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Equipment failure can lead to catastrophic results for your bottom line. The secret is simple: Be prepared by standardizing your fleet.

Strategic partners.

Think of your local dealerships as strategic partners in the endeavor to acquire equipment. Before purchasing ask yourself: Does the manufacturer of the equipment I am purchasing have replacement parts available locally? Do they sell and repair these parts locally? Do they have the ability to respond to my needs?

The best piece of equipment is only the best if you have a local dealer with a responsive service department that stocks all the parts you’ll need. This partner must also have flexible hours to assist with recovery when unexpected breakdowns occur during snow and ice events.

Always do your due diligence in this area and nurture these relationships. Keeping close ties and current accounts with your local dealership will ensure a quick response when you need it.

To buy or to lease?

Never assume you have to own all of your equipment outright to be successful through the season. In fact, I recommend leasing any piece of equipment that will be used less than 200 hours per season. It’s been my experience, in considering the cost of leasing and the cost of acquisition in an overhead recovery model, it’s cheaper to lease equipment as it keeps your overhead recovery rate lower.

When making this decision, it is important to consider cash flow and tax implications for the year. Leasing allows you the option to buy the equipment at the end of the lease term. Leasing usually has lower monthly payments, which will increase cash flow and allow for newer equipment still under warranty.

Read the full story at bit.ly/winterfleet.

The 2016 SOI Report

Every year, Lawn & Landscape releases its State of the Industry report, highlighting trends and the financial health of the industry. This year’s report was included in our October issue, and featured five stories looking at industry data, the industry’s steady growth, the new overtime rule, hiring challenges and upcoming pesticide bans.

Head over to bit.ly/2016LLSOI to download a copy of the full report.

GIE+EXPO? We’ve got you covered

If you missed our coverage of this year’s GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky, don’t worry. Head over to bit.ly/GIEEXPOcover to check out all of the educational sessions, new products and important information we reported on from the show floor. You can also turn to page 54 for some of our coverage.

New this year, we highlighted a few speakers and events via video. Wondering what industry trends people saw for 2016? Curious to hear what the Leadership Award winners had to say? Visit bit.ly/L-Lvideos to see the three videos. Whether you attended the show, or just want to see what it looked like, these videos will give you an inside look.