GIE+EXPO is the largest Lawn & Garden Equipment Show in the U.S.
GIE+EXPO takes place each fall in Louisville, Kentucky, with over 700,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibition and hands-on demonstration areas. The show also has educational classes for dealers and mechanics.
It’s a huge show! This year it was a lot bigger and busier – more than one person can cover. I’ll go over what I saw related to TodaysMower in this article. If you would like to read about the new items for snow removal I have an article over on MovingSnow.
GIE-EXPO is for:“Outdoor power equipment, distributed through dealers, retailers and distributors for consumer, professional and rental use; Lawn and garden products/outdoor leisure items, distributed through home centers, dealers and retailers; Light construction and landscape equipment used by general contractors, landscapers, golf course superintendents and parks & recreation crews.”
In reality today GIE+EXPO is a show primarily for lawn equipment dealers and lawn/landscape contractors. So there is really very little for the residential retail market at the show. Yes, the large brands like Ariens, Toro and Husqvarna show a few of their residential products but for the most part retail brands like Troy-Bilt and Craftsman don’t show their products here. I always attend the show as a Dealer/Landscaper instead of “the Press.” This allows me to interact with the shows participants in a more natural way instead of the “corporate view” many companies give the press corps.
Besides a meet-up with dealers it’s a place for the Brands to showcase their new products. As always there were over 100 great new products, 100’s of refinements to existing products and a few copy-cats. Unfortunately many of the copy-cats have issues and just muck up the works. For example, one orange brand is offering a new stand-on zero-turn. It looks cool but they missed some very important ergonomic features. I’m sure they will sell a few just on their reputation alone but it will never be a strong seller.
It’s also a show where small, independent builders show off their creations in hope of attracting dealers to sell them. Many names like OxCart, Mean Green Mowers, and Nordic got their start here. As usual I found many great ideas still looking for an audience. For example L. T. Rich had a prototype 4-wheel contraption they were showing off and OxCart was showing a walk-behind version of their great cart.
I talked with many great people this year. Contractors, dealers, area reps, owners and engineers. Clayton Bruce — Husqvarna, Barbara Bermudez – Ketchum , Rob Wittl, John Horn – Ariens/Gravely, Bill Wright – Wright Manufacturing and many, many others who I didn’t remember to get a business card from. I closed down the show Wednesday night talking to the engineers who developed the Toro SnowMaster and Toro steering wheel ZTR. I enjoyed listening to buyers who purchases 500 zero-turns at a time and many young mowing contractors looking to upgrade to their second mower.
Dan Ariens and John Horn with a landscape contractor.
Nathalie and Wouter Barendrecht – General Transmissions
It’s great to talk to old friends in the business like Gary from Acrease Mowers who have had their products at the show since the 90’s when the show was “International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Expo.” It’s also great to talk with the “new generation” like Matt Kunz, Nick Ariens, and Stephen Ariens who are carrying on their fathers and sometime great grandfathers dreams.
How important is this show? The owners and presidents of the companies at the show come from all over the world and spent the entire time on the floor. For example, Dan Ariens – Ariens/Gravely spent all three days on the floor, Nathalie Barendrecht – General Transmissions flew over from France just for this show. Every year almost the entire Craftsman L&G division attends looking for quality items for Sears.
The newest trend that will benefit the industry: Radial Lawn Mower Tires.
Radial tires are tougher, have better traction and handle side-hills well.
The best new product: Gravely PRO-QXT 2-Wheel Tractor.
Gravely re-invented the 2-wheel tractor. Gravely’s first L&G product was the garden tractor. It’s fitting that they reintroduce the 2-wheel tractor for the start of the next 100 years.
The most talked about product: Intimidator Group – Spartan Zero-Turn Mowers.
The list price on the new American made Spartan mowers caused an uproar at the show. We’ll see if Mr. Foster can actually keep that price once the mowers go into production.
Best maturing product: Stand-on Mowers.
20 years ago I stated, “Stand-on mowers are the best way to mow lawns.” All the major brands now have a version or two of this versatile machine. Now – if they will only make a residential model…..
Here are a few pictures of the new items shown: There is a surprise at the end.
Click on the pict to see a large view.
I just wanted to point out this high weed mower. An extremely well built weed mower from Europe. I like the handle brace but don’t like the wimpy front wheel.
Toro 826 OXE with automatic steering
New Agri-Fab Aerator. I can’t remember the size but it’s bigger than ever!
Agri-Fab Aerator . New never flat tires
Agri-Fab is showcasing a new height adjustment. It’s easier to use than the old side-mounted version.
