How often do you clean your equipment?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Jan 22, 2002.


How often do you clean off your equipment?

  1. Every Day

    4 vote(s)
  2. Once per week

    26 vote(s)
  3. Once per month

    19 vote(s)
  4. Why would I do that?

    5 vote(s)
  1. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    Mine get bathed good once a month, whether they need it or not!

    I spray em down with miracle cleaner and start scrubbing. The stainless steel looks new again, the rims are clean, any oil or grease gets knocked off...........gotta have em clean. The decks get blown off every time I'm in a place I can. I'll do it after every yard if there is a convenient place to do it.

    I'm of the opinion that if you keep something clean it just runs better and definately looks better. The control levers and deck adjusters get a shot of WD-40 pretty regular too.

    I keep my truck washed at least once a week, it never go's longer than 2 weeks..........can't stand a dirty truck.

    Does it get me any more business? Probably not..........but it makes me happy.

    I see folks all the time that run their equipment til you can't even tell what it is. If it works for them then that's fine. I just think the rest of the machine is in that same condition when I see it that way.
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I think kutnkru is overdoing it a bit, to say the least! When do you have time to mow lawns?

    I had a friend in the biz, part time, who was real big on washing his equipment and keeping it all shiny all the time. Then he usually rushed through the actual jobs and they showed it. He was always running late getting to jobs, and losing customers to complaints. Yet he always had time for cleaning his equipment. He lost money for a few years, then got out of the business. Yes, he LOST MONEY working by himself. ha. He was big on looking sharp and professional...big diesel truck he didn't need, big trailer he didn't need, nice mowers, blowers, all the goodies...he just didn't do enough work to make any money. But boy, his mowers looked nice.

    Besides blowing off grass clippings, I may wash a mower down in the winter and then once or twice during the mowing season. If they're running well, they don't usually get all greasy. They look about the same 15 minutes later after you start using them again and getting them dirty, so I don't see the point.

    I can run a $275 trimmer 2 1/2 years with nearly ZERO maintenance, and even then it's always the carb or a recoil mechanism that fails, so I can't see how super-maintenance and cleaning could ever pay off. At that point I just toss em and buy another. My amortized cost per lawn to buy a string trimmer is 11 cents. I get an average $34/lawn. Why would I bother trying to extend its life? It could never be worth the time I'd spend.

    I suppose the idea behind clean equipment is that it impresses customers. Well, I've never had a single comment on my equipment, though none of it is ever trashy, either. Instead, spend your time on the following if you're worried about your image with customers:

    1) buy a decent looking truck (not a beater) and wash it once every week or two. People can see your truck a lot better than they can the grease on your trimmer shaft. You'd be surprised, but a more expensive truck will pay for itself because you can now charge a little more and in people's eyes, you're now worth it. Not fair, but true. It just exudes an air of "sucess". Don't go overboard though.

    EXAMPLE: The guy who did the tile in my house drove an early 80's rusty El Camino with a 4 year old tag. No way I'd ever have hired him if he hadn't already done my parents' home. Turns out he did a good job, but I almost went with a much higher bid because he looked so unprofessional that I was worried he wouldn't do the job right. He charged $3.25/ft. The other guy was $5.50/ft. He could easily have charged me $5/ft if his truck and attire looked a little sharper. He could drive a Mercedes to work for what his beater truck is costing him in image when bidding jobs. (btw, tilesetters make a killing. Consider it if you are young with a strong back and knees. Even at his low low price he cleared $1200 in three 6 hour work days!)

    2) Fix or remove bent or rusty metal on your mower. it looks junky.
    3) Use a real landscape trailer, not something homemade that looks like the Beverley Hillbillies sold it to you when it got too junky for them, or the bed of an old pickup you converted to a trailer. At a whopping $1200 and a 15 year lifespan, it's hardly expensive to have a decent trailer. It's also much safer.
    4) Invest in a uniform shirt with your company name on it, and some decent work pants or shorts. Not cut off jeans and a tank top. $100 in shirts will bring you ten times that much in added revenue.
    5) Don't smoke and mow. It looks ridiculous. You also never know about fuel leaks.
    6) Get a shave and a haircut or wear it in a ponytail that's neat. You're not Tommy Lee, despite your amazing drum skills in your basement. And a word to the wise. Wispy 6 inch long scraggly fu mancho beards aren't big money makers. If you can't grow a presentable one, give it up. Also, Tats may impress groupies at parties. They're not so cool to conservative homeowners worried about you being on their property when they aren't there. You see tattoos as a hip lifestyle expression. They'll just see you as a lowlife who deserves to work for rock-bottom wages. Cover em up, unless you want a lifetime subscription to "trailer life magazine" You'll remain poor. Of course none of this applies if you're mowing lawns for rock stars or in hip downtown locations near bars.
    7) Finally, ALWAYS show up on time and do a good job. This is worth much more than a clean mower, any day. The hour a week you save on cleanliness may be the hour you need to hit that last job on Friday afternoon.
  3. Loosestrife

    Loosestrife LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 80

    We like to clean our equipment once a week or so. There are several reasons.

    1. during the cleaning process, and when the equipment is clean, it can be more eaisly inspcted for problems. How can you spot a hairline deck crack if the deck is layered with months of crud?

    2. Performance. As grease and oil attract dirt, this dirt can work its way into moving parts, or into cooling fins, causing the engine to run hotter than it needs to.

    3. Morale. I know that mentally, I prefer using clean equipment over SCSI equipment. Employees feel the same way.

    4. Ease of repairs. I know that it is much more pleasurable to repair a clean machine than one that is covered in crud.

    We give all of our equipment a very good scrubbing during the off season. We don't go to the extremes of some by waxing it, but we do give it a very thorough cleaning. During the season, we will generally use the power washer on it once a week or so, and perhaps once during the season, if time permitts, we will give it a good scrubbing.

    As far as the argument not to clean it because it is just going to get dirty again... Why clean your house, it is just going to get dirty again, better yet, why shower, you are just going to get dirty again???

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,129

    Kutnkru-- How about some pictures of your stuff??????


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