Landscape contractors often want to know how they can better compete in a crowded market. The answer is by providing value for customers above and beyond what the competition is offering. But this can be one of the hardest things to do to succeed in this line of work. It’s especially difficult in overcrowded markets when it often feels like everyone with a pickup, a trailer and a mower is in the landscape — all offering virtually the same services.
Using commercial propane mowers in a company’s fleet can help differentiate a business from the competition in a crowded market.
Propane mower fleets can allow contractors to position their operation as the “green” alternative to other contractors in the area and make them eligible to bid on additional work contracts that require the use of sustainable practices.
Take a ‘green’ position
Propane mowers reduce harmful emissions compared with gasoline and diesel mowers. Contractors can use the environmental benefit of propane to their advantage, positioning the company as a “green” alternative to the local competition.
Propane’s clean emissions profile can be leveraged in marketing materials, which can resonate not only with green-minded customers, but also with everyday homeowners.
Position yourself to win bids
To be successful in a crowded market, professional landscape contractors must put themselves in a position to win work contracts that are put out for bid.
More and more municipalities, school districts and universities are requiring landscape and grounds management bids to include some kind of alternative fuel or sustainable practice, giving contractors with propane mowers a possible edge over the competition.
The lower total cost per hour of operation afforded by propane can allow contractors to submit a lower bid than what they could with a gasoline mower fleet. Or they can include additional services for a contract that their gasoline-dependent counterparts cannot match.
Operate more efficiently
This lower total cost per hour of operation offered by a propane mower fleet can help contractors operate more efficiently. Depending on their current market climate, that lower cost of operation allows contractors to either enjoy increased margins without raising prices, or the ability to pass those savings on to the customer.
Propane’s lower cost per hour of operation is due in part to reduced fuel costs and increased crew productivity. In a line of work where time is money, contractors can eliminate the need for crews to spend costly time refueling at gasoline stations during the day. With propane, each mower starts the day with a full cylinder fitted to a mower and a spare tank loaded onto a truck or trailer that can be switched out in the field in a matter of minutes.
Additionally, because propane engines use a closed-loop system, contractors get greater fuel security — and the knowledge that dollars spent on fuel will not be spilled or stolen.
Take advantage of available resources
Contractors considering a move to propane as a way to differentiate their businesses from surrounding lawn service providers will be happy to know the transition process is not a difficult one. There are many resources available for contractors to get on track to transition their fleet quickly.
Finding a local, knowledgeable dealer to act as a partner throughout the process is an important first step, which is why the Propane Education & Research Council recently launched Propane Equipment Dealer Point. The online search portal is a national database of pre-screened dealers — searchable by ZIP code – so contractors can easily find a reputable dealer in their area who is well versed in propane mowers.
Landscape contractors can try the Find a Propane Retailer online resource from PERC to locate a fuel supplier in their area. The retailer will help determine which refueling option is the best fit for the contractor’s fleet.
The price difference between a new propane mower and a comparable gasoline unit can be largely offset with the help of readily available incentives, too. PERC’s Propane Mower Incentive Program offers contractors $1,000 toward each new propane mower purchase or $500 toward each qualified conversion kit.
These are just a few of the resources available for contractors who are ready to make the switch to propane and start separating themselves from the competition in a crowded market.