Should you go electric in your lawn mowing business?
As your lawn mowing business is all about making those gardens and lawns look amazing, exactly what lawn mowing equipment you use is not all that important. Right?
Wrong! Your lawn mowing equipment is just as important as your lawn mowing technique. And as your old gas guzzler has served you well, why bother making the switch?
Before you say 'No way!' to electric, consider this for a moment: you may already have some awesome electric equipment in your toolbox or trailer. We're talking things like rechargeable weed and hedge trimmers - and they certainly do the job well enough!
So before we proceed much further, consider some of these obvious 'pros' of making the switch to electric for all of your lawn mowing equipment:
1. Zero emissions
Climate change is a big topic, and it's a great boast to be able to put 'zero emissions' on your lawn mowing business CV. One study showed that an hour at work with a petrol mower pollutes the planet just as much as a 160km car trip.
2. No maintenance
Just like your other petrol equipment including your car, there's always maintenance to do. But electric equipment involves basically NO maintenance or upkeep, so you can forget all about changing those spark plugs, fuel filters and oil.
3. No fuel
Save time and money at the petrol station, save space in your trailer, and make your job a little safer by no longer lugging around fuel tanks.
For a lawn mowing business that is going to get plenty of use from that slightly higher investment, cutting out those ongoing fuel costs is going to save you in the longer run - especially as fuel costs just seem to rise and rise.
As well as reducing air pollution, electric lawn mowers are an awful lot quieter - which is good for your ears, as well as the local neighbourhood's! Check out this comparison on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZoeeKPFovc
Anyone who has tried to get a petrol mower up and down stairs knows how heavy they can be. Electric mowers definitely are lighter, but the difference actually isn't huge.
Forget all about breaking a sweat while you crank a petrol engine - electric equipment is an easy as the push of a button.
Sounds good, right? But before you grab your keys and head out to buy a brand new electric lawn mower for your business, it's important to look at this very important decision from some other angles.
That's because while an electric lawn mower may be powered by electricity, it's not magic! There are some 'cons' to seriously consider, too!
1. The pesky cord
There are a few types of electric lawn mower on the market, and you'll definitely want to dodge the ones that plug straight into the power. Running over the cord will not be fun, and getting tangled up or finding that your extension lead is not long enough is a real pain, too.
2. The initial cost
For a lawn mowing business that is always busily counting its up-front costs, it may be difficult to justify the slightly higher price-tag compared to a conventional petrol mower.
3. The battery
And because you can't afford to sputter to a halt halfway through a job, you'll need at least one (expensive) spare battery in the trailer. Make sure you know exactly how long a single charge will last, as you can't tell clients that they need to wait when a simple re-fill of fuel would have done the job a lot better.
3. Less power
As a lawn mowing business, you need a lawn mower that really packs some punch. And while the salespeople will tell you all about that impressive voltage, it can be harder to know what the actual power will be compared to your petrol equipment.
The truth is, electric lawn mowers are not as powerful, the torque numbers are not as impressive, and the all-important cutting width is normally narrower.
4. Harder to fix
If your petrol mower stops working, the mechanically-minded among you will probably pull out the spanner. But because electric equipment is usually completely sealed, a major problem will almost certainly mean visiting the shop - possibly for a brand new mower.
Electric or petrol? Time for the verdict!
So we've weight up the pros and cons - it's now time to think about whether electric or petrol equipment is right for you.
If you were a normal homeowner with a couple of simple patches of lawn and you were currently on the market for a new mower, this might be a total no-brainer - electric mowers are simple, easy, not hugely more expensive and a perfect way to boost your low-emissions credentials. And when that battery runs out after a few mows over several weeks, it's no big deal to plug it in and go and do the housework.
But it's a much more difficult decision for a lawn mowing business.
Without a doubt, electric lawn mowers do the job - and it's probably the technology of the future for an industry that dates all the way back to the 1830s. And in a highly competitive market like lawn mowing, any 'green' marketing edge would be really handy.
But above all else, you really need your lawn mowing equipment to work BRILLIANTLY well. And an honest assessment of electric vs petrol lawn mowers will probably tell you that a powerful petrol mower that you can maintain and repair over time, and fill with fuel as needed when you run out, is the best answer for a lawn mowing business. While the electric market is still developing, there are so many different types of petrol mowers on the market that you will definitely find something that is perfect for a supercharged lawn mowing business.
So there's no denying that, in the lawn mowing world, petrol equipment is still King - and, as a business, that's going to be something that is hard to ignore. But that's not to say that petrol is definitely 'better' than electric. As long as you're getting the job done, at the end of the day it's totally up to you. Electric equipment is constantly getting more powerful, with beefier batteries and a raft of impressive performance-enhancing goodies. But some believe it's an attempt to fill an unnecessary gap in the market and will ultimately fall flat.
What do you think? Is it worth taking a punt on electric? Good luck with your choice, and happy mowing!