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  #1  
Old 01-13-2013, 05:57 PM
roberthathaway7 roberthathaway7 is offline
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Walk Behinds and Employees?

This year, weather pending, me and my business partner really want to add a legitimate employee. I've never used a walk-behind mower or even seen one running really. I was wondering, as far as adding an un-experienced employee, would it benefit to add a walk-behind mower to my line-up? Are they easier to learn that a zero turn? Better on the liability side of things? Safer? Easier/harder to screw a lawn up (scalping, running over non-mowable objects, etc)?

I figured one of the best attributes is that if we found someone reliable enough, we could send them out in a compact truck with ramps and no trailer to do smaller yards: less overhead and no worrying about their "trailer" skills.

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2013, 10:30 PM
Mikegyver Mikegyver is online now
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The first thing I put guys on is a Z-turn. When you let go of the walkbehind controls that thing keeps going unless you let off the safety bar and even then that's too late....it will keep going for a few feet. All they have to do to return to neutral on a Z is bring the controls back.
Maybe I'm wrong but I've seen too much stuff messed up and too many accidents or almost accidents out of both. But seems like its easier to have issues with a walkbehind.
The best one I have done so far was jam my hand between a fence and the handles on my turf tracer. I let go and it shot across the strip of grass I was mowing. The machine stopped about 12-15' later because I let go of the safety lever.
As far as cut quality, you can mess up a yard with either machine if not used properly.
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People pay you to hold their hand. If you don't like doing it, then you are in the wrong business.
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2013, 07:27 AM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is offline
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The only equipment I'd put an inexperienced guy on was a trimmer until he proved he could run one. Then he could learn to run a Z around the shop and on easier jobs.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:01 AM
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LandFakers LandFakers is offline
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You would be giving somebody a lot of responsibility, for somebody who hasn't worked with you for the past season and hasn't really proved to you how well they can mow and keep your good name intact
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:40 AM
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lawnkingforever lawnkingforever is offline
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Unloading a wb from a pick up bed multiple times all day with ramps would be a pita. I would take a chance and let him use a trailer than worry about my wb crashing onto the concrete
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:46 AM
HPI_Savage25 HPI_Savage25 is offline
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Loading a WB with ramps is a pain and not the safest thing to do. I know from experience. I load a Encore 36" WB into the bed of my truck at times to save on gas for one particular job and its not fun. I always fear of the ramps sliding out or just something happening to cause injury and damage. Those mowers aren't light by any means...I'd rather them have a small trailer than them loadin up in the bed of a truck. Just my thoughts though.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:22 PM
smitty's lawncare smitty's lawncare is offline
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i agree with jrs.landscaping. someone with little experience should be the trimmer/blower guy. i feel like one of the most fundamental parts of lawn care is being able to operate all equipment in a safe, efficient manor. walk behinds are one of the most fundamental part of the business. i only use walk behinds (scag) in my business, so i might seem quite partial.
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  #8  
Old 01-14-2013, 02:12 PM
sealcutter sealcutter is offline
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Your partner is he a working partner? If so let him go off on his own while you train so said employee. You should also use a WB so you understand what you are up against, these machine are no joke. One of my employee's (10 plus years) took a spill this past season down a steep bank right in front of me.
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  #9  
Old 01-14-2013, 11:51 PM
roberthathaway7 roberthathaway7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs.landscaping View Post
The only equipment I'd put an inexperienced guy on was a trimmer until he proved he could run one. Then he could learn to run a Z around the shop and on easier jobs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LandFakers View Post
You would be giving somebody a lot of responsibility, for somebody who hasn't worked with you for the past season and hasn't really proved to you how well they can mow and keep your good name intact


Quote:
Originally Posted by lawnkingforever View Post
Unloading a wb from a pick up bed multiple times all day with ramps would be a pita. I would take a chance and let him use a trailer than worry about my wb crashing onto the concrete
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty's lawncare View Post
i agree with jrs.landscaping. someone with little experience should be the trimmer/blower guy. i feel like one of the most fundamental parts of lawn care is being able to operate all equipment in a safe, efficient manor. walk behinds are one of the most fundamental part of the business. i only use walk behinds (scag) in my business, so i might seem quite partial.
Thanks guys! I'm sorry, I definitely miscommunicated there, I wasn't planning on throwing all of this together this spring. My plan was exactly as you all suggest, to hire someone for weedeating and blowing this year, maybe have them on some wide open spaces or around the shop toward the end of the season, then graduate them to Z operator next year, then the possible independent thing the 3rd year if they show that they're capable. It almost gives me axiety attacks already just thinking of someone on a trimmer, I'm so anal about stuff. And yeah I would definitely get experience on the walk-behind first, just trying to get a preview here. What do you all think about Ferris walk behinds? That's the only WB that's sold local.
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2013, 11:54 PM
roberthathaway7 roberthathaway7 is offline
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Yeah, wow I just read my initial post and I don't know how I ended up typing it that way. Definitely didn't plan on putting a totally unexperienced guy right on a piece of equipment that I've never ran, even though that's pretty much what I said, haha
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