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View Full Version : Old Pros please lend me your tips on trimmer training :)


RhettMan
02-23-2010, 05:34 PM
I've got a college student doing a little work with me and he's got a great, willing to learn, attitude, I'd like to know how you old pros would train a new string trimmer man.....

I've never trained or used a trimmer man before, I've always done it...

Im scared to tick any customers off with scalping, and gutter spout ringing....At the same time im tired of hustling all day long in the 90'degree with the trimmer!!

Maybe I should just quit trying to be perfect and just let it happen :laugh: how else will he learn?

ed2hess
02-23-2010, 05:52 PM
It takes about 30 days of OJT for most guys. You got to just watch him and don't push him for production in the beginning. Be sure he understand which way the rocks will fly out and not to bump head in the grass.

RhettMan
02-23-2010, 06:11 PM
OJT, enlighen me?

get snow today?

MikeKle
02-23-2010, 06:18 PM
I tried to train this gal who was going to work for me, with a redmax BCZ26, I told her right off, do not squeeze the throttle to fully open, and you do not need that much power in most situations, so what does she do, she gets it up to full rpm and starts digging it into the ground! So I took it from her and showed her how to hold it just above the turf and not to have it on full throttle, I think it just takes some people more time to get used to one. They always want to ram the head into the ground at the beginning? And NEVER try to show them how to "mow" grass with a trimmer until they have mastered trimming!!

topsites
02-23-2010, 06:22 PM
Wear hearing and eye protection, I believe the customer will be as impressed with
a worker that at least looks like they're trying to do it right than anything else,
so while he's trying so hard ain't nobody going to say a whole lot even if it's not "perfect."

Why, because the usual worker isn't like that, not at all.

I'm serious, and certainly you can stop worrying about every blade of grass, I'm sure the customer already has,
I speak from experience when I say workers like yours are hard to find so I would just let the man do his thing,
he'll figure it out in time.

OJT, enlighten me?

On Teh Job :p

RhettMan
02-23-2010, 06:30 PM
thanks for clearing that up ts

Ed, since you are also from texas........in your opinion, what is a reasonable rate paid to a dedicated trimmer man per hour?

I know there have been days when I have said to myself "If I hit one more pile of dog chow im going to throw this trimmer over the fence!" ......and I get the gross $

Merkava_4
02-23-2010, 06:31 PM
Keep the bottom of the trimmer head in contact with
the ground and let it float towards where you want it
to go. Keep it flat, don't tilt it.

Lawn Pawn
02-23-2010, 06:36 PM
I think running a string trimmer is something some people will just NEVER catch on to. I think using one PROPERLY is truly an art.

As far as teaching someone.... I think let them watch you for a while.... then let them try it after some verbal instructions. Run it for a short while, take a break doing something else, then keep going back and forth till they get a good feel for it.

I'm still learning after 40 years. And it keeps getting easier every time. I really enjoy it!

MikeKle
02-23-2010, 06:41 PM
Trimming is an art!! That is what people notice too, they rarely notice the mowing, but if someone has done a crappy job with the trimmer, it is very easy to spot. I can mow small areas with one now, but it took me a few seasons to get the hang of this.

Lawn Pawn
02-23-2010, 06:54 PM
Trimming is an art!! That is what people notice too, they rarely notice the mowing, but if someone has done a crappy job with the trimmer, it is very easy to spot. I can mow small areas with one now, but it took me a few seasons to get the hang of this.

AMEN ! !

I mow a tiny little corner house on a busy corner next a highway. I always trim it up extra special because I'm really proud of how nice it can be made to look. Terrible lawn, full of weeds... really a sad property. But when I'm done it looks great because it's been manicured to the max.

