For Westland Landscape, propane has played a key role in powering their business. Today, Westland is running cleaner, more efficiently and more profitably with propane.
Westland started in 1988 as a full-service maintenance company, and has grown into a full-service landscape design and installation company. Owned and operated by Danny Triplett, Westland Landscape provides maintenance, landscape and irrigation system design and installation. They also build retaining walls and install paver patios, outdoor kitchens and outdoor living areas.
With 55 employees, Westland focuses on commercial businesses, including maintenance-free residential units, fourplexes, duplexes, business parks and warehouses. They also serve residential customers with large green spaces. Located in North Kansas City, Missouri, Westland covers the entire metropolitan area.
Back in 2012, Triplett attended an Equipment Field Day where John Deere had some propane mowers available for demo. Triplett said he drove a zero-turn gasoline mower and a zero-turn propane mower, and the propane mower cut exceptionally well. “I was on the gasoline mower, mowing grass that hadn’t been cut for a while. It was probably 9 or 10 inches tall on an incline, and the gasoline mower would bog down. I would have to slow down to cut the grass evenly,” Triplett said. “I got on the propane mower, and it cut right through the taller grass quickly and efficiently,” Triplett continued. “From that point on, I was sold on propane, and any concern I had regarding power with propane mowers was laid to rest.”
Triplett manages a fleet of about a dozen John Deere mowers including zero-turn and stand-on mowers, and one walk-behind for maneuvering in small spaces. All are powered by propane. Triplett was able to take advantage of MOPERC’s Lawn Equipment Assistance Fund (LEAF) program to offset the costs of incorporating propane-powered mowers into his fleet. “The LEAF incentive paid for the cost of the change, so we were able to immediately experience the benefits of running on propane,” said Triplett.
Ferrellgas is Westland’s supplier for the propane used to power their fleet. According to Matt McDonald, Account Manager at Ferrellgas, they placed a cage on the site at Westland’s facility. In it, they keep about 60, 8-gallon “green-top” tanks of propane full for Westland’s use. Specifically designed for lawn mowers, they change out the tanks up to 3 days a week during peak mowing season. “We only charge Westland for the price of propane,” McDonald said. “We don’t charge a fee or lease for the equipment. Westland wouldn’t be paying that on gas, so we believe they shouldn’t have to pay it on propane.”
One of the key benefits that Westland Landscape is experiencing after their conversion to propane is the lower price of fuel. According to McDonald, from 2016 until now, Westland averaged a price of $1.48 per gallon for propane. “Westland runs an average of about 7,000 gallons of propane per year,” said McDonald. “Saving about $1.00 per gallon for 7,000 gallons of propane is significant.” According to Green Industry Pros, an online source for lawn mower comparisons and reviews, mowing businesses running on propane can get close to a 1:1 (gas to propane) ratio with proper tuning. This means that the run-time on a gallon of gasoline versus the run time on a gallon of propane is close to equal.
Lower fuel prices haven’t been the only benefit enjoyed by Westland. “We’ve also had good feedback from customers when they saw we were running on propane,” Triplett commented. “They liked that we were making an effort to improve the environment.” In fact, Westland was awarded a bid for the EPA building in Kansas City, KS, because they were using propane. Many municipalities, government agencies, colleges and even homeowners’ associations specify propane-burning lawn mowers on their contract bids as part of their sustainability efforts. Lowering the carbon footprint through the use of propane can be a competitive advantage for mowing businesses.
By incorporating propane into their fleet of mowers, Westland Landscape is also enjoying longer increments between servicing mowers due to the clean-burning nature of propane. “We felt like everything was running more efficiently after we switched to propane,” said Triplett. “Our crews weren’t wasting time filling up at gas stations and our whole operation was running smoother. Virtually all of our downtime disappeared with the propane equipment.”
Learn more about propane mowers and available incentives.