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  #1  
Old 01-18-2010, 09:56 PM
lsylvain lsylvain is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sarasota/Bradenton, FL
Posts: 777
Things that make life easier (take 2)

I want to know if anyone has any "real" ways that they have discovered to make life easier for the solo operator. I have basically gotten so fed up with the sheer lack of descent employees that I have decided to go back to a solo operation. My plan is to cut back to about $90,000 a year and get rid of my least profitable stuff and do it all myself. Problem is I have not done this by myself full time in about 7 years. I'm looking for tips and items that may make it easier to get all my accounts done.

I'm not looking for what kind of radio you listen too or what kind of cell phone I'm talking actual things that make for more productive work.

I'm liking the idea of the edgit thing if it can actually speed things up though I'm pretty fast "free hand" I have not timed it to see if it is faster to run the stick and trimmer or just do it all with the trimmer.

What about those mower mounted edgers that grasshopper makes, anyone ever use one?

Anyone ever experiment with mid day blade changes?

I've also thought about breaking my day into two shifts. 7-12 3-8 getting 3 hours in the middle for rest and repairs with 10 hours of mowing. Instead of 12 hour days where you get 90% of you work done in the first 8 hours and it takes 4 hours to get the other 10% because you are dragging a$%.

I'm thinking that changing socks/boots halfway through the day would help the feet out a lot too.

This is the kind of stuff I'm looking for. Stuff to speed things up or stuff to keep you going.
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2010, 10:16 PM
ALC-GregH's Avatar
ALC-GregH ALC-GregH is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 7,053
You've been in business for at least 7 years and you still don't know how to be productive? Maybe that's why you have trouble with employee's.

READ THE THREADS

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=301508
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  #3  
Old 01-18-2010, 10:33 PM
SouthLouisianaGrassCutter SouthLouisianaGrassCutter is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 37
14 to 16 hour 7 days a week for me

But forget blade changes just get better driving your machine. Don't run over sticks and rocks. I could easly go a week with out nick on a blade.
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2010, 10:38 PM
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Mahoney3223 Mahoney3223 is offline
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Location: midwest
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90k for a solo??????? good luck!
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2010, 10:52 PM
lawnboy852 lawnboy852 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: PA
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sure you can go a week without a nick on the blade, but that doesnt mean the blade is sharp....

Things I have done, On some of my big props (or awkward ones..) I take my trimmer with my on a bracket I built for my WB. Its much quicker to trim those too tight for my mower areas while im right there, than to cut the rest, take the mower back, get the trimmer, WALK back, trim it, then WALK back to wherever else needs to be trimmed.

Invest in spare spools for your trimmer. I put a big rubber band around the wrapped spool, or tie the free ends together through the slots in mine. Then I can tie these spools to a clip on my belt, or put them in a pocket, or tie them to the handle of the trimmer. New line is always right there.

Other things I do:
Know when to refuel, Start with a full tank, then figure out how many hours till that tank is empty. post that near your hour meter on a piece of tape or on the gas tank, and make a little mental (or physical, I know people who write it down) note of what hour they will need new fuel.

Same goes for gas, Not sure where but I saw a place that had a gasoline safe bottle, that had a mount onto the trimmer shaft, so you have another tank when you run dry. I have thought about getting one of those for the upcoming season.

Dont swap out machines. I have some props with a small gate that needs a 32. Now, the rest of the yard can fit my 48, but the time it takes to switch mowers is more than if I were to just cut with the 32.

