How to deal with a wide lawn mower and narrow gate?

Sometimes we get into such a rush to expand our lawn care business that we don’t think of the bigger picture. We don’t take into consideration how one action is going to have a reaction. For instance, buying a larger lawn mower and only realizing when you get to the lawn care customer’s house, that it won’t fit through their gate. What should you do? That is the question which came up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Quite a few creative responses followed which should help you deal with such situations.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I had a question for you veterans of the lawn care industry. In order to be more productive with my time, I just upgraded my lawn mower to a 50″ cut width. The only problem and one I had not thought about before I purchased it is that the mower doesn’t fit through the gates of two of my client’s yards! So to continue mowing their properties, I waste 20 minutes at each of their properties pushing my 22″ lawn mower with a missing belt on the self-propeller. I don’t have enough lawn mowing accounts to fix the self propelled mower for just those two yards but I don’t want to dump the accounts.

So that got me thinking, has anyone ever suggested installing a wider fence to their lawn care customer in such a situation, or should I charge more per mowing? One of these customers is a friend of mine so I don’t want to charge too much, since I’m trying to help him out by mowing cheap. Or are there any other solutions I haven’t thought of to deal with this? Is there a cheap lawn mower under 36″ width I should look into?

Like I said, it’s only 2 yards now, but I find myself hesitant to take new accounts if I can’t get through the fence. However I’m really too broke to turn anything down now. One gate is a metal post with wire fence, the other is a wood fence, which would be easier to replace I’d imagine.”

Wide lawn mower narrow gate.

Wide lawn mower narrow gate.

A second lawn care business owner said “I don’t take lawn care customers with small gates. It’s just too time consuming for me and I don’t even bother with having a walk behind mower on the trailer. I have a few clients that have small back yards that I can barely get my mowers in and I have found I can line trim the entire area faster than fighting to get the mower in.

A word of caution though, if you choose this route, you gotta have a strong line trimmer. I just bought the new 26cc trimmer that thing is a monster and can get the job done!¬† In the past when I really needed every lawn care customer that called, I have installed a wider gate for them so that I could take on the mowing accounts. They paid for the materials and I altered the 6′ wooden privacy fence to add a 5′ gate.

Weigh your options on this depending on your situation and do what you think is best for you.”

A third lawn care business owner said “why not offer to put in a wider gate in for free if they pay for materials? I’d think a couple hours labor would be worth it in order to save the mowing accounts. If you do it yourself it’s not like you’d be paying any labor. If your just not in a position to turn down lawn accounts yet get creative with the way you handle the situation. Pushing a lawn mower in 90 degree afternoons is no fun but it’s all a stepping stone to larger properties with bigger mowers.

If you were maxed out with lawn care customers and the time spent pushing the mower could be used making more money elsewhere, simply pass on the job.”

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