Archive for the ‘Business Tips’ Category

How to Turn Your Mowing Business into a Year-Round Business

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Your lawn care and landscaping business doesn’t have to end with the growing season. With a little innovation and the right tools, you can carry your entire team through the winter months. Whether you’d prefer to spend your time coming up with a great business plan for next year, or heading out to clear driveways and parking lots until spring, here are some great ideas for extending your business into the winter.

Off-Season Income Options

The most common type of winter revenue-builder is to expand your fleet of lawn care services to include snow and ice removal. Large parking lots, private driveways, and even city streets need to be cleared in the winter, which means you can offer your services year-round to help keep these surfaces clear. As autumn winds down, be sure and let all your clients know that you also provide winter upkeep, as this can help keep you in business without a huge investment in marketing.

Of course, if you don’t live in a snowy area, there are still options available to you. Some of the most common off-season income generators include:

  • Tree Care: Although much of tree care needs to be done during the growing season, you can offer tree removal, stump grinding, and other cleanup services.
  • Landscape Design: If you have a flair for design, you can expand your mowing and lawn care to include landscape design. Put your knowledge of plant growth and lawn upkeep to good use and help your clients in the process.
  • Spring Prep: There is usually plenty of work to be done getting a lawn ready for spring. Dead plant removal, yard waste cleanup, gutter work, and everyday maintenance can still be part of your routine.
  • Holiday Lights: Many families can’t get outside and on the roof to hang holiday lights, but they’d still like to celebrate the season. Offering holiday light hanging and removal can be a real boost to your business.
  • Multiple Locations: It’s not snowy and cold everywhere in the United States, so consider picking up some seasonal work in a newer, warmer location.
  • Equipment Maintenance: You’ve already prepped your own lawn mowers for winter, but what about the average homeowner? Since you already know how to change spark plugs, replace oil filters, and prep your equipment for winter, offer this service to others.

Other options include working on your own business plans for the future. Many companies use the winter months to work on branding, marketing, social media, website development, and community outreach—all of which can boost your income in the coming year and help sustain you during winter.

The Right Lawn Care Equipment for the Job

Mowing Business snow removal with Exmark Rotary Broom

With an Exmark Rotary Broom, your mowing business can offer Snow and ice removal. The Exmark Rotary Broom makes quick work of clearing virtually any concrete surface.

The best part about extending your lawn care routine through winter is that you don’t have to purchase all new equipment. Some machines you already use and own can be adapted for winter use.

For example, the Rotary Broom, which is ideal for clearing turf or removing grass clippings, can also be used to break up snow and ice particles on the sidewalk. You also have the option of adding a broom snow cab or tire chains for winter use. Additional options include rotary broom attachments that you can mount to some zero-turn mowers.

With some creative thinking, you can expand your business beyond the lawn mowing season and set the stage for stronger growth in the coming years.

Rebuilding After Natural Disaster Strikes: Tips for Lawncare Businesses

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Everyone knows how devastating natural disasters can be to homeowners. Flood, fires, droughts, tornadoes—these catastrophic events force people out of their homes and wreak havoc on their lives.

Exmark EFI propane

Stay on track and come back stronger after a natural disaster.

They can also impact local businesses. This is especially true for landscaping companies. Because your business depends on homeowners and building owners having outdoor features to maintain, you could be dependent on other’s ability to repair and rebuild before steady work comes your way again.

While a natural disaster can be a setback, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your business. These tips for coming back even stronger can help keep you on track and even play a supporting role in the rebuilding process.

