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How can I cut down on equipment maintainence costs?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Chivas Regal, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Chivas Regal

    Chivas Regal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I am in my second year of business (after having done this business for 5 years when I was younger). At this point, I have two lawn crews running, which is good. Unfortunately, my guys bang the hell of out the equipment and I'm constantly having to make repairs. I am not very mechanical myself, so this usually means paying a high shop rate at a local repair shop (fortunately, they are very good at turning equipment around quickly). I've managed to find a good an inexpensive mechanic to fix my old trucks, but haven't been able to do so for small engine repair and equipment maintainence. Any thoughts on this subject?
  2. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    Tell your guys to quit beating the hell out of the equipment.
  3. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    If something brakes due to all out abuse or stupidity, pull the guy or crew aside and have them help you get it fixed. You might be able to dock their pay for the prolems but you'll want to check your local laws first as they are different.
  4. Dano50

    Dano50 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,781

    You could switch to Fluid Film to extended maintenance schedules. It lasts a lot longer than all the competitive products.
  5. Chivas Regal

    Chivas Regal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I talk to them about it. One of my foremen is pretty good about this, the other just destroys stuff. On the flip side, he gets a lot done, so maybe it's a trade-off. Unlike most companies, I pay my guys per/job, not per/hour, and I have them take miscellaneous expenses such as gas, trimmer line, even help when they need it, out of the amount that they get paid. I do dock their pay for poor work, but I haven't figured out a way to 'ding' them for equipment damages.
    I've thought about upping their per/job pay, and then making THEM liable for equipment repairs, but this just seems like it would be full of problems.

    Thanks for the reply
  6. Langford2000

    Langford2000 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    Next time they screw up a peice of equipment - replace it with a 21" $100 mower from walmart for a week. You said yourself that they get paid by the job not the hour. That way you get into their pockets without actually docking the pay. The only problem is they will get behind which will look bad on you.

    Just a thought
  7. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,578

    Excellent idea.:clapping:
  8. Chivas Regal

    Chivas Regal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Yea, I've got to agree, this idea isn't to bad :)
  9. Guzman Properties

    Guzman Properties LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    If it is maintenance issues, you can always learn.

    If it is your workers screwing up equipment, replace them.
  10. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,578

    Does your equipment have numbers on them? For example, employees are only to use the equipment that they are assigned to. If employee number 3 has been assigned a number 5, then he will only use equipment (trimmers, mowers, edgers, whatever etc) in the field with that corresponding number on it. Have a proctor in the field to report how the stuff is handled as well. Someone you can trust. This will help you narrow down who is damaging what. Then, you can replace that equipment accordingly with the cheap stuff from wallie world. That way you're not punishing your whole crew for a single person's mistake. If the problem is real bad, replace them. Remind them they are replaceable. There ya have it, two plans in place to eliminate your problem.

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