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View Full Version : SERIOUS problems cutting fenced yards, Please Help!!!


GKchris311
05-14-2010, 09:06 AM
So up to this year we have been lucky to have no residential customers with fenced in back yards. This year we have 3, and of course our 52in Ferris and 52in Exmark won't fit through the gate so we have been mowing them with our Cub Cadet CC98M push mower. The problem is, these lawns are fertilized and well taken care of, and they grow 4-5 inches a week so when I show up the grass is so tall that my push won't cut through it without bogging down and giving me hell. Also, if their is the slightest bit of moisture (2 of the yards are in full shade) the have to AT LEAST be double cut. Once this year I cut the yard 3 times and still had to go through with the string trimmer to hit a few missed spots. So my question is, what do you guys use to take care of fenced in back yards? Is a high end push mower with more power the answer? Or should I be thinking about one of the smaller walk behinds, maybe 18hp motor, that I can still fit through the gate? Definetly trying to spend as little as possible, but I also want quality so I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks!

Schuley
05-14-2010, 09:24 AM
I'd look into getting a 36" stander or walk behind and stick a grass catcher on it. Works great for me! More HP than your mower. You can get small walk behinds with 15hp engines that won't have a problem, and i Know the Grandstand with a 36" deck has a 18hp engine.

MikeKle
05-14-2010, 09:27 AM
IF any of these yards are chain link fences, heres what you do, find a spot with nothing on either side of the fence, and near an end post, unbolt the 3 bolts that hold tension on the fence and slide it back, you can now take a large WB under the top rail! This has saved me lots of times, but just make sure you put the fence back before you leave. Normally you cant get it as tight as it was, so I just use some chain and quick connect pin to secure it back, most of the time, the customer doesnt even notice, or doesnt care that I do this. Good luck.

Robert Pruitt
05-14-2010, 09:31 AM
had the same problem a few years back. first pass used only half of deck, then cut different direction with full width. this was a small back lawn.

dolt
05-14-2010, 10:23 AM
Mowing twice a week not a option for a reduced rate ? that way you not double cutting, but make a bit extra money even if its $10 extra for cutting twice a week,rather than battling in long grass and double cutting , time wise may be the same but your making extra $10 and getting the finish your looking for .Maybe an option until you get diff mower to tackle this.

whosedog
05-14-2010, 10:36 AM
I bought a used 32' bobcat 12hp for $600 just for those gates;works great,put a velkie on it .I don't push mow anything anymore;if it has to be push mowed I pass on it.

GKchris311
05-14-2010, 11:24 AM
IF any of these yards are chain link fences, heres what you do, find a spot with nothing on either side of the fence, and near an end post, unbolt the 3 bolts that hold tension on the fence and slide it back, you can now take a large WB under the top rail! This has saved me lots of times, but just make sure you put the fence back before you leave. Normally you cant get it as tight as it was, so I just use some chain and quick connect pin to secure it back, most of the time, the customer doesnt even notice, or doesnt care that I do this. Good luck.

All 3 that I have right now are vinyl and wood, and I'm mowing in a high end area where chain links are extremely uncommon. Thanks for the tip though!

MrRob
05-14-2010, 11:46 AM
dual hydro ferris 36. well worth the money spent.

fredmullegun
05-14-2010, 12:04 PM
sounds like your mower is underpowered.

buttaluv
05-14-2010, 12:20 PM
I finally bought a used Encore Hydro 36...got tired of fighting it, even if you lose that yard, another one will pop up and you'll need it. Money well spent

Darryl G
05-14-2010, 12:32 PM
For the life of me I can't understand why homeowners put up such narrow gates. I don't have any sizable fenced areas at the moment but I have in the past. What I have done (with approval from the property owner) is to modify a fence panel so that it can be lifted off and set aside. There are a number of ways to do this, one being slotted latches like they use on some stakeside truck panels and another using fence gate hinge pins. Or even a few wood screws and a drill driver, depending on the fence. A trip to your local hardware store and a little head scrathing is usually all that is required. Well worth the effort in my opinion.

mbrew
05-14-2010, 01:00 PM
Do you guys find that a 36" will fit through most gates?

