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I've been really enjoying reel mowing, spraying, and keeping my lawn looking the way it does. I've been kicking around the idea of starting a lawn service in my area pretty much applying what I have learned here from you fine people, and from my own experience, I am interested in your thoughts about the idea.

Do you think it's worth it?
If you have your own lawn service, what prevents you from offering customers reel mowing cuts vs rotary?
How much would you price to cut a 5000 sqft lawn?
 

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You would have to cut at least 2 times a week or more with a reel mower. That would add up real fast. Spraying chemicals like PGR or other herbicides would require a business license and an applicators license. I would not want to do that. A greens mower are heavy so you would need a trailer with a ramp, and I don't think hauling one around all day would be good on the mower. And then it takes time to adjust the HOC properly. I have a trailer and have offered to do a mow for someone on the forum if they went out of town and needed a mow in between, and the lived reasonably close.

Scott
 

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The question is does your area warrant reel cutting do people want to pay a premium for it. And also pay to have there grass cut multiple times a week. I charge $50 a cut for rotary but I only do it part time for extra cash. I know my neighbor was paying $65 a cut before me. I know in my area people barely even want to pay to have there grass mowed once a week. Most only want bi-weekly cuts.
 

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Maybe it's because i've never actually done it..... but I'm a firm non-believer in the saying "if you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life".

I'm passionate about my lawn and attempting to make it as nice as possible. When that passion is infected with the problems i can only assume would come up when dealing with people and their expectations i would no longer get the same enjoyment out of it.

I've had the same thoughts recently and I always try to see the other side of it and I just can't say that the pro's would outweigh the con's for doing something i casually enjoy doing as a side hustle.
 

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I do lawn/landscape part time.there are some yards I like and some I hate.i like the yards that the owners actually care about.i hate the yards where owners are looking for basic maintenance.one of my yards I'm embarrassed to be seen at.i maintain my yard with a natural look and use hand pruners.most customers want their shrubs to look like boxes and circles with hedge trimmers.i cut my yard 3x a week.my landscape is crowded to limit weeds.maybe spend 20 min a month hand weeding.have to spray my customers beds.you will have to separate your yard from your customers wich obviously I cannot do well.on the bright side this is America and if I don't like a customer i get rid of them.
 

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I had a similar thought but with a pool service. I manage my own pool using only bleach, and occasionally baking soda, muriatic acid, cyanuric acid and borax. My pool is crystal clear and I NEVER need to shock it, but it requires hands on attention every day, or two. I believe committing to reel mowing is analogous.

I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't scalable to do on a mass basis, or at least not at a rate that would make both the client and me happy with multiple visits a week.
 

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Most good landscape companies have to sharpen their blades at least a few times a week, some do it every day or more. A reel wouldn't need it that often but still much more often than you think $$$. And you can't just easily swap blades mid-day like on a rotary. All it takes is one rock, stump, or....

You'd have to charge big bucks to make it worth it.
 

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I've had this same idea @Cheesetoast In theory in sounded great to me too, but the more I thought it over, the more I came up with the same cons the previous posts have. The main issue I see, is the need to cut twice a week at the very least, and for several yards, that would eat up a week quickly. Therefore, you would be limited in the earnings you could make in that regard. Not to mention, I don't see many people paying for 2-3 cuts per week in the first place, unless it's a very nice neighborhood where they have more money than they know what to do with. Also, the maintenance on the blade, like mentioned before, would come around a lot quicker than normal...eating up some profits. All in all.... I just don't see it being profitable enough to enjoy...
 

