Lawn and turf professionals constantly look for ways to get the most bang for their equipment buck. Whether using their pickups for plowing snow in the off-season or finding various other services to offer, contractors are always on the lookout for new ways to make money, especially when times are tough.
However, the bread and butter of many operations – the riding lawn mower – holds a huge profit potential that often goes untapped. This workhorse may cost thousands of dollars, yet many contractors are content just to have it mow. But imagine if it could tackle other tasks – like dethatching, spraying, sweeping and more. The riding lawn mower could achieve a much greater return on investment, and more services could be offered to customers. Thanks to recent advancements in lawn mower tractor attachments, this is all possible. It’s time to start doing “mower” with less.
The thought of using a riding lawn mower as a tool carrier is not at all absurd, as this practice has long been used with various other types of equipment. Consider skid steers, for instance. These machines have greatly evolved over the years, going from simple loaders to multitasking machines and, of course, they’ve gotten more expensive throughout this progression. However, contractors have been able to justify the high price of a skid steer because of the multiple tasks they can accomplish with the available attachments.
But skid steers are only the tip of the iceberg. Utility vehicles and compact excavators are other examples of machines that are now used for more than their original purposes. Even cell phones are offered with data packages and applications that allow them to not only place a call, but also to make businesses more efficient. It’s about time for the lawn mower/utility tractor market to play a little catch-up.
A Variety of Lawn Mower Attachments
Over the past several years, lawn mower manufacturers have developed products that meet the professional quality lawn and turf professionals demand. And unlike attachments that were offered in the past, the newest ones are specially engineered to accommodate many riding lawn mower designs, providing the best fit possible and often exceeding performance expectations.
The number of available riding lawn mower attachments has grown greatly. These include:
- Seed and fertilizer spreaders
- Leaf pushers
Not only has the number of attachments on the market grown, but the technology behind the equipment has also increased, and more thought has been put into the design of attachments to better accommodate riding lawn mowers. For example, some attachments feature innovative mounting systems, which allow them to easily fit on almost any riding mower on the market. Furthermore, some powered attachments are fully electric, allowing equipment like spreaders and sprayers to run completely off the mower’s battery.
Additionally, many steps are being taken to eliminate turf damage. To do so, some manufacturers have developed specialized tines for their dethatching attachments, helping to prevent turf gouging, whether the mower is driving forward, backing up, or conducting a zero-radius turn. Also, articulating hitches are available to accommodate the ground contour better than traditional rigid designs. This hitch style allows an attachment to pivot as the ground height changes from one end of the unit to the other. Therefore, if a dethatcher is used with an articulating hitch, for example, the tines won’t tear into higher ground at one end of the attachment while floating over lower ground at the other end. The result will be a more consistent dethatching operation.
Attachments Offer Better Return on Investment
A riding mower can be used for more jobs so that it may achieve higher productivity and, not to mention, a better return on investment. Lawn and turf professionals can begin offering more services without purchasing other expensive engine-powered machines.
While the types of attachments that are available for riding lawn mowers are also offered for other vehicles, such as utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), there are definite advantages to equipping them on mowers instead of other machines. Obviously, an operator can stay more productive using one piece of equipment rather than having to switch machines to accomplish different tasks. Also, contractors may now only need to haul one piece of equipment to a job site, saving on transportation costs. Since fewer pieces of equipment are used, the operator has less routine maintenance to perform.
Even more appealing may be the low risk of expanding a business. Contractors spend thousands of dollars on machines just to mow grass, but for just a fraction of that original investment, they can also buy attachments and offer new services.
Obviously, providing these new services can quickly pay off the low investment of an attachment, but this advantage can also help contractors retain customers and even gain new business. Existing customers will no longer need to go to a competitor for other turf care needs, so they will be less likely to consider taking all of their business to another company. Prospective customers who are looking to hire a lawn care professional will also be more likely to select one who can provide full service.
Furthermore, attachments actually help some contractors justify the cost of purchasing a new riding mower. Lawn mowing services alone may not be able to provide the return on investment needed to purchase a specific machine. However, when the revenue from added services is considered, the investment may seem much more feasible.
Article courtesy of Tyrnex International, Inc.