Lady has no money, I do it for next to nothing... but she really appreciates it. It's all in the details... trimming trimming trimming.

yardguy28
02-23-2010, 08:44 PM
I tried to train this gal who was going to work for me, with a redmax BCZ26, I told her right off, do not squeeze the throttle to fully open, and you do not need that much power in most situations, so what does she do, she gets it up to full rpm and starts digging it into the ground! So I took it from her and showed her how to hold it just above the turf and not to have it on full throttle, I think it just takes some people more time to get used to one. They always want to ram the head into the ground at the beginning? And NEVER try to show them how to "mow" grass with a trimmer until they have mastered trimming!!

and you would say what to my stihl dealer who told me once to not baby the equipment run it at full throttle???

the first stihl trimmer i had started running funny after maybe 3 or 4 months. i took it in and the dealer to me it had carbon build up on the exhaust screen. i wasn't running it at full throttle nearly enough. told me to run it at full throttle all the time except when around vehicles and things of that nature.

so what do i do? i run that baby at full throttle all the time. unless i'm by a vehicle or in an area that the trimmer is highly likely to pick up something and cause damage.

Mahoney3223
02-23-2010, 08:49 PM
I've got a college student doing a little work with me and he's got a great, willing to learn, attitude, I'd like to know how you old pros would train a new string trimmer man.....

I've never trained or used a trimmer man before, I've always done it...

Im scared to tick any customers off with scalping, and gutter spout ringing....At the same time im tired of hustling all day long in the 90'degree with the trimmer!!

Maybe I should just quit trying to be perfect and just let it happen :laugh: how else will he learn?

haha if your worried about scalping then forget it! it will happen..trust me..i had the same problem with young guys a couple seasons back..they always scalped, missed stuff, etc. it can really slow your time down and hurt your business. it seems most of today's kids have never picked up a string trimmer before in their life or any other tool..just be patient and show them how you learned....the biggest thing is teaching them to keep the trimmer level so you don't have uneven trimming...and remember trimmer guards are for sissies!

kylecal91
02-23-2010, 08:57 PM
Under normal trimming conditions I rarely run my trimmer at full throttle, my echo 265T has enough torque that I can normally run on half throttle, if I try it at full I end up digging the ground up literally. Also, why do most guys run trimmers without guards? so the line gets longer? I personally won't take mine off cause when I bump the head it cuts nice, even, clean line for me to work with.

1993lx172
02-23-2010, 09:07 PM
First find out if this person has ever run a trimmer before (doesn't matter if it was commercial grade or not the concept is more or less the same) and if they have find somewhere to have them practice while you watch and try to root out any bad habits. Preferably not on a clients yard, find like a field or a park (go during the middle of the week in the middle of the day, less people around) heck even your own yard and correct any problems.

If this student has never run a trimmer before then you can train them the right way the first time without any bad habits or "always did it this way" sort of thing to break them of.

The biggest thing is to be PATIENT, The Good Lord didn't whip up the world in a day and those guys in Rome paced themselves a bit during construction so don't expect perfection within the first ten minutes. Also be positive, don't go off on them if they make a mistake the first few times just make sure they know what they did wrong and see that they watch it a little closer.

yardguy28
02-23-2010, 09:29 PM
haha if your worried about scalping then forget it! it will happen..trust me..i had the same problem with young guys a couple seasons back..they always scalped, missed stuff, etc. it can really slow your time down and hurt your business. it seems most of today's kids have never picked up a string trimmer before in their life or any other tool..just be patient and show them how you learned....the biggest thing is teaching them to keep the trimmer level so you don't have uneven trimming...and remember trimmer guards are for sissies!

Under normal trimming conditions I rarely run my trimmer at full throttle, my echo 265T has enough torque that I can normally run on half throttle, if I try it at full I end up digging the ground up literally. Also, why do most guys run trimmers without guards? so the line gets longer? I personally won't take mine off cause when I bump the head it cuts nice, even, clean line for me to work with.

i'm with you kylecal......

so the line gets longer, i can't see it being more productive and more importantly than productivity to me is safety and it is definitly unsafe.

try explaining to a client or insurance company how that rock went through the window when it should have stopped at the trimmer guard. or come see in after your season is done with and you legs are beat to hell from all the crap that the trimmer is throwing at your legs and mine are just slightly worn.

if its one thing i will NEVER understand is the one's that run with the guards off the equipment.

Triplex
02-23-2010, 11:01 PM
I recall the guy who trained me emphasized the importance of holding the trimmer level. If you're careful to do that, you won't scalp. I think that's the most important point you can get across to a new employee.

