Real World

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by robbo521, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. robbo521

    robbo521 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    i see on here all the time people saying they can cut 1 acre in 15 to 20 min.this maybe true with ball fields.i dont think it would be true for the everyday joe's yard.i know around here yards are not smooth and you cut to fast they aint going to look good no matter what you use on it.could you all show some pictures and times it takes you please.
  2. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,930

    Yeah, I cant cut an acre in 15 or 20 minutes...I thought it was just me though...:rolleyes:
  3. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    Im with you. After you read enough posts, you realize some people may not even know how big an acre is. It takes me about 35 to 40 minutes to mow an acre lot with a half acre of house and driveway in the middle of it. Im trying to get good lines and good cut, and not the fastest buzz job I can do. Ill have another 25 to 30 minutes of edge, trim, blow as Im a solo. I am old and dont run with the trimmer,edger, and blower.
  4. robbo521

    robbo521 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    thank you cause it takes me that long to with very little trees few beds and drive and other things.thought it was just me.
  5. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    if you are doing a acre in 15 to 20 minutes you must have great Chiropractor that not only straightens your back but can also straighten your stripes lol
  6. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    Its refreshing to read a post thats believable for a change!
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    It just depends on the layout of the property and how fast the terrain will allow you to travel... and which direction you are cutting in. Some you can knock out that quick with a nice stripe job to boot... some you can't.

    robbo... you are not wrong, it can be hard on some properties.
    But also understand that you are really limited with the 717.
    Even if you could increase your ground speed.

    For high production, you have to step up to the 60"-72" ZTR's.

    On just a 60" alone, every 4 passes you save an entire trip across the lawn and the time it takes to turn around.

    With a 72" it's every two passes...
  8. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    BTW, Im using a 66 Exmark Lazer z and Im still slow. I got 4 new accounts because the last guy bounced across these yards and left half the grass. But he was done really fast.
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well guys... I tell ya...

    I don't do rush jobs, and I usually do not make a point to really push the production as far as I can. Not unless there is a pressing reason to.

    A reasonable pace is easier on me and my equipment.

    I've always priced my work by volume and difficulty... and I do not run any jobs on close margins. So I'm comfortable on time. My mowing productivity has increased a great deal due to my equipment purchases and along the way I have also increased my 'by-volume' rates as well.

    So I have learned from my logs that I can really step it way up if need be without sacrificing quality. It's just harder on me and my equipment.... but most of all just the idea of rushing takes a lot out of me on a mental level that effects me physically.

    I get tense and anxious, and some of the 'personal appreciation and satisfaction' that feeds me is lost.

    To be totally honest about it, I achieved a higher level of personal happiness and satisfaction out of my work when I was a lot less productive than I am now just cruising along. I think the reason is that everything I did then was pretty much totally full service to a point it was like niche specialty work, I wasn't totally full time, and this wasn't my sole source of income.

    I never even kept time on a job after I did it the first time, because the nature of the accounts and the earnings associated with them were so good. In other words I such a cushion that I never needed to worry about job time. I was paid well enough on everything and was providing such a level of service everywhere that I could hang around and take whatever time needed to achieve perfection.

    That's personally rewarding and financially rewarding at the same time.
    But it is tedious sometimes....

    Now the market has changed and I can't stay busy enough only doing that, especially considering the productivity gained since then. The local state of the economy has slowed/lowered spending and so some accounts have changed, gone by the wayside, etc, and I just can't land enough of that level of work.

    I now find my happy medium to be the accounts that pay well for a higher level of service, but do not require me to be tediously flawless every visit. In other words I don't have to comb over everything in the entire lawn and landscape every time before leaving. I can make a lot better time week-in week-out at a lower expense point for the customer and still make good money. Now, if I just had enough of these to totally fill my schedule I'd be thrilled. But unfortunately I don't, and although I make all my lawns look really good... on some of them I have to have the mindset that "time is money."

    It's not as personally rewarding, but when the market breaks up like that, what can you do but adapt, adjust and overcome?

    So I guess that in the end, what I am trying to say is that high speed and high production isn't always everything. Yes you can pump your earnings on up there to the next level, but money isn't everything either.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653


    With the 60" warrior I can double cut my 43,000 square foot lot in 33 minutes at WOT and full stick, but I have to double cut it and still there are a few stragglers sticking up... Not enough to look bad, but I know they're there. So I suppose if I single cut it, then I could whip it out in 15-20, but what a terrible job! It simply doesn't cut good at much past 6-7mph or so.

    When I first got the Z I used to love pushing that machine to the limit. But it is hard on me and the machine, and after the 'new' wore off, I slowed down. The days of full stick cutting for me are done, this is my 3rd rough year out of 6, the first is included and normal. My 3rd year was as bad as this one but I did something different, which was to lowball and in the end I find I got skru'd as hard as I'm taking it now, so I find I'd rather watch TV and go broke, seeing how I'm going to be in dire financial straights either way.

    Meanwhile thou, I did find a niche which like yourself, if only I had enough customers of this kind. I charge at least $5 more for the same service, and I spend more time there. It's all the same thing, I just spend more time there, I found +10 minutes for $5 extra actually earns me more in the end than doing more lawns, so 8 x 35 (280) is better for me than 10 x 30 (300), that lousy $20 doesn't make up for all the extra maintenance and driving time and everything else (more deposits, larger schedule, etc), it just doesn't.

    And I've kept going, more than a few yards I'm at $10 over the standard rate, I do little extras but there are other things as well... I'm not here to rip them off, I always say never use what I know against the customer, but use it for their benefit (so if they don't know something costs $100 I don't charge them $200 just because I can, even if I am sure I can get away with it). At the same rate if I find something on sale, I split the discount with them 50/50 (my incentive too). Just examples, I would NEVER cut a lawn that hasn't grown just to bill them, there are many things that even thou I'm not perfect I just don't do, and I feel honesty in and of itself is worth a little extra, too... Call it insurance, call it peace of mind, call it dependability and integrity, but more than anything if the customer adds up the money they spend on me per YEAR vs. someone else, they should find I'm actually cheaper on an annual basis (try and explain this to the folks looking for the cheapest service).

    In that sense, apparently a lot of Lco's cut weekly season round, which is to say I am sure there are times they run blades over thin air, there's just no way that stuff grew in 100F weather. That's something else I just don't do, my lawns can get right lofty between cuts, my cut in summer is over 4" high and most of them are on 3-4 weeks during the heat, it just doesn't need it any more often... Yet another money saver, for those customers paying attention.

    But I think in time, so long I continue to practice the technique I preach, in time things should improve, a lot of these changes are new and not all of my old customers adapted or took heart with me, so be it.

    But no, I don't see how you can cut an acre in 15-20 unless you've got fields and a tractor, or a wam. Either that or you're full sticking it on a single cut and doing a lousy job, you have to look behind yourself sometimes to make sure the blades are engaged, is my attitude.

    Peace out

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