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ritchiem
05-24-2009, 12:15 AM
Just a couple of new mowing pics to share.

http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs099.snc1/4745_200630445363_618815363_6886830_6807790_n.jpg

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs099.snc1/4745_200630455363_618815363_6886831_4883068_n.jpg

LittleBlueLawnCare
05-24-2009, 08:45 AM
Looks great!

musician/lawnman
05-24-2009, 09:23 AM
Very, very nice Ritchiem!
You can see that you take pride in your work.

Steve
05-24-2009, 10:08 AM
Richard,

How long does it take to get the lawn to look so great. Would the stripes show up as well as they do after the first mowing or does it take many mowings for them to really show up?

ritchiem
05-24-2009, 10:01 PM
that is the 3rd cut...if I know a lawn can really turn out nice I'll double cut it, or highlight my lines. You can get roller kits for mowers as well that will produce the same effect easier.

chamblee
05-28-2009, 08:33 AM
If you do double cut a lawn to make it look nice do you work that into your price or do you just cut your losses on it.

ritchiem
05-28-2009, 07:34 PM
If you do double cut a lawn to make it look nice do you work that into your price or do you just cut your losses on it.

If I double cut lawns it is by my choice...so I would swallow my losses. However they act as my portfolio properties, such as this one. People look that them and say "I want my lawn to look like that". From that pic above I now have 3 more properties just like that one on the same street now. Marketing is everywhere...now how to use it!

doug1980
05-28-2009, 09:02 PM
So do you go around all the trees first then cut the straight lines? And how do you get those great lines with a tree right smack in the middle? Just raise the deck and backup then go again?

ritchiem
05-28-2009, 09:30 PM
The only first cut I do is the perimeter then I start my lines. When I come up to a tree or other obstacle I go around and continue my line...doing so messes up your previous line so when I am done the lawn I'll go back over and fix my line. I'll try and draw up a diagram to explain in a bit.

doug1980
05-28-2009, 09:35 PM
Cool yeah I wnt lines like that. I guess different mowers do better or worse lines, huh? I would hate to buy a striping kit....not even sure where to get one. :)

turfmaster
05-28-2009, 11:24 PM
You can stripe without striping kits. It depends on the mower and paying attention to what your doing.

ritchiem
05-29-2009, 05:51 AM
I have never used a stripping kit before...was considering getting one for my Exmark Viking. The mower I used for these pics was a Exmark Lazer Z - 52". Once you get one straight line in you are golden.

chamblee
05-30-2009, 07:48 AM
If I double cut lawns it is by my choice...so I would swallow my losses. However they act as my portfolio properties, such as this one. People look that them and say "I want my lawn to look like that". From that pic above I now have 3 more properties just like that one on the same street now. Marketing is everywhere...now how to use it!


Sorry I am not trying to sound stupid but I just want to understand I am very new to this business.

If you us that in marketing material and people think they want there yard to look that would you eventually start to raise prices to compensate for superior work. It seems to me that if you used it in marketing material and did not make there lawn look like that they would be angry, and then you would want to satisfy them so you would want to strip there lawn and would maybe mean a double cut. So it seems that working a superior cut lawn with magnificent stripes should cost the customer more than a lawn with out double stripes. Just some thoughts.

CHEESE2009
05-31-2009, 12:04 AM
I do a little extra, some favors my my customers. The truth is, they don't know that they have already paid for the extra services in a way. If I still profit, it wont kill me to add a little touch up here & there.

I charged a customer more than I usually would, because he had several obstacles on his lawn.

The fact is, he paid me & I later found out his lawn was easier to do than I had expected. I didn't lower my price, but I made sure I gave a hand here & there, & I looked like a great guy on top of it!

Charge well for yourself, add in a few extras for your customer, & you'll be fine!

That's my personal suggestion.


If I were to do stripes, it'd be very original & I would get calls guaranteed. Too bad it's extra work, & I might lose profits, so I'd most likely charge a bit extra or make a deal saying I only do stripes every second week or so. It's less expensive, & they still have a superior looking lawn 2 weeks a month.

