Brian Fullerton is host of Brian’s Lawn Maintenance, based in Wixom, Michigan, and generator of a popular YouTube channel for landscapers with 161,000 subscribers. Turf Magazine asked for his analysis of this year’s mower market. Here’s what he had to share.
1. Bigger, Bolder Options
One trend sure to kick up a storm in 2022 and beyond is the scope of equipment options being offered. Look for more engine options and deck sizes to meet. Nowadays we’re seeing engines at 37, 39, 40 HP and beyond, while matching them to 72″, 96″, 104″, and 144″ decks. Getting more done with less labor and less equipment (think one mower where it used to take two!) is going to be the new normal.
2. Wider Product Offerings
More companies are rounding out product lines to answer the call for mowers of all types. Consider Wright adding Zero Turn sit-down mowers, while Exmark, Spartan and Altoz expand their stand-on lines. Companies that offer full mower portfolios are great for contractors since they can keep their fleet unified with one brand. This creates continuity which helps with repairs and keeping operators familiar with the mowers.
3. Accessories and Customization
Accessories are big business! From chute blockers, aftermarket USB charging plugs for smartphones, to light bars and so much more, accessories are booming. Ballard Innovative Products, based in Ankeny, Iowa, is heading this accessories niche and more companies are right behind.
4. Battery Power
We’ve seen our fair share of alternatives like diesel and propane, but, in reality, we haven’t seen any significant changes in terms of powering our outdoor equipment in decades. Until recently.
Battery powered outdoor power equipment has made huge strides, so much so that at the GIE+EXPO 2021 Show (now the Equip Exposition), almost every OPE player debuted battery-powered equipment. Battery powered equipment is clean, quiet, and as robust (if not more!) as gas-powered equipment. Run times are drastically improving and power and torque for trimmers and leaf blowers are becoming unparalleled.
5. Autonomous Mowers
Autonomous mowers are here to stay. Picture a bunch of little frisbees zipping around your lawn, mowing an 1/8″ off the top, giving you a perfectly manicured lawn, day after day. Sounds like a thing of the future, but I promise you, the future is here.
When you break down the cost of these units, you may be deterred, but let’s think it through. For clients, these could be a big draw and revenue generator. No fumes, no engines roaring, no missed weekly schedules because of rain—a lawn that looks perfect, daily, indefinitely—and no labor, hiring, costs, or absenteeism issues.