Survey shows power equipment dealers’ interest in propane mowers

September 1, 2016 By    
PERC donated more than $76K worth of propane-powered equipment to Blue Ridge Parkway, including 3 Ventrac compact tractor mowers.

A quarter of outdoor power equipment dealers currently sell propane mower models and conversion services, but that number could grow in the next several years, according to a new survey. Photo courtesy of PERC

Within three years, more than half of outdoor power equipment dealers plan to offer commercial propane mowers to their landscape contractor customers, according to a Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) survey.

PERC developed the survey to take stock of outdoor power equipment dealers’ perceptions, awareness and understanding of commercial propane mowers. More than 100 dealers completed the phone survey in April.

The survey, conducted by Wiese Research Associates, found that a quarter of outdoor power equipment dealers currently sell propane mower models and conversion services. According to PERC, 60 percent of those same dealers responded that they plan to offer propane mower models within the next three years.

“One out of four dealers currently differentiate themselves from surrounding dealerships by offering commercial propane mowers to their customers,” says Jeremy Wishart, deputy director of business development at PERC. “It’s no secret that dealers are a conduit to what contractors ultimately purchase, so to see the research outlining a healthy jump in the number of dealerships making propane mowers available is another sign that propane is being accepted by the market.”

In addition, dealers tended to report a positive opinion of commercial propane mowers, according to PERC. Of the dealers who had prior experience with propane machines, 80 percent rated their performance on par with gasoline mowers, and 90 percent responded they had a favorable or very favorable opinion of commercial propane mowers.

However, some survey responses indicated that some dealers believe propane is more expensive than gasoline. Few dealers knew about financial incentives that help to lower the cost of propane equipment or conversion costs, PERC adds.

“Overall, there were a lot of encouraging statistics in the report,” Wishart says. “But we also found that we need to do a better job educating dealers about the benefits of propane equipment and how their costs compare positively with a comparable traditional mower.”

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