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View Full Version : Need some in put on LARGE weed whacking job


KYMan
01-22-2013, 02:17 PM
I am putting in a bid at a local factory but need some input from you guys first. The whole property is 9 acres....2 acres of it is hillside that is not only too steep too mow but also too rough with rocks and wash outs. The maintenance manager has already expressed his desire to have it mowed but it's just not possible. He wants it mowed/trimmed down 2-3 times a year. So not only would the incline and roughness make it impossible, you would be crawling in 3 foot high weeds.

How long would it take you guys to weed whack a 2 acre hillside? I just got done measuring this ditch that I do a couple times a year and it is 4000 sq/ft and it takes me an hour. At that rate, that's a 22 hour job. I think charging for those hours will cause me to lose the bid. Should it be fewer hours or more? Just wondering how fast you guys can do it.

THORNTON SERVICES LLC
01-22-2013, 02:30 PM
Sounds like your customer is throwing the book at you for wants and just seeing what all they can get out of you. You will need help with this trimming job and you should bill for your time , if you are a solo op and cannot get help , you may have to break the trimming into sections and do it in the evening throughout one week , break it into 3 or 4 sections and do it this way if you really want the account and can get the money to justify 4 trips to a site other wise 4 guys on a trimmer one visit , But regardless how you actually physically do it , time is money and if they will not pay have them get some one else , my opinion at least , these big trimming accounts can really make you miserable and sometimes are better to just walk away from them if you can't get the money for them. I would try to break up the bid , one for the mowing job you actually want then the hillside this gives them the option to hire you for one and not the other if budgett does not permit. just my opinion though , hope it helps.

LandFakers
01-22-2013, 02:30 PM
Well I have never done a job that big for weed whacking, but if you can do 4000sq in an hour, you have to factor in refuel time and everything else. If its going to take you 22 hours then bid it at 22 hours. Don't lessen your rate just to get the work

highlander316
01-22-2013, 02:40 PM
how steep exactly? We do one twice a year. It's just over an acre. At some parts, it's so steep that you are almost guaranteed to slip down. During the first whacking in late June, all the foliage is thick and growing (loaded with water, and about 60-70% of the area has an underlying ground cover of poison ivy). It takes longer to cut. Takes two guys about 6-6.5 hours. During the second whacking in mid-late November, most everything is dead/dormant so it goes faster. Closer to 4-4.5 hours. The key is whack it as low as possible each time, makes it easier on following whackings.

frady5454
01-22-2013, 02:43 PM
I have a property similar to that one and it takes a four man crew about 4.5 hours to do the job. Really steep terrain and we only weed eat it 4 times a year. The bank that we do is 2 acres as well. The spring cut is the worst and takes a tad bit longer.
Hope that helps

KrayzKajun
01-22-2013, 02:46 PM
Sub it out and get someone to spray it.
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rlitman
01-22-2013, 02:52 PM
Not that I know anything about this (I'm the first to admit when I'm out of my element), but wouldn't a power scythe make the job easier/faster? Just tossing up an idea. . .
I'd go at it with my angled pole hedge clippers. It won't chop up all the growth, just lays it down, but you can cut down a whole lot more than a string, in a whole lot less time.

Swampy
01-22-2013, 02:56 PM
Use a brush cutter head on the end of a heavier weed eater, the String just won't cut it you'll go threw a ton and not get very far vs just using a blade which will be faster.

The few brush cut jobs I did do, I was at about 45/hour, and the KM 90 did good threw the fleshy green material and the extremely soft woods (sumac's) but kind of struggled with harder wooded material (buckthorn, black walnut, and black locust).

KYMan
01-22-2013, 03:11 PM
Yeah I know I'll be using a brush cutter head as string would just be wasting my time. By the several responses that I have already read, so....20-22 hrs is actually a pretty good estimate on how long it will take then.. And I just bought a new FS100 too dangit. Won't be able to use it b/c it won't accept a blade. I'll get a new FS110 too I reckon....may sell the 100...has less than 4 hours on it probably.

Never thought about the spraying but wouldn't that lead to erosion? I also have a pull behind mower for my ATV that I have considered using but at such a slow speed given the height of the grass, I don't think it would hold the hill going upwards, definitely not across the hill....flip over in a heartbeat.

grandview (2006)
01-22-2013, 03:32 PM
Sell a trimming job,then sell them a growth regulator app.

