With unemployment at a nearly fifty year low, this is the most difficult labor market I can ever recall in my entire 29 years in business. Finding competent, hardworking people who want landscaping jobs in the numbers we need is just plain tough right now.
But, we still have to get the job done.
One of the jobs that the labor shortage impacts heavily is commercial mowing. On college campuses or large commercial and industrial properties, mowing just plain takes time. Robotic mowing machines offer a promising future solution for commercial landscape mowing in Georgia (and we are monitoring that technology closely), but the auto mowers on the market today still have significant limitations. So for the time being, somebody has to sit on that mower and ride it.
Fortunately, innovation is one of T. Lake’s top values. We thrive on a challenge. So we’ve implemented a number of things to make sure we always have the labor bandwidth to deliver on our promises. In addition to making sure T. Lake is a great place to work, we routinely invest in the right equipment to help us work efficiently and in a way that brings increased value to our customers.
Bringing Muscle to the Job
The labor shortage has led us to some cool innovative technologies, like our Phantom 4 landscape drone. But sometimes you have to go old school, and that means more iron. For a job like mowing a 50-acre property, the bigger, faster, heavier iron you can put on a job the more you can do in the time you have.
One of the things we’ve looked at to address efficiency when mowing big properties is batwing mowers. Also known as flex-wing rotary cutters, these mowing machines were originally designed for farmers to clear and mow pasture areas, and will cut very wide swaths of grass at a single pass.
The problem with these in the past has been that they were designed to be pulled behind a tractor. Most models are too large to put on a landscape trailer and transport somewhere easily. Also, they are cumbersome. It takes a lot of room to turn one of those things around. So while they’re great on farmers’ fields and even on a golf course, they’re not very good for normal landscape properties.
Meet Our “Friendly Monster” Commercial Mowing Machine
All that changed a few years back when Excel Industries came out with a zero turn version of a batwing. With 104 inches (8 feet) of cutting width, The Hustler Super 104 is a bit smaller than most agricultural batwing mowers, but still offers far better coverage then the standard riding mower used in the landscaping industry. And because its zero turn platform fits in the back of a box truck or landscape trailer, it’s perfect for servicing large commercial or industrial landscape properties.
We purchased our first Super 104 about three years ago, and were so pleased with its performance that we soon added another to our mower fleet. Both big and nimble, the units can cut grass at 10 mph all day long, are easy to operate, and very maneuverable.
With these machines, one man can cover the same amount of ground in half the time, using little more than half the fuel as normal equipment, and still zip around the base of a pine tree. In essence, the Super 104 nearly doubles the production mowing capacity of our crews on large sites.
That’s not the only reason we love this machine. It handles our tough Georgia bahiagrass and Bermuda grass like a champ. It’s a rear discharge mower, so it doesn’t sling rocks and debris out at customer properties and cars. And, because it’s engineered for comfort, it doesn’t beat up on our guys. At the end of a long day or week of mowing, having operators who are less fatigued makes a huge difference in both safety and performance, not to mention employee morale. In other words, this machine is a monster, but it’s a friendly one.
Commercial Mowing Services in Georgia
On our big properties, an excellent piece of equipment like a Super 104 makes a huge difference in efficiency, which ultimately benefits our clients as much as it does us. But we don’t stop there. We find that by combining the right equipment with the right turf management techniques (such as a well-timed growth regulator application), we can raise mowing efficiency to the point where we can easily manage even big sites to our clients’ expectations—even in the face of bahiagrass.
If you’d like to know more about how we work with clients on big mowing jobs, or to request a quote, please contact us here or call us directly at 478-272-3878.