  • Know Your Area: Where you live and work will determine what kinds of natural disasters are most common. In this instance, forewarned is forearmed. Do your research to find out what kind of events are the most likely and how long the rebuilding process takes afterward. This way, you can be prepared with the right tools and equipment to help homeowners and business owners get back on track.
  • Invest in Insurance: If flooding or seasonal fires are a threat to your area, see if Business Interruption Insurance is an option. Although not every insurance company will provide automatic payouts for your loss of business due to flooding in the area (as opposed to flooding to your actual facility), there may be options for you to expand your coverage to include this.
  • Adapt Your Offerings: You might be more accustomed to mowing lawns than repairing them from a flood, or you might specialize in seeding and spraying rather than windstorm recovery, but now is a good time to adjust the work you do. After a disaster, many homeowners and businesses need manual labor and hauling services to clear away debris and damaged items. If you can adapt your team and trucks/trailers in the short term, it may help tide you over a slow patch.
  • Create “Disaster” Specials: We know, it sounds bad to take advantage of a natural disaster to make a profit, but this is one time it’s okay to advertise and adapt. Cleaning up after a catastrophic event is an expensive business for everyone, so if you’re able to slash prices for those most affected, do it. It’s a great way to reach out to your community and drum up future business—and keep your own business afloat in the meantime.
  • Donate Time/Support: If possible, donate your time, services, and equipment to the cleanup process. We know this isn’t financially viable for everyone, but if you’re able to donate some time to the immediate clean up, it’s a great idea. People tend to remember those who help them, and if your business is a visible partner in recovery, they may be more likely to recommend or hire you when they’re back on their feet.
  • Provide Time Off: Don’t overlook the impact the devastation of a natural disaster has on your own employees and lawn care team. They may have homes damaged by the event, or they may be busy pitching in to help their own neighbors and friends recover. Consider providing additional vacation/sick days, as needed.
  • Think of Next Year: One thing that remains true of every natural disaster is that people recover and families rebuild. Know what people will need to do for their lawns next year, and put together a “Post-Flood” or “Post-Fire” recovery plan. Make sure you have all the tools and supplies you need to help them get their lawns, farms, and exteriors back to normal.

Above all else, be as much of a partner as you can during this time. Everyone will be struggling and looking for ways to cut back on costs, so anything you can do to support them will go a long way in building your brand and reputation.

Why Switching to Propane Mowers with EFI Could Boost Your Bottom Line

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
Exmark Lazer Z S-Series Propane

State-of-the-art Exmark EFI-propane mowers offer increased fuel economy and performance, with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

If you’re looking for ways to increase profit margins for your lawn care business, one option might be to consider switching to propane mowers. On average, it is said that about 9% of production costs for landscape professionals goes toward fuel. Therefore, a move to propane mowers regulated with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), could help cut your fuel costs and improve your bottom-line.

Increased efficiency — The propane engines on Exmark mowers can increase fuel efficiency by up to 40% for extended runtimes, compared to traditional gasoline-powered mowers. At the same time, historical prices for propane run about 30% less than gasoline. With gasoline prices still low, this may not seem crucial – but if there’s one rule of gasoline prices, it’s that eventually, they always go back up.

EFI with E-Gov technology plays a big part in the efficiency of propane mower engines. Electronic Fuel Injection and E-Gov keep fuel flowing to your engine at a steady rate, even when your mower revs. This prevents engine drop-off when you hit a rough patch or tackle a steep grade. Gasoline mowers with mechanical regulators can be slow to respond to increased demand on the engine. Just as when you drive, an engine that runs at steady rate performs better than one that continually revs up to work harder.

Cleaner and Greener — Propane is remarkably stable over time, and can be stored for long periods. It also burns cleaner than gasoline, reducing build-up and engine maintenance. This means less mower downtime to have your machine in the field longer, and more profit. Another added benefit is lower emissions, which has become more of a selling point with customers.

Quieter — Propane mower engines are quieter to operate than gasoline or diesel mowers, which could let you start earlier and work later than competitors, and reduce the potential for noise complaints from neighboring properties.

For more information on switching your fleet to propane, see Exmark’s whitepaper, or talk to an Exmark dealer near you.

Proper Mowing Key to a Healthy Lawn

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
Exmark Pioneer S-Series

Experts say many turfgrass problems can be tracked back to improper mowing.

Many gardeners spend considerable time and money to produce a healthy, attractive lawn. Fertilizers are applied to promote root and shoot growth and produce a dark green lawn. When necessary, herbicides are used to control crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. While fertilization and weed control are important aspects of lawn maintenance, proper mowing is another vital key. In fact, many turfgrass problems can be traced back to improper mowing.

The Importance of Cut Height

Mowing height and frequency are the most important aspects of mowing. Bluegrass lawns should be maintained at 2 to 2 1/2 inches in the spring and fall months. Raise the mower blade to a height of 3 inches during summer. Mowing frequency is based on the growth rate of the turfgrass.

The 1/3 Rule

As a general rule, never remove more than 1/3 of the total leaf surface at any one mowing. For example, to maintain a lawn at 2 inches, the grass should be mowed when it reaches a height of 3 inches. In the spring it may be necessary to mow every 4 to 5 days, possibly only once every 1 to 2 weeks in summer, with more frequent mowing again in the fall. Irrigation and fertilization practices, and weather conditions dictate mowing frequency.

Mowing Tall Grass

Mowing grass that is much too tall is hard on the mower and, more importantly, is harmful to the grass. It weakens the turfgrass allowing weeds to move into the lawn. It may take several weeks for the grass to recover from a severe mowing. Another problem would be the large amounts of “hay” or clippings. Excessive amounts of clippings are unsightly, tend to smother the turfgrass and create an environment that favors disease development. Grass clippings should be bagged or raked and removed when mowing grass that has grown too tall.

