Don Basset, sitting on Greenworks Zero Turn lawnmower, and Robert Budohoski.
“In 60 years, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
For Don Bassett to say this, it truly had to be something remarkable. Don was a founding partner when Brother’s Equipment Ltd. was launched in 1975 and is active with the company to this day. Brother’s provides a wide range of quality equipment rentals, sales, and service to customers in Hamilton and surrounding areas. In all that time, Don thought he had seen it all.
This past spring, as the team watched the new zero-turn riding mower live demo, it wasn’t what they saw that had them amazed – it was what they didn’t hear.
“Right away we recognized what a game-change this was for the industry,” explained Robert Budohoski, Operations & Branch Manager for Brother’s. “He’s mowing the lawn right in front of us and we’re having a normal conversation without having to yell over it.”
That demonstration led to a working partnership between Brother’s and Greenworks, a manufacturer of battery-powered landscaping equipment.
The Brother’s Advantage
A commitment to customer service has been part of the Brother’s way from day one. Budohoski came on board after they became one of four operations in the Hubb-Cap group. Right away, he was struck by the high bar set at Brother’s.
“Don’s here almost every day. Anyone can walk in, and Don knows who they are and can strike up a friendly conversation,” he said. “That drew me into the business because that automatically builds a kind of trust that you typically don’t see in our industry.”
Brothers can only maintain a high level of quality by stocking reputable brands like their long-term partners Honda and Stihl.
“Targeting a niche catalogue is how we differentiate ourselves. Our customers know if they buy from us, we’re going to be able to service it, no problem,” Budohoski said.
The Shift Towards Sustainability
In the landscaping equipment field, North American markets are just now turning an eye toward battery-powered equipment. For commercial fleets, offering a more environmentally friendly service option is more important than ever. Today, municipalities, school boards, hospitals and other public service organizations are increasing sustainability mandates. This gives any operation featuring battery-powered equipment a clear advantage.
On the residential side of the business, more and more younger millennials and Gen Z homeowners are only increasing the demand for battery-powered options.
All of this is what has convinced Budohoski that it is critically important to get ahead of a trend that is certain to dominate the industry.
“Younger generations grew up being able to plug in and charge their equipment,” he said. “So, they’re more comfortable with charging a battery than say, having to mix gasoline or change spark plugs.”
Furthering the competitive advantage is eliminating fuel costs. For companies using gas-powered equipment, it’s common to refuel two or three times a day.
Just as important as the fuel savings is the noise reduction Budohoski and Bassett experienced at that first demo.
“Right now, more and more universities have switched to electric only. We’re also seeing hospitals hospices, cemeteries, and parks slowly converting to quieter, cleaner service options,” he said. “Battery-powered equipment is a huge step in reducing noise pollution in our public spaces.”
The more modern approach brings with it the advantage of smart technology. For example, supervisors can track equipment status on any phone, tablet, or computer. If there is a required repair, the software will indicate what the issue is and how it can be addressed.
This can mean the difference between having to bring the unit to the shop or being able to easily fix it right there on the spot.
For Budohoski, there is an exclusivity aspect in their Greenworks partnership that has him very excited about what the future has in store. Brother’s is one of only two licensed Greenworks partners in the Hamilton area.
“As part of our partnership with Greenworks, we are one of only two locations in the greater Hamilton region, ensuring a positive share of market for us and a great business opportunity to provide us with exposure to new customers looking to purchase a new commercial unit,” Budohoski said.
By staying on top of industry trends and commercial and consumer demand, Brother’s is set to grow their business, while others will be left behind.
“Canerector companies don’t sit back on their laurels but keep pushing forward to remain competitive and grow,” said Canerector Vice-President, Marc Warden. “Brother’s Equipment Ltd. Is a shining example of this principle at work.”