enWe still have the majority of distribuvironment and the physical earth ittors going from asking to requiring a self. On the other hand, if you go back spring booking order, no matter how in history you will also see some of the much left over inventory you might have same patterns in weather as we are havfrom previous years. At the same time ing now. For a recent example, the first when dealers ask to return unneeded infull week of May we had heat in my 30

JUNE 2014

area of 80 to 90 degrees. At the same time in the 1950s there were also days of 80 to 90 degrees as well. So where was global warming then?

Computer Issues In these short paragraphs I’ve briefly outlined a few of the norms as well as a few changes. I haven’t talked about the biggest one that affected many a business: Windows XP is no longer being supported, causing a complete change in operating systems. In my case, I purchased three new computers so I could use the Windows 7 operating system. I know many of you made this change several years ago but as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” and I was very comfortable using Windows XP. My learning curve as well as making adjustments in my daily routine has been a challenge but, at this point, I think I’m coping very well. At least I’ve not been driven to the point of taking the sledgehammer to the computer. As I finish this, can you believe after all these years, several things have stayed the same, while some have gotten better, while in a few instances, things are worse? We just continue to struggle with what is placed in front of us. Many times we have little or no say, the outcome always will affect our lives as well as our family’s lives. We all may be in this together but some of us are not as fortunate as others. So may the rest of your year be free from Mother Nature’s wrath and possibly by late fall or early winter more of the manufacturers and distributors will change some of their antiquated policies making all our lives easier. We can only PET hope. Dale Stotts owns and operates Stotts Engine Service, Monett, MO 65708; fax: 417235-1156; or email: The views of Dale Stotts do not necessarily represent those of Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc.



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PET 0614 Digimag  

The June 2014 issue of Power Equipment Trade magazine

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