Package deal

November 8, 2018 -  By
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Contractor using Kubota walk-behind (Photo: Kubota)

Accessorize Kubota’s loyalty members also receive deals on mower accessories. (Photo: Kubota)

There are loyalty programs for everything from hotels to restaurants that reward customers for making purchases. It only makes sense for customers to take advantage of these perks for things they are already going to buy. But what about mower fleet loyalty programs? Should landscapers consider a rewards program or purchasing their entire fleet from one mower manufacturer?

Beyond the equipment purchase, there are no costs to join the programs, and benefits can include equipment discounts, low-rate financing, gift cards and other special deals.

To better understand some of the key benefits of participating in a loyalty program or purchasing an entire fleet from one manufacturer, these landscape professionals and suppliers share their experiences and insights.

Planning for the future

From a manufacturer’s standpoint, there are obvious incentives to having a landscaper turn to them for their full mower fleet. To make their company stand out, they look for ways to sweeten the deals and also cover a wider range of equipment.

Tom Vachal, Kubota senior turf product manager, helps break down how Kubota’s loyalty program works. Customers can qualify for the Kubota Fleet Program in two ways—either on the number of units they purchase or the size of their current fleet.

For medium to large landscapers, Kubota allows a customer to qualify based on their existing fleet regardless of brand; the larger their fleet, the greater the discount, he says.

“For the new and/or small landscapers that are just getting into the business, Kubota offers fleet pricing even for single-unit purchases,” he adds.

Man on Husqvarna ride-on (Photo: Husqvarna)

Try it out North American Lawn & Landscape works with Husqvarna’s R&D team to test
equipment. (Photo: Husqvarna)

Other customer groups also qualify for higher tier levels independent of the units they purchase or their fleet size. Those include members of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA), the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and first responders and veterans who cut grass commercially.

Loyalty program members will not only experience savings on their initial purchase of whole goods but also on accessories, such as mulch kits and grass catchers.

“Another significant benefit for fleet participants is Kubota’s EverGo loaner program,” Vachal says. “If for some reason a repair cannot be completed quickly, participating dealers will loan the fleet participant a machine so they can keep cutting until their equipment gets repaired.”

The Kubota Fleet Program also includes leasing, seasonal payments, extended warranties and insurance options. The seasonal payments incentive gives landscapers the option to skip payments in low cash flow months, and the insurance program ensures they don’t have unplanned expenses due to an accident or natural disaster.

“Landscapers should consider mower fleet programs any time they need to make a new machine purchase,” he says.

That extends beyond mowers, Vachal says, with some manufacturers offering a loyalty program that covers both mowers and construction equipment. Using a single manufacturer for all equipment allows the landscaper to only interact with one dealer, helping to make the process a little easier.

“The one thing I hear from many landscapers is there is never enough time to travel from place to place trying to get a better deal,” Vachal says. “That travel time takes away from servicing the paying customers.”

Having insight heard

Beyond the cost savings of making multiple mower purchases from one manufacturer, Brandon Gurley, partner at North American Lawn & Landscape, has also experienced the benefits of working with a manufacturer on equipment. Gurley says his company has built a partnership with Husqvarna’s research and development team to test the equipment and give feedback.

His company has offices in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., and offers commercial maintenance, irrigation, design/build, retention and pond restoration, stormwater management and tree farm services. With $16 million in annual revenue, his company has about 75 mowers, more than half of which are from Husqvarna.

Beyond giving input, his firm also benefits from competitive pricing, Gurley adds. Using several mowers from the same manufacturer comes with advantages like being able to interchange parts across different machines and becoming more accustomed to maintaining them.

“We buy mowers every single year in the winter for spring startup,” Gurley says. “We’re certainly looking for the best capital expenditure—how best we can use our funds for our fleet.”

When it comes to adding mowers to their fleet, Gurley encourages landscapers to look at the history of the equipment, ask their crews what they like to use, read reviews and, lastly, look at the cost.

Dealer difference

For Adam Linnemann, founder and president of Linnemann Lawn Care & Landscaping, buying all his mowers from the same manufacturer came down to the benefits and relationships he’d built with his dealer.

The firm has 11 mowers in its fleet—all John Deere. Linnemann takes part in the John Deere Rewards loyalty program, which gives his company equipment discounts, special financing, discounted parts, giveaways and other perks.

Located in Columbia, Ill., Linnemann Lawn Care & Landscaping has more than $1 million in annual revenue and offers design/build, maintenance, fertilization and weed control, hardscaping, landscape lighting, Christmas lighting and snow/ice removal services. Its customers are 70 percent residential and 30 percent commercial. Linnemann also offers consulting as The Green Executive.

To be eligible for John Deere Rewards, landscapers have to make two or more qualifying purchases and be a member of affiliates like the NHLA or NALP; be a SiteOne Landscape Supply customer or employee; be a Farm Bureau member; or be in the military. This type of eligibility structure is common for manufacturers across the landscape industry.

One of the perks that goes along with using John Deere and Linnemann’s dealer, Nobbe and Co., is the NeverStop program that includes benefits like offering parts on-site, mobile service, professional landscape contractor priority service and after-hours parts and service (open until 8 p.m.).

Linnemann says having a program and dealer he can rely on has been a main benefit of sticking with one manufacturer. It also helps reduce downtime.

He says it’s important for landscapers to find a dealership they know and trust and also one that understands the industry. “This is imperative to your company’s success,” Linnemann says. “Next, demo all the brands and make sure the equipment is the best choice for your company, your team—because they are the ones using it daily—and your clients’ properties.”

Linnemann adds that it’s beneficial to work with an equipment manufacturer that extends fleet discounts to other equipment divisions.

“We own John Deere compact track loaders and mini excavators, and the fleet discount extends to these pieces of equipment, as well,” he says.

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's associate editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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