Automatic Fish: How to Get a Steady Stream of Customers From the Internet (Part 1)

Posted by Ryan Moore on Mar 29, 2016 5:11:35 PM

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It's no secret that the internet has changed the way consumers shop for local services.

It wasn't long ago that when you needed a local service, you would pull out the phone book and start making calls without really knowing much about the company other than what you saw in their ad. If you were fortunate, a friend or family member had someone they could recommend to you, but you were often flying blind. You simply had to go with your gut and trust the salesperson you were speaking with on the phone.

Today, we're moving further and further into an Age of Transparency. Especially within local markets, consumers are able to conduct extensive research and compare service providers before they call to get a quote or arrange a service call.

In their 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey, BrightLocal found that:
- 60% of consumers search for local businesses on the internet at least 6 times per year,
- 92% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews,
- 68% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more,
- 80% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Local businesses that take the time and effort necessary to build an online reputation that outpaces their competition have a distinct advantage. They have a steady stream of customers contacting them to do business. They spend little to no money on advertising. And when they really get things going, they can raise prices, turn down low margin jobs, and pick and chose customers and the services they provide.


Learning to Fish the Digital Waters

Attracting customers on the internet is much like fishing. When customers use their pc, tablet, or phone to enter the digital waters, they turn into fish that are, for lack of a better term, magical. They can disappear and reappear at will, be in multiple places at the same time, and they're invisible until you get them on your hook.

To succeed online, you must build a net to automatically catch these fish. You need:
- To identify who your fish are and what they're looking for,
- To put out lines at popular fishing spots,
- Bait to capture their attention and draw them closer,
- Hooks to bring in the catch.

It takes significant effort to build a productive net and we'll be looking at various ways to attract fish over the coming weeks and months. To get you started, the rest of this article will focus on a task that can make or break your net: keyword research.

 

What are Your Fish Looking For?

Whenever I start a new project, the first thing I do is look at the language surrounding it. If you want to be found in search engines or on local review sites, it's critical to know the terminology your fish use when they're looking for your services.

There are a number of great keyword tools out there that can help you find the keyword phrases that reflect who you are and what you do, but the one I always come back to is Google's Keyword Planner. You'll need to setup a Google Adwords account to use the Keyword Planner, but it's free to use for keyword research. I used the tool for years before I ever paid for an ad.

 

Step 1: Write Down the Type of Business You Are and the Service You Provide

Every keyword phrase you find that accurately reflects who you are and what you do gives you an additional opportunity to put out additional lines in the digital waters, especially when you find a niche that is underserved in your local market.

For example, if you're a contractor that focuses on installation, your initial list of services might include:
- Landscape Irrigation
- Landscape Installation
- Outdoor Kitchens
- Pavers
- Barbeques
- Water Features

 

Step 2a: Use the Google Keyword Planner to find keyword phrases. After you've logged in, click on "Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category."

Search_for_new_keywords.pngStep 2b. Enter the service you want to research and click the blue "Get Ideas" button. In this case, I searched for "tree removal".

tree_removal.png

 

Step 2c.  The Google Keyword Planner will provide you "Keyword ideas" on one tab and a list of "Ad group ideas" on another. The ad groups listed on the "Ad group ideas" tab groups similar phrases together, but you'll find keyword phrases in both areas.

tree_removal_search.png

 

Step 3. Take note of keyword phrases and the number of times they are searched each month.

It may look a little intimidating at first, but keywords are the backbone to any online strategy that involves search engine optimization and getting traffic from referral sites, which are two of the best ways to build your online presence. We'll cover those topics and more in future blog posts.

 

Image Source: Chinese Fishing Nets by Tim Moffatt

 

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Topics: Business

Why is Horizon Opening 8 Outdoor Living Showrooms in 2016?

Posted by Ryan Moore on Jan 29, 2016 2:45:17 PM

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Over the past several months, a team of Horizon employees and manufacturing partners have been hard at work behind the scenes developing a completely new idea in the green industry - Outdoor Living Showrooms.

Featured prominently inside of existing Horizon locations, these showrooms get products out of their boxes and off the shelves so you can get up close and see what these products look like when they're assembled and finished. We want to give you a firsthand example of how a backyard can be transformed when you bring popular outdoor living elements like pavers, fire pits, water features, lighting, and outdoor kitchens together.


A Place to Bring Your Customers

While these showrooms are intended to serve as a point of inspiration for our customers, that's not their only purpose. More importantly, the showrooms provide you a powerful tool that will help you sell your services to current and potential clients.

