In order to help promote our customers and show our appreciation to them, each month we put the spotlight on one of our customers and feature them on our blog, promote them on social media, and mention them in our email newsletter.
The spotlight customer for March is Scotty’s Lawn Equipment, located in southwestern Indiana in the town of Haubstadt. Scotty’s was founded in 1965 by Scotty & Rita Hipp as a landscape and mowing company. In order to purchase quality mowing equipment at a reasonable price, they signed up as a dealer for the Snapper and Wheel Horse lines of equipment. In 1971, they hired their first full-time employee, Rick Knapp, who transformed the business into a full-time dealership.
In 1983, Rick purchased the business from Scotty & Rita and added additional product lines, including Toro. They now have 24 full-time employees with a mowing division of 3 commercial mowing crews, along with a sales staff that travels the road visiting schools, cities, parks, golf courses, arborists, contractors, nurseries, landscapers, and other businesses that use outdoor power equipment. Some of the unique things about Scotty’s Lawn Equipment that help them stand out from the competition include:
- They offer free pick-up and delivery of residential lawn equipment for repairs in a 25-mile radius from their store.
- They have a summer service “Quickie Lube” Program that does maintenance in customer’s driveways (which includes changing motor oil, servicing the air filter, greasing the unit, inflating tires, and replacing spark plugs).
- Their “Winter Service” program is so strong that they bring in more labor dollars per month in December, January, and February than they do in March, April, and May.
- Their shop offers flat rate pricing for most repairs.
- They solicit business from professional cutters with programs that include a quick turn around on equipment repairs, the free use of mowers during repairs, special pricing and terms on new equipment, and parts delivery.
- They offer support on storage solutions, gable sheds and garages to ensure your lawn equipment is safe throughout the winter and summer months.
Rick Knapp recently spoke to Kenney Machinery about his experience as the owner of a very successful outdoor power equipment supplier. Here’s what he had to say:
What accomplishment are you most proud of as the owner of Scotty’s Lawn Equipment?
“The last Wednesday of every February, we have a training event known as Scotty’s Pro-Cutter University. The event is exclusively for people who are lawn maintenance Roanoke professionals, and it teaches them about the business side of their industry. They learn how to maximize their profits by limiting expenses and understanding how to properly price their services. Although many of the companies who attend the event are our customers, it is open to all professional cutters, and over the years attendance has grown to over 200 people who come from as far away as Louisville and Indianapolis.” (Professional cutters interested in learning more about this event can contact Scotty’s Lawn Care directly at 812-867-6978).
What is the biggest challenge you face in running the business?
“The biggest challenge we face is finding qualified and motivated employees. Because we are a service-driven business, our employees need to have mechanical skills in addition to sales skills. We compete with the automotive and diesel truck industries for the same labor pool, and although we offer competitive compensation, sometimes it is still difficult to find qualified employees.”
What advice would you give to other outdoor power equipment retailers?
“I would tell them that they need to realize that they cannot compete with a department store as far as the retail side of the business goes. In order to build a sustainable business, they must focus on the service aspect of the business. They should not consider service simply something that they have to do in order to drive new equipment sales – instead, they should view it as their primary source of revenue and primary focus of the business. Service will drive up equipment sales, but not if it is only done as an afterthought.”
What do you wish your customers knew about your business?
“I wish customers had a better understanding of the fact that we can’t keep every part in stock. A lot of people are used to the automotive repair industry, where the parts distribution network is much more robust. A car dent repair facility can place many orders for parts in a day, and they’ll probably get the parts delivered the next day or even later the same day. It’s not just the repair distribution industry that’s so robust in the automotive world; parts used for upgrades of performance and style from sites like Czok are also booming. It just doesn’t work like that in the outdoor power equipment industry. We can only place one order a day and it may take a few days to get a part, which of course makes repairs take a little longer. It’s just the nature of the industry and not something we can really do anything about, but I want our customers to know that we do everything we can to get their equipment serviced as quickly as possible given the restrictions that we have.”
Many thanks to Rick for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share some of insight with us! Be sure to visit the Scotty’s Lawn Equipment website for more information about the products and services they offer to customers throughout southwest Indiana.