Fleet evaluations

Determining the true cost for a piece of turf equipment can help evaluate how necessary it is to your turf management program.

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February 28, 2012

If you your course were to put on a premier event, what is the maximum amount of equipment you’d need to function?

It’s one of the essential questions a golf course superintendent needs to evaluate to determine whether he or she needs more or less equipment, says Stephen Tucker, equipment manager at The Ritz-Carlton Members Club in Florida and one of the presenters for the “Managing Your Equipment Fleet In a Tough Economy” educational seminar at the 2012 Golf Industry Show.

“Often, superintendents don’t realize that they actually have too much equipment for the tasks at their courses,” Tucker says. “In today’s economy it’s up to you to make golf profitable by controlling expenses.”

One essential factor is to know the costs associated with a particular piece of equipment, Tucker says.  He provided this example:

One fairway mower
Checking cut height: 64 hrs/yr @ $15/hr = $960/yr
Service: 2x per year = $250
Repair cost: $500
Total maintenance cost: $1,710 (a conservative estimate)

Lease: $800/month X12=$9600

Total cost of ownership: $11,310

Takes 3 hours to do a task, 3 times a week for 52 weeks
3x3=9x52=468 hrs/yr
$11,310/468=Total Cost Per Hour -- $24.17 (not factoring operator cost)

"Remember: Numbers will always tell you the truth," Tucker says.

Tucker offered these additional quick tips to realize costs savings:

  • If you lease, don’t overstock parts
  • Demand service from dealers as you would if you purchased a new car
  • You don’t need all of the bells and whistles that are offered with equipment
  • Don’t buy based on equipment color. Shop around to different manufacturers