Outdoor Power Equipment

August 2017

Proudly serving the industry for which it was named for more than 50 years, Outdoor Power Equipment provides dealers who sell and service outdoor power equipment with valuable information to succeed in a competitive market.

Issue link: http://read.epgmediallc.com/i/852043

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Page 27 of 51

FEATURE STORY | Trends 28 AUGUST 2017 OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT www.outdoorpowerequipment.com for compact equipment. As the hous- ing market continues to improve, so do sales for compact equipment and attachments. In addition, as hous- ing values recover from their lows during the last recession, homeown- ers are investing in their properties to install new hardscapes or land- scape features. It is also worth mentioning, for some landscaping profession- als, leasing compact equipment is an attractive option to minimize out-of-pocket costs while gain- ing advantages of operating new machines that are under warran- ty. Monthly fixed costs with little or no downtime help landscaping professionals stay on schedule. – Christopher Girodat, marketing manager, Bobcat Company KEY FACTORS AFFECTING equipment buying are over- all quality of equipment, amount of standard features, and equipment warranty coverage. Buyers are also interested in a variety of purchase options that best suit their individual needs. These include cash purchase options, financed pur- chase options, and leasing. – Tim Phillips, KIOTI Tractor eastern regional sales manager OUR CUSTOMERS ARE STRUGGLING to hire competent op- erators, and there is a limited number of them on the labor mar- ket. They are looking for a dependable solution, so they can finish their work in timely manner. Safety rules and requirements are also impacting buying habits, and should strengthen our position going forward. People can operate our machines safely on slopes up to 55 de- grees, they are not exposed to any dangers when the machine is operated correctly, and previously unmaintained areas can now be cut. – Lubor Hladik, international sales manager at Dvorak-Spider, manufacturer of Spider dedicated remote-controlled slope mowers THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE continues to focus on the up- time and efficiency of their equipment. It's less about how much the product costs and is more about "Can this product add money to the bottom line?" They have to maximize productivity to be profitable. – Kurt Kainz, marketing manager, Echo Bear Cat CUSTOMERS ARE LOOKING at equipment that will reduce the amount of labor required to complete a job. As labor be- comes more difficult to find, we are seeing more customers look at equipment options that will complete a task with less labor required. – James Day, general manager, Turf Teq NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS and city development will drive de- mand for efficient and productive equipment. According to the Nation- al Association of Home Builders, the home building market is up 2 percent, and there are developing cities through- out the U.S. growing rapidly, causing the need for quick development plans. – Matt Hutchinson, product man- ager, Vermeer CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY IS UP, so that is a big factor, but that is being offset by lower ag prices. – Bill Wake, director of product de- velopment, ASV Holdings Inc. IT SEEMS THAT MANY LANDSCAPERS are having a hard time recruiting reliable help, and I've seen more purchase decisions based solely on productivity than I've seen in the past. – Ed Wright, vice president of engineering, sales & marketing, Wright Mfg. THE SOLID ECONOMY, particularly relating to new residential and commercial construction, is a key factor in shaping buying hab- its when it comes to lawn and turf care equipment. Increasing real-estate values is another contributing factor; as more homes and buildings are constructed, the need for grounds care equipment rises. Also, as real-estate values climb, we see more homeowners and com- mercial building owners investing in high-quality lawn care equip- ment. The weather, as always, also plays a major part. This year's late spring delivered lots of moisture throughout most of the U.S., which had a mixed effect. – Denis Bedard, vice president of sales, Schiller Grounds Care SIMILAR TO YEARS PAST, strong dealer relationships, product innovation, and world-class fleet and financing programs are the key drivers when making purchasing decisions. – Chris Vogtman, marketing manager for landscape contractor equipment, Toro; and Ross Hawley, senior marketing manager, resi- dential and landscape contractor equipment, Toro ONE OF THE FACTORS impacting equipment buying this year has been a shift in purchasing habits of landscapers and home- owners toward value products that still meet their needs and al- low them to lower their operating cost. Also, with gas prices being low, landscapers are not necessarily leaning toward EFI engines as they were a couple years ago. EFI engines will continue to see a positive trend as customers get educated on the many benefits of EFI engines in addition to fuel savings. – Tom Vachal, Kubota senior product manager, turf EVERY YEAR, WE SEE more and more professionals are includ- ing battery-powered products in their fleets. However, there is PHOTO COURTESY OF HUSTLER TURF EQUIPMENT

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