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People who don't cut their own grass or maintain it don't really care how it looks and definitely wont care about the benefits of mowing with a reel. They just want it done as cheap and least often as possible. Most of them at least. I don't think it would be profitable. You would need multiple reels in case of breakdown, regular mowers so can take care of people who just want front done with reel and don't care about the back. Tons of other equipment because no one wants two lawn guys, they want their one to do everything. At least that was my experience in my 2 years cutting grass on the side where I am. Also, the majority of people have no idea that their bermuda grass should be maintained low. I havent seen one yet that is cut less than 3 inches. They think its supposed to be cut very high because when they take too much off at one time, it turns brown. My neighbor has 419, keeps it cut at 3", and cant figure out why centipede is creeping in from both sides. Im helping him out on one side by switching to bermuda. I told him to cutting it lower and more often would choke out the centipede but he disagrees. :roll:
 

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I am sure it's being done in DFW. Atlanta it is....one of them had a yuuge collection if gravely/locke. Not in 300k neighborhoods but someone is offering and buying. I would be shocked if it's 2x week ....most are probably not sub 1".

Trucut has the advantage with the ease of loading, HOC agility etc.
 

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For rich folks who can afford such luxury, perhaps you could sell a "Perfect Lawn" service rather than a typical "I just cut and edge" service. What if you offer a complete, no-options lawn care service which puts you in control of all aspects? You would guarantee a result, not just that you were showing up weekly...

#1) Lawn must be Bermuda or another species that benefits from about 1" HOC.

#2) A one-time "major" lawn leveling is done at start of contract.

#3) Yearly scalp, verticut, core aeration, top-dressing, etc.

#4) My reel totally ignores nutsedge and similar tall weeds. This implies you must be licensed to spray herbicides and apply fertilizers. And if you don't use PGR, reel mowers become a logistics nightmare for a business mowing 20 lawns per week. I'm mowing my small front lawn two or three times a week right now hoping it will fill, but mostly just for exercise. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 lawns with rain and unexpected problems thrown into the mix.
 

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hsvtoolfool said:
For rich folks who can afford such luxury, perhaps you could sell a "Perfect Lawn" service rather than a typical "I just cut and edge" service. What if you offer a complete, no-options lawn care service which puts you in control of all aspects? You would guarantee a result, not just that you were showing up weekly...

#1) Lawn must be Bermuda or another species that benefits from about 1" HOC.

#2) A one-time "major" lawn leveling is done at start of contract.

#3) Yearly scalp, verticut, core aeration, top-dressing, etc.

#4) My reel totally ignores nutsedge and similar tall weeds. This implies you must be licensed to spray herbicides and apply fertilizers. And if you don't use PGR, reel mowers become a logistics nightmare for a business mowing 20 lawns per week. I'm mowing my small front lawn two or three times a week right now hoping it will fill, but mostly just for exercise. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 lawns with rain and unexpected problems thrown into the mix.
Other than the Aeration and Verticutting, you described my terms of service totally. My other requirement is that the lawn is on irrigation. The people that I work for are looking for something different from the rough cut with a rotary mower and string trimmer. I do use a greens mower because the homeowner and landscape grade reel mowers do not hold up against debris gravel, nails, screws, etc. I also control the irrigation and fertilization. Lawns getting 1 lb of N in the form of organic or slow release fertilizer are not mowable due to surge growth. Also such fertilizers are chopped up and no longer slow release when they are cut up by the reel. My height of cut is 1/2 or lower. I do use PGRs on lawns that cannot stay within a 7-10 day mowing interval despite rationing N and water.
 

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I think you'd have to find a warm city where people have small lots and a lot of money. Maybe somewhere like La Jolla (San Diego) or Hollywood, or maybe even the Florida Keys. I'd say somewhere like Malibu but their lots are so large it probably wouldn't be cost effective for a business.
 

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BigBadJohn said:
I had a similar thought but with a pool service. I manage my own pool using only bleach, and occasionally baking soda, muriatic acid, cyanuric acid and borax. My pool is crystal clear and I NEVER need to shock it, but it requires hands on attention every day, or two. I believe committing to reel mowing is analogous.

I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't scalable to do on a mass basis, or at least not at a rate that would make both the client and me happy with multiple visits a week.
Trouble Free Pool concepts... :thumbup: :thumbup: I do the exact same and just shake my head as my neighbors pony up $175 a month for pool service...
 
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