According to the Irrigation & Green Industry 2019 Green Industry Outlook, 66 percent of the 437 landscape contractors surveyed for the report said finding qualified employees is a major problem for their businesses. Some of the proposed solutions include expensive robotic mowers, changes to H-2B to increase available workers, and even marketing campaigns to attract younger workers to the industry.
But there is another option that can help reduce daily downtime and even encourage new hires. Using propane mowers can provide advantages to businesses and employees for four reasons: the fuel reduces emissions, is better for employees, is quick for employees to learn, and offers cost savings that can benefit employees in other ways.
1. Propane is a clean fuel.
Compared to gasoline mowers, propane mowers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 19 percent, and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions by 16 percent. The fuel is also recognized by the EPA as a non-contaminant of the air, water, and soil. For operators, using equipment that supports the environment is often a point of pride that they share with family and friends.
2. Green crews are happier and more productive.
Along with producing fewer emissions than gasoline and diesel mowers, propane operates on a secure, closed-loop fuel system which makes it virtually impossible to spill fuel onto shoes and clothing while refueling or during operation. Operators won’t leave work smelling like fuel, something a contractor will certainly want to point out to prospective employees. Happy crewmembers, whether full-time or seasonal, will be more likely to stay with the company longer and be more productive.
3. Training employees to use propane mowers is quick.
Getting employees on board with a new fuel may seem daunting, but many contractors using propane say that crews are quick to pick up on the new equipment because a propane mower operates exactly like a gasoline model. The cutting experience with propane mowers is identical to those currently using gasoline equipment, too. Plus, training operators to safely swap and refuel propane cylinders often requires minimal downtime.
4. Cost savings with propane can be passed to employees.
Because propane mowers cost about 30 percent less per hour to operate than gasoline, this adds up to savings that can be used elsewhere in a contractor’s business in many ways. For example, some contractors are able to add or improve employee benefits, such as insurance, or even to increase hourly wages to be more competitive. To see more of propane’s benefits and learn how to get started, visit Propane.com/Landscape-and-Turf-Management.