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Eric ELM
04-16-2001, 10:27 AM
1) Engage your clutch at the lowest possible rpm's and still not kill your engine. I have seen so many guys start their engines and rev them wide open and engage their clutches. Big no no unless you like to replace them. Basically operate it like your truck. Can you imagine dropping it in gear at full rpm's? Or dropping the clutch at full rpm's? This stretches out the belts on mowers with hand clutch machines or electric clutches.

2) Disengage your clutch at an idle, most electric clutches act as a brake.

3) Let your engine warm up a bit before running it at full rpm's.

4) Let it cool down a bit before shutting down.

5) Don't shut it off at full rpm's.

6) Keep an extra set of belts and blades with you at all times, sure saves a trip to the shop or dealer. Down time sucks.

7) Don't slide a gas can across a plastic bed liner. It causes static electricity.

8) Be safe and keep safety features in place.

This is a few, but does anyone have other things to add?

cos
04-16-2001, 11:03 AM
Most importantly-

Don't try to be the idiot for the day. (I've been there)

KirbysLawn
04-16-2001, 11:17 AM
Keep fix-a-flat on the trailer

Buy a portable air tank

I swear, mower tires are lined with magnets!

Double D
04-16-2001, 11:27 AM
In the manual for my Snapper hydro, it clearly states in bold writing to engage the PTO at full rpm's. I asked the dealer what was the correct procedure, and he also said at full rpm's. I relayed some negative feedback on doing it at full rpm's (from what I read here), and the dude said that the electric clutch is nothing like a manual clutch and should be engaged at full rpm's (I used poping the clutch in your truck at full rpm as an example). So what is the correct procedure? I was also told to pressure wash my machine to increase the life of the machine. I was poking around on the Exmark site, and in the FAQ's section on the site, they say that to pressure wash is a big no-no. Do you guys pressure wash at the end of the day? Not trying to start anything, I just want to do what is best for my equipment.

Mowman
04-16-2001, 11:55 AM
Eric,
Lots of good advice there. Even for some of the guy's that have been in the business for a while. My dealer told me that I should let my engine run and COOL down a bit before shutting it down. He said it's not good to shut your engine down right away. I will let it run while I blow off the drives and walks, about 3-5 minutes. Engine dosen't backfire and shuts off smooth. To engage my blades on my Walker (geardrive) I just have engine off idle, same to disengage. Saves on the belt.
Mowman

Freetime
04-16-2001, 12:07 PM
You grease your equipment, change oil, and other P.M. on a regular basis BECAUSE this is your living not your hobby. When a piece of equipment is down it is money you don’t make. If going out to eat cost more than to repair your mower, trimmer, whatever, buy some bologna and hamburger helper and eat on the mower day and night.

Also, do not let any one set your price good customers are gold, whiners are a dime a dozen “ we can possibly meet so and so price if it is in writing and legitimate” haggling just is not worth the air to do it. You cannot have every lawn as some people are cheap and some of the cheapest son of a !#^#@! ichs live in three story mansions with prize winning lawns.

Hope this helped a little.

[Edited by Freetime on 04-16-2001 at 11:21 AM]

captdevo
04-16-2001, 12:14 PM
Know safety.....No pain!
No safety.....Know pain!

Eric ELM
04-16-2001, 02:49 PM
Double D,

I have an electric clutch on my 10 year old 430 JD and I have never replaced the clutch. I always engaged it at an idle when I used to mow with it, but it's diesel so it has enough low end torque to do this at an idle. It sure seems like a lot of jolt to the whole machine to kick the clutch on while the engine is screeming full rpm's.

If your manual says to do this at full rpm's, then I guess you should. Sounds to me like they just want to sell you parts for it. An electric clutch should engage at an idle just fine if you have enough torque to power it. 2000 rpm's should be plenty of speed to start up the blades, but bring it down to an idle before shutting the blades off.

TJLC
04-16-2001, 04:06 PM
I always engage and disengage my blades at idle or a tad above. My dealer agrees this is the correct way also. One thing I learned the hard way was, you should always have backup equipment. Downtimes sucks! Also keep your blades sharp and balanced. I also agree to let your machines warm up and cool down before running full throtle, and shutting down. Do listen to the good advise you will receive here. Don't ever be afraid to ask a question. Make sure you are licensed and insured. I'm sure there will be alot more suggestions.

awm
04-16-2001, 05:06 PM
air tank ,tire plugs,starter fluid,spare tire in my case one suffices for truck and trailer,little1/2 impact wrenches
that plug into cigerette lighter takes blades and tires
of no sweat,exstra blades an belts,sting stopper clorox will work,firstaid items ,12 volt quick starter
common sense and a sense of humor for the days when you discover NOTHIN IS GOING TO GO RIGHT TODAY

Greenkeepers
04-16-2001, 05:08 PM
DO: Buy the best equipment that you possibly can, and the biggest trailer that you can afford.

DON'T: Overextend yourself so that you have to work 20 hrs a day.

Fantasy Lawns
04-16-2001, 05:10 PM
I like the clutch on the truck comparison .....it kinda makes sense ...don't it ...
good advice above ....when you pressure wash ...don't at full pressure ....blow off & GREASE after ....besides extra blades, belts, plugs, GAS, ....just do the job RIGHT the FIRST time ....and you'll grow straight & tall

dfor
04-16-2001, 06:25 PM
Keep a fire extinguisher and a spare tire on your trailer.

tomoaktree
04-16-2001, 06:45 PM
Keep a toolbox handy. I Like the advice given. Good thread!

joshua
04-16-2001, 07:02 PM
never go around a tree or landscaping blowing grass into it or at it. clean -up at your cost and you wouldn't want little sticks or peices of bark flying at you, they don't feel good if they hit you.

Eric ELM
04-16-2001, 07:12 PM
When you name a thread on Lawnsite, name it something on the list of searches on my Lawnsite Search Link Page. This way it will show up when someone does a search. For example, I named this one Tips so when someone goes to my links page and clicks on Tips from Members, this one and 38 other thread turn up. From getting tipped for good work, to tips on striping lawns. There tips on equipment, blade sharpening, and blade tip speed.

If you name a thread "I have a question" like some do, it won't show up unless we do a search on Question, so just put in what the question is. For example: "I have a question on ZTR's" This way it will show up when you click on ZTR's on my search page.

I just thought I would try to make it easier for all members. :)

I do have more things to add to this Tips Thread, but I will let other members throw in their tips. ;)

Keep it going, there are some good ones here.

Got Grass?
04-16-2001, 08:26 PM
1, Keep a tow-rope or chains in the truck, for when you dump the mower in a pond or get stuck.

2, When blowing/cleanups check for open windows or doors. I've known way to many people who forgot to check and lost the contract when the customer has leaves/grass/dust in the house.

3, Look out for poison Ivy.

4, Always have buisness cards on hand.

5, Cary a can of wasp spray in truck. For when you hit a hive, customers love it when you spray them so thier kids can play outside. And you dont have to worry about them next week. I swear thoes suckers remember you.

6, Cary a tool box in the truck or bolt a locking one to your trailler. Remember to include belts, and extra pins.

7, If you loose a pins but dont have extras on hand trimmer line works untill you make it back. darn brake/clutch pins get lost to often.

8, Keep a extra trimmer head/spool in the truck.

9, Remember to make shure your mower will fit past that gate when pricing the job.

10, Make sure everything on truck and trailer is secure. And drive safe, look out for thoes idiots who are blind when it comes to your trailer.

George777
04-16-2001, 09:43 PM
Don't forget to do an inspection of your equipment before you move to your next job. Sometimes we are in a hurry and might leave something behind lolo.

dmk395
04-16-2001, 10:08 PM
Dont spend more than u earn.

Ssouth
04-16-2001, 10:27 PM
I agree with George, I always look in the rear view not really to make sure equipment is there as much as to make sure the Gear Caddy is locked. My employee normally locks it and sometimes he forgets.

lawnman_scott
04-16-2001, 11:19 PM
Get liability insurance right away. When i started i was licensed, but not insured, i just automatically figured i couldnt afford it, but when i broke my first sliding glass door, the customer was impressed that i had insurance. I say first because there has been a few.

cos
04-16-2001, 11:23 PM
Look around before entering vehicle. I have been known to leave something behind from time to time. Always carry a tool box. I carry an already cut piece of weed eater line in my pocket. I hate them long walks to the truck.

Mark
04-17-2001, 12:05 AM
Everyone seems to have just about covered the all the dos,and don'ts.I always carry a homemade spring device i made out of a piece on cable to grab the springs easy off and on. Eric what Double D was saying about his Snapper Hydro is the same thing in my manual i always engage them a full throttle,have been doing this for over 8yrs now never had a problem,When this one goes ill be getting another just like it.Cuts so much better than my scag it unreal. Even a friend of mine who is a lawnmower mechanic said to engage them at full throttle,and he is a very fine mechanic. But i do it different with my Z-Master i engage a least throttle possible. Marks Mowing Service

HOMER
04-17-2001, 07:56 AM
Always double check, triple check if your not that smart, your trailer to truck connection! Cross your safety chains too, if it does come disconnected the chains act as a cradle to hold the tongue.

If you lose your trailer then none of the above really matters...........

If you lose your trailer you better have good insurance and a good lawyer.........

Check your lights before leaving................

Check your oil levels.........daily......this stuff ain't cheap.......

Oh ya, hug your wife and kids every day and before you leave & tell them you love them...........you might run into somebody that didn't check their connection!

Esby
04-17-2001, 04:48 PM
Always wear some sort of safety glasses while trimming and even for blowing. And also, there isn't a day where I have forgotten to protect my ears from the equipment noise. You want to be able to hear in the future right???? Wear ear protection!!!!

65hoss
04-17-2001, 10:17 PM
Keep your mouth in check on customers property. Nothing like spitting out a flurry of cuss words to look over your shoulder and see them standing there.

Also, it doesn't sound very professional for customers to hear inappropriate things.

Sunblock (I'm working on this myself)

Don't be in too big of a hurry that quality gets sacrificed. Only put your name on the best you can do.

LJ lawn
04-17-2001, 10:31 PM
how bout a spare tire on the trailer (for the trailer).maybe buy a tire plug kit (the kind with the sticky brown rope stuff).

skyphoto
04-17-2001, 11:05 PM
Dont forget to latch the trailer lock

Do fill the gas cans on the ground NOT in the bed of the truck

Do get Insurance

Do wave at the competition

dont forget to raise the trailer ramp

Do raise the trailer jack ALL the way up b4 moving it!

Do have fun !

crs
04-17-2001, 11:36 PM
Amen, I agree with all of the safety stuff.

Something I like to do is keep a couple of wound trimmer head spools in my toolbox. That way if I run out of string mid property I can be back to trimming in just a few moments and I don't have to stand in the heat and try to wind all that string.

Also, I made a little sign to go on all my mowers that says "DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID." It may sound silly but when you see it six or seven hours a day it does kind of sink in.

eslawns
04-17-2001, 11:58 PM
I had a long list yesterday, but most of it's already here.

1. Make a list of cross reference parts. (bearings, belts, bushings, and pulleys, etc.) In other words, get an aftermarket parts catalog and find out which part numbers are the same as other manufacturers. When your dealer doesn't have the parts in stock, you can go to the other mfg dealer and cross to their part number to get what you need. As someone mentioned, downtime STINKS!

2. Try to buy all your oil, trimmer line, belts, filters, and whatever you know you will need for a year at one time. You can get a better deal in bulk.

3. Pay yourself first. No, I don't mean salary. I mean invest. 10-15% off the top. Don't convince yourself you can't afford to. You can't afford not to. BTW, if you don't have winter income, set up an account for that also.

4. Make sure you communicate with your customers, family, and the people working with you. People generally don't like change, and wives like it least. Let them know what's going on. It's not whether things will go wrong, they will. It's how you handle it when they do.

5. Make time for yourself and your family. I was working 60-80 hours a week. My son wanted to take out the boat, but I never had time. It didn't take many trips to the principal's office for me to get it. Again, you can't afford not to.

6. Appreciate the good years, and prepare for the lean ones. Thank God for all that you have.

CLARKE
04-18-2001, 02:18 AM
ALWAYS WEAR EAR PROTECTION,,I know that the sound
of the mower sounds kool to us sometimes, But once
you get Tinnutis it NEVER gos away. there is no CURE...
in cass you might not know what Tinnutis, its also called
RINGING IN THE EARS. I have it in my left ear and there
is no cure for it, (Doc) say no cure for it at this time.
things that could cause it,, loud mowers,loud train horns,
loud backpack blowers,I also work at a carwash in the winter all 5 pumps running at the same time not a good thing. if you think a contsant ringing in your ear or ears
would be kool :-(( then DON'T WEAR EAR PROTECTION
CLARKE OWNER CLARKE'S TOTAL LAWN CARE..NO QUEIT NITES EVER!

awm
04-18-2001, 08:21 AM
that 10% thing by eslawn. if all young people followed that one rule . wouldnt be any poor old folks.

Eager Beaver
04-19-2001, 07:42 AM
Something I always do is padlock the trailer when I hook it on and take it off. It gets to be a habit and you will never forget to latch the trailer. Also before you get in your truck to leave a site make one quick walk around the site and your trailer and truck. This way you will not forget anything on site and you may catch something on the trailer that was just set there and not latched down,something wearing,low tire,no trailer lights etc. When you get in a hurry or a customer starts talking with you you sometimes forget and just drive away. It only takes a minute and its a good routine to get into.

Mid Rivers
04-19-2001, 11:26 AM
If you are pulling your trailer in the garage for the first time, make sure the gate is going to clear the garage door.

Smile, it could be worse!

eslawns
04-19-2001, 01:48 PM
make sure the gate is going to clear the garage door.

Too late. :(

Toroguy
04-16-2002, 07:09 PM
Typical helpful Eric,

I will add on:

Lock your truck and loose tools when vehicle is unattended. A thief is an opportunist, eliminate the opportunity.

Refill your blower and trimmers on your trailer, spills kill the grass, spills on the street are low class. Also overfilling will leak out the cap and kill grass if you don't start on fire first.

chargincharlie5
04-16-2002, 07:46 PM
BE HEALTHY EAT YOUR HONEY

Turf Technologies
04-16-2002, 07:57 PM
Thats true about the wasps or bees. They allways rember you!

mike payne
04-16-2002, 09:00 PM
Have a new spart plug for every piece of equipment.

Garry
04-16-2002, 09:05 PM
And the number one response for the new landscape guy.........

Put your glasses on when you weed wack!

If you put your eye out today.........................you probably will miss work tomorrow...(damn, maybe even a coupla days)

Hey, I'd have to get someone new anyway.

the point man
04-16-2002, 10:13 PM
This may be the best thread I've read on a lawn care sight. I think
that it bears repeating....USE SUNBLOCK. I have a feeling that some of us will someday be saying "Holy sh##t, I guess they were right." Hope it's not too late then.

ESLawns answer was particularly good.

the point man
04-16-2002, 10:16 PM
Sorry, just wanted to get my fiftieth post in. You never know when
you might get hit by a bus. Oh look, here comes one now. You know, I

chargincharlie5
04-16-2002, 10:22 PM
WHAT! EAR PLUGS

fshrdan
04-16-2002, 11:18 PM
Don't... set your cell phone on the trailer rail thinking you'll remember it later.
Do... keep a backup of all your phone # in case you set your cell phone on the trailer rail.

awm
04-17-2002, 08:23 AM
glad somebody brought this one back. he was smart man.

Runner
04-17-2002, 10:41 PM
Kind of neat, almost a year to the date. I would just like to say, that one of the best things to do as a newbie, is keep reading LS. God bless You, Eric...

Doogiegh
04-17-2002, 11:12 PM
Know this sounds silly, but I am just starting out.. I just loaded up good old Excel and read this entire thread, item by item. I'm gonna post it on the garage wall, it's all the stuff to "Load Every Time Out" list. Some stuff, like Wasp Spray, ear plugs and spare trailer tire are 3 things that I don't currently have, but will as of tommorow, that's for sure. Nothing like a quick checklist and a tool caddy to get it all organized to really help out.

Gary

SLS
04-13-2003, 09:57 PM
Wear good, solid, comfortable footwear!

