1) Wear Sunglasses, they keep the sun out of your eyes AND they can protect you from the chips that fly up constantly when trimming.
2) Disengage your clutch at an idle, most electric clutches act as a brake.
3) Let your engine warm up a bit before running it at full rpm's.
4) Let it cool down a bit before shutting down.
5) Don't shut it off at full rpm's.
6) Keep an extra set of belts and blades with you at all times, sure saves a trip to the shop or dealer. Down time sucks.
7) Don't slide a gas can across a plastic bed liner. It causes static electricity.
8) Be safe and keep safety features in place.
9) Keep fix-a-flat on the trailer
10) Buy a portable air tank
11) DO: Buy the best equipment that you possibly can, and the biggest trailer that you can afford.
12) DON'T: Overextend yourself so that you have to work 20 hrs a day.
13) Keep a fire extinguisher on your trailer.
14) Never go around a tree or landscaping blowing grass into it or at it. clean -up at your cost and you wouldn't want little sticks or pieces of bark flying at you, they don't feel good if they hit you.
15) Keep a tow-rope or chains in the truck, for when you dump the mower in a pond or get stuck.
16) When blowing/cleanups check for open windows or doors. I've known way to many people who forgot to check and lost the contract when the customer has leaves/grass/dust in the house.
17) Look out for poison Ivy.
18) Always have buisness cards on hand.
19) Cary a can of wasp spray in truck. For when you hit a hive, customers love it when you spray them so thier kids can play outside. And you dont have to worry about them next week. I swear thoes suckers remember you.
20) Carry a tool box in the truck or bolt a locking one to your trailler. Remember to include belts, and extra pins.
21) If you loose a pins but dont have extras on hand trimmer line works untill you make it back. darn brake/clutch pins get lost to often.
22) Keep a extra trimmer head/spool in the truck.
23) Remember to make shure your mower will fit past that gate when pricing the job.
24) Make sure everything on truck and trailer is secure. And drive safe, look out for thoes idiots who are blind when it comes to your trailer.
25) Don't forget to do an inspection of your equipment before you move to your next job. Sometimes we are in a hurry and might leave something behind.
26) Dont spend more than u earn.
27) Get liability insurance right away. Don't automatically figured you can't afford it, when you broke my first sliding glass door, the customer will be upset if you don't have insurance. I say first because there will be a few.
28) Check your oil levels.....daily......this stuff ain't cheap.
29) Ipods / MP3 Players are GREAT ways to pass the time while mowing/ trimming. But you may be better off wearing hearing protection instead.
30) Don't be in too big of a hurry that quality gets sacrificed. Only put your name on the best you can do.
31) Do fill the gas cans on the ground NOT in the bed of the truck.
32) Do raise the trailer jack ALL the way up b4 moving it!
33) Make a list of cross reference parts. (bearings, belts, bushings, and pulleys, etc.) In other words, get an aftermarket parts catalog and find out which part numbers are the same as other manufacturers. When your dealer doesn't have the parts in stock, you can go to the other mfg dealer and cross to their part number to get what you need. As someone mentioned, downtime STINKS!
34) Try to buy all your oil, trimmer line, belts, filters, and whatever you know you will need for a year at one time. You can get a better deal in bulk.
35) Pay yourself first. No, I don't mean salary. I mean invest. 10-15% off the top. Don't convince yourself you can't afford to. You can't afford not to. BTW, if you don't have winter income, set up an account for that also.
36) Make sure you communicate with your customers, family, and the people working with you. People generally don't like change, and wives like it least. Let them know what's going on. It's not whether things will go wrong, they will. It's how you handle it when they do.
37) Make time for yourself and your family. I was working 60-80 hours a week.It doesn't take many trips to the principal's office for most to get it. Again, you can't afford not to.
38) If you are pulling your trailer in the garage for the first time, make sure the gate is going to clear the garage door.
39) USE SUNBLOCK!
