Arguably one of the most important tools for lawn maintenance, your mower endures a lot. Stand-on mowers can offer an easy ride for your crews and a tidy job for your customers.
Chant Singvongsa says for him and his three-man crew at Singvongsa Landscaping in Jackson, Minnesota, a stand-on mower was an easy choice.
“I liked the stand-on because it seemed more comfortable,” he says. “Standing up lets us have the better visibility.”
At Singvongsa’s company, the crew mows about two or three days a week. They also operate with two riding mowers.
Hank Parker, president of Bay Landscaping in Mobile, Alabama, also has one stand-on in his fleet, with plans for one or two more in the future.
“Our guys were a little scared at first,” he says. His crews had some less-than-ideal experiences with a different stand-on mower, and they were wary of learning to operate the new machine. Now, they love their stand-on.
Singvongsa recognizes that his stand-on may not be the best choice when mowing steep hills, but the quick on and off capabilities make it a practical mower.
“It might only take seconds to get on or off, but those two seconds add up,” he says. “You can just walk right off the plate and hop back on.” Parker says the crews also love the amount of visibility they get with a stand-on.
Bay Landscaping focuses on maintenance and design/build, and they commonly maintain high-end residential and commercial properties. Parker says using the stand-on is easier on his crew members’ knees and backs.
“When we’re mowing those properties that require us to get off and on, (the stand-on) really helps,” he says.
The stand-on mower works well for Bay Landscaping crews when mowing smaller areas like yards or grass at strip malls.
“If the property doesn’t have a double gate or fence, you’re not going to get a mower with a large deck through it,” Parker says. His crews use the mower for some of their larger properties as well since it’s easier on the turf.
When you’re running a machine almost daily, maintenance downtime is expected. Parker tries to make sure they have mowers ready to go if one of their machines is down. “It’s more efficient that way,” he says. “We don’t want a crew to be left without a mower.”
Most small maintenance jobs are done in-house at Bay Landscaping, but a dealer is located nearby for anything that is too large of a job.
“We have a dealer about 45 minutes away,” Parker says. “We’ll take the mower there for any damage repairs, anything under warranty or any recalls.”
Singvongsa has two other mowers to utilize if his stand-on is out for maintenance. Aside from regular upkeep like blade sharpening once a week, he’s only had to get one repair when one of the hoses went bad on his mower. “There’s good dealer support nearby,” he says, noting that the location to a dealer was important to him when purchasing.
When deciding how to handle a damaged mower, Parker says they consider two of Bay Landscaping’s core values: professionalism and safety.
“We want our crews to look professional and be safe, so we don’t want them out there with a mower that’s damaged,” he says.
Crew leaders are responsible for checking the equipment and making sure it’s safe to use on the jobsite.
“We want our crews to look professional and be safe, so we don’t want them out there with a mower that’s damaged.” Hank Parker, president, Bay Landscaping
Making the purchase.
With about 30 employees at Bay Landscaping, Parker says purchasing decisions are made as a team.
“We involve everyone,” he says. “I especially want to involve the guys out there using it.”
When Parker replaced his fleet and decided to stick with one brand, he took machine safety and crew opinion into consideration. After checking out some mowers at a green industry event, Parker followed up with a company he liked. The mower company came to him and brought some mowers for the crew to test, and Parker says everyone loved them.
“I also talked to some people at (the conference) and told them what I was thinking,” he says. “And I asked what they liked and what they thought.”
Singvongsa recommends setting up a demo of any mowers you’re considering. He utilized the large selection of mowers on display at an industry event before making his purchase in 2017. Once he found a brand he liked, he kept in touch with the company, getting a mower to try out shortly after.
“(When purchasing) I was focused on looking at what the machine could do for the prices I was willing to pay,” he says. “The stand-on cost us less than our other mowers, and the majority prefer to use it.” He expects to get about five years out of the new mower.
With a smaller crew size, Singvongsa doesn’t have many people to consult for new equipment purchases, but he does make sure his crew is comfortable with the decision. In the future he hopes to add a stand-on with a larger deck to replace one of his riding mowers.