Can California’s landscapers still make money with electric equipment?

California is banning gas-powered mowers and blowers. With training, that could ultimately save landscapers money.

Sleeping in’s natural enemy, the gas-powered leaf blower, is on its way out in California.

Can California’s landscapers still make money with electric equipment?

A new state law bans the sale of small off-road engines (SOREs) by 2024 — or as deemed feasible by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

There are 16.7m SOREs in California…

… and they’re often noisy and cause pollution. For example, running a leaf blower for 1 hour emits as much smog as driving 1.1k miles, per CARB.

The state has earmarked $30m to help professional landscapers get new equipment, per the Los Angeles Times.

But is that enough?

Daniel Mabe, founder and president of the American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) told The Hustle that commercial electric models are 35%-45% more expensive, on average, than gas.

But AGZA teaches companies how to best use, store, and maintain equipment, plus how to safely handle, repurpose, and recycle lithium batteries. And with the right know-how, you can save in the long run.

Here’s a savings example:

  • A high-end 2-stroke gas leaf blower costs ~$1.20/hour (gas, 2-stroke oil, and preventive and repair maintenance)
  • A comparative electric blower costs ~$0.18-$0.20/hour to use at full power (swap gas and oil for electricity)

Gas blowers are more powerful than even the best electric blowers.

“But what we have found… is you don’t need hurricane-force winds to maintain acres of property,” Mabe said.

If it doesn’t rain much — like in many parts of California — you can get down to $0.08-$0.15/hour, plus employees don’t have to breathe in fumes.

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