Basics of lawn care?

Cut n Strut

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Midwest
Not for us, at least not the Grandstand .
Really? Doesn’t the grandstand’s motor lower with the deck? You’d think with that low center of gravity(assuming the motor lowers with the deck) that it would tackle hills like a beast. I run a Snapper Pro 61” with atv tires and it tackles some really gnarly hills that no ztr I’ve ever ran could stay on.
 

jonniesmooth

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Fergus Falls, MN
Really? Doesn’t the grandstand’s motor lower with the deck? You’d think with that low center of gravity(assuming the motor lowers with the deck) that it would tackle hills like a beast. I run a Snapper Pro 61” with atv tires and it tackles some really gnarly hills that no ztr I’ve ever ran could stay on.
Not the new ones,that was a horrible design.
We had to add weights to ours.
Problem with that is if you put enough weight on to ride it,you can't walk behind it.



 

Boudreaux Meauxs

LawnSite Member
Location
Louisiana
Buy the best equipment you can afford (you won't regret a commercial mower), hustle, charge more for bi-weekly than weekly...avoid push mowing and say no unless profitable. Shoot for 60-100$ an hour solo. Everything is going up, so are my services. Lastly, do a good job and make their yard look better than the neighbors!!!
 
At our peak, 900 acres a week, 21 employees.

Principles taught to the new guy.....

Clipping Discharge priorities!
Into grass before
Into streets and sidewalks
Into streets and sidewalks before cars
Into bldgs with out windows before cars
Into cars before glass
Into glass before people
NEVER AT PEOPLE OR GLASS.

Always mow two laps around a perimeter, clockwise "see discharge priorities" before starting back and forth passes. Don't throw grass anywhere you will have to blow it off unless necessary. Always clean any grass off hardened surfaces. Always start at same place and mow same pattern. It will self stripe if you can master this. Mow the longest pass you can always. If it takes 5 seconds to turn around, at the of a day that adds up. It's more important to trim well than most think. Consider that a neatly trimmed yard mowed with dull blades looks better than a yard not trimmed but mowed with sharp blades. Always wear good eye protection. Mow the curbs driveways and sidewalks. Cuts weeds that spring out of cracks and cleans everything up with the best blower you have. Pro tip, drop deck to absolute bottom height, hang discharge side of deck 2in into grass as you run a sidewalk. No need to trim sidewalk.
A Not for newbies tip... you can trim with discharge side of a mower if you keep chutes up. the blades traverse beyond the deck edge and with practice you can clean up around stuff like telephone poles. Starting in April run same pattern for 2 to 4 weeks to set stripes. Then put in cross hatch and alternate. Good way is N/S this week and E/W next. Striped lawns means a guy can jump in and help by following any stripe. Always mow the white stripe not the dark one, directionally speaking. Mow straight lines by looking at end of the pass not the ground in front of your mower. Use peripheral vision to stay on the stripe. Taller grass crowds out weeds, handles heat and drought better. Never cut more than half the height of growth. When trimming, establish a pattern to walk that covers everything without backtracking. Less walking less time more money. You don't know how to use a trimmer unless you can trim an edge as fast as you can walk. Please consider wright ZK stander mowers 12k or deere 930R 13k or bigger mowers.

Deere has fleet program, as much as 1500 off best negotiated price of a new mower. Stihl also, buy 10 units 25% off which is 2 free. Husqvarna and Wright also have fleet programs.

Time is money. TIME IS MONEY. Monotony is the key to speed. Do it the same way day after day. 1st mows should take considerably longer than ones in July.

It's gonna rain. Only fools have a more than a 5 day schedule. Mow every 5 days not every 7 when it dont rain. It usually rains once a week some times 3 or 4 days straight. Leaving tracks are ok when it's wet, leaving ruts are not. When stuck, just get help, don't waller around trying to get out by yourself, and making a heck of a mess to boot. Get tweels, they are worth it. Figure out what you wanna specialize in and aquire the appropriate equipment. Jack's of all trades are masters of none. Stick to residential, or stick to large area commercial. Equipment is different for each.

Single stop minimum is 35.00 for me, next year going to 45.00. Dont matter if its a ten minute mow. Seek out new properties that are next to one's you mow now.

That's pretty good overview on how to mow.
 

