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Steve
01-31-2007, 11:45 AM
Beginner Mistakes from our friend Jim

Here are some things beginners often get wrong:

Bagging Grass Clippings: Don’t bag grass clippings, mulch them. If you cannot avoid bagging, make sure you’re getting premium pay to cover all the extra work.

skyjack_1
01-31-2007, 02:41 PM
Wow, this could not have been said better. Extra work is right. The only people that need to be bagging are golf courses. Almost all my mowers have been converted to dedicated mulchers. Any new mower will be mulcher off the line. Looks better and is easier. Also better for the turf.

VogelLawnService
02-27-2007, 07:40 PM
so true, plus when you remove clippings you are accually taking natural fertilizer from your customers lawn. grass clippings return nutrients into the lawn. so when you leave them its better for the lawn as long as you only cut about a quarter of the blade!

Billz
03-01-2007, 01:10 PM
Well, I have a few rich customers who think it is ok to grow 7 inches of grass every week. I mow them on Friday and bag most of their lawns. It has helped me grow in this one area. I now have 8 customers and am looking to add another 3-4 from ones who talked to me last year but were already committed to another lco... I do charge extra, but only 5$ per week. It really doesnt take any longer, because I can single cut instead of double. This area borders a private golf course, and I worked out a deal with the superintendant to dump my grass in an area right there. So really it gives me the best of both worlds...I have a dump insert in my truck, so I just fill it up and dump it nearby...if dumping wasnt a problem everywhere else I think I would do it more often.

S.P.Martin Lawn Care
03-02-2007, 10:40 PM
Homeowners love bagging for some reason here in southern Maine. Most of my customers want it done, but if I can dump it on thier property I don't charge extra. Only a couple of them where I have to haul it off.

At the start of the season I will bag everybody the first couple of times anyway just to collect the extra junk that accumulated from late fall thru the winter.

I'm going to make an effort at steering my customers away from it this season. I'll be experimenting with Gator blades and see what they think.

Any feedback on using Gator blades? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Billz
03-08-2007, 09:52 AM
Gators work better than the stock blades, but someone here uses Ninja blades and they never seem to need to double cut, ever! I might look into them this year.

bohiaa
03-20-2007, 08:02 PM
And We "in my area" have to pay to dump it

justin_time
07-05-2011, 08:34 PM
Where's the LIKE button.. oh right.. it's not facebook lol

Ducke
07-06-2011, 08:18 PM
Gators work better than the stock blades, but someone here uses Ninja blades and they never seem to need to double cut, ever! I might look into them this year.

Picked up a Gator blade for my mulcher this year and find that it seems to miss a lot of tuffs of grass . Not sure if its from wheel marks or blade skip, but I'm not really sold on them. I hate to have to double mow it a real waste of time and my money but I can't leave a lawn looking like a Barbour School hair cut.
Any suggestions to correct this Do I need to mow slower or faster or overlap my passes more ?

Steve
07-07-2011, 07:14 PM
Could you show us a picture of it the next time it happens?

Ducke
07-08-2011, 04:55 AM
Could you show us a picture of it the next time it happens?

I will try to get some today if I can

Steve
11-19-2014, 07:13 PM
Does anyone have any additional beginner mistakes to add to this thread?

jrs.landscaping
11-19-2014, 07:30 PM
I'm curious how bagging grass is considered a rookie mistake? Fairly broad stroke statement IMHO.

biglee
11-20-2014, 02:08 PM
Avoiding jobs with an excessive amount of hedge trimming and weed control Example a 2-3 hour account, time management is key to making money. If a weekly customer takes me more than 15-30 minutes to perform a full service it is not profitable.

On the flip side to that, if I did accept the accounts with excessive trimming and weed control, I would charge by the hour for that service and it would be an additional charge.

Chilehead
11-20-2014, 03:35 PM
Big rookie mistake: not marketing correctly. Your advertising campaigns can not look like they are homemade when up against some slick competitor's campaign. Read up on how to market, and view as many examples as you can before putting together your own agenda.

