George Kinkead and his brother, Scott, co-own Turfco, headquartered in Blaine, Minnesota. George talks about the company’s new T3100 stand-on spreader/sprayer.
George, tell us what motorized applicators, such as the T3100, mean to the lawn care business.
Imagine a guy all day long in the middle of July pushing a walk-behind spreader or dragging a hose to make an application. There is no way that guy can keep up that pace all day long, day in and day out, and not become fatigued. With the T3100, you start and end the day at the same speed. The increase in productivity is amazing. You can literally grow your business without adding another truck, trailer or employee.
You mention fatigue, which brings us to the issue of employees becoming harder to find and harder to retain. What features in the new T3100 limit applicator fatigue?
The most obvious feature that eliminates fatigue is the platform that the operator stands on. It has a shock-absorbing spring to it. When you couple that with the machine’s pivoting front axle, four-wheel frame and its unique steering wheel design, an operator can make applications over uneven lawns and hills without putting stress on the machine or the operator. Also, the unit’s simplified controls and hands-free speed control make operation easy and consistent. I tell owners that if their operators can’t learn how to use this machine expertly and quickly, they probably shouldn’t be driving a truck. It’s that easy to use.
What other unique features does the T3100 possess and what do they mean for applicators?
The machine’s unique high-velocity large-droplet spray gives you complete coverage, which will reduce callbacks. Also, its unique hard trim for granular application eliminates off-target prills.
Is there anything else that you feel sets the T3100 apart from other stand-on units?
Our team of great engineers and employees created a more versatile unit for a wider range of properties, as opposed to having one machine for your small residential properties and a larger machine for your larger commercial properties. Our machine is the only machine like it that will fit through a 36-inch gate, but can also cover up to 132,000 square feet. It also has matching spray and spread widths so you can do both at the same time without having to go over it again.
I am fascinated by Turfco’s business model of offering sales and service direct to operators. How do you make it work?
We flipped to direct in 1999. It was a great move for us. It allows us to be connected directly to the operators. We’re talking directly to the operators and they are talking directly to us. There are no filters between us. It allows customers to get service answers and parts directly from the manufacturer. Going direct allows us to put more resources into building the best equipment for the money.
You and your brother, Scott, seem to take a very personal interest in just about every aspect of the company.
Our family has been in the turf business since 1919. We grew up living and breathing the industry. We love the industry, we love the people and feel blessed that we’re in this industry. We’ve always made a commitment to being out in the field, looking at the products ourselves and talking to the users of our equipment.