Keep those precious feet and toes protected. As a solo-operator I know that I would be in BIG trouble if something bad happened to one of my 'prime movers'. :eek:

tiedeman
04-18-2003, 09:27 PM
always carry extra tools around with you. All kinds. You never know when you will need them.

check your trimming line after the day to see whether or not you need to replace it before the next day. It will save you a lot of time when trimming. Instead of constantly running out on a job site, you will actually be fine because you checked the night before. (or morning)

Gr grass n Hi tides
04-20-2003, 04:02 PM
SLS -

Way to go bumping this thread back up for spring 2003 :-) Everyone has done a great job covering the bases. How about adding:

(1) Carry your pesticide and business license in your vehicle in case you are questioned;

(2) Carry your insurance information in the vehicle in case there's an accident;

(3) Release pressure on your pesticide sprayer tank after you finish the application just in case somebody bumps it by accident; that way they don't get hosed down and blinded;

(4) Always walk a site before beginning work and take note of hazards and/or already damaged property to reduce problems.

grass-scapes
05-04-2003, 09:33 PM
Make sure, if you spray ANYTHING, Carry an emergency eyewash kit. You may not have a hose handy at the place you are at.

WildMowMan
05-08-2003, 06:04 PM
Hey, really important..too many times have I seen these guys taping down the emergercy stop levers on the handles of the mowers so they can so-called move about freely or one handed on these walk behinds.....I had an incident 3 years ago when a worker riding a Velke on a Scag fell off after hitting an oak tree root and the mower took off and went headlong into the homeowners euonymous ground cover.....we ended up having to replace a 15'x5' stretch, out of our pockets! This really sucked but think if this had been the homeowners child or pet or vehicle (this guy had a Mercedes s-class)...replacing ground cover is nothing in comparison.........I've also seen a laborer lose contol with the left side clutch handle of the machine locked and it sent the machine into a spin that damn near cut his foot off.........think guys...it may seem easier and more free to use taped up...but suffering the consequences could be costly or deadly. Insurance is great but it's not worth it and I scream at my guys when I catch them pulling that s**t! Laborers don't think like foreman or owners do and it's your insurance that will go up if there is an accident not theirs....Take the time to be careful.

Catcher
05-20-2003, 11:42 PM
Tons and Tons of good advise,
great safety tips and often overlooked tips to keep the equipment alive longer.
Three pages of it.
And nobody mentioned the airfilters.
Mostly you think about them when you're done with a particularly dusty area (you do, don't you?), have you ever checked them after a day plowing through dandelions?
A little 12V plug-in compressor may be enough to blow them off between jobs if need be.
Also, I'm not sure if anybody got Double D's questions about whether or not to pressure wash equipment. I believe rinsing with a hose is better as pressure tends to push debris where it really doesn't belong.

sblawncare
06-14-2003, 09:14 AM
I currently run a 36 inch walk behind exmark with a 14 horse kawi. Should the blade only be engaged at fairly low rpms? I have done this at a higher rpms and do not want to do any more damage. This machine is probably 4-5 yrs old and has a 5 speed trans. with neutral and reverse. Should the mower only be started in neutral (like a car)? ...and should the gears only be changed at low rpms? ...lastly, as these machines get older do the transmissions get louder? Mine is kind of loud. cuts very well but vibrates considerably. Thanks for all info.

Mark from SB Lawncare

aleksei
06-15-2003, 04:32 AM
This might work great for you f/t guys:
One of my friends operates an extended cab (not sure what it is in "Ford speak") F-350. Rather than carrying people in the back, he has turned the area into a mobile (though cramped) office. He's managed to wedge a laptop computer and a printer on a small, homemade desk-like thing.... nothing like end-of-job work summaries for his clients. His best tip, though, is to write down all of the tools you use on a regular (once/week) basis and carry them with you, along with spare parts. His box, convienently, fits in the back of his cab (I think it makes up part of his desk). He works full time, and I've never heard him bitching about having to head home for parts or tools, so I would think it works.

Another (random) tip. Make sure your equipment gas tanks (and your five-gals. on the truck) are full at the beginning of the day. Not much is more embarrasing than running dry on the last 1/4 acre of a big (read: high-profit) job.

LawnMowerMan2003
06-21-2003, 03:22 AM
I learned the hard way not to leave your equipment out of site and unsecured. I had to line trimmers stolen this way. Both were around $400 and in good condition, and one was only a few weeks old. :(

The other day I saw a solo operater leaving his backpack blower out on the gound by his truck while he was in the back yard. I don't care how nice you think the neighborhood is, I wouldn't risk it, since it only takes a minute to set stuff in the back yard out of sight (or lock the trailer).

Mr_Marc
07-08-2003, 10:56 PM
First Aid Kit.
Fire Extinguisher.
Eye Wash.
Water to drink.

PhilR
07-19-2003, 09:00 AM
Currently I am licensed but not insured. How do I obtain insurance and how much might I expect it to cost? I run a two man operation for lawn and landscaping.

Dave_B-The_Grass_Guy
07-20-2003, 09:40 PM
On those hot summer days ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS keep iced water for yourself and the crew to drink. I also have an ice chest with Gatorade and canned sodas on the truck too after a job is done, gives us a quick pick-me-up in between rounds as we ride to the next job. Ain't nothing like a trip to the ER for heat stroke to learn this lesson the hard way. :blob2:
Water hose, even a short 15 footer, to hose off the equipment after a dirty job, especially if it's rental equipment(Home Depot nailed me for that one when I returned a roto-tiller). It helps also to cool off too when the temps hit 100 or better. soak your head and even your feet, I know it sounds silly, but it really does work, pull off your shoes and socks and water down your feet if you feel hot, the veins in your feet will carry the heat and cool you off. (A towel stuffed under the front seat isn't a bad idea either if you try this).
I always take my guys out for lunch at an indoor establishment to help them cool off as they eat. Not only is it a nice treat for your crew, it's tax deductible too.:)
Keep receipts for EVERYTHING. I write off ice, fuel, supplies, equipment. A good CPA can figure out where to put it to good use and reduce your tax burden. payup
Write your mileage on the gas receipt. Calculate mileage used versus gallons of fuel burnt at least once a week, it'll give you a good indicator when you need a tuneup, even if your rig is running decent.
If you use a spool trimmer, duct tape a spare spool to the shaft, saves time going back to the truck. And invest the money and time to keep lots of fresh wound spools and sharp mower blades and edger blades on the truck at all times.
Not only is wasp spray a good idea to keep on hand, but so is fire ant granules. I do it for my regular customers as a freebie, not only do they appreciate it but it saves you the hassle of having to deal with them on a later date.
I learned this one the hard way, don't use a belt loop for your keys, if they fall off while your mowing not only are you stuck like chuck, but then you need to call a locksmith too.
For you newbies in the biz who do landscaping, go to the different nurseries and get some catalogs and/or price guides. Sure does help make bidding jobs easier if you don't have prices memorized. Always bid from the most expensive catalog just in case the cheaper supplier is out of stock and/or the customer is looking over your shoulder. Always check to see if the supplier has that item in stock, or that they still carry that item before you commit anything to paper. an illustrated handbook for your region isn't a bad item to bring with you when bidding jobs either. Here in Texas I rely on Neil Sperry's Guide to Texas Gardening as a bidding tool. You and the customer can browse the book together and get ideas, see if the particular plant will be suitable for your region and even help you to diagnose potential problems.
When bidding landscaping jobs, I always insist on a soil test if the customer wants a warranty on the plants. My excuse is you wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, why would a landscaper put in plants without an understanding of the soil conditions, nutritional surpluses/deficits. It makes you look professional and educated, gives you an idea of what you are dealing with and what you need to provide the plants with for optimal conditions to grow and thrive.:cool:

Darryl G
07-27-2003, 12:52 AM
Now here's an old post that I think everyone should read. It's got some excellent advise and brings back memories of how helpful Eric was to everyone on this site.

John Burton
08-22-2003, 10:20 PM
For the New Guy- Cutthroat business
The business is gonna bring out alot of under bidders your way, but for those guys, all they do is pay there bills. If you want to grow and run a good and ethical business, bid the jobs to make money, not just to pay your bills. If you do this you will last a long time unlike the under bidders who fly by night and go bankrupt low balling all the jobs. JB. From Ga.

SLS
08-23-2003, 02:35 AM
Good point, JB.

Starting out we must sometimes take on the less desirable locations to get our reputations built...but we should never underbid ourselves....as to raise prices later is not the easiest thing to do in some cases. All that 'counter-lowballing' does is serve to keep our market prices/income down...for all of us.

We provide services...but if a potential client is only interested in saving money, they should go to a bank.

Although we are 'service providers', we are not in the 'money saving' business.

GrassGator
08-27-2003, 07:50 AM
Many times you find people who just want a "cheap" price for a "mow, blow and go" job. When I come across one of these I explain to them that the minimum I do is to mow, edge, weedeater and blow the walks. My reasoning is because when I pull away from their house, what the neighbors see that I did is going to be the impression they all have of the quality of work I do. If the job doesn't give the house curb appeal, then the neighbors and others driving by will not think much of my work. The explanation usually works and I get a higher price for my "basic cut". If they don't embrace the explanation and give me the job, I ask them to find someone else because it is my reputation that is at stake when I pull my trailer away from their house.

roboton
11-26-2003, 02:23 AM
Carry a Swiss Army Knife. You don't even know what pain in the *** it is to try to cut trimmer line with a pair of hedge clippers.....

Scott Wachtel
12-04-2003, 09:36 PM
Also, Breakdowns suck!!!!! Make sure to have some kind of spare equipment. You can always be late to the next job but you still have to finish the one your at.It may mean using the 15$ garage sale special to trim the back half but it beats loosing the account.

Hink
12-27-2003, 06:20 PM
I just found this site and am very impressed. I plan on starting a lawnmowing business this spring. My 16 year old son is going to be part of the business. I am looking forward to working with him. Any help and or ideas on how to estimate$$ mowing a lawn would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

70chevelleSS
01-04-2004, 03:20 PM
double D
it has all ways been my experiance to do what the manual and Dealer suggest. Warrenty work is the best kind work for you to have done.
By the way I lived in the Memphis area for 13 years.

aquamtic
01-14-2004, 01:05 PM
IRRIGATION CONTRACOR FORMS- I am trying to put together a pckage of forms that I can use for my irrigation business in the upcoming season. WOuld anyone be interested in sharing forms such as:

Installation Contract
Season Service Contract/ Startups,Shutdowns
Service Call Work Order

Please email me if you are able to send or fax
Paul
pgsystems@cox.net

TotalCareSolutions
01-17-2004, 06:56 PM
leatherman tool

1acreplus
01-21-2004, 02:09 AM
New to the lawn biz, but I've been snowplowing and landscaping for 4 years. I've seen a lot of great suggestions for tools and safety gear, but I haven't yet seen something that I do...

Keep a 3 ring binder in every truck. Put the following info in the binder:

Have your emergency contact information on the VERY FIRST PAGE. Include numbers for the local poison control hotline, local hospitals, and your insurance agent. Of course, don't forget cell numbers for your foreman/manager/owner, in case the office is deserted.

Keep a safety checklist/log sheet in the binder. Make these simple daily checks (lights+lenses, horn, brakes, mirrors, etc) and weekly checks (oil, trans fluid, belts, hoses, plug wires, tire pressure, lug nuts) a part of your log. In an accident lawsuit, this log may save your bacon. This log sheet is also a requirement if you have a USDOT registration (we do).

Have copies of MSDS (Material Safety
Data Sheets) for every chemical you use, and don't forget gasoline and diesel. This is an OSHA requirement.

Also in this binder, keep copies of the driver's licenses and medical cards of all authorized drivers for your truck(s), copy of the insurance card, and a copy of the cab card part of the title.

Keep a list of all the equipment you have in/on the truck and trailer, including SERIAL NUMBERS. When (not if) something gets stolen off your truck, it will make it that much easier to report.

Last but not least. This is also a good spot to keep a price list or other "ballpark" quote guide for your on-site staff to look at. Every employee that might come in contact with a customer or prospect should have some sales literature at hand, even if it's only a business card.

Mowmoney00
01-25-2004, 01:13 AM
If you do sod installation.....GREEN SIDE UP !

batdaddy044
01-28-2004, 01:27 AM
Always keep a dry chemical fire extinguisher handy!!! I'm a 29 year veteran volunteer fireman ,but still had a small push mower "light up" in a customer's yard , a few years back.It would
not have have been too bad ,except that that my customer was a past fire chief of a neighboring fire company,and that I am a volunteer fireman in the next town!To make matters worse,the first person to see my blazing lawnmower was the president of yet another local fire company!!!!OUCH!!!

Easy Way Lawn Care
03-03-2004, 08:48 AM
This is what a lawn mower mechanic explained to me. I have a Bobcat and the instructions also say to engage at low rpm's, here was his reasoning for that. He said its much better for the engine if you put a load on it at high rpms, yes you will burn out the electronic clutch faster but you will save on your engine life. Which is cheaper to replace. He stated the reason bobcat states low rpm is because they have to warranty the clutch and not the engine so they don't care if the engine fouls. Makes sense what he said. I engage a full rpm haven't had a problem in two years, I have an extra electronic clutch ready to go (just part of my back up supplies)

bugspit
03-14-2004, 01:20 PM
Did I miss the one about carrying extra mower blades?

All good stuff here, a lot of smart folks with a lot of experience.

Carrying water?, I freeze gallon milk jugs half full of water, top them off and the're cold all day.

kkadzi1
03-18-2004, 06:32 PM
STAY HYDRATED!!!!!

1more2buy
03-21-2004, 07:43 AM
Couple things to make life easier. First go out and buy a battery/compressor combo pack at your local auto store they run around $50.00. And a tire plug kit. These are great help for tires and battery's, also always blow the engine area clean with your blower. clean grass and leaves from around engine and at least once a year pull the top cover off and blow out around the cylinders. This is the cooling area of the engines more guys kill their engine because they don't take the time to clean them. It's like taking the radiator out of your truck. Sometimes when you use a pressure washer on them if you don't get it good enough then it just packs it better in the engine area where you can not see. hope this helps

KLEANKUTSLAWNCARE
03-25-2004, 11:57 PM
THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT

srx1211
03-30-2004, 12:35 AM
OK so get insurance I understand that part but all I have is a mower and weedwacker do I need a license too. What else do I need.

Fido Boy
03-30-2004, 12:44 AM
srx1211 - you need to register with the state so that you can collect sales tax, and I think the business entity tax will appply to you also. You don't need any special license for lawn maintenance, but if you do landscape alteration jobs in excess of $200 you need a home improvement contractors license.

This link should get you started in understanding what you need. The people at smartstart are really helpful too. http://www.sots.state.ct.us/Business/BusMainPage/StartaBiz.html

srx1211
03-30-2004, 12:59 AM
ok so registering with the state does that mean I will need some sort off business license, also how do I figure out what the tax will be or will the state let me know when I register. Also what is an entity tax.

Bluemule
04-12-2004, 03:49 PM
New to site...as it was recommended by a family member that has been in the business close to 10 years. I am taking a hard look at getting rigged up and jumping in soon...

This thread is great...thanks to all of you for the invaluable information...

Notable posts among many to me so far are the spare parts, crossed referenced product information, and the binder w/ all information on dealers, crew, etc. AND the thoughts on underbidders and reputation as trailer leaves the curb...great stuff folks!

Looks to me like efficiency and avoiding downtown one of the main points here...advice to heed for sure!

TurfJustin
04-16-2004, 02:30 PM
I have some tips for anyone new to the business in the Northeast Florida area- at Tools for a Time, they have a new program called the TurfPAC program that you can sign up for when you buy equipment. As a member of the program, you get your own website, they advertise for you and give you leads, they give you discounts on sod, business cards, t-shirts, uniforms, signage, marketing and everything else you need to run a business. If anyone lives in that area, I would recommend going by there and checking out the program.

GrassGator
04-17-2004, 02:31 PM
Disclaimer to the Webmaster,...this is not an advertisement ...just giving people the opportunity to know about a new program that can benefit ALL of us in the industry.

