Reel Mower Premium Lawn Maintenance

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LandscapeMasterpieceGA, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. LandscapeMasterpieceGA

    LandscapeMasterpieceGA LawnSite Member
    Posts: 109

    Any of you guys offer reel mower cutting? I live near a lot of million dollar homes, and I think the market might be looking for a premium "manicuring" lawn service, especially the many golf course homes here. Any advice on equipment, rates, and customer needs would be greatly appreciated.

    Landscape Masterpiece:drinkup:
  2. skurtz78

    skurtz78 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    well i believe if you have the right set up you could make it work as long as you are willing to work at it. I worked on a golf course in Florida and keeping up with those reel mowers is a pain in the rear. You have to sharpen them very often to keep a clean cut and not tear grass. So do you know anything about backlapping reels.
  3. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Do a search on reels. You'll then get an appreciation of why they generally don't make sense on residential lawns.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Usually when you are cutting with a reel mower, you also have to increase the frequency.

    Years ago when I had a perfectly level front yard at my own home, I would cut my front lawn with a reel mower. It always look amazing! I love that look. But I always had to cut it about every 2-3 days to make it work. Most reel mowers aren't set up to cut grass that's been growing for a week.

    I think it's an okay idea. And there are probably SOME people who could afford to have you come 2-3 times each week. But I don't suspect there are very many.

    It would be one helluva killer business though! I'd love to be able to do that. Reel mowers rock!
  5. LandscapeMasterpieceGA

    LandscapeMasterpieceGA LawnSite Member
    Posts: 109

    Yeah, it would probably only work with a small, rich clientele base.
  6. flux_capacitor

    flux_capacitor LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I too live in GA and there are a lot of high end top dollar houses around here. I know for a fact that customers in areas such as Alpharetta and Roswell seem to have found out about reel mowers. Alot of them ask if I use them. I tell them no. Alot of times I lose out on the job, but that is fine by me. It is alot to keep up with. You almost need 2 of them so you can rotate them out of the shop...while one is being sharpenned the other is mowing lawns.

    Alot of the lawns here are bermuda or zoysia, and my personal opinion is that you can get a perfectly good cut with a rotory mower if you know what you are doing.

    Keep in mind you'll have to raise your prices in order to pay for sharpenning those reels, at least once a week IMHO.
  7. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    I think you mean "backlapped"?? We sharpened our reels once a year. It was a pain with an old Ideal grinder. Everything had to be disassembled. We did this in the off season. A "reel" treat with 11 blade greens reels. As for backlapping, that was done every other week on the machines that were run 8-10 hours/day, seven days/week.
  8. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Posts: 7,080

    I used to have a handful of clients who requested (or was it a demand?) that their lawns be "manicured" exclusively by a reel mower. We had 2 Tru-Cut reel mowers w/25" cut and powered by the 5.0 Honda, beasty machines and built like tanks. Price? Oy, cost a small mint back then, no doubt still do.

    Since then, we only have 1 lawn that we use the reel on (sold one of the reels), less than 6500 sq ft and runs $100.00 per week w/trimming and edging. We get the remaining reel backlapped every other year @ $85 a pop.

    Its a niche kinda thing, though some neigborhoods (usually the exclusive type) demand it. Yes you can reel mow a lawn once per week, as long as your reel is sharp it wont matter, however in lush conditions you MAY have to cross-hatch the lawn. Be forewarned, the amount of grass that you will be hauling away is staggering compared to cutting and bagging the same lawn with a rotary.

    With the right conditions i.e. flat lawn w/irrigation, it sure is a pretty sight.

  9. EvandSeby

    EvandSeby LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    I currently have two clients that I use a Tru-Cut 20" reel mower on. During the summer growing season I cut every 5 days +- a day if its a weekend. As growth slows in fall I cut back to once a week. I charge a flat monthly fee during the growing season. I have a shop that will sharpen/grind for 59.95 and do this once a year, also he'll backlap as needed for $20 usually once between grindings. There really doesn't seem to be a huge market for this service although many people have the various bermuda hybrids here. It sure looks nice when I use the Tru-cut.

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