“Ultimately our showroom gives you a place to bring your clients so they can actually see their new outdoor living area”, explains Keith Johnston, National Sales Manager for outdoor living products. “We’ve re-created a typical design featuring all the standard outdoor living components with the colors and textures common in your region. Basically it’s a catalog you can touch and feel."

Before & after pictures, samples, and product catalogs often work great, but for some customers they're not enough. Bring them to a showroom! Have them relax at the fire pit. Let them explore the kitchen. Open the drawers and cabinets. Play with the grill. Get them involved. They may end up wanting to do more with their yard than you expected.


Part of Our Commitment to Help You Grow

Horizon has been selling outdoor living products for several years. With these showrooms, we are reaffirming our commitment to help you grow in this category.

If 2015 didn't go as well as you planned and you're looking to expand your business and make it more profitable in 2016 and beyond, look no further than outdoor living. It offers some of the highest margins in the industry and if you do it right, it can completely transform your business.

There's no question that getting into a new service offering can be intimidating, but you don't have to do it alone. We aren't here to sell you a product and send you on your way. We have the staff and resources to help you every step of the way. We're happy to show you how to install these outdoor living products, but more importantly how to price them and sell with confidence.

Our first showroom opened at our Scottsdale, AZ location earlier this month and we just finished a 2nd showroom in Dallas, TX. We have several other showrooms under construction right now and the goal is to have 8 completed in 2016.

To keep up with the latest openings, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or simply ask your local store or business development representative.

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Topics: Outdoor Living

How to Revive a Tree Dying from Salt Stress

Posted by Ken Mauser on Nov 6, 2015 2:17:05 PM

We are at the end of another hot, dry summer. Redwoods, pines and other salt sensitive trees have taken another beating.

What we all need is a good wet winter. But if your trees have a significant buildup of salt, all the water in the world will not help. When salt buildup is severe, water remains unavailable to the roots and trees slowly die of thirst.

Redwoods and pine trees are especially sensitive to salts. Salts weaken the trees and can lead to dieback or death. These trees are sensitive to salts in general (which alone can cause a certain amount of damage), but the main culprits that cause most of the damage and death are carbonates and sodium.

Let’s look at how this chain reaction occurs.

 

The Chain Reaction that Ends in Tree Death

Bicarbonate (HCO3) is a salt that's common in irrigation water. When bicarbonate gets into our soils and dries out, it releases the hydrogen (H), replaces it with calcium (Ca), and becomes calcium carbonate (CaCO3) - an insoluble mineral crystal that is known to plug pore spaces. Pore spaces are critical to tree health because they allow both air and water to reach the root system.

The formation of calcium carbonate is the first step in the declining health of these trees.

The next step is the inability to leach. Because the calcium carbonate has plugged the pore spaces, water can’t move through the soil profile as it needs to. Leaching or flushing becomes harder and harder. With the lack of cleansing through flushing, sodium begins to build up and soon the trees begin to pull that sodium up. Sodium is quite mobile and it moves to the outside edges of the leaves, resulting in sodium tip burn or firing around the edges of the leaves.

As the sodium buildup continues, you'll see stems, twigs, branches and limbs begin to die back. If you ignore the signs and allow the buildup to continue, it could very well lead to the death of the tree.

So, what do we do? What can be done?  

 

Revitalizing Salt Damaged Trees with a Drench Application 

One of the best ways to revitalize salt damaged trees is with a drench application. Drenching helps with salt issues and releases the sodium from the soil particles, unblocking the soil pores. This allows the water and salts to flush and moves the salt away from the root system.

To create 100 gallons of drenching solution, you'll need:
 - ½ gallon of Blast Sprayable (for the calcium carbonate)
 - ½ gallon of Caltrisal ST (for the sodium)
 - A liquid calcium product of your choice (for sodium exchange)
 - ½ gallon of Sixteen90 (to move the water deeper)

The application rate is 10 gallons of solution per 12” of diameter at breast height (4.5' above the ground). If you don't have a diameter measuring tool, measure the circumference and divide by 3.14. So if you're working with a redwood or pine tree with a 24" diameter, you'll need 20 gallons of solution.

This application should be made within the dripline of the tree branches. And it should be made in November so the treatment is down before the rainy season gets started. That way you can take advantage of every drop of rain possible. 

For more information about the program or the products, please contact your local Horizon Store or Horizon BDR.

About the Author:

Ken Mauser is a Consulting Agronomist who has served as Aquatrols' Territory Manager in the Western United States for more than 20 years.