Mickhippy
01-22-2013, 05:44 PM
Yeah I know I'll be using a brush cutter head as string would just be wasting my time. By the several responses that I have already read, so....20-22 hrs is actually a pretty good estimate on how long it will take then.. And I just bought a new FS100 too dangit. Won't be able to use it b/c it won't accept a blade. I'll get a new FS110 too I reckon....may sell the 100...has less than 4 hours on it probably.

Never thought about the spraying but wouldn't that lead to erosion? I also have a pull behind mower for my ATV that I have considered using but at such a slow speed given the height of the grass, I don't think it would hold the hill going upwards, definitely not across the hill....flip over in a heartbeat.

If your going to get a brush cutter, get something thats at least 45cc! That way you can load heavy line on it for other jobs. That FS110 isnt much more than a heavy trimmer with handle bars.

knox gsl
01-22-2013, 06:22 PM
You will need a larger trimmer with heavy trimmer line .155 or so will do great. I use a fixed line head for this without a guard on a FS130 but a FS250 would probably work better. BTW I have a few of these types of jobs and this has worked the best. After your first Spring trimming you may be able to get away with using the FS100rx if it will cut it fast enough for you, that's what my guy does when working on these projects. I would skip the idea of using a heavy grass blade as mine was a waste of money for what I was working in.

Nate'sLawnCare
01-22-2013, 07:09 PM
Sell a trimming job,then sell them a growth regulator app.

Exactly what I would do. Whack it once, then spray the growth regulator right after. This would keep it looking good for a while, rather than having to come back in few months and fight it again.

Grant11
01-23-2013, 12:05 AM
I've found the FS100RX is by far my favorite trimmer. I love the power to weight ratio and it feels balanced. I wouldn't get rid of it. Definitely get a handlebar trimmer with a blade for this job!!

Smallaxe
01-23-2013, 08:03 AM
Get one of those weed whackers on wheels... only a few hundred dollar investment and it seems like it would pay for itself on this job... With growth and rocks and washoutsthe way you described,,, a handheld string trimmer would be odd...
The weed whacker on wheels works well in those circumstances IF you walk backwards most of the time... give it a try... :)

lawnkingforever
01-23-2013, 08:29 AM
You will need a larger trimmer with heavy trimmer line .155 or so will do great. I use a fixed line head for this without a guard on a FS130 but a FS250 would probably work better. BTW I have a few of these types of jobs and this has worked the best. After your first Spring trimming you may be able to get away with using the FS100rx if it will cut it fast enough for you, that's what my guy does when working on these projects. I would skip the idea of using a heavy grass blade as mine was a waste of money for what I was working in.
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lawnkingforever
01-23-2013, 08:46 AM
You will need a larger trimmer with heavy trimmer line .155 or so will do great. I use a fixed line head for this without a guard on a FS130 but a FS250 would probably work better. BTW I have a few of these types of jobs and this has worked the best. After your first Spring trimming you may be able to get away with using the FS100rx if it will cut it fast enough for you, that's what my guy does when working on these projects. I would skip the idea of using a heavy grass blade as mine was a waste of money for what I was working in.

I agree. I own two types of blades and they are useless. Much too time consuming to be a viable option.
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locallawncare.ca
01-23-2013, 09:54 AM
I would use a hedge trimmer attachment with the articulating blade, its kinda heavy when down low, so i would invest in the handle bar setup/harness. I havent ever done a hack job that big, but fair sized ones and the hedge trimmer attachment really cleans house, and there isnt crap flying everywhere, it just cuts and falls to the ground, hope that helps, but good luck, you gonna need it for that one.

RussellB
01-23-2013, 10:11 AM
I'd walk away from the job. If your going to run a trimmer for that many hours wide open your going to burn it up. Additionally if it is as steep as you say and rock strewn you will end up injured. Clear cutting a slope will cause more erosion. The owner would be better off killing all the growth and planting ground cover.

KYMan
01-23-2013, 11:33 PM
I would use a hedge trimmer attachment with the articulating blade, its kinda heavy when down low, so i would invest in the handle bar setup/harness. I havent ever done a hack job that big, but fair sized ones and the hedge trimmer attachment really cleans house, and there isnt crap flying everywhere, it just cuts and falls to the ground, hope that helps, but good luck, you gonna need it for that one.
This is a pretty good idea. I may look into buying the Kombi system to get the hedge trimmers/pole saw/edger attachments. It would be cheaper than 3 separate pieces.

