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Rough Start

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Bluestem, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. Bluestem

    Bluestem LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    This year marked the debut of my shiny new aerator. In the past, I always rented, but I decided it was finally time. As much as I hate walk behind aerators, I was almost looking forward to it this year just to use the new machine. So I put it on the lawn and let her rip - 15k yard. About 1/2 way through my first bordering pass, it dumped the drive chain - my fault for not making sure it was adjusted correctly - but still embarrassing since I had tempted fate by leaving the tool box at home. So I nonchalantly roll the machine back off the lawn, sneak home, grab the tools and fix the chain. I roll back up to the lawn and squeeze the clutch handle...... nothing. My adjustments have put some slack in the clutch cable so it won't engage. Back to the toolbox to discover that my dear wife has borrowed my phillips head "screwturner". I slink back to the truck, drive home and get the screwdriver. Now I have invested an hour on approximately 100 square feet out of 15k and am starting to look like a moron. So I blaze through the lawn and am finally starting to regain some of that good feeling I had when I started. On my final pass - rolling straight toward a landscaping bed full of freshly planted bulbs - I let off the clutch at the end of the pass. It won't stop. The clutch is stuck. So I spend about fifteen seconds fighting the frigging thing, pulling it backwards and driving with my feet to keep from going through the flower bed and the fence - flailing at the controls the whole time and bellowing. No kill switch on the handle by the way - super design. I finally got the throttle yanked back, the tines up and slapped the kill switch. But not before I had basically rototilled a large hole at the edge of the flower bed, snagged the edging and slurped the edging up into the tines like a strand of spaghetti - about 20 feet of edging wrecked and 4 irises that will never see April.... So I made my third trip home, grabbed my edging and replaced it. Shockingly, they still wrote me a check. Welcome to Spring! I shudder at the thought of getting on my new Z. :hammerhead:
  2. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    haha... funny, but not laughing at you cause it's happened to me more often than once... Murphy hard at work. Hope you have more luck next time you aerate! btw, which brand did you buy, didn't notice in your post.

    Hope the z doesn't get in on the act now :dizzy:
  3. Bluestem

    Bluestem LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    It is a Ryan Lawnaire V. I have used dozens of them. This one just hates me apparently. I'm still waiting for the better aerator to arrive - like one I can use from home... while napping. :) Seriously, I have seen some of the ride ons like the Classen Stand-Aer and some of the z mounted spoon types, but they are either really tough to find or don't do the job the way i want it done. I can't wait to just be cutting grass again - probably a couple weeks away yet here.
  4. workinallthetime

    workinallthetime LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    where did you see the z mounted aerator at? im curious about this aerator stuff, i have a small tractor i could pull one behind just dont want to waste money on the wrong stuff.
  5. NELawnCare

    NELawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 175

    I'm also interested. I'm thinking of investing in an aerator. What about this one: http://www.wikco.com/Plugr.html (PL-1600 at the bottom of the page)?
  6. Poncho25

    Poncho25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    Sorry to hear what happened, but man that was a good laugh! :) thanks for sharing it. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  7. Bluestem

    Bluestem LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Jrco makes a Z mounted aerator that will fit about any machine - they have a variety of mounting brackets. Unfortunately, it uses spoon tines instead of pluggers and they are way too spread out. Most folks have said they have to aerate at least twice and more often three times to pull enough soil with it. Customers, in my experience anyway, seem to prefer to be able to see the plugs on the lawn when you're done rather than the smaller pieces you get with spoon tines. Sometimes I think aerating 3 times from the seat of a Z would still be better, but in the end I think you do a better job with a walk behind. There was also something called a gator-rator for Zs that was supposedly a little better, but they are out of business. Pull behinds are a decent option - you can back them into a lot of spots where access is limited, but in the end, you almost always end up needing a walk behind to get the really tight areas. Just my opinion.

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