Grass that has gotten extremely tall should be mowed as soon as possible. Raise the mower blade as high as possible, mow, and remove the grass clippings. Gradually reduce the height of the grass in later mowings until the lawn is being mowed at the proper height. When the lawn is mowed properly, the grass clippings do not have to be removed. The small clippings will simply filter down into the turf and decompose quickly, returning essential plant nutrients to the soil. Lawn clippings do not significantly contribute to thatch development.

Because mowers can cause serious injuries to the operator and others, follow safety precautions when mowing the lawn.

  • Dress appropriately: wear sturdy shoes and long pants.
  • Remove all debris including branches, stones, and toys from the lawn before mowing.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance to protect them flying debris.
  • Keep hands and feet away from the blade when the mower is running.
  • Never leave the mower running unattended (newer models automatically shut off).

Proper, careful mowing will help protect the health of the turf and the operator.

Written by Don Janssen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator and reposted with permission.

You can find other yard and garden articles and resources on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension website.

Measuring Mower Productivity

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
Exmark Pioneer S-Series zero-turn riding mower

Exmark engineers its machines to deliver a better finished quality of cut in less time. Win-win.

The productivity of your mowers and lawn care equipment matters, perhaps more than you think.

Whether you’re a landscape maintenance professional, or an acreage owner looking to spend less time mowing and more time enjoying your lawn, speed and efficiency make a big difference when it comes time to getting big jobs done quickly.

Of course, speed isn’t the only factor to judge when it comes time to select a new mower. Qualities such as cut quality, durability, ergonomics, comfort and dealer support, among others, are important as well. But any business owner will tell it to you straight — time is money, and by choosing your tools wisely, you can save a lot of both with the right mower(s).

How to Determine Mower Productivity

Exmark mower productivity chart

Click the photo to visit the mower & equipment productivity resources at

While there are a lot of variables that can impact the productivity of a mower or piece of lawn care equipment, it’s fairly easy to determine the potential of a machine if you know the cutting/application width and the speed at which it’s designed to run.

At, you can find productivity charts for mowers and turf management equipment that can be useful for determining a machine’s potential, or the gains you can expect from a new mower or piece of equipment.

You’ll find Exmark publishes productivity numbers at two efficiency levels: 100-percent; and 80-percent. That’s because, while 100-percent efficiency numbers may look impressive on paper, in the real world, most landscape professionals operate at closer to 80-percent efficiency. You can’t mow at full speed all the time, and the 80-percent figure more accurately reflects that everyday reality.




Exmark Advantage: Enhanced Control System (ECS)

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Enhanced Control System ECS

One feature that sets Exmark commercial-grade walk-behind and stand-on mowers apart from the pack is our patented Enhanced Control System (ECS). ECS makes mower control easier, more ergonomic and ultimately, more sustainable day after day.

Exmark ECS controls

ECS places the controls at the operator’s fingertips for maximum ease of use.

The comfort of the operator’s hands might not be the first thing you think of when you think of commercial mowers. But we couldn’t forget about the hands, because in this case, they do just as much work as the operator’s legs and feet. And from an ergonomic standpoint, traditional control layouts leave a lot to be desired.

ECS in-use

Visit your local Exmark dealer to experience the advantages of ECS for yourself.

Our ECS-equipped walk-behind and stand-on mowers place the control handles in the location and angle your hands naturally fall. This also helps protect hands from hitting objects that stick out. The shorter grip distance and drive levers relieve fatigue while the cushioned handles reduce vibration. It’s total comfort for hard-working hands.

Learn more about the Exmark Advantage at

The Value of Propane Mowers in Today’s Economy

Sunday, March 20th, 2016
Exmark Lazer Z Propane

The reduced greenhouse gasses propane mowers produce isn’t just good for the environment, it’s a great marketing advantage.

Each day, a growing number of landscape professionals open their eyes to the potential of modern propane-fueled commercial mowers. Even as gasoline prices have come down in recent months, propane is still extremely price competitive and the environmental benefits of propane mowers are in-line with what the majority of landscape maintenance customers say they’re looking for in a landscape contractor (see first bullet point below).

Exmark’s white paper, Transitioning Mower Fleets to Propane, has a number of compelling reasons you should consider propane mowers for your business. Following is an excerpt from the Executive Summary.

