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How to Turn Ppl Into Good Trimmers??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by NE Wisconsin, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. NE Wisconsin

    NE Wisconsin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Trimming has to be the worst job when it comes to mowing, but it is also one of the most difficult jobs especially when trimming around tree roots, and hills. But trimming along the street and sidewalks can sometimes leave some very unwanted results. I have one of those commercial echo trimmers, which has proven to be the most difficult trimmer to master, especially for my employees. At the very end of the year i made the discovery that there is a strap for this trimmer, and my non-english speaking employee pointed this out to me by showing me the metal ring attached with a chain to the trimmer. Always wondered what that was...christ. So should have i stayed to the home-owner type of trimmer where the trimmer head is bent? Also will this strap help with avoiding damaging the turf? Thanks
  2. LawnMastersTx

    LawnMastersTx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    Strap will not help with avoiding damaging stuff, it just takes some of the weight of the trimmer off your workers arms. I wouldnt go to a residental bent trimmer if my life depended on it.

    Do you train your guys to use the trimmer? Do they know to lower the speed of it around trees?

    Try this with them. Put plastic forks or spoons in the grass where the end where you hold them is in the ground. Make sure about half of the fork/spoon is in the ground. Have the worker trim around it. If he is careless he will take out the fork/spoon, but if he is careful he can trim around it and not damage them. Helps train them if they are destroying trees or bushes. Easier to practice with a plastic fork than a customers tree/bush.

    With the sidewalk part. I notice many workers just do not know how to hold the trimmer for proper use on an edge of a sidewalk. I use the knife method where you flip the trimmer upside down where the line is coming out like a knife and the engine part is by my head or shoulder. Takes a lot of arm strenght and will wear you guys out for the first week or two, but once they master it they will be able to cut a straighter edge with it and have more control over the trimmer.
  3. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    man, i love this forum:clapping:

    lawn masters, that is the best advice i have heard about the forks idea to train people to use caution when trimming. i will use that one for sure. we spend a lot of time training folks to get the trimming to how we like it, very neat, clean and as close to perfect as possible.
  4. NE Wisconsin

    NE Wisconsin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    i also will be trying the forks idea, thanks for the advice
  5. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    Trimming is surprisingly hard for many people, whenever I find an employee who is good at it I about do back-flips. One thing I have noticed is that if you initially try to teach them to trim at a normal pace, they will mess up a lot, but if you let them start slow and work up to your pace, they well naturally speed up and not make nearly as many mistakes.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Trimming for dummies learning technique:

    - Absolutely CRUCIAL you MUST wear hearing protection AND goggles!!!

    Start the trimmer and let it idle, now while holding the trimmer put the power head UP on your right shoulder...
    That would be the engine end, up on your shoulder right beside your ear, then let the head drop almost straight down in front.
    Hold the trimmer with your right hand on the throttle, the left on the handle.
    Now simply adjust the height of the engine depending how close you want the head to the ground or how tall you are, also the angle of the shaft can vary some it will drop down at a pretty steep angle and that is what you want.

    Yes you HAVE to wear hearing protection, and absolutely goggles too you will catch rocks anyhow so don't let your eyes get it.

    Now so long you got that engine on your right shoulder it's a LOT easier to use.
    You will leave a beveled or angled edge wherever you go, it may not be exactly the way you wanted it but it is straight and pretty much even the whole way.

    I think I used this technique for the most part of my first year if not into my 2nd or 3rd but somewhere in that time frame I learned to become independent of that.

    Wish I had pictures, you'll just have to try it.

    Other notes: Yeah don't tell them fast or slow or anything, just let them go at their own pace.
    Matter of fact you're as well off with the inexperienced kind, because they're less likely to have attitudes or try and get over on you.
  7. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    trimming is an art.....it can be taught, but those who know how, they just get it done. its hard to explain.

    If you have a lot of edging to I'd recommend a stick edger....it takes a lot of the fatigue out of edging.

    Another methods I used. On your own house of course. mow the yard but leave some strips that are about 12" wide and a few feet long, all around the yard. have the trimmer guy go and even out the "missed spots". the goal here is to have the turf you missed with the mower be cut such that looking at it from the street, you can't tell that it was missed and cut with the trimmer.

    when all else fails.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miNCqayIStg
  8. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,445

    It takes time to become proficient with a trimmer. As the weeks go by you'll see your guys getting better. I encourage them to use the left side of the trimming swath to do most of the level cutting (the side that the string tip is moving toward the operator), it helps a lot because the head pulls away from the operator and up and makes it easier not to scalp. The other side pushed the head toward the operator and down and is a lot harder to control.
  9. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,738

    Edging concrete (throttle in right hand) while walking backwards makes it much easier to see your 'line'...& (most of the) debris is flying away from the operator. Yes, some coordination is important & required here.
  10. mowing grass 1111

    mowing grass 1111 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 433

    i always thought any idiot could run a weedeater intill i hired a parttime helper last summer . he burnt the turf and never powered down when he got into spots with small rocks .. oh and i cant forget about all the flowers he cut ... sad part is he thought he was doing a good job

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