Purchasing Advice From the Pros: Monthly Musings

Landscape professionals reveal their top considerations and tips for purchasing equipment.

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The thought of purchasing new equipment can weigh heavy on the minds of landscape professionals, becoming a burden. However, it doesn't have to be. 

Here at Green Industry Pros, trade show preparation is top of mind as we roll into the summer months. At the end of June, snow professionals from around the country will descend on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the annual Snow and Ice Symposium. (See our review of last year's show here.)

We are also preparing to gear up for Equip Expo 2024. Last year, we spoke with many product experts at the show's hundreds of booths and got the scoop on the latest trends as well. 

Attendees of these shows have access to sales personnel and product manager within each booth, and at some shows, like Equip Expo, attendees have the chance to try out various pieces of equipment before they buy. 

This opens the floor for landscape professionals to ask whatever questions they'd like in order to make the best decision when purchasing equipment. 

Not so coincidentally, this installment of Monthly Musings asked landscape professionals for their best purchasing advice, in part, to help landscape pros prepare for the upcoming shows. 

Here is their top advice:

  • The cost of equipment is high, but ongoing additional payroll and labor burden are often higher. Calculate the cost of time (labor and associated costs) against the price of the equipment and maintenance. Easy math lets you know if there is value and worth purchasing. 
  • Perform time motion studies for any equipment being demoed. 
  • Buy equipment during a season in which you are not using it. 
  • Purchase equipment before you need to. 

Additional questions to ask, according to landscape professionals, include:

  • How is the parts availability?
  • How is the dealer support?
  • What parts should I have (on hand) with the piece of equipment? 

Green Industry Pros also asked manufacturers in a recent article what questions landscape professionals should bring to the table. Their list included:

  • Are there any challenges or special considerations that will need to be accommodated? For example, will you be operating on delicate surfaces like turf?
  • What is your budget?
  • Will the manufacturer make a good partner today and in the future?
  • How easy is it to get in touch with the manufacturer for service or support?
  • Does the manufacturer make it easy to find solutions and resources? Are they responsive after purchase or just until they’ve made the sale?
  • How does the manufacturer’s warranty program stack up to others in the industry?
  • What does the manufacturer’s distribution look like? Are you able to get the attachments you need quickly or is there a backlog?
  • Does the manufacturer have a reputation for quality products?
  • What are other owners/operators saying about the durability or dependability of their products?

What about you? Have you purchased any equipment recently? What was your experience like? Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at [email protected]. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I'm sure your fellow readers would, too!