LouisianaLawnboy
02-24-2010, 01:17 AM
If you trust them, let them take the trimmer to their house and trim their own house. Next day go over and talk to them about where they made mistakes. If you see a mistake stop them and tell them.

demhustler
02-24-2010, 03:21 AM
just a note - detail: if guy left-handed - what works for you wouldn't work for him (exhaust on the right side) - let him find his own ways (give just general directions, give the guy to cut section, trim and blow-off - to complete job, nice and clean - he will better understand what needs to be done and why)

demhustler
02-24-2010, 03:37 AM
If you trust them, let them take the trimmer to their house and trim their own house. Next day go over and talk to them about where they made mistakes. If you see a mistake stop them and tell them.

good idea

p.s. also might work to ask him - if another rookie can come and exercise how to beet hell out of the siding on his house or beet his young trees with the trimmer...
(if OTJ is-ok, would it be a problem to try it on his own house (or his mom's, or make "favour" to his mother-in-law, etc)?
: )))))

MikeKle
02-24-2010, 11:05 AM
I cant believe a Stihl dealer told you to run it at full throttle all the time? IF I did that, I would have scalped areas all over. That is just too much power for residential trimming that is mostly light. It is never good for any engine to run at full open all the time anyway. And the carbon will still build up no matter how you run it.

green_with_envy
02-24-2010, 01:07 PM
Keep the bottom of the trimmer head in contact with
the ground and let it float towards where you want it
to go. Keep it flat, don't tilt it.



Perfect simple answer for most flat situations in a nutshell. He is correct.

betmr
02-24-2010, 01:16 PM
Start by having him read the owners manual....cover to cover.

pitrack
02-24-2010, 01:19 PM
Tell him it's better if the grass is left too tall compared to too short. Give him a nice shirt to wear, and glasses and tell him to take his time, and try to be as smooth as possible. And obviously to not bump the head in the grass for more string, and that you don't need to go full throttle to cut the grass...He'll catch on.

fiveoboy01
02-24-2010, 02:18 PM
Stress to him that the disc created by the trimmer line needs to be perpendicular to the ground at all times, including uneven and sloping ground.

One of the leading causes of scalping that I've seen(other than banging the trimmer head in the grass to advance the line) is tilting that disc out of level or perpendicular with the angle of the area you're trimming.

There are some exceptions to this, IE the disc should be pointed downwards towards the edge of a bed if you're trimming a bed.

Running the trimmer right-to-left as often as possible along bed edges keeps it from flinging grass into the bed.

LouisianaLawnboy
02-24-2010, 02:23 PM
Trimming is all about geometry.

br549oicu8
02-24-2010, 02:28 PM
Perfect simple answer for most flat situations in a nutshell. He is correct.

That does NOT work for us. We mow between 3 1/2 and 4 inches during the summer here so if you let the head touch the ground you are way too low. My guys have to learn to trim at the mowing height. It takes practice and a good touch. Once accomplished, the entire lawn looks so much better than having lower, scalped areas that stick out like a sore thumb. Not only can you see the height difference, you can see the color difference in the turf as it heats up and gets dryer during the summer.

Marcos
02-24-2010, 02:59 PM
Keep the bottom of the trimmer head in contact with
the ground and let it float towards where you want it
to go. Keep it flat, don't tilt it.

This height is too low for good turf health around sidewalks & driveways.
If a guy wants to do the job right, they'll trim sidewalks & driveways EXACTLY level with the recently mowed turf immediately adjacent to it.

Q: Where do customers & contractors see weeds most in a lawn?
A: Along concrete or asphalt perimeter edges, where string trimming is done.
Q: Why?
A: For multiple reasons- because the soil dries out faster there & tends to crack, because of the higher likelihood of compaction due to vehicle / foot traffic. But the worst culprit by far is improper edging / string trimmer practices stunting the turf, and thus opening the door wide open for viney weeds like spurge, purslane & crabgrass.