Steve
11-21-2014, 05:28 PM
Your advertising campaigns can not look like they are homemade when up against some slick competitor's campaign.

Do you feel there is a place for more cheaper looking marketing when a new business owner is looking for the cheaper customers? Or is it just better straight from the start to look as professional with your marketing as possible?

acrajchel
11-21-2014, 05:34 PM
Marketing is probably one of those things that has to be done right from the beginning if you want to grow. The rule of thumb for a brick and mortar establishment is to spend as much on marketing as you do on rent. Now for us, we usually don't have rent, so.... but it shows the importance of marketing.

I would think you would be better off cutting back spending on tools and equipment and focusing more on marketing at first. Start out with a mower, weedeater, blower, and trailer. Then as the business starts to come, buy the "extras" like hedge trimmers and chainsaw, or whatever.

jrs.landscaping
11-21-2014, 06:15 PM
Does anyone have any additional beginner mistakes to add to this thread?

Lack of business plan/goal.

No budgeting or accounting

Most of the mistakes are on the administrative side IMHO

FWIW we have never spent a dime on an active marketing campaign.

ExtremeLawncareServices
11-22-2014, 08:20 AM
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting out is caring about what other lco's think. Most lco are just following their opinions and think because they asked a guy starting out that it must be fright or close. When fact is its the blind leading the blind , no matter the job.

Come up withYOUR NUMBERS focus on MANAGEMENT, MARKETING and keep it simple ..... When you get a check ...put it in the bank not your back pocket.

stevef1201
11-22-2014, 10:45 AM
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting out is caring about what other lco's think. Most lco are just following their opinions and think because they asked a guy starting out that it must be fright or close. When fact is its the blind leading the blind , no matter the job.

Come up withYOUR NUMBERS focus on MANAGEMENT, MARKETING and keep it simple ..... When you get a check ...put it in the bank not your back pocket.

J somewhat agree, however; the biggest mistake is thinking I have to charge less to get business. Charge the same as everybody else, if you don't get the job you probably did not want it. Don't go broke just to get business.

ExtremeLawncareServices
11-22-2014, 11:34 AM
I laughed when I read your post, I realized it has more to do with a persons personality then anything when talking mistakes.

I read your post and went " there are so many posible mistakes we can and do make" .... It's our own personalities that cause us to continue making the same ones day after day.

stevef1201
11-22-2014, 01:42 PM
TRUE> When I started this business I was told that no matter what, charge 50 to 75 per hour. when I asked why, was told you will get paid for at most 20 hours a week to break even, it is only after that you make money. This by a guy who spent 40 years in business making 150 to 200 K per year.

Steve
11-26-2014, 09:57 AM
It's our own personalities that cause us to continue making the same ones day after day.

Do you think this is why some entrepreneurs seem to have an easier time at starting and running a business than others? With the right personality, certain people are just more predisposed to do better and have an easier time being a business owner?

While maybe others have to constantly fight themselves to stay on track because they have to do things that are opposed to how they would normally handle situations?

BladesofSteel
03-04-2015, 06:07 PM
Do you think this is why some entrepreneurs seem to have an easier time at starting and running a business than others? With the right personality, certain people are just more predisposed to do better and have an easier time being a business owner?

While maybe others have to constantly fight themselves to stay on track because they have to do things that are opposed to how they would normally handle situations?
I totally agree with this. I feel there are 2 types of people in this world. Business Owners, then the 9-5er's. We all lack in spots at business owners. Some are better at management, others advertising, or some are good all around. I know I lack in the management department. I can run guys very well but I'm not very organized when it comes to paper works and billing.

CurbAppeal1
03-04-2015, 06:17 PM
Made my own mulch plate for 15 bucks. Put in my brand new toro. Attached with wing nuts. Do have pictures.

