Target existing customers with more utility options
Dave McMahon, Senior Editor
November 2, 2012
Filed under Features
Hydraulic PTO system connects to ATVs, UTVs to power implements
ATV and side-by-side dealers can capitalize on repeat business from existing customers thanks to a unique invention from a new player in the powersports market. ProManPTO, based in Vista, Calif., made its debut at Dealer Expo in 2012 and turned a lot of heads while doing so. The manufacturer has introduced the first ever bolt-on hydraulic PTO — or Power Take-Off — for ATVs and UTVs. The system utilizes the excess horsepower of an ATV/UTV, via the PTO, to run a variety of mobile and stationary commercial-grade, hydraulic work implements. The implements can be removed quickly when they’re not needed.
The first implements to be introduced are a 45-inch rough-cut mower, 48-inch and 60-inch finish mowers, a 45-inch flail mower, a high-powered leaf and debris blower and a bi-directional log splitter with a massive 5-inch cylinder. All of these implements have front- and rear-mount capability on an ATV or UTV.
“It offers powersports dealers a new profit opportunity, which they may not have capitalized on before, by simply calling on customers that they’ve already sold a vehicle to,” ProManPTO president Kirk Jones told Powersports Business during a stop on the company’s product launch tour of the Midwest.
Gap in the market
Jones believes dealers can capitalize on selling the ProManPTO products by filling a large gap that currently exists in the market for property management solutions. At one end of the market are entities selling compact tractors and commercial-grade work implements, which often bring a total price tag of $20,000 or more. On the other end are big box home improvement stores marketing low-grade gasoline powered implements.
“Put a rough-cut mower on a Kubota or John Deere compact tractor and you’re looking at $20,000 or more,” Jones said. “Plus they’re not very fun to use for hunting, and they’re not that maneuverable. Or you can buy the wood chipper from the big box retailer and have it stall when you put anything larger than a twig into it. Ours is a disruptive product, a game-changer for a lot of different end users looking for quality property management solutions.”
To assist dealer marketing efforts, ProManPTO will offer a postcard mailing program. Dealers will be able to provide their mailing list of existing customers who have purchased ATVs and UTVs directly to a third-party mailing house. A ProManPTO postcard, with the dealer’s return address and phone number printed on it, will then be sent to the dealer’s customers explaining the features and benefits of the PTO System. It will also invite them to come into the dealership to learn more about ProManPTO.
“Think of that number of customers you can go out and market this to. You’ve sold to him once, but you’re not getting any business from him right now because the machines are so good and last so long,” Jones said. “Maybe it’s a mower this year, then sprayer or auger or whatever next year. It’s an ongoing high-margin item that they can continue to sell to their existing customer base.”
“I had a recent conversation with a Polaris dealer in Kentucky who said he sold 125-150 Rangers per year for the past 10 years,” said Kevin Tam, vice president of sales and marketing. “That equates to 1,500 prospective customers for the ProManPTO system or a potential market of more than $1.5 million over time.
“The cost effectiveness of purchasing and using ProManPTO’s product lies in the fact that the end user already owns the most expensive component of the system, their underutilized ATV or side-by-side. By adding on the PTO system, for under $3,000, the customer has now transformed their ATV or UTV from a vehicle used almost exclusively for transportation or hauling, into a highly mobile and versatile hydraulic work horse that will power an endless number of implements and tools.”
ProManPTO offers up to 25 percent margins to ATV dealers on a $5,000 sale to the dealership’s existing customer base, who have already been sold to over the last 10 years, Jones added.
“And even if they don’t buy our product, their customers are back in the dealership, bringing in potential business,” Jones said.
ProManPTO is user-friendly for both ATV and UTV riders. Its mobile implements, such as the mowers and leaf blower, are suitable for any ATV or UTV with engines at least 500cc in size. The current hydraulic PTO fits all 700cc and 800cc Polaris Rangers, 650cc and 750cc Kawasaki Brute Force ATVs, as well as 700 and 750 King Quad models from Suzuki and the Grizzly 660 from Yamaha.
