It's Raining... mow, or NO mow?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by WildWest, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 384

    Okay ladies and gents....

    What do you all do when it rains like mad...
    do you move your whole schedule back a day or do you play make up and try to catch up in the weekend?
    Being in Florida and the last passing Hurricane, i've gotten behind in mowing by 3 days...... and the bahia's going nuts, the people are complaining and i'm going as fast as I can! If I mow shortly after it's rained, and still wet, then I have a hard time blowing the clippings off the walkways and driveways, or tearing up the grass in the mud with the mower, and thus they complain about that!....

    How do you deal with "rain out's"???
     
  2. Scotts' Yard Care

    Scotts' Yard Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 343

    We had a spring a few years ago when it started raining in Mar. and continued through Aug. We kept our shedule regardless because we just had no choice and our customers were very understanding. Would it be possible to use your smaller lighter machines for less damage to the turf? We've never had to deal with the remnants of a hurricane so best of luck there :)
     
  3. Lawn Masters

    Lawn Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 850

    I generally push my schedule back a day or two, I explain to my customers that I am waiting a day to let it dry out so I dont tear up their lawns. they understand that way better than anything I can tell them. this is only for substantial amounts of rain that I tell them this. they'd rather let it grow than let me rip it up with the mower.
     
  4. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    I tell all of my clients this work is a lot like farming. Sometimes you cut in the rain, it's that simple. I'm out in the rain often.....with the exception of an absolute deluge like the one I'm sure you just got. When the grass is wet just slow it down a lot on your turns & pay careful attention to any low spots so you don't rut/get stuck. You'll be fine. Wet conditions slow you down because you have to put even more TLC into your work, but it's better than getting further & further behind. The blowing clippings thing - yeah, that takes longer too, but you can get it almost completely off the surfaces.......again it takes more time. I have not had one person complain or leave me because of work I've done when it's wet outside.
     
  5. Oh Yard Boy

    Oh Yard Boy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I know the feeling. It rained here almost 5 straight day's the first week of last month right after the long holiday weekend. I had to double up each day's schedule for over 3 weeks just to catch up. What made it worse was most of the lawns were fertilized the week before the rains came and the grass grew like wild fire. I had to use my Billy Goat vacuum and rake to take care of the clippings before I blew. I just got back on schedule last week! So many LCO's fell behind here that they just dropped accounts. I picked up four new clients during this period and two just yesterday that their LCO's had'nt come in over a month.One LCO I know who stayed on schedule during this period cut's rain or shine, tracks and all, clippings all over the place. Keep cutting between the rain drops, as one of my customers requested.
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Really the worst part is when the wheel-belts get wet, the wb is about worthless and may be one the reasons I switch to hydra later, but do they make a T-bar fixed deck hydra?

    Constant rain is one the reasons why I switched from floating decks to fixed decks - The fixed deck is 300lbs. compared to the floating 500lb. behemoth. For me, the fixed deck is at least twice as agile and nimble as the sfs on a wet yard, now I always cut the very next day, no problem. Far as ruts, I may leave a small skid (maybe 6 x 10 inches) per yard on average but what I really like is I get stuck a LOT less with the fixdeck (I *hate* pulling a wb out of the mud, especially the 52" sfs).

    Certainly I wouldn't use a ZTR in the mud, I've seen what some of these guys do and I have not been impressed by this.

    Far as blowing the grass off, that I'm not worried about too much but try, when you're cutting / trimming to adjust your angle of attack so the grass blows away from the pavement - This is also a great time-saver once you learn how NOT to blow it out (blow it IN instead), sometimes I don't even have to blow down anymore.
    - With a side-discharge, direction of machine is the key.
    - With the weed-eater, most heads rotate counter-clockwise thus the SIDE of the head that is DOWN determines which way the grass blows.
    In my case, I like the right side of the head to do the cutting but it is a trick to get the angle just right to keep pebbles from hitting your lips (which hurts).

    Things I recommend:
    When riding over wet spots, build up Top speed beforehand, then let off SOME traction (this shaves off speed as well so watch it) as you go over it - The trick here is to make it just past the wet spot before you have to re-apply full traction, you can't totally cut off the traction but cut it down to a minimum so you kinda coast across.

    Inflate Tires to max. pressure (I go 10% past on the rear) and step your heavy tail off the mower and walk her over the soft spots - This is one reason why I over-ride the operator-presence safety kill-switch: So the beast runs regardless of how I'm handling her - It's my mower, nobody else runs it.
     
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Some other tricks:

    Yes, putting the schedule off a day (or 3 or 6) doesn't really hurt that bad, you just think it does (hehehe). Here I am getting ready to go on vacation for 10-12 days and what grows will grow and just has to wait a bit.

    When you're overwhelmed after everything has been put off and you have 100,000,000 yards that all need cutting as of last month and you're solo, the simple answer is this:
    - Turn off the phone if you need to, perhaps change the message to:
    Hi & ty 4 calling blablabla. There is a minor backup on the schedule but as of right now no real problems exist, everyone is on this first come, first serve rotation basis and I will get to your yard real soon. ty & have a nice day.

    Yes, I mean don't waste time if you're backed up bad you don't got time to play the phone 8!7ch, turn it off or ignore it. You MIGHT lose a customer, but if you're backed up, so is most everyone else.
    Then:
    Pick the first yard on your schedule and go there. NO just pick the first one it does not matter which one, the one on top is good and go there:
    Once you get there, lower the gate and unload the machine and start it, engage the blades and cut this yard and don't worry about a thing, just keep on cutting until it is done. If it takes xtra hours it takes xtra hours, that's how long it takes, lalala and you just keep on cutting until it is done.
    Once it is done, go to the very next yard.
    Keep doing that.
     
  8. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,155

    We just cut no matter what (except in lightning). If they complain about clippings just tell them it takes 10x the amount of time to blow during the rain as it does when it's dry, there is no way I can keep on schedule if I took the time to remove all debris during the rain.

    Heck I just leave the blower in the trailer when it's raining, unless my mower hacks up a big green one on the sidewalk.
     
  9. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Posts: 2,574

    For me mowing in the rain is avoided if at all possible. Because it really isn't about my schedule, it's about the quality of service I want to provide. Periodically I will skip lawn if weather is an issue and just hit it the the following week a little earlier. I always leave a phone message stating the circumstances. My customers appreciate me not putting a heavy mower on their lawn in the rain. Also if necessary I will take what ever time is required to complete the job even if blowing takes 10x longer. I would never leave a prop. without blowing the grass off the drive, etc..... the right equipment makes a difference. They expect good quality every time just like I expect them to pay on time.

    Derek
     
  10. OMG

    OMG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 275

    I consider myself a professional, not the teenager down the street with a 22" Murray.

    We will not service the property if it is too wet for the final outcome to look good.

    ALL accounts get backed up X period of time until the conditions are better. Then we start with the ones that were due first and work our butts off to get back on schedule ASAP.


    Unfortunately, if you have 3-4 of these delays per year, you've lost 1 entire billing cut on each customer.----which is never good.
     

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