Editor’s note: Five years ago, Lawn Solutions Commercial Products, Louisville, Ky., broke into the lawn and garden scene with the Turf Revitalizer, a new kind of seeder. Borne out of a need that owner David Cook saw in his lawn and garden business, the power seeder became the poster product for Lawn Solutions. Established in 2006, the company has seen significant growth in both the landscaping and rental industries. Recently, Cook discussed with Rental Management how he established his company and his philosophy behind revitalizing the seeding business. An edited transcript follows.
RM: What makes the Turf Revitalizer different and better than other equipment that might be used for the same applications?
David Cook: The Turf Revitalizer is the first self-propelled seeder to have a variable speed drive system with both forward and reverse, which takes the work out of using a power seeder. The design also uses a 9-hp engine instead of the traditional 5-hp, which is common on rental units. This gives the machine enough power to provide professional results and stand up to the day-to-day equipment abuse seen in the rental industry. The target end user for all of our products is the do-it-yourself customer or landscaper who wants professional results with a machine that is intuitive and easy to use.
RM: What is your background?
Cook: I grew up in Anderson, Ind., and graduated from West Point with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1997. I served as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army and then worked at General Electric for seven years doing new product design and advanced development. While at GE, I started a small
part-time lawn care company which grew quickly. As the company grew, I saw the need for better products, specifically seeders and aerators. I designed the first seeder in fall of 2005 and started Lawn Solutions Commercial Products in the spring of 2006. Our seeders quickly took off and we have continued to grow ever since.
RM: Why is the company based in Louisville, Ky.?
Cook: The company is based in Louisville because that is where I was living when I designed our first product. We’ve stayed because Louisville has a great climate for entrepreneurship. Also, it is centrally located for logistical and supply chain needs, and is a great place to raise a family.
RM: What percentage of your products is sold into the rental channel?
Cook: Currently 30 percent of our products go to rental where 70 percent of them go to golf and professional turf companies like Scotts or TruGreen. Rental represents a huge untapped market where customers are looking for products that deliver professional results, yet they can rent the same products and perform the work themselves. Rental gives our customers the ability to try our products before purchasing and it also allows smaller customers to use top-quality professional products without the investment of owning the equipment.
RM: Why should a rental store want to carry your products?
Cook: All of our products are designed around the customer, making our products intuitive and easy to use. This is what keeps customers coming back to us. We make sure our customers have a great user experience and that our products are easy to learn. One or two bad rental experiences with equipment and the customer will go elsewhere.