TIPS, Do's and Don'ts tips for the new guy

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Eric ELM, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. grass-scapes

    grass-scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,552

    Make sure, if you spray ANYTHING, Carry an emergency eyewash kit. You may not have a hose handy at the place you are at.
  2. WildMowMan

    WildMowMan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Hey, really important..too many times have I seen these guys taping down the emergercy stop levers on the handles of the mowers so they can so-called move about freely or one handed on these walk behinds.....I had an incident 3 years ago when a worker riding a Velke on a Scag fell off after hitting an oak tree root and the mower took off and went headlong into the homeowners euonymous ground cover.....we ended up having to replace a 15'x5' stretch, out of our pockets! This really sucked but think if this had been the homeowners child or pet or vehicle (this guy had a Mercedes s-class)...replacing ground cover is nothing in comparison.........I've also seen a laborer lose contol with the left side clutch handle of the machine locked and it sent the machine into a spin that damn near cut his foot off.........think may seem easier and more free to use taped up...but suffering the consequences could be costly or deadly. Insurance is great but it's not worth it and I scream at my guys when I catch them pulling that s**t! Laborers don't think like foreman or owners do and it's your insurance that will go up if there is an accident not theirs....Take the time to be careful.
    bladebrothers likes this.
  3. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    Tons and Tons of good advise,
    great safety tips and often overlooked tips to keep the equipment alive longer.
    Three pages of it.
    And nobody mentioned the airfilters.
    Mostly you think about them when you're done with a particularly dusty area (you do, don't you?), have you ever checked them after a day plowing through dandelions?
    A little 12V plug-in compressor may be enough to blow them off between jobs if need be.
    Also, I'm not sure if anybody got Double D's questions about whether or not to pressure wash equipment. I believe rinsing with a hose is better as pressure tends to push debris where it really doesn't belong.
  4. sblawncare

    sblawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    I currently run a 36 inch walk behind exmark with a 14 horse kawi. Should the blade only be engaged at fairly low rpms? I have done this at a higher rpms and do not want to do any more damage. This machine is probably 4-5 yrs old and has a 5 speed trans. with neutral and reverse. Should the mower only be started in neutral (like a car)? ...and should the gears only be changed at low rpms? ...lastly, as these machines get older do the transmissions get louder? Mine is kind of loud. cuts very well but vibrates considerably. Thanks for all info.

    Mark from SB Lawncare
  5. aleksei

    aleksei LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    This might work great for you f/t guys:
    One of my friends operates an extended cab (not sure what it is in "Ford speak") F-350. Rather than carrying people in the back, he has turned the area into a mobile (though cramped) office. He's managed to wedge a laptop computer and a printer on a small, homemade desk-like thing.... nothing like end-of-job work summaries for his clients. His best tip, though, is to write down all of the tools you use on a regular (once/week) basis and carry them with you, along with spare parts. His box, convienently, fits in the back of his cab (I think it makes up part of his desk). He works full time, and I've never heard him bitching about having to head home for parts or tools, so I would think it works.

    Another (random) tip. Make sure your equipment gas tanks (and your five-gals. on the truck) are full at the beginning of the day. Not much is more embarrasing than running dry on the last 1/4 acre of a big (read: high-profit) job.
  6. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 768

    I learned the hard way not to leave your equipment out of site and unsecured. I had to line trimmers stolen this way. Both were around $400 and in good condition, and one was only a few weeks old. :(

    The other day I saw a solo operater leaving his backpack blower out on the gound by his truck while he was in the back yard. I don't care how nice you think the neighborhood is, I wouldn't risk it, since it only takes a minute to set stuff in the back yard out of sight (or lock the trailer).
    Steve Collins likes this.
  7. Mr_Marc

    Mr_Marc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    First Aid Kit.
    Fire Extinguisher.
    Eye Wash.
    Water to drink.
  8. PhilR

    PhilR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Currently I am licensed but not insured. How do I obtain insurance and how much might I expect it to cost? I run a two man operation for lawn and landscaping.
  9. Dave_B-The_Grass_Guy

    Dave_B-The_Grass_Guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    On those hot summer days ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS keep iced water for yourself and the crew to drink. I also have an ice chest with Gatorade and canned sodas on the truck too after a job is done, gives us a quick pick-me-up in between rounds as we ride to the next job. Ain't nothing like a trip to the ER for heat stroke to learn this lesson the hard way. :blob2:
    Water hose, even a short 15 footer, to hose off the equipment after a dirty job, especially if it's rental equipment(Home Depot nailed me for that one when I returned a roto-tiller). It helps also to cool off too when the temps hit 100 or better. soak your head and even your feet, I know it sounds silly, but it really does work, pull off your shoes and socks and water down your feet if you feel hot, the veins in your feet will carry the heat and cool you off. (A towel stuffed under the front seat isn't a bad idea either if you try this).
    I always take my guys out for lunch at an indoor establishment to help them cool off as they eat. Not only is it a nice treat for your crew, it's tax deductible too.:)
    Keep receipts for EVERYTHING. I write off ice, fuel, supplies, equipment. A good CPA can figure out where to put it to good use and reduce your tax burden. payup
    Write your mileage on the gas receipt. Calculate mileage used versus gallons of fuel burnt at least once a week, it'll give you a good indicator when you need a tuneup, even if your rig is running decent.
    If you use a spool trimmer, duct tape a spare spool to the shaft, saves time going back to the truck. And invest the money and time to keep lots of fresh wound spools and sharp mower blades and edger blades on the truck at all times.
    Not only is wasp spray a good idea to keep on hand, but so is fire ant granules. I do it for my regular customers as a freebie, not only do they appreciate it but it saves you the hassle of having to deal with them on a later date.
    I learned this one the hard way, don't use a belt loop for your keys, if they fall off while your mowing not only are you stuck like chuck, but then you need to call a locksmith too.
    For you newbies in the biz who do landscaping, go to the different nurseries and get some catalogs and/or price guides. Sure does help make bidding jobs easier if you don't have prices memorized. Always bid from the most expensive catalog just in case the cheaper supplier is out of stock and/or the customer is looking over your shoulder. Always check to see if the supplier has that item in stock, or that they still carry that item before you commit anything to paper. an illustrated handbook for your region isn't a bad item to bring with you when bidding jobs either. Here in Texas I rely on Neil Sperry's Guide to Texas Gardening as a bidding tool. You and the customer can browse the book together and get ideas, see if the particular plant will be suitable for your region and even help you to diagnose potential problems.
    When bidding landscaping jobs, I always insist on a soil test if the customer wants a warranty on the plants. My excuse is you wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, why would a landscaper put in plants without an understanding of the soil conditions, nutritional surpluses/deficits. It makes you look professional and educated, gives you an idea of what you are dealing with and what you need to provide the plants with for optimal conditions to grow and thrive.:cool:
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,050

    Now here's an old post that I think everyone should read. It's got some excellent advise and brings back memories of how helpful Eric was to everyone on this site.

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