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View Full Version : Please Help. Clipping Problems and frusterated


dvblandscaping
08-20-2007, 11:05 PM
I have been in the business 5 years, and have 30 accounts. I am in the MA area and I run walk behinds, scag 48 older, and a Wright velke 17hp 48" (2005)

My main mower is the Velke, its fast, and productive but I still feel like it doesnt discharge well enough.

I try to cut my lawns at 6 to 7 days, sometimes they get long on my, but never crazy. I often end up cutting 1 inch to 1.5 inches of grass. maybe from 4 inches down to 2.75 inches. I find myself with a lot of clippings and i have to double cut many of my lawns. the mower isnt bogging down, there is just too much grass. on many double cutting doesnt help and I end up bagging.

then I see somone cutting high grass next door with a Z and just discharging in all his glory. I have used about 4 mowers over the years and have always had this problem.

I need suggestions. Do you guys cut more often than 7 days? How would mulching help with the clippings if it can barely side discharge... wouldnt it bog the mower?

i just want a way to spend less time, while continuing to keep my lawns tip top.

I bought my mower used with 100 hrs, maybe there is a fluke in it? I replaced the clutch, blades are sharp, everything seems to be fine... I cant figure it out!

How high does grass usually get before you all start to see clippings? Any help greatly appreciated!

Ill take pics for you all once I start seeing posts. Thanks!

freddyc
08-20-2007, 11:22 PM
I have a Toro proline. In short, if I ran a totem pole over it would discharge it whole.

When doing way overgrown areas its nothing to shoot out 4" clippings. In short, unless you block the chute it will throw anything through there. I can run a plastic bag over and I could still fill it with water afterward. I dont worry about hitting small animals cause it will just displace them to the other side of the property unharmed!:laugh:

If you block up the chute it gives the blades a chance to whack it again. I also think that the overall deck design makes some mowers more prone to total discharge. No idea on your mower though.

T Total Lawncare
08-21-2007, 12:15 AM
I have a Toro proline. In short, if I ran a totem pole over it would discharge it whole.

When doing way overgrown areas its nothing to shoot out 4" clippings. In short, unless you block the chute it will throw anything through there. I can run a plastic bag over and I could still fill it with water afterward. I dont worry about hitting small animals cause it will just displace them to the other side of the property unharmed!:laugh:

If you block up the chute it gives the blades a chance to whack it again. I also think that the overall deck design makes some mowers more prone to total discharge. No idea on your mower though.

:laugh: Yeah I always hate dispacing pets from their homes it's kinda sad.

T Total Lawncare
08-21-2007, 12:17 AM
I have been in the business 5 years, and have 30 accounts. I am in the MA area and I run walk behinds, scag 48 older, and a Wright velke 17hp 48" (2005)

My main mower is the Velke, its fast, and productive but I still feel like it doesnt discharge well enough.

I try to cut my lawns at 6 to 7 days, sometimes they get long on my, but never crazy. I often end up cutting 1 inch to 1.5 inches of grass. maybe from 4 inches down to 2.75 inches. I find myself with a lot of clippings and i have to double cut many of my lawns. the mower isnt bogging down, there is just too much grass. on many double cutting doesnt help and I end up bagging.

then I see somone cutting high grass next door with a Z and just discharging in all his glory. I have used about 4 mowers over the years and have always had this problem.

I need suggestions. Do you guys cut more often than 7 days? How would mulching help with the clippings if it can barely side discharge... wouldnt it bog the mower?

i just want a way to spend less time, while continuing to keep my lawns tip top.

I bought my mower used with 100 hrs, maybe there is a fluke in it? I replaced the clutch, blades are sharp, everything seems to be fine... I cant figure it out!

How high does grass usually get before you all start to see clippings? Any help greatly appreciated!

Ill take pics for you all once I start seeing posts. Thanks!

Yeah and might want to try some gators too.

topsites
08-21-2007, 01:13 AM
Well, look, I don't understand some things...

I would have to guess MA is Maine, and I would further have to guess that up there the temperatures are mild, say 80-85 max, and you are on track with the rain and all that. Because otherwise, what I fail to gain here is how are you getting away cutting grass weekly without burning the stuff to a crisp?