Turfjustin:
I agree.....this should have been done a long time ago! Those geniuses at Tools for a Time in Jacksonville, Fla. have it together. The TurfPac Program they offer is incredible for anyone in the industry. Leads, discounts on service and parts, cell phones, insurance and on and on. The owners, Jeff and Debbie Youngblood are real marketers and are bringing this industry to a higher level. As a TurfPac member they advertise for you, give you a website, send you leads, etc. However, as a member you must also uphold the standards and goals that all of should be seeking....professionalism, integrity and competitive pricing. In my personal opinion, this program is the greatest thing that has come along in Jacksonville since the Pilgrims landed! Check it out on their website!

GrassGator
04-17-2004, 02:37 PM
For all you "Newbies" thinking about getting into this business. One of the first things you will find out is that there are a lot more "horses butt's" that got off Noah's Ark than there were horses!:angel:

laborador
04-17-2004, 07:27 PM
You guys in Jacksonville,

Give me some idea of your hourly rate and how much you charge for cutting. If a yard takes you 30min, 35, 45, 50 min and so on. Do you charge for schrubs separately or include it with your cut. I just want my pricing to be competitive with everyone and I do not want to be knowed as a lowballer or to expensive. Thanks for any replies

WSSF Lawn Care
04-20-2004, 06:54 AM
I Think These are some great tips and I will use them every chance I get

LawnMowerMan2003
04-22-2004, 04:47 AM
Here's a quick review of the hard lessons I have learned. Trust me you don't want to learn the hard way:

1. I know this has been said but don't try to get business by underbidding. It seems like you will make more money but think about it this way:

Mowing for even $5 less means a lot more to you than it does for the customer because if you mow 20 lawns per week for $5 less than you could have charged, that's about a $400 difference for you, but only $20 for the customer, at the end of the month. And if the customer cares more about saving a little money than getting good service, it won't be long before he replaces you.

2. Don't underestimate the challenge of this business. I learned the hard way that you can quickly lose those customers you worked so hard to get, so don't slack off.

Those two lessons have been long hard lessons for me, so I leave them here for the new guy to think about.

prostriper
04-30-2004, 02:56 AM
As everyone has said !!!!!!!!!!SUNBLOCK!!!!!!!!!! I learned my lesson two years ago when I got a severe second degree sunburn. It was from shoulder to shoulder, a foot down my back contaning about 6-10 blisters. You want to talk about making a grown man cry.

chevydave
07-15-2004, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by bugspit
Did I miss the one about carrying extra mower blades?

All good stuff here, a lot of smart folks with a lot of experience.

Carrying water?, I freeze gallon milk jugs half full of water, top them off and the're cold all day.

chevydave
07-15-2004, 05:46 PM
As far as democrats raising taxes, I will be more than happy to pay my share today versus, getting $65.00 dollars a year that Bush gives me and leave billions of dollars in a hole, and my children and grand children are born in a hole to pay back. You tell me what is $65.00 dollars is to me? Nothing..Nada...He claims I could have a down payment on the washer and dryer and that is all, a down payment not a whole price. Yet Bush and his administration could spend billions of dollars ($200 billion if not more) for Iraq ($250 billion on Afganistan) for his own OIL FIELDS and for Chaney to grow his personal companies, and for his administration interest. Bush and his administration is really poor, so what the poor folks of the U.S. of America have to say. We are the poor ones and we continue to pay the high cost of Republicans.

ncscaping
07-29-2004, 12:09 AM
good thread on ear protection

I have been wearing ear protection everytime I start equipment.

I've had tinitus for 10 years, since retiring from the U.S.N.

David's Lawn Service
07-29-2004, 12:59 AM
Hustler Owner's Manual, page 3-1, Controls 5., states..."IMPORTANT: Never engage clutch with engine running at high rpm or when the deck is under load. Clutch, belts or deck could be damaged." That is good enough for me!

Green&Growing
08-09-2004, 10:12 AM
My Ex Mark (Metro 36") says engage PTO at 1/2 throttle. One way you strain the engine and the other way you stress the belts. I'd rather replace belts.

alpine692003
08-15-2004, 03:39 AM
Fill up equipment with gas before you go out.

FILL YOUR EQUIPMENT WITH THE PROPER mixes!!!!!

Label your GAS cans with a black marker!!!

atbomber
08-27-2004, 11:13 AM
hi, my name is andy, and i am in central texas... for the last 5 years i have been a registered nurse in a cardiac icu... prior to that, i worked in lawn/landscaping from gruntwork to sales... i am absolutely fed up with corporate healthcare and want to start my own lawn care business. i have strong knowledge of what grows around here and how to maintain it... what i am looking for here is helpful resources for actually beginning the business, anything from texas self-employment tax laws to billing, pricing, maintenance schedules, advertising, and sales. i plan to begin my business in spring 2006, and hope to have an iron clad plan for expansion from day one. i want this to be my retirement, my day to day livelihood, and my career. i would appreciate anyone's input... thank you very much

atbomber
08-27-2004, 11:17 AM
Originally posted by David's Lawn Service
Hustler Owner's Manual, page 3-1, Controls 5., states..."IMPORTANT: Never engage clutch with engine running at high rpm or when the deck is under load. Clutch, belts or deck could be damaged." That is good enough for me!

david, i am just up the road in waco, currently working at scott and white in temple and wanting to begin my own lawncare business here in waco in the next 18 months... i would like to bounce some ideas off of you and listen to how you started, what expectations/plans i should have... please reply

Patrick.B
09-17-2004, 03:50 PM
That what i like about my pm144z gravely ,,i can ingage cluch while idle ,,i've seen guys that start there mower on there trailer and run it wide open and as soon all four wheel hit the ground they ingage there cluch wide open ,,,jeez ...must have more money then me cause he will have problem soon ..i've saw a lawn service guy one time and i stop to question him about his scag and when he saw me coming toward him he shut his motor off with motor and cluch ingage ,,,i was like gawwdd !!!! lolol ....and he ask me if i wanted to buy his mower lol,.,,,NOT ,,,,,,,lol

GreenMonster
09-17-2004, 04:01 PM
Label your GAS cans with a black marker!!!

or just buy the right color and only use them for what they are intended.

funny story. Had skid steer at friend's house and left diesel in a red gas jug labeled K1. So, he fills his push mower with it, and it won't start. So, he goes over and borrows his neighbor's mower. Yeah, you guessed it -- filled that with diesel too! Figured it out when he took a whif of the diesel.

stizostedion_vitreum
09-23-2004, 12:22 PM
I'm new to this business, but have been in many other facets of the service industry.

The only other item i'd suggest is;

When we contract a new client we create a log sheet for them that specifies exactly what we'll be performing at their location. It includes items to watch out for such as; specifics on trimming, locking or closing gates, contact info, day/times of service, billing schedule and anything else that may be relevant to crews.

Even if your a solo, this is very valuable just in case your ever injured or put out of service. It may be the manual that saves your business if you ever need to send someone else to perform your livelihood.

Keep these log sheets in your binder with everything else. You can buy plastic sheet covers at any office store. Then organize them in order of how your week is scheduled.

Thanks to everyone else that's provided what works for them,
TJ

fourseasonlawns
10-07-2004, 12:54 AM
Carry eye drops in your first aid kit.

Shake your mixed gas can before filling your equipment.

Start with clean air filters daily, and change them at lunchtime.

pbillings
11-01-2004, 10:10 PM
As far as democrats raising taxes, I will be more than happy to pay my share today versus, getting $65.00 dollars a year that Bush gives me and leave billions of dollars in a hole, and my children and grand children are born in a hole to pay back. You tell me what is $65.00 dollars is to me? Nothing..Nada...He claims I could have a down payment on the washer and dryer and that is all, a down payment not a whole price. Yet Bush and his administration could spend billions of dollars ($200 billion if not more) for Iraq ($250 billion on Afganistan) for his own OIL FIELDS and for Chaney to grow his personal companies, and for his administration interest. Bush and his administration is really poor, so what the poor folks of the U.S. of America have to say. We are the poor ones and we continue to pay the high cost of Republicans.
Sorry, chevydave......I'd rather live with Bush in office than have a liberal communist like JANE Kerry in the white house. If he wins, Life is over as we know it......I would rather have Ralph Nader there than Kerry......Let stick with the lawn care biz. Leave Politics out of this one.

The Yard Barber, Inc.
11-02-2004, 09:55 PM
always keep you blades very sharp. dull blades can damage the grass due to tearing the leaf blades
make sure you have plenty of gas before you start a job, there is nothing worse when your customer is sitting on their front porch and your mower runs out of gas and you have to leave it in their yard to make a quicl trip to the gas station.
wear long pants when you weed eat, or count on keeping tweezers to pick rocks or glass out of your legs

arpat2
11-12-2004, 11:47 AM
Keep current with local ordinances regarding LS. Cops just love to pull landscapers over. Make sure all your paperwork is in order.

pgiambat
12-02-2004, 05:09 PM
All,
I've been mowing for 6 years and have incorporated all the previous postings' advice. You learn quickly from errors and downtime.

My piece of advice is more philosophical. I make a point to introduce myself to all the neighbors of my customer(s). I don't knock on doors, I just go up and talk to them when I see them, and this is after I have already given them a wave and a smile in previous weeks.

I introduce myself.. Hi, I'm Pat. I cut for Betty over there. I'm here every Thursday, if there is anything I can do for you just let me know. (Hand them a card, 1000 plain cards at Office Depot is about $12-$13) Then I chew that fat for about 1 - 2 minutes, thank them for their time and excuse myself.

This shows them that you are friendly and efficient. I get SO DARN MANY jobs this way. Many times they cut their own but like the way I trim/edge so I'll hit their sidewalks every two weeks, takes me 5 minutes and I charge 'em $5 per trim and get $10 from them once a month. Then... the other neighbors see you cutting and trimming two of the neighbors and they start looking at your work and thinking...

If it's 105 degrees outside and I see a lady cutting her grass I go over straight away and ask her if I can cut her grass for free. I get the usual guff but they ALWAYS let me. They try to pay me but I'll tell them they can buy me a soda some day, they will be a future customer and they WILL tell all their friends about you for a week!!!

That's only 1 of 100 things I do that only help me. If you want to grow your business always think how others perceive you, perception is reality.

Green Dreams
12-02-2004, 06:23 PM
Good Point, Pat..

The guys that do my place started out the same way. I'd mow, they trim every couple of weeks or so for $10. Now they do it all for me and the new lady across the street.

Macvols
12-18-2004, 08:46 PM
I TRY to treat my customers like I want to be treated.!.! I think I have read that somewhere before! LOL

tinman
01-13-2005, 03:09 PM
Make a note of how you feel while doing a job that you know you under bid on. And do the same for a job that you bid a good price on. That little reminder will go a long way in helping you not to give awayyour work too cheaply.

jasonnau
01-18-2005, 04:46 PM
Make sure the neighbors aren't looking when you pee in your customers bushes.

jasonnau
01-18-2005, 04:56 PM
Currently I am licensed but not insured. How do I obtain insurance and how much might I expect it to cost? I run a two man operation for lawn and landscaping.
My insurance this year to cover two trucks ( a 2004 f250 supercab, and a 98 silverado 3500 supercab) with a million dollars per incident, two million limit), a marine policy covering all of my equipment (approx. $12,000), snow removal coverage, $5,000 dollars coverage on misc. equipment, and the 1,000,000 liability is costing me about $3,300.00 for the year.

jmkr02
02-01-2005, 01:21 AM
;) Don't get overwhelmed stay positive you can end up making yourself, your employee's, and your family life more productive getting more done in less time.

Take the time to makes lists, it sounds like it may take too much time, but you'll be amazed what you can do when you set goals.

:realmad: Let everyone know what is going on communication is the key to creating mutual understanding

Pay attention and listen not just hear the people you interact with

Have Fun

:cry: Well although it may be impossible to not let low ballers bother you just don't show it to your customers. Look at them and laugh, but don't be too cocky the bottom feeders may have some good ideas. Low ballers will always be there, well not the same one but another,another,and another...

:cool2: Lube everything, it makes things work easier, burring less energy, and you can go longer, harder, and faster then without it.

:help: Safety never takes a Holiday

...Get Educated it pays payup

bowhunter1432
02-04-2005, 11:24 PM
thanx for the info.

rbates
02-28-2005, 12:59 AM
hi, my name is andy, and i am in central texas... for the last 5 years i have been a registered nurse in a cardiac icu... prior to that, i worked in lawn/landscaping from gruntwork to sales... i am absolutely fed up with corporate healthcare and want to start my own lawn care business. i have strong knowledge of what grows around here and how to maintain it... what i am looking for here is helpful resources for actually beginning the business, anything from texas self-employment tax laws to billing, pricing, maintenance schedules, advertising, and sales. i plan to begin my business in spring 2006, and hope to have an iron clad plan for expansion from day one. i want this to be my retirement, my day to day livelihood, and my career. i would appreciate anyone's input... thank you very much

Andy, My name is Raymond Bates. I am a nursing student in my first year in CANADA. I run a successfull Landscaping company using student lawns to suppliment equipment and living costs. I would like to have a chat and discuss a business plan while prying you for info as to why you quit your chosen career? I can tell you how runing a company is.

Please email me raymond_bates@hotmail.com

utterway landscaper
03-17-2005, 12:19 PM
I used to work for a company that had a cub cadet comercial zero turn prob. 60 percent of the time the clutch wouldnt engage unless you were at idle then you had to rev the the throttle up for it to fully engage did has anyone elese had this prob. with cub cadets?

Turf Technologies
03-17-2005, 02:24 PM
Utterway , we use Lesco Z2 that had the same problem, everytime it was just an adjusment that needed to be done. I cant think of it as being any worse than that.

topsites
03-21-2005, 11:09 PM
Keep fix-a-flat on the trailer

Buy a portable air tank

I swear, mower tires are lined with magnets!

I like a 12-volt air pump you can plug into the cigarette lighter thou it lacks the pressure should the seal come undone, and definitely fix-a-flat.

topsites
03-21-2005, 11:35 PM
Also, do not let any one set your price good customers are gold, whiners are a dime a dozen “ we can possibly meet so and so price if it is in writing and legitimate” haggling just is not worth the air to do it. You cannot have every lawn as some people are cheap and some of the cheapest son of a !#^#@! ichs live in three story mansions with prize winning lawns.

[Edited by Freetime on 04-16-2001 at 11:21 AM]

Hell yeah! A good one (I gotta be in the mood and as a general rule, must kinda like the person) is to whine back a little ... Sometimes this works, LOL!

Never haggle (actually I do it a little bit, sometimes I give one small discount, end of story). Far as written estimates, some folk don't even do it because a lot of times the only reason they are getting it in writing is so they can call someone else, shove YOUR estimate in the other man's face and ask: Can YOU do this Cheaper?!!!
As for myself, when a customer shows me someone else's estimate, I refuse to do the job because that is not a nice thing to do and I do not want to promote this any further, but more than that my mind has now been influenced by information I did not want to know. I do give written estimates and am not afraid to write the price and yes I know I am not the cheapest. Some folk receive the shock of their lifetime when they see it in black-and-white, but tough luck, I am not playing the bidding game here. My work costs what it does because the guy who fixes my car charges an invariable labor rate as well, as do the rest of the guys who work for labor/hour rates. In order for this to work, reliability, accountability, and honesty are all good traits.
For discounts, I might give 5 or 10 percent off the total, especially with retired folk as a senior citizen discount. Now if the customer is totally shocked by the price, a 5 or 10 percent discount will usually do nothing as a shocked customer was likely thinking about half what you're asking.

For written estimates, I have a pad in the truck and I write them out with a pen right then and there. Every once in a blue moon someone asks me to type it up in a contract and bla-bla-bla ... If contracts are your cup of tea by all means do it, but I don't do contracts as this consumes a lot more time than the 5-10 minutes it takes to hand-write it on the spot. Remember to write down your phone-number for them :-)

For estimates, 20 minutes alloted time. If, after 20 minutes the customer and I have not reached an agreement of sorts, it is time to leave. This rule was instated after a few f*ks wasted (literally) 2 hours of my time talking about everything they wanted done without conclusion or end in sight.

Another one I dislike is folk who come up to me in the field wanting me to do something in the yard across the street as the general assumption is that it will be cheaper since I'm already there. Do NOT EVER do the yard across the street any cheaper than regular price as this is an insult to your current customer (the yard you Were working on). Also resist the temptation to do 'both' yards at the same time for a mutual discount as inevitably you will lose one yard sooner or later, and be stuck with the other one at the discounted price.

