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Atlanta Scapers REEL MOWING

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ashs inc, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. ashs inc

    ashs inc LawnSite Senior Member
    from alabama
    Messages: 601

    I have seen lots of people in ATL mowing with reel mowers. No one in my area offers this. I am an ex golf course guy and was wondering what was the best way to get into this part of the business. Thanks
  2. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 943

    This was a bad year to be reel mowing. Plus I think reel mowing creates to much thatch, and takes to long, but I will say if we are getting rain, reel mowing will keep the lawn super green...Good luck!
  3. Sweet Tater

    Sweet Tater LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,123

    Any particular reason you would reel mow, except a golf course of course
  4. nlminc

    nlminc LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GA
    Messages: 1,671

    I reel mow a few of my accounts. During the heavy growing season you have to hit the lawn at least 2x per week. MOST/ALL homeowners will not pay for this and I point out the guys on the GC in their backyards and ask them how often they see them out mowing. When they reply every other day I then ask them how they expect me to make their lawn look like a putting green on a 7 day sched. Some will mow once or twice a week between the time I arrive. To be honest, I think it's a waste and if I didn't have some decent high paying clients I would drop the service. I've also noticed people expecting you to reel for the same price as you would with a rotary. There's a competitor in my area who reels two of my neighbors lawns for $35 each! They should be $50.00 easily. He's just focused his business on reel mowing in high volume. I would rather work less and make more!
  5. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I've done a few over the years using the customer's machine at their request. HUGE money loser, takes 2-5 times as long depending on the type mower I could otherwise use, doesn't work well when grass is growing fast and you're on a 7 day schedule, and very few are willing to pay what it is worth. The maintenance on the blades must be insanely expensive and/or time consuming. It allows you to mow lower but the lawns also have to be properly leveled first anyway and that's again more serious expense to the customer. I saw a truck pass my house today with "reel" in the company name, so some are doing it.

    I've seen one crew using a gang type golf course mower on estates. It looked great but this was a large prop and I bet with everything the customer is dropping $1,000/mo on lawn maintenance. That's a tiny market niche.

    One thing I found reels don't handle well at all is pine needles on a lawn (or leaves for that matter). So again it would require an extra step and cost. You're doing extra work, so it's not like charging triple the usual rate nets you anything extra. You'd have to find people willing to pay a real premium.
  6. ashs inc

    ashs inc LawnSite Senior Member
    from alabama
    Messages: 601

    thanks i see your point.....but wow it sure does look nice......
  7. ATL Lawn

    ATL Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    how often do you sparen the blades?
  8. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Using a reel mower is a loosing proposition on residential sites unless the customer pays for the service.
    I have used a variety of reel mowers over the years, from Toro greens and utility tri-plexes, National's, Jacs and John Deere.
    Now I used dedicated bagging machines, in my case an ExMark Navigator, on these sites and they look as good as the reel mowers.
    Bear in mind I have several degrees, one of which is in Turfgrass Agronomy, and I have been in this industry approaching twenty years. Would I ever use a reel mower on a residential site again - sure, but you can bet I will be paid for it.
    Regarding sharpening/maintenance - toasty22, unless the reel and bedknife is damaged, simple backlapping and facing will keep the unit cutting all year - then spin grind in the off season, mount a new bedknife and you are back to cutting.
    It helps that I have a Neary spin grinder in my shop to keep costs down.
    One more point, since the advent to really decent rotary mowers, I have seen a marked decrease in my reel sharpening service, particularly in the 18" to 22" market. The I-stripe mower that used to be marketed by National, and now by Seagrove, has definitely made inroads to this market segment.
    This rotary mower, at 1/2" cuts as good as any reel mower I have run.
  9. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    That is interesting to hear about. I am going to check it out online. Does it handle dips and rises any better than typical rotaries? Below a certain point they cup like crazy.

    TNT MOWING LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    There is a Large Company that i know of they are doing this so that they kick out all of us with out reel mowers it is just that type of the market they run a deere and many they have it down to a science. one guy moves from house to house in the neighborhood and mows while another two guys fallow him edging and another one blowing. The thing is they can do it really CHEAP NOT FAIR!!

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