Power Equipment Australasia

Print Post Approved PP 100002231 INSIDE A Fully Charged Mowing Business Embracing Diversity Surviving in an Economic downturn www.power-equipment.com.au Volume 44 No. 5 September - October 2023 THE BEST COMMERCIAL BATTERY RANGE FOR THE SERIOUS COMMERCIAL USER


Greater levels of power, performance, precision and stamina. Superior user-comfort and control. Welcome to next generation garden battery tool innovation and capability from STIHL. HSA 50 battery hEDGE TRIMMER Experience unprecedented performance with innovative blade and cutter technology. BGA 60 Battery bLOWER Our most powerful AK Battery System blower yet, take tidying next level with 65% more blowing force. SHA 56 battery shredder vac Gather and shred with the one high-performance tool, the first of its kind in the STIHL line-up. BGA 300 battery backpack blower STIHL’s first ever battery-powered backpack blower, make light work of clearing heavy-duty wet and dry debris. HSA 60 battery hEDGE TRIMMER Controlling growth is a snip with greater power, performance and side to top-cutting versatility. RLA 240 battery lAWN scarifier Aerate small and winding garden lawns easily and effectively with inspired manoeuvrability. To learn more about stihl’s battery range, visit stihl.com.au

Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia are pleased to provide the articles contained in this publication to keep its subscribers up to date on issues which may be relevant to their businesses. This publication is supplied strictly on the condition that Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants are not responsible for any deficiency, error, omission or mistake contained in this publication, and Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants hereby expressly disclaim all liability of whatsoever nature to any person who may rely on the contents of this publication in whole or part. Published by GLENVALE PUBLICATIONS A.B.N. 31 218 591 688 11 Rushdale St, Knoxfield VIC 3180 PO Box 50, Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Fax: (03) 9543 1150 Editor: Elaine Sharman Phone: 0411 550 808 Email: elaine.sharman@glenv.com.au Sub Editor: Jackie Joy Journalists: Jackie Joy John Power Gary Fooks ADVERTISING Alastair Bryers Email: alastair.bryers@glenv.com.au Mobile: 0498 555 085 Elaine Sharman Email: elaine.sharman@glenv.com.au Mobile: 0411 550 808 ACCOUNTS Melissa Graydon Email: melissa.graydon@glenv.com.au SUBSCRIPTIONS Melissa Graydon $60.50 – 6 issues subs@glenv.com.au ART, PRODUCTION AND ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS Justin Carroll Phone: (03) 9544 2233 PRINTING Southern Impact Pty Ltd 181 Forster Road,Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 8796 7000 EDITOR’S COLUMN As Australia’s Outdoor Power Equipment industry continues to flourish, it faces a persistent challenge of a scarcity of talent. In this climate, it’s paramount for the industry to embrace diversity. Cultivating a workforce that represents diverse backgrounds and perspectives fosters innovation, resilience, and adaptability. To address this shortage, consider the immense potential of skilled migrants. Their expertise can inject fresh vitality into the industry, catalysing growth and addressing critical skills gaps. Thought leader Dr. Wesley Payne McClendon has kindly contributed the first of a three-part series on how to embrace change in diversifying your workforce on pages 28-29. Moreover, as Australia and the global economy navigate potential downturns, it's crucial for the industry to strategize for resilience. Given that we are primarily importers, manufacturers, sellers and consumers of power equipment, now is the time to diversify supply chains, explore local manufacturing partnerships, and prioritise sustainability. These steps will fortify resilience and position the industry for success in the evolving landscape. Gary Fooks embellishes on this on pages 16-17. At P.E.A. we have always encouraged sustainability. In this issue’s Operator Profile John Power interviews Dwayne Paisley of Saints Landscaping and Garden Maintenance on his Kress battery power tool experience on pages 20-21. For the Tech Talk feature, Robbie Rayner, Sales Director of Sumec shares his expertise on how to choose the right battery mower for your needs. It’s timely advice for dealers given the popularity of batterypowered Outdoor Power Equipment with end users. To follow through on this, STIHL Australia offer advice on the right mower for the right jobs on pages 22 -23. It’s that time of the year when we proudly publish the STIHL Dealer of the Year finalists. Jackie Joy interviews Matt and Jenna Jensen on pages 12-13, winners of the 2022 STIHL Dealer of the Year on their best business practice strategies. As sure as night follows day, we are all anticipating a hot harsh summer. To be ‘forearmed’ go to page 26 for timely advice on gearing up for bushfire season by Aussie Pumps. For the Computer Guru feature, Steve Fairbrother of Biscount presents Part 2 of ‘Making Stocktake Easier’ in his regular column on page 27. We leave the rest of the magazine for you to explore. We trust you will enjoy what we have curated for you, to keep you up to date with all that is pertinent to our industry and to our end users. On this note, it’s a wrap. All the best for now. Elaine Sharman Editor

