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Taking stock of budgets, equipment, and operational procedures from the previous year during the winter months can help landscape contractors set themselves up for success when the cutting season begins.
What worked and what needs to be changed? What could the crews do more efficiently and what costs are too much to bear? These are all great questions that the best landscapers ponder before another year of operation. Use these five steps to get on track for a more productive and profitable grass-cutting season.
1. Assess your current fleet.
Look for what worked, what didn’t, and what could have been more productive by reviewing repair and maintenance logs. For equipment that has more hours in the shop than on site, it may be time to consider leasing or buying something new.
2. Take a closer look at your fuel budget.
High gas prices — like those many experienced last summer — can take a toll on contractors. Budgeting for those gas price spikes is one option, but contractors looking for long-term solutions can also consider switching equipment to propane.
Typically, contractors save 30 to 50 percent per gallon of propane compared to gasoline. Contractors should use PERC’s Propane Mower Calculator to compare costs operating with different fuels.
3. Keep an eye out for incentives and grants.
Contractors may be able to reduce the purchase cost of new equipment by checking with OEMs for rebates. Grants and incentives from Clean Cities organizations and state environmental departments may also be available to contractors purchasing low-emission propane mowers.
Additionally, PERC’s Propane Mower Incentive Program offers $1,000 per qualifying mower purchase or $500 per qualifying conversion.
4. Consider how alternative fuel can cut costs elsewhere in your fleet.
Light– and medium-duty vehicles (like work trucks or box trucks) can be powered by propane autogas. Contractors may even be able to convert existing vehicles to propane autogas, a cost-effective way to begin using the alternative fuel.
5. Get technicians up-to-date on training and repair techniques.
No matter how long a technician has worked on outdoor power equipment, training now can make repairs and maintenance more efficient at the height of the season. Contractors who choose to add propane mowers to their fleet, for example, can easily schedule technician training for propane mower repairs and scheduled maintenance by making a quick call to their:
– Propane retailer.
– Propane equipment dealer.
– Or a mower or conversion kit manufacturer.
Contractors interested in learning more about propane mowers can see a full list of propane’s benefits as well as a list of manufacturers offering propane mowers or conversion kits.