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Mowerboy04
05-21-2005, 11:43 AM
some of u may have read my last post about maybe quiting in the fall. some of the reasons i might be quiting is becase of one my school and the other is that im haveing a hard time getting my lawns to look as good as other lawn services can. dose any one have any tips for stripeing laws i have a bob-cat 219 that i can't get to stripe so if any one has any tips it would be greatly appreacited
alex

lawnprosteveo
05-21-2005, 12:08 PM
Just speaking from my own experience in my own area, there are different types of customers. Not everyone cares if they have stripes or if their yard is manicured. I have some customers that are like that, but I have more that just want their yard kept cut. No frills, nothing fancy, just cut weekly to look neat. Have you considered trying to get those accounts instead of getting out of the business totally? Just something to consider.

Green Pastures
05-21-2005, 12:18 PM
You have to find your niche.

What are you able to do better than the next guy and what do you like doing.

Go with that.

turfmann
05-21-2005, 02:06 PM
David Mellor, groundskeeper for the (world champion) Boston Red Sox, wrote a book a couple of years ago on exactly this subject. Here is the amazon link.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1575041510/qid=1116695030/sr=8-3/ref=pd_csp_3/002-8137203-1119205?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Tom-N-Texas
05-21-2005, 02:39 PM
Screw the stripes. You're in this thing to make money. Of course you want your customers lawns to nice when you leave, but there is a point to where you can spend too much time/money trying to make each lawn look perfect.

Most people just want their yard cut. They're not looking for, nor willing to pay for something fancy.

kc2006
05-21-2005, 02:41 PM
There was a post awhile back about what everyone's customers want and only a couple people said their customers are concerned about stripes. Most people in that thread said stripes are for our own pleasure.

What is done to the bobcat? I have a 48" bobcat walkbehind that will leave just as good of stripes if I use a proslide or not. Nothing is done to it, side discharge with gator blades. I'm trying to get a roller I have to work on it but theres not alot of room so I may just put on a flap like the gravely's come with stock. make sure your deck pitch is right, and I found if you go slower it will stripe better, also mulch kits help in my area, any more I had a mulch kit on left killer stripes.

Jackman
05-21-2005, 11:05 PM
Not sure what a 219 is ,but I have had a 36 and 48 inch walkbehind Bobcat and a T-3100 60 inch Bobcat rider they all stripe well....Are your blades sharp? Is the underside of the deck scraped free of grass? Is the tire pressure set proper on all 4? Experament with differant mowing speeds maybe try a double cut once in awhile.... I have found that the weed free lawns stripe out much better than the lawns with broad leaf and crabgrass...... And last but not least is exsperience , as you mow more you improve and in time you will learn little things that help give you that manicured look............ Good Luck

stumper1620
05-21-2005, 11:20 PM
I'm not sure how your side of the state is doing but, over here on the west coast the weather has been so screwy that the grass hasn't hardly even started growing, lots of thin areas & the weeds seem to be all that is having a fast rate of growth, anyway I guess what all this is leading up to is, At this point in the season with conditions as bad as they are don't feel bad its next to impossible to get stand out stipping right now, also, what height of cut are you set at, 2.5 to 3" is going to produce the better strips.
I just got home from a servce call on a golf course and their stripes look horrid along with the growth just is not there.

grassmanvt
05-22-2005, 12:04 AM
Bobcats and buntons typically stripe pretty good bone stock. Some problems might be conditions, type of grass, time of day you are looking at it, and, of course practice. On the other hand, around here most of the lco's don't even stripe anyway, only three or four of us in our area do, I get the feeling that as previously mentioned we are often striping for our own gratification and bragging rights. I think I could cut circles in most places and no-one would know the differance. As far as the school conflictions, only you can make that decision. Best of luck!

wiselawns
05-22-2005, 12:30 AM
Don't worry about the stinking stripes. Cut in straight lines, in a different direction each week, show up on time, don't leave giant clumps of grass in the yard, don't leave grass on the sidewalks, driveway,etc., be friendly to people and treat them fairly, and stick with it.

topsites
05-22-2005, 12:50 AM
some of u may have read my last post about maybe quiting in the fall. some of the reasons i might be quiting is becase of one my school and the other is that im haveing a hard time getting my lawns to look as good as other lawn services can. dose any one have any tips for stripeing laws i have a bob-cat 219 that i can't get to stripe so if any one has any tips it would be greatly appreacited
alex

Hi,
I have over 2000 yards under my belt and am currently handling 53 grass accounts by myself. When I cut grass, I cut 8 - 10 yards/day with a 48" Toro WB (either the '05 or the '98, thou the '98 is a bit slower). Although you may not handle as many yards/day, your situation is similar to mine: No time to stripe and bowlshed around, you need a yard that looks great first time, everytime! Really it would be nice if you could cut it at top-speed, once over, and be done! As for me, I love cutting grass at 6+ mph but you really have to watch out or you will skru up a yard royal (skids, streaks and scalps).