CHEESE2009
05-31-2009, 12:28 AM
I'm stealing Ritchiems wonderful idea & mindset.. I'm buying myself a manual lawn roller. I'll fill it with sand or water & see what happens.

I'll only do my customers front lawns, might take an extra few minutes but if my service can look as good as his, it's FLIPPIN worth it budyboy!!!

I should have thought about this before!

Cheers Ritchiem!

ritchiem
05-31-2009, 01:28 PM
Sorry I am not trying to sound stupid but I just want to understand I am very new to this business.

If you us that in marketing material and people think they want there yard to look that would you eventually start to raise prices to compensate for superior work. It seems to me that if you used it in marketing material and did not make there lawn look like that they would be angry, and then you would want to satisfy them so you would want to strip there lawn and would maybe mean a double cut. So it seems that working a superior cut lawn with magnificent stripes should cost the customer more than a lawn with out double stripes. Just some thoughts.

Well I put stripes in every lawn that I do. From the largest to the smallest...it is just another way we separate ourselves from the rest. However if I can make a lawn look superior any way possible I will do that. Such as cultivating and weeding all tree wells in a lawn every visit. And to put in perspective...I charge $70.00 per cut (weekly) and it takes me 0.75hrs to complete...that is a mow, trim, edge and blow. To do a double cut would take me an additional 0.5hrs. I would maybe double cut it twice per season as one set of line will be highlighted every week. There will be a total of four sets of lines in the lawn that I'll maintain throughout the season.

I'll take some photos when I get a new set in there to show ya'll.

ritchiem
05-31-2009, 01:36 PM
I'm stealing Ritchiems wonderful idea & mindset.. I'm buying myself a manual lawn roller. I'll fill it with sand or water & see what happens.

I'll only do my customers front lawns, might take an extra few minutes but if my service can look as good as his, it's FLIPPIN worth it budyboy!!!

I should have thought about this before!

Cheers Ritchiem!

Cheers back at ya!

This business is all about separating yourself from the pack. Show your clients that they made a good decision by choosing your company to take care of their property. You don't need to go and do extras like crazy...you still need to make money. Just focus on being the best at what you do. And remember to always do a walk around when you are done your job. Clients won't see the 95% perfect work you did as well as the 5% you missed.

CHEESE2009
05-31-2009, 05:37 PM
I checked out your site & it's the best I've seen yet! You have a great service, & I now have new & challenges that will test my creativity!

I hope to join the ranks of Murphy's! Lol, great stuff!

ritchiem
06-04-2009, 06:34 PM
I checked out your site & it's the best I've seen yet! You have a great service, & I now have new & challenges that will test my creativity!

I hope to join the ranks of Murphy's! Lol, great stuff!

That put a smile on my face and made my day....thank you very much. :)

ritchiem
06-04-2009, 06:41 PM
First pic is a lawn I picked up a couple of weeks ago. I just do single cuts but you can see that if you have a steady hand you can make a poor lawn look great.

The second pic is an update to the original photo. I just put my fourth set of lines in it. Now I'll just rotate every week and highlight my sets.

Steve
06-04-2009, 06:52 PM
That is beautiful!

ritchiem
06-04-2009, 10:38 PM
Thanks Steve

kdexpd
06-06-2009, 10:28 PM
Richard those stripes look FANTASTIC! It appears that you have an Exmark in the background of one of your pics. I have a question. I have an 04' Lazer Z 60". I just bought a striper for it and have seen some awesome pics of people's stripes. I love it, however my stripes are just not as visible as they appear in everybody elses pics. My question is, what are you all doing that I'm not? I generally mow all my customer's lawns at 3", however I have a commercial account that I just recently mowed at 2 1/2" today and it seemed to make the stripes a little more visible. The striper is set at the same height as my front deck wheels. I assume a lot of the result has to do with the turf type, as much of my commercial accounts do not maintain a "golf course" type grass...mostly clover and tall fescue. So is it the cutting height, the type of grass, or the adjustment of the striper roller that I need to focus on?
Please do share some tips with me as I am truely impressed!
Thanks!
Kendrick

ritchiem
06-06-2009, 11:16 PM
Yes my mowers are Exmarks and always will be. In fact my Lazer Z is now 13 years old...my Viking is 16! Hope to get a new Lazer this year.