Thanks,
Mike

dougdm
05-14-2010, 01:07 PM
I purchased a used 32' Exmark Metro for that very reason, it works great and if I get a fence removal job, it works great for a brush hog if needed. you could find a good used one for around 15-$1800.

Dixie Landscaping
05-14-2010, 01:59 PM
get a quick 32" or quick 36". They are made by better outdoor products in NC They are very good mowers.

A 36" will make it though most wood gates, but will not go though all chainlink gates.

MarcSmith
05-14-2010, 02:16 PM
first- don't bid gated yards or bid them for the proper amount of labor time....:) I solved the problem by installing 60" gates Customer paid for the materials and I did the labor for free took about an hour. Most people won't mind a larger gate, and materials are only about 50 bucks. If they balk at the price of the materials, then you can tell them that you will need to raise their prices at the next go around.

But you bid the yards knowing that they had a gate... so you are kind of in a pickle.

In future contract bids, I priced in a new gate and added verbiage to the contract that allowed to me install a gate at No charge...

All_Toro_4ME
05-14-2010, 02:46 PM
For the life of me I can't understand why homeowners put up such narrow gates..

Yea, it blows my mind as well. I have one customer whose fence is a brick wall. It starts at his neighbors property line and runs all the way to the house. It's the same way on both sides. There's only one small gate area that has an iron gate/door to access the backyard. Total width is about 30-32". His backyard is about 1.5 acres.

MarcSmith
05-14-2010, 04:59 PM
For the life of me I can't understand why homeowners put up such narrow gatesIts kind aof liek folkd who build a small garage. come on the garage is the cheapest room in the house. make it big enough. it really doesn't cost any more to put a 72" gate as opposed to a 36" gate. but people do it all the time...

albhb3
05-14-2010, 05:19 PM
offer a service to widen the gate for the customers

ed2hess
05-14-2010, 09:28 PM
Its kind aof liek folkd who build a small garage. come on the garage is the cheapest room in the house. make it big enough. it really doesn't cost any more to put a 72" gate as opposed to a 36" gate. but people do it all the time...

Homes are built 12' apart and AC units are 3' for each so 12'-6'= 6' left for each ownowner thus the 36" gate. Us folks in Texas don't want people to build on these huge lot like up north. Oh they can do it but they tax the ups out of them.

Darryl G
05-14-2010, 09:39 PM
OMG, 12 feet apart. May as well live in an apartment! I'm in a 1/2 acre zone and it's a 2 acre zone just north of me. But city water isn't available everywhere and there's no city sewage, so you need bigger lots for proper sanitation.

MikeKle
05-14-2010, 09:47 PM
I have convinced the few customers that have vinyl and wood fences with small gates to get a bigger gate, I told them to get a 5ft gate and they actually paid me to install it, I was so happy as it will save me so much time! You could even offer to replace their gate with a larger one for free, they just pay for materials, even though you are offering the work for free, it will still save you time in the long run, so it is well worth it! If you talk to them , most customers will understand and put up a bigger gate, you could also mention how much better the cut quality is with a commercial mower versus a 21" pusher.

mbrew
05-14-2010, 09:49 PM
It can be a mixed bag here in Texas. I'm on the S. side of Ft. Worth and within 5 miles of me are many lots like ed2hess talks about, as well as many properties that go from 1 to as much as 70 acres. It's driving me crazy trying to judge what type of clients to go after and thus what equipment to buy.

Mike

sdk1959
05-14-2010, 11:51 PM
So up to this year we have been lucky to have no residential customers with fenced in back yards. This year we have 3, and of course our 52in Ferris and 52in Exmark won't fit through the gate so we have been mowing them with our Cub Cadet CC98M push mower. The problem is, these lawns are fertilized and well taken care of, and they grow 4-5 inches a week so when I show up the grass is so tall that my push won't cut through it without bogging down and giving me hell. Also, if their is the slightest bit of moisture (2 of the yards are in full shade) the have to AT LEAST be double cut. Once this year I cut the yard 3 times and still had to go through with the string trimmer to hit a few missed spots. So my question is, what do you guys use to take care of fenced in back yards? Is a high end push mower with more power the answer? Or should I be thinking about one of the smaller walk behinds, maybe 18hp motor, that I can still fit through the gate? Definetly trying to spend as little as possible, but I also want quality so I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks!

