Experience the Perks of Clean Equipment

Equipment dealers and landscape contractors are seeing the benefits in choosing “cleaner” outdoor power equipment. There are many incentives and trade-in programs through state and nationwide government organizations encouraging the purchase and use of these products. Opting for equipment that is low-emission or uses alternative fuel types cannot only lead to savings through purchasing incentives, but also dollars saved in the cost of operating equipment.

There are several programs for dealers and their customers to take advantage of. Below is information on some of the many programs available and how to get one started in your area. Additional research can shed light on the offerings in your area that may not be listed here.

The Clean Green Yard Machines (CGYM) Rebate Program

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Valley Air District) offers the recent CGYM Rebate Program saving customers up to $250 when they purchase a new cordless electric mower after June 4, 2013. After returning their old mower to a participating dismantler, the rebate application is verified. The rebate amount is based on the purchase price of the new zero-emission mower.

For more information, visit http://www.valleyair.org/grant_programs/grantprograms.htm#CleanGreenYardMachine.

South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Trade-in Program

The AQMD program encourages landscape contractors or high-end equipment users to trade in their old and still operable gas-powered lawn equipment for new, low-emission models at a lower price than suggested retail rates.

Ted Kujawski, sales manager for Pacific STIHL, says participating in the rebate programs offers STIHL dealers many benefits, such as an increase in sales of STIHL products, being viewed as environmentally conscious, and the opportunity to attract a new set of customers to their dealers' stores. Perhaps one of Kujawski’s strongest arguments for pushing this “cleaner” equipment is that it could help prevent an environmental ban and secure a dealer’s ability to still offer gas-powered equipment in their area.

“Offering a quiet and environmentally friendly option—like our Lithium Ion-powered products or our low-noise BR 500 and BG 66L—can be all it takes to prevent a ban,” explains Kujawski. “Most people and organizations still do not realize that these options exist.”

Kujawski and the rest of his team play an active role in getting the word out on these equipment options and helping dealers promote the programs.

“With the help of our marketing manager, Dave Ross, we’ve created an in-store flyer to promote the details,” says Kujawski. “Our territory manager for the area, Nat Weems, has spent time educating his dealers on how to advertise and leverage the program to sell more STIHL (equipment).”

Currently the mower exchange program is temporarily sold out, but blower trade-in opportunities are still available. You can sign up for a notification for the next scheduled equipment exchange on their website at http://www.aqmd.gov/aqmd/funding.html

Kentucky Professional Equipment Rebate Program

The Air Pollution Control District (APCD) of Kentucky offers rebates on professional-grade string trimmers, blowers and their batteries. They have also partnered with STIHL and their local distributor, Bryan Equipment Sales, to offer larger rebates on STIHL battery-powered string trimmers, blowers, batteries and commercial packages. Bryan Equipment has been partnering with the local government and residents since the program’s inception.

“Louisville residents as well as the emissions counsel in Louisville thought that it would be a good idea to establish a program that would assist with the poor air quality that surrounded its individuals,” shares Josh Kelly, marketing specialist for Bryan Equipment Sales. “This concept started with the idea to recycle lawnmowers and outdoor handheld power equipment in the Louisville metro market. Bryan Equipment Sales suggested that focusing on the commercial market would be the most beneficial for all parties involved, considering the run time is typically the longest and, thus, most detrimental to the environment. The Louisville resource board and Bryan Equipment Sales evenly split the cost of the old equipment to support the project.”

Consumers who bring in an old piece of gasoline-powered equipment that is fully drained of all fluids to one of three recycling centers are given a green recycling voucher to present for redemption at a participating dealership. The trade in will equate to a discount toward a new, more eco-friendly machine, with a corresponding battery and charger.

Bryan Equipment has representatives who work to educate dealers and consumers on the programs. While they see the program as a great way for dealers to connect with new customers and gain some foot traffic in their stores, Bryan Equipment Sales is a large supporter of the environmental benefits.

“The true measure for Bryan Equipment Sales was not just about helping our dealers increase sales, but to promote a cleaner way of life, and a safe alternative to getting rid of old machines,” says Kelly.

For a list of qualifying products and the participating retailers, visit http://www.louisvilleky.gov/APCD/lawncare/ProfessionalEquipmentRebates.htm.

Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) Incentives

PERC offers dealers many valuable tools for propane education as well as purchasing and conversion incentives for landscape contractors. Currently, in an effort to garner feedback, they are offering landscape contractors $1,000 per qualifying new mower purchase or $500 per qualifying mower conversion to help them document the cost savings and benefits of a propane-fueled mower. PERC is looking for contractors who can offer feedback and performance data for one mowing season.

For more information on PERC and their programs, visit www.propanecouncil.org.

Alternative Fuel Incentives

Alternative-fuel mowers could also be eligible for some federal and state incentives related to alternative-fuel vehicles. The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) offers a full list of Federal and State incentives at www.afdc.energy.gov that could apply to alternative-fuel mowers. Their site also features an interactive map with state laws and incentives (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/state).

Push for programs

These are just some of the programs out there to help dealers push the sale of cleaner equipment and help their customers take advantage of the cost savings. New programs are frequently introduced across the country. If you have yet to find one in your area, keep an eye out for programs popping up or work with your area distributor and government to get the ball rolling.

“Check a couple of places, first government programs,” advises Kujawski. “If there is a light bulb exchange program in your area (Incandescent for CFLs), or any kind of program designed to reduce pollution, noise or the use of gasoline, typically the same funds are utilized.”

Supporting these programs and extending their discounts and benefits to your customers is a great way to push sales. On top of that, it helps safeguard the environment and educate consumers and environmental organizations on the conscientiousness of the Green Industry.