I have never used a striping kit before so I do not know how it affects the turf...but one can assume that it just lays down the turf for a more prominent stripe.

I just use heavy duty high loft blades and I sharpen them once per week. I mow all my lawns at 3" - 3.5". Need to make sure that your mower deck is always cleaned out so you get the maximum air flow as well.

All of our residential turf consists of a mix of Kentucky Blue, Red Fescue and Rye's (but mostly KB). To get a really great set of lines I'll highlight them for two mows if I need to. Then change them up for the third. The last picture I posted was the first time I put that set of lines in...next week I'll highlight my first set.

I really don't have any secrets...and I can get better lines with my walkbehind. I do find that the longer you leave the turf the better your lines can be. The turf lays down easier if it is longer I find.

justin_time
06-11-2009, 07:45 PM
I don't know how the stripes on my new ZTR will be. Hopefully I won't have to buy a striping kit.

New ZTR thread http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=9278

majoe7
06-11-2009, 10:06 PM
Man if I could get some of those looks on my lawns it would be a WOW. :D:D Everybody has to have a WOW. Our grass down here in Florida is hard and course. St Augustine - The common stains are Floratan, Palmetto, Seville and Bahia.

I have experimented with cutting one way at one height and lowering my deck a inch to cut another way. It looks great but not like yours.:rolleyes:

Chuck have you had any luck at this?

John

ritchiem
06-12-2009, 06:15 AM
Man if I could get some of those looks on my lawns it would be a WOW. :D:D Everybody has to have a WOW. Our grass down here in Florida is hard and course. St Augustine - The common stains are Floratan, Palmetto, Seville and Bahia.

I have experimented with cutting one way at one height and lowering my deck a inch to cut another way. It looks great but not like yours.:rolleyes:

Chuck have you had any luck at this?

John

Thanks John...I always try to separate our company from the rest.

I really would like to travel down to FL and check out the lawns there. Warmer season grasses I have never tried to mow...would be interesting.

ritchiem
06-12-2009, 06:17 AM
I don't know how the stripes on my new ZTR will be. Hopefully I won't have to buy a striping kit.

New ZTR thread http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=9278

Justin I know that you can make your own striping kit with a piece of angle iron and a row of chains. The idea is that the chains weigh the turf down much like a roller would. However, you would have to live with that chain dragging sound.

justin_time
06-12-2009, 06:43 AM
Justin I know that you can make your own striping kit with a piece of angle iron and a row of chains. The idea is that the chains weigh the turf down much like a roller would. However, you would have to live with that chain dragging sound.

I have my ear muffs anyways :p

CHEESE2009
06-14-2009, 06:39 AM
I have my ear muffs anyways :p

It's all about the ear muffs! I wouldn't have it any other way!:D

polarisrider4life
06-26-2009, 12:17 AM
u can get stripping kits from your local dealer, from the mower manufacturer's website and on online website's like ebay

Daamon
06-27-2009, 11:09 PM
Ritchiem, I've been reading this thread from front to back and trying to learn some things. I'm a super-noob when it comes to striping. Do you think you could lay down the basics for me and some of the other stripernoobs? For instance, what makes the stripes? What is highlighting? And what is double cutting? Can you just quickly go through and explain simply how to stripe. It looks fabulous. Your website is awesome as well and I've been reading your tips. Just getting started in the business, transitioning over from bush hog and tree trimming work. I have a John Deere Zero Turn Mower. Thanks for any help!

ritchiem
06-29-2009, 09:38 PM
what makes the stripes?

It is fairly simple really. It is all about bending the turf and how the light hits it. Light stripes are shown when the light hits the majority of the blades and the dark stripes do not reflect as much light...make sense?