Got a TON more.
Later.
Pascal

topsites
03-22-2005, 12:09 AM
air tank ,tire plugs,starter fluid,spare tire in my case one suffices for truck and trailer,little1/2 impact wrenches
that plug into cigerette lighter takes blades and tires
of no sweat,exstra blades an belts,sting stopper clorox will work,firstaid items ,12 volt quick starter
common sense and a sense of humor for the days when you discover NOTHIN IS GOING TO GO RIGHT TODAY

I keep an entire First-aid kit in the truck, 20-25 dollars at Rite-Aid or Walmart and some nice jumper cables (spend the extra bucks to get good ones). Far as dead batteries, I run a 1000cca battery in the truck, the jumper cables are most often used to jumpstart a dead lawnmower.

A strong, long rope in the truckbox is handy (I got an old but strong 100-foot tree-climber rope for free) and this is very handy when something gets stuck (like the commercial lawn-mower in the ditch, or in the mud). With the rope, you tie the rope to the truck, the other end to the mower, and slowly and carefully pull it out, what a lifesaver!
Learn how to do the hillbilly-winch as well. I don't know how to describe the hillbilly-winch, other than you likely need someone to show you as this will enable you to pull your truck out of the mud with no other tools, unless you also have a come-along.

Always wear safety goggles (I like the Uvex tinted kind) and spend the few extra dollars to get nice ones due to comfort. With the new 4-cycle stihl blowers you don't really need this, but for everything else I always wear hearing protection as well. I personally like the orange stihl mickey-mouse ears, but foamies work good, and for the ultimate in protection you can wear foamies + mickey-mice.

Now to really make your day (but you need at least a year or two of practice under your belt), get this:
Buy a portable, sports-mp3 player with the Koss earbud speakers. Burn a slew of like 100-120 of your favorite mp3's on a CD and you can listen to the awesome stereo (wear the earbuds underneath the mickey-mice) while working. This presents a safety issue: You can no longer hear the machine, you will not be able to hear a car's horn blaring at you, so you REALLY need to pay attention! With experience, I only do jobs I've done many times before with music and use the sensation of feel to detect imperfections in the machine. Also for some reason the weed-eater and blower send off static that interfere with the mp3-player so I can only wear it while cutting grass, wouldn't dream of wearing them while hedge-trimming or using the saw, thou it is great fun while doing mulch, too ... Likely even if you are new you can do mulch with music just be x-careful if you gotta cross the street. Speaking of which, even without music crossing the street has just about f*ked me up once or twice, please be on the lookout for cars, lol.
The bonus is that it puts me in complete oblivion and I could swear I am not even working, while it also helps me ignore the fool(s) on the street waving me down to ask me stupid questions. On that last note, kinda be on the constant look out to make sure your own customer isn't trying to get your attention, and:
When my customer IS trying to get my attention:
- I shut engines off, music is off, I take off the hearing protectors AND the tinted glasses. This way they get my full, undivided attention.
Hope is help, good competition is rare and
we need all the good help we can get,
there is sooo much work to be done.
Peace

topsites
03-22-2005, 12:20 AM
air tank ,tire plugs,starter fluid,spare tire in my case one suffices for truck and trailer,little1/2 impact wrenches
that plug into cigerette lighter takes blades and tires
of no sweat,exstra blades an belts,sting stopper clorox will work,firstaid items ,12 volt quick starter
common sense and a sense of humor for the days when you discover NOTHIN IS GOING TO GO RIGHT TODAY

I keep an entire First-aid kit in the truck, 20-25 dollars at Rite-Aid or Walmart and some nice jumper cables (spend the extra bucks to get good ones). Far as dead batteries, I run a 1000cca battery in the truck, the jumper cables are most often used to jumpstart a dead lawnmower.

Also, a 100-foot tree rope in the truckbox is handy (I got an old but strong tree-climber rope for free) and this is very handy when something gets stuck (like the commercial lawn-mower in the ditch, or in the mud). With the rope, learn how to do the hillbilly-winch as well. I don't know how to describe the hillbilly-winch, other than you likely need someone to show you as this will enable you to pull your truck out of the mud with no other tools, unless you also have a come-along.

Always wear safety goggles (I like the Uvex tinted kind) and spend the few extra dollars to get nice ones due to comfort. With the new 4-cycle stihl blowers you don't really need this, but for everything else I always wear hearing protection as well. I personally like the orange stihl mickey-mouse ears, but foamies work good, and for the ultimate in protection you can wear foamies + mickey-mice.

Now to really make your day (but you need at least a year or two of practice under your belt), get this:
Buy a portable, sports-mp3 player with the Koss earbud speakers. Burn a slew of like 100-120 of your favorite mp3's on a CD and you can listen to the awesome stereo (wear the earbuds underneath the mickey-mice) while working. This presents a safety issue: You can no longer hear the machine, you will not be able to hear a car's horn blaring at you, so you REALLY need to pay attention! With experience, I only do jobs I've done many times before with music and use the sensation of feel to detect imperfections in the machine. Also for some reason the weed-eater and blower send off static that interfere with the mp3-player so I can only wear it while cutting grass, wouldn't dream of wearing them while hedge-trimming or using the saw, thou it is great fun while doing mulch, too ... Likely even if you are new you can do mulch with music just be x-careful if you gotta cross the street. Speaking of which, even without music crossing the street has just about f*ked me up once or twice, please be on the lookout for cars, lol.
The bonus is that it puts me in complete oblivion and I could swear I am not even working, while it also helps me ignore the fool(s) on the street waving me down to ask me stupid questions. On that last note, kinda be on the constant look out to make sure your own customer isn't trying to get your attention, and:
When my customer IS trying to get my attention:
- I shut engines off, music is off, I take off the hearing protectors AND the tinted glasses. This way they get my full, undivided attention.
Hope is help, good competition is rare and
we need all the good help we can get,
there is sooo much work to be done.
Peace

topsites
03-22-2005, 12:30 AM
Dont spend more than u earn.

Especially if you have a credit card. If you must use your personal card you gotta do what you gotta do, but I highly suggest saving the cash you need for a couple years before you start so you got some capital.

As for me, into my 2nd year I got a business card, which, by the way, requires the owner's signature so the bank will come after me (and not 'the business) should the balance default. So contrary to popular belief, it's not "Oh well, the business is paying for it" as if it's free money, hehehe.

As a rule of thumb, I pay 1/3 my gross to the credit card bill as ALL expenses go on the card. Then I watch the balance. What I pay must pay it off, and if it doesn't, I'm doing something wrong.

As soon as you can afford it, I like having my business checking account so I got a place to deposit all the checks and it keeps the business money separate from my personal money. As a bonus, it boosts customer confidence a little bit (i.e.: it helps cut the bs).
As a general rule, you will need about 1000 dollars cash to open one, and I don't recommend putting this 1000 on your personal credit card.
Keep tab of those charges:
Examples:
Bank balance under 1000 anytime: $10/month - This = 12% apr !
Online banking: $10/month (I don't use it)
Deposit: 10cents/transaction (deposit slip = 1 trans, each check = +1 trans). For this reason, I make one deposit/week and if my deposit isn't enough, I wait another week.

SAVE money the ENTIRE year so you can avoid working Jan-Feb!

Pascal

topsites
03-22-2005, 12:49 AM
Check your oil levels.........daily......this stuff ain't cheap.......


I dunno, man... I burned one motor because I forgot to check it, and we're all human. It's 600 for a cheap 12hp replacement bs motor (b & s, that is), plus labor, and during my first year.
After that $h!7, I never ran regular motor oil in my engines again. From that day on, I used synthetic or synthetic blend. Big Lots recently had Pennzoil Synthetic blend on sale for $1.97 a quart.

Now I'll tell you what happened my 3rd year:
As you know, in this business we change oil frequently (at least, I think you should). One time, I did not tighten the filter correctly on my personal car and drove off. Right at first I could smell a slight aroma of oil but I had spilled some while filling so didn't think much of it. While doing 45 or so mph I noticed nothing more for the next 5 or 6 miles, but when I had to stop I heard the tick-tick-tick tell-tale dieseling of a low oil warning and the car was smoking (but no, no red oil light). I had no choice but to wait for the green light, then pulled off right past the intersection and shut it off. When I opened the hood, there was oil everywhere, and when I checked the dipstick, there was no oil on it. I got back in the car, started it and drove (cauz you do not cross this intersection on foot) across the street to the auto-parts store. I purchased 2 quarts to begin with, then a 3rd... The car had been running on 1 quart.
The car was running Synthetic Blend.

You can only imagine how sick it made me feel to my stomach at the time, that car is a 1991 bmw 318 and the motor is like $5000 or $6000, more than what I paid for the car. I am still relieved, and the car is running well today.

That stuff is like slick-50, I can't recommend you run a dry engine, but I can tell you that if you do, your chances of lock-up are reduced considerably. I hear some guys tell me that with synthetic (or synthetic blend) you should be able to run at least 20 minutes without oil, and up to 2 hours, but again it is not recommended ... I am telling it to you because I firmly believe this stuff will save your motor at least once.
Peace

topsites
03-22-2005, 01:31 AM
I had a long list yesterday, but most of it's already here.

2. Try to buy all your oil, trimmer line, belts, filters, and whatever you know you will need for a year at one time. You can get a better deal in bulk.


Mix-oil:
Buy a 2.5 gallon gas can because mix for 2.5 gallons is cheaper than mix for 1 gallon.

Then, go to your commercial lawncare dealer and buy a CASE of Stihl (guess you could use echo, dunno) 2.5-mix. A CASE contains 48 little canisters of mixoil already measured out for a 2.5 gallon gascan. This relieves the guess-work at the pump.
A CASE costs around 70 or 80 dollars for 48 bottles, but buy them individually and you pay 1.99 each ($96 for 48).
And last but not least, the first case I bought lasted 3 years. :-)

String:
Figure out what thickness string you prefer. As for myself, I like the thin kind ... The thick kind wears slower but the weedeater runs higher rpms with the thin AND you get more string on the spool, thus equaling the duration. Since string is sold by weight, no matter which size you buy, you get the same .... errrr OK you get more thin string but then thin string wears faster so yes it is the same, basically.
For my weed-eater there really are only two thicknesses, and I forget the exact numbers but it's 0.80 and 0.85 or maybe it's .85 and .90 whatever: The thin and the thick.
To figure out which kind you like best, buy a small roll of each and run that through. Once you know which kind you prefer, buy the BIG nasty spool of your preferred thickness as this lasts forever and is the cheapest per foot.
I also learned to practice running the string razor-close to the surface without touching it, as this helps string last longer especially with driveways. On that note, aggregate driveways and walkways eat string like mad so it really pays to learn to skim the surface.

On a separate but similar, if I can avoid parking in the customer's driveway, I do so because it never fails some oil drips on the driveway from the truck, it is best to park on the street anytime you can do so.

Far as the trailer-gate, LOL, the good news is if you leave it down, you will likely know it right away. Far as I'm concerned, never be in too much of a hurry and no harm done, it's just hella embarrassing.

Beware of setting down equipment on the tongue of the trailer, that is how I ran over my backpack blower. By the way, Shoo-goop fixed a large crack and when the thieves came around last winter, they didn't take it and they didn't take the weedeater, either: If your equipment looks new, please be careful where you leave it. If it's all f*ked up, that could be good :-)

Some guys talk all the time about full-throttle being the only throttle. To each their own, I run my stuff at 50-90 percent throttle which saves fuel, makes less noise and doesn't sound like some formula-I tearing up the yard. In addition, it appears to extend useful life on 2-cyclers far beyond government definition (and government definition of useful ... well, nevermind). On a 172 - 200mph blower, idle speed is enough wind for me to blow small debris left on paved surfaces from grass cutting - If you cut with side-discharge and no bag, run around the outside with the side-discharge facing IN. Make 2, maybe 3 big loops, then start circling the other way to blow the clippings back OUT. This helps distribute clippings evenly but also you keep yourself from blowing a TON of clippings onto paved surfaces you have to clean later.

Man I gotta go, they're gonna eat me for talking endlessly, bb and gl!

topsites
03-22-2005, 01:40 AM
Typical helpful Eric,

I will add on:

Lock your truck and loose tools when vehicle is unattended. A thief is an opportunist, eliminate the opportunity.

Refill your blower and trimmers on your trailer, spills kill the grass, spills on the street are low class. Also overfilling will leak out the cap and kill grass if you don't start on fire first.

An interesting tidbit:
Write down your equipment serial numbers and keep on file.
IF (should i say when?) your equipment is stolen, there is a database you can report it to (you need to ask your commercial lawncare dealer about this) and once reported, it is in the computer. If your stolen piece of equipment ever goes in for repair ANYWHERE, it will come up on the repair shop's computer as stolen and they will confiscate it and contact you.
You may not get it back the way you last remember it, but at least the thief is out, too. If you did NOT write down the serial, it is possible the place you bought it from has this on record.
so much for being quiet...

topsites
03-22-2005, 01:45 AM
always carry extra tools around with you. All kinds. You never know when you will need them.

check your trimming line after the day to see whether or not you need to replace it before the next day. It will save you a lot of time when trimming. Instead of constantly running out on a job site, you will actually be fine because you checked the night before. (or morning)

This is the trick I use when I run out:

I use the thinner kind and I have a 250-series and a 6x12.

Take the line and wind a small bit in a little knot around the trailer-gate latch to keep it there. Then, unwind string all the way to the front bumber of the truck. Cut it.
Exact length. Another few feet is too much. By the way, I prefer Echo's spool vs. Stihl ... Always dislike winding the stihl.

*s*

topsites
03-22-2005, 01:55 AM
SLS -
(4) Always walk a site before beginning work and take note of hazards and/or already damaged property to reduce problems.

Ahhhh yes! I found folk (more so the neighbors than my customers) are VERY quick to blame the lawnguy for anything broken, whether you broke it or not ! Another problem is, after some time your mind enters the 'zone' and you can no longer be too sure whether or not you broke it, lol.

If you DO break something, make sure you tell your customer about it and if they are not home, call from your cell to leave a message or write them a note and leave on the door. I personally would not tell a neighbor unless it is the neighbor's thing I broke, I have an overall negative taste in my mouth concerning neighbors of customers, is it just me?

When weedeating around those white or black pipes sticking out of the ground made of PVC plastic, your string will cut that PVC like a hot knife cuts butter. Even with the weedeater on idle and you *barely* touching it will nick it and water will spurt out of the cut. When this happens, find the underground faucet or lever to turn the water off and inform the customer. You can then run to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy some PVC primer and glue and some splice-pieces of pipe or caps or whatever PVC pieces and parts and come back to fix it. Before you leave to go to Lowe's, measure the piece and get the diameter, take notes if you need to. As for me, I bought a few extra parts and now have this in my truckbox, but nowadays I also use Roundup around those pipes rather than weedeating.
Peace

topsites
03-22-2005, 01:59 AM
Make sure, if you spray ANYTHING, Carry an emergency eyewash kit. You may not have a hose handy at the place you are at.

I bought a saline solution kit with an eye cup at Rite-Aid, but more so for getting sawdust out of my eye.

pagefault
04-16-2005, 12:26 AM
Keep a couple of beach towels in the truck; the bigger, the better. If anyone gets a serious cut, you can use them to apply pressure and limit the bleeding. I went through a glass door when I was 5 and a couple of beach towels saved my life.

I read another thread about a customer complaining about an employee peeing on the job site. I was buying a first aid kit the other day (thanks to this thread) and in the same aisle, they had those bottles you pee in when you are bedridden in the hospital. I put one under the seat in the truck and can discreetly use it if needed. It was about $7, so there is no need for everyone to share the same one. :p

gmlcinc
04-25-2005, 06:50 PM
I used to work for a company that had a cub cadet comercial zero turn prob. 60 percent of the time the clutch wouldnt engage unless you were at idle then you had to rev the the throttle up for it to fully engage did has anyone elese had this prob. with cub cadets?

I have the same problem! I noticed it dosn't start doing it until I've been mowing for a while. Ever find a solution?