But, so long it's green and growing, I might suggest cutting at 3" for the time being, that's my all-time one size fits all you can't go wrong with it height, I think you're cutting too low.

jsaunders
08-21-2007, 08:05 AM
Ma is Mass.
Try running double blades with gators on the top or just plain gators/mulchers.
When I had a stander I couldn't get it to cut/discharge well. And I tried so many blade combos it wasn't funny.
Double cuttting is sometimes the only thing you can do.:rolleyes:
Joel

dvblandscaping
08-21-2007, 08:16 AM
Ma is Mass.
When I had a stander I couldn't get it to cut/discharge well. And I tried so many blade combos it wasn't funny.
Double cuttting is sometimes the only thing you can do.
Joel

I was afraid of that. I am thinking of selling the Velke and buying a newer Scag or Exmark. Something with a vac...

The Wright just plain sucks with gators, though it is alright for leaves. With gators on it the cut is horrible. Perhaps they just have a bad deck design. There is no baffle insie the front of the deck, otehr than that main front welding. Sometimes my 96 14hp scag with iffey spindles cuts better than it!

Did you get rid of your stander? Its just a VERY productive machine. Even if I have to double cut!

Andyes MA is mass. sometimes I feel like cutting at 4 or 5 days. But simply cannot do it. Any other suggestions guys?

Meg-Mo
08-21-2007, 08:20 AM
Use the MEG MO blades and set mower at 3". Since WE invented the meg mo blades we do not catch or leave any clipping on the turf and no double cutting.

supercuts
08-21-2007, 09:20 AM
sounds to me like your cutting low. 3" is my norm but on some nice lawns im up to 5", 4" is average on the nicer ones. if you clumping, my rule of thumb is to go up higher. be careful too, if you mower has height adjustments they are often not accurate. have 3 Z's and they are all different at 3".

might also need to clean the underside of the deck out more. if its not clean under there, its going to throw less. if you still have clumps of grass, take the blower out and hit the high spots. if you still having problems you mihgt have some lawns that need to be cut bi-weekly. i tell customers in my proposals that they sign i will come bi-weekly for heavy growth

JD657757
08-21-2007, 09:38 AM
Yes raise your cutting height about 1/2 an inch. Also get rid of the gators and try some hi lift blades.

supercuts
08-21-2007, 09:48 AM
Yes raise your cutting height about 1/2 an inch. Also get rid of the gators and try some hi lift blades.

another good point. gators are made to cut up the clippings more so than normal high lift blades. the cons are that it reduces the amount of "lift" the blade makes which gives a worse cut by producing less air movement like a fan. that air pushed like a fan helps push the grass out rather than relying simply on the moving blades the throw it.

grassmedics
08-21-2007, 09:56 AM
WOW you cut at 3", im scalping most yards here in florida if i run that low;) , i have to run 4" on most and 4.5" on a few others.

topsites
08-21-2007, 10:24 AM
sounds to me like your cutting low. 3" is my norm but on some nice lawns im up to 5", 4" is average on the nicer ones. if you clumping, my rule of thumb is to go up higher. be careful too, if you mower has height adjustments they are often not accurate. have 3 Z's and they are all different at 3".

Excellent point, I can cut with my Z at 4.125" yet my Wb is at 3.5" and it's about the same thing from cut to cut, if used interchangeably on the same lawn. I started raising the cut height for more than one reason, as an accidental bonus it sure came in dandy for those few who like to delay me between cuts so it's super tall when I get there, just raise the cut height and there's less clumping and I'm done in good time, that's beside the fact it helps keep it from burning, this alone has saved me countless headache this year.

I've even cut wooooo tall stuff, like calf to knee high at 5"+ and almost no clumping, it seems the taller you cut the more the stuff just disappears into the jungle below, one hates to go but so high but I do what I must do to keep myself from tearing my hair out.

Mass and Maine, not the same but close enough, up north, ok that might explain the weekly thing, just making sure.

Also, absolutely if you're running gators try high lifts, that might fling the stuff out farther and better.

dvblandscaping
08-21-2007, 03:21 PM
Cant quote more than one of you at once... But thanks for the responses!

