How to deal with sprinkler heads when mowing.

There are all sorts of obstacles that can get in your way of mowing a lawn. Some of these you can easily deal with while others may be more difficult. Depending on how you handle the job, sprinkler heads that don’t fully retract can be easy to deal with and make you extra money while on a job site. Let’s take a look into this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and see how others deal with the issue of mowing and sprinkler heads.

One lawn care business owner wrote “when I arrived at a lawn care custom’s house this morning I saw another lawn care business owner walking around the neighbor’s lawn putting orange flags into the ground. While I was filling my sprayer up, I talked to him about what he was doing. He said that he is always replacing sprinkler heads after hitting them while mowing. So to cut down on this problem, he bought a bunch of the marker flags from a local garden center for about $4.00. They are made of a flexible wire with the orange flag at the top. Before mowing, he places one at every sprinkler head so he can avoid damaging them.

I thought that was a great idea because they are reusable, cheap, and saves the time of having to replace sprinkler heads once you hit them with your mower. I have found myself on many occasions mowing over a sprinkler head that wasn’t fully retracted. Not many of my current customers have sprinkler systems but as I am growing, I am getting more calls from more affluent areas that do have lawn sprinklers. So I think I might start using marker flags next year.”

A second lawn care business owner said “all of my lawn care customers have sprinkler systems and I never hit any of them. If the sprinkler is properly set in the ground, no mower blade will ever touch it. I wonder why that property owner wouldn’t just reset their sprinkler head height so they are flush with the ground?

I have seen some sprinkler heads that when fully retracted still stood to tall to mow over. When I come upon them with new customers, I will usually line trim those properties first which helps identifying their location. Then I will document which heads need to be serviced or replaced and present this to this customer. These heads that don’t fully retract can become a safety hazard for not only my mower but anyone else walking around the property.

If a sprinkler does not fully retract, then it almost always needs to be replaced. Over time they get damaged inside from the up and down action, and with a little dirt inside, it creates scratches on the wall lining and causes it to get caught on its way down.

Using flags to mark the location of sprinkler heads is a good idea but a better idea is making sure the irrigation system is working properly. There is money in performing this service and since you are already there, you might as well be the one to benefit from the servicing. Changing sprinkler heads is easy and a great profitably upsell. When you are at your lawn care customer’s properties, keep your eye out for them and make it a habit to point these issues out to your customer in the form of an estimate.”

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