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Topics: Maintenance

5 Tips to Get You Started in Landscape Lighting

Posted by Todd Kemink on Oct 20, 2015 12:58:00 PM

landscape_lighting_backyard

When competition is fierce and margins are slim, a good strategy to build your bottom line is to offer high margin services that complement your current service offerings.

One of the biggest opportunities for both construction and maintenance contractors is landscape lighting. Landscape lighting is easy to install and has a higher profit margin than almost any other landscape project.

In this article, we'll focus on 5 key tips to get you started.

 

Tip #1: Take Advantage of Free Training and Local Support

It’s easy to fear the unknown. In order to sell lighting, you have to first understand lighting. But don't worry. It's not rocket science and it’s extremely easy to get customers excited about it.

If you're new to lighting or want to stay current with the latest trends, there's lots of training and local support available. You can always attend a Horizon sponsored training event. But if you don't want to wait until dozens of your local competitors are getting the same training as you, contact your local Horizon representative and ask for assistance. We're ready to show you how to design, install, and sell lighting systems. Our team receives constant training on lighting and can even help you coordinate demos with local reps from the top landscape lighting manufacturers.

 

Tip #2: Be the Expert

One of biggest mistakes you can make is to hand a homeowner a lighting catalog full of 100s of different fixtures and expect them to know enough to place an order. The customer should be involved, but don't make them do the heavy lifting! Don't just give them a catalog and say, "Here you go, Mrs. Jones. Tell me what fixtures you like and where you would like them."

This isn’t a successful way to sell landscape lighting and typically leads to a less than stellar end result. 

Be the expert and guide the customer through the process. If they have a special request, bring the information to them. Ask questions until you understand the customer's wants, needs, and budget. Then show them the fixtures you recommend and where they should be installed ... which leads us to Tip #3, the most important tip.

 

Tip #3: Demos Sell Outdoor Lighting

It’s much easier to get a customer excited about a lighting system when you show them vs tell them. Humans are very visual creatures. Showing customers what you plan to do will help them focus on the effect lighting produces and not on the individual fixtures. Plus, you'll demonstrate your expertise and gain their trust in the process.

You don’t have to demonstrate the entire job. Focus on a key area. Depending on the size and orientation of the site, the best area to demo could be the front yard, the back yard, the front of the house, or a natural gathering area for evening entertainment.

Plain and simple, demos sell product and they are quick and easy to perform. Jeff Vachter, a Horizon BDR based in Oregon, recently reported that "I'm currently setting up a demo once a week for my customers and we're getting a 90% sale rate."

 

Tip #4: Install Wire during Irrigation Installation

Installing irrigation in a new backyard? Go ahead and install wire while the trench is open, even if you haven’t sold the lights yet. The small cost you incur from the wire is minimal to the labor cost of digging up the dirt again. Even if the customer doesn't move forward with the lighting until a later date, you'll effectively be selling the lighting as a package and significantly improving your bottom line.

 

Tip #5: Don’t Forget about Previous Customers

Many contractors get tunnel vision and spend too much of their energy constantly battling and fighting for new clients.

While you should always be looking for new business, don't forget to look back too. If you're like most contractors, you have years of satisfied customers who have never had lighting or have an older system. With the many advancements in LED, the time is perfect to update or upgrade their existing lighting system.

 

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Topics: Lighting

How to Calibrate a Fertilizer Spreader

Posted by Nick diLorenzo on Oct 1, 2015 6:03:00 PM

If maintenance services are a significant source of revenue for your business, one of the quickest ways to improve your profit margins is to consistently use the proper amount of product on each and every job.

In this FAQ, Nick diLorenzo, Horizon's National Sales Manager for Landscape Products, shares a simple 3 step method that will help you quickly calibrate your fertilizer spreader.

Video Summary

In less than 5 minutes, you can know exactly how much fertilizer you need to apply and make sure your fertilizer spreader is set up to apply that right amount of product.

3 Things You Need to Get Started:

  1. Fertilizer Spreader - To properly measure out the test area of 1000 sq ft, you need to know the effective width of your fertilizer spreader. The effective width is how wide the spreader throws the fertilizer.
  2. Scale - To weigh the material.
  3. Calibration Tray, Broom, or Bucket - To measure or capture the material you put out in the test area. Calibration trays capture the fertilizer during the test, which allows you to get an extremely accurate measurement. If you weigh your material before and after your test application, a bucket can also get you a very accurate measurement. A broom allows you to sweep up the material within the test area for weighing, but is usually the least accurate option of the 3.