Tips:
Do Lube EVERY moving part on everything, mower, trailer, hand tools, etc. Gibbs works good, is high quality and lasts.
Do Buy the more expensive high temp. grease, lasts longer, works better.
All oil is NOT created equal. Opinions vary, my top two: Shell Rotella T and Mystic (purple case forgot full name)
If you decide to fill that tire with fix-o-flat preapre for your local tire compnay to give you hell when they fix it right!
Do buy a measuring wheel and take time trials to fiind your prices and estimate more accurately every time.
More to come.

SLS
04-26-2005, 04:03 AM
"I used to work for a company that had a cub cadet comercial zero turn prob. 60 percent of the time the clutch wouldnt engage unless you were at idle then you had to rev the the throttle up for it to fully engage did has anyone elese had this prob. with cub cadets?"

This is usually a sign that the clutch is about worn out.

Here is the progression of the clutch wearing out (in my experience):

At first, it only has to be idled down to engage after the clutch is hot from being engaged.

Then it has to be idled down even at startup (cold).

Then it whines and screeches after it is engaged.

Then...nothing at all.




How many hours are on the clutch?

I have had a couple of Warner clutches on my Lazer Z that did the same thing before they totally went kaput.

gmlcinc
04-26-2005, 04:19 PM
I only have around 300 hours on this machine. I sure hope the clutch isn't already going out! I'm hoping it's a bad connection or something of that sort. Better take a looke at it. Thanks

cutngrow
06-03-2005, 02:39 AM
i signed today for 300/600 lia ins-----total is $416 for the year----4 pay of $100----every two months until paid----CF insurance-google it

Mountaingoat
06-08-2005, 03:15 PM
As a newbee I can tell you to walk the property twice!
Especially if the grass is super high. One never knows whats lurking in the turf.

manning
06-13-2005, 02:10 PM
i,m getting ready to start my own lawn care business. this site is great. it amazes me how much support there is in this community. i current own a printing company and theres know way in the world they would even give each other advice ,much less the time of day !
but back to my 2 cents ,i ran a airboat tourist ride operation for quite a few years. the motors we used we're lycoming aircraft engines. if you ran one hard and just shut it down, it could seize up the motor . the reason being it was air cooled just like most mower engines. what would happen is the heat from the moor could not be released through the cooling fins and the engine block would expand. now im sure the tolerances aren't as high in a mower engine but im sure the life of your motor would benefit from giving a min or two to cool off.
next ,hearing protection. im amazed that ive never seen a lawn mant. crew or person wearing hearing protection. i live in south florida and we have plenty of lawn companies .when i ran the air boat they were so loud you HAD to use hearing protection. since then its become a habit . i use the ear plugs that has a string attached to them. that way you can tuck them in your collar when your not using them. i throw them away at the end of the day because there so cheap.

Dogbonz
06-14-2005, 01:26 AM
I used to use foam push in ear plugs,, till one day I was feeling dizzy,,,went to the doc and he said, Over time slowly you push little bits of ear wax down in your ear and it builds up, deeper that you can clean out, then when it gets bad you get dizzy,, Since then I use the earmuff style with the fm radio in them,,,, full hearing protection and a little tunes to keep you from going nutz! :dizzy:

Women's Touch Landscaping
06-26-2005, 03:17 AM
New in biz (as in brand new, starting with guts, a flyer and a shovel), introduced myself to 4 local businesses yesterday with hideous or non-existent landscaping/curb appeal/customer draw, and now have two bids to put together, one for a biz and one for a biz owner's residence, not focusing on mowing, more on curb appeal (biz islands, storefronts, service to homeowner's who can't keep up or don't know how to with perennials, shrubs, borders etc, elderly who can't do it themselves anymore etc.). This site has been invaluable with insights and info, have been perusing posts last several days and now trying to figure out how to post myself so hope this shows up in correct place.
This site along with some library books and what I have learned from working for low wages at nursery/LS/gardening center has given me the confidence to bid what I know my time, labor and quality of workwomenship is worth, and not do it for less. I have been going back and forth in my head about this because I just want one job, a job with some exposure, even considered free labor, but thanks to all you veterans out there those thoughts have been dispelled. I can see why low-ballers are not well-liked. But as a newcomer I can also see the temptation to do just that to get a job. But that's just not good business sense, I fully realize that.
One of the projects involves basically just a major cleanup of once-beautiful vegetative area, old growth, fairly large, overgrown trash trees, weeds, pruning, couple understory limbs to remove, is full of rhods, azals, hyrdr, bleeding heart, hostas, ground cover, etc., could be so beautiful but so completely overgrown that they all look like crap and there is no definition, can't even see what's there. And, whole area is full of poison ivy. Owner tried to clean up himself last year and was severely impacted by the PI, evidently from our conversation one of the neighbors has offered to come help clean it up (detracts from her PV)....this house and LS mess is in well-heeled, old money part of town....estimate 16-20 hours of labor with 2 people working, labor-intensive (to get it the way it should be, the only way I would put my name on it, o/w do self or let someone who doesn't know s*** about these things do it) so 32-40 man hours I guess is the lingo?
My initial thoughts are $100 per hour (2 people working, self included).
Any thoughts on that? High or low? Am in central IL. Looking to build biz on reputation, quality, knowledge, passion for what I do and beautifying the landscape and ugly paved surfaces. Have already been asked whether I mow, which I do in my own yard but not equipped to do on commerc'l basis, don't really want to.....so any mowers out there who need help with plants, gardens, shrubs, mulch etc. maybe we can hook up.

vanderbilt
07-03-2005, 04:49 PM
It's been my experience that a leaf blower does a lot less damage to the electrical syatem than water. I use a degreaser and water around the hydralic pumps when i have too but try to use low pressure and direct water away from any electrical parts.It's been my experience thar just washing a machine can short electrical parts. A leaf blower can do a good job usually , but when I can't stand The oil on my hydralic pumps(snapper pro) I use a degreaser and wash off with a hose trying to direct water out bck of machine to prevent shorting.In the manual for my Snapper hydro, it clearly states in bold writing to engage the PTO at full rpm's. I asked the dealer what was the correct procedure, and he also said at full rpm's. I relayed some negative feedback on doing it at full rpm's (from what I read here), and the dude said that the electric clutch is nothing like a manual clutch and should be engaged at full rpm's (I used poping the clutch in your truck at full rpm as an example). So what is the correct procedure? I was also told to pressure wash my machine to increase the life of the machine. I was poking around on the Exmark site, and in the FAQ's section on the site, they say that to pressure wash is a big no-no. Do you guys pressure wash at the end of the day? Not trying to start anything, I just want to do what is best for my equipment.

trouille
07-06-2005, 12:21 AM
I agree with GOT GRASS equipment list. one other piece of equipment I would recommend carrying is a come-along. I just started into business this year in Louisiana. wet season in April got stuck three times in back yards, could not get a truck back there to pull out.
Residential Yard Service
Tracy

waffletown20
07-11-2005, 07:42 PM
Always make sure that your gas is full before you start a job because it is terrible for the engine to burn dry. Of course you have to at the end of the season. Also, never try to load a mower on a trailer if the trailer is at any pitch. It is decieving but the ramp will be much steeper and you should expect your mower to tip back and possibly roll. Great thread!

GLC51
07-23-2005, 02:46 AM
No doubt some of these have already been mentioned. Drink lots of water, you are 98% water and you need to keep hydrated, if you stop sweating in the heat you are in big trouble. Saftey boots, not sneakers. Sunblock, who needs skin cancer let alone a burn. Eye protection, you are an idiot if you don't. Most have UV protection too, you don't need cataracts. Hearing proctection, I used to use the foam plugs but they bothered my ears and customers would start talking so you take them out and then you would be done (you thought) put them back in and then they would start talking again, if you have the earmuff type easy to take off, I now have a pair with the FM radio in them , much better than just listening to the drone of equipment. Hankerchiefs, I use those blue shop towels on a roll, run them through the wash with your work clothes and they get softer each time, and if need be you have a towel in your pocket to wipe the grease off your hands, I have a pile of them and put two or three in my pocket. Lots and lots of tools, you always have to fix or adjust things, sockets, wrenches, pliers, hammer, over time you will keep adding things. A come-along if you get stuck, I blew the drive belt for the hydro pumps and there is no way you can push the mower up on the trailer ( lucky for me it went on the driveway). Lock your stuff up it can vanish real quick, don't cheap out either, you spent hundreds on the equipment don't get a $5 lock. Print out a chart with the mix ratios for different volumes on the 2 cycle stuff. I have different equipment that requires different ratios. When it hot and your'e tired you make mistakes. Buy some safety traffic cones, it looks more professional, it makes you easier to see and keeps the cars farther away from the trailer so you can walk beside it. Don't leave anything laying on the trailer that can fall off. Every time you do it seems you forget until you have driven 10 blocks and realize that it isn't there anymore and when you drive back to pick it up it always gone. I have done that many times, it's a hard habit to break. Iv'e lost the blower extension ( $20 ), the spool to the trimmer ( $45 for a new head) etc . Walk around the trailer to make sure everything is on and secured. Make sue the ramp is up , you feel like an idiot when you start driving off and you hear a racket and you realize the ramp is down. Keep looking around when trimming, people sneak up on you if you aren't careful and you don't want to hit them in the eye with a stone, kids are bad in particular. That's it for now will post more later. :waving:

bossy boots
07-28-2005, 01:11 AM
If you are on the biggest property of the day DO NOT FORGET TO CHECK YOUR GAS BEFORE YOU START.....its pretty much a fact the if it's gonna run out it's gonna happen when you are far as you can possibly get from the gas can!

jfb1060
08-05-2005, 07:36 PM
Hi Folks,

Lots of good info on this site. Ya'll really know what ya'll are doing. I've learned a lot just reading around.

I've been doing lawns for about 3 years real part time. I've had some experiences but you folks come up with stuff I've never even thought about. Thank the Lord I have'nt had to learn the hard way on most things.

Well, I've decided to go into lawn care full time. Can anyone give me any advice as to what the best way is to start a lawn business is on a full time basis??? It just has to be general at first. Then I can get more specific based on your responses.

My hats off to all of ya'll on this site. You're a good and brave bunch. You've launched into being your own boss and that really impresses me.

Good Luck to all of you, and the Good Lord Bless You.

Joe in Florida

KB'sChick
08-07-2005, 01:53 PM
Hi! Newbie poster here :waving:

My hubby has a lawn business which is growing rapidly. I will be leaving my fulltime job to help manage the business after the first of the year. However, he has already given me my first assignment... write letters to his customers advising them that due to the high gas prices his rates will increase. I just wondered if anyone had a sample letter and/or any advice regarding this matter. Also, is it wise to steadily increase and if so should we include a rate increase schedule in subject letter? Any input would be appreciated.

fourseasonlawns
08-07-2005, 02:09 PM
My prices are already higher than the competition by at least $10. per yard. I was thinking of adding an additional fuel charge for customers outside a 5 mile radius. This charge would be like $1.50 per trip per customer. I'm riding this year out, but this charge will most likely appear on all 2006 invoices. This will also give me a chance to see what others in the area are doing as well.
I also call my "slow payers" that live outside the immediate area to ensure the check is left out so I can collect while i'm there. No need for second trips.

jfb1060
08-09-2005, 08:25 PM
My prices are already higher than the competition by at least $10. per yard. I was thinking of adding an additional fuel charge for customers outside a 5 mile radius. This charge would be like $1.50 per trip per customer. I'm riding this year out, but this charge will most likely appear on all 2006 invoices. This will also give me a chance to see what others in the area are doing as well.
I also call my "slow payers" that live outside the immediate area to ensure the check is left out so I can collect while i'm there. No need for second trips.

I think that's a pretty good idea. When you add the cost of radius plus wear & tear overtime on ANY equipment you own it makes sense. Especially with the volaitility of gas prices these days.

Joe

GLC51
08-17-2005, 11:54 AM
Just a tip about 2 cycle trimmers etc. If you notice a fall off in power or it won't rev up it could be the spark arrestor screen in the muffler has carboned up and is pluged. The trimmer will run fine and then quickly start to act up. Take off the the small cover on the muffler held on with screws. You will see a small mesh sreen and if it is covered with carbon and you can't see through it that's you problem it's blocking air flow out. Spray it with carb cleaner and use a brass wire brush to cleanit off and reinstall.

speeddeamon1000
08-31-2005, 12:32 AM
:help: how would i quote a price on lawns around a business such as hotels gas stations etc you know the ones with all the decorative trees an narrow stripps of grass in different areas ?

hoskm01
09-19-2005, 09:57 AM
If your equipment ever gets stolen, in addition to reporting it to your dealer, report it to the police. If the value of the piece is $500 or more, or combined articles total more than $5000, they will enter it into the national computer system (called NCIC). They are there to help.

Tommyclarkwtx
10-25-2005, 06:54 PM
Not sure if any one already posted it but do not put your blower down between the truck and trailer you will forget it is there and crunch goes blower

D & J Lawn Care
10-27-2005, 11:37 PM
Many times you find people who just want a "cheap" price for a "mow, blow and go" job. When I come across one of these I explain to them that the minimum I do is to mow, edge, weedeater and blow the walks. My reasoning is because when I pull away from their house, what the neighbors see that I did is going to be the impression they all have of the quality of work I do. If the job doesn't give the house curb appeal, then the neighbors and others driving by will not think much of my work. The explanation usually works and I get a higher price for my "basic cut". If they don't embrace the explanation and give me the job, I ask them to find someone else because it is my reputation that is at stake when I pull my trailer away from their house.
and people like that don't understand why they have to pay full price during winter months

D & J Lawn Care
10-27-2005, 11:46 PM
:help: how would i quote a price on lawns around a business such as hotels gas stations etc you know the ones with all the decorative trees an narrow stripps of grass in different areas ?
look at it think about how long it will take you to bag trim and how often to trim hedges like i have some offices that takes me 15 minutes to do i charge $100 a month for the cost of being commercial (insurance, lic.etc.)but if it's a detailed lot thats going take 3 hours a week thats like 4 to 5 hundreds a month:waving:

topsites
11-02-2005, 04:56 PM
Not sure if any one already posted it but do not put your blower down between the truck and trailer you will forget it is there and crunch goes blower

LOL I have done this, when it happens you need to get a JACK to lift the trailer off your blower and no matter how bad it looks, it can be fixed but the parts are not cheap. In my case I had to replace the turbine shroud - 60 dollars.

By the way, to save money I buy Synthetic Blend instead of pure synthetic (blend is 80% pure but about half the price) of grades 10w-30 also 5w-30 and 10w40 ONLY when it is on sale and most of the time I get it at Big Lots. They don't always carry it but when they do it's around 1.90 / quart (vs. 3.25+/quart at the Auto Store).

NEVER run a standard oil, always run a synthetic oil of some kind - This helps prevent engine seizure (at least run it in the mowers, I would run it in my truck but it leaks).

bigdaddymead05
11-03-2005, 07:27 PM
The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is A Straight Line......
In The Opposite Direction

topsites
11-22-2005, 01:56 AM
You might think this is funny, but I keep a spare ignition coil and starter solenoid in my truck.

topsites
11-22-2005, 02:01 AM
I currently run a 36 inch walk behind exmark with a 14 horse kawi. Should the blade only be engaged at fairly low rpms? I have done this at a higher rpms and do not want to do any more damage. This machine is probably 4-5 yrs old and has a 5 speed trans. with neutral and reverse. Should the mower only be started in neutral (like a car)? ...and should the gears only be changed at low rpms? ...lastly, as these machines get older do the transmissions get louder? Mine is kind of loud. cuts very well but vibrates considerably. Thanks for all info.

Mark from SB Lawncare

I don't know, I shift my Peerless transmission like it's a Formula 1 but MOST the guys out there say don't do it... For one, it's a clutchless transmission like a 10-speed bicycle, it needs to be shifted OFF load (meaning the drivebars are disengaged, the mower CAN be moving but no pressure on the belts during the shift). It's a little bit like shifting a manual transmission in a car without using the clutch, you NEED to be careful but overall I find it's easier to do on the mower than in a car.
As far as starting it, it is SAFEST to start it in neutral so the machine don't take off on you.
And, MOST of the time my machine is ALWAYS in the highest forward gear, yes, even when I need to go slow it STAYS in 5th (except for mud or steep inclines, then I use 2nd). Another way to say it is, don't shift unnecessarily and if you can help it, don't shift at all unless you feel like rebuilding a tranny one day (me, I don't care, the trans is easy, lol).