  • 2013 market research conducted by Lawn & Landscape magazine revealed that 63 percent of homeowners responsible for decisions related to some or all landscape contract services are influenced by a sense of environmental responsibility.
  • Propane-fueled commercial mowers and equipment produce significantly fewer greenhouse gasses (GHG) than those fueled by gasoline.
  • PERC, Kohler and Exmark partnered on development of the industry’s first EFI-propane engine for commercial mower applications. The engine is the industry’s first OEM-level EFI-propane engine, offering full commercial warranty and support. The EFI design increases fuel efficiency by up to 25 percent, and coupled with the typically lower cost of propane, reduces overall fuel costs by up to 40 percent compared to carbureted gasoline engines. Uptime is also improved since the EFI engine solves startability and performance issues frequently encountered with engines using aftermarket conversions.
  • Exmark introduced a Kohler EFI-propane powered version of its Lazer Z S-Series zero-turn riding mower as well as two Turf Tracer wide area walk behind models in 2013. The EFI-propane Vantage S-Series stand-on riding mower followed in 2015.
  • Propane is widely available nationwide and is used in an estimated 12.6 million U.S. households for heating, cooking and recreation. It is a fossil fuel derived from the refining of oil and natural gas. It is a very safe fuel for commercial mowers, with an ignition temperature that’s nearly double that of gasoline (900 deg. F vs. 495 deg. F). In addition, robust, sealed containers virtually eliminate the opportunity for fuel spillage.
  • The selection of a retailer and the negotiation of a seasonal contract are two important aspects of a switch to propane for landscape maintenance professionals to consider.
  • Exmark propane mowers deliver industry-leading performance, productivity and durability.
  • Incentives from PERC, as well as a number of state marketing associations can mitigate some or all of the increased up-front cost of propane mowers. Combined with the EFI-related fuel savings and the lower cost of propane, Exmark mowers powered by Kohler propane-EFI engines can save up-to $2/hour, or more depending on duty cycle and other factors. This allows pay back of the added investment in one to two seasons.
Click the image to download the complete Transitioning Mower Fleets to Propane white paper in Adobe PDF format.

Click to download the complete white paper.

Download the complete Transitioning Mower Fleets to Propane white paper in Adobe PDF format.

Learn more about Exmark’s complete line of EFI-propane commercial mowers at

See the average fuel prices in your area:


Spring 2016 Special Offers from Exmark

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

This is the time of year when a lot of folks are starting to think about warmer weather and getting out into the yard. For those looking to upgrade their equipment this season, Exmark has a number of special offers that can make it easier than ever to put the best mowers and lawn care equipment in your garage.

For a limited time, put that new Lazer Z you've always wanted into your garage for as little as $8,499.

For a limited time, put that new Lazer Z you’ve always wanted into your garage for as little as $8,499 MSRP. (Dealer sets final retail price. Shown with available accessories: MSRP $10,071.99.)

The Lazer Z E-Series is one of our most popular commercial zero-turn riding mowers. For a limited time, you can save up to $1,100 on select Lazer Z E-Series models. For example: you can take home a 52-inch Lazer Z E-Series machine (LZE732GKC524A2) for an MSRP of just $8,499, or a 60-inch model (LZE742GKC604A3) for $8,999. Visit your local Exmark dealer today to learn more or to schedule a demo.

We’re also offering rebates on select Exmark mowers, including:

  • $1,000 instant rebate on Navigator riding mowersexpires April 30, 2016 
  • $600 instant rebate on Pioneer E- and S-Series mowersexpires June 30, 2016
  • $500 instant rebate on Vantage stand-on riding mowers — expires June 30, 2016
  • $100 instant rebate on Commercial 21 walk-behind mowers — expires June 30, 2016

Visit to see these and other special offers on Exmark machines available for a limited time.

Finance Options

Exmark Commercial 30

Step up to full commercial performance and get a $100 instant rebate when you buy the popular Commercial 21 walk-behind mower through June 30, 2016.

Exmark partners with several national lenders to offer customers financing with very competitive terms. See your local Exmark dealer for full financing details, but some examples of financing offers currently available through our lending partners include:

  • 0% monthly interest for 42 months on purchases of $1,500 or more with your Exmark card — On Purchases of $1500 or more on Exmark Equipment with your Exmark credit card made between now and 04/30/2016. A $125 Promotion Fee will be charged. 42 Equal Monthly Payments required.
  • No monthly interest if paid-in-full within 12-months — On qualifying purchases of $400 or more with your Exmark credit card made between now and 04/30/2016. Monthly interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional balance is not paid in full within 12 Months. Minimum Monthly Payments required. A $50 Promotion Fee will be charged.