REGULAR FEATURES Print PostApprovedPP100002231 INSIDE A Fully Charged Mowing Business Embracing Diversity Surviving in an Economic downturn www.power-equipment.com.au Volume 44 No. 5 September - October 2023 THE BEST COMMERCIAL BATTERY RANGE FOR THE SERIOUS COMMERCIAL USER JAK Max your OPE parts specialists TOLL FREE sales@jakmax.com.au P: 1800 604 281 www.jakmax.com.au F: 1800 199 758 Bar Blades Swing Back Blades Bolt Sets Belts Spindles Pulleys PTO Clutches Brushcutter Heads Brushcutter Parts Carby Parts Spark Plugs Air Filters Oil Nylon Line Fuel Cans Safety Equipment Genuine SANLI Parts Genuine Kohler Parts Genuine Briggs & Stratton Parts COVER SPECIAL FEATURES The new GREENWORKS® Commercial 82V range offers a huge choice of zero turns, standon ZTRs and push lawnmowers to suit every commercial need. These ultra high performance lawnmowers are equipped with the most advanced technology and have been designed to give all day use (longest running times of any battery commercial ZTRs), allowing landscapers and other commercial users, less charging time for longer working hours and increased profitability. How to prosper in Australia’s economic downturn..................16 STIHL electric lawnmowers - Clean, green and a mean machine!................22 Diversity in Business..........................................28 Editor’s Column...................................................4 News........................................................................ 6 Tech Talk..............................................................10 Research & Development.................................25 Computer Guru..................................................27 New Products......................................................32 Diary Dates..........................................................34 SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 5

AI-POWERED BUSHFIRE DETECTION NETWORK TO AID FIRE PROTECTION The Green Triangle (an area spanning south east South Australia and south west Victoria) will soon be home to Australia’s largest camera bushfire detection network. This investment in technology supports quick and precise fire detection, protecting communities and plantation forests, a crucial industry for the region. Spanning 14 locations, Pano AI offers a comprehensive turnkey solution that integrates high-definition cameras, satellite feeds, artificial intelligence, and modern cloud software to detect and pinpoint new ignitions and alert fire professionals within minutes. The key to keeping fires small and limiting the impact on industry and the community is through rapid response and the world-leading actionable intelligence helps fire crews get to the scene faster and safer. South Australian Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Development and Forestry, Clare Scriven said, “South Australia’s $1.4 billion forest industry has had a long and strong history of embracing cutting edge technology and the implementation of Pano’s AI fire detection system continues this proud legacy. “Unfortunately, fire doesn’t recognise boundaries so this collaborative State Government/industry initiative in utilising this ground-breaking technology helps us to ensure the best fire management tools are at our disposal. This is a system that isn’t just for the benefit of the Green Triangle forest region but is a win-win for all other landscape users, primary producers and local communities.” Cameron MacDonald, Chair of the GTFIH said that it was a priority to utilise leading technology as a key protection measure: “This tool from Pano AI provides us with the best opportunity to detect ignitions early so we can extinguish threats before they threaten lives, property and our industry.” Andrew Prolov, Head of Australia Go-To-Market, Pano AI said the new technology will help transform the way that the GTFIH manages bushfires. “When Pano detects a fire threat, our 24/7 intelligence centre confirms the fire and sends an alert within minutes, helping customers and authorities by rapidly sharing real-time intelligence to their extended and remote teams, enabling a fast, safe and coordinated response,” he said. The Pano cameras are set to be deployed ahead of the 2023/24 fire season. NEW FUNDING FOR AGTECH INNOVATION Investment support for AgTech startups has never been better with a new suite of initiatives to support more innovation in the sector being announced by LaunchVic and Agriculture Victoria. A new sidecar fund, the $1 million Hugh Victor McKay Fund, is now open for applications and will invest up to $200,000 into at least five early-stage start-ups in the next 12 months. The fund is named after pioneering Victorian inventor Hugh Victor McKay, who patented the original combine harvester in the 1880s - widely credited as one of the most important agricultural innovations in recent history. Like LaunchVic’s highly successful Alice Anderson Fund, the fund will co-invest with private sector investors, who will match the government’s contribution by a minimum of 2:1. Tenacious Ventures Founder Matthew Pryor is part of the Investment Committee for the fund, which will meet bi-monthly to review applications. Mr Pryor said the Hugh Victor McKay Fund would provide critical support for founders building the future of on-farm productivity and sustainability. “The early stages of growth can be more capital intensive for these start-ups, so additional leverage on early capital is very catalytic,” he said. In addition, LaunchVic also announced the first round of 7 new grant recipients from the AgTech Grants program, which offers equity-free $50,000 grants to aspiring AgTech founders. LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick urged the state’s AgTech sector to take advantage of the array of support on offer. For more information about LaunchVic’s work in the AgTech sector and a full list of grant recipients, log on to launchvic.org/agtech/ BRETT LEE TO PROMOTE AUSTRALIAN AVOCADOS IN INDIA One of the world’s fastest and most iconic bowlers, former Australian cricketer Brett Lee, is taking Australian avocados to consumers in India. Hort Innovation has signed up has announced the popular sportsman as the new Australian Avocados ambassador. Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said the cricketer is the perfect match for the Australian Avocados marketing campaign in India. “Brett Lee needs no introduction to our target audience in India,” Mr Fifield said. “He is something of an icon there, where in addition to his cricketing exploits, he starred in a Bollywood movie, wrote and recorded a popular song and has appeared on numerous prime time television talk shows. “Who better to encourage our Indian consumers that Australia is best when it comes to avocados, and what perfect timing given the Australian Government’s announcement this year that Australian Hass avocados can be exported to India.” NEWS Photo credit: launchvic.org 6 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023

OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… GREENWORKS® is an innovative global leader in battery powered outdoor equipment and manufacture commercial grade tools that are tougher, smarter and faster, helping users fit more lawns into their work day. When your livelihood depends on your tools, you need a rugged platform to match your demand for more power. A well-known brand throughout the USA and Europe market, the GREENWORKS Commercial 82 volt range has made its way to Australia. With a vast product range available, including string trimmers, edgers, blowers, pole saws, chainsaws, zero turn, stand-on and push lawnmowers as well as UTVs, GREENWORKS Commercial gives longer lasting all day commercial use! As with the other voltage ranges available, the 82V has interchangeable batteries on all the handheld range, meaning one battery can be used for over 20 tools. That’s productivity, powered by GREENWORKS Commercial. For more information head to www.greenworksaustralia.com/commercial-range-82v/ MORE INFORMATION GREENWORKS Commercial www.greenworksaustralia.com Print Post Approved PP 100002231 INSIDE A Fully Charged Mowing Business Embracing Diversity Surviving in an Economic downturn www.power-equipment.com.au Volume 44 No. 5 September - October 2023 THE BEST COMMERCIAL BATTERY RANGE FOR THE SERIOUS COMMERCIAL USER OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… NEWS As the new avocado ambassador, Mr Lee will be delivering positive messages about Australian avocados, sharing their virtues in terms of taste, nutrition and versatility. Light-hearted in its approach, the campaign will feature Mr Lee in the orchard, in the kitchen and at home relaxing. His genuine love of avocados will be at the heart of the campaign which will encourage consumption at all meal times. Mr Lee said he is looking forward to telling people why Australian avocados should be their first choice. “Throughout my career, I've known how important it is to fuel my body with good food and it is why I am so excited to fuse this with my special connection to India and its unique culture. I look forward to championing the great taste, quality, and versatility of Aussie avocados at home and abroad,” he said. RIC FARM BUSINESS LOANS INTEREST RATES ON HOLD Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) has announced that the variable interest rate on all concessional farm business loans including AgriStarter, Farm Investment, Drought, and AgBiz Drought, will remain at the low rate of 4.52% effective from August 1, 2023. The Plantation Loan will remain at 4.07%. RIC Chief Executive Officer, John Howard said RIC concessional loans play a vital role in strengthening Australian agriculture and helping farm businesses manage their risk. “RIC concessional interest rates remaining on hold at 4.52% will be welcome news for thousands of RIC customers across Australia, providing much-needed breathing space, greater certainty to manage cash flow, and stability to strengthen their long-term financial position,” Mr Howard said. “One of the key benefits of RIC loans is interest rates are reviewed every 6 months and are based on the average of the Australian Government 10-year bond rate, not Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate movements. So now, RIC loan interest rates have proportionally become even better.” The RBA has increased its cash rate 12 times, up by 4% since May 2022. In comparison, during the same period, RIC concessional loan rates have moved twice, with an increase of only 2.21%. “RIC loans have saved our customers an estimated $105 million in interest repayments in FY2021-22 alone. Our latest research shows 4 out of 5 RIC loan customers have greater confidence in the future and profitability of their farm business,” Mr Howard said. “We are pleased to help farm businesses set up, invest, recover, and prepare for potential severe business disruption including drought, floods or bushfires for a more sustainable, thriving regional Australia,” he added. Brett Lee SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 7

Farm businesses with a concessional RIC loan benefit from no application fees, no ongoing management fees and no extra or early repayment fees. RIC loans have a 10-year term with interest-only repayments over the first five years, followed by principal and interest repayments for the remainder of the loan term. Eligibility and assessment criteria apply. For more information on RIC loans visit ric.gov.au/loans. DEMAND FOR AUSSIE ALMONDS SPURS $7M EXPORT INVESTMENT Industry and Hort Innovation are working together to prime the Australian almond sector for growth amid a 118 per cent rise in overseas demand over the past decade. From exporting 52,795 tonnes in 2013 to 115,049 tonnes in 2022, the almond industry is gearing up for further expansion. Delivered through Hort Innovation and led by the Almond Board of Australia, the $7M program aims to increase almond exports by at least 50,000 tonnes over the next three years and push export sales beyond $1 billion. Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said this investment represents the almond industry’s strongest international presence yet. “Trade development programs are a key tool to grow demand for Australian produce in international markets,” he said. “This $7M program will take the almond industry’s exports to the next level.” The program will support the almond industry in their export ambitions through a range of market access and development activities such as participation in trade shows and missions, educational messaging about health benefits and engagement with key trade stakeholders. Almond Board of Australia chief executive officer Tim Jackson said that the almond industry is preparing for the future. “The Almond Board of Australia has led the industry’s market access and trade development activities for more than two decades and we are ready for the challenge of expanding our export growth,” Mr Jackson said. AGTWIN PLATFORM TO UNLOCK CARBON MARKET INTEGRITY ACROSS AUSTRALIA RegenCo and Agronomeye have partnered to enhance transparency and integrity on two Australian carbon farming projects covering almost 1m hectares. The partnership combines RegenCo’s expertise in natural capital, land management and carbon projects with Agronomeye’s digital twin whole-of-farm technology that provides a high-resolution 3D map of the natural landscape over time. The proprietary platform, AgTwin, combines data modelling with third party data such as yield maps, weather and on-farm sensors, and draws on lidar technology captured from the air provided by ASX listed geospatial tech company, Aerometrex. This monitoring and measurement system will be applied by RegenCo to carbon farming projects across Australia, providing absolute transparency and integrity for regulators, farmers and investors in the carbon market. The agreement positions RegenCo as a leader in the market, with agricultural, technological and financial integrity for the sector. Agronomeye’s CEO, Stu Adam, said the technology provides a detailed 3D map of the landscape over time. “If we think of a satellite image as an X-Ray of a landscape, the digital twin is more like an MRI. The technology enables us to map entire farming systems from data gathered at scale by an aeroplane.” “Aerometrex’s lidar sensors capture all elements of the ground environment, including the height of all the trees, density of vegetation and land contours. We use this data to create a 3D map of the landscape with detailed analysis that is unique, actionable and marketable. “We’re delivering the rich quality information needed to offer absolute transparency about what is happening on the ground.” RegenCo Greg Noonan said he was excited about the transparency it provides the system, and how it helps to outline areas suitable and not suitable for carbon farming, and what that means for integrity. “What we're doing is real - the 60,000 hectare example demonstrates this - as we work alongside farming systems to capture carbon over time. “In every project, we clearly identify and classify areas not suitable for a project such as those already with forest, those that aren’t suitable for vegetation growth or those on a floodplain. This technology allows us to hone in and regenerate suitable areas, creating absolute certainty around what is happening at the project level. “For us this is the future and we're excited to be involved in the partnership with Agronomeye and Aerometrex to bring this to market. We’re now going to roll this out on projects across Australia, delivering environmental, agricultural and financial returns. “We will put the farmers in the driver’s seat, support effective decision making, protect the environment and enhance productivity and profitability,” Mr Noonan said. NEWS