 

The 3 Steps of Fertilizer Calibration

Step 1: Calculate how much fertilizer you need.

To properly calibrate your spreader, you need to do the math first and then get out into the field and do the legwork. To calculate how much fertilizer you need to apply, you have to know:
- The application rate,
- The target nutrient,
- The formulation of your fertilizer.

So if you have a contract that states you need to use 1 lb of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft and you're using a fertilizer with an NPK of 24-2-9, divide the 1 lb of N by .24 (the percentage of nitrogen in the bag as a decimal). In this example, you'll need to apply 4.16 lbs of fertilizer to get 1 lb of N per 1000 sq ft.

 

Step 2: Find out how much fertilizer you're currently using.

Calibrating a Fertilizer SpreaderTo test your spreader's current application rate, measure out an area of 1000 sq ft.

Coverage Area = Length x Effective Width

The easiest way to measure out your test area is to divide your coverage area by the effective width of your spreader. So if you want to cover 1000 sq ft and the spreader has an effective width of 10 ft, you'll need to walk 100 ft.

Weigh your fertilizer before and after your test application to determine how much fertilizer you're currently applying.

 

Step 3: Adjust the spreader's setting until the application rate is within 1% of the amount calculated in Step 1.

Compare the amount of fertilizer you calculated in Step 1 to the amount of fertilizer your spreader actually used during the test application. Adjust the setting on the spreader up or down accordingly. Once you're happy with the setting (we recommend within 1%), write it in your log book!

 

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Topics: Maintenance, Fertilizer

5 Myths that are Making California Water Restrictions Even Worse

Posted by Ryan Moore on Aug 25, 2015 4:57:00 PM

how_hot_things_can_getAs the drought continues in California, many landscapers are abandoning industry best practices in an effort to comply with Governor Brown's mandatory water restrictions. But water restrictions don't have to be a death sentence for turf!

Implementing the right combination of cultural and smart watering practices can result in turf and soil that is healthy year-round, even during the hot summer months.

In this article, we'll take a quick look at 5 common myths and the practices that address the concerns behind the myth. If you want a more thorough and comprehensive explanation of smart watering practices, be sure to visit the Drought Solutions section of our site.

Myth #1: Water restrictions mean my grass will die.

If you are utilizing fundamentally sound water management practices, your turf can thrive on as little as 2 days of watering per week. Using controller settings like cycle and soak can get the same impact as watering more often without creating runoff from long run times.

Myth #2: If my turf is green, then I'm not saving water.

Using products like Turface, humic acids, wetting agents and soil surfactants will help keep your turf green while reducing water usage by up to 30%!

Myth #3: I can’t fertilize because it won’t get watered in and I will burn my turf.

Using high quality organic fertilizer will direct most nutrient activity to the roots and crowns, avoiding the “burn” you get with water soluble nitrogen.

Improving your soil will help the turf stay healthy enough to survive these drought conditions. The time you put in today will save you time in repairs and replacement later.

Myth #4: I should just scalp my turf through summer.

While scalping may seem like an easier solution, it actually puts more stress on the turf. Mowing heights should be RAISED through summer, creating a deeper and more extensive root system, allowing plants to withstand summer stress. Plus that taller grass will allow soil temperatures to remain cooler at the soil surface.

Myth #5: Less water means the soil will dry and water will runoff.

If you focus on your soil’s health by using organic vs synthetic products your turf will become more porous, actually retaining water in the subsurface. So rather than just running off, the water is reserved by the soil and released as needed.

 

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Topics: Drought Solutions

Equipment Finance 101: Lease vs Finance vs Rent

Posted by Ryan Moore on Jul 7, 2015 5:33:00 PM

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The right power equipment can make or break both the day-to-day operation and the long-term success of your business. But it's not enough to just choose the right pieces of equipment, you must also successfully manage the expenses surrounding the acquisition and maintenance of that equipment.

Unless you have a significant amount of cash on hand, it's generally best to finance at least part of your purchase. In fact, over 80% of the commercial power equipment that we sell at Horizon is financed.

But what financial product is best for you? In this article, we'll identify some of the advantages and disadvantages of financing, leasing, and renting commercial power equipment and look at some key questions that will help you determine which option is best for you.

 

Financing Power Equipment

Financing can be a great tool when there's a piece of equipment that you want to add to your fleet for the long-term, but prefer to keep cash on hand for other expenses. There are two main types of financing available:

1. Installment Loans - Commonly used for larger purchases, installment loans offer predictability. You get a fixed payment at a certain interest rate that pays for the unit over an agreed upon number of payments.