Now if you got time to spare, the easy way to make a yard look good is to slow down and take your time. One or two settings lower on the gear-lever usually does wonders.

If you are pressed for time, here is what you do:
- Sharpen and balance your blades every day or every 3-5 yards. In my case, it is not practical to change blades in the field... I sharpen all 18 blades once/week, then simply change them once/day. Obviously, when I cut 8-10 yards, that surpasses the 3-5 yard mark, but once/day OR every 3-5 yards.
If you really want to go nuts, hand-sharpen them. Regardless - Run sharp blades as much as possible.
- Run Amoco Premium, and Synthetic (Blend) Oil. This will not only push your mower beyond mfg. specs but will also preserve the engine when you starve it for oil (like on 15-degree inclines) while allowing you to run higher rpms with less fuel and makes starting a LOT easier.
- Get a pre-cleaner for your air-cleaner, and spray this lightly with WD-40. Replace this pre-cleaner every 10-20 yards (or when it gets dirty). You can wash the dirty pre-cleaner with soap and warm water (me, I throw it in the wash machine with my laundry but do NOT dry them in the dryer! Always let them air-dry completely before you put it back on.
- Push your throttle to full, then slowly back it off a little bit - Back it off as far as you can without changing engine rpm - If the engine slows a bit, push it up again - You should be able to run top rpm at around 90-95% throttle. This may not help looks, but it saves fuel and lowers your cost.
- Take care when cornering and learn tire slip-point. This is that precise moment where you know - Just a little more and the tire will spin - Do NOT allow your tires to spin. Having said that, keep it to a minimum.

Now for the tricky part: Blade height.
For 40" and larger mowers, blades too low increases scalping or gouging.
And blades too high increases streaking (i.e.: When the mower fails to cut a few blades here and there). So, you must find that happy medium where the blades neither scalp, nor streak.

For me, I found mine cut best right at 3 inches. It also helps for my mower to sit one notch lower in the back than in the front, and found that if the mower sits lower in the front than in the back, that really sux. So either make sure your mower sits even, or keep the back a teenie bit lower than the front.

The next part is even better:
With my first hi-speed fixdeck mower, I found my blades were actually recessed up inside the deck... Meaning the edges of the deck were lower than the blades. I thought about this for a while, then what I did was I raised the deck as high as it would go AND lowered the blades as far as they could go - Now the blades are flush with the edges of the deck, and this considerably reduces streaking at top speed. Heck, it would be even better if the blades could come in like 1/4-inch BELOW the deck, alas if I did that, the blades would be below 3-inches, and besides, the blade-bolt isn't long enough. To lower the blades artificially after raising the deck, I used spacers (washers).

When weed-eating, keep the weed-eater almost vertical. The best way I found to learn was:
*** You HAVE to wear HEARING PROTECTION !!! ***
- Now, place the engine of the weed-eater on top your right shoulder and let that rest there while the weed-eater hangs down (yeah, you need a straight shaft for this). It should be hanging at a steep angle. Use your right and left hands to control, and this is how you trim all grass edges. Only return the weed-eater to a horizontal position to weed-eat actual weed areas OR if you need to trim off a few corners your mower didn't get into.
And, you'll be king of weed-eating real soon.

Then, use the blower to blow off ALL debris, also use it to blow out any clumps.

Hope is help,
Pascal

topsites
05-22-2005, 12:52 AM
There was a post awhile back about what everyone's customers want and only a couple people said their customers are concerned about stripes. Most people in that thread said stripes are for our own pleasure.



I agree. I personally like doing crop-circles, but I only do it when I'm in the mood.

topsites
05-22-2005, 01:01 AM
Yeah I did mean to mention - check tire pressures.
On my mower, I keep them to the max. inflation: 30 psi in the rear, 50 psi in the front, 20-30 for the velke. That is what the numbers on the side of the tire call for, you want to check this as it is likely different for your machine.
High psi's reduce the spring or bounce-effect, you want a mower that runs along like a tank, when it hits a bump it acts like a car with a stiff suspension and doesn't bounce all over.

One more thing:
Once you've gone over the entire yard once, ride around the yard for a few minutes while looking for streaks (spots you or the mower might've missed). When I do this, I always find at least a half-dozen or so spots that I ride over again. 5 minutes later, the yard looks a lot better.

Todd's lawncare
05-22-2005, 01:19 AM
Paid for ? If so keep it and do what you gotta do to get school down cut on weekends if you have to and bust you ass in the summer . then you name will be out the a little to start getting more lawns . BUT DO NOT SELL IT you will be asking your self what if for the rest of your life .

pcnservices
05-22-2005, 08:10 AM
yes i am under 18 years old which makes me a minor earning a boat load of money
There's your reason for not quitting right there! There are not too many kids around that can make that statement.
Don't try and find reasons for quitting - see if you can find at least one good reason for NOT quitting.
At 18 years old you are obviously still a little inexpierenced but with time to come, a positive attitude and perseverance you'll get your lawns to look even better than the other lco's in your town.
Good Luck
PC