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TECH TALK G-FORCE helping you understand the smoke and mirrors of Battery Mowers the smoke and mirrors of Battery Mowers Robbie Raymer, Sales Director of Sumec, shares his experience and expertise on how to choose the right mower for your needs As mower specialists, we are expected to be the experts to consumers looking to buy Outdoor Power Equipment to suit their application. Historically, mower specialists have sold petrol products in the middle to upper markets in both quality and performance with success, and this has given the consumer the reason to shop at a specialist store. But when it comes to battery products, is this advantage still there over mass merchants? Are the specialists no longer the specialist? Are products being sold with an understanding of performance and results? The most common misconception in the market is that the Volts and Amps are the measurement of power of a product, and that run time is a way of selling up to a better product in the range. This is wrong, and therefore as specialists we are following other retailers selling product incorrectly. Actual power comes from the motor wattage - this is what is driving the blade against the resistance and giving you performance. Volt and Amp hours combined equal watt hours (Wh= V x Ah). This is equivalent to the size of your fuel tank in a petrol mower. Run time is calculated by dividing the watt hours by the motor watts. The variances that come into play including grass type and length, your cutting height, if the grass is wet or dry will impact on how long you will get from the battery. To quote run time to a consumer can be building a false expectation and it can be manipulated. If, I wanted to increase the run time to impress the consumer, I decrease the motor wattage from 800w to 500w. The actual result is you have a drop in performance, and you will spend more time cutting grass. So, using run time as a reflection of a good mower or not is not a great way to sell a product, it is only a guide if a single battery or multiple batteries will be required for the consumers requirement. As mower specialists, we need to understand this and not follow the smoke and mirrors being sold by others. You need a clear understanding of the motor watts of the product you are selling to make sure it is fit for purpose against the grass types, grass length and frequency of cut for the consumer’s application. The other consideration is the mower chassis. Is it made for our grass types and mowing habits? A lot of products in the market are not designed for our conditions. This means with the heaviness/ thickness of our grass types and the low motor wattages being used, in some cases they will struggle to give consumers the results they have had in the past with their petrol mower. The G-Force EVmow series launched this season will see it powered by a 1500w Brushless motor, the capacity to have up to 600wh (2 x 60v 5A batteries) and using the same mower chassis, blades, catcher, and other running gear used without petrol mower range, all made for our grass types and mowing conditions. With the combination of power and performance, this battery powered mower will give the consumer a product that meets their expectations. If you are interested in becoming a G-Force stockist, please send your enquiry to robbie@sumec.net.au or enquire via the gforcetools.com.au website. 10 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023

Become a dealer today Dealer exclusive Strong and achievable dealer margin at competitive retails Powered By Honda RRP from $429 Quality battery program More to come Contact Robbie Raymer on robbie@sumec.net.au to express your interest.

It’s one of the most coveted titles for STIHL dealers across the country where dealerships are recognised for their outstanding customer service, expert product knowledge and maintaining brand ethos. The winner of the National STIHL Dealer of the Year 2022 award is a successful and premium dealership based in Penrith, NSW. Steered by Matt and Jenna Jensen, STIHL Shop Penrith has made its strong presence felt in the OPE market, and not just in their region but nationally as well. As strong promoters of the STIHL brand, they have continued their success during 2022 after having won the NSW Metro Dealer award for the past two years. As our readers would be familiar, every edition we profile a dealership and ask them multiple questions with an aim to understand their daily operations, their stories of success and struggles, the lessons learnt and more. So, for this edition, the spotlight is on Stihl Shop Penrith with co-principal Jenna helping us understand the business and their mantra for success. THE BEGINNING “Matt and I are a husband-and-wife team. We met back in 2013 and haven’t looked back,” says Jenna as she goes on to add, “Previously, I was working as a high school PE teacher and Matt worked at Harvey Norman Commercial. The business had been in the area for about 15 years before we took over as owners in 2017.” The foray into the OPE business, particularly involvement in STIHL Shop Penrith, informs Jenna came about due to a few reasons. “Matt was tired of the commute to Caringbah every day from our home in Mt Annan at the time. The shop needed a new owner and through the connection of my dad, who worked in a STIHL Shop in his over 30-year career, we decided to make the leap as we thought it would be good for our young family,” she reminisces. Jenna was about eight months pregnant at the time with a one-year-old when they bought the business. “We were like fish out of water but we inherited our mechanic, Jordan, when we purchased the business and he was a huge help with the transition,” she says. BUSINESS: Stihl Shop Penrith PRINCIPALS: Matt and Jenna Jensen LOCATION: Penrith, NSW WEBSITE: www.stihlshoppenrith.com DEALER PROFILE The winners of the National STIHL Dealer of the Year award, Matt and Jenna Jensen, tell JACKIE JOY how perseverance and hard work has helped them achieve continued success, and how a leap of faith changed it all. ‘Be open, eager to learn and work hard’