40) Don't... set your cell phone on the trailer rail thinking you'll remember it later.
41) Do... keep a backup of all your phone # in case you set your cell phone on the trailer rail.
42) Wear good, solid, comfortable footwear!
43) Carry your pesticide and business license in your vehicle in case you are questioned
44) Release pressure on your pesticide sprayer tank after you finish the application just in case somebody bumps it by accident; that way they don't get hosed down and blinded.
45) Always walk a site before beginning work and take note of hazards and/or already damaged property to reduce problems.
46) Make sure, if you spray ANYTHING, Carry an emergency eyewash kit. You may not have a hose handy at the place you are at.
47) First Aid Kit. You will need it. Often.
48) Keep iced water for yourself and the crew to drink. Or a cooler with Gatoraid, etc.
49) The business is gonna bring out alot of under bidders your way, but for those guys, all they do is pay there bills. If you want to grow and run a good and ethical business, bid the jobs to make money, not just to pay your bills. If you do this you will last a long time unlike the under bidders who fly by night and go bankrupt low balling all the jobs.
50) Carry a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman tool. You don't even know what pain in the ass it is to try to cut trimmer line with a pair of hedge clippers.
51) Keep a 3 ring binder in every truck. Put the following info in the binder:
---Have your emergency contact information on the VERY FIRST PAGE. Include numbers for the local poison control hotline, local hospitals, and your insurance agent. Of course, don't forget cell numbers for your foreman/manager/owner, in case the office is deserted.
---Keep a safety checklist/log sheet in the binder. Make these simple daily checks (lights+lenses, horn, brakes, mirrors, etc) and weekly checks (oil, trans fluid, belts, hoses, plug wires, tire pressure, lug nuts) a part of your log. In an accident lawsuit, this log may save your bacon. This log sheet is also a requirement if you have a USDOT registration (we do).
---Have copies of MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for every chemical you use, and don't forget gasoline and diesel. This is an OSHA requirement.
---Also in this binder, keep copies of the driver's licenses and medical cards of all authorized drivers for your truck(s), copy of the insurance card, and a copy of the cab card part of the title.
---Keep a list of all the equipment you have in/on the truck and trailer, including SERIAL NUMBERS. When (not if) something gets stolen off your truck, it will make it that much easier to report.
---Last but not least. This is also a good spot to keep a price list or other "ballpark" quote guide for your on-site staff to look at. Every employee that might come in contact with a customer or prospect should have some sales literature at hand, even if it's only a business card.
52) Mowing for even $5 less means a lot more to you than it does for the customer because if you mow 20 lawns per week for $5 less than you could have charged, that's about a $400 difference for you, but only $20 for the customer, at the end of the month. And if the customer cares more about saving a little money than getting good service, it won't be long before he replaces you.
53) Don't underestimate the challenge of this business. I learned the hard way that you can quickly lose those customers you worked so hard to get, so don't slack off.
54) Fill up equipment with gas before you go out. Do this first thing in the morning. It can give your crew a chance to get a snack at the local gas station too!
55) Shake your mixed gas can before filling your equipment AND CLEARLY mark the mixed gas containers!
56) Make sure the neighbors aren't looking when you pee in your customers bushes.
57) Buy a 2.5 gallon gas can because mix for 2.5 gallons is cheaper than mix for 1 gallon.
58) Keep a couple of beach towels in the truck; the bigger, the better. If anyone gets a serious cut, you can use them to apply pressure and limit the bleeding. I went through a glass door when I was 5 and a couple of beach towels saved my life.
59) If you are on the biggest property of the day DO NOT FORGET TO CHECK YOUR GAS BEFORE YOU START.....its pretty much a fact the if it's gonna run out it's gonna happen when you are far as you can possibly get from the gas can!
60) If your equipment ever gets stolen, in addition to reporting it to your dealer, report it to the police. If the value of the piece is $500 or more, or combined articles total more than $5000, they will enter it into the national computer system (called NCIC). They are there to help.