gardiner

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
MASSILLON OHIO
Always mow two laps around a perimeter, clockwise "see discharge priorities" before starting back and forth passes. Don't throw grass anywhere you will have to blow it off unless necessary. Always clean any grass off hardened surfaces. Always start at same place and mow same pattern. It will self stripe if you can master this. Mow the longest pass you can always. If it takes 5 seconds to turn around, at the of a day that adds up. It's more important to trim well than most think. Consider that a neatly trimmed yard mowed with dull blades looks better than a yard not trimmed but mowed with sharp blades. Always wear good eye protection. Mow the curbs driveways and sidewalks. Cuts weeds that spring out of cracks and cleans everything up with the best blower you have. Pro tip, drop deck to absolute bottom height, hang discharge side of deck 2in into grass as you run a sidewalk. No need to trim sidewalk.
A Not for newbies tip... you can trim with discharge side of a mower if you keep chutes up. the blades traverse beyond the deck edge and with practice you can clean up around stuff like telephone poles. Starting in April run same pattern for 2 to 4 weeks to set stripes. Then put in cross hatch and alternate. Good way is N/S this week and E/W next. Striped lawns means a guy can jump in and help by following any stripe. Always mow the white stripe not the dark one, directionally speaking. Mow straight lines by looking at end of the pass not the ground in front of your mower. Use peripheral vision to stay on the stripe. Taller grass crowds out weeds, handles heat and drought better. Never cut more than half the height of growth. When trimming, establish a pattern to walk that covers everything without backtracking. Less walking less time more money. You don't know how to use a trimmer unless you can trim an edge as fast as you can walk. Please consider wright ZK stander mowers 12k or deere 930R 13k or bigger mowers.

Deere has fleet program, as much as 1500 off best negotiated price of a new mower. Stihl also, buy 10 units 25% off which is 2 free. Husqvarna and Wright also have fleet programs.

Time is money. TIME IS MONEY. Monotony is the key to speed. Do it the same way day after day. 1st mows should take considerably longer than ones in July.

It's gonna rain. Only fools have a more than a 5 day schedule. Mow every 5 days not every 7 when it dont rain. It usually rains once a week some times 3 or 4 days straight. Leaving tracks are ok when it's wet, leaving ruts are not. When stuck, just get help, don't waller around trying to get out by yourself, and making a heck of a mess to boot. Get tweels, they are worth it. Figure out what you wanna specialize in and aquire the appropriate equipment. Jack's of all trades are masters of none. Stick to residential, or stick to large area commercial. Equipment is different for each.

Single stop minimum is 35.00 for me, next year going to 45.00. Dont matter if its a ten minute mow. Seek out new properties that are next to one's you mow now.

That's pretty good overview on how to mow.
What mower do you use ?
To make 2 laps around perimeters. Clockwise. All my mowers discharge on the right. Counter clockwise for me. If I make one lap around the perimeter. I have only needed to do laps when using a walk behind or push mower. Or when cutting East to west on the building perimeter facing north.
Then if you do one perimeter lap one mower length away from perimeter. Then a perimeter lap . You will have less clippings in the 3rd lap out from the perimeter. Helps avoid clumps.
I also never cut the same direction.
I find it makes invisible ruts. Making the property bumpy. When you can cut at full speed. If i cut the property north to south. The next cut will be northeast to southwest. Then east to West. Rotating the cut pattern.
When i pull up to a property. I start on the far left of property perimeter working my way to the far right of the property. Cutting Left to right. Using the 3 point turnaround. Treating the building/house perimeter as if it was a island in the middle of lawn. Cutting it as I get there.
I do agree that the string trimming will make or break the appearance of the service.
Being I'm a solo operator.
I only have 3 days scheduled for mowing. That I can do in 2 days if I had to. The 20 stops I have. I'm hitting $900 a week . I also do the shrubbery and mulching work. For the days I'm not mowing. Taken that $900 a week up to 1500.to 2k a week. Solo.
X 4 weeks a month. If that's not enough $$$ check your spending habits. It is definitely not the quantity of work needed to make $$
I love what I do. I feel blessed not stressed.
 
I run two wright ZK 61" standers and 4 Deere 930R 60" ztr's all with tweels. Stihl for 111r trimmers. Two laps clockwise keeps discharge blowing to right or into property instead of on to the street like you would if you mow counter clockwise. Really windy days I might make three laps. You can cheat the laps though by only mowing the second lap up the left side and then starting back and forth rounds. This year we lost the bids on days 4 and 5 and have 3 day schedule and gross 2050 day 1, 1650 day 2, and 1720 on day 3. We mow every 5 days, (commercial mowing is great) hit 6 mows this month on day 1.
 

gardiner

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
MASSILLON OHIO
Must spend a lot of time on scheduling.
On a 5 day cut. A Tuesday, this week is Sunday, then Friday then Wednesday. That not happening on residential properties.
How many cuts do you get a year doing 5 day cuts,
I average 30 cuts on a 7 day rotation.
I would think . That it would be harder to get the contract on more then 30 cuts with the competition.
I do go through times . Thinking commercial properties would be better.
That I would not be slowed down by customers who like to talk.
Out of my 14 years. I have only done one commercial property. & I hated it.
It was a dental office on a busy road. With lots of trash to pick up. Every week. It was good pay. But lots of liability with traffic even at 8 AM in the mornings before the office opened.
I would like to adventures in to commercial again . But only in a industrial area.
No restaurant or family dollars type places for me.
The industry area close to me.
The properties looks terrible.
Like whomever is doing them .
Only breaks out a trimmer once a month. Making me think them business's will not pay 60 plus a hour.
The guys needs to get in & out quickly. To make money.
How many stops to hit 5k a week
 

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