Trommel screen helps landscaper evolve business and create efficiency

Landscaping work is inherently seasonal in nature; the demand for integrated pest management and tree care work is at its lowest when winter temperatures dip well below freezing.

Christopher Joyce has a business to run. The president of Joyce Landscaping Inc. in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, spends the spring and summer months attending to customer needs, but the situation is different in the winter. The pace of work is slower, yet it’s a time when valuable preparatory work is done for the busy warm-weather months. Ideally, the right winter preparations help make work during the warm-weather months as efficient as possible.

That goal of expanded efficiency — and the growth opportunity it could create — was a big reason Joyce made the decision to purchase a Vermeer trommel screen in 2011. He originally saw year-round screening as a way to make his business more efficient after having used Vermeer stump grinders for decades. With a large customer base, he saw growing demand for handling a high volume of yard waste. Having used a smaller trommel screen in the past, Joyce knew how it could benefit his daily operations. What he didn’t anticipate was the profound effect the machine would have on his business in general.

“They use it every day, and they handle a lot of material with it,” said Bill McGowan, Vermeer Northeast territory manager who works with Joyce Landscaping. “They’ve grown quite a bit — almost doubled in size — since working with this machine.”

Creating new efficiency

The ability to handle yard waste material year-round with the Vermeer trommel screen, turning it into loam soil that can be used in landscaping projects, has not only enabled Joyce to keep his crew working 12 months a year — it’s also enabled him to make more efficient use of his time when landscaping jobs pile up during warm-weather months.

“We bring in raw materials from jobsites, screen them and take them back to other jobsites. For us, this trommel screen is a no-brainer, because we need to screen year-round and can’t shut down when it’s cold or wet,” Joyce said. “We need tens of thousands of yards of this material each year, and this machine allows us to prep for landscaping jobs better. We’re not paying to get rid of these raw materials since we are processing them ourselves, and we don’t have to go out and buy finished, screened loam in the marketplace.”

The trommel screen has not only helped generate cost savings and made Joyce Landscaping a more efficient operation, it’s also added a “green” component to the company’s work, a high priority for Joyce. Producing his own screened loam has helped recycle and reuse materials that he’d otherwise be disposing of differently, and paying to do so.

Components that work year-round

A key component of the Vermeer trommel screen that makes it effective in making Joyce Landscaping a more efficient, green company lies in the machine’s chain drive. That’s what enables Joyce’s yard foreman Boris Bailey to process landscaping materials — like grass clippings and mixed soils — into screened loam in sufficient quantities to meet customer needs.

“I take the grass in the summer time, mix it with topsoil, roll it in the screen throughout the year, and have it ready for our customers,” Bailey said, who added he can prepare more than 15,000 cubic yards (11,468.3 cubic meters) of screened loam during the “offseason” in preparation of the following season. “The Vermeer screen is chain-driven, so the weather doesn’t slow me down. It’s a machine that’s easy to work on, so for what we do volume-wise, this machine has been a low-maintenance way for me to handle 600 to 700 yards (548.6 to 640.1 meters) per day.”

A valuable partnership

The partnership Joyce has forged over the years with McGowan, his Vermeer territory manager, has been a critical component to the success of his business’s integration of the Vermeer trommel screen. From the day he began speaking with McGowan about the idea of purchasing a trommel screen, Joyce has watched his relationship with Vermeer open new doors for his company. He sees that trend continuing well into the future, both in terms of machinery innovation as well as general industry knowledge and expertise.

“Vermeer helped us figure out how to get a screener like this and walked us through the process of buying such a large piece of equipment, then followed up with very strong support for us. Bill has always been responsive. It’s a very attentive partner for us,” Joyce said. “Vermeer is a company of constant innovation, and they understand our needs. We’re all facing labor issues today, and Vermeer as a company really understands that. They understand how they can help as our industry is changing.”

This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Testimonials and/or endorsements by contractors in specific circumstances may not be representative of normal circumstances experienced by all customers.

Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries.© 2020 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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