You can go years running your lawn care business and not piece together this collection of tips that can make your life easier. Thankfully one entrepreneur shared with us some of his insights on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum that should help you. See how many of these ideas you have already implemented and how many you haven’t thought of yet.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I thought I would share some tips and advice that may be useful to others. This is not geared to any one topic, just things that may make life easier for a lawn care operator, whether a newbie or seasoned veteran.
Have you ever lost your keys while working? If not, have you thought about how fast a good day can go bad if your keys get lost in a client’s jungle of a lawn? I put my key ring on a locking carabiner.
A lot of people use those 99Â¢ carabiners for this and many other purposes, but that little spring gate is the only thing between your keys staying put, and ending up getting run over by your mower because something bumped it allowing the ring to come loose.
I slip it through a belt loop, or anywhere else that’s convenient and spin the locking collar to keep them where I know they will be secure. (Note that belt loops can tear too if you’re not careful). I think I paid about $7 for the one I use. At first, I thought I’d only use it for work, but I pretty much keep them on all the time now.
I hate when my fingers get cold. Cold and wet is even worse. I always have several pair of gloves in the truck just in case, but I hate putting cold gloves on cold hands - what’s the use?
To resolve this issue, I bought a portable refrigerator that is primarily designed for vehicular use. I picked it up years ago to keep at my desk to keep my soft drinks handy when I am working indoors. It also has a warm setting, so I dug it out of the basement and plugged it into the outlet in my truck.
TA-DA!!! WARM GLOVES!!!
Before I did this, I would bring several pairs of gloves with me and put them across my dash with the defroster going while driving so they are dry and toasty when required.
If you react to poison ivy - be prepared! I keep a Poison Ivy Kit in my truck. A few years ago I had a pretty bad reaction to poison ivy that I had unknowingly come in contact with while pulling weeds by hand. I never, ever want to go through that again.
Now I carry the following items:
A bottle of Ivarest for cleaning after possible contact. I like the Ivarest because it foams when you pump it and it seems to go a long way. It’s also easy to rinse off, which brings me to the next item.
For rinsing the medicated cleaner/poison ivy oils off. I just take empty bottles and fill them with tap water and put them in the box for rinsing, or whatever else I may need it for, like washing hands.
You guys that are immune to the stuff are lucky. I have to say that up until that bad case I had, I had never had poison ivy before. If you knew the hell I went through, you’d understand why I keep a box of supplies on hand. If I even think there was a CHANCE I had come in contact, I wash up as soon as I finish the job. I had a mild case on my legs and forearm last year after hitting some with the trimmer, but I think that by washing often, I prevented a serious case of misery.
Boots and Shirts
Always have a spare pair of boots/shoes and socks in the truck! This came in handy today. I was out doing a cleanup and mow on a large job that is all uphill and I made the mistake of wearing my boots that aren’t quite broken in yet. I was OK on the flatter section, but as I walked the sloped lawn picking up downed branches, my feet started screaming at me. I went to the truck and put on a pair of running shoes. Much better!
In the summer I always keep at least one extra shirt in the truck as well. Good for days when you’re looking all funky, and someone calls and asks you to stop for a quote on your way home.
I have a very basic first aid kit that I want to expand upon by adding things for the most common lawn boo-boos.
At my dealer’s open house they had the state police there giving a seminar on safe trailer towing. One of the things I learned is that it is mandatory to have a secured fire extinguisher and a reflective triangle in your truck.
I already had flares and a triangle under the seat, but I went out and got an auto fire extinguisher. Aside from legalities, it just makes sense to have one handy.
As for a fire extinguisher, I had a friend have an accident while he was mowing. The exhaust fell off his ztr and caught the field on fire. It’s a good thing he had his or he could have had a really big problem.
Call me crazy, but I keep a spare gas cap in my tool box. Once, I topped off my mower at the truck before heading to the lawn. I started mowing and noticed that my gas cap was missing! I’m not sure what happened, but I think I had set the cap on the mower while filling and in the process of putting the can back in the truck, I forgot to put the cap back on and it fell off somewhere on my way to the lawn.
Initially I couldn’t find it as I retraced my steps. I was going to use the plastic wrap from my sandwich and duct tape it over the gas tank, but at the last second, I found my cap.
I picked up a long handled brush at a local big box store. I keep it in the back of the truck so I can quickly remove the debris that is stuck to my pant legs before going on an estimate or entering my house at the end of the day. Sure, you can brush it off by hand, but this is faster, and easier, with no bending required.
Always carry a spare length of trimmer line. Nothing sucks more than being the furthest from your truck, and the trimmer revs up and spits the last bit of trimmer string out into the yard, the engine revving is close to a mocking laugh. You never run out a few feet from the truck, it’s always at the furthest corner of the property.
I took this tip a step further and when I buy a roll of trimmer line, I take the time out to cut off lengths of line my trimmer takes and roll it up and hold it with a bread tie. Each week I restock my supply. That way it saves you the time on the job from stretching and cutting. You have 20ish rolls of line ready to go, just undo the bread tie load and go.
If you carry a smart phone, use a notepad/memo app to note serial number / model number of equipment, and part numbers for commonly replaced items.
I was out tonight and grabbed some motor oil for my new mower, and figured I’d also get a filter while I was at it, but didn’t know what filter to buy.”
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