THE CHALLENGES As spouses who work alongside each other, the couple had to juggle their business and family life. “We had undertaken a big journey - the shop was due for an update as soon as we got in there so we had to get our hands dirty straight away,” shares Jenna. “We had no personal industry experience…so we just had to immerse ourselves in the business and just be open and eager to learn and work hard. Neither of us are afraid of hard work, so we just got stuck in and hoped for the best. On top of that, we had two young kids, I was still teaching part-time, the 2019 bushfires, a cancer scare, COVID-19, stock shortages… it’s been a whirlwind,” she says. When asked what is the most challenging aspect of their business these days, Jenna says it’s the “balancing act of stock”. “We went from stock shortages to stock surplus. We have to constantly be aware of our stock levels. Being ‘stocked-up’ is a big reason we win customers. We reliably have what customers need either right away or within a short waiting time,” she says. “We find more often than not when a customer comes in, they are ready to buy then and there, so having good product knowledge, a friendly demeanour and stock on hand that’s ready to go always gets people across the line. “A crystal ball would be so helpful,” says Jenna who admits weather is a huge determinant in their business as well. “We are constantly doing a proverbial rain dance in our heads hoping to get the perfect balance of rain and sun so that the grass is growing,” she says. THE KEY TO SUCCESS For a dealership like theirs that has been awarded multiple times, what does it take to have a successful business, especially in their area? “We have a range of customer types – government, commercial, domestic, old, young, male, female and so on. No matter who you’re speaking to, top-notch customer service is what helps us across the line,” informs Jenna. “We try to be a friendly face, have a chat, be a part of the local community but also have excellent product knowledge and provide a professional service,” she adds. IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK While Matt and Jenna own the business, they are supported by an able team. “Brad is our extra salesman and Jordan is our trusty mechanic who has been here longer than we have,” informs Jenna. “We also must make mention of Daryll who has since left for another role but who was with us as a mechanic in 2022. We are a small team but work well together; we are incredibly lucky to have a hard working and cohesive team.” DID COVID HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE BUSINESS? “Honestly, COVID-19 was great for our business,” admits Jenna. “We theorise more people were home working on their yards. With a few adaptations to our workplace practises we were able to stay open and continue serving our customers.” When her husband fell sick during this period, Jenna had to give up her teaching job altogether. “I finally had to give up teaching and get more involved in the business. Ever since then I’ve been a fixture in the shop as well, so I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I’ve really enjoyed transitioning and being here full-time,” she says. LOOKING AHEAD When it comes to the future of their business, and the industry in general, Jenna shares that battery power is something they would like to focus on. “The future is battery power. There’s a generational shift of people coming through that maybe don’t want to get their hands as dirty as well as high density living, and battery is the perfect answer to that,” she says, adding, “Quiet, easy-to-start, easy-to-maintain, good for the environment…the advantages are many. Technology is constantly improving to provide us with super capable machinery, good run times and fast charging. The great thing is STIHL is also continuing to develop their two-stroke range so in cases where battery will not work for customers, we still have a forever developing range of petrol equipment as well. It’s such a great product to sell because it’s reliable and you can confidently sell it knowing that customer satisfaction will be high.” Speaking of new products, what is the team at STIHL Shop Penrith excited about? I think the STIHL RLA Scarifier is going to fill a huge gap for us. There are a lot of lawn addicts out there looking to create the bowling green at home,” says Jenna. “The new battery blower vac is also a game changer, the first of its kind, I can’t wait to get one for myself. Not as new, but a huge product for us is the GTA26 hand held pruner…we’ve seen such great interest in this product and a huge amount of positive feedback.” The final word on what does it take to have satisfied customers? “A friendly face, a knowledgeable salesperson, a willingness to help, ask questions and stock stock stock!” says Jenna. “We also just want to thank everyone that made it possible (for us to succeed). We have a great team and excellent supportive families. On top of that, a wonderful customer base, especially our loyal customers that keep coming back. We would also like to thank STIHL’s supportive team that’s always behind us and it’s just an easy product to sell. We believe we have the best product out there and so we are able to confidently sell it without wavering. We are very thankful for where we are right now and just hope people keep coming back for more!” SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 13