CurbAppeal1
03-04-2015, 06:33 PM
Beginner Mistakes from our friend Jim

Here are some things beginners often get wrong:

Bagging Grass Clippings: Donít bag grass clippings, mulch them. If you cannot avoid bagging, make sure youíre getting premium pay to cover all the extra work.

My first year out on my own. Watch people bag or pole grass on their trailer. Feel bad for the grass and customers. Always been handy. Made my mulch plate for 15 bucks. Cherry red rust o leum to match toro some wing nuts. Been working like a charm. Took pics while making it

NinaMarie86
05-19-2015, 09:01 AM
I do not work in the field I am in the office dealing with the customers so I have had a few call in and complain about the crews leaving the clippings behind in the yard. What is the best way to tell them that its best?
Also what is the best and easiest way to bag these?

Steve
05-19-2015, 02:49 PM
What kind of mowers are they using? Do they have baggers or are they using mulch blades? Are they mowing right after a rain? Or are they normally leaving grass clumps?

NinaMarie86
05-19-2015, 04:22 PM
What kind of mowers are they using? Do they have baggers or are they using mulch blades? Are they mowing right after a rain? Or are they normally leaving grass clumps?

They do mow sometimes when it is wet due to weather and trying to squeeze customers in for the week. They use a cub cadet zero turn with the steering wheel residential series, not sure if that helps but not one of them have baggers on them I do know that for sure. They use factory blades. Its Bermuda grass here and ppl keep their grass here pretty low. Do you guys normally bag the clippings or leave them through out the yard and only pick up if customers specify?

SGL1
05-19-2015, 09:07 PM
They do mow sometimes when it is wet due to weather and trying to squeeze customers in for the week. They use a cub cadet zero turn with the steering wheel residential series, not sure if that helps but not one of them have baggers on them I do know that for sure. They use factory blades. Its Bermuda grass here and ppl keep their grass here pretty low. Do you guys normally bag the clippings or leave them through out the yard and only pick up if customers specify?

Normally mulch unless wet then bag or cut high and leave in yard. Try not to mow wet however if I can help it.

NinaMarie86
05-20-2015, 07:20 AM
Normally mulch unless wet then bag or cut high and leave in yard. Try not to mow wet however if I can help it.

Thank you guys!

Steve
05-20-2015, 12:23 PM
I don't know if this is your exact model, but it seems cub cadet makes mulch kits that you might be able to use.

http://www.cubcadet.com/equipment/cubcadet/50-cub-cadet-mulch-kit-190-193-100

http://www.cubcadet.com/wcpics/CubCadet/products/190-193-100_product_detail.jpg

SGL1
05-20-2015, 08:44 PM
Thank you guys!

It's been raining in Houston for almost two weeks solid now. I am not kidding, every day. Not all day but the grounds are saturated. I had to do two lots with a trimmer today they were so high. One yard I had to trim, rake then go back over with mower which was still a chore. This was at 4x4 setting and no mulch cover. I was using a residential mower so that didn't help. My big mower is in the shop.

Mowing wet sucks but the grass doesn't stop growing so gotta do it. I need an industrial backpack heat gun. If they made one.

CurbAppeal1
05-21-2015, 06:24 AM
I do not work in the field I am in the office dealing with the customers so I have had a few call in and complain about the crews leaving the clippings behind in the yard. What is the best way to tell them that its best?
Also what is the best and easiest way to bag these?

Mulch plate. Then generally I mow the lines of mulched up grass again. Then I use a blower to blow them away. Cant be lazy. If your not using a mulch plate the grass clippings just shoot out at inches long and lay there.

Chilehead
05-21-2015, 08:50 AM
Do you feel there is a place for more cheaper looking marketing when a new business owner is looking for the cheaper customers? Or is it just better straight from the start to look as professional with your marketing as possible?
I think it best to look as professional as is affordable from the get-go. It's all about establishing an image of competence.

CurbAppeal1
05-22-2015, 06:52 AM
I think it best to look as professional as is affordable from the get-go. It's all about establishing an image of competence.

