Posts Tagged ‘Spotlight on Dealers & Pros’

U.S. Lawns. A national company with local roots.

Friday, September 24th, 2010

This month we bring you U.S. Lawns, a unique landscaping company built on a strong foundation of local franchisees with offices strategically placed across the country. The idea of U.S. Lawns is to have local presence in different communities by providing landscape professionals with resources and key business strategies to be successful. With the backing of a large company, franchisees can offer customers the personal service of a landscape pro and commitment to excellence of a local business owner.  U.S. Lawn’s commitment to delivering a superior product is in line with our thinking, and we’re proud to be one of their partners.

We asked U.S. Lawns a few questions and here’s what they had to say:

When did your operation first open its doors?

U.S. Lawns was founded and began franchising in 1986. However, the real growth of the concept began in the late 1990’s after the business model had been tested, refined and proven by our early “pioneer” franchise owners. We now have offices in more than 200 markets in 34 states.

What is the one unique thing about your business?

We offer national strength with a local commitment. The combination of local providers and national resources help make U.S. Lawns a leader in the commercial landscape management industry. Our territories for franchisees are set up with a 20-30 minute drive time in mind, in order to serve the customer quicker and more efficiently while our home office is staffed with professionals who are leaders in their respective fields, from agronomics to economics and from marketing to accounting and HR to support our franchisees.

How do you want to be viewed in the marketplace?

We want to be viewed as our Mission Statement proclaims: provide our clients with the highest quality landscape management program at competitive prices through a national organization of dedicated owner-operators and their employees, supported by the expertise of today’s most accomplished industry leaders. In pursuit of excellence we are committed to honest and forthright dealings with our clients, our employees and our vendors.

Typically, what do owners/franchisees look for in the machines they use?

Our franchisees look at equipment as necessary tools to consistently and efficiently service the customer’s property. For this reason we want our employees to operate equipment that is safe and easy to operate, cutting-edge efficient, has been engineered for zero down time and will last well past its warranty period. Since we perform only routine maintenance on our equipment, not major repairs, we put a great value on a good dealer network that understands the commercial contractor market.

What kinds of practices do you look for and expect in mower manufacturers?

We expect the manufacturer to fully understand the key drivers in our business and then proactively address these key drivers as they design and build both their machines and, more importantly, their customer support teams. We also expect what every customer expects – good warranties, proactive communication, advance notice of product developments and issues, and continued research and development that supports the future of our industry.

Is it important to have a strong relationship with your dealer?

YES! It is paramount. The buying decision is based largely on the strength of the dealer. The local dealer’s influence on getting a repair being made quickly, for us, is paramount. Equipment will break, but the cost, ease and speed of the repair will determine a strong relationship.

Where do you see the industry headed, generally speaking?

A recent trend focuses on green initiatives. More energy-efficient electric mowers and mowers with less noise would seem to be the way of the future.

What is the one thing that’s currently affecting the industry?

The customer is not willing to pay more today than yesterday for the same services.  There have been no significant improvements in the equipment industry that improve field efficiency. This restricts the contractor’s ability to improve margins by upgrading equipment, forcing the contractor to either increase efficiencies in other areas of their business or to accept lower margins for their work.

Where would you like to see the industry headed?

Upward and green! We firmly believe the future of the equipment industry is dependent upon change –not incremental change as we’ve seen over many years, but exponential change: different power sources and radically different designs allowing for far greater efficiency while addressing environmental concerns.

What is next for your company?

U.S. Lawns will continue to be a leader in the commercial landscape management industry. We continue to grow our business, even in a challenging economy, and keep our eyes on the future at all times. We push forward every day, keeping up with technology and constantly building our pool of resources for our franchisees. Our goal is always customer satisfaction, and we believe we deliver it better than anyone.

Want to read more about U.S. Lawns visit

Dealer Spotlight: Tony Weston

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Cheif- SH- PBThis week we’re featuring Tony Weston. Tony is that rare breed of dealer, landscape professional and all-around nice guy. His business philosophy is simple: Be respectful, be honest and never sell your customers a product you wouldn’t use. Who can argue with that?

As a dealer, what do you look for in a product? I look for machines that are well-made, dependable and deliver the best cut out there. That’s why I only sell Exmarks. They’re the machines I use for my landscaping business and I would never sell my clients anything I wouldn’t use myself. We have a saying in my shop: We sell ‘em…We use ‘em…’nough said.

What is the one thing you focus on when it comes to your customers? Honesty. I am a dealer and a landscape pro so I know what it takes to get the job done right. And what it takes is a combination of experience and quality mowers. I’ll never sell a mower I don’t believe in, even if it means a bigger profit for me. I just can’t do it. I also believe in loyalty. I got baseball caps with my customers’ logos on them hanging on a wall in my shop. And I’ll never underbid a customer on the same job. Never. It’s not the way I do business.

What similarities/philosophies do you think you share with Exmark? Exmark always puts the customer first. They’re only interested in making the very best mowers, so they ask a lot of questions, are open to feedback and take their time crafting their machines. I am all about doing what you can for your customers.

How would you define a quality cut? First, start by picturing a large, open field with grass that’s about 13” long. Now picture a red laser beam coming in and slicing right through it. In one smooth motion, it creates an even cut from one blade to the next. No stragglers. No pushed over grass. What you end up with is my definition of a quality cut.

Thanks for answering our questions, Tony. Keep up the good work.