Many people in the mowing industry no doubt believe crabgrass pre-emergents like Barricade, Dimension & Pre-M are the end-all answer to aforementioned perimeter weed problems.

This is not necessarily true.

#1- If the turf along these edges isn't satisfactory dense enough to begin with, of course then there's no natural competition in place against inevitable weed encroachment. (Talk to the client about renovation & seeding come July/early Aug)
Even the best pre-emergent out there will do little if anything to prevent the inevitable by mid summer.

#2- If the grass perimeter edge is edged back cleanly & properly just before the spring application of pre-emergent, the likelihood of weed breakthroughs later in the year lessen significantly, IF...

#3- .....during the growing season, mowing crews trim back these perimeters not to the 'nub', but very close to the height of the adjacent turf.
Doing this helps to preserve the 'turf canopy' that provides shade to the underlying soil, thus maximizing & preserving important soil moisture along this plane & lessening the likelihood of potential soil cracking, which of course in general will reduce the overall number of weeds.

:waving:

yardguy28
02-24-2010, 07:08 PM
NEVER let the trimmer head touch the ground. this will trim too short and could risk scalping. if anythin better to be a little high and a little low.

yes running the trimmer right to left will keep most of the grass out of the mulch beds.

Sweet Tater
02-24-2010, 07:50 PM
NEVER let the trimmer head touch the ground. this will trim too short and could risk scalping. if anythin better to be a little high and a little low.

yes running the trimmer right to left will keep most of the grass out of the mulch beds.

doesnt that depend on the moving direction of the string, my first trimmer was counter-clock-wise, now the one I have is clockwise

Rivervalleylawns
02-24-2010, 08:36 PM
I always try to explain it to them as a fan. Keep the head even on the ground like the other guy said. Keep it slow and easy with him. Like wine, they will usually get better with wine.

demhustler
02-24-2010, 09:35 PM
Start by having him read the owners manual....cover to cover.

that's nasty
too cruel (may be just once a day and not loud, as punishment or as last resort....don't forget to check if he memorised it correct (and not skip page or two)

yardguy28
02-24-2010, 10:24 PM
doesnt that depend on the moving direction of the string, my first trimmer was counter-clock-wise, now the one I have is clockwise

yes it does depend on the direction the string is moving. mine have always moved the same direction.

i just know i run the trimmer right to left. i walk backwards with it and it keeps the grass out of the mulch beds. if i walk forward with it all the grass goes in the mulch beds.

Marcos
02-25-2010, 11:49 AM
doesnt that depend on the moving direction of the string, my first trimmer was counter-clock-wise, now the one I have is clockwise

Let me turn this around & ask you the question:
How exactly would the spin DIRECTION make a difference, either way, in the height of the perimeter trim? :confused:

fiveoboy01
02-25-2010, 01:50 PM
He never said it affected the height. He was referring to grass being thrown or not thrown into mulch or rock beds.
Posted via Mobile Device

yardguy28
02-25-2010, 07:13 PM
Let me turn this around & ask you the question:
How exactly would the spin DIRECTION make a difference, either way, in the height of the perimeter trim? :confused:

He never said it affected the height. He was referring to grass being thrown or not thrown into mulch or rock beds.
Posted via Mobile Device

exactly, i never said anything about height. i was referring to keeping grass out of mulch/rock/flower beds. and DOES depend on spin direction.

Weekend cut easymoney
03-03-2010, 12:41 AM
Go find a park or large commercial HOA and let him 'have at it'
He is going to have to spend about 3-4 weeks before he will not mess stuff up--have him work in the back yards--use small cord--or go buy a little wedeater so he don't mess stuff up as bad--
--let him take the weedeater home and mess up/practice on his own lawn--

Weekend cut easymoney
03-03-2010, 12:46 AM
You can always blow the grass out of the beds until he masters the weedeater--the most important 2 things are for him to NOT throw rocks into the glass and to make a straight line when edging --then, not hitting plants or jacking up the trees--then you can move onto other basics like--not reving the engine all the way up all the time, watching out for people and cars--a few rocks in theface will help with this--make sure he wears eye and ear protection--not a walkman and goofy, cool sunglasses