Homeowners and commercial users alike look for versatile sprayers and spreader products manufactured for high durability. Selling to the user's needs remains important as technological advancements are made in the sprayer and spreader market.
Improved Technology Meets Enhanced Durability
One of the things both commercial and consumer customers are looking for in sprayers and spreaders is new technology that improves the ease in performing a job and the overall quality of the finished product. Attachments that allow users to take advantage of their existing equipment is also a bonus.
“More and more users are seeking products that fit existing equipment,” says Bruce Carmichael, national sales manager for TurfEx. “It allows the end-user to maximize a piece of equipment already in their fleet, and it’s much more efficient and effective than using a standard walk-behind spreader.”
Operators are looking for products that are flexible, low-maintenance and high-performance. Optimal performance from a spreader means casting materials evenly over a large area.
“We engineer our spreaders with specific gearbox ratios based on the particular wheel size. Both are very important points in having a spreader with an even spread pattern,” explains Jeff Kendall, vice president of sales and marketing for Earthway Products Inc. “If the wheel is large and the gearbox is small, the impeller that spins the disk that spreads material will turn slowly and will offer poor results from a narrow spread width to a skewed spread to the left or right.”
The improved construction of these products means they are durable and long-lasting on top of versatile, something customers are looking for in all of their products.
“Materials are only part of what increases durability. Engineering durability into the product at the start is the best way to make a product durable,” explains Kendall. “No one wants a spreader or sprayer that weighs so much that it’s a handful to operate. It would be durable, but not very useful.”
Materials like mild steel with epoxy powder coat chassis offer a long life at a good price—a high selling point when talking to customers.
The Homeowner Market’s Desires
Homeowners that utilize sprayers and spreaders are looking for versatile products that offer professional-grade features but are still affordable and easy to use.
“Flexibility in terms of what the spreader can spread and what equipment they can work with goes a long way in the mind of the end-user,” says Carmichael.
Recently implemented technology allows certain spreaders to spread seed, fertilizer or bulk product. Going beyond the materials a sprayer and spreader can handle, the homeowner just wants to know they can handle operating the equipment. Introduce them to professional-grade features they can use with the knowledge of a novice.
“Homeowners want products that are easy to set up and operate and yield the desired result—green grass,” says Kendall. “We have seen an increase in sales of our mid-range and upper-end homeowner models with pneumatic wheels, larger frames and capacity. Price is an important consideration, but value, something that will last more than a year, is the real target.”
The Needs of the Professional User
Much like the homeowner market, professional users are looking for low-maintenance products that are easy to use. Accuracy is vital, as they need to promise customers the same desired finish product the first time around.
“The professional users need durability and accuracy. The pros don’t have time to have a product down or to have to repeat an application,” says Kendall. “Each is key to maintaining a profitable operation.”
Commercial users seek larger units with capacities reaching 250 pounds with the ability to either tow the unit or fit it in the bed of a UTV or truck. Electric and remote-operated products are also a big seller with commercial applications.
“More and more professionals are looking for all-poly hoppers and electric-powered equipment with no hydraulics or gas engines,” says Carmichael. “One of our most popular models holds up to 11 cubic-feet of material, or about 900 pounds of product, but its popularity has a lot to do with its flexibility since it can spread such a diverse range of materials.”
Spreading the Word About Sprayers and Spreaders
Manufacturers are focusing on helping dealers to promote sprayers and spreaders in their marketing and encourage sales by backing products with impressive warranties.
Take advantage of the manufacturer-provided online and print tools for a better understanding of equipment operation and improving the sprayer/spreader customer experience.
Another thing to make sure you take advantage of is any manufacturer-hosted dealer training and equipment demos. They offer several marketing and training tools from catalogs, flyers and layouts, to maintenance and assembly videos available on their website.
But for dealers, one of the best ways to market a product is to have it present on the show floor. Customers then have the opportunity to handle the equipment and witness its quality construction.
“No matter how good marketing materials are, nothing beats a dealer talking about and showing this equipment to a potential buyer,” says Carmichael. “That’s why it’s so important that dealers stock this equipment.”