You might want to consider one of these. See link below. I know it's not rated commercial but you stated you only had a few fenced yards to do and did't want to spend too much. A Gravely commercial one about this size would be more twice the price.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07128987000P?vName=Lawn+%26+Garden&cName=Riding+Mowers+%26+Tractors&sName=View+All&prdNo=9&blockNo=9&blockType=G9

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
05-15-2010, 01:43 AM
just sold my toro 32 and am kicking myself cuz i picked up a lawn with an abnormally small gated bckyard. i now have the same problem as u. i have a 36 and a 48. i thought the 36 would fit thru it when i picked up the account. i now beat myslef up as i let go of my 32 when i could have kept it. the 36 fits thru ALL other gates i have encountered tho. my area has alot of gated backyards and dog fences too. and u dont even need a 18hp. the toro 32 had a 13hp kawi and could cut thru the best of em lol

blakerugg
05-15-2010, 01:52 AM
if i were you i'd get a new or used metro 32 or 36, whichever u prefer. awesome machine for the money, if youre buying new, try and find a leftover, i got a great deal on mine.

Camo Lawn
05-15-2010, 02:59 AM
Toro 32" is all I use! I have about 55 yards goes thru every gate! I love it !!I have a bag to use on my well taken care of yards. Not crazy about its design but it works well.

lawnboy dan
05-15-2010, 08:31 AM
me too! the toro 32 has its place in this biz and getting tru gate is it! love mine

ShooterK2
05-15-2010, 09:03 AM
I have convinced the few customers that have vinyl and wood fences with small gates to get a bigger gate, I told them to get a 5ft gate and they actually paid me to install it, I was so happy as it will save me so much time! You could even offer to replace their gate with a larger one for free, they just pay for materials, even though you are offering the work for free, it will still save you time in the long run, so it is well worth it! If you talk to them , most customers will understand and put up a bigger gate, you could also mention how much better the cut quality is with a commercial mower versus a 21" pusher.

Huh? Cut quality is BETTER with a big mower than a small one? I couldn't disagree more. I use my Honda 21" every chance I get. It leaves a great cut, almost never scalps, and never, EVER tears up the turf when turning, even when wet, on a hill, whatever.

That being said, if a backyard is large enough to warrant the use of something bigger, I'll use my Cub Cadet Z-Wing 48". It fits thru tighter gates than my Scag 36".

MOW ED
05-15-2010, 09:19 AM
How big is your narrowest gate? Your options are,1 control the fertilization,2 get a mower that will fit in the narrowest gate,3 mow with your 21 walk behind or 4 get 2 or 3 21" walk behinds to do it quicker. I like options 1 and 2.

BCL Services
05-15-2010, 10:14 AM
push mow, what is that?

Jason Rose
05-15-2010, 12:44 PM
push mow, what is that?

haha, my thoughts exactly. Closest I come usually is with my 33" walk behind, and that's only on mondays and fridays for small gated back yards. That's both small, with a small gate, lol.

Worst gate situation I have now is a customer with about 15,000 sq ft in the back that I can only get the 42" walker into. Sure it's riding, but good lord I about fall asleep mowing that big thing with the little machine. Only thing that keeps me awake is that it's chock full of holes to fall into :dizzy:

ShooterK2
05-15-2010, 01:03 PM
push mow, what is that?

The term "push mow" is usually used to describe mowing with a 21" mower. Most folks don't take into account that these mowers are usually self-propelled, so they don't actually have to be "pushed...."

I love the yards that need to be mowed with the 21". I have several of them, and I take a full two days of the week doing them. Not only does the 21" use a fraction of the fuel of my bigger mowers, but I can leave the trailer at home those two days, saving even more fuel, wear and tear and truck and trailer, as well as hours and wear on the mowers that are not in use! I'd much rather rack up hours on a 21" mower, which is less than $1,000 to replace, than on a bigger, more expensive mower, with many more parts to break.

whosedog
05-15-2010, 01:39 PM
The term "push mow" is usually used to describe mowing with a 21" mower. Most folks don't take into account that these mowers are usually self-propelled, so they don't actually have to be "pushed...."