XXXX OPINION How to prosper in Australia’s economic downturn No one likes to use the ‘D’ word, especially not political leaders and journalists. Yet, I don’t think any reader will be surprised to hear that government planning has assumed we are heading for a depression. The big end of town has assumed we are already in a ‘D’. IS ANY BUSINESS RECESSION PROOF? In uncertain times the market reacts in well known ways. Like a herd of startled antelopes we all start running and few know exactly why. The human herd reacts by lowering hemlines and wearing longer skirts. In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun sales in the USA went up by 63 per cent over 2019 sales, mostly due to first time gun owners. In Australia, my friends in the solar industry tell me that in 2020 the only calls they were getting were from people they described as “preppers” who wanted to secure their energy needs and go off-grid, if possible. Maybe, it is time for you to promote any products that are DIY, off-grid, even slightly “survival”, or in some way give the consumer a feeling of security. They will hold on to their cash, and only hand it out if the purchase gives them more security than the cash afforded them. Perhaps, it is not even cash. Costco reacted in 2020 by adding gold bars and coins to their product range; trading on insecurity, not challenging the bullion markets. The more traditional recession-proof businesses are the “must-buys” which include healthcare, tax accountants and fishing tackle (not really, but I put this here in case my wife reads this). We can’t afford to buy a home during a recession, so the flip side of that is we are more likely to renovate and repair, and the rental agents do well when house purchase slows. It is not just houses we repair and maintain. It’s also cars and everything else. This must be an opportunity for the Power Equipment sector. I know a business selling window blinds was hit with hard times. Instead of letting their sales team go, they retrained them all in maintenance and focussed on refurbishment instead of replacement sales. It kept them afloat and kept their valuable sales team in the fold. YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SMELL THE SMOKE Your competitors, suppliers and customers are all feeling the same wind of economic downturn. What will be their next move on the chess board? Large businesses will stick to the knitting and focus on their core business as a part of their own cost cutting. If it is a competitor shedding costs and when they close a product line, branch or service, swoop in quickly to grab the scraps Your competitors, suppliers and customers are all feeling the same wind of economic downturn. What will be their next move on the chess board? 16 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023

XXXX they have left behind. Wouldn’t you rather be a fat vulture than an emaciated eagle? If it’s a supplier doing the cost cutting, then that’s a different discussion. If they are going to stop making a component you need, maybe it’s an opportunity to vertically integrate and make the part yourself. Maybe make an offer to buy their old manufacturing tools and even take over their staff? It’s likely you could get favourable terms and a bargain price, and then be able to lower your costs, sell to competitors and lock in supply security. If on the other hand, it’s a service like transport which is cutting deliveries to your region, you can be assured that alternate transport suppliers will increase their prices. What a fantastic opportunity? An opportunity to take over your own deliveries. It’s personal, you get to meet your customer and see what’s going on for them. Getting closer to customers always builds loyalty and makes you a smarter, more caring, supplier. All this while your competitors are passing on higher freight costs. Just maybe you could do a deal with the transport firm that is leaving town. A package to buy their disused van and integrate with their line haul and take over local deliveries. Instead of retrenching your staff, relocate them to local deliveries for your own business and other unrelated local businesses, who also got burned by the shrinking transport form. You should emulate the big business too. Focus on what you do best. Drop what you don’t do well and focus on where you are strong and profitable. INCREASE MARKETING EFFORT. I’m not talking about growing the sales team. You may even replace them with more advertising. What you need to keep top of mind is that getting a new customer is expensive and maintaining an existing customer is the cheapest, so nurture them. Getting an old customer back is the most profitable use of your time. If an ex-customer’s supplier is increasing prices and becoming less reliable then it is time to call on this old friend. Don’t let them feel ashamed to come back to you, welcome them like the prodigal son has returned. CTRL/ALT/DEL If you have read this far, I appreciate your loyalty, so I have saved my very best suggestion until now. It’s the best suggestion, not the easiest. Invest time to answer this question: If you were starting your business today and all you had was an empty garage, $1,000 in your pocket yet retained all the knowledge you have gained, what would your 2023 business startup look like? Start with a blank page when designing your new business. How many staff would you really have? Would you bother with a computer or would a stock control system be the first thing you set up? And that cappuccino machine? Question everything until you have a complete workable plan. Now look at that mean, lean, shoestring business plan. Stick it on the wall and decide that’s where you need to be. You need to shed staff, trimmings and all the fat. Ok, so times were good and you bought one of those fancy coffee machines. No point throwing it out? Wrong! On Sunday, replace it all with cheap instant coffee, stained mugs and a 1960s kettle in burnt orange. Make sure it’s chipped and came from the OpShop. Make sure it all looks like you are broke. Come Monday morning, when the staff assumes you finally went over the edge, it’s time to make that coffee, serve some cheap homemade biscuits and explain that to survive we need to seriously cut costs like we just started and have nothing. The orange kettle stays until we are through this downturn, as a reminder every day. I hope you can all bring back the fancy cappuccino machine real soon. Invite me around for a cuppa will ya? Remember, the bottom line is always cash flow. Cash is oxygen for any business. Watch it daily and don’t let it out of your firm grasp. If you are facing tough times and could use a chat about any of these suggestions, feel free to call Gary Fooks. Just contact the editor and we will set it up from there. Gary Fooks is chair of the Blue-Sky Alliance. Gary has been working on small engine emissions standards since 2005 and was announced as the Environment Minister’s Clean Air Champion in 2015. OPINION IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE, KEEP IN MIND: • Cash flow is king. • Cut costs brutally. • B e aware that suppliers and competitors will also be cutting costs, delivering you both opportunities and threats. SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 17

