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two or three extra 30-pound pro- pane canisters to replace used ones throughout the day.

“Our propane provider is Northern Energy. We don’t have to go to them to get our tanks filled. They come to us once a week. They take all the empty canisters and fill our storage cage with full ones.”

Buying Equipment

from Multiple Providers DeFilippi buys equipment from several sources to get exactly what he needs. He has purchased hand-held tools and push mowers from large retailers and from manufactures like CORE Outdoor Power.

Ecological Lawn & Tree Care uses CORE Outdoor Power’s battery-pow- ered commercial landscaping tools as part of its sustainable practices.

continued from pg 64

if there is a drop in power it’s barely noticeable. The manufacturers claim there is no loss in power,” he says. The commercial crews also carry some Stihl gas-powered hand-held equipment, just as a backup. The resi- dential crews use Worx electric mowers and the CORE hand-held equipment. The crews carry extra charged batteries and use power inverters to recharge on-site using the service vans’ batteries. The trailers also carry

He turns to his dealership, G&G Equipment, for larger equipment like mowers. Their low-key approach to sales keeps him coming back. “They don’t try to sell me things I don’t need. I think they are fair in their pricing. They have low-pressure sales tactics and great service,” he

DeFilippi says he knows he might be considered a smaller commercial account, for now. “They’re smart enough to know that eventually I could be a large customer.”

Looking for the Next Technology

DeFilippi says he’ll continue to

search out environmentally friendly equipment that can meet his commer- cial landscaping needs.

“They don’t try to sell me things I don’t need …”

says. Mower downtime hasn’t been much of an issue, but the dealership has loaned them equipment when they’ve had a breakdown.

For him, an equipment dealership is a business partner.

“It’s important to have somebody you can count on that will take care of you when you need them to.”

Chuck Giefer, co-owner of G&G Equipment in Fredrick, Colo., was a landscaper before he started his equipment dealership with his brother, Will, in 1994. That experience helps him serve com- mercial customers like Ecological Lawn & Tree Care. Ecological’s owner, John DeFilippi, says he remains a loyal customer because of Giefer’s no-pressure sales techniques, fair pricing, support — and the dealership’s ability to locate the best solutions for his environmentally friendly landscaping business. “John has taken the ecological approach to the next level. Some guys do a little bit, but he’s taken it up a whole notch,” Giefer says. His dealership carries Honda Power Equipment, RedMax, Scag, Toro and Walker.

Giefer says his dealership didn’t have equipment in inven-

tory that met DeFilippi’s needs, but that didn’t stop the two from working together.

“He told me what he was looking for and I said, ‘I don’t have 68 RURAL LIFESTYLE DEALER  SPRING 2013

“There are still no commercial- grade handhelds that will last as long or are as powerful as gas-powered. But, that doesn’t matter to me. My business model revolves around sus- tainability. I charge a little more to recoup any extra costs,” he says. His customers are willing to pay a 10-20% premium for his services. “The holy grail to me would be a true commercial- grade, electric hand-held, with battery times longer than they are now. They’re getting better. Companies like

CORE are making advances and the technology is improving every day.” Based on customer demand and interest in environmentally friendly solutions, DeFilippi expects his busi- ness to continue growing. “I’m looking for investors to take my company to the next level and enter other mar- kets, like Denver.” RLD

Be a Resource, Not Just an Equipment Provider

all the answers now, but I’ll do some checking.’ I did some research and it was a week or two of back-and-forth conversa- tions and figuring it out,” Giefer says. G&G recommended Scag and Wright Stander mowers that could be converted to propane and recommended a source for refilling the propane tanks. Giefer also sold him Maruyama fertil- izer sprayers.

Their first conversations were in the fall of 2009 and Ecological had its environmental lineup for the spring 2010 land- scaping season. Giefer says there hasn’t been a huge demand from other landscapers for the kinds of equipment DeFilippi is using. He says mowers with electronic fuel injection engines seem to be the preferred direction. To win customers, though, he knows you have to be open to new technology. “We’re constantly looking out for new options,” he says.

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