Keeping yourself comfortable, whatever that means to you, will increase productivity as well

Last one, Build Make up days into your schedule. Rain/weather is a terrible thing, and always seems to hit where it hurts. Make sure you wont get backed up, and have time to make weather adjusted cuts. Other than that, PRAY for SUN!
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2010, 10:54 PM
Scagmower48 Scagmower48 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southington CT
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One thing that helps me what to do is to plan out everything in advance. This planning might happen on Sunday night when I attempt to plan out the week, or while im in the truck on the way to the next property. While im planning or thinking, i am trying to be efficient as possible for the up coming week or the next job. Waking up in the morning and "winging it" will cost time and energy which is aka money.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2010, 10:57 PM
scagrider22 scagrider22 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahoney3223 View Post
90k for a solo??????? good luck!
90k solo is very doable solo, many of the good solo guys in my area make 75-120k easy.
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2010, 11:14 PM
SouthLouisianaGrassCutter SouthLouisianaGrassCutter is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 37
Every 3 days (give or take a week) I would change but I could see up to a week on them but whats the use of changing if the cut is clean and not a sprig insight while cutting wide open. I would have to multch limestone to change them in the middle of the day.

Tip do multch limestone

Back on topic, plan how you cut this yard, like connecting the dots. Like if your in front of the house and there is a tree in the middle of the yard you have to trim around go do it. Don't wait till you cut around the whole house. Look for the quickest way to weed eat while you are riding on the mower, and for gosh sakes use common sense.
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2010, 11:29 PM
lsylvain lsylvain is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sarasota/Bradenton, FL
Posts: 777
Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthLouisianaGrassCutter View Post
14 to 16 hour 7 days a week for me

But forget blade changes just get better driving your machine. Don't run over sticks and rocks. I could easly go a week with out nick on a blade.

I try to change my blades every day, the way it should be done, now, granted we are burning and turning lawns so I basically only get off the mower to jump in the truck and drive to the next subdivision. Some days we would hit 30 plus lawns a day and my blades are dull as heck after that, sticks or no sticks. Of course that will change if I'm on my own. I also mulch up all the hedge clippings so that to takes a toll.

It may be in my mind but I feel a difference as the day progresses with the mowers performance. As far as getting better driving I put over 2000 hours on one machine since April of 2008, and have 4 other mowers that get used here and there.
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2010, 11:46 PM
lsylvain lsylvain is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sarasota/Bradenton, FL
Posts: 777
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawnboy852 View Post
sure you can go a week without a nick on the blade, but that doesnt mean the blade is sharp....

Things I have done, On some of my big props (or awkward ones..) I take my trimmer with my on a bracket I built for my WB. Its much quicker to trim those too tight for my mower areas while im right there, than to cut the rest, take the mower back, get the trimmer, WALK back, trim it, then WALK back to wherever else needs to be trimmed.

Invest in spare spools for your trimmer. I put a big rubber band around the wrapped spool, or tie the free ends together through the slots in mine. Then I can tie these spools to a clip on my belt, or put them in a pocket, or tie them to the handle of the trimmer. New line is always right there.

Other things I do:
Know when to refuel, Start with a full tank, then figure out how many hours till that tank is empty. post that near your hour meter on a piece of tape or on the gas tank, and make a little mental (or physical, I know people who write it down) note of what hour they will need new fuel.

Same goes for gas, Not sure where but I saw a place that had a gasoline safe bottle, that had a mount onto the trimmer shaft, so you have another tank when you run dry. I have thought about getting one of those for the upcoming season.

Dont swap out machines. I have some props with a small gate that needs a 32. Now, the rest of the yard can fit my 48, but the time it takes to switch mowers is more than if I were to just cut with the 32.

Keeping yourself comfortable, whatever that means to you, will increase productivity as well

Last one, Build Make up days into your schedule. Rain/weather is a terrible thing, and always seems to hit where it hurts. Make sure you wont get backed up, and have time to make weather adjusted cuts. Other than that, PRAY for SUN!
Getting rid of everything with lots of trimming. lol But good advice.

Since I have had 3 employees at one point I not only have plenty of extra spools laying around but extra trimmers as well so when I run out of gas I just grab a new trimmer. lol

Getting rid of everything that requires anything less than a 60" deck. lol

The make up days is causing me some grief luckily the weather here pretty much makes it so there is no such thing as a rain day, just rain half hours, but breakdowns is my fear and also my wife works a couple of nights a week and I have to watch the kids so that throws a kink in working longer days to get back on track if she has to work.
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