National Dealer of the Year and NSW METRO Dealer STIHL Shop PENRITH Our deserving winners of the National STIHL Dealer of the Year award, Matt and Jenna, along with their dedicated team, have continued their success during 2022 after having won the NSW Metro Dealer award for the past two years. They have continually grown their market penetration over the five years that they have owned the business and are one of the premium STIHL dealerships in the Sydney market. Their commitment to delivering quality customer service, an uncompromising approach to having the right product at the right time with as little ‘out of stocks’ as possible for their customers, and a can-do attitude have been key to their success. Matt and Jenna epitomise the next generation of STIHL dealers showing commitment to and passion for the brand everyday as they continue to grow their successful business. Congratulations to the 2022 Dealer Award winners At STIHL, we’re as proud of our STIHL dealer commitment to providing outstanding customer service as we are of our 95+ year heritage of engineering and innovation excellence. Presenting a warm, welcoming and inspiring store environment, STIHL dealers take great pride in supporting customers with expert product knowledge, insightful advice and superior service. With over 600 dealers across Australia, STIHL dealers are very much part of the local community and have the knowledge and understanding to ensure customers always have the right tools to make their job easy, effective and rewarding. Representing the STIHL experience all customers can expect, we congratulate this year’s ‘STIHL Dealers Of The Year’ award winners. Celebrating the STIHL Dealers of the Year ƒ ADVERTORIAL

QLD Metro Dealer STIHL Shop Geebung Upgrading his internal shop system and in the process of upgrading his external imaging, Al has invested heavily in his business over the past twelve months improving the experience of the customer from the moment they step foot in the store. Al’s staff have also attended several training events to ensure they can provide expert advice and service to their customers. WA Metro Dealer STIHL Shop Malaga Gavin and the team at STIHL Shop Malaga deliver a positive experience for every customer walking through their door. They take pride in their store, their service and continue to focus on growing their business week in and week out. 2022 was a great year with consistent growth month on month including a solid increase in accessories and servicing. VIC Regional Dealer Romsey Hardware The passion for great product and impeccable customer service is what drives Nick at the team at Romsey Mitre 10. The stores success in 2022 is thanks to their extensive product range and display, along with their product knowledge and connection to the local community. Their passion for the STIHL brand can be felt the minute you walk in the door. SA & NT regional Dealer STIHL Shop Mount Gambier In 2022 Brian and Angela Harding had their first-year trading with their new business partners, daughter and son in law, Paige, and Ryan. After a record 2021, the business achieved substantial growth again in 2022 all while uplifting and improving every facet of their business including their product range, local area marketing activity and workshop. TAS Regional Dealer Exeter Mowers & Chainsaws With a focus on continuous improvement, Ash and Carla are always determined to offer more, enhance processes, increase efficiencies and deliver a memorable customer experience. The team recently completed a re-evaluation of range and added the new STIHL battery display further enhancing the in-store experience. VIC Metro Dealer STIHL Shop Frankston Strategic planning and a continued focus on improvements across all aspects of the business were key to success for Stihl Shop Frankston in 2022. A dedicated in store team, external support from Aaron’s business coach and working closely with his STIHL Territory Manager ensures that the customer experience within his Dealership is market leading each and every time. SA & NT metro Dealer Mowers Plus Salisbury John, Tony and the team at Mowers Plus have earned a strong reputation for providing exceptional servicing and superior customer service to their valued clients. With a busy workshop and a large retail space, the team are committed to high quality work and customer satisfaction and have become a trusted name in the industry. NSW Regional Dealer Motor Mecca This is the first award for this long-standing STIHL dealership in Inverell NSW. Graeme, Toni and their team have worked long and hard to build a solid reputation as a quality dealership for sales and service of STIHL product in their district. Their commitment to customer service and product range has positioned them as the leader in STIHL sales in their area. WA Regional Dealer Geraldton Mowers 33 years as a STIHL dealer Bill understands what it takes to drive a successful business. Quality Brands, Great Staff and Knowing your local market, Bill and the team at Geraldton Mowers and Repairs have their finger on the pulse offering quality products and quality service. QLD Metro Dealer STIHL Shop Nambour Owners of the Stihl Shop Nambour, Andrew and Catherine Kendray, along with their three daughters, have given new meaning to ‘family business’. The team have worked hard to cement their place in the industry by sharing their passion for the products along with their constant dedication to excellent customer service. Meet the state winners

