TIPS, Do's and Don'ts tips for the new guy

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Eric ELM, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Buy a 2.5 gallon gas can because mix for 2.5 gallons is cheaper than mix for 1 gallon.

    Then, go to your commercial lawncare dealer and buy a CASE of Stihl (guess you could use echo, dunno) 2.5-mix. A CASE contains 48 little canisters of mixoil already measured out for a 2.5 gallon gascan. This relieves the guess-work at the pump.
    A CASE costs around 70 or 80 dollars for 48 bottles, but buy them individually and you pay 1.99 each ($96 for 48).
    And last but not least, the first case I bought lasted 3 years. :)

    Figure out what thickness string you prefer. As for myself, I like the thin kind ... The thick kind wears slower but the weedeater runs higher rpms with the thin AND you get more string on the spool, thus equaling the duration. Since string is sold by weight, no matter which size you buy, you get the same .... errrr OK you get more thin string but then thin string wears faster so yes it is the same, basically.
    For my weed-eater there really are only two thicknesses, and I forget the exact numbers but it's 0.80 and 0.85 or maybe it's .85 and .90 whatever: The thin and the thick.
    To figure out which kind you like best, buy a small roll of each and run that through. Once you know which kind you prefer, buy the BIG nasty spool of your preferred thickness as this lasts forever and is the cheapest per foot.
    I also learned to practice running the string razor-close to the surface without touching it, as this helps string last longer especially with driveways. On that note, aggregate driveways and walkways eat string like mad so it really pays to learn to skim the surface.

    On a separate but similar, if I can avoid parking in the customer's driveway, I do so because it never fails some oil drips on the driveway from the truck, it is best to park on the street anytime you can do so.

    Far as the trailer-gate, LOL, the good news is if you leave it down, you will likely know it right away. Far as I'm concerned, never be in too much of a hurry and no harm done, it's just hella embarrassing.

    Beware of setting down equipment on the tongue of the trailer, that is how I ran over my backpack blower. By the way, Shoo-goop fixed a large crack and when the thieves came around last winter, they didn't take it and they didn't take the weedeater, either: If your equipment looks new, please be careful where you leave it. If it's all f*ked up, that could be good :)

    Some guys talk all the time about full-throttle being the only throttle. To each their own, I run my stuff at 50-90 percent throttle which saves fuel, makes less noise and doesn't sound like some formula-I tearing up the yard. In addition, it appears to extend useful life on 2-cyclers far beyond government definition (and government definition of useful ... well, nevermind). On a 172 - 200mph blower, idle speed is enough wind for me to blow small debris left on paved surfaces from grass cutting - If you cut with side-discharge and no bag, run around the outside with the side-discharge facing IN. Make 2, maybe 3 big loops, then start circling the other way to blow the clippings back OUT. This helps distribute clippings evenly but also you keep yourself from blowing a TON of clippings onto paved surfaces you have to clean later.

    Man I gotta go, they're gonna eat me for talking endlessly, bb and gl!
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    An interesting tidbit:
    Write down your equipment serial numbers and keep on file.
    IF (should i say when?) your equipment is stolen, there is a database you can report it to (you need to ask your commercial lawncare dealer about this) and once reported, it is in the computer. If your stolen piece of equipment ever goes in for repair ANYWHERE, it will come up on the repair shop's computer as stolen and they will confiscate it and contact you.
    You may not get it back the way you last remember it, but at least the thief is out, too. If you did NOT write down the serial, it is possible the place you bought it from has this on record.
    so much for being quiet...
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This is the trick I use when I run out:

    I use the thinner kind and I have a 250-series and a 6x12.

    Take the line and wind a small bit in a little knot around the trailer-gate latch to keep it there. Then, unwind string all the way to the front bumber of the truck. Cut it.
    Exact length. Another few feet is too much. By the way, I prefer Echo's spool vs. Stihl ... Always dislike winding the stihl.

  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Ahhhh yes! I found folk (more so the neighbors than my customers) are VERY quick to blame the lawnguy for anything broken, whether you broke it or not ! Another problem is, after some time your mind enters the 'zone' and you can no longer be too sure whether or not you broke it, lol.

    If you DO break something, make sure you tell your customer about it and if they are not home, call from your cell to leave a message or write them a note and leave on the door. I personally would not tell a neighbor unless it is the neighbor's thing I broke, I have an overall negative taste in my mouth concerning neighbors of customers, is it just me?

    When weedeating around those white or black pipes sticking out of the ground made of PVC plastic, your string will cut that PVC like a hot knife cuts butter. Even with the weedeater on idle and you *barely* touching it will nick it and water will spurt out of the cut. When this happens, find the underground faucet or lever to turn the water off and inform the customer. You can then run to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy some PVC primer and glue and some splice-pieces of pipe or caps or whatever PVC pieces and parts and come back to fix it. Before you leave to go to Lowe's, measure the piece and get the diameter, take notes if you need to. As for me, I bought a few extra parts and now have this in my truckbox, but nowadays I also use Roundup around those pipes rather than weedeating.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I bought a saline solution kit with an eye cup at Rite-Aid, but more so for getting sawdust out of my eye.
  6. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    Keep a couple of beach towels in the truck; the bigger, the better. If anyone gets a serious cut, you can use them to apply pressure and limit the bleeding. I went through a glass door when I was 5 and a couple of beach towels saved my life.

    I read another thread about a customer complaining about an employee peeing on the job site. I was buying a first aid kit the other day (thanks to this thread) and in the same aisle, they had those bottles you pee in when you are bedridden in the hospital. I put one under the seat in the truck and can discreetly use it if needed. It was about $7, so there is no need for everyone to share the same one. :p
  7. gmlcinc

    gmlcinc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    I have the same problem! I noticed it dosn't start doing it until I've been mowing for a while. Ever find a solution?

    Do Lube EVERY moving part on everything, mower, trailer, hand tools, etc. Gibbs works good, is high quality and lasts.
    Do Buy the more expensive high temp. grease, lasts longer, works better.
    All oil is NOT created equal. Opinions vary, my top two: Shell Rotella T and Mystic (purple case forgot full name)
    If you decide to fill that tire with fix-o-flat preapre for your local tire compnay to give you hell when they fix it right!
    Do buy a measuring wheel and take time trials to fiind your prices and estimate more accurately every time.
    More to come.
  8. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    "I used to work for a company that had a cub cadet comercial zero turn prob. 60 percent of the time the clutch wouldnt engage unless you were at idle then you had to rev the the throttle up for it to fully engage did has anyone elese had this prob. with cub cadets?"

    This is usually a sign that the clutch is about worn out.

    Here is the progression of the clutch wearing out (in my experience):

    At first, it only has to be idled down to engage after the clutch is hot from being engaged.

    Then it has to be idled down even at startup (cold).

    Then it whines and screeches after it is engaged.

    Then...nothing at all.

    How many hours are on the clutch?

    I have had a couple of Warner clutches on my Lazer Z that did the same thing before they totally went kaput.
  9. gmlcinc

    gmlcinc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    I only have around 300 hours on this machine. I sure hope the clutch isn't already going out! I'm hoping it's a bad connection or something of that sort. Better take a looke at it. Thanks
  10. cutngrow

    cutngrow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    i signed today for 300/600 lia ins-----total is $416 for the year----4 pay of $100----every two months until paid----CF insurance-google it

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