Hit my first stump!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SpruceLandscape, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 502

    LOL, turns out this new account WAS too good to be true...

    I just picked up a new customer with a property that is for sale. Customer already moved to California, so property is vacant. Its got enough big trees to keep the yard pretty well shaded and the grass sparse for our area save for the weeds and clover...
    Anyways, I walked the property, gave her the quote, got the job, started on Thursday. Quote for for bi-weekly cutting, bagging, trimming, edging, and collecting any branches or sticks that get blown down in between. The grass hadn't been cut for a month or so, but since it was almost full shade was tall, but pretty thin (again, mostly weeds). I tooled around the front yard first, no problems except that the clover really filled the hopper up fast since it was around 8 inches tall. Made my first few passes in the back of the property , had my partner pick up a few sticks and do a quick walk around to make sure nothing was laying around and away I went.
    On my 4th friggin pass in the back yard, with the mower wide open (all of 6.5mph with a Walker mower) The deck bounces up, slams down, I almost fly off the front of the thing ( only saved because I was holding onto the forward speed control handle at the time, otherwise I would have been thrown for sure) and the engine stalls out before I can even disengage the blades or do anything for that matter except hold on and figure out what just happened!

    Of course, from the seat I'm looking around the ground to see what I obviously just hit, and guess what... Wood and dirt everywhere! Since I didn't know how much damage I just did, figured I would go ahead and finish driving forward instead of trying to back off of whatever I hit since I have a front mounted deck. I got about 10 inches and hit another stump!!! Turns out the whole back yard is littered with stumps about 6-8 inches in diameter and cut off just inches from the ground! They are just low enough that you can't see them until you literally get stuck on one or trip on one!
    (Words can't explain how pissed off I am at this point, so I won't even try).
    Anyways, upon inspection, I broke the shear pins on the right blade, and the pin on the driveshaft where it enters the gearbox. The other blade was OK, just a little nicked up from where it contacted the top of the right hand blade.
    Best part is, when I called the customer to inform her that I would no longer be cutting her lawn because of there being too much of a chance for more damage to occurr, she couldn't understand I was upset that she didn't mention anything about all the trees they had cut down since "we cut them down so close to the ground! Can't you just mow around them?"
    Lost about an hour and a half of time trying to remove what was left of the mangled pin in the driveshaft and making sure that nothing else was bent, cracked or otherwise F'ed. I consider myself lucky...
  2. farmboy52787

    farmboy52787 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    You gave up the job? Why? Just mow around the stump because obviously you know where it is right? Then just trim around them. Shear pins are like 25 cents, and the other pin is like a dollar, it takes about 5 minutes to change them both and you always have to use the new pin to pound out the broken pin why did it take you an hour? I've hit plenty of crap the first time mowing a new lawn, I just remember where it is and dont mow over that part again or raise my deck and mow over it. I dont think I'd ever quit from a job for hitting something or because the customer didnt inform me of something.
  3. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 502

    because it turns out there are about 15 of these stumps littered all over the yard! Plus, you can't see them, even when trimmed with a weedwacker (we tried) because they are just small enough, but tall enough to catch the deck everytime. The account is only for bi-weekly cutting, which means every week the grass/weeds will be tall enough to conceal the stumps, and also means this is an account that for the rest of the season will probably only add up to a about $500 worth of profit! Not enough to risk a new gearbox or worse every time we mow there... It took so long to change out the shear pin because I bend 2 new ones trying to pound out the old one because it got so mangled in the process. I then had to resort to using framing spikes (went through 6 of those that are now in the shape of an "S") because i didn't want to screw up the ONE remaining pin I had left for the driveshaft.
  4. old oak lawn

    old oak lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 703

    i know what u are talking about ran over 4 pices of 3 foot long re bar in a customers yard Friday. bent it up bad mower was not hurt.it was meant to hold down a metal carport i think. that's how people are.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I do know that feeling, the anger, can't say for sure I wouldn't have reacted the same.
    Oh well, anyhow...
    I couldn't tell you how many times I have flown over the front of mine, all I know is that can be awful painful some times but it is always dang scary.

    LOL I even got to where I would ask folks if there were any obstacles or things like that, yes I mean point blank just ask them straight up, as I figured I might get a heads up from the one person that was most likely to know some thing about it, right?

    No such luck either :p

    One easy solution could have been to inform the customer the stumps were still too much a danger for the machine, and that for a few dollars I could cut them down real low (yeah like so low I'd risk dulling a chain in the dirt, that low), might run them 15-20 bucks total but maybe only 5 or 10 dollars really there's no telling because it all depends how long it would take, and not now but say the next time I get out to mow it?
    Shoot, mo' work mean mo' money, come on now.
  6. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    congratulations, you have successfully broken in your Walker. :D

    I know my Scag is broken in REAL well. Hit a few big rocks while rolling through some 2+ foot tall weeds/grass on a farm today, left some nice marks on the rocks. :) I hit what seems like tons of big branches that had fallen and got buried in the tall grass, BAM, clanking going on like crazy in the deck while chopping up 1+in branches. Stumps, hit quite a few of them too. If hitting something like that pissed you off because you had to work on the mower then I think you should have bought a Scag, it would have eaten the stump for lunch. :weightlifter:

    I actually thought I had damaged the blade in the center due to it cutting funny, shorty after I had clipped all the rocks. I think I hit 3 different rocks while mowing plus all the branches. I mowed around 5 acres total and finished it up and stopped at my buddies house ( he got me the job) on the farm right next to the farm I mowed today. I wanted to find out what was going on so after a quick look, it turned out, all it needed was cleaned, even the blades looked fine. I cleaned the deck good and started cutting at my buddies farm to check the cut and it was cutting so good, I couldn't stop. LOL He gave me money to cover fuel.

    I really can't wait to mow the place again as I spent 4hrs mowing with very little trimming and made $250. The next time I mow, I should be close to $100 an hr for my time. :D

    I think I'm going to call them and tell them I can't mow it again as I might hit something again and cause further damage. Oh wait, it didn't get damaged, scared the living crap out of me but no damage. ;)

    It's a Scag..... "simply the best" :p

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