Brand U: Staying ahead of the curve

June 26, 2019 -  By
Photo: Husqvarna

Photo: Husqvarna

It was interest in battery-powered equipment that brought Surrounds Landscape Architecture & Construction together with Husqvarna. “We were down at GIE+EXPO walking around and looking (at battery equipment) because it was something we knew we wanted to get into,” says Tom Kniezewski, garden management team leader for Surrounds.

“We liked Husqvarna for their approach and how they worked with contractors — they’re hands on, and they’re responsive,” he says. “They made us feel comfortable making them our brand of choice.”

The Sterling, Va.- based Surrounds offers 65 percent design/build and 35 percent maintenance services to high-end residential clientele near Washington, D.C. It pulled in $10 million in revenue in 2018.

The company began using Husqvarna battery-powered handheld equipment four years ago in addition to Husqvarna push mowers, a ride-on mower, snow blowers and a walk-behind aerator.

The company runs eight crews, and its Husqvarna haul includes approximately 25 gas-powered backpack blowers, 25 battery-powered string trimmers, a handheld vacuum and 10 push mowers.

Surrounds recently had a product developer from Sweden and a product developer from North Carolina come to its headquarters to work with the team and find out how the equipment was performing for them.

Photo: Husqvarna

Photo: Husqvarna

“Since Husqvarna is such a big company, we were really surprised by that. Any minor changes or tweaks (we suggested), they were constantly taking notes and pictures to learn and improve. It’s a quick turnaround, they listen to what we’re saying and they make the improvements … it’s a great feeling,” Kniezewski says.

He notes that Husqvarna’s battery-powered equipment will help the company stay ahead of the curve, since Washington, D.C., recently passed an ordinance banning gas-powered equipment.

“It’s a matter of time before more (ordinances) are passed and we’re not allowed to use gas equipment,” Kniezewski explains. “Our hedge and string trimmers are all battery, and it’s just a matter of time before our mowers and blowers are all battery, too.”

Husqvarna’s blower line

“It’s a beast, and it’s gas run, but it really handles leaves in the fall — being based in Virginia, we have a heavy leaf drop,” Kniezewski says. He notes that he’s looking forward to demo-ing Husqvarna’s battery-powered leaf blowers this season.

Husqvarna’s string trimmer line

Kniezewski particularly likes the new 300 battery that Husqvarna now runs on the string trimmer, as it provides three to four hours of work time. He says crews can get through a whole day with two batteries

“It functions well, and it rotates in either direction for doing fine gardening and the high level of detail that we’re doing,” Kniezewski says.

Abby Hart

About the Author:

Abby Hart is the managing editor of Landscape Management. A native Clevelander, she spent 10 years in Chicago, where she was operations manager of a global hospitality consultancy. She also worked as managing editor of Illumine, a health and wellness magazine; and a marketing specialist for B2B publications. Abby has a degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.

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