As part of a series of interviews with manufacturers of lawn and garden equipment that appeared in the June issue of RER, RER’s Michael Roth interviewed Doug Amerman, director of marketing and business development for Paladin Construction Group about developments in the company’s equipment, fuel efficiency and the growing popularity of attachments.
RER: What are the main areas of technological advancement in your product line, in the industry in general?
Amerman: Paladin Construction Group recently teamed with Miller UK Limited to offer customers the new Bradco Mini-Excavator Coupler and Bradco Mini-Excavator Buckets. Designed by Miller, but manufactured in the United States by Paladin Construction Group, both provide reliable, proven performance.
The Bradco Mini-Excavator Coupler’s pin pick-up design ensures that no costly modifications are required to either the machine or attachments because it operates with standard OEM dimensions that make it compatible with existing buckets. The Bradco Mini-Excavator Coupler operates with a variety of lawn and garden attachments.
The Bradco Mini-Excavator Buckets are designed with specific dimensions that enable them to quickly and efficiently perform a variety of lawn and garden tasks ranging from digging and loading to trenching. The combination of fast attachment changeover coupled with precision digging, loading and trenching can greatly increase machine efficiency and on-site productivity with the added bonus of potential fuel and material cost savings.
Is fuel efficiency a big concern in today’s market and if so what are you doing to address that concern?
Yes, fuel efficiency does affect how we manufacture our lawn and garden attachments. When an attachment works more efficiently with the host machine it requires less fuel consumption. Our R&D efforts have led us to improve things like drive systems that work with the host machine and component strength and location to improve the overall performance of the attachment. This puts less stress on the host machine which requires less fuel or allows the contractor to use a smaller host machine to do the same or even more work—again using less fuel.
The FFC rakes and Harley Power Box Rakes are a perfect example of this for the lawn and garden contractor and rental companies. We recently improved the characteristics of the drive line systems and the overall height of the rake in order to put more workable torque on the ground with smaller host machines. In some cases, a 25 hp machine with a 4-5 foot rake can complete an acre in just over an hour. That was nearly unheard of before.
What are some of the trends you see in the rental industry in terms of lawn & garden equipment and how do those trends affect your business?
We’ve seen a few different trends:
- Rental purchase agreements: Because the volume of work is low today, contractors are hesitant to buy equipment of any kind, including attachments. Many are participating in rental purchase agreements where they let future jobs pay for the attachment instead of it coming directly from their capital all at once. For example, some common agreements now between rental companies and contractors allow contractors to apply 80% of the rental price directly on the principal of the purchase. While it costs more in the long run, the contractor can easily justify the eventual purchase because, in essence, the work is paying for the attachment.
- Attachments are becoming more popular: When contractors look at their fleet today, they commonly look at the equipment they have in their yard and try to find ways for it to generate new revenue. The best way to increase machine utilization and gain a significant competitive advantage is to put an attachment that their competitors don’t have on the end of a machine. For example, all contractors have a bucket for their lawn and garden related machinery. If you add a Harley Power Box Rake®, you might now be able to do golf course restoration, seeding or other lawn and garden related jobs. This can become a significant selling advantage for rental companies if they carry these types of specialty attachments.
- Try before they buy: As has been the case for years, the trend of contractors renting an attachment before they buy it is still common—especially for specialty attachments.
- Going smaller: A lot of the smaller rental companies are going to the smaller skid steers, mini-excavators and compact loaders because they are not intimidating to the average homeowner and often require less fuel consumption. Rental companies benefit by teaming with Paladin Construction Group because we make a myriad of products for compact equipment, including: rakes, trenchers, auger drives, vibratory rollers, 4-in-1 buckets and stump grinders just to name a few.