2. Credit Cards & Lines of Credit - Also referred to as revolving credit, credit cards and lines of credit offer more flexibility than a loan. Both can be used for multiple transactions and are automatically renewed as debts are paid off.

Why Finance?
• Financing helps you preserve cash flow by spreading your payments out over time.
• Financing usually offers the most tax deductions (e.g. depreciation, insurance, repairs, taxes, and interest). Be sure to check with your tax professional prior to purchase to confirm what deductions you're eligible for.

Disadvantages of Financing:
• Overall cost is higher than what you would pay if you had purchased the unit outright.
• Payments are typically higher than a lease.
• Repairs not covered under warranty are your responsibility.

Key Questions to Answer Before You Finance:
• Is this a loan, credit line, or credit card?
• What can be purchased with this account (e.g. specific product/manufacturer, accessories, used equipment, repairs & service)?
• What is the down payment?
• What is the monthly payment?
• What is the interest rate?
• What is the total cost over the lifetime of the loan?
• Are there any pre-payment penalties?
• What happens if you miss a payment?
• What are the tax benefits?



Leasing Power Equipment

Leasing can be a great tool for acquiring equipment that you would like to use for the mid to long-term, but it's important to be aware of the terms of the lease because there are different types. Some leases act as an extended rental agreement, but others are structured more like a loan and give you the option to purchase the unit when the lease is over.

Why Lease?
• Leases help you stay current with the latest technology and allow you to keep newer equipment in your fleet.
• Like a loan, a lease allows you to preserve cash flow by spreading payments out over time.
• Lease payments are often lower than loan payments.
• You can usually deduct your monthly payments as an operating expense for tax purposes. Be sure to check with your tax professional beforehand.
• Some leases cover maintenance.

Disadvantages of Leasing:
• Many leases limit the number of hours you can put on the unit and the penalty for going over that limit can be severe.
• Overall cost is often higher than what you would pay if you had purchased the unit outright.
• Leases generally offer fewer tax benefits than loans.

Key Questions to Answer Before You Lease:
• What happens at the end of the lease?
• If you decide to purchase the unit, what will the purchase price be?
• What is the down payment?
• What is the monthly payment?
• What is the interest rate?
• Is there a service contract? What does it cover?
• How many unit hours are you permitted? What is the penalty if you go over those hours?
• What happens if you miss a payment?
• What are the tax benefits?



Renting Power Equipment

Renting can be an excellent short-term solution, especially when it's unlikely that the equipment will become a permanent part of your fleet. But renting is not without risk and the higher cost of renting must be considered to ensure profitability.

Why Rent?
• You need additional equipment for seasonal work or to complete a project that's outside of your normal service offering.
• You want to try out a new piece of equipment before purchasing, financing, or leasing it.
• An important piece of equipment is in the shop and you need an immediate replacement.

Disadvantages of Renting:
• Renting generally costs significantly more than financing or leasing.
• It can be time-consuming to learn how to operate new equipment and to pick it up and return it to the rental company.
• You may be liable for damage to the unit, which can further inflate your costs.

Key Questions to Answer Before You Rent:
• What is the daily/weekly/monthly cost of renting?
• Is there enough margin in the job to cover the cost of a rental?
• Who is responsible for servicing or repairing the unit?
• Under what circumstances are you liable for damage to the unit?
• Do you need insurance coverage? If so, what is the cost?

 

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Topics: Business

Lowering Product & Labor Costs at 140+ Properties (Case Study)

Posted by Ryan Moore on Jul 2, 2015 4:18:00 PM

coast_landscaping_logo_2About Coast Landscaping Inc.

Coast Landscaping Inc. has been a leader in all areas of water and landscape management since 1978 and works closely with both management firms and municipalities. They serve over 140 properties throughout California through their two divisions: Landscape Construction and Interior/Exterior Landscape Maintenance. 

Coast Landscaping Inc. is one of the few companies that has acquired both the State of California small business status (SBE) as well as the City of San Diego emerging Local Business Enterprise (ELBE) status. Their experienced team serves, but is not limited to, general contractors, municipalities, homeowner associations (HOAs), owner associations and commercial units.  

The Problem

Because of their size and span, Coast Landscaping was experiencing problems with consistency in their product applications. With 140+ properties being managed by a team of supervisors, different products were being used on different schedules, leading to inconsistent results.

Some supervisors were using standard N-P-K fertilizer, resulting in more frequent applications and higher labor costs. Others were also splitting their chemical applications from their nutrition, again increasing labor costs and ultimately reducing product effectiveness.