New Agri-Fab Cart
Husqvarna Residential Zero-Turn with reinforced deck
Husqvarna/Briggs & Stratton Lithium Electric Start. With battery meter and quick charge technology
Husqvarna Rear Discharge, Mulching, Lithium Electric Start
Husqvarna Locking Diff
Husqvarna Power Plug, Keyless Start, Useable Gauges
Husqvarna LED Lights, Fabricated Deck
New Husqvarna Deck Design.
General Transmission Electric Mower Drive
Brown Brush OX. If you can knock it down this mower will cut it.
10 minutes before the outdoor area opened Thursday
New Cub Cadet PRO Z 100. 52 and 60 inch decks. ZT-3400 Trannys. Kohler EFI engine!
New Honda 2-stage impeller. The rest of the industry ran away from 90 degree paddles on the impeller years ago. What does Honda know that the rest of us don’t?
Honda Hybrid. This snow blower is only $7000. It is very nice to drive.
DeWalt’s Brushless 40 volt trimmer. As good as gas…
New Spartan Mowers. The owner made 8 demo models for the show but does not have the assembly line built for them yet. They may be available early next year.
AS Serpa. Old European name, now in the U.S.
New Sarlo Hydro. If you want a mower “built like they used to” this is the brand for you.
Nordic Auto Plow for Zero-Turns
Makita jumped into the L&G equipment full montie with recent purchase of DOLMAR power equipment
The Toro outdoor area is always one of the busiest areas of the show.
The Toro Multi-Force was a big hit
Wright Stander outdoor exhibit area. Always busy.
Wright Sport X. This zero-turn is a lot more comfortable to use than all the zero-turns where you sit in the middle of the mower. This would be the 3rd mower I purchased if I was starting a lawn maintenance business today.
Hustler’s new stand-on.
DR Introduced a lot of new equipment at the show.
Articulated loaders don’t tear up a lawn like a skid-steer does. These are the best for established turf.
Husqvarna Reps waiting for customers to try out the the mowers.
Toro GrandStand MULTI FORCE
Toro GrandStand MULTI FORCE. The first multi-purpose stand-on.
Toro Grandstand. Completely redesigned. If you like red on your trailer this is the best.
OxCart’s new walk-behind attachment prototype. Use the hydraulic assist instead of your back! What do you think?
Ground Logic’s new sprayer/spreader. If you are in the lawn fertilizer and weed control business this is the standard everyone else tries to match.
Another pict of the 72 inch Wright Stander ZK. If the TV show “Home Improvement” was still running this would be Tim’s new mower
Gravely PRO-QXT 2 Wheel Tractor
Honda’s new HSS series snow blowers. I’m not impressed
New Spartan. I did like the 2 inch receiver on the back of the mower. Otherwise, I’d wait one year to let them get the bugs out.
Jonsered ST 3368EP. This is the same as the 300 series Husqvarna snow blowers.
I didn’t catch who makes this space heater but I want one for my garage!
Yes, The Argo is still alive and well. I owned one with a Ford Diesel engine years ago.
Global Resources ergonomic seats. The seat is heated and air conditioned!
Brush Blazer Radio Control Brush Cutter
You Tube sensation “Taryl Fixes All”. I don’t know that other guy but I see him in the mirror every morning.
New Kioti Sub Compact.
Another pict of New Altoz residential ZTR
New Altoz residential ZTR. Altoz was the hit of the show last year. Nice mowers for the price!
Big Bad Dog – Maverick
Snow Joe introduced a hybrid snow thrower. 40 volts cordless that will run over 50 minutes on a charge. If that’s not enough you can use an extension cord to finish your driveway.
It’s not for sale but at the show every year. I want it.
Lastec Flex. This mower’s deck flexes in the middle and is the standard for mowing complex berms and other highly landscaped areas. There is nothing else like it.
AS 940 Sherpa 4WD XL
Mean Green Mowers lithium mowers. These are the all lithium electric mowers companies like Apple uses.
Mean Green Mowers continue to expand their lineup.
MoJack EZ Max Mower Lift.
Walker Model S. Nothing cuts a residential lawn better than this mower. Yes, it cuts better than your walk behind.
A few of the attachments you can put on a Walker Mower.
Gravely PRO-QXT 2 Wheel Tractor
Gravely PRO-QXT 2 Wheel Tractor
Ariens Platinum 28 SHO track. These are hard to find at dealers.
This may be your new mower.
New, affordable mowers from Country Clipper
Husqvarna was promoting their Auto Mower. These are very popular in Europe but in my opinion they mow too short for blue grass/fescue lawns here in the U.S.