I stopped using gators, and i do use high lifts. It has been better, but still not optimum. It is a fixed deck machine. Its a pain to change every lawn, so no matter the growth, Im cutting down to 3". Sometimes Im cutting 2 inches off even.

I just cut 10 lawns today, and I tried double cutting while moving the caster wheels up a inch on the second pass. It helps.

Should a new walk behind in tip top shape with a 17hp engine be able to mince that up and throw the clippings? It throws em alright, but they can still be seen, and it looks a bit messy.

Most of the guys around here bag EVERYTHING so I am trying to keep up with the competition in that things must look spotless.

I am currently set at 3" and cut every 6 or 7 days. I may change to monthly billing next year, so I can cut at 4 days if I need to.

Should I expect to see no noticable clippings on top of the lawn while discharging? or is that unrealistic with any mower?

RedMax Man
08-21-2007, 03:34 PM
I'm in MA.

The shortest i cut with my Toro walkbehind 48" is 3" on the "not so thick" lawns. I cut at 3.5" to 4" with the Walker GHS 48" most of the season.

If you do 30 lawns a week definity sharpen your blades at least once per week if not twice during spring and early summer.

Keeping the deck clean on the Walk behind will improved the discharge alot.

Use high lift blades.

My walk behind side-discharges fine and blows clippings at least 4' without clumping. I usually also have the baffle up.

jsaunders
08-22-2007, 08:01 PM
DVB- I see your sign on 119 by the town line/3 or 4 condos. I mow alot down in Concord.

Not everyone bags!!!! I only do it in the spring if ness. and fall. I never had a stander(it was aloaner when my machine was down for a while) I won't buy one.

My hustler w/b floating deck throughs the grass a good distance while the ferris/fixed deck will only put the grass into the next row.

Sometimes us mow guys are alot more pickier than our customers- as I said sometimes double cutting is just what needs to be done- OR get out the blower and quickly go over the lawn and the grass dissappear.

Joel

gene gls
08-22-2007, 09:00 PM
I have been in the business 5 years, and have 30 accounts. I am in the MA area and I run walk behinds, scag 48 older, and a Wright velke 17hp 48" (2005)

My main mower is the Velke, its fast, and productive but I still feel like it doesnt discharge well enough.

I try to cut my lawns at 6 to 7 days, sometimes they get long on my, but never crazy. I often end up cutting 1 inch to 1.5 inches of grass. maybe from 4 inches down to 2.75 inches. I find myself with a lot of clippings and i have to double cut many of my lawns. the mower isnt bogging down, there is just too much grass. on many double cutting doesnt help and I end up bagging.

then I see somone cutting high grass next door with a Z and just discharging in all his glory. I have used about 4 mowers over the years and have always had this problem.

I need suggestions. Do you guys cut more often than 7 days? How would mulching help with the clippings if it can barely side discharge... wouldnt it bog the mower?

i just want a way to spend less time, while continuing to keep my lawns tip top.

I bought my mower used with 100 hrs, maybe there is a fluke in it? I replaced the clutch, blades are sharp, everything seems to be fine... I cant figure it out!

How high does grass usually get before you all start to see clippings? Any help greatly appreciated!

Ill take pics for you all once I start seeing posts. Thanks!

I cut most everything at 4" this year due to all the rain and good growth. If some areas show a lot of clippings on top, I just recut the worst areas going in the same direction as the first cut as not to screw up the lines.

delphied
08-22-2007, 10:16 PM
I'm in MA.

The shortest i cut with my Toro walkbehind 48" is 3" on the "not so thick" lawns. I cut at 3.5" to 4" with the Walker GHS 48" most of the season.

If you do 30 lawns a week definity sharpen your blades at least once per week if not twice during spring and early summer.

Keeping the deck clean on the Walk behind will improved the discharge alot.

Use high lift blades.

My walk behind side-discharges fine and blows clippings at least 4' without clumping. I usually also have the baffle up.


Deck has to be clean. High lifts and sharp. It will help but may not be able to do any better with those machines.

lawnprosteveo
08-22-2007, 11:28 PM
I agree raising the deck will help and also different blade setups. But I will also say, my Z cuts stuff up much better than my walkbehind. I dont know if this is a blade tip speed thing or what. All I know is the stuff that is discharged is cut up much finer from the Z.

grassgirl4
08-22-2007, 11:41 PM
I have the same problem and was actually going to start a thread on it but then read this one!!

