"In addition, for over 18 years we have been doing business with a gentleman who advises our chemical department on these and many new lawn care products," DiMauro says. "He is extremely knowledgeable and has introduced cutting-edge products to our area for some time. He's also the area representative for a very well-known chemical supplier."
As Sunset's organic-based product mix continues to be developed, Carlos Fulton, Sunset's director of sales, continues to develop a sales presentation that will help introduce the new organic-based lawn care program to large commercial clients. "Once we get everything in order, we will schedule meetings with property managers and HOA board members to educate them on the benefits of using organic products," DiMauro says.
Last fall, Sunset Landscape Services took a very diligent approach to its equipment fleet. Management carried out a complete inventory assessment to determine what was working, what wasn't, what could be repaired, what could be utilized as a backup unit, and what needed to be replaced.
"Our productivity has greatly increased because we no longer spend time waiting for something that broke down during a workday," DiMauro says. "Plus, our profits have increased because we are no longer spending excess amounts of money on constant repairs. And best of all, our customer satisfaction has grown because we've stepped it up even more since we've stopped having to deal with equipment breakdowns."
DiMauro offers the following fleet management tips with respect to mowers.
After two or three seasons, consider designating a machine as a backup. Sunset likes to have a few backup riding mowers on hand: two 54-inch and one 60-inch.
Then sell your current backups. Word of mouth has been all that's needed for Sunset. "There are many start-up companies today that cannot afford nor qualify for a loan on a new machine," DiMauro points out.
Now it's time to replenish your primary fleet of mowers. You have plenty of options. "We've been through so many zero-turns over the past several years," DiMauro relates. "It's been a big learning experience on what brand fits your needs the best. It seems like every machine has its own qualities, but we look for mowers that are going to hold up for eight hours a day, five days a week. We also look for true and even cutting height, and low maintenance. Another big selling point is service. Service is a big thing."