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View Full Version : Lots of beginner questions.. One man servicing


tomustang
05-12-2009, 04:58 PM
My own senerio: I live in the mid-atlantic (eastern,pa) moderate rain fall. I typically mow my own grass twice a week, 2" setting.

On average, my neighbors get their lawn cut once a week, so on figured 4 times a month, from what i can tell the other lawn services cut at 3-3 1/2in, is that the standard height?

Average height of cutting?

What should all be done in the mowing process: mow, trim, edging, pick up small debris?

When cutting should I cut the all the obstacles first then hit the lawn with the tractor?

What about the left over cut clippings? I have seen many other services let it lay and it makes the yard look like crap.

What tools should I bright just to mow: lawn tractor, 1 standard mower, weed whacker, lawn edger?

Pricing on just mowing: I've heard mixed numbers on this. $44/hr average, $1 per minute, .001 per sq foot.

Obstacles in my mowing path: is there more to charge per sq ft? hills/playground equipt/holes/gardens?

Charging a rate for non mowing: removal of dead branches, filling in holes, planting, filling in, etc?

Discounts: military/police, next door neighbors.. 5-10%?

Patterns, is there an extra charge for mowing diagonal?


What I have right now is : john deere RX75 she's relable, 2-6in cut, forget the cutting size, and quick. 2 push mowers: an older unknown with a good B&S motor with front drive, and a craftsman 6.5hp mower/mulcher. Have an older weed wacker. This is what I can start out with. If things can pick up after I start I wouldn't have a problem buying better/efficient/newer equiptment, if I knew what they were :D

More questions will come up at a later time.

Steve
05-13-2009, 05:31 AM
First off, welcome to our forum.

Let me take a shot at some of these questions.

My own senerio: I live in the mid-atlantic (eastern,pa) moderate rain fall. I typically mow my own grass twice a week, 2" setting.

On average, my neighbors get their lawn cut once a week, so on figured 4 times a month, from what i can tell the other lawn services cut at 3-3 1/2in, is that the standard height?

Average height of cutting?

That seems to be an acceptable range.

What should all be done in the mowing process: mow, trim, edging, pick up small debris?

It seems there have been different views on here as to which is fastest or which saves the most time.
1.pick up small debris
2.trim
3.mow
4.edging

What about the left over cut clippings? I have seen many other services let it lay and it makes the yard look like crap.

This depends on the business owner and the customer. I have seen this done both ways as well.

Pricing on just mowing: I've heard mixed numbers on this. $44/hr average, $1 per minute,
Anywhere between $44 - $60 an hour would the average to above average.

Obstacles in my mowing path: is there more to charge per sq ft? hills/playground

You have to keep all this in mind when you create your price because all of this will take more time. The more time you spend on the property, the more you need to charge.

Charging a rate for non mowing: removal of dead branches, filling in holes, planting, filling in,

Ultimately you are going to have one hourly fee you will be charging no matter if its cutting or removing dead branches.


Discounts: military/police, next door neighbors.. 5-10%?

If these discounts can get you jump started, sure experiment with them.

tomustang
05-13-2009, 09:26 PM
Thanks for the heads up, got a lot of useful info here and searching around the site yesterday.

That seems to be an acceptable range.
That would be 3" right?


It seems there have been different views on here as to which is fastest or which saves the most time.
1.pick up small debris
2.trim
3.mow
4.edging

I guess this will really come down to location and terrain for me.

Steve
05-14-2009, 07:56 AM
That would be 3" right?

I don't think you would go wrong with that setting.

StartALawnCareBusiness
05-14-2009, 11:24 AM
Welcome to the forum.

What type of grass are you cutting? Proper cutting height depends on the type of grass. Many lawn grasses should be cut in the 2" to 3" range range...a little higher or lower depending on your circumstances.

A raised cutting height is normally better because tall grass keeps sunlight from reaching low growing broadleaf weeds giving a better stand of lawn grass.

Also, don't forget the rule of 1/3. Typically, you should only remove 1/3 of the height of a blade of grass with each mowing. Cutting too low damages the grass blade causing root damage and drought intolerance.

