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Ratio of Job Time Spent Mowing vs. Trimming, Edging, & Blowing?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by The Swamp Fox, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. The Swamp Fox

    The Swamp Fox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    I'm in the midst of planning an equipment roster for a new one-man band lawn maintenance operation. As part of my planning process, I'm trying to get a ball-park feel for what ratio of on-the-job time I will spend mowing, trimming, edging, and blowing.

    Feedback on the ratios encountered by others should give me a rough idea of how many hours I can expect to accumulate on my mower compared to my handheld power equipment based on my expected hours of on-the-job time per week.

    This in turn will help me calculate my ideal mower fuel tank size, handheld power equipment battery inventory requirements (I'm considering going cordless), and expected lifespan of equipment in years prior to obsolescence and the need for replacement.

    With the understanding that this ratio of time spent will vary widely for others based on location and size of properties serviced, it may be most helpful for responses to include typical account location (city / suburb / rural), type (commercial / residential), and size (sq. feet / acres). Interested to hear what types of ratios you guys are operating with!
  2. Hawkshot99

    Hawkshot99 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,318

    Doesnt this entirely depend on the property?
    A house with side walks takes more time, or a corner lot. A easy field would have little trimming....
  3. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 24,207

    While answers will vary greatly my experience has been as follows: For every 4minutes mowing time, trimming takes 2 minutes and blowing 1.
  4. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,745

    We mow some cemeteries where trimming is 2.5 : 1,
    We mow several parks and ballfields where trimming is 0.01 : 1,
    There is no magic ratio.
    Best thing you can do.
    Go mow your own lawn.
    Time everything you do.
  5. dieselss

    dieselss LawnSite Silver Member
    from NWI....
    Messages: 2,642

    Dont forget the day as well.....a monday lawn vers Friday lawn.....morning lawn vers afternoon lawn....what about after a looonnnggggg night out lawn.
    To many factors.
  6. OP
    The Swamp Fox

    The Swamp Fox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    Absolutely, tried to clarify that there will obviously be a wide range and that I wasn't looking for one-size-fits-all numbers. Just looking for some general feedback across a small spectrum of typical property types/sizes serviced.

    Thanks for the feedback! My initial best guess scenario for suburban .25-.75 acre residential lots in my area possessing concrete drives was that time spent mowing, trimming, edging, and blowing would break down with a 50:25:10:5 ratio in terms of minutes spent per hour of job time, with the remaining 5 minutes lost to inefficiency. It looks like my estimate of time spent trimming to mowing may at least be in the ballpark.

    Makes sense, there will always be extremes. I've timed myself on my own 1-acre lawn, but my wife and I live in a more rural setting than many of the properties which I plan to service.

    It's taking me about 1.25 hours to stripe my own yard with a residential lawn tractor (42" deck, hydrostatic transmission, too many ditches and obstacles to list) and about an hour to string trim. I don't have info on blowing / edging, as we don't have a concrete drive or sidewalks.

    Our place is a string trimming nightmare due to about 240' of board fence, an 18-tree orchard with edging under each tree, a row of 25 small pines along one property line, and several roadside ditches which can't fit a tractor... among other things. It's on our agenda to work in some better landscaping to reduce trimming needs, just haven't knocked it out yet.

    The aspect I'm most curious about is whether string trimming time will rival time on the mower when servicing client properties, or if it will run closer to half on average.
  7. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 23,233

    Just way too many variables. I have some that are basically a 4-1 mow vs trim due to all the walking or it would be a 8-1 difference. I have some that have a lot of chain link fencing and that makes the trimming almost a 1-1 ratio to mowing. Blowing is always far less time used except for where I have a long parking lot to clean up after mowing. That one is maybe a 3-1 mow vs blow.

    As others have stated, there's no magic formula or ratio for everyone. It is just something you learn to figure as you do more and more different lawns.
    The Swamp Fox, MowDaddy and sjessen like this.
  8. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Fanatic
    from Chicago
    Messages: 8,264

    I have lawns that have never been cut by a mower all trimmer.

    GRANTSKI LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,122

    Battery powered units will slow you down so the $ you save on gas and the equipment purchase - will be lost in efficiency. You should be able to trim as fast as you can walk & let extra string out when needed ...battery units don’t have the power / torque to put out extra string or to cut that fast . Even an echo 225 slows me down compared to a 266. Something to consider.
    The Swamp Fox and MowDaddy like this.
  10. K c m

    K c m LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,024

    So its all relative. Mr. Fox. Heres my take on the matter. IN my situation i started with gear walks. Now if you work with gear walks you know that you're limited to cut speed. That being said as you add on more lawns you need to get faster at other aspects of the job because mowing will remain the constant....Slow. So once you learn how to set up the truck, the route traveled trimming you can loose tons of time. Start out with the biggest and best gear and you're limited to mowing faster is the way mentality. with that way of thinking 16 is achievable. Thinking in terms of keeping grass of surfaces, trim route, direction of truck set up, in terms of minutes and 34 is achievable. Good luck sir.

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