Why Landscaping Companies Should Consider Going Electric, by George Carrette, EcoQuiet Lawncare
I started my landscaping company, EcoQuiet Lawn Care, back in 2014. Some friends of mine had expressed interest in the industry and spoken to me about the opportunities they saw in electric landscaping. Going electric was unproven and risky at the time, but in business there are few opportunities worth taking that don’t involve some aspect of risk. After looking long and hard at my savings, I bought an electric walk-behind mower for my company. Just by switching to this mower, the amount of clients I had skyrocketed! People were genuinely excited about the concept of electric lawn care, and I soon had far more clients than a small inexperienced landscaper would normally have.
As soon as I started EcoQuiet, people started taking notice. I got in contact with Jamie Banks from Quiet Communities and was surprised by the size of the network of people who were ready to support me. After meeting with Quiet Communities, I started to believe that there was a real hunger for what I was trying to do. From that point on, I became not only a reputable landscaper, but also a sort of proof-of-concept for the entire industry.
There were a lot of landscapers who didn’t believe that it could work, but my success, especially with such little experience, began to convince them. I started getting invited to demonstrate my equipment and techniques and was given some speaking opportunities. It felt weird because I was so inexperienced, but just by taking up the gauntlet that was given to me, I was treated as an expert. Looking back, it makes me think that this is one of the biggest benefits of going electric for any landscaper: you will get a ton of exposure, and exposure is everything. There are thousands of landscaping companies just in my home state of Massachusetts. There are, metaphorically, many fish in the sea, but our electric equipment turned us into a whale. We had press and adulation that was way out of proportion with the size of our company. If we had been gas-powered, nobody would have given us the time of day.
That’s not to say that there weren’t challenges. Electric leaf-blowers were really ineffective back then, and there were a lot of steps that this industry needed to take in order to get good leaf blowers. Through Jamie Banks, I met a fellow from the American Green Zone Alliance named Dan Mabe. He started educating me on the ins and outs of this industry. Based on his advice, I started product testing for manufacturers. Without a ton of money, product testing became a great way to ensure that I had the best equipment without going broke.
Back in 2016, electric landscaping was a very different place. A new landscaping company now has much better options for equipment than we did back then. Blowers now are 50% more powerful, batteries have twice the capacity, and there is a big dealer network and a lot more companies that stand behind their products than there used to be. Even though the product testing side isn’t as robust as it used to be, the advice I get from Dan Mabe and Jamie Banks is still very useful.
A big part of what you need to do when you go electric is to find your network. There are countless sustainable landscaping committees out there, you just need to get in touch with them. Even the websites of certain towns recommend sustainable landscaping firms in the area to their residents. There are networks out there that are explicitly searching for landscaping companies like us. If you choose to go electric, these networks will be your biggest advantage. Once you get in touch with them, your marketing and outreach will be done for you. The public is very hungry for electric, quiet landscaping. Customers will flock to a new electric firm in their area if you take advantage of the infrastructure available to you, and this decrease in marketing cost is a great way to make up for the high upfront costs of electric landscaping.
The next thing electric landscapers can do is find a system that works for them. Analyze every product and the manufacturer of that product and find ones that have a product support network. Paying more for repairable tools is better than paying less for something that’s going to break. Make sure you have equipment that is supported by your local hardware stores. Get good tools because they take a long time to pay off. High quality tools bring your labor costs down and keep your employees happy.
Speaking of good tools, about two years ago there was a massive shift in the power of electric leaf blowers. To me, that showed that electric landscaping was ready to flourish. I was no longer confined by leaf blowers that couldn’t blow wet leaves and there were finally landscapers that looked at my leaf blowers and actually considered them. They went from 64 decibels to 59, while still being significantly more powerful. From there, I was finally able to hire enough employees and take advantage of everything I was building. That resulted in two years of tripling our revenue, and we are looking to triple our revenue again this year. The biggest problem we face now is not scarcity but being able to take advantage of all this growth.
That’s a little summary of EcoQuiet’s journey so far, with a few hints for you if you’re thinking of going electric. If you’re still on the fence, I understand! The transition is not easy, and success is not guaranteed. However, the switch has given EcoQuiet national recognition and propelled us to success without having to navigate the crowded field of landscaping, or compete with every other firm in the state.
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- Filed Under: Landscaping and Land Management
- Keywords : Electrification, Lawn care, Landscaping, Electric Lawn and Garden Equipment, Lawn and Garden Equipment, Lawncare, Electric Landscaping, Electric Lawn Care, Lawns
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We believe that beautiful landscaping and lawns can be achieved with respect for the environment. We use electric equipment and organic practices to provide our clients with full-service landscaping while caring for the earth.
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