How are arboricultural kit sales going this year?

HW polled kit exhibitors at The ARB Show in Gloucestershire last month.

- "I'm not selling any less, though people are reluctant to spend a lot of money and they are not planning as far ahead as they used to.

- "Some individuals recognise that they have to have the edge though. Their clients will say: 'I have a job starting on Wednesday. What have you got?' and we have to be able to respond to that.

"The majority of arboriculture consultants still have no technology, but the end customer increasingly wants results sent electronically - and it lets you do more for less."

George Ritchie, managing director, Positioning Resources

- "The utility sector is ongoing, and healthy, though the everyday domestic side is down a bit more. But we have taken a punt and launched one or two products, such as the X-Fit personal protective equipment and MS 441 self-tuning chainsaw, which are not at the cheap end.

"The driving forces in the chainsaw market are reduced emissions and reduced vibration, which means we have to constantly innovate - most of our range here will be superseded within two years. But our saws are also designed to be highly serviceable - we make as much out of that as sales."

Sean Larter-Conway, marketing manager, Stihl

- "Not many people are buying our access platforms outright but we've spoken so far to eight customers who are prepared to lease - they have costed it up against jobs and seen they can make it pay.

"The recession may have hit the UK, but we have a healthy export market - 80 per cent of our sales last year went abroad, particularly to the utility sector in the Middle East.

"The new Government will have to be friendly to small manufacturers though because it's us that bring money into the country, and provide tax revenue."

Luke Thurston, technical sales manager, Cumberland Industries

- "We think we're affordable and we have had good demand for our chippers and shredders in the UK.

"But we have really benefited from the exchange rate when selling into Europe. We are also looking to expand into Australia and New Zealand.

"The market for using chippings as fuel is still limited though. Boiler manufacturers need to increase the tolerance for woodchips, rather than designing for their own needs."

Jamie Francis, global sales manager, GreenMech

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