As a lawn care newbie, you have lots of questions. I think you will benefit greatly from my materials located at:

www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com (http://www.startalawncarebusiness.com)

If you have any questions, let me know. I'm always happy to help.

Keith

tomustang
05-14-2009, 07:59 PM
I don't think you would go wrong with that setting.
I'll try it out on my own lawn if it ever stops raining :D I have always cut mine at 2"
Welcome to the forum.

What type of grass are you cutting? Proper cutting height depends on the type of grass. Many lawn grasses should be cut in the 2" to 3" range range...a little higher or lower depending on your circumstances.

A raised cutting height is normally better because tall grass keeps sunlight from reaching low growing broadleaf weeds giving a better stand of lawn grass.

Also, don't forget the rule of 1/3. Typically, you should only remove 1/3 of the height of a blade of grass with each mowing. Cutting too low damages the grass blade causing root damage and drought intolerance.

As a lawn care newbie, you have lots of questions. I think you will benefit greatly from my materials located at:

www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com (http://www.startalawncarebusiness.com)

If you have any questions, let me know. I'm always happy to help.

Keith

Residential grass, most homes in my area are 1/3 acre to 1 1/2. The tough chore I have is finding business real close to me when starting up. My township neighbors are all the hard working elderly folk, who won't pay to cut grass and don't need 'neat' looking landscaping. The widowed women are the target group and most of them are taken from other firms.
I'll create some flyers and see what they can generate. For now I can use my 21in walk behind and a weedwacker (fit in my SUV) for close work until I can get more biz, then perhaps a small 5X8 trailer I can haul a riding mower

I shown your site to my wife last night and was pondering the program. It this picks up for me I wouldn't have a problem purchasing it.


Only thing I need right now is a measuring wheel to do estimates.


Thanks for all the help already

CHEESE2009
05-14-2009, 08:15 PM
Only thing I need right now is a measuring wheel to do estimates.




Just use your feet, it will save you money!

I also recommend picking up a handheld blower, just in case debris land on customers walkway, driveway etc' from using your weed whacker.

tomustang
05-14-2009, 08:22 PM
Just use your feet, it will save you money!
Never even thought about that!
I also recommend picking up a handheld blower, just in case debris land on customers walkway, driveway etc' from using your weed whacker.

Can you recommend a decent one as well?

SuperiorPower
05-14-2009, 08:33 PM
Can you recommend a decent one as well?

Echo, Shindaiwa, etc. These 2 brands are both commercial quality. If you can find a Redmax, Maruyama, etc, they are good as well. I am not particularly fond of Stihl equipment tho many here swear by them. I tend to look at them from a mechanics point of view and consider the design of the machine. I sell neither so I have no stake in the matter from that perspective.

However, ABSOLUTELY do not buy a craftsman, poulan, weedeater, or other cheap box store brand. They are not worth your time or money. If you buy one and use it commercially, you are lucky if you get a year from them. Seriously, they are nothing but junk. Plus, I will come out there and personally kick your butt if you buy one (I was born in PA and I need an excuse to come visit PA again)!!!!

Good luck,
Eli

swstout
05-14-2009, 08:41 PM
However, ABSOLUTELY do not buy a craftsman, poulan, weedeater, or other cheap box store brand. They are not worth your time or money. If you buy one and use it commercially, you are lucky if you get a year from them. Seriously, they are nothing but junk. Plus, I will come out there and personally kick your butt if you buy one (I was born in PA and I need an excuse to come visit PA again)!!!!

Good luck,
Eli

Eli,

I bought a Poulon with all the attachments - tiller, blower, edgr, hedge trimmer, and pole saw. I bought it all at a lawn sale for $25.00. If I get a year out of it - or even a couple months - I'll be happy.

P.S. I also have an Echo. The Poulon is a back-up

Steve

SuperiorPower
05-14-2009, 08:47 PM
Eli,

I bought a Poulon with all the attachments - tiller, blower, edgr, hedge trimmer, and pole saw. I bought it all at a lawn sale for $25.00. If I get a year out of it - or even a couple months - I'll be happy.

