Look, lawn mowers are incredibly powerfully machines.
In fact, lawn mower blades spin at about 3000 RPM’s.
There is no doubt about it lawn mowers can cause a lot of damage faster than you can blink an eye.
Whether you kick a rock into a car window, or cruise around a corner and plow into an HVAC system. There are countless ways to damage your clients property.
Below are a few strategies you can utilize to minimize risk when cutting grass.
1. Avoid Using Side Discharge
One of the fastest ways to cut a lot of risk out of your lawn care company is to use a mulching kit or a bigger.
Look, side discharge may be the fastest way to cut the lawn.
But not only does it leave behind unsightly clippings everywhere, and spread weed seeds into your clients garden beds….
There is a much deeper issue..
Why is Using a Side Discharge Risky Business?
It’s simple, ANYTHING that gets under the deck of your mower will be shot along with your grass.
This is crazy but a small rock that gets caught under your mower deck can be launched out at speeds of about 200MPH!
I’ll let George Campbell break it down for ya:
This rock could hit anything from:
- Car windshields
- Sliding glass doors,
- Mr. Rogers brand new 2 pane windows,
- or even your client or neighbor.
Needless, to say that when this rock comes out at a high speed, it can do a lot of harm to anything that gets in the way.
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The Solution: Use a Bagger or Mulching Kit
There is a simple solution to the issues presented with the side discharge; use a bagger or a mulching kit.
It’s true, most clients won’t pay the extra cost of bagging up lawn clippings. And bagging clippings can double the time it takes to mow a lawn.
That is why my favorite alternative is using a mulching kit. Not only are mulching kits cheaper than bagging systems, they keep most debris from flying out from under the mower deck.
It’s true that mulching kits can be difficult to use in tall or wet grass, but that is why it is important to keep your clients on a weekly schedule during peak season, and charge appropriately for tall grass.
Sometimes, you may have no option but to use a side discharge system, but in general, using either a bagger a mulching kit is one of the fastest ways to cut down on the risk associated with running your lawn care company.
2. Take The Time to Look
When you get a new lawn, ALWAYS take a walk and make sure you identify as many obstacles as you can.
Truly, there will be things you miss until you feel it under your deck, but you can avoid a lot of damage to your clients home or your equipment by checking for obstacles before you mow.
Check for obstacles like:
- Septic tank lids,
- Wires, Cords, Cables, Rope,
- HVAC units,
- Edges of concrete that may catch under the deck, etc.
If you arrive at a new lawn, and find that it is worse than you expected. Communicate with the homeowner and upcharge so that you can take the time you need to do things right.
Otherwise you are losing money on your work, and increasing your risk due to the likelihood you will rush the lawn just to get done.
3. Carry Liability Insurance
I know that it can seem like insurance is expensive, but really liability insurance for a lawn care company is only around $400-500 a year.
This insurance comes typically comes with coverage for your clients property, or any property you may damage. Most insurance companies will offer coverage for your equipment if it is stolen, or even if you happen to wreck your equipment and need to replace it.
The cost of liability insurance is easily worth it for any lawn care company, and more importantly you are limiting your risk by having it on hand.
4. Communicate With Clients
Look, most lawn care clients won’t know much about what pitfalls may await you in their lawn as you mow it.
But simply opening up the conversation may help you avoid something your could have easily overlooked.
Opening a conversation about the lawn (may not only lead to more work) but it shows you are serious about what you are doing. And in the event that an issue may arise, your clients are more likely to just let it slide. If they see you as more than just a lawn care provider.
5. Mitigating Other Risks
In business there are many minimize risks. After a decade in lawn care these are the strategies I have used to minimize risk while mowing lawns. But there are obviously many other strategies you can implement as well.
Turf Magazine made an excellent article on mitigating other risks you may run into as a lawn care company that we did not have the time to cover here. It is worth the read if you have a company with employees.
Mitigating Risk in Your Lawn Care Company
As you can see there are many methods you can use to mitigate the risks of those blades that are rotating at 3000 RPM.
It is critical that you minimize the risks associated with lawn care to avoid injury to property, or people. Not only will this improve your bottom line, it’s simply the wise thing to do!
That’s all for now, if you want to learn more about lawn care, check out this article on Framing Your Lawn.