Far as engaging the blades, I have a manual engage lever and always engage them slowly, letting the rpms build gradually rather than suddenly (not to mention a sudden engage sometimes cuts the motor off, very frustrating).

topsites
11-22-2005, 02:05 AM
Sorry, just wanted to get my fiftieth post in. You never know when
you might get hit by a bus. Oh look, here comes one now. You know, I

LOL !!! You might think this is stupid or funny, but:

* ALWAYS * look BOTH ways BEFORE crossing or going ON to the street. Anytime you or your machine moves OFF the turf / driveway and ON to the street: STOP and look BOTH ways, several times doesn't hurt either.
This lesson I learned the hard way after I about got run over a couple of times.
Matter of fact, I now look even when I'm just going on the OUT side of the trailer or truck, I do NOT go out in the street unless I have checked for cars, yes, every single darn time.

topsites
11-22-2005, 02:09 AM
Keep current with local ordinances regarding LS. Cops just love to pull landscapers over. Make sure all your paperwork is in order.

I guess this depends on your area, dunno... I've never been pulled over in 4 years...
But my truck is legit, all the stickers are current, yes it has insurance.
All lights are working, yes, I check them frequently and fix asap if one is out.

Drive S-L-O-W, real nice and slow. My trailer didn't come with brakes but it doesn't matter, you WANT to always go slow.

topbn
12-15-2005, 02:43 PM
Part of the drill should be to check your equipment every day. Keep track of hours mowing, change oil every 150 hours minimum, I do every 100 hours. Also don't ever clean your air filter with compressed air. In fact I don't ever inspect my air filters, I just go 250 hours and throw it away. I keep oil, air and fuel filters on hand ALWAYS. If you don't have 'em, you'll delay your PM's. Biggest tip, sharp blades!! The quality of the cut is so much better. No yellow tips from being shredded rather than cut. Your customers will notice too. Pay attention to blade height. I don't buy heavy duty blades, even here in Florida with the sand. Regular duty blades if they are .203 thick are easier to sharpen and cost a lot less. I sharpen blades about every 3-4 days but my customers are picky. I have an older 36 and a newer Exmark Laser Z 52" that use the same blades. I keep at least 12 new blades on hand at all times and they only cost me $5.75 each versus $12 from Exmark. Again, if I have them on hand, I won't be tempted to cut corners. I don't use fix-a-flat but I do keep a air tank and a tire plugger in the trailer. Same with Belts deck and drive. I can't afford to have stuff breakdown ona job. Customer's don't understand if your equipemtn breaks and you can't finish the job.

husband-and-wife-team
12-16-2005, 07:24 AM
Thanks for the tip Eric.

bobslawncare
12-21-2005, 12:26 AM
Get an accountant!

bobslawncare
12-21-2005, 12:27 AM
Get an accountant!

Darryl G
12-21-2005, 02:09 AM
Wow - This has got to be the longest running active post on lawnsite. For those of you who don't know, Eric ELM, the starter of this post was a great guy who did everything he could for this site and all of it's members. He was always trying to help by passing along what he had learned over the years. I guess it's been a couple of years since Eric passed away suddenly, and I'm sure that I speak for all who knew him that we still miss him greatly. And Im sure he'd be happy to know that he's still helping people in our industry years after he's gone.

For more of Eric's posts, you can go back to the first page of this thread and click on his screen name and click "read all posts by this user." That should keep you busy until spring (Unfortuntely, many of his links aren't valid anymore). And be sure to check out his homepage, which he set up to help field all the questions about his mowing techinques and his Dixie Choppers. Not to mention the pics of his work, which I've got to say is the best I've ever seen.

Darryl

irishgoldcleanups
12-26-2005, 02:26 AM
does anybody out there know where i can look for government assistance finacially?

jim dailey
12-27-2005, 09:54 PM
does anybody out there know where i can look for government assistance finacially?

Try doing a search for the SBA. That's the Small Business Assistance loans of the government. I can't remember exactly where on here, but, I just read a thread on it a couple of days ago. One of the members got the OK from the SBA, and went thru Capital One for the financial end. You could just go online to the SBA site and get whatever assistance you need. Then you just go to your bank for the $$$$$$. Of course good credit and a sensible business plan are musts. Keep us posted and let us know how you make out.

bgusler
01-05-2006, 10:46 AM
Hello,

I'm not only new to the business, but also new to the site. Great stuff! I'm at the stage in my business where I am looking for the right equipment to purchase. Should I consider used equipment, or all new stuff? Also, what should I be looking for when purchasing my equipment? I don't know if I should start out with a rider and walk-behind, or just one or the other. Any insight on good brands? Also, where would be a good place to find some nice quality trailers? Thanks.:confused:

radracer
01-05-2006, 01:59 PM
bgusler;

Welcome to the site you will find a lot of helpful information here. I just started last year but I am happy to help where I can. I chose to buy new equipment mower, trimmer, edger and blower. I didn't get the hedge trimmer when I bought everything else (didn't think that I would need it yet but, I was wrong) so I just picked up a used one later. I chose to buy a 36" walk behind (Husqvarna) because it fits easily through a small fence opening in a back yard where you can't get a z-turn. You will get 1,000 different answers as to what the best brand is but I really like the Husqvarna mower and it came with a really good warranty. Everything else that I bought was Echo brand and I am very pleased with that equipment as well. There is nothing wrong with buying used stuff just as long as it has been well maintained. A really good place to look for used equipment is the Tampa Bay Machinery Auction. They are located about an hour west of you but it is worth the drive. They have a site but I dont know it off the top of my head do a search and you will find it. There are benefits that come with new equip. besides warranty like dealer support. Do your homework and shop around for a dealer near you. When you go there ask questions find out if they have a loaner program if your equipment breaks down and see if they service the equipment on site. If my equip takes more than 24hrs to fix my dealer gives me a loaner. If they seem like they don't want answer your questions or don't have time for you then get back in your car and go to the next place. Make them earn your business. As far as a trailer goes, if you are planning on doing mulch jobs or cleanups you need to get a good quality trailer so dont go for the $599.99 special if you can help it. I would go with a dual axle trailer about12' x 6' if you can. Mine is a single axle and I have definatley put a strain on on more than one occasion. Just having equipment does not make you an expert do your homework read books on lawcare and landscaping and read the forums. I think that the ones that study their business stay in business. When you do start, make sure that quality is job #1 and charge according, if you do quality work the word of mouth business that you receive will surprise you. I hope that this helps if you have any questions you can pm me or email info@acutabovelawnservice.com

Harold

viper00085
01-06-2006, 11:48 AM
on the new equiment, always engage your clutch/belt at 3/4 to full throttle. its all about belt wrap and the spring loaded systems jump to much from not enough power when engaging at lower speeds, some times throwing the belts off. at full speed the belt slips just a bit when engaging and makes everything absorb the load with out jumping. its in all the new owners manuals and reccomeneded by almost all manufacturers.

skidmaster
01-08-2006, 07:24 AM
You have to find the "sweet spot" that your mower will allow the operator to engage the blades. On my scags they seem to have pretty low end, Honda and Kawasaki motors. I start mowers at about half throttle, let them run a bit and then slowly ease them up to full throttle, let them stay there a bit then ease it back down to sweet spot, engage and throttle up. Sounds like a long process but it really isn't. One of my scags has 3300 hours and is asking for more. Be good to your machinery but don't baby it, it's not a baby it's a focking machine!

allprogreens
02-02-2006, 07:05 PM
Always show up on the jobsite w/ all equipment and materials to start and fininsh the job.

You can loose hours and profit by having to go back and forth getting materials.

Work in a millitary/systematic way will save time and money

Chris
All Pro Greens
Visit the "Contractor Section" of our website:
https://www.allprogreens.com/magazine/spring05-home.html

http://www.allprogreens.com/gallery/landscape/big011.jpg

Grass Busters Inc.
02-02-2006, 08:27 PM
Close the gate, customers hate it when the dog runs away:nono:

Aadman
02-05-2006, 12:59 AM
My first post... This thread has been a terrific read for me. I have been lurking and reading. I am starting this Spring (April) providing basic lawn service. I am running the business from my home office. I am retiring from 25 years in the military and opening a one man lawn care show. I've already purchased equipment, gotten some legal advice from a friend (I have to start paying as soon as I open my company) and I begin advertising next weekend. I already had about half of my equipment. The place I bought the rest of my equipment from services all of my equipment including Craftsman. They will give me a 10% discount and return equipment in 24 hours or provide loaner equipment. My goal is to have 20-25 regular lawn care customers providing lawn mowing, weed eating and edging. I will provide additional services like aeration, gutter cleaning, fertilizing and seeding, leaf cleanup to them and other customers. I am looking to do lawn care for contracts. I will give seniors/retirees and deployed military 15% discounts.

What I've learned so far...This is a great site with alot of people sharing their knowledge and experience. Thank you. Besides what I've already done above I've started stocking up on Sun Screen, wasp spray, belts, blades, tools, fire extinguishers and pee bottles...etc....

I cut 2 neighbors yards this fall. I removed leaves from another. Free. I did this to help them out and to get the feel for what it was like doing someone else's lawn/yard. It allowed me to figure time, gas cost etc... It has helped me with figuring pricing. They know I am going into business and there are no more freebies.

This week I went to the Business Licensing Section of my local City to ask questions. It was slow there and they took alot of time talking to me. This was HUGE. I learned alot of do's and don't's for my local area without having to read the entire City Ordnance.

Some examples...I thought I could not apply fertilizer/ grass seed with out a license/certification. I can. In my area if I can buy it off the shelf and disburse it through a spreader I require no licensing. I need licensed if it goes under pressure from water or a tank or is a controlled chemical /pesticide.
This isn't going to be my primary business but it's nice to know that I can do it.

Local ordnance....I can't have my trailer in my front yard/driveway overnight if there is a business logo on it. I must park it in my yard behind the front edge of the house. On the weekends I can tell I am going to have to park my trailer in the driveway for extended periods to do maintenance on equipment.

Local Ordnance...If I have employees they can't come to my home to meet for work.

Local Ordnance If a customer asked I can spread topsoil and mulch without licensing. BUT...IF I do a single job charging more than $1000 then I am a Class C Contractor and have to be licensed. I can put mulch in an existing flower bed or I can create one. Locally IF applying topsoil and I change the grade of the property it has to have city approval and I have to have a contractors license. Again not my primary business but nice to know what I can and can't do.

The week before last I called my insurance company. (Highly recommended that you call and discuss insurance before hand to get an idea of what you will need and who will provide it). As long as my trailer is attached to my truck it is considered part of my vehicle and covered under my present car insurance. The trailer and it's contents are insured. If I disconnect the trailer or take it out of the trailer it is no longer covered. My insurance company does not carry equipment insurance but they will arrange it through a different company.

My Liability insurance covers any damage incurred while I am operating equipment. IF I get off a riding mower to move a bird bath, bench, chair, trampoline and drop it/break it...Not covered. I need different insurance to cover that. I may need to get three different policies. I'm still sorting this one out.

Currently I am waiting for my registration as a LLC to come back from the State. Being in the military I have kept my legal residence in Nevada (no state income taxes, cheaper car tags and drivers licensing). Before I can register my company locally I have to change my state of residence locally. I have to re-register all vehicles, drivers license and I become immediately available for the Jury pool.

I created my own logo and slogan. I made up my own flyers and business cards using power point and microsoft publisher. I went to a local company to get quotes for signs and vehicle magnets and my logo is not usable because of software differences and they want to re-do it. I am shopping around to find someone who can use my design. I have grown to like my design and don't want it changed.

These are some of the many things I learned locally. The point is to go to your local City/State and insurance company and find out what you can and can't do and what the rules are for your business. Look in this site for answers from work experience. I am sure one day I will have a long list of "lesson's learned". Thanks to all who have posted. I hope to be a contributor

Grass Busters Inc.
02-08-2006, 03:46 AM
Thats a heck of a first post:eek:

PSO058
02-23-2006, 04:35 PM
I am new to the landscaping business, but have been in the trades for a long time. One thing to remember, is that if you have signage on your vehicle, or are wearing company logo, you are always advertising your company. So becareful what you say, do and how you driveand where your vehicle is parked (ie. corner bar at noon, strip club etc.), because you never know how many CLIENTS you could been losing before you even meet them.
This is a great site, keep up the great posts.

sheshovel
02-23-2006, 10:43 PM
COMMUNICATE with your client keep in touch with them..ask them if they have any problems with your service.Upsell whatever xtra services you can provide for them..suggest replacing bad or ugly or dieing plants and shrubs..show them low spots that have drainage problems and offer to fix..learn how to repair sprinkler heads and learn how to operate you clients water timers if you have access to them..keep your clients watering on a schedule..and monitor how wet the grass is or is not and communicate any change in watering they need to instigate.
Get to know your clientele.

sniper-308
03-08-2006, 09:21 PM
I would just like to say thanks for all the info.I am new to lawn care and have learned a lot from this thread.:usflag:

howardsells2000
03-09-2006, 06:11 AM
Me too. Lots of good information. Thanks again.

wheebil
03-11-2006, 08:31 PM
I know the work can get tedious so entertain yourself. I bought custom made, in-the-ear, high fidelity speakers from Ear Inc. three years ago. Best $190.00 I've spent. I use them with my MP3 player and listen to my tunes while i'm mowing or riding my Harley. The in-the-ear molds drown out 90% of the mower, blower, trimmer noise and pipe in your favorite songs. I purchased mine at a motorcycle expo.

Lux Lawn
03-11-2006, 08:36 PM
COMMUNICATE with your client keep in touch with them..ask them if they have any problems with your service.Upsell whatever xtra services you can provide for them..suggest replacing bad or ugly or dieing plants and shrubs..show them low spots that have drainage problems and offer to fix..learn how to repair sprinkler heads and learn how to operate you clients water timers if you have access to them..keep your clients watering on a schedule..and monitor how wet the grass is or is not and communicate any change in watering they need to instigate.
Get to know your clientele.

Excellent advise for anyone just beginning.

Freddy_Kruger
03-12-2006, 08:32 PM
Read Brian Tracy Books espcially Goals and Eat That Frog.:)

tknowles
03-19-2006, 01:52 AM
I am just getting started. What is the best way to get accounts? What do I have to offer that my competition does not?

eddie06
03-19-2006, 08:46 PM
hi everyone i want to start my own landscaping and yard service co. will anyone tell me what i need to be leagle with the state.i live in flordia. thanks

jim dailey
03-19-2006, 10:02 PM
hi everyone i want to start my own landscaping and yard service co. will anyone tell me what i need to be leagle with the state.i live in flordia. thanks

Eddie06...I am in Daytona, Volusi County. Here for the winters. Home is Massachusetts. This summer I will return to stay. Want to start up here in Florida. Volusia County, City of Daytona, Permitting, Zoning and Planning Department of City Hall told me: 1. Proof of Liability and Worker's Comp. Insurance, 2. Receipt for the filing of Company Name, 3. Proof of permanent residence. I have done paperwork with these people, previously, as a result of damage that I suffered with my home, here in Daytona. I wanted to do the repair work myself, and as such had to register as a contractor. This is how my experience with Florida's local laws started out. After going thru the process of "pulling" several permits to do the work, everyone got to be "friends". All I had to do was to do things "their way", fill out all of the paperwork that they give you, and, of course, pay their Permit Fees. Then they let you have at it. Call when you are done, and they send the inspector out. He doesn't know what day of the week it is. After this was all done, I applied for the "Handyman's License". That allows you to cut grass and small ornamental bushed, only. BUT, I have to wait until I am a PERMANENT resident. That will be this coming August. FERTILIZATION is a whole other story. SO, go to City Hall, Permitting Department, and start asking questions. Those smiling old ladies will be more than happy to send you spinning around and around with all of the procedures that you are going to have to follow. Bring pencil and piece of paper to write down all of the instructions. And, GOOD LUCK. Let us know how you make out...JIM.

boxsky
03-24-2006, 09:37 AM
Try doing a search for the SBA. That's the Small Business Assistance loans of the government. I can't remember exactly where on here, but, I just read a thread on it a couple of days ago. One of the members got the OK from the SBA, and went thru Capital One for the financial end. You could just go online to the SBA site and get whatever assistance you need. Then you just go to your bank for the $$$$$$. Of course good credit and a sensible business plan are musts. Keep us posted and let us know how you make out.

