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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Eric ELM, Apr 16, 2001.
The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is A Straight Line......
In The Opposite Direction
You might think this is funny, but I keep a spare ignition coil and starter solenoid in my truck.
I don't know, I shift my Peerless transmission like it's a Formula 1 but MOST the guys out there say don't do it... For one, it's a clutchless transmission like a 10-speed bicycle, it needs to be shifted OFF load (meaning the drivebars are disengaged, the mower CAN be moving but no pressure on the belts during the shift). It's a little bit like shifting a manual transmission in a car without using the clutch, you NEED to be careful but overall I find it's easier to do on the mower than in a car.
As far as starting it, it is SAFEST to start it in neutral so the machine don't take off on you.
And, MOST of the time my machine is ALWAYS in the highest forward gear, yes, even when I need to go slow it STAYS in 5th (except for mud or steep inclines, then I use 2nd). Another way to say it is, don't shift unnecessarily and if you can help it, don't shift at all unless you feel like rebuilding a tranny one day (me, I don't care, the trans is easy, lol).
Far as engaging the blades, I have a manual engage lever and always engage them slowly, letting the rpms build gradually rather than suddenly (not to mention a sudden engage sometimes cuts the motor off, very frustrating).
LOL !!! You might think this is stupid or funny, but:
* ALWAYS * look BOTH ways BEFORE crossing or going ON to the street. Anytime you or your machine moves OFF the turf / driveway and ON to the street: STOP and look BOTH ways, several times doesn't hurt either.
This lesson I learned the hard way after I about got run over a couple of times.
Matter of fact, I now look even when I'm just going on the OUT side of the trailer or truck, I do NOT go out in the street unless I have checked for cars, yes, every single darn time.
I guess this depends on your area, dunno... I've never been pulled over in 4 years...
But my truck is legit, all the stickers are current, yes it has insurance.
All lights are working, yes, I check them frequently and fix asap if one is out.
Drive S-L-O-W, real nice and slow. My trailer didn't come with brakes but it doesn't matter, you WANT to always go slow.
Part of the drill should be to check your equipment every day. Keep track of hours mowing, change oil every 150 hours minimum, I do every 100 hours. Also don't ever clean your air filter with compressed air. In fact I don't ever inspect my air filters, I just go 250 hours and throw it away. I keep oil, air and fuel filters on hand ALWAYS. If you don't have 'em, you'll delay your PM's. Biggest tip, sharp blades!! The quality of the cut is so much better. No yellow tips from being shredded rather than cut. Your customers will notice too. Pay attention to blade height. I don't buy heavy duty blades, even here in Florida with the sand. Regular duty blades if they are .203 thick are easier to sharpen and cost a lot less. I sharpen blades about every 3-4 days but my customers are picky. I have an older 36 and a newer Exmark Laser Z 52" that use the same blades. I keep at least 12 new blades on hand at all times and they only cost me $5.75 each versus $12 from Exmark. Again, if I have them on hand, I won't be tempted to cut corners. I don't use fix-a-flat but I do keep a air tank and a tire plugger in the trailer. Same with Belts deck and drive. I can't afford to have stuff breakdown ona job. Customer's don't understand if your equipemtn breaks and you can't finish the job.
Thanks for the tip Eric.
Get an accountant!
Wow - This has got to be the longest running active post on lawnsite. For those of you who don't know, Eric ELM, the starter of this post was a great guy who did everything he could for this site and all of it's members. He was always trying to help by passing along what he had learned over the years. I guess it's been a couple of years since Eric passed away suddenly, and I'm sure that I speak for all who knew him that we still miss him greatly. And Im sure he'd be happy to know that he's still helping people in our industry years after he's gone.
For more of Eric's posts, you can go back to the first page of this thread and click on his screen name and click "read all posts by this user." That should keep you busy until spring (Unfortuntely, many of his links aren't valid anymore). And be sure to check out his homepage, which he set up to help field all the questions about his mowing techinques and his Dixie Choppers. Not to mention the pics of his work, which I've got to say is the best I've ever seen.