The Solution

Coast Landscaping Inc. worked with Horizon’s local Business Development Representative Neb Keeton to create a plan that would fit their clients' needs and circumstances, while limiting the use of chemicals and the need for additional applications. The new landscape maintenance schedule also needed to be financially responsible, especially when it came to managing some of their large commercial clients.

By moving to the TurfGro™ Extended Feed Fertilizer and the TurfGro™ Weed and Feed with Surge, Coast was able to achieve their goals of lowering chemical usage and labor costs while increasing client satisfaction. In addition, Neb helped them execute the new plan by providing informative materials for employee safety training and MSDS lists.

The Result

Since the conversion, Coast Landscaping Inc. has been able to use smaller application rates with less frequency, reducing overall costs especially cost per application. They have been able to pass those savings on to their clients, resulting in more satisfied and loyal customers.

The TurfGro Extended Feed Fertilizer has produced healthier looking plant material, while the pre-emergent weed control has improved appearances while helping reduce labor costs. Tyler Mason, Coast Landscaping's Operations Coordinator, noted, “By incorporating pre-emergent into the fertilizer and the aid of slow-release fertilizers we have been able to increase the effectiveness of the fertilizer while eliminating excess growth, increasing mowing efficiency, and building a healthier root mass.”

Want to Lower Costs and Achieve More Consistency at the Sites You Manage?
Contact one of Horizon's local Business Development Representatives!
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Topics: Maintenance, Fertilizer

How to Repair a 2 Cycle Engine with Mechanic In a Bottle

Posted by Toley McGettigan on Apr 28, 2015 10:26:00 AM

When you have a 2 cycle engine that's running poorly or not at all, a simple solution to try before taking the unit into the shop is Mechanic In a Bottle. In this FAQ, Toley McGettigan, Horizon's National Sales Manager for Power Equipment, describes how Mechanic In a Bottle works and provides a few steps for using it correctly in both poor-running and non-running engines.

Video Summary

Mechanic In a Bottle is a synthetic fuel additive that cleans and revitalizes 2 & 4 cycle engines. It removes varnish from the fuel system without having to remove the carburetor, removes carbon deposits and water, revitalizes rubber and plastic components, and cleanses the unit's fuel system so that it starts efficiently and operates in top condition.

mechanic_in_a_bottle_upright

Usage Instructions for a Poor-Running Engine

  1. Mix 1 oz of Mechanic in a Bottle per gallon of fuel.
  2. Fill the fuel tank and run the engine for 5 minutes.
  3. Let the unit sit for 8 hours.

Usage Instructions for a Non-Running Engine

  1. Drain the fuel system completely.
  2. Add Mechanic In a Bottle to the tank. 2 oz for small power equipment (e.g. string trimmers), 4 oz for larger equipment (e.g. mowers).
  3. Press the primer bulb to get the Mechanic In a Bottle up into the engine.
  4. Let the unit sit for 8 hours.
  5. Pour in a fresh tank of gas and start the engine.

 

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Topics: Equipment Maintenance

How to Avoid Ethanol Fuel Problems in 2 Cycle Engines

Posted by Toley McGettigan on Apr 22, 2015 5:21:00 PM

When left untreated, the ethanol blended into most gas can damage 2 cycle engines. In this FAQ, Toley McGettigan, Horizon's National Sales Manager for Power Equipment, describes the problems ethanol causes over time and offers a simple solution that can keep the engine in your 2 cycle power equipment running properly.

Video Summary

One of the biggest threats to the long-term performance of a 2 cycle engine is ethanol, which is blended into most fuels. Many 2 cycle products are on the edge of not being able to function with anything over E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gas), and E15 fuels (15% ethanol, 85% gas) are becoming more common.

The problem with ethanol is that it attracts water and forms water bubbles in the fuel. Engines can have trouble passing water, which keeps the engine from running properly and affects power. Water can also make the rubber pieces inside in the engine brittle.

ethanol_shield_frontTo keep your engine safe, it's important to use:
1. A high octane fuel with as low of an ethanol rating as possible.
2. A product like Ethanol Shield, which stabilizes the fuel and bonds to the water, absorbing it back into the fuel.

Ethanol Shield Usage Instructions - Lawn & Garden (2 & 4 cycle):
  1. Use in every tank fill-up.
  2. Pour 1 oz. per 2.5 gallons of fuel in fuel tank or storage container.

 

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Topics: Equipment Maintenance