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what fleet of mowers do you run?

Hi chaps, 

i am just trying to decide what mowers are generally required for all year round grass maintenance, I’m a one man band but hoping to get a helper this year, my current set up is.

 

2 rear roller mowers - 17” and 21”

 

2 Mulchers - 18” and 21”

 

1  four wheeler - 15”

 

1 ride on mower

 

basically for the last 2 years I have used my 2 rear roller mowers for almost everything, ( this is my 3rd season in the business ) towards the end of last season I bought a couple of munchers, which I used on certain jobs, my small 15” 4 wheeler rarely gets used, what additional mowers should I have? I’m thinking I should have a 21” 4 wheeler, mainly for wet grass duties.

 

id be interested to know what mowers others run and for what purposes.

 

cheers

 

 

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Replies

  • PRO

    Hi Andrew

    This is my 8th year of trading. I started with a small masport roller mower. I now run 1 Hayter 48 BBC ( The one I use for most lawns ), 1 Kaaz rear roller mower, 1 two stroke flymo hover mower ( have some gardens with sloped areas ! ), 2 Bannerman scarifiers, 1 'Plugger' aerator, 1 billy goat vacuum, and a selection of stihl combi tools / strimmers / blowers. ( And a very full garage LOL )

    • Hi, I didn’t realise there was a specific mower for sloped lawns, I have a very large sloped area to cut, which I use my 21” lawnflite for, it does the job well, but I have often wondered how these very sloped areas of grass get cut other than strimming them, I must look into this! 

       

      Almost bought a billy billy goat the other week, but decided I’d get more use from a backpack blower, do you use the billy goat much?

      • PRO

        Hi Andrew

        I use the billy goat mainly when I scarify, usually on the larger lawns. ( hate raking for what can seem like hours ! ) - leaves a great finnish, and shortens the clear up time dramatically!

        I've sometimes thought about selling it, but when working on a large lawn I'm so grateful that I have it ! Emptying the bag is a bit of a pain, but it's just getting the right 'technique'

        • They sound very useful in the right situation, I could see how they would do a good job clearing up, just look bloody big to store lol.

  • It is always interesting to see what other gardeners do isn't it. It is good to be always open to new ideas and the chance to learn something new, however long we have traded for and however much we think we might know. I have been grass cutting etc. since 1985 [own business since 1991] and if I see someone else working, I always watch to see if they have a trick or two I could learn from.

     I have just taken on one new hand mowing job. It will be my one and only hand mowing job, due to restricted access [I will use my old Efco/Honda SP hand mower]. All my work apart from this one is ride on work. I do have some other smaller domestic work, but the Stiga PWX 740 takes care of them. It is much faster and a lot easier on the legs. It gives a better finish too. On this small work, the Stiga means that you can nip over the grass more than once if needed and still save time over 'once over' hand mowing.

     The Stiga is fantastic in Churchyards. It will manoeuvre anywhere and climb up slopes with ease, being four wheel drive. I also have a John Deere Z535m. It is a 48inch side discharge and will mow at 8.5 miles an hour which in the real world means nearly two acres per hour. I bought it for playing fields mainly, but I now use it on other work including one churchyard where it has reduced the time from 3hrs to less than two.

     I am a big believer in using the biggest fastest machine available for highest efficiency and therefore the best use of my time. Of course you could argue, why not use gang mowers on the larger work? The answer is simple, it’s a question of cost. The John Deere is a 6k machine, not a 50k machine. I have used tractors and gang mowers in the past [before self-employment], mowers like Ransommes 5/7s and 2250’s etc. They are great but very expensive and very costly to service.

    • Hi, yes I’m all for learning new tricks to cut my time spent on the job down,  can I ask how you ended up with all ride on work? I have 2 ride on jobs, but am keen to get more, was it just a case of one job led to another? Or did you advertise for ride on work?

       

      the Stiga sounds like a very good machine, I like the idea of have a deck up front.

      • How I ended up with all ride on work is a very interesting question, one which has really made me think.

         I started grass cutting in 1985 for a good friend of mine [I was 19]. His work was almost all Council contracts, so was even then all ride on work, with some tractor and gang mower work. The approach was always use the biggest fastest machine. 

        I suppose that I have always naturally gravitated towards the slightly larger scale work, as that’s what I was exposed to when I first started.

         The only reason not to use a ride on is the lack of a wide enough access to get the machine in. I do a lot of playing fields, cemeteries, commercial sites and larger domestic properties with large gardens which all have the access.

        I have never advertised. I always took the initiative and approached people personally. After all these years I now get approached. You end up building a network of contacts with recommendations playing a vital role.

         

        Just go for work that has the access. The parish councils are a good source of work, they oversee the cemeteries and playing fields. Schools too don’t have to use the District Council’s Education dept. for the grass cutting. They run their own budgets. Just approach the headmaster/mistress. The smaller primaries are the ones to look at. [The academies are bigger and usually have their own grounds staff] PCC’s are worth contacting, I do a few churchyards. Trading estates - I have one really good client that I just called on, a spur of the moment thing. Look for the ones where the grass is long.

         

        • So your went with what you knew best I suppose, funny you should say that,about schools/parish councils, I handed one of my flyers into my kids primary school about 3 weeks ago, not heard anything back, the local parish council is done by a local well respected gardener, family business been doing it for years, so not much chance of getting in on that one, I have been targeting my flyers towards the bigger houses recently with large lawns, so may get some work through that.

           

          with regards to trading estates, I’ve thought about this before, but then often wondered who actually owns/has responsibility forthe land,  as often there is more than one company on the trading estate. Does each company generally own a piece of the grassed areas they have to maintain? I also wondered if it was council property and they maintain it?

           

          • March is usually too late to approach schools and councils. The tendering process takes a while and by March they will have already given out the work. You need to be talking to them over the winter, December or January at the latest. You will need to be invited to tender, so they need to know about you well in advance. Most council contracts start on the 1st of April and in my experience they don’t leave it till the last minute.

            I would advise going and talking to people, rather than flyers, particularly when trying to get council, PCC and school work [domestic work better suited to flyers]. Go and talk to the parish clerks, school secretaries and head teachers. A friendly chat goes a long way. There are several parish councils in any area, so speak to all of them.

            The individual businesses on trading estates are responsible for their own grounds maintenance, so each one is a potential client.

  • PRO

    I reign meself in a bit these days, I used to be an equipment junkie. I simply use a Weibang pro 48 roller and a Honda Izy 4 wheeler.   I've  also got the smallest Honda roller that only comes out for one job. Having a small van I just fit the 2 on each day. I find these help me manage all seasons. One thing I could do with though is a very lightweight mower. I do a small round of privately let lawns for a landlord. He has maximised the size of some houses at the expense of losing the side entrances. I either wrestle the Izy through the house or just strim the grass at these. Not ideal!

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