Husqvarna 46 inch reinforced deck ZTR
Gravely Atlas UTV’s. These new UTV’s are designed for commercial users and have features you can’t find at your local power sports dealer
Gravely Atlas UTV’s. All season cabs, ice chest, racks for all your equipment, largest load capacity.
Gravely invited a few people to try out the new Gravely 2-wheel Tractor the day before the show.
Gravely Pro-Turns. Gravely introduced the new 200 and 400 series at the show. The engineers spend a lot of time listening to customers and these mowers have operator centered ergonomics like no other mower on the market.
Ariens Stand-Ons. 20 years of working out the details on this stand-on, This would be the 1st mower I purchased if I was starting a lawn maintenance business today.
This is why you stay in the Galt House in downtown Louisville!
Husqvarna Dealer Only fabricated deck and auto lock diff.
Many companies have their own in house social media and advertising departments. Other companies use PR firms to work with the news media and handle Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and the hundred other places you use on the Internet. For example, Barbara from Ketchum, Inc. did a great job of coordinating my talks with the engineers and managers at Husqvarna. Thanks Barbara.
Clayton Bruce – Husqvarna. This young engineer knows his stuff!
Last year this booth was packed all the time. The equipment is so dusty because it’s right next to the Gravely and Toro booths.
AS 940 Sherpa 4WD XL. If you got hills this is your mower. They mow ski slopes with this mower.
Gravely is Celebrating 100 years!
Can you say, “Designed by an engineer who has never met a customer.”
As you can see Simplicity/Snapper’s new idea of adding a carrying platform is a big hit at the show. – NOT! They may have had a better response if the tool platform had a tailgate….
If you like be outdoors this is a great “stand on desk” for your office!
Cub Cadet always has a huge display at the show.
Toro always shows their residential products at the show.
Nordic Auto Plow. I think this is the best snow plow on the market but the manufacture NEEDS to develop a better mount.
Ariens IKON X 52. I like the price and the machine.
Gravely Atlas UTV’s, Hydraulic Dump
Last year this was the busiest booth. Fame can be fleeting….
Jacobsen was showing off nine new products at GIE+EXPO, spotlighting its “Professional Series” while also looking to increase its participation in consumer markets. The Professional Series consists of three lines of zero-turn mowers and seven different models of utility task vehicles (UTV)
Do you like the new Cub Cadet Logo?
I live in Wisconsin. There are no Waffle Houses here…
72 inch stand-on. 12 mph mowing speed. If you have to mow your seven acre lawn in one hour – this is the mower for you!
New BOSS ATV Plow
If I was starting a landscaping business today this would be the 2nd mower I purchased.
About Paul Sikkema
Paul Sikkema has been writing about snow blowers, riding mowers, and other lawn and garden equipment for over 10 years. Paul does most of his writing out in his workshop where he feeds the wildlife and birds in the yard.
He spends as much time with his granddaughter as he can.
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Hi Paul I m looking at starting into my own lawn and landscape business here in Florida. I can spend up to around 7500 on a mower what would u buy they all seem to got different things I like so far I been leaning towards the bad boy outlaw with the 32 Briggs
Hi Geno, I don’t suggest that large of a mower unless you already have the lawns. It’s too big to start out with. I also suggest working with a local dealer. If you have a Bad Boy dealer fine, but if you have to travel and hour it’s not worth the hassle when you are trying to make money.
Please read the rest of this to make sure you are ready to run your own business.
Please do not take what I say here personally. Only 1 out of every 200 lawn care businesses make it to year five.
Here are the reasons why they don’t make it:
You don’t educate yourself on running a business.
You don’t educate yourself on general maintenance of your equipment.
You don’t charge enough.
You don’t know your overhead.
You don’t know the payback of equipment. A commercial walk behind will last 3 times longer than the residential zero-turn of the same money. The walk-behind will pay for itself – that zero-turn won’t.
You don’t educate yourself on lawns, grasses, weeds.
You mow too short and your work looks like shit. You don’t trim at the same height as the mowing. In other words you scalp the lawn with the string trimmer.
You don’t pattern mow.
You leave ruts in the lawns from mowing them the same way every week.
You don’t know how to use a zero-turn mower. That means NEVER leaving a divot from the rear tires or a plow mark from the front casters on a customer’s lawn.
Your dealer is more important than the brand or price of your primary equipment.
You buy equipment based on price. You must buy equipment based on what you intend to do and the quality you want to give the customer.
Faster is not the best way for at least the first 5 years. Slow, quality work will get you more. Quick average mowing will get you broke.
Any zero-turn mower priced at below $6000 will never pay for itself in a commercial application.
NEVER think of yourself as 2 guys and a pickup. Never price your work to compete with 2 guys and a pickup.
