During the recent GIE+Expo, a busy Dealer Day was winding down and receptions were underway, so a recognition ceremony for Halloran Power Equipment and MowerWorks didn’t get the attention it deserved. The dealership was honored with the Propane Equipment & Research Council’s (PERC) inaugural Propane Leadership award.

It seemed fitting, though, because Halloran also stood apart and took the lead 8 years ago when it first began converting commercial mowers to propane. The dealership has two locations, in Palatine and Barrington, both near Chicago, Ill.

“We started converting mowers for landscapers after getting some requests and, as a dealer, we were looking for a niche,” says owner Mike Halloran. He estimates that between conversions and sales they’ve populated the market with more than 300 propane mowers. They convert all mowers, from 21-inch walk-behinds to stand-on mowers to zero-turns. The dealership carries propane models from Gravely, Scag and Bob-Cat.

“A key factor is supplying the propane. You don’t retain customers if they’re running to Home Depot for propane,” says Halloran. They work with AmeriGas, Hicksgas and Ferrellgas for their own supply of propane exchange bottles or to refer customers. Several of their large landscape customers have their own bottle exchange cages. They also even have a dedicated website, www.propanemowers.com, promoting their expertise and the advantages of propane.


Mike Halloran, right, and Mike Halloran Jr., left, were recently recognized with the Propane Equipment & Research Council’s inaugural Propane Leadership award.

“Mike’s approach is special and unique, not just for the Chicago market, and it can be applicable throughout the United States,” says Jeremy Wishart, deputy director of business development for PERC.

Halloran shows that to really make the most of a “niche,” you need to be there first — before it’s defined and where you can establish your expertise and leadership before others jump in. For instance, Halloran was converting mowers nearly 4 years before PERC began offering its propane mower incentives. The program has recently been re-opened for the fall buying season.

Easier said than done, I know. It’s not a matter of calling together your salespeople this morning and challenging them to find your niche. It’s more about constantly scanning your market for unmet needs and prompting your customers to tell you what else you can do for them. Maybe the niche you find is simply filling a short-term need as opposed to a long-term revenue stream. You’ll still be viewed as a dealer who is responsive and proactive.

Congratulations to Mike Halloran and his team on this industry recognition.

View the GIE award ceremony.

Our fall issue features an interview with Halloran about his strategies for another segment, snow removal equipment. Read more.