When landscaping business slows in the winter, landscapers often store outdoor power equipment such as mowers, trimmers and backhoes until the return of spring. Without a maintenance schedule, checklist and proper storage, however, landscapers risk severe damage to their equipment and costly repairs once things start to thaw.
Rich Clark, manager of grounds for a Kansas City, Mo., school district, highly recommends reading the owner’s manual for each piece of equipment. Manuals will explain proper storage and maintenance for each item when they are not in use. As long as you correctly store and properly winterize landscaping equipment, you can leave mowers and other gas-powered tools in storage all winter and trust they will start up promptly in the spring.
Stay on Top of Winter Maintenance
Landscapers should start their winter maintenance routines as soon as there’s a chill in the air. “During this time, it is a good idea to give every part of the mower a good inspection,” Clark says. “Make sure all safety switches, levers, throttle cables, welds and bearings are in good shape, and if they are not, fix them so you are not surprised in the spring.”
Clark recommends landscapers perform all maintenance tasks during the off-season when they have more time. It’s important to not put off maintenance until the spring because that’s usually landscapers’ busiest time of year, he says.
Find the Right Storage Space
“Equipment should be stored in a sheltered dry place — ideally temperature controlled,” says Valerie Wiest, manager of Green Future Construction, an architectural landscape and trees service company in Silver Spring, Md. “Make sure the mower or other equipment is neatly organized and in a place that will be sheltered from water and freezing temperatures.” Landscapers should not disregard organization and placement when storing equipment, she adds. If chainsaws chains are lumped together in a bucket, for example, they can deteriorate and rust.
A Landscaper’s Checklist
Once you have a maintenance schedule and proper storage space in mind, try these tips to ensure your equipment will be set for spring:
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