Email before going the SBA route. There are many things that the banks forget to tell you. I'm in a battle with a bank about their nondisclosureon my SBA.

Don

hawklandscaping
04-12-2006, 11:42 AM
The title of my post says it all. Same question as eddie06 but for the state of Alabama. I've found plenty of info. on the web for Utah, Michigan, Conneticut, etc. but nothing for Alabama. I called the local County extension service and they say all I need is a commercial landscape license for everything- one licenese covers pesticides, fertilizer, planting trimming, etc.? State Department of Agriculture informed me that they don't administer this license exam in the Mobile area till July. Come on! What do they want me to do for a living till then.

Also does anybody have a simple formula to figure out what to charge per project. For example for every hour of mowing, "x" amount should be charged or for other projects, material costs + "x"% Also any suggestions for adding extra income in the winter months.

Thanks
Robert

hi everyone i want to start my own landscaping and yard service co. will anyone tell me what i need to be leagle with the state.i live in flordia. thanks

hawklandscaping
04-12-2006, 12:40 PM
Another quick question,

Can anyone recommend a great computer program for identifying plants. I love the ones on the net in which you answer questions concerning type of leaves (shape, number per stem,serrated, etc.) and then they compute the type of plant you have. However all of those net programs have an extremely limited number of plants so I rarely find a match. I would like to find a program like these but with a much larger number of plants in its database.

Thanks,
Robert

XMT&RCV
04-25-2006, 12:26 PM
My first post... This thread has been a terrific read for me. I have been lurking and reading. I am starting this Spring (April) providing basic lawn service. I am running the business from my home office. I am retiring from 25 years in the military and opening a one man lawn care show. I've already purchased equipment, gotten some legal advice from a friend (I have to start paying as soon as I open my company) and I begin advertising next weekend. I already had about half of my equipment. The place I bought the rest of my equipment from services all of my equipment including Craftsman. They will give me a 10% discount and return equipment in 24 hours or provide loaner equipment. My goal is to have 20-25 regular lawn care customers providing lawn mowing, weed eating and edging. I will provide additional services like aeration, gutter cleaning, fertilizing and seeding, leaf cleanup to them and other customers. I am looking to do lawn care for contracts. I will give seniors/retirees and deployed military 15% discounts.

What I've learned so far...This is a great site with alot of people sharing their knowledge and experience. Thank you. Besides what I've already done above I've started stocking up on Sun Screen, wasp spray, belts, blades, tools, fire extinguishers and pee bottles...etc....

I cut 2 neighbors yards this fall. I removed leaves from another. Free. I did this to help them out and to get the feel for what it was like doing someone else's lawn/yard. It allowed me to figure time, gas cost etc... It has helped me with figuring pricing. They know I am going into business and there are no more freebies.

This week I went to the Business Licensing Section of my local City to ask questions. It was slow there and they took alot of time talking to me. This was HUGE. I learned alot of do's and don't's for my local area without having to read the entire City Ordnance.

Some examples...I thought I could not apply fertilizer/ grass seed with out a license/certification. I can. In my area if I can buy it off the shelf and disburse it through a spreader I require no licensing. I need licensed if it goes under pressure from water or a tank or is a controlled chemical /pesticide.
This isn't going to be my primary business but it's nice to know that I can do it.

Local ordnance....I can't have my trailer in my front yard/driveway overnight if there is a business logo on it. I must park it in my yard behind the front edge of the house. On the weekends I can tell I am going to have to park my trailer in the driveway for extended periods to do maintenance on equipment.

Local Ordnance...If I have employees they can't come to my home to meet for work.

Local Ordnance If a customer asked I can spread topsoil and mulch without licensing. BUT...IF I do a single job charging more than $1000 then I am a Class C Contractor and have to be licensed. I can put mulch in an existing flower bed or I can create one. Locally IF applying topsoil and I change the grade of the property it has to have city approval and I have to have a contractors license. Again not my primary business but nice to know what I can and can't do.

The week before last I called my insurance company. (Highly recommended that you call and discuss insurance before hand to get an idea of what you will need and who will provide it). As long as my trailer is attached to my truck it is considered part of my vehicle and covered under my present car insurance. The trailer and it's contents are insured. If I disconnect the trailer or take it out of the trailer it is no longer covered. My insurance company does not carry equipment insurance but they will arrange it through a different company.

My Liability insurance covers any damage incurred while I am operating equipment. IF I get off a riding mower to move a bird bath, bench, chair, trampoline and drop it/break it...Not covered. I need different insurance to cover that. I may need to get three different policies. I'm still sorting this one out.

Currently I am waiting for my registration as a LLC to come back from the State. Being in the military I have kept my legal residence in Nevada (no state income taxes, cheaper car tags and drivers licensing). Before I can register my company locally I have to change my state of residence locally. I have to re-register all vehicles, drivers license and I become immediately available for the Jury pool.

I created my own logo and slogan. I made up my own flyers and business cards using power point and microsoft publisher. I went to a local company to get quotes for signs and vehicle magnets and my logo is not usable because of software differences and they want to re-do it. I am shopping around to find someone who can use my design. I have grown to like my design and don't want it changed.

These are some of the many things I learned locally. The point is to go to your local City/State and insurance company and find out what you can and can't do and what the rules are for your business. Look in this site for answers from work experience. I am sure one day I will have a long list of "lesson's learned". Thanks to all who have posted. I hope to be a contributor


Semper Fi~

I myself, did my tour with "The Few, the proud, the United States Marines!

If you'd like I can take a look at your logo and see what I can do!

Here is my logo.. http://www.thegreensavers.us the site isn't finished but it will be up by the end of the week!


Tucker~

triophan
04-29-2006, 03:38 PM
Drink more water.

Grassman43
05-01-2006, 10:08 PM
When making a yearly bid on commerical work how many cuttings should I base it on?

racerxgtpro2002
05-12-2006, 11:51 AM
i use only scagg eq,and i have insisted my employs to engage/disengage my eq at low rpms,now some situiations dont allow for this,thats when well greased eq will slow some wear and tear

racerxgtpro2002
05-12-2006, 11:59 AM
my guys are not allowed to leave the shop with out, a walk arround theire truck ,trailer, ect,i agree that spills on streets and cutomers lawns is just un proffesional. i git-r- done fast,reliable,and most of all professional, good habits makes for a good living,and better customers.

scubamower
05-14-2006, 11:38 PM
i ve only be in the bussiness a while but here's a few tips i learned quickly
1 us glasses, i like the yellow tint, makes the green stand out, (have the wrap around cause it hurts bad when you get beamed in the bottom eyelid)
2 even if ur good mower breaks ALWAYS mow the dang yard anyway cause u'll lose bussiness FAST
3 always think before you act b/c stuff can go really wrong really fast

scubamower
05-14-2006, 11:42 PM
make sure ur a master w/ the trailer before you head out b/c if u dont u'll be tryin to back a trailer somewhere and the only thing u'll get are weird looks and kids laughin at u lol

Big-E
05-15-2006, 05:08 AM
Lol!!!!!!!

shaynes0
05-22-2006, 09:39 AM
How about the website, Lawnsuccess.com? I am new to the business, and have so many questions and issues that i want to know about. I found this tool which has tons of topics and information for around $70. Has anyone used this or something like it? And if so, what do you think? Need some advice. www.lawncaresuccess.com/lawncare

Thanks!

FLAhaulboy
05-29-2006, 09:59 PM
knowledge is everything in this business. go buy some lawn books on disease and plant insects. years ago, i had a ortho problem solver book. most nursery's used to have them. cost 250.00. the best book out there for our kind of business. it a huge book with colored photos of the lawn disease and of insects. once upon a time, i used to spray but eventually quit.
Now adays, a potential client will be showing me around their property for an estimate on mowing and i'll stop and show them the spider mites that are destroying their azaleas. i'll explain what this insect does etc and that they need to let their chemical spraying company know so they can know what to spray. this kind of knowledge quickly gets you hired because the homeowner doesnt just see a guy who only cares about just mowing but cares about the healthiness of the whole landscape.

waxhammer
06-19-2006, 04:28 PM
Hi folks! Im new to this site and I think its great. It appears to me that everyone on this site seems very helpful towards one another, it has a real community feel to it. On that note Im wondering if anyone can help me on some thing? I recently purchased a new 36" Wright Stander mower and Im starting to feel that I under size myself. Im new to the buisness so I dont want to make to many mistakes where it ends up costing me alot of money. I also bought me a new enclosed 8'*16' trailer. Im open to any advise you may have to offer. Thank You.

jim dailey
06-19-2006, 06:27 PM
Hi folks! Im new to this site and I think its great. It appears to me that everyone on this site seems very helpful towards one another, it has a real community feel to it. On that note Im wondering if anyone can help me on some thing? I recently purchased a new 36" Wright Stander mower and Im starting to feel that I under size myself. Im new to the buisness so I dont want to make to many mistakes where it ends up costing me alot of money. I also bought me a new enclosed 8'*16' trailer. Im open to any advise you may have to offer. Thank You.

OK, the trailer seems to be a nice size. Now the mower...why did you purchase a 36" machine? Are your yards all small, or was it a bargain price? You can make your customer list fit your machines...OR...you can make your machines fit your customer list. Either way...it is your business to run. Maybe keep the machine for awhile...get your money's worth out of it, then trade up for your next purchase. Hold onto it...it is collateral for your next move. Remember...small backyards require a smaller machine.

alar
06-20-2006, 12:57 AM
Well, as many people have indicated on this message board, I am new to this business as well. I appreciate people being straight forward about many of the do's and don'ts. I know that knowledge is very important, especially if you want your business to grow substantially. I have been looking into some information out there that goes over many details of starting and operating a landscaping company but am not sure which of them are really providing the best information. I wanted to ask if anyone had any recommendations? I have been seriously looking at the Phil Nillson books found at www.nillsonbooks.com. Again, I am looking for recommendations-help please.

alarsen

bzaspel
06-20-2006, 02:10 PM
Alright you guys. Everybody here is real nice and happy with each other sharing all kinds of nice information to help. This is really great stuff and I know all of us "newbees" really appreciate the great advice. But the first thing we need to know is, what are the pitfalls and mistakes not to make. What are the "look out's!" to watch out for? Ya' know, you guys made a lot of mistakes and paid for those mistakes with time, money, sweat, and in some cases blood. So, what's that bad news? What are the things that all of us new guys (and girls) should look out for?

For example: 1. what equipment brand, size, and pricing 2. trailer size 3. commercial vs residential (both or what mix percentages) 4. and the mysterious stuff we just don't know to ask about.

Let's have the dirt on this business as well as all the great hype about how much fun you are having working for yourselves. For example, I talked with one guy that I managed to stop while he was "on the job" and one of the things he talked about was hydration and diet. Some times the sun can be a killer if you're not prepared, and if you've not worked outside before, this might be a real dangerous issue to be surprised with when you come close to passing out.

Let's hear about the rough times?:dizzy:

waffletown20
07-03-2006, 12:41 AM
When making an estimate, if you really mess it up, there is nothing wrong with giving a revised estimate after you've mowed it. I have done this a few times and there were no complaints. Customers understand it can be tough to come up with a price without seeing how long it will take. This is often the case where a customer forgets to tell you that a large area is part of there property. So if you give the wrong price, don't be afraid to correct it.

Also, for bills get order some envelopes with the windows in the front so you don't have to do any addressing.

compton3c
07-10-2006, 09:33 AM
I want to start in business, only have one client, 0ne push mower,weed eater, etc., not too much money, but I'd really like to start in my own small business, so I'm trying, seems as if blindly, to do so. Any help appreciated yet I come not empty handed:

small tip, especially for the small ops--freeze either 20oz or 2 liter plastic soda bottles, and try not to forget to do so like I did this morning, to save money shelling out for bags of ice. It works really well, when the water is gone, or if they are in your lunch cooler, you'll have cold water to drink.

:weightlifter:

Happy clippin's,

*newusflag*

Compton3c

scubamower
07-11-2006, 04:15 PM
What I did was(considering i was in ur position) is go to the people who look like they need it. For instance... fat joe w/ dinky mower and sweatin like crazy.. an older couple people like that. they see that ur a small businiss but want thier yard done. the reason i say small yards is b/c, w/ ur small push mower, work on small yards get money flow. Then after a month or two u have cash to by a big mower(buy biger than u think u need when possible but not somthin out of ur bugget). When getting your mower figure up what u are makin with what u have now. Then set a resonable goal(say an additonal 5-10 yards) if you are going to want to get bigger than u are. with that figure decide on what is best for (do u have the time to care for this mower/equitment, how big are ur yards, is the equitment up too the job, etc.). now ur ready for some big stuff. send out advertisments, (if u can afford it) flyers, door to door, and as an added bounus ur new equiment can bring custmers to u.(or not)

compton3c
07-12-2006, 02:43 PM
Sound advice,

question, what do u do when season gets slow, i.e. winter?

Compton3c

compton3c
07-12-2006, 03:28 PM
I'd like to know what self-propelled mower and riding mower that fits through a standard single gate. I invested in an Echo SRM-261T, I'm happy with it's torque, easy starting and performance.

It's just me right now. I need help learning ways to get customers, estimate and do flowerbeds of which I don't know anything. Going door to door has resulted in a lot of fruitless yields. Your input greatly valued.

Thanks,:

:walking:

Compton3c

Allure
07-31-2006, 11:03 PM
I am a new business owner & i am finding a great deal of useful advice on this thread. Why does it have to get political though.

TheYardBoys
08-05-2006, 12:10 AM
do the best job you can do makes your company look better

qualitylawncarefresno
08-07-2006, 03:13 AM
do the best job you can do makes your company look better
I AM NEW TO THE BUSINESS TOO. I FOUND SOME GREAT INFORMATION ON THIS SITE. THEY GOT A LOT OF EXPERIENCED LCO'S THAT ARE GREAT PRIVIDING INFORMATION. WHAT I LEARNED HERE WAS TO TAKE ALL THE GOOD ADVISE AND IGNORE THE REST. I'VE GOTTEN FLYERS, FORMS, CONTRACTS, ETC. AND ALL THE INFORMATION HERE IS PRICELESS. LAWNSITE IS ONE OF THE BEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO ALL THE LCO'S WHO ARE GETTING STARTED IN THIS BUSINESS. GOOD LUCK!

ghb
08-12-2006, 03:01 PM
any feedback on the ''quick 36's"?

lordmaximus240
09-01-2006, 12:10 AM
quick 36's are taking a bite out of the market share of the big boys. I have looked and havent seen a bad remark yet. I am buyin g one this fall for gated yards

fordsrule
09-01-2006, 04:58 PM
I dont know if this has been said but if the driver doesnt connect the trailer then the driver should walk around and make sure it is connected properly check the lights and make sure things are tied down. Just somethin i was tought during one of the meetings for the auxilary to the fire department. solves everyones problems of having something go wrong whether it be responding to a call with the f.d. or jsut working every day.

lawnpro724
09-04-2006, 05:22 PM
pull out your valve stems on your mowers tires and fill them with tire sealer ( green slime or other ) replace stems and air them back up. There is nothing worse than a flat tire on mower when your out in the field working, if you hit a nail or something else they will seal up all by themselves. Alway's keep a complete tool set with you as well as spare nuts and bolts you never know when you might throw off a belt or a bolt falls off.

Total.Lawn.Care
09-07-2006, 09:38 AM
1, Keep a tow-rope or chains in the truck, for when you dump the mower in a pond or get stuck.

If I had not read this post, it probably would have never happened.

Now I know the REAL need for having the chains and tow rope in the truck, as well as a Comalong, for those areas where you cannot get the truck to to pull it out. Those are going in my trailer today!!!

ASHLEYS LAWN
09-21-2006, 10:58 PM
JOHN DEER has a new cordless impact that works well with changing blades or tires it sells for about 265.00

Cutman007
09-22-2006, 11:28 AM
Great! info & advice, It's amazing how much I forgot in 10 years :laugh:
Thanks to Everybody!!