“We have plans to expand the range of models and manufacturers quite rapidly over the next 12 months,” Tam said.
In addition to its ease of use, the ProManPTO system provides a much more comfortable and powerful experience when tackling property management chores. Cutting acres of property, with the mower in front of the driver, actually brings an element of fun to a day’s work. No back aches from a rough ride, thanks to the ATV’s shocks, and no neck aches from turning around every few feet to ensure that the mower is cutting where you hope its cutting — it’s much easier to see in front of the ATV. Come upon an unexpected cinder block deep in the tall grass? The rough-cut blades obliterate the block and are no worse for the wear due to their heavy-duty construction.
“The technology used in designing the PTO and implements will ultimately generate more users,” Tam said. “We’ve used the pull-behind mowers. They don’t have the quality or maneuverability or flexibility to go into areas we can go into at a much higher performance level. We’re putting more into the manufacturing than the average manufacturer would be for the average property owner. We know that these users will live on their property for a long time and their stuff gets beat up.”
The only other way to generate the type of mobile hydraulic power provided by ProManPTO would be to buy a separate power unit and mount it in the bed of a UTV.
“When you look at buying a separate hydraulic power unit — one that you couldn’t even use on an ATV — and you’re looking at about a $7,000 purchase for a range of power. It weighs about 400 pounds and you just took up the entire bed of your vehicle,” Jones said.
The ProManPTO system, meanwhile, retails for $2,495 for ATVs and approximately $500 more for UTVs. The commercial-grade hydraulic implements are in the $1,700-$2,500 range.
An installation video that accompanies each ProManPTO system shows the initial installation of the PTO onto an ATV taking less than 15 minutes. The quick connect/disconnect feature allows for removal in a couple of minutes.
“When you’re used to doing it, it takes a minute or two to take everything off, so it doesn’t permanently tie up a vehicle as a work platform,” Jones said. “What we’re doing is converting the ATV or UTV into a highly efficient mobile hydraulic work platform. It can come off in a hurry so you still have your toy.”
Another innovative product that ProManPTO has developed and is patenting is a miniature, microprocessor controlled fan reverser that plugs inline to the vehicle’s fan to keep the cooler clean. On ATVs it blows out for about 10 seconds, slows, then stops, reverses, then sucks air across the radiator for several minutes. Then it blows out again for 10 seconds before another cooling cycle begins.
“We’ve had one on a Kawasaki 750 for months. Prior to that, we were stopping every day or two, sometimes twice a day in dusty conditions, to clean the vehicle radiator. We don’t have to do that anymore,” Tam said.
Then there’s the “green” element that is becoming more attractive by the day in the marketplace. Since the ProManPTO system uses hydraulic power, it will eliminate all engines found on the competitors’ gasoline-powered implements and the emissions they ultimately discharge into the atmosphere.
“We’re going to eliminate the engines that would typically be on an implement — about 30,000-50,000 of them over the next 8-10 years,” Jones said.
The end user will also benefit by eliminating the upkeep, repair and fuel costs associated with engines on gas-powered implements.
With the PTO system and implements ready to be shipped, ProManPTO plans to capitalize on the estimated $15 billion marketplace of existing high-powered ATVs and UTVs in North America.
“When you look at the 3 million vehicles out there in the field, to spend only $2,495 to completely transform the ATV into a powerful mobile hydraulic work platform cannot be matched in performance or mobility at twice the price. Then every implement purchased after that drives the cost down further since each of the commercial grade ProManPTO implements are higher quality but lower cost than each individual gasoline powered implement they displace,” Jones said.
And while sales to U.S. dealers will be a priority, the executives were surprised by how much interest was seen from international distributors at Dealer Expo.
“It’s amazing how aggressive the international market is for our product,” Tam said. “We have multiple distributors already lined up throughout Europe. The market for vehicles of this size in Europe is for work. They sell larger machines, and they’re used for work.”