See full details and disclosures for these and other financing offers at (click “View Financing Options”).


Spring is Coming… Is Your Mower Ready?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Late-winter is a great time to take stock of your mower’s maintenance needs and get them taken care of before the spring growing season. That way, you’ll be ready to roll when the growth of your lawn hits full stride. Not only does a properly maintained mower perform better, but it will also last longer and be more reliable over the course of its life.

Exmark blades

Nothing affects your mower’s quality of cut more than blade sharpness. It pays to keep ’em sharp.

Always consult your owner’s manual to determine what specific maintenance is necessary for your machine, but some common examples of spring mower maintenance items include:

  • Cleaning — The most basic maintenance you can perform is giving your mower a thorough cleaning. Starting with a clean mower will make it easier to perform other spring maintenance items, and built-up dirt and grass clippings can reduce the performance of your machine.
  • Blades — Your mower will cut faster and deliver a better quality of cut with sharp blades. Few parts affect cut quality and productivity as dramatically as sharp, balanced blades, and with practice, you can change a set of blades in less than ten minutes. It’s well worth the time and effort. One pro tip is to get an extra set of blades for your mower to swap in when your blades lose their edge. You’ll always have sharp, balanced blades ready to go, with no downtime required for sharpening.
  • Belts — Inspect all belts and replace any that appear visibly worn. Also check all belt tensioners to ensure proper function.
  • Engine oil — Start off the season with a fresh oil and filters for each of your mowers. Oil is the life blood of your engine, and changing it out is much less expensive than an oil breakdown-related engine issue.
  • Spark plugs — Replace your mower’s spark plug(s) at the start of the season to ensure easy starting and consistent running performance.
  • Exmark tire inflation

    Proper tire pressure affects the safety, handling and reliability of your mower.

    Fuel — Fuel that’s been sitting in the tank for an extended period should be drained and replaced with fresh fuel. Gasoline degrades in quality and can cause inconsistent starting and running performance. A fuel treatment or stabilizer can help the fuel stay fresh longer, and prevent the absorption of moisture by the fuel. Never use fuel that contains more than 10-percent ethanol in mowers, as higher percentage ethanol blends may lead to engine damage and/or performance issues.

  • Tire pressure — Check the pressure on all pneumatic mower tires and fill them to the recommended pressure marked on the tire sidewall. Operation with too-low tire pressure is a safety issue, first and foremost, and it also compromises mower efficiency, performance and handling.

Spend some time with your mower in the shop now to ensure your mower is good to go when the grass is growing strong later this season. You’ll be thankful you did.

Service resources at


Why EFI? A Look at the Benefits of Electronic Fuel Injection

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

In addition to traditional carbureted engines, most Exmark commercial zero-turn, stand-on and walk-behind mowers are also available with engines equipped with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI). Today, we’ll discuss EFI’s benefits and why you might want to consider equipping your next mower with a fuel-injected engine.

Exmark EFI propane

Exmark offers state of the art EFI-propane engines on its commercial zero-turn, walk-behind and stand-on riding mowers.

What is EFI?

EFI replaces the carburetor as the mechanism responsible for mixing fuel and air, and delivering the mixture to the engine cylinders, so it can be burned, and power can be produced.

Unlike a carburetor, which relies on the vacuum created by the engine to work, a fuel-injected engine uses pressurized injectors to spray a precisely-metered amount of fuel into the air stream as it enters the engine. The system’s ability to adjust the fuel/air mixture based on altitude and environment is a major benefit for commercial mower users on a number of levels.

Exmark Navigator

Electronic Fuel Injection reduces fuel consumption, downtime and maintenance costs, while it increases power, performance and ease-of-starting.

EFI Benefits

  • Productivity — EFI optimizes the fuel/air mixture to deliver maximum power and responsiveness at any altitude, in any weather. You’ll get more work done thanks to the optimized performance.
  • Fuel economy — Save up to 25 percent or more on fuel costs compared to similarly equipped carbureted mowers. For a landscape professional, this can amount to hundreds of dollars of fuel savings per year for each machine.
  • Easy starting — With no choke, you’ll get quick starts every time, hot or cold.
  • Reduced service/downtime — With no carburetor, fuel injected engines have no carburetor-related maintenance costs or downtime.

Exmark EFI-Equipped Mowers

Exmark offers Electronically Fuel Injected engines across its line of commercial mowers, including Lazer Z (zero-turn rider), Navigator (dedicated bagging rider), Vantage (stand-on rider) and Turf Tracer (walk-behind) models.

Learn more about Exmark Electronic Fuel Injection mowers.

Additional Information