Anyway, I need some further insight. Say you quote a customer $40 to cut the grass (this is assuming one cut - not double or bagging). What do you guys do in heavy growth times...when cutting one time leaves the yard looking a mess? Do you just double-cut it or bag it and eat the cost and extra time? Do you continue to cut it just once and then recommend to the customer double-cutting or bagging or mowing 2x's per week when they see it looks poor (at an additional cost, of course)?

We've had over 11 inches of rain so far this August, and things are out of control!! In fact, it's raining now...with more in sight. Not complaining, mind you, I just need to know how to handle this without losing my shirt!! I mow at 3" almost always, but this growth is nuts!! On a couple of my accounts, I bet I took off 3-4 inches of growth this week and last (even without the rain, their yards always grow like banchies!!). I double-cut the one this week because one cut just didn't, well, cut it!! However, do I charge the customer extra for it (they agreed to the one-cut price, not two)?

Please help!! I don't want to be double-cutting for free!! These yards, in actuality, need to be cut twice a week, but do people go for that??

Also, the same problem exists with people who fertilize their lawns all the time. Technically, the grass needs to be cut twice a week - yet they only want it done once a week!! So they save money while I do extra work to ensure their overgrown lawns look fantastic each week? Doesn't seem fair or right.

Any suggestions?

T Total Lawncare
08-23-2007, 12:20 AM
"But I will also say, my Z cuts stuff up much better than my walkbehind. I dont know if this is a blade tip speed thing or what."

A definite factor in dispersment!

fergman
08-23-2007, 01:13 AM
yeah i agree raise the height a little. gators alone wont help any cuz its no good to have small clippings and still just throw them out a couple of feet. doesnt sound like your really cutting off much grass though really to me anyway? i would try gators on bottom and raptors on top or just double highlifts but i dont know if you would have enough horses to make decent speed and keep blade speed high? one thing about cutting the grass a little higher is it will help with hiding the clippings within a day or 2 after you get done mowing. if that isnt perfect enough for you then id suggest trading mowers? to do the best you have to have the best of equipment to be able to do it. but i would think doubles would do the trick

fergman
08-23-2007, 01:33 AM
guys!....:nono: your out there to make money not break even or make 5 bucks. i used to doublecut but not anymore. it works for me and if they dont like it then there always willing to negotiate a solution. MAKE MONEY is the name of the game. when the guy on the z cuts it once and hes discharging and he sees you double cutting he probly looks at you like your a fool. your not dumb though at all. if you were then you wouldnt even be putting forth effort like you are right now to learn. IF you were to imagine this... your going down the road and you pass a house that you worked in so hard to take extreme pride to do the very best you could... then are you more satisfied about the money you made or the great work you done? the old saying is. swallow your pride and count your money. alot of people around here dont even appreciate the extra mile that you go to do the best you can possibly do. then they take your hard work blood and sweat for granted then the first person that comes along and underprices you YOUR GONE . so there you were trying so hard racking your brain beating yourself mentally and physically just to find out it didnt matter as much as it really did. PLUS you probly didnt make very much money while you were there so you lost several different ways. do the best that you can for sure. but make your decision on where to do it wisely. its all about time and time is money. good luck bud. try the double blades and that oughta do it. i sure hope it does.:waving:

grassgirl4
08-23-2007, 05:09 AM
Just got off work from my other job (part-time), and it's still raining...grass is going to be fun later today (that is if it stops long enough for me to cut)!!

grassgirl4
08-23-2007, 08:23 PM
Still looking for insight here...

Recap: What do you do when you've quoted a customer a price (e.g. $40) to cut the grass one cut and then find yourself having to do a double-cut or bag due to the insane amount of growth (to keep it looking good)? Do you eat the extra cost and time, or do you explain to the customer you will have to charge more for the second cut/bagging? Or, do you just continue to cut it once and then suggest to the customer that it really needs to be cut twice a week...or double-cut (at a higher price)...or bagged (at a higher price)?

Please, I need advice. I don't want my lawns looking like crap, but I don't want to be spending extra time and gasoline every week ('on the house'), either...