P.S. I also have an Echo. The Poulon is a back-up

Steve

At that price, and for a back up, that is fantastic. I would just not trust it as my only blower if I am being paid to do your lawn because I would fear it would stop working for no reason while I am in the middle of a job. Just like I don't buy china tools to work on your mower because I am afraid I will stripe and destroy a bolt head or nut or what ever I am working on.

Like said, as a back up, and for that price, I am sure I would probably have bought it too.

tomustang
05-14-2009, 08:58 PM
Echo, Shindaiwa, etc. These 2 brands are both commercial quality. If you can find a Redmax, Maruyama, etc, they are good as well. I am not particularly fond of Stihl equipment tho many here swear by them. I tend to look at them from a mechanics point of view and consider the design of the machine. I sell neither so I have no stake in the matter from that perspective.

However, ABSOLUTELY do not buy a craftsman, poulan, weedeater, or other cheap box store brand. They are not worth your time or money. If you buy one and use it commercially, you are lucky if you get a year from them. Seriously, they are nothing but junk. Plus, I will come out there and personally kick your butt if you buy one (I was born in PA and I need an excuse to come visit PA again)!!!!

Good luck,
Eli

I just read some blower reviews online and Echo is on the top of the list , especially the backpack one. So I was checking Echos at homedepot.com. 5 year consumer warranty
this caught my eye as a bonus.


Visit regardless, Where in Pa were you from?

StartALawnCareBusiness
05-14-2009, 09:08 PM
Blower you say???

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/rA3fOmbAfi0&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/rA3fOmbAfi0&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

SuperiorPower
05-14-2009, 09:09 PM
I just read some blower reviews online and Echo is on the top of the list , especially the backpack one. So I was checking Echos at homedepot.com.
this caught my eye as a bonus.


Visit regardless, Where in Pa were you from?

First off, DO NOT buy at HD. Buy from a servicing dealer. There are so many reasons I could not list them all if I wanted to. And no, HD is not a servicing dealer. Among the reasons are this, HD will sell you what ever makes them the most money, a Servicing dealer will sell you what you need and what will be the best for you. HD employees do not know (at least most of the time) what is what on power equipment. In fact, one told a friend of mine that Ariens is made by Cub Cadet. This is so far from being factual it is pitiful. Plus, Cub Cadet does not manufacture their own, much less anyone else's mower.

I was born in Mount Pleasant Mills. You'll need a good map to find it.....:D

tomustang
05-14-2009, 09:48 PM
Blower you say???

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/rA3fOmbAfi0&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/rA3fOmbAfi0&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
Awesome, Bet you had a blast making that video :D
First off, DO NOT buy at HD. Buy from a servicing dealer. There are so many reasons I could not list them all if I wanted to. And no, HD is not a servicing dealer. Among the reasons are this, HD will sell you what ever makes them the most money, a Servicing dealer will sell you what you need and what will be the best for you. HD employees do not know (at least most of the time) what is what on power equipment. In fact, one told a friend of mine that Ariens is made by Cub Cadet. This is so far from being factual it is pitiful. Plus, Cub Cadet does not manufacture their own, much less anyone else's mower.
Buying from a servicing dealer sounds good for me, the perks are bar none to chain stores

I was born in Mount Pleasant Mills. You'll need a good map to find it.....:D
I've been thru there, not to far from me, bout 60 miles away actually. For enjoyment my wife and I cruise around a lot, the coal belt has been recent driving grounds

SuperiorPower
05-14-2009, 10:27 PM
I've been thru there, not to far from me, bout 60 miles away actually. For enjoyment my wife and I cruise around a lot, the coal belt has been recent driving grounds

Do you know where the cider press is there somewhere (I have not been there for 22 years). My dad used to own the cider press there. There is also an old stone house there that was built before the civil war (as I recall). This is the house where I was born and spent the first 6 years of my life!!!

tomustang
05-15-2009, 10:12 PM
Do you know where the cider press is there somewhere (I have not been there for 22 years). My dad used to own the cider press there. There is also an old stone house there that was built before the civil war (as I recall). This is the house where I was born and spent the first 6 years of my life!!!

Not sure, but next time I'm around there I will check around, perhaps snap some pictures too