This Fully Autonomous Lawnmower Is Uprooting Commercial Landscaping
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Lawn mowing is an essential service offered by commercial landscaping companies involved in their $53 billion industry, yet for most companies, it is a loss leader. At most, lawn mowing has a 10 percent profit margin due to it being commoditized (almost anyone can ride a mower and do an acceptable job), and hyper-competitive (landscapers underbid each other to win business).
Even ride-on mowers are not sufficient to help landscaping companies increase profitability because they still depend on human labor. Rising wages, a shrinking labor pool, and the need to prevent injuries in the field are a few of the reasons why human labor, which accounts for 45 percent of the total costs associated with lawn mowing, prevents companies from increasing their profitability.
Enter Graze, the fully autonomous, solar-powered commercial mower that enterprising investors should keep an eye on.
Equipped with a robust suite of sensors (i.e., RADAR, LIDAR, GPS, ultrasonic sensors, odometry sensors, and an optical suite), Graze can rapidly map job sites and execute mowing paths without colliding into obstacles (e.g. trees, people) while also using data to further improve precision and efficiency.
Unlike traditional equipment manufacturers that focus on one-off equipment sales, Graze’s business model is subscription focused. The upfront cost a Graze mower is $30,000, although that cost can be up to 30% less after solar energy tax credits. Traditional commercial mowers, on the other hand, can cost up to $15,000.
Considering how Graze mowers have an expected five-year shelf life, two years longer than traditional mowers, the cost difference is not significant. Graze also charges $1,000 per month per mower for ongoing maintenance, however landscaping companies can easily offset the fee with labor savings costs and increased productivity.
With Graze, if a four-person landscaping team only then requires two employees, they are not just saving 50 percent on labor, but are also realizing a potential 3x to 5x margin bump.
A few features Graze plans to introduce in the future include the ability to:
- Track and plan around weather data
- Detect and defend against turf and plant diseases
- Provide data analytics and insights to its customers
- Manage mower fleets with artificial intelligence, thereby providing a reduction in indirect labor costs (i.e., administrative personnel).
Graze has established relationships with leading landscaping businesses such as LandCare and Mainscape, which have signed letters of intent to order 400 Graze mowers. This order has an estimated value of $36 million, consisting of upfront equipment costs and recurring subscription fees.
The Graze founding team consists of commercial landscaping and robotics industry experts with decades of industry expertise with leading companies such as John Deere, Miso Robotics, Microsoft, and SpaceX.
Graze is looking for investors to help it continue shaking up the landscaping space. If you’re ready to get in on this ground-floor opportunity to see your money grow over time, check out the Graze website and learn more about investing here.