1. Cut fescue no shorter than 2". Get it to 2.5" BEFORE the summer heat/drought. This is especially true if it is unhealthy from lack of fertilizer and aeration. It also saves your blade from things that might be under those weeds with fescue. 2. Old lesson I already knew about: Don't stop the mower in thick warm weather grasses unless you want to leave a circle in the lawn. Keep moving and raise the front-end when you need to stop. 3. Be extremely careful about run-off with weed killer on pathways. 4. Pick up sticks before you mow. You'll waste more time picking up and blowing mulched sticks than to pick it up before you mow. Customers do care about sticks. Older customers care more about sticks being picked up than about a "country club" edging. 5. Go easy with the string trimmer. Don't bump the head hard, you'll break the shaft. Get a Husqvarna trimmer so you spend less time fixing the string. Don't keep the trimmer at full speed, you'll heat up your string and cause it to melt together to where it doesn't feed--Husqvarna string is cheaper and more resistant to melting and locking up in itself. You'll also save on engine wear. Hold the trimmer high when edging for more control. Tilt the string trimmer to where debris blows away from your legs when clearing weeds. Get a straight shaft for easier reach behind that fence post. Use weed killer to edge around turbine fence or wood fences if low to the ground. 6. A tiller moves a lot of dirt. If you're planting or building landscape beds, use a tiller. Small ones cen be more effective, especially if it is a Honda 4-cycle, than a large tiller. It goes through roots and loosens most rocks up. The tiller attachment to a string trimmer is as effective as a garden rake and less effective than a hoe. For anything under 3 tons of dirt, you'll spend less time with a tiller than messing with a Bobcat. You'll spend a lot less than time than with a shovel alone. If the tiller can't get it, such as a large rock or root, a pick axe can. 7. Hedge trimmer is a big asset which makes you a yard man rather than a lawn boy. I use a 25cc hedge trimmer with a large blade. I do need to add a pole trimmer to my arsenal. Never hedge Azeleas after July, at which time you should should do selective pruning. 8. Tree shears are great for cleaning up yards with trees that should have been weed-whacked last year. Chain saw is good for those trees that should have been weed-whacked 5 years ago if you need to cut them up for removal. Bow saw is OK for your mom if she wants you to put the trees on the bank to prevent wash. 9. Self-propelled mowers waste time where the grass is thin and slows you down when maneuvering. The cheapest mulch mower is better than an expensive mower unless you've got large yards and need a commercial mower, especially when it comes to scalping. Never go over a ridge, mow with a ridge at the edge of the ridge to prevent scalping with a push mower. 10. Large wheels on push mowers improve ability maneuver and push over uneven yards. They also make it easy to remove and load from a truck without a ramp. 11. Pliers are the most frequently used tool in the toolbox and should be placed for easy reach. Great for snipping and working on trimmer line and equipment. Need screw drives and wrenches too. You never know when you need to work on equipment on the spot. 12. Bungie cord is great for keeping equipment, weed killer, and gas cans tied down. 13. Keep brochures and business cards handy. 14. Always keep spare shirt, socks, shoes, and towel in the car. Carry a roll of clean-up towels. Keep one in your pocket for wiping off sweat. Carry extra cups because sometimes the micronutrients (dirt) gets too rich. 15. The blower is the most important tool you have. Get the best one. The extra power saves you a lot of time when you need the power. It also justifies why you are doing it and not the neighborhood kid. It also compensates for using a $100 mower rather than a $400 honda bagging mower which sucks up more than a chipper vac or a multi-thousand commercial mower. I never met a lawn where there wasn't a place to blow the grass except for one lawn about 20 years ago where blowing it in a pile and raking it into a bag didn't justify the hassle of a bagging mower. 16. Ask your customer first time out about any plantings that might not be obvious. Ask your customer before you cut it down if you're not sure what it is. Don't sweat it if you do cut something down that was struggling if you actually accomplished a lot on weed removal and improving the look of the lot especially if you did manage to rescue a few plants. Hand-picking weeds can sometimes save time, especially swamp grass in liriope. It might be best to go ahead and take out that struggling hosta under a large variety of weeds, especially if they have a hundred other hostas that the deer already took out. 17. Juniper and iris were made for each other like how daffodils were made for crape myrtle. Liriope tends to bring out those washed out plants, but yes, don't use them for a border, use it as a ground cover. You still need to be prepared to change plant selection after visiting a few landscape suppliers because there is always something else that can be used and a plant that can't be found. 18. Hardest part about plant selection is finding a healthy plant and finding the right price for it. 19. Hummus adds more bulk than top soil. Have fill-dirt delivered if more than 40 bags are needed. 20. Don't be afraid if you're not sure on the time to do something. Give an estimate, but state you're not sure and would rather charge for actual time. Your competition will probably bid twice as much anyway. 21. First time doing a yard takes much longer than normal. I give a lower first visit rate and estimate a higher number of hours for the first visit if there is a large amount of clean-up work to do. 22. It is very easy to underbid and charge less than you should. However, I'd rather have customers and work for myself than work for someone else because I don't have customers. 23. Do a good job always and spend the extra time if you have to spend it. Yes, I do hear what you didn't do but should have done for your former client. 24. I'm sure I have about 125 more lessons to learn before the season is done.