KYMan
01-23-2013, 11:36 PM
Get one of those weed whackers on wheels... only a few hundred dollar investment and it seems like it would pay for itself on this job... With growth and rocks and washoutsthe way you described,,, a handheld string trimmer would be odd...
The weed whacker on wheels works well in those circumstances IF you walk backwards most of the time... give it a try... :)

Although it would cut the weeds great I think I would be fighting it the whole way to keep it from turning over. It's probably a 50-60 degree incline (holding my hand up in front of my face....it's steeper than 45 easily). And I definitely wouldn't want to fight it going downhill either

Smallaxe
01-24-2013, 08:52 AM
Actually the hedgetrimmer idea is probably better with weeds over 8" inches tall, and even though the string trimmer is light it really isn't as handy as it could be...
I have the Echo series attachment, with which I can movethe blade to be parallel with the ground and make pretty good time that way... But,,, at my age,,, I'd be taking a lot of breaks... I might do a few hours a day for a week or so...
Setting the hillside on fire would be the best way to go... :)

LHS Lawns
01-24-2013, 10:25 AM
Make it worth your time when you price it. If you don't you'll be beating yourself up every time you cut it and that will make the whole job that much more difficult.

How about a self-propelled walk behind sickle mower or a brush cutter? It would be an investment for just that one job but if the job is priced right it could be worth it.

You could send one man out to do it. Of course it all depends on the severity of the slope if the cutter would even work.

Hopefully you are at the point with your business that you can walk away from a job when it doesn't feel right.

lawnkingforever
01-24-2013, 02:21 PM
My wb brushmower will go up and down very steep hills, across not so well. The problem, there needs to be some room at the bottom and top of the hill to turn it. Even going slow it is alot faster than using a trimmer. The hedge trimmer is a decent idea, but the finished product would not be to my liking.
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Mickhippy
01-24-2013, 03:48 PM
Can you get a pic of the area so we really know what your talking about?

rlitman
01-24-2013, 04:11 PM
The hedge trimmer is a decent idea, but the finished product would not be to my liking.

He did say the customer only wanted it done a couple of times a year.
I don't think quality is the first priority.

slowleak1
01-24-2013, 05:14 PM
22 hours divided by 4 is 5.5; Get 3 guys to help you for the day and knock it out and go home.

Pay each one $100 and be done with it

inHaliburton
06-27-2014, 10:07 PM
If your going to get a brush cutter, get something thats at least 45cc! That way you can load heavy line on it for other jobs. That FS110 isnt much more than a heavy trimmer with handle bars.

I agree with the above. An FS250 with full harness and handle bars is the way to go if you are going to go the trimmer route.

sehitchman
06-27-2014, 11:08 PM
I've got one account with a steep bank around a building. It averages about 30' high and 400' long, the slope varies 30 to 50 degrees. I spend about 3 hours to cut 1/2 at a time with a 32cc tanaka handlebar brush cutter with blade. The ground cover erosion control is clumps of "wire grass" that I'm not sure what the proper name is. The reason I cut it is it gets over run with trees and briars. I've tried my DR brush mower, and it looses traction about 5' up. I've attempted to go down one time, I had to let go as it was getting away from me. I really worried about getting injured if it slid back on me or I slid under it. My AWD Steiner looses traction going up also, and turnover worries me. String does not work, as the wire grass gets wrapped around the trimmer head and cutting it off is a time waster. So the blade is my method now. I wear long sleeves, long pants, WE Chapps, and a chainsaw helmet with face shield, high boots and a harness for the trimmer. I've been told I look like a village people person. The best thing to use would be a boom mower, but cost to bring one in is prohibitive. I recommend this type of work be done in the cool of the day, and just like using a chain saw, if you feel yourself getting arm or leg weary, stop, no reason to get hurt. Don't stand in one place long, the ant's will get you. Not a job I ever look forward to no matter how much money. I've never been able to hire help to assist, they try and give up after 15minutes.

foreplease
06-28-2014, 11:36 PM
Check out this invention by one of our fellow LS members:
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=376443