Landscape Precision Inc.
09-23-2006, 03:55 AM
There is a great deal of info here. Thanks you fellas :drinkup:

BareFeet
10-28-2006, 12:08 AM
Get Slime ..it actually works....i have pulled roofing nails out of my tractor tires and it sealed them right up

gary p
11-08-2006, 01:16 AM
hi, my name is andy, and i am in central texas... for the last 5 years i have been a registered nurse in a cardiac icu... prior to that, i worked in lawn/landscaping from gruntwork to sales... i am absolutely fed up with corporate healthcare and want to start my own lawn care business. i have strong knowledge of what grows around here and how to maintain it... what i am looking for here is helpful resources for actually beginning the business, anything from texas self-employment tax laws to billing, pricing, maintenance schedules, advertising, and sales. i plan to begin my business in spring 2006, and hope to have an iron clad plan for expansion from day one. i want this to be my retirement, my day to day livelihood, and my career. i would appreciate anyone's input... thank you very much
HI ANDY I AM FED UP WITH TRUCK DRIVING IN DALLAS IM MOVING TO THE COUNTRY AND GOING TO GIVE IT A TRY IS IT WORKING FOR YOU SO FAR MY TAX MAN TOLD ME JUST GIVE HIM MY RECIEPTS FOR EVERY THING AND DONT WORRY ABOUT ALL THE POLITIC PART OF IT IM NOT SURE THIS IS HOW I REPLY ITS MY FIRST TIME

BareFeet
11-08-2006, 11:15 PM
if you are really serious get an accountant to help you the paper work and form an LLC...paper work is a big part of any bussiness and it can overwelm you very quickly...be fare with your pricing but dont work for free just because you dont think that you have enogh customers...trust me they really dont appreciate you working cheap and a legitimate bussiness deserves legitimate pricing...you aint no crack head

Idealtim
11-23-2006, 10:31 PM
Great advice for the 20th time!

laylow1994
11-24-2006, 10:15 AM
i signed today for 300/600 lia ins-----total is $416 for the year----4 pay of $100----every two months until paid----CF insurance-google it

where did you get your lia insurance from... i live in brandon florida.... what all does that cover you for......

aclane2000
11-28-2006, 06:52 PM
If you're hire employees, hire guys who know more than you do about lawn care. pay them as much as you can.

Also, if you are not the one doing the actual mowing, you have to realize what a profit margin is.
If you have guys mow a $25 lawn for you, your expenses (wages for travel and work time, gas, equipment, insurence, ect.) when its all said and done might be $20. You made $5. if you increase you price to $30 you just doubled your profit.
Also, you have to realize that yards on the same street are gold. We average 30-50% more PROFIT on yards next to each other. Do WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO to keep these customers. Suck it up. Kiss their feet. Spend extra time every now and then.

One more thing,
Do extra stuff for people that they are not expecting, BUT ONLY IF THEY WILL NOTICE. If its not obveous you need to mention that you did it for them. Pulling weeds in the flower beds is a good example of this.

-andy

cut-1
12-12-2006, 11:21 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for software? ( billing,books,ect...)thank you:

LemkeLawns
12-15-2006, 10:49 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for software? ( billing,books,ect...)thank you:

Im looking at GOPHER. They give you a free trial at gophersoftware.com

CLIP people say its for larger companies. I found it difficult to find a straight forward list of features. Free demo CD offered.

Google "lawn care software"

tjhocraf
12-27-2006, 02:12 PM
I have been in Landscape construction bussiness for 9 years. I have also been mowing lawns for much longer than that. My question for anyone in the midwest is : How should I start my own business? I have little experience in the bidding and business side of the Green Industry. I have been working for someone else for many years, and they don't let me in on the business side of things. Could I get some advice please?

GSMOSS
12-28-2006, 08:59 AM
If you do work in the green industry as a part time job, and you work midnights, make sure;again make sure that you are not too tired to perform your tasks safely. These include driving, operating riding equipment, trimming, edging, blowing, anything that is a part of this industry. If you get sleepy take a break because it is not worth injury/death to anyone to try to make extra cash. That said there are great tips in this forum, follow the ones you already have and implement any that you need and stay safe.

LemkeLawns
12-31-2006, 10:28 AM
I have been in Landscape construction bussiness for 9 years. I have also been mowing lawns for much longer than that. My question for anyone in the midwest is : How should I start my own business? I have little experience in the bidding and business side of the Green Industry. I have been working for someone else for many years, and they don't let me in on the business side of things. Could I get some advice please?

Know a few people, family or close friends, with different sized yards? Ask if they would call 2 or 3 LCOs apiece, thatt lets you know what kind of price is acceptable in your area. Use this as a guide, but these prices aren't set in stone. You have been in the industry for a while and you know about how long it takes too perform a task- BIG ADVANTAGE. Charge around $50/hr per person, if need be adjust the price some to your area.

Young Lawn Boy
01-18-2007, 02:16 AM
i'm just getting started and this helped me tons...thanks yall

rapid_darby
02-01-2007, 11:03 AM
Someone earlier posted this...

"Also, I made a little sign to go on all my mowers that says "DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID." It may sound silly but when you see it six or seven hours a day it does kind of sink in."

>> I start each day when hooking up my trailer thinking to myself... Don't be a dumb ass. I try to think about that throughout the day as I am doing things... putting my cell phone down or tools or layers of clothing etc... somewhere stupid thinking I'll remember it later, Mowing somewhere sketchy thinking it'll be ok, I won't hit that rock or I'll have enough room to not fall off the edge or f*%# up that thing as I go by etc...
- Just think about everything you are doing ALL DAY ...are you being a dumb ass at any point?

So... Rule # 1 ALL DAY LONG - Don't be a dumb ass!

hess
02-08-2007, 11:07 AM
I don't use a pressure washer to clean it i use air compressure to clean it and under the deck i scrap it once a week,change blades every 2 weeks, change oil once a month,clean air filter every 2 weeks etc etc. don't forget the oil mix for your weed eater. 2x4 to help get the blades off so they don't spin. I keep all supplies in my truck box and only i get it in there so i know every thing is in when i need it and it's left on the job site.

ONE I LEARNED FROM MY INSURANCE GUY IS TRAFFIC CONES. IF YOU DONT'
HAVE YOUR TRUCK AND TRALIER MARKED WHEN YOUR AT YOUR JOB SITE AND SOMEONE PLOW'S INTO YOU (PARKED) YOU COULD BE RESONABLE FOR IT. HE HAS SEEN CASES LIKE THAT AND THE OWNERS LOST!! sO KNOW I USE THEM!!!!

JBendever
02-20-2007, 12:00 AM
PRICELESS POST! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences. I feel really good about launching my business in just a few weeks! Because of your help I will be WAY ahead of the curve!

T'S lawncare
02-20-2007, 09:30 PM
Keep fix-a-flat on the trailer

Buy a portable air tank

I swear, mower tires are lined with magnets!

for the sake of the mechanic who has to repair them, don't use fix a flat.

800wildcat
02-21-2007, 06:11 AM
JOHN DEER has a new cordless impact that works well with changing blades or tires it sells for about 265.00

Throw a quick disconnect on your air tank hose and use an air impact. Think that would be a bit cheaper.

puppetguy
02-24-2007, 12:16 PM
Can anyone help me with finding a good business card lay out or comp. to deal with. I'm just starting out this year and want to have a really nice card to us.
Thanks,
You can email me if it is better.
apuppetdirector@sbcglobal.net*trucewhiteflag*

JBendever
02-24-2007, 12:22 PM
Try OvernightPrints.com or VistaPrints.com

puppetguy
02-24-2007, 02:23 PM
Many times you find people who just want a "cheap" price for a "mow, blow and go" job. When I come across one of these I explain to them that the minimum I do is to mow, edge, weedeater and blow the walks. My reasoning is because when I pull away from their house, what the neighbors see that I did is going to be the impression they all have of the quality of work I do. If the job doesn't give the house curb appeal, then the neighbors and others driving by will not think much of my work. The explanation usually works and I get a higher price for my "basic cut". If they don't embrace the explanation and give me the job, I ask them to find someone else because it is my reputation that is at stake when I pull my trailer away from their house.

Thanks Joe,

Very well put. I am starting my very own new lawn care business this season and have so much to learn. This Lawnsite.com is the best thing out there for all of us.:dancing:

nathannc
02-25-2007, 09:41 AM
ALWAYS WEAR EAR PROTECTION,,I know that the sound
of the mower sounds kool to us sometimes, But once
you get Tinnutis it NEVER gos away. there is no CURE...
in cass you might not know what Tinnutis, its also called
RINGING IN THE EARS. I have it in my left ear and there
is no cure for it, (Doc) say no cure for it at this time.
things that could cause it,, loud mowers,loud train horns,
loud backpack blowers,I also work at a carwash in the winter all 5 pumps running at the same time not a good thing. if you think a contsant ringing in your ear or ears
would be kool :-(( then DON'T WEAR EAR PROTECTION
CLARKE OWNER CLARKE'S TOTAL LAWN CARE..NO QUEIT NITES EVER!
I hope everyone takes your advice to heart. That high pitched ringing sound will never, I mean never leave you. I have the same problem except in both ears. If you haven't already, try white noise at night. Also, it has been reccommended to me to try Ginko for a few months.

workinallthetime
02-26-2007, 01:13 AM
Maybe I will get a response in this forum. I am another new guy on the block and thought I had it all planned out until I found this website. I already have a tractor business where I do ok but now I will be going after the lawn business in my area. What do you guys think about a Kubota zd326 diesel z turn with a 60” deck? Should I go with a 72” deck and a larger model? Most of my target area is large 1 acre plus estates in my area so I want something to get it done good, fast, and reliable. What do you guys recommend for a model of blower and edger by Stihl? I have the truck, the trailer and about everything else just need some veteran advice here.
Great site and I hope all your growing seasons last an extra month

digsahole
03-02-2007, 11:15 AM
Hi every one I,am to starting out new this year on my own I have Been working in landscaping for over 20 years for a big nursery but not on my own and not mowing lawns a lot nervous although i would say this is a good start thanks for all the good info all!

proweedeater
03-09-2007, 04:43 PM
Be careful around fence posts, mailboxs and vinal sidding when weedeating. Customers dont want to see their property being destroyed by weedeater string. Dont get to close, if you have to reach down and pull weeds if you think your going to do damage to something. And watch out for windows at all times, you might not even realize you broke one, I've hit them from 40 yards away. Its gonna happen but pay attention and try to minnimize how often it does.

proweedeater
03-09-2007, 05:24 PM
I have seen a few people suggest fix a flat (green slime) as a quick fix for flats. From a mechanics stand point that stuff is a mess and a pain in the arss. If you ever have to replace the tire (which you will) who ever does the work will not be happy. If you must use it though be sure to let whoever changes the tire know, the gas it creates can be explosive. I would just keep a plug kit on board and a air tank or small compressor.

DaughtryLC
03-09-2007, 05:41 PM
I have seen a few people suggest fix a flat (green slime) as a quick fix for flats. From a mechanics stand point that stuff is a mess and a pain in the arss. If you ever have to replace the tire (which you will) who ever does the work will not be happy. If you must use it though be sure to let whoever changes the tire know, the gas it creates can be explosive. I would just keep a plug kit on board and a air tank or small compressor.

I just had to replace 2 rims because the Fix A Flat rusted the rims beyond repair(bought the mower used and ran it for yrs and found this problem when it was time to replace the tires),USE A PUG KIT, It will save u $$$$$ in the long run!!

SongBird LawnCare
03-20-2007, 03:38 AM
eye protection is a must.. ABSOLUTELY...

and ear as well...

:)

dockelly
03-22-2007, 12:20 AM
I have seen several tips regarding keeping blades sharp and quality results, but as a newbie I am interested in hearing more on blade philosophy. Ie: high lift vs gators, blade thickness and ease of sharpening, modified sharpening, double blade configuation etc. Eric ELM has some great pics of these blades on his site but no real pro's and con's on the various set ups. I think it would play a big roll in acheving quality result and the effect it may have on the mower (wear, safty etc.). Any thoughts?

Loyds Lawn Service
03-27-2007, 02:38 PM
Who in here bags their customers cuttings. So I am new to the lawn service and know what I like in my yard, but several services in my area don't bag. Whats the pros and cons of bagging not bagging ?

Dano50
03-27-2007, 03:01 PM
Best tip I can give for the new guy is to use Fluid Film (http://www.eurekafluidfilm.com) for all your corrosion protection and lubrication needs. If you've never tried a can and live within the Continental United States, just send me a pm with a physical shipping address and I'll get a can right out to you. :usflag:

AbsoluteH&L
03-27-2007, 03:27 PM
I have seen a few people suggest fix a flat (green slime) as a quick fix for flats. From a mechanics stand point that stuff is a mess and a pain in the arss. If you ever have to replace the tire (which you will) who ever does the work will not be happy. If you must use it though be sure to let whoever changes the tire know, the gas it creates can be explosive. I would just keep a plug kit on board and a air tank or small compressor.

I just had to replace 2 rims because the Fix A Flat rusted the rims beyond repair(bought the mower used and ran it for yrs and found this problem when it was time to replace the tires),USE A PUG KIT, It will save u $$$$$ in the long run!!

Fix a flat and slime are two different products. Fix a flat is explosive and I wouldn't recommend it. Slime is exactly that green slime, Don't really know what it is, but I know it's sake I have run it in all my stuff for years. Works great, it's not a quick fix, you put it in and leave it in.
I have carried a small tool box and first aid kit from day 1. Spare parts can make a bad day a little better too. Safety is a no brainer, always wear protection ear, eye, foot. Yes FOOT, I have seen some wear sneakers or less. Buy some QUALITY work boots, your feet will thank you!

workinallthetime
03-27-2007, 04:18 PM
Fix a flat and slime are two different products. Fix a flat is explosive and I wouldn't recommend it. Slime is exactly that green slime, Don't really know what it is, but I know it's sake I have run it in all my stuff for years. Works great, it's not a quick fix, you put it in and leave it in.
I have carried a small tool box and first aid kit from day 1. Spare parts can make a bad day a little better too. Safety is a no brainer, always wear protection ear, eye, foot. Yes FOOT, I have seen some wear sneakers or less. Buy some QUALITY work boots, your feet will thank you!

good points !!!!
i dont know if it was here or somewhere else i saw the quote of " you can walk on a wooden leg, pick up stuff with a metal arm, but you cant SEE out of a glass eye.
As for the boot thing thats also important my uncle was mowing about 15 years ago with a yazoo and walked around in front of it to pick up a rock and when he did the yazoo rolled foreward and cut off part of his foot, he walked home and waited for 3 hours for someone to get home to take care of him. he was slightly ******ed and almost died from mowing. make fun all you want but he was actually "slow" and had a 3rd grade education. i do not and will not ever allow my kids or wife to push mow just because of that.
boots and glasses are a must i just bought some oaklys yesterday to wear.

AbsoluteH&L
03-28-2007, 08:23 PM
you can walk on a wooden leg, pick up stuff with a metal arm, but you cant SEE out of a glass eye.
As for the boot thing thats also important my uncle was mowing about 15 years ago with a yazoo and walked around in front of it to pick up a rock and when he did the yazoo rolled foreward and cut off part of his foot, he walked home and waited for 3 hours for someone to get home to take care of him. he was slightly ******ed and almost died from mowing. make fun all you want but he was actually "slow" and had a 3rd grade education.
boots and glasses are a must i just bought some oaklys yesterday to wear.
To make fun would be more than wrong. I'm sure there are plenty of guys mowing that have got injured from doing something stupid, I know a few.
an old neighbors daughter ran up to her dad while he was mowing, she lost the top of her foot. It must suc, she grew up to be a hotty, till you get to the foot.

sulliaa8
04-13-2007, 03:00 PM
Whats the best source for education in lawn care/ landscaping. I'm sure I can figure out the basics but if I wanted to be truely informed what is recommnded? School, books, mentorship?

american dream
04-23-2007, 08:49 PM
guys how do you deal with customers that agree for a 7 to10 day cut sceduale but will then not stick to it. they let it grow to 6 inches then tell you to come cut.any suggestions !!!!!!

american dream
04-23-2007, 08:54 PM
what to do with customers that will not let you cut on time.

IN2MOWN
04-23-2007, 09:00 PM
guys how do you deal with customers that agree for a 7 to10 day cut sceduale but will then not stick to it. they let it grow to 6 inches then tell you to come cut.any suggestions !!!!!!


Raise the price or get new customers.