What should I do????

Wells
08-23-2007, 09:00 PM
Im going to offer a slightly different explanation here about why the mower is leaving clippings behind. I really don't think it has much to do with the blades or the mowing height as much as it does with the "type of grass" you are mowing.

Around here we have a variety of cool season grasses such as Kentucky Blue, Fescues and Rye. The Kentucky grasses mulch wonderfully and leave a nice finished result but the tall fescues and fine fescues are a nightmare. Those grasses tend to fall back out of the mower in small uncut clumps and require a second mowing in order to disperse all the clippings. I've tried various blades and various heights and the result is always the same.

Im currently running doubles and same result on the fescue lawns, my next step is to try the Meg-Mo's and see if we can't get a better end result, I'll let you know.

fergman
08-23-2007, 09:45 PM
Im going to offer a slightly different explanation here about why the mower is leaving clippings behind. I really don't think it has much to do with the blades or the mowing height as much as it does with the "type of grass" you are mowing.

Around here we have a variety of cool season grasses such as Kentucky Blue, Fescues and Rye. The Kentucky grasses mulch wonderfully and leave a nice finished result but the tall fescues and fine fescues are a nightmare. Those grasses tend to fall back out of the mower in small uncut clumps and require a second mowing in order to disperse all the clippings. I've tried various blades and various heights and the result is always the same.

Im currently running doubles and same result on the fescue lawns, my next step is to try the Meg-Mo's and see if we can't get a better end result, I'll let you know.


cut the yard ONCE! then hope they are home. tell them the 3 or 4 different ways you just mentioned AND have a price ready. dont hum haw around like you dont know cuz theyll treat you like a car salesman and try to jew you down. theyll either choose a way and a price or you can drop the yard or they will drop you. if you dont mow there anymore then BE GLAD!!!! you do not want to be out in the boiling heat doing extra work and they are out riding around eating at o'charleys, going to the lake or kicked back watching soap operas. and there looking out the window at you saying POORFOOL. i got some idiot that doesnt know any better than to do this and not hardly make any money. LOTS of people out there are just like that and they will be cuz they can get it even cheaper than what you do it for when the right person comes along. then you will lose the yard and say wow, im glad i got rid of that 1, now they can mow for free. if they dont want to pay for your extra work then tellem that while there somewhere in the cool air havin fun and im out doing YOUR work then im gonna get payed for it

jsaunders
08-24-2007, 11:36 PM
charge extra and let them know in the invoice or in person that the lawn requires extra time /attention to keep up the high standards/quality. The only ones WHO WILL COMPAIN ARE THE REAL CHEAP ONES AND TRUST ME YOU DO NOT WANT THEM!!!
I charge and have for years- the first year I didn't -alot of extra time with no extra pay.
Joel

fiveoboy01
08-25-2007, 12:33 AM
Still looking for insight here...

Recap: What do you do when you've quoted a customer a price (e.g. $40) to cut the grass one cut and then find yourself having to do a double-cut or bag due to the insane amount of growth (to keep it looking good)? Do you eat the extra cost and time, or do you explain to the customer you will have to charge more for the second cut/bagging? Or, do you just continue to cut it once and then suggest to the customer that it really needs to be cut twice a week...or double-cut (at a higher price)...or bagged (at a higher price)?

Please, I need advice. I don't want my lawns looking like crap, but I don't want to be spending extra time and gasoline every week ('on the house'), either...

What should I do????

Simple.

If the lawn is healthy, and the customer maintains it very well, charge more per cut.

If you have to double-cut it, fine. You generally will get a couple skips certain parts of the year to make up for it.

Your higher price is quoted so that you can make the lawn look good in ALL conditions, not just the ideal ones. If they don't go for it, then they pay for the LCO who won't double cut during times like these, and leaves with the lawn looking like garbage.

M&SLawnCare
08-25-2007, 12:52 AM
^ Exactly what i do. I charge enough to do a good job regaurdless of the conditions. In the sprind/fall i might make a bit less per hour because of the extra work needed, but in the summer when the grass slows down i make up for it.

grassgirl4
08-25-2007, 12:56 AM
Thanks to everyone for your input...helps solidify what I had been thinking but was uncertain as to what most in the industry do. I didn't think it was fair for me to have to 'pick up the slack', so-to-speak, when a customer's lawn got out of control, but I wanted to be sure I wasn't the only one thinking that way :)

Thanks again!!

