Lee Brewer (L) and Billy Burr of MacKinnon JCB at Brewer’s Landscape Services in Bradenton, Fla.
Brewer's Nursery and Landscape Services of Bradenton, Fla., has been in operation for 12 years. Owner Lee Brewer started his career cutting grass and then expanded into landscape installation. What started his retail operation was a piece of land that he originally used as a holding property for landscape installation items. Brewer recalled that people started stopping by to ask if they could buy items on the grow lot. Brewer went into the business of selling plants, and the rest is history.
The company still does landscape installations and lawn maintenance, with the trucks and mowing equipment being kept at a different location in Sarasota, Fla. The actual retail business of landscape products in Bradenton requires approximately three pieces of small equipment to keep the company productive. Currently, that consists of two skid steer loaders and one JCB telehandler. The JCB was a recent purchase and one that Brewer seemed to have stumbled upon.
"I had actually been waiting for someone else to bring me a demo machine for a potential purchase," Brewer said. "Billy (Burr of MacKinnon JCB) brought me one the next day. Honestly, I was going to buy another machine. I had no experience with a telehandler. I had no experience with JCB. The only other time I had any exposure to the JCB product line was at other job sites and another nursery in Sarasota."
At the Sarasota nursery, Brewer had a huge palm tree loaded onto his trailer with a machine that at first he didn't think would be able to handle the tree as efficiently as the machines he had on his yard. The machine that loaded his trailer was a JCB.
The 505-20 easily transports large palm trees from the grow yard and onto delivery vehicles.
"When that JCB loaded the palm on my trailer, my first thought was, holy smokes, this machine was able to pick it up," he said. "My next request to the landscape company was for the number of the guy that sold the machine to them. I got Billy's number. I called him. He asked if I wanted to demo one. The next day the truck showed up with the demo on it.
"I used the machine for a short amount of time and told them just to leave it here, and I bought it," he added. "I never had previous demo time on this machine, but after trying it once, I purchased it. The telehandler could do everything our previous machine could do. It could handle more weight, and it could extend out to more effectively handle loading pickup trucks, which is a big advantage as the skid steers can easily bump and damage the back of a pickup truck. With this machine, you can pick up a skid of material or plants and you don't chance hitting the rear of the truck.
"For our delivery trucks, we can load multiple pallets of mulch and other products without having to push the pallets forward with the next skid of material. This machine can handle more weight and with the tires turning the way they do. When the machine turns, it doesn't skid and tear up the ground or the asphalt. This is possible because of the JCB telehandler's multiple steer modes, including four-way steer."
The "old way" of pushing one pallet into another when loading a truck created a challenge during unloading. The last pallets were easy enough to offload, but those that were pushed forward toward the cab had to be dragged with a chain to the rear of the truck bed before they could be offloaded. Now, with their JCB telehandler, machine operators can reach directly to all pallets, no matter how far forward on the delivery truck, without having to chain them up and pull them into position for lifting.
Brewer's JCB 505-20 telehandler efficiently offloads pallets of landscape material.
Brewer said that the offloading of a truck that used to take 15 minutes probably only takes about three to five minutes now, saving him "a ton of time."
After trying things with a telehandler, at this point, Brewer said he probably won't have the need for skid steers in the future. When the time comes to replace his other two units, he said, he'll replace them with JCB telehandlers.
Service intervals on his new machine are a big plus as well. The machine requires service at 500 hours. The other skid steers in his machine fleet need service every 100 hours and need to be greased weekly. Brewer raves about the 74 hp Kohler diesel on the new JCB telehandler, which has no diesel particulate filter and does not require regeneration. He said that's a huge problem for him with his other machines and probably the No. 1 reason he wants to continue with the JCB line of machines for replacement equipment in the future.
Not having the expense of the particulate filters is a big cost savings. Brewer said that the skid steers he has on the yard need to be cranked up and run "wide open" for about 10 minutes or so every week to "regen" — something he never has to do on his new JCB.
After six months of owning the machine, the only thing required for Brewer's JCB was blowing out the air filter several times. The machine isn't being used in a severe work environment, but continuous dust, which can potentially create issues for the machine, is mitigated by an effective filtration system and occasional air blowout.
The purchase was easy, too, Brewer said.
"I had a couple old machines that I traded. They were smaller machines that Billy had a wholesaler come in and buy the same day I made the purchase. I wrote a check for the difference and the machine stayed here."
The JCB primarily stays at the nursery, but from time to time it is trailered to landscape installation projects. Brewer recalls one project that required setting a huge oak tree.
"We probably exceeded the weight limit that the machine is supposed to be used for in this installation," he said. "But we were able to extend the reach over curbing and a parking stop where we were able to place the tree into the hole without harming anything around it. The company we were working with for this install had an articulating loader that was probably twice as big, but couldn't even pick up the tree, nor did not have the maneuvering capabilities of our JCB."
All in all, the JCB purchase has been a win-win for Brewer, and he jokingly says sometimes that an "ass in the seat sells a machine."
"If the other machine would have been sent here, I probably would have already bought it," he said. "You can't get much better service than having a demo machine show up the very next day that you ask for it. Also, working with a dealer that has the resources of getting my trade machines promptly taken care of is another big plus."
Brewer's has an absolute paradise of tropical plants available.
"Follow-up has been great with Billy [Burr], and this was a very easy transaction, a speedy transaction, and one that I probably wouldn't have seen with other dealers," Brewer added. "The knowledge of my salesman was tremendous. I always thought in the past that the JCB machines were outrageously priced, but when all was said and done, I was right in line with what I paid for previous machines and probably actually saved some money — which was a pleasant surprise to me."
Brewer said he has dealt with a lot of dealers over the years, and the fact that this machine showed up a day after he requested it, accompanied by the salesman himself, speaks volumes about MacKinnon JCB.
"We've become friends throughout this deal and when people ask me about the machine I bought, I certainly refer them to Billy as a good source for equipment," he said.