By Phyllis Jones
Welcome to a new feature in your LICH magazine—the tool section. In this section we hope to keep you appraised of what is happening in the equipment industry and how it will impact your business. We will also give you some hints on factors to consider when purchasing new equipment. We hope that these articles will be helpful to you, and we welcome your questions and feedback.
The recent blower ban legislation serves as a reminder of how diverse the landscape industry is—from large and small contractors; to nurseries, golf courses, hotels and resorts, tourist attractions, cemeteries, to equipment vendors. This blower ban legislation affects us all, and we all could be adversely affected should the ban be passed by the legislature. This is a great opportunity for us to work together for the common good. Gas powered tools (2 cycle or 4 cycle) are a necessity for all facets of the landscape industry. They make good economic sense by reducing labor and time. In a competitive market with escalating costs, it is even more important to know what to look for when buying equipment, and how your equipment should be maintained. To be successful and to stay ahead of escalating costs you need your equipment to be working correctly and consistently.
Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about your equipment. 1. EPA requirements have changed the mechanics of today’s machines. Because all manufacturers must adhere to stricter guidelines, today’s machines are nonadjustable with more safety features. The difference between brands is how each manufacturer chooses to adhere to the new regulations. It is important for you to know what the differences are so that you can purchase the brand which best suits your needs and style of operation.
2. While a regular maintenance schedule may at first glance seem unprofitable, over the long run, it will save the company money and time. For example, fresh fuel was an “incidental” before, but is now a necessity. Fresh fuel has a major impact on your equipments’ performance. Changes in the fuel composition as well as changes in engine technology have made fuel a critical element in how well your machine operates. An adequate air supply is necessary for today’s machines to operate for long periods of time without overheating, and causing serious engine damage. Therefore, frequent cleaning of air cleaner elements is a necessary part of any maintenance program.
3. Parts availability and information availability is a major consideration when evaluating equipment in today’s market place. While shifts and changes on a manufacturer’s level are beyond our control, how we deal with the changes and what alternatives are available is something that we can do something about. It is important to know your choices and have a plan as to how you will deal with changes so as to minimize your equipment down time.
In future articles, we will review some basic troubleshooting steps which can be done in the field to get your equipment back running. With regard to 2 cycle equipment, we will review how different manufacturers have dealt with the changes in the EPA regulations. This will help you to know what to look for when buying new equipment. These differences, while seemingly unimportant, can make a difference in what your future costs will be.
Phyllis Jones, A to Z Equipment and Sales, formally A to Z Rental Center, in business for over 25 years.