Alta Lawn Care
08-31-2007, 07:31 AM
I've had clipping problems with my JD Quiktrak this year and have had to doublecut many times and blow off acreas of lawn. My competition has solved the problem and I am envious--they buy Bobcats. Bobcat has perfected its deck and clippings disappear. They also stripe like none other--with no striping kit. I want one but they are so expensive--$10,000 compared to $4,700 I paid for mine new a couple years ago. It takes a lot of hours double cutting to make up $5 grand. . .

Charles
08-31-2007, 08:27 AM
WE have too many low ballers around here to take a hard line stance with picky customers. You leave a mess and they will quickly find a lco who will bag it 10$ cheaper than you were just cutting it for:rolleyes:

fergman
08-31-2007, 09:30 AM
WE have too many low ballers around here to take a hard line stance with picky customers. You leave a mess and they will quickly find a lco who will bag it 10$ cheaper than you were just cutting it for:rolleyes:

have you tried doing it??? if you havent then you may have a mistaken certainty. the phrase "mistaken certainty" means. something you are SO CERTAIN that something is a fact or you bieleve something is true or is a certain way. there are tons of mistaken certaintys in everyones life. you cant just stand around and look at everyone and see what there charging and assume that they will switch to the other guy. thats what i like about envy. he takes time to test and then when he figures out something doesnt work he goes with it. then if some factors change with equipment then he acknowledges it then takes time to reconsider what he was doing that didnt work before and try it again just to see if it works then or just to make sure that he was right the first time. which is taking out all mistaken certaintys.

Charles
08-31-2007, 09:42 AM
have you tried doing it??? if you havent then you may have a mistaken certainty. the phrase "mistaken certainty" means. something you are SO CERTAIN that something is a fact or you bieleve something is true or is a certain way. there are tons of mistaken certaintys in everyones life. you cant just stand around and look at everyone and see what there charging and assume that they will switch to the other guy. thats what i like about envy. he takes time to test and then when he figures out something doesnt work he goes with it. then if some factors change with equipment then he acknowledges it then takes time to reconsider what he was doing that didnt work before and try it again just to see if it works then or just to make sure that he was right the first time. which is taking out all mistaken certaintys.

Yes. I know this for a certainty. I wasn't just speculating. A customer these days doesn't even have to look in the ad section. He or she will usually see many LCO's per subdivision and some of them will have baggers on their mowers. If they are really unhappy with clippings then they have plenty of opportunity to find someone else and I have seen it happen

naturescape
08-31-2007, 09:50 AM
Yes. I know this for a certainty. I wasn't just speculating. A customer these days doesn't even have to look in the ad section. He or she will usually see many LCO's per subdivision and some of them will have baggers on their mowers. If they are really unhappy with clippings then they have plenty of opportunity to find someone else and I have seen it happen

You need to explain the benefits of leaving clippings so the customer understands. There really is no benefit to taking them away.

As far as too many clippings being a problem, try doubles first.

fergman
08-31-2007, 11:20 AM
what kind of mower are you mowing with?

fergman
08-31-2007, 11:31 AM
i dont understand why your not trying double blades. all i do is put 2 blades together in a plus sign and bolt them on. no brackets or anything. one of the blades MIGHT need to be a gator blade on top from the sound of your situation. otherwise probably 2 highlifts. i use a bolt thats a quarter of an inch longer than the original one. but i dont think that you HAVE to. if you use the longer bolt then switch back to single blades (i dont think youll want to:) ) then MAKE SURE you use the shorter bolt with them. you dont want the bolt going too far up into the spindle because it might get stuck and not come out.

joshco84
08-31-2007, 02:15 PM
if it is a nice yard, (especially if watered) mow no lower than 3.5. I reserve three for my yards that dont grow well or are thin. And i never ever ever ever go lower than three. i believe your problem is just mowing too low, wayyyy to low. by the way this is on fescue, bermuda and weeds in kansas just for comparison.

josh