How to bid & mow lawns with steep inclines.

There are some jobs you will come across that aren’t taken by other lawn care business owners for a reason. Sure you might get some extra money out of mowing on a hazardous property, but you have to consider if it is worth it. You also have to confidently know your limitations and the limitations of your equipment. Here are some tips about mowing on steep inclines from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum that could help save your life.

One lawn care business owner said “I was contacted to give a quote on a large amount of mowing/trimming on a commercial property. I estimate around 45000 sq. feet of mowing. The building is set into a bank/hill, so on either side the grass is on a bank that is very steep. More than 45 degrees. The bank is about 2,500 sq feet on both sides. So 5,000 sq feet total.

I just started up this year remember, so I have just been doing residential mowing on my own with a self propelled push mower. I am in NO position to get any expensive mowers to be able to do this. I am not sure if a larger mower or tractor would be able to be used on inclines of more than a certain angle.
What is the best approach in mowing this? Any thoughts on an acceptable quote? I don’t want to underbid. This same developer is also creating another property next door that will need mowing later this summer. I want both.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I use a compact utility tractor with all wheel drive and all wheel steer with HPAP tires, to mow such properties and have no issues at all. I mow septic system that are as steep or steeper than the one you mentioned and have never had an issue. As for quote, I would have to see it but somewhere around $190 a week is what we get for a lawn that size.

Last year I sold my ZTR’s and replaced them with the X749 compact utility tractors as they do everything a ZTR does and a ton more, they will also do inclines where a ZTR would not even think about going, wet or dry.

Something to consider is that is a big lot to do by hand and I am not sure if the walk behind units would even do it.

If you do decide to take it on, always mow up and down. You lose a lot of stability trying to go side to side no matter what you are driving.”

A third business owner said “I mow steep hills from the bottom to the top at an angle. Mow up and back down. Or I use my 36 walk behind. Drop the air pressure a bit and mow sideways. Or I line trim it.”

Mower accident

Mower accident

A fourth shared “after a near death experience I had trying to mow a steep sloped lawn, I won’t even consider doing them anymore. This is what it looks like right before you go over a 25 foot drop off, after you realize it’s too steep and your reverse goes out.

Mower Accident

Mower Accident

Almost immediately I realized this hill was too steep and I pulled back on my handles. When I did that nothing happened. I pulled the brake and stopped, but when I tried to go in reverse, it just kept sliding forward down the hill. So I was able to quickly get off, run to my truck, hook the mower up to the truck and pull it out.

Be careful and look before you leap or you might end up rolling down a hill with a large lawn mower on top of you.”

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