Well, I started off the week by firing one of my employees. He's been having issues with quality and speed and I finally told him last week that he either needs to crap or get the heck of my pot. I don't think this is the job he wants to be in, but I think he needs money. Unfortunately I'm not in the charity business and on top of that, he's ruining my reputation. So, I let him go. Then on Tuesday, I'm trying to get caught up from all this crazy rain we've been getting non-stop, and my Exmark (which I'm proud to say has been serving me well with over 1600 hours) finally lays down on me. The wheel motors have been getting weaker lately and I've noticed we don't travel as fast as we used to on her. Then, my deck just up and stops working while finishing up..I think it's something minor, and a few other minor things like noisy deck spindles and needed carb work. So, I go back to the place where I bought her and ask him to look her over and let me know what I need to do to fix her. He recommends I trade her in. My only problem with this is I dearly love my Exmark, and I have become pretty darn good with making her do just about everything I need her to do. So, reluctantly, I say "what do you have?" We walk to the back, where he keeps his used inventory and shows me a 2007 Dixie Chopper. It has a 60" deck, 33 hp V-Twin, and is rated to mow 6.4 acres/hr. It sounded good and was very responsive. So I took it home to try it out for a few days. I mowed with it yesterday on six of my accounts and I have to say I'm impressed. The ride is much better than on my Exmark, and it has more than enough power. It also has a chute deflector that is something I was wanting to purchase for the Exmark too. Overall, I really like the quality of the Dixie, and I really like the fact that it's built "consumer friendly". You can actually work on this thing without having to take it to a dealer for a special tool. I'll be taking it back first thing in the morning with my $2000 and making the deal. I will definitely miss my old Exmark, but I think I am making a good decision. If all goes well this year, and I retain my large accounts next year, I will be in a better position to buy a new unit.
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Small Business Challenges