Machine Customization in Action

Matt Smith written by Matt Smith
truck and lawn care in front of house

Tim Tipton has owned his lawn care business since 1994. In the early years, Tipton’s Lawn Care focused primarily on landscape construction and hardscape design & installation. But in 2016, Tipton decided to start shifting his focus to solely lawn care. Since then, the business has grown to about 1,150 customers.

Tipton attributes the growth to his company’s high-quality programs. He and two other applicators—Caleb (CJ) and Shane—make up the crew, which serves Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties in Northeast Ohio.

Tipton became a Steel Green customer in 2021. He had used a similar spreader/sprayer brand previously but noticed a decrease in quality when the brand was acquired. He was looking for a high-quality alternative and decided to give Steel Green a try.

“I tried out a Steel Green Machine last year, the first one, and they were able to customize the machine for me,” Tipton said. He had been in the business long enough to know what he wanted in a machine, and Steel Green allowed him to build just that. “I wanted a machine that was narrow enough to get through gates, but I had them put wider tires on it, the larger fertilizer hopper, and the hydraulic hill assist.”

Since purchasing his first machine, an SG42, last year, Tipton has added three more Steel Greens to his fleet: another SG42 and two SG46 machines. He has customized each machine with the features that fit his needs.

Servicing an average lawn size of 26 to 28 thousand square feet, Tipton said, “We kind of just have a niche of bigger lawns.” The capacity of their Steel Green fleet allows the crew to spend less time refilling, which translates to cost savings and lower prices for customers.

The added stability of their Steel Green machines also helps the crew on large lawns. “The wider back tires on the SG42 gave the unit a lot more stability, and the hill assist has given it a lot more side hill stability,” said Tipton.

Customized machines have translated to quantified savings for his company. Specifically, the motorized booms have saved his crew time loading and unloading the machines for transport. “With the trailers that we utilize, we cannot pull the machine in and out of the trailer with the booms open because the ramp doors are 50 inches wide, and then our other trailer’s in the 60’s,” Tipton said.

“So you would have to close the boom, load the machine up, get to the next stop, unload the machine, open the boom, treat the lawn, close the boom. And then, if you bumped a telephone pole or a stop sign with the boom, it would fold shut. You’d have to get off and open it back up.”

Every minute counts, especially when you’re a three-man crew servicing more than a thousand customers. Tipton described the electronic boom motors as a “game-changer” for his company: “I’ve had those now on all my machines, and it roughly gives you an extra 30 to 40 minutes a day of production. You could bump a telephone pole, and it springs right back open. Open and close the boom with a switch.”

Another benefit that Tipton’s crew has realized is application flexibility with the isolated tanks and additional independent chemical tanks on their Steel Green machines.

“We use those for anything from non-selective weed control—we’ll use them for insects, tree and shrub applications, or spot-treating selective herbicides,” said Tipton. “I keep my selective weed control on one side. I keep a fungicide mix on the other side. And then I’ll either keep a non-selective or an insecticide in my independent chemical tank. So I’m always able to kind of switch back and forth on the fly.”

The tanks make the crew more flexible and more efficient. With the ability to make two applications in one pass, Tipton now gives customers a price break on preventative fungicide applications that they do at the same time as another scheduled treatment.

From fungicides to tree and shrub applications to flea and tick treatment, add-on services are integral to the growth of Tipton’s Lawn Care. And Steel Green machines make those add-on services more scalable: “Being able to isolate those tanks is a game-changer,” Tipton said.

Machine customization is a personalized process, but not a solitary one. “The guys at Steel Green are really good to deal with, really prompt,” Tipton said. And the innovation goes both ways: “One of my favorite things about the crew at Steel Green is they’re always open to suggestions. They’re always improving the machine, and it’s good that they’re very open to recommendations from their customers.”

“It’s really nice to work with a manufacturer always open to suggestions to improve an already great machine. The customer service at Steel Green is second to none! Best I’ve worked with in 29 years,” Tipton said.

Steel Green is honored to support customers like Tipton’s Lawn Care with customized machines and personalized service.

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