my situation

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by contra, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. contra

    contra LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    current setup:
    lesco 36" belt (6 months old)
    shindaiwa trimmer
    home depot leafblower
    5' by 8' trailer
    21" lawnboy
    97 Ford Ranger

    Ok - I am 18 and a Senior in High school, ive got 15 lawns that are all really close to my house. Most of the lawns take around 40 minutes to mow/trim/blow. I also work another job (7.00 per hour) monday, wednesday and friday after school, only for steady income during the winter. As you can see- i am very busy. At the beginning of next season im thinking of ditching my other job and adding around 10 more customers. So my question is- do you think I need to upgrade? if so- what should I replace? I was having a real hard time with the mower this year because of all the rain. I also was aggrivated with it being too small, and the stripes not looking up to par. I'm not really sure waht to do, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    For a mow&blow operation, it looks like you're pretty much all set. I would ditch the push mower, s I don't think you have a whole lot of use for it. Don't get rid of it, just tailor your jobs AROUND having to use a pushmower. As far as your mower goes, sure, - you could use a bigger one, but before you do that, I think there may be some optimizing you can do with that one, by the sounds of it. If you're in PA., you should be getting great stripes with that machine, even at 36". This tells me that maybe some things aren't right - MAYbe. Sharp blades - that are sharpened to the right bevel. Deck pitch. How's the rake on your deck? When your blades are pointed exactly front to back, is there 1/8" to 1/4" difference in the front being lower than the back? If not, this is where it SHOULD be. Also, how about speed. Belt drive? Get some belt dressing fro your auto store, and use just a SMALL squirt on both sides of each drivebelt - and HANG ON. This unit will want to JUMP when you release the handles. Do you have a sulky? If not INVEST in one! This turns your walkbehind into a labor saving rider, and you will be more ready to face the trimming when it's time. Your idea of working close to home is on the right track, though. Sometimes, when you start out, you HAVE to go distances to get the work, but if you can get it right close to home, well, that's even better. The main thing is - price yourself right. Do good work, and you will sell yourself. People love that. You MAY want to think about a different blower, though, and when you do, get yourself a nice sized backpack. You'll be able to use the added power down the road. Oh,... something else,... if and when the time comes that you are busy enough to where another and a bigger mower is going to be beneficial to you to open up more time for more work - (and it sounds as if you're on the way), KEEP the mower you have now! Not just for having a back-up, but because that size machine is one of the handiest, most useful sizes there is for SEVERAL applications. I've been in this business longer than you've been around, and have had all sorts of "fancy equipment", but I'll tell you what, THAT is one machine that is just so useful for gated areas, ditches, steep hills and all sorts of other things that just "happen" to come up once in awhile out in the field. Good luck to ya, and I hope this helps!;)
  3. goodbeus

    goodbeus LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 392

    I'm in total agreement with for optimizing your time on accounts, the most important purchases are the mower and've got a good start-up mower, now go get a better blower and you'll make better time on your one with the highest cfm, not mph...good luck...
  4. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    Excellent advice Runner......:)
  5. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Yep, Runner's got it.
  6. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Your set up sounds a lot like mine, inculding the lesco 36" mine gives good stripes (there's pics on here somewhere) I have worked with it a bit
    -sharp blades
    -double blades
    gators over high lifts
    -increased engine rpm
    almost 3900 no load
    -the belt dressing on the drive belts helps
    jungle wheels

    I am up to about 25 yards a week plus fert programs and other work l,.ike hedge trimming, aerating, dethatching, overseeding, etc....
    I am planning on getting a 48" hydro soon but will keep the lesco as backup and for little lawnsor gates
    I am also thinking of getting a shindawa trimmer to use instead of my echo so yuor one step ahead of me there.
    look into getting an edgit for your trimmer, I love mine.
    I you have any more ??? about that lesco let me know.
  7. contra

    contra LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    thanks for the advice. the lesco stripes good, but most people in my area use 48" mowers so the stripes look wimpy compared to other lcos. i also use gators over high lifts but im worried about voiding my warranty so i havent touched the rpms. im not really understanding what you all are saying about the deck pitch. does this apply to fixed decks? if so, how do i check/change it?
  8. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    first of all let congratulate you for using you time in something good.

    Being your own boss gives you the liberty to make all the decision and you have to, you're the only one who can decide if you need a different mower, Can you afford it? how big are the properties you maintain? How much income you make mowing? with 15 customer you should be bringing about $500 weekly, if not more, if that's not the case take a real close look at your pricing structure before you add anymore people to your list.
    Look for quality not quantity.

    Also don't forget school.
    There's a lot of teenager mowing lawns but only few will succed in this type of business, education is one of the keys for it.
  9. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    to control deck pitch on fixed decks you have to find the right combo of spacers at the front wheels and at the blade spindles.

    right now mine is at :

    front wheels -two above and two below
    blades- 4 between blades and spindle with double blades (5 with singles)

    This give me a setting of about5 2.75" measured with a blade hight tool. your owners manual should have a table with different spacer settings and hight settings. I am not sure what pitch I have right now but its about 1/4 I think. the cut and stripes are good. On some lawns I raise the front to 3 below and 1 above for a 1/2 inch higher cut and the stripes are still good but the grass doesn't get lifted as well. for more permanent seasonal hight changes I will use the spacers on the blade spindles.

    good luck

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