What is highlighting?

Highlighting is just going over a previous set of stripes to highlight them.

And what is double cutting?

Double cutting is mowing a lawn twice during the same visit. You can highlight your lines or put two sets of lines in a lawn.

The hardest part about striping is getting your first line straight. Once you achieve the first line you just turn around and come back against your line and so on.

Every cut mow in a different direction. You can put diagonals, verticals, etc...

JD makes good equipment and you can put a nice set of lines with your mower. You can get an upgraded roller kit for your deck however in my opinion you don't need it to put a nice set of lines in a lawn.

Daamon
06-30-2009, 11:11 AM
Ritchiem, thanks alot for the great info. I think I'm starting to piece it together. Just one more thing. How do you bend the blades down? For example, when you mow one stripe where the blades are up, what do you do on the next one to bend the blades down? If I can understand that I think I'll be ready to experiment. Thanks again!

justin_time
06-30-2009, 12:03 PM
Here's a link to John Deere's striping kit. I wonder if it would fit on any ZTR

http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductCatalog/HO/servlet/Attachment?prodNmbr=1610TC&tM=HO&attNmbr=TCB11266

BLC0668
06-30-2009, 01:39 PM
Ritchiem, thanks alot for the great info. I think I'm starting to piece it together. Just one more thing. How do you bend the blades down? For example, when you mow one stripe where the blades are up, what do you do on the next one to bend the blades down? If I can understand that I think I'll be ready to experiment. Thanks again!

I'm just going to jump in here, the grass always bends the direction that you mow it. So you don't have to do anything special just make sure your line is straight and turn 180 degrees and come back the opposite way you went before. What creates the stripe is the way the sun hits the grass. For a good example go to a major league baseball game during the day and as the sun moves the stripes will change. Another example, stand in the middle of a stripe and look down the stirpe (note wether the stripe is light or dark) now turn 180 degrees and look down the same stripe. (it will be the opposite of what you saw facing the other way) I hope that makes sense and helps you.
Also I've noticed that if you let the grass get a little bit longer than normal your stripes will be more pronounced and if you have a stand on or walk behind mower that is all the better.

ritchiem
06-30-2009, 04:53 PM
I'm just going to jump in here, the grass always bends the direction that you mow it. So you don't have to do anything special just make sure your line is straight and turn 180 degrees and come back the opposite way you went before. What creates the stripe is the way the sun hits the grass. For a good example go to a major league baseball game during the day and as the sun moves the stripes will change. Another example, stand in the middle of a stripe and look down the stirpe (note wether the stripe is light or dark) now turn 180 degrees and look down the same stripe. (it will be the opposite of what you saw facing the other way) I hope that makes sense and helps you.
Also I've noticed that if you let the grass get a little bit longer than normal your stripes will be more pronounced and if you have a stand on or walk behind mower that is all the better.

Exactly. You do not bend the grass the mower deck and wheels does that for you. Another tip for great stripes...always walk with the light stripes. And the same goes for blowing out excess clippings...always blow in the direction of the light lines. If you blow out the dark lines you'll mess them up. Or if you even walk on the dark lines you get light footprints. Just something that erks me.

Daamon
06-30-2009, 11:23 PM
Wow guys, that's great! Thanks for the helpful replies. I'm excited to try it out. All great tips. Thanks to Ritchiem and BLC0668, have a great 4th.

Steve
07-01-2009, 04:05 AM
Show us what you create!

ritchiem
07-03-2009, 06:32 AM
Here are some examples of Highlighting I did yesterday. I just went over an existing set of lines to highlight them.

turfmaster
07-03-2009, 08:54 AM
Nice lines Ritchiem . Who needs a striping kit with lines like that.

ritchiem
07-03-2009, 08:12 PM
Thank you very much.

Steve
08-15-2009, 01:21 AM
Best mud stripes?

ritchiem
08-15-2009, 10:06 AM
OMG...wonder what was going thru that guys head...