The TurfMasters are also putting a dent in Beason's intermediate walk mower sales. "Those things are struggling anyway, but now you can buy two 30-inch mowers for the price of one intermediate," Beason explains. "I've had opportunities to sell intermediates this season, but the contractor sees the TurfMaster and wants it."
Oscar Cavazos of MAE Power Equipment, an Exmark dealership in Mission, TX, doesn't see the 30-inch mower taking sales away from his 21-inch models. But he does see trouble for his 32- and 36-inch intermediates. "The price point of the 30-inch, along with its ability to get into back yards, are big pluses," Cavazos says. "The twin-blade design of the 30-inch mower is also nice."
Howard Brothers is still seeing sales plug along for both their 21-inch mowers and intermediates. "Just the other day I had a contractor buy an Exmark Commercial 30 but he also bought a 21," says Jeff Mitchell, manager of the Doraville store. Chris Chester, with the Alpharetta store, hasn't had much luck selling Exmark 21-inch mowers. But he has sold some Hondas. "I've also sold a good many Exmark 36-inch intermediates," Chester adds.
It's all about productivity
It just depends on what the landscape contractor needs. To them, it's all about uptime and productivity, and finding the right tool for the task at hand.
The 21-inch mower still has its place. For example, contractor Adam DeLoach, Oklahoma City branch manager for Tidewater Landscape Management, says a 30-inch mower might be "too much mower" in some residential settings. In others, it's just perfect.
"I had a contractor buy four Commercial 30s," says Matt Beverly, Alpharetta store manager for Howard Brothers. "The contractor does a cluster of homes. Every other week they push out 150 houses in this neighborhood. It used to take three guys with 21s. The first time they did it with 30s, they only needed two guys to do the same amount of houses in the same amount of time."
"I also had a contractor buy four Commercial 30s," Mitchell tells. "The contractor actually saved money. He'd been using 21s, but had an employee quit around the time he bought the 30s. They were able to lose no production time using the 30s with one less employee."
Sometimes, a more-productive piece of equipment can be the best employee money can buy.