OPERATOR PROFILE Dwayne Paisley has always aimed for ‘best practice’ in his mowing, garden maintenance and landscaping operations. In this article, JOHN POWER asks Dwayne to describe his experiences with business development, the successful switch to electric power equipment, and his future directions in the industry. A ‘Fully Charged’ Mowing Business OPERATOR: Jim’s Mowing – Rowville South East, Victoria (transitioning to Saints Landscaping & Garden Maintenance) REPRESENTATIVE: Owner – Dwayne Paisley LOCATION: Rowville, Victoria CONTACT: dwaynamo@gmail.com J ust over six years ago, Dwayne Paisley said goodbye to a corporate career and entered the gardening and landscaping world as a franchisee with Jim’s Mowing in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. The move was first and foremost a business decision – a chance to try something different as his own boss. As such, Dwayne’s business success has been driven by a cool and rational examination of the sector, and a willingness to explore new technical frontiers to enhance business growth, rather than rely on traditional methodologies and industry-wide old habits. Dwayne’s first step was to purchase a franchise with Jim’s Mowing, which was as much about business mentorship as customer lead generation. “Having worked previously in the corporate world, obviously I had good general business skills, but my knowledge of the gardening side of things was basic,” he admits. “I didn’t have the proper experience of the heavier stuff and the day-to-day running of a mowing business.” Obtaining the franchise, he adds, was a far more complex process than initially envisaged, effectively requiring a mutual screening exercise to ensure both parties were compatible. “Luckily, I was accepted, and I bought a territory first up with only 40-45 customers; from there you use Jim’s lead system to gain initial customers – but what I found from there is that once you start doing a good job, you pick up customers very easily through leads, referrals, next-door neighbours, people in the street driving past you, etc.” The rigour of a centralised franchise network introduced Dwayne to a range of handy hints and customer service tips that now inform his entire business, which has grown to encompass three full-time staff and three or four casuals working across two crews. “Basic things like whenever you’re mowing or edging someone’s lawn, and a pedestrian is walking towards you, the first thing you do out of common courtesy is turn off your machines so you’re not spraying stuff all over the person!” he explains, noting that grateful pedestrians often become new customers. Today, having expanded his business to include landscaping and commercial garden maintenance, including real estate agency and housing estate work, Dwayne is on the verge of leaving Jim’s and creating his own enterprise: Saints Landscaping & Garden Maintenance. FULLY CHARGED FUTURE In keeping with his open-mindedness about fresh ways to achieve business growth and superior inthe-field results, Dwayne says he has been eager to try out new battery-powered technologies and systems that might enhance the efficiency of the business. Despite some initial scepticism about the performance of electric machinery, Dwayne says battery-powered devices have delivered immense cost savings, less downtime, enhanced user comfort, 20 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023

and “most amazingly of all” superior performance than petrol-powered counterparts. “Roughly nine months ago, I got a call from the outdoor power equipment (OPE) company Kress Australia to trial some of their electric products,” Dwayne recalls. “Because they know what I do and how heavy-duty my team is.” Dwayne took possession of Kress electric devices including a battery-operated mower; backpack-powered leaf blower, edger, slasher, whipper snipper and chainsaw; three rechargeable batteries; plus a mobile powered DC-DC Charger called a CyberTank. The CyberTank is basically a large, mobile battery powerplant that sits permanently in the back of Dwayne’s truck. This powerplant, which is recharged overnight at home in 4–5 hours, is used to charge the smaller OPE batteries (there are two sizes) throughout the day. After each job, the OPE batteries are fitted to the CyberTank and fully recharged in just eight minutes. Dwayne says that despite a workload that might involve 12-14 jobs per day, he has never suffered downtime waiting for batteries to charge. Moreover, the CyberTank has always had more than ample power to keep his entire fleet of electric Kress gear charged over a full working day – the powerplant has never dropped below 35% capacity. “We have our batteries hooked onto the CyberTank in the back of the car, and we just push the On button and all the batteries are charging,” Dwayne says. “Now, and this is the thing I really like, these batteries really do charge in eight minutes! It shocked me at the start. So, when they said initially that there was an eight-minute charge time, I thought, ‘Well, I’d like to see that!’ But it’s true.” Batteries have a running cycle of approximately 45 minutes, which is more than ample for most domestic and even commercial tasks, and the ability to swap a drained battery and replace it with a fully charged one is an immediate solution to the busiest work schedule. The performance of the electric gear, Dwayne concedes, has been the most surprising aspect of the entire trial. “The first time I tried out these electrical products I had a terrible property that hadn’t been touched for two years,” he says. “It had blackberries, grass up to my knees and higher; it had the works. So, I took my battery equipment… and packed my petrol equipment in the back of my truck ‘just in case’! The battery equipment got through it with absolute ease. Which completely shocked me. To be honest, the whipper snipper and the mower are more powerful than the petrol, which I couldn’t believe. The slasher was getting through blackberries like a knife through butter.” USER COMFORT Another bonus with the Kress equipment, Dwayne discovered, relates to ease of use. Not only do the backpack battery packs spread weight evenly across the user’s body, leaving the device itself as lightweight as a broom or mop, but the batteries themselves do not heat up during the working day – a massive contributor to comfort at the height of summer. COST SAVINGS According to Dwayne, the use of electric equipment contributes to direct fuel savings of approximately $200 per month, “and that’s being very conservative,” he adds. “And there are obvious additional savings from not having to buy oil, spark plugs, filters, and all the rest, not to mention the fact that I no longer have to spend one or two hours of my time on weekends doing all the maintenance; the battery gear literally looks after itself.” A less tangible, though still meaningful, saving relates to the unobtrusive nature of electric equipment, which permits paid work to continue in circumstances where noisy petrol-engine devices might lead to disruptions. Dwayne cites the example of a secondary school where he was advised to postpone activities for the day due to Year 12 exams. Following a quick demonstration of how quiet the electric equipment is, the principal reversed his decision and allowed gardening work to proceed. NEXT STEPS Having developed a successful business model via his franchise with Jim’s Mowing, and embraced the advantages of nonpolluting, powerful, electric equipment, Dwayne says he is well placed to expand his business and undertake more commercial and landscaping projects. His new business – Saints Landscaping & Garden Maintenance – is already up and running and gaining the attention of property managers, real estate agencies seeking to rejuvenate properties on the market, as well as housing estate managers and property developers. SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 21