If people don’t want to pay your price for quality work find different people. You are actually better off sitting at home than doing shoddy work because of cheap price you charge or the cheap equipment you buy.
If you can’t do as good of a job as the professional either get out of the business or learn how to compete with the quality of the big guys.
Never try to get business using the classified’s.
By the way, I found very little of my own business. I partnered with landscapers and other commercial mowers and did the lawn care they didn’t want to do or the work that was too small for their crews to do. The rest of my business was done by word-of-mouth. I went from 23 lawns the first year that did not pay enough to 400 lawns by year 5 that I could charge the right amount to make a really good living.
If you are going to mow high end residential and/or high end business start with an easy to use commercial walk-behind. Even when you make it big keep it for the tricky lawns and slopes. When you can cost justify it – buy a Walker Mower with a bagger for sites under 1 acre. Yes, you can buy the additional decks for the non-bagging work.
For sites larger than one acre use 60 inch ZTR’s from a local dealer you respect.
Buy your handheld equipment from your primary dealer. Buy Commercial string trimmers, hand blowers and hedge shears. DO NOT. I repeat DO NOT buy residential products from Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, or Amazon. (you can buy repair parts from Amazon) OK, I’ll tell you why. A residential string trimmer that costs less than $250 will last maybe a month before it starts to give you problems. You will fight with that POS for the next year or two before you realize you bought the wrong stuff. Buy a commercial string trimmer ($350-500) and it will last 2-3 years of everyday use before it starts to aggravate you.
Here is a little more I found online: The Real Facts about How to Start a Lawn Care Business
Thank you Paul for the Great response I currently and still do work for a very ruputable lawn company in my area so I am very skilled in the work aspect of things it s just time for me to build my own company name and reputation I m a very self motivated person and the partnering up section of your response is actually what I am banking on to get my start walk behind mowers are like almost non existent in our market here only a couple people use them and I actually notice extreme amounts of rutting on the property s they do use them on I had at time considered using them and the advice that was giving to me from several people that own their own company’s here said if I haven t ran one stick with what I know not being opposed just explaining my back round and experience a lil bit so u can give me the most sound advice I know I can cut damn nice yard and trim hedges very well and I truly believe in myself to be able to be successful at running my own business I found today a bobcat fast cat pro52 with only 300 hours it ran incredible and very well taking care of they want 3500 for it my goal is to slowly start my business on the side while still working for my boss so I have guaranteed income he is very supportive of me going out on my own and is willing to help me to some level so with this being said I appreciate you taking your time to respond to my first post and any further advice u can help me with
Hi Geno, The BobCat sounds like a good deal! Talking about grooves. Just about any on the commercial mowers will groove a lawn so you have to change the way you mow every time. I could always tell when a commercial crew mowed and trimmed the same way every week.
Wow looks like quite a show!!
Funny comment you made about the Spartan Mower Line up. I have gone back and forth and looked at Dixie Chopper , Bad Boy ZT Elite, Hustler Fasttrack and have landed on a Spartan RT in 54 in . I was impressed by the Briggs video on the Cyclonic air cleaner but the local dealer says I will have to wait until the end of May for a Briggs motor. What are your feelings between the Kohler 7000 series and the Briggs Commercial that Spartan is using.?? Delivered price on the 54 in RT $4999.00
Hi Chris, I can’t recommend a ZTR from an “Unknown” for at least the first three years. I’ve seen way to many of these companies get tremendous press and then disappear in 3-5 years. In fact, I’m just starting to trust Altoz and this is their third year. Remember the Billy? or the DewEze or EverRide? If I sat and thought about it, I could come up with at least 25 more that only lasted 1-4 years. The ZTR market is so saturated right now….
To answer your question, The Kohler 7000 is a good residential motor. If you are just mowing 2-15 acres a week it will last. The Briggs Commercial will give you 30 to 50% more life.
Paul,, Thanks for the insight. I happened to see a Gravely ad today and stopped by the dealership. They have a ZTHD 60 with aFR730 KAW on special for 5K out the door cash. The spring promotion from Gravely is extending the 3 year warranty out to 5 on the entire machine if bought before june. I was fairly impressed with the machine and the Kaw engine.
They have the 3100 drives as opposed to the Spartans Parker pumps. Not sure I am aware what the difference is in the 2.??
But of all the dealers I have visited in the last 2 weeks. The Gravely dealer was the first to offer that I take a demo home and mow with it. That has gone along way with both myself and the Mrs.
Thanks for all that you do once again.
Hi Chris, Buy the Gravely. I can vouch that the ZTHD 60 is one of the best high end residential mowers on the market. The Drives are commercial duty and the KAW motor will last you the life of the ZTR.