I love the yards that need to be mowed with the 21". I have several of them, and I take a full two days of the week doing them. Not only does the 21" use a fraction of the fuel of my bigger mowers, but I can leave the trailer at home those two days, saving even more fuel, wear and tear and truck and trailer, as well as hours and wear on the mowers that are not in use! I'd much rather rack up hours on a 21" mower, which is less than $1,000 to replace, than on a bigger, more expensive mower, with many more parts to break.

The parts on my body are much more painful and expensive to replace than any mower.I'd much rather spend more on extra fuel for my riders,and end up less tired,when I was 20, I could push that 21" all day;now that I'm close to 60;if I can't ride ,I don't do it.You can repair equipment easily,body parts sometimes but not always.Stairs or gate smaller than my 32" Bobcat, I let it go,or give it to my 22 year old twins if they want it.

Hell on Blades
05-15-2010, 02:28 PM
Get a 34-36" commercial mower. It's the only way to go.

twcw5804
05-15-2010, 03:31 PM
Didn't OP say this was for a small amount of yards like less than 5. Go buy a used walk behind keep your cost down. Spend maybe $1000. Measure gates to see if you can go 36'. If you like spending money buy a new WB.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
05-23-2010, 09:59 PM
The term "push mow" is usually used to describe mowing with a 21" mower. Most folks don't take into account that these mowers are usually self-propelled, so they don't actually have to be "pushed...."

I love the yards that need to be mowed with the 21". I have several of them, and I take a full two days of the week doing them. Not only does the 21" use a fraction of the fuel of my bigger mowers, but I can leave the trailer at home those two days, saving even more fuel, wear and tear and truck and trailer, as well as hours and wear on the mowers that are not in use! I'd much rather rack up hours on a 21" mower, which is less than $1,000 to replace, than on a bigger, more expensive mower, with many more parts to break.

ur crazy man. im 25 and in alright shape, but i try to stay away from ANY lawns that have alot of push mowing involved. push mowin sux and its way too time consuming. maybe ive just had my fair share as i worked for a 3-crewed company on cape cod and all he had was 21" honda commercial push mowers. dumb as hell if u ask me. ur wasting so much time using that dinky little mower. but if time doesnt matter to u...then so be it.

ShooterK2
05-23-2010, 10:17 PM
ur crazy man. im 25 and in alright shape, but i try to stay away from ANY lawns that have alot of push mowing involved. push mowin sux and its way too time consuming. maybe ive just had my fair share as i worked for a 3-crewed company on cape cod and all he had was 21" honda commercial push mowers. dumb as hell if u ask me. ur wasting so much time using that dinky little mower. but if time doesnt matter to u...then so be it.

I don't know what size lawns you're mowing, but my average is around $35 per lawn, and they take my solo operation approximately one hour to complete, give or take a few minutes.

If I can save $20 a day by using less fuel in the small mower, compared to the big one, combined with NOT dragging my trailer everywhere, as well as wear and tear and hours/mileage on truck/trailer/equipment, that is the profit margin from TWO $35 lawns. And it only costs me MAYBE one lawn a day to use the 21" instead of the Z. On a day where I may be doing 8 lawns with the Z, I may only cut 7 with the Honda. Obviously, trimming/edging/blowing takes the same amount of time no matter what mower is being used. Actually, now that I think about it, trimming is quicker when using the 21" because I can MOW many places that I can't with the Z. So, the way I figure it, on the residential houses, I make MORE money with the 21" than with the Z.

But if money doesn't matter to you, then so be it.

mdlwn1
05-23-2010, 10:25 PM
I didnt think this was actually a real thread......"I have to get from my room to the front door"...What do I do?

ShooterK2
05-23-2010, 10:29 PM
I didnt think this was actually a real thread......"I have to get from my room to the front door"...What do I do?

Buy a zero-turn......

Creative Cuts
05-23-2010, 11:04 PM
split the cost of a bigger gate with them

RBatten
05-23-2010, 11:23 PM
Had the same problem and bought a 36" stander. Now I wish I had saved the money and bought a nice hydro WB. The stander is great, but here in FL it tends to leave ruts. I have to change my mowing pattern week to week. Not a big deal but annoying. Get a nice hydro and you will find that you will use it more than you think. Some of those yards you are using big mowers on you will find its actually faster to use the 36. Less trimming faster mowing in tighter spots. They really are very nice to have.