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Sunrise

OVERVIEW

COMPANY

Sunrise Lawn Care

Tracy City, Tennessee

CHALLENGE & SOLUTION

Whether a company has more than 50 mowers, or is a two-mower company like Sunrise Lawn Care, switching to propane-powered mowers keeps the focus on providing the best services to customers instead of on the demands of gasoline. Propane costs less per gallon and offers flexible refueling solutions that can increase daily productivity.

PROPANE HIGHLIGHTS

  • One propane cylinder typically lasts all day and spare cylinders can easily be carried on a trailer, eliminating downtime spent at neighborhood refueling stations.
  • Propane cylinders can be filled from the 250-gallon propane tank at Sunrise Lawn Care’s office before employees leave for the day.
  • Propane costs $0.50 less per gallon than gasoline.
  • Only one day of downtime was needed to convert the company’s first mower and for training.
  • In two years, the company saved enough from propane’s reduced costs to purchase a second propane mower.

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Details

TENESSEE-BASED LANDSCAPE CONTRACOTR USES PROPANE MOWERS FOR SEVEN YEARS AND COUNTING

Using propane has reduced Tennessee-based Sunrise Lawn Care’s fuel budget and eliminated time-intensive trips to neighborhood gasoline stations. Within two years of using propane equipment, the company had saved enough money through increased productivity and lower fuel costs to pay for the purchase of another new propane mower.

Like many who work in the green industry, lawn maintenance has been a passion for Jeff Miller in the several decades he has operated his company, Sunrise Lawn Care. Miller does landscape maintenance for approximately 100 clients in and around Tracy City, Tennessee, with one other employee, two ride-on mowers, and handheld maintenance equipment.

One reason Miller has stayed in the field is because his overhead costs for fuel and equipment maintenance are consistently low from using propane- powered mowers. Sunrise Lawn Care has used propane since converting a Scag Turf Tiger to the alternative fuel in 2012 — and Miller intends to continue buying propane equipment.

“Over the time I’ve used propane, I just don’t want to go back to gasoline,” Miller says.

PROPANE REFUELING PROCESS SAVES TIME THORUGHOUT THE CUTTING SEASON

Years ago, Miller encountered a competitor using propane-powered mowers and heard about the benefits of the fuel, including the ease of refueling. Not long after, Miller converted one of his Scag Turf Tiger zero-turn mowers to the alternative fuel. A local propane supplier converted the mower to propane within a day. The supplier also installed a 250-gallon bulk propane tank at Sunrise Lawn Care’s office from which Miller could refuel the propane cylinders used by his Scag equipment.

“By filling my own tanks, I save a lot of time,” Miller says.

Miller can run his mowers for nearly a full day on one full propane cylinder apiece. A second propane cylinder can be carried on his trailer for busy days, too, and easily swapped out on the mower in the field. Because the cutting season around Tracy City lasts from March to mid-November, time saved by removing downtime at refueling stations quickly adds up in productivity. Miller says he would be saving money regardless of the reduced cost per gallon of propane just with the additional time spent working.

PROPANE LEADS TO FUEL AND MAINTENANCE COST SAVINGS

Sunrise Lawn Care has also saved money on fuel and maintenance by using propane compared to Miller’s experiences with gasoline equipment. Two years after converting the Turf Tiger, Miller was able to purchase a new, propane-powered Scag Cheetah zero-turn radius mower primarily from the fuel savings he has seen by using propane. Per gallon, propane is consistently $0.50 less than what he would pay at the neighborhood gasoline station.

“I’ve had a couple customers come up and ask about it because they’ve never seen a mower run on propane. Usually they ask, ‘Does it actually save any money?’ And I’d have to answer, ‘Oh, yes it does,’” Miller says.

Although he did purchase a new Scag gasoline mower in 2019, Miller is planning to convert the machine to propane to continue receiving the benefits of the alternative fuel, and to do the same with future mower purchases, too. Using propane removes any concerns of accidentally fueling his mowers with ethanol-blended gasoline, which can damage small engines. And aside from replacing a worn hose, Miller hasn’t needed to make any major repairs to his propane equipment for seven years straight beyond regularly scheduled maintenance.

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