Brand U: A Deere relationship

John Deere mower (Photo: John Deere)
John Deere mower (Photo: John Deere)
John Deere mower (Photo: John Deere)
Photo: John Deere

Ivan Giraldo, president of Clean Scapes, prides himself on the reputation of his company. Four years ago, when it came time to replace some of his company’s mower fleet, the 30-year veteran of the green industry turned to another name that represented a solid tradition: John Deere.

“It’s a well-recognized brand with a lot of history,” he says.

Clean Scapes operates in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth and completes 60 percent maintenance and 40 percent installation services for a 100 percent commercial client base. In 2018, the company’s revenue was $47 million. With those numbers in mind, Giraldo didn’t want to trust his 600-plus employees to just any equipment brand.

So, Giraldo began a conversation about changing mower brands with Ken Taylor of John Deere, his friend and colleague on the board of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance. Shortly thereafter, Clean Scapes started testing John Deere mowers at its Dallas/Fort Worth location first and then began slowly acquiring more across its three locations.

Today, the company has 58 John Deere mowers in its fleet — a mix of Z930M and Z950M ride-on zero-turn mowers as well as 636M and 648R QuikTrak stand-on mowers. After the successful rollout of the mowing equipment, the company also started testing John Deere construction equipment, including skid-steers.

Clean Scapes works with Mustang Equipment in San Antonio and Austin Turf & Tractor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Giraldo says his dealers are an important part of the relationship with John Deere, since they are typically responsive and quick to offer a loaner piece of equipment if a mower breaks down.

As Clean Scapes retires more mowers, they are being replaced with John Deere equipment.

“The safety, reliability and performance are the key parts of us being very happy with John Deere,” he says. “And, at the end of the day, the guys like it — they’re on the machines all day.”

The specifics

Giraldo says that John Deere mowers are solid, and his company favors the brand’s safety features, noting, “they do very well on the slope inclines.”

Giraldo acknowledges every machine breaks, but he’s seen fewer repairs needed on the Deere mowers. “We do very good maintenance on them, and parts are easy to get and reliable,” he says. “And, it’s easy for our mechanics; they like working on the machines.”

The ability to convert from gas to propane was important for Clean Scapes. “All our riding mowers are now propane converted,” Giraldo says.

Though Giraldo was initially concerned that the John Deere Michelin X Tweel Turf airless radial tires would cause tracks on turf, he was happy to be proven wrong. There are a couple reasons why Clean Scapes is pleased with the switch to Tweels from traditional tires: “On the regular air tires, it’s always an issue of losing air pressure and the time it takes to repair a tire that is deflated,” he says.

Abby Hart

Abby Hart

Abby Hart is the former senior 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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