A wide perspective

A wide perspective

We joined landscapers visiting John Deere in Raleigh to learn the ropes and talk about tips.

December 4, 2015
Kate Spirgen

Lawn & Landscape joined landscape contractors from all over the country in Raleigh, North Carolina Dec. 3-4 to tour the factory, learn more about the equipment and chat with landscapers about a variety of topics.

Here are some key takeaways from the event:
 
Most expect growth.
Nearly all landscapers agreed that they would be growing their businesses next year, although a few in recession-hit areas said they would be cutting back next year.
 
Parts and supplies.
Landscapers want parts on demand from their dealers, and they love having parts like air filters that will fit a variety of vehicles.
 
Keeping track of inventory is key, said Luke Koenig of LDK Lawn Services in Overland Park, Kansas. He uses Quickbooks to organize his pieces and parts. “I spent four hours doing the initial inventory, but I could easily spend four hours driving around town picking stuff up,” he said. 
 
Most landscapers said they buy parts as needed but others said buying in bulk saves money and time.
 
Almost no landscapers said they buy their parts online.
 
When it comes to supplies, Andy Birkholz, founder of Andy’s Lawn and Snow in Lester Prairie, Minnesota, said he’s looking for someone who will come out and visit him.
 
2016 for John Deere.
In the spring, John Deere will be releasing vertical and radial lift machines that offer foot controls on the base models and a joystick option on deluxe models.
 
In the fall, all of the company’s machines over 75 horsepower will be Tier 4 Final compliant. They will be self-cleaning with a computer that will regenerate when needed. They will also be self-cleaning.
 
The filters will have a 3,000-hour warranty, but the company says they’re likely to last 7,000 to 8,000 hours.
 
Make your crews care.
Contractors agreed that the best way to get your crew to take good care of their equipment is to make it their own. Several said that they give employees a mower and then entrust them to keep it in good condition. If the mower isn’t working, the crew member doesn’t get paid, so it put the responsibility in their hands.