Offering propane conversions opens up many opportunities for dealers and their customers. But without the support and active involvement of OEMs, it could also expose dealers to many liabilities.
The limited number of propane-ready model numbers means there might not be a mower available with the engine and manufacturer pairing that matches the specific customer needs and desires in your market. Until the engines and the mowers themselves are matched to specific customer types, propane conversion kits are your best choice.
The fight for dealers that have kits to put on machines is that OEMs aren't necessarily working very hard to get kits approved for use. Some OEMs are not yet convinced propane is actually going to be a product that will work for them.
Using kits that are not OEM-tested and approved means great liability for the dealer.
You should look for manufacturing partners who are making the move to associate themselves with conversion companies that can provide OEM-approved kits and mounting plates.
If you're getting into the business of propane conversions, then you need to be trained in taking care of the unit with maintenance and troubleshooting. That knowledge is all a part of convincing the customer that you can service the unit or train them to do so. Encourage your OEM partners to provide the technical training you and your staff need. Dealers should also be sure their OEMs can provide quality technical support to the product end-user when calls come from in the field.
Talk to the OEM representatives in your marketplace and get involved in what is being taught at training schools. It's one thing to have everyone talking about one specific unit, it's another thing to have everyone talking about one specific fuel source.
Dave Wood of Smitty's Lawn & Garden in Olathe, KS, is a stakeholder in a company called Tech Services Incorporated. Tech Services has partnered with EnviroGard to become its exclusive sales and marketing arm with worldwide rights for EnviroGard EPA-certified propane conversion kits.