I highly agree. I did everything as professional big trailer custom shirts nice website etc. From the start. It's only my first year and I'm soon going to buy a small trick to pull my other little trailer to mow so I can focus on all the landscape jobs I'm pulling. www.calandscapemanagement.com updating pictures more often have a bunch need to put on. People like that.

ExtremeLawncareServices
05-22-2015, 02:02 PM
I do not understand why you would mulch a lawn, then mow over it a 2nd time.
Mulching is a slower process then regular mowing so to slow down to mulch 2 times..... it would be easier to slow down once and bag it right, the first time.

Then you blow the clumps??? Missing something.
On a weekly cut if you double cutting 2 times it will be a clippings free lawn? At least it is in Tennessee

biglee
05-22-2015, 09:58 PM
I do not work in the field I am in the office dealing with the customers so I have had a few call in and complain about the crews leaving the clippings behind in the yard. What is the best way to tell them that its best?
Also what is the best and easiest way to bag these?

Grass clumps can be expected if

1. You use straight blades
2. You run dull blades
3. Your crew does not maintain a consistent height of cut
4. You run chutes on wet lawns

I avoid this by running mulching blades on all of my mowers, only 1 has the mulching kit. The curved blades disperse the clippings evenly and prevent clumping.

I have a prevision in my contracts stating that in some situations excessive grass clippings may be visible for up to 48 hours. If clippings are still visible after 48 hours I will return and remove them. Although I have never left visible clippings if for some reason I do I am covered.

If your crews are clumping up lawns often...you might want to check on their mowing patterns, mowing in a box pattern blows everything to the center and can lead to clumping.

Oh and so much more to this subject.

holymoly
06-10-2015, 02:10 PM
I have a dual blade quadra cut self propelled 21 inch Honda mower that I mulch with for 20 residential customers each week and go over the yard one time with no issues of clippings left behind.

Steve
06-11-2015, 09:47 AM
How difficult is it for you to sharpen those blades? Or is similar to a regular blade?

LawnCareMan280
06-11-2015, 02:47 PM
The only time I bag is when the yard is over grown. My 2003 Murray push mower is an only side discharge mower and I have converted it to mulch. All I did is got an old license plate. bent it to shape the inside of the deck properly drilled it into the deck and that plate acts as a deflector that the grass hits and the grass that hits that plate gets re cut and it works great. Best part is it was free!

Steve
06-12-2015, 10:43 AM
That's brilliant. You should take a picture of that to show us what you did.

jrs.landscaping
06-12-2015, 12:19 PM
So the guys who bag are beginners and the guy who self taps a license plate for a mulch plate is a genius :confused:

SGL1
06-12-2015, 09:04 PM
The only time I bag is when the yard is over grown. My 2003 Murray push mower is an only side discharge mower and I have converted it to mulch. All I did is got an old license plate. bent it to shape the inside of the deck properly drilled it into the deck and that plate acts as a deflector that the grass hits and the grass that hits that plate gets re cut and it works great. Best part is it was free!

Man that's the kinda redneck ingenuity that won WW2. :D

holymoly
06-13-2015, 08:46 AM
The only time I bag is when the yard is over grown. My 2003 Murray push mower is an only side discharge mower and I have converted it to mulch. All I did is got an old license plate. bent it to shape the inside of the deck properly drilled it into the deck and that plate acts as a deflector that the grass hits and the grass that hits that plate gets re cut and it works great. Best part is it was free!

I may try this with a Bolens push mower. Sure beats a rock being discharged into a car or house window!

holymoly
06-13-2015, 08:48 AM
How difficult is it for you to sharpen those blades? Or is similar to a regular blade?

My buddy has a $1,000 plus bolted down spinning wheel that sharpens any blades. In that respect its pretty easy given I can drop by anytime in his garage. Out of the 2 Honda blades the top one is designed a tad different than your regular blade. The bottom blade is like any 21 inch one.