As the owner of a lawn care business, you do everything you can to make sure your business runs seamlessly. One way you can do this is by taking proactive steps to obtain lawn care insurance and to take the time to properly maintain your equipment.
With spring well underway and summer fast approaching, it is crucial that you ensure your equipment is in proper working order before you head out to take care of your client's lawn care needs and to make sure you have an active lawn care insurance policy.
Here are a few simple things you can do to kick the season off right.
Conduct a Spring Check-Up
One of the most disruptive things for a lawn care business is having equipment that breaks down. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the lawn mower, lawn edger, or weed eater you put away last fall is ready to go this spring.
For your equipment with small engines, here are several key things you should check before you start off the season:
Without fuel your machine won't run; however, old fuel can become "varnished," even if has only been there since the fall. Varnished fuel can be dangerous, harm your engine, or just cause your mower, edger, or other machine to fail to start.
Be sure that if your fuel wasn't treated to make it through the winter, that you drain it into the proper fuel container and dispose of it at a facility equipped to handle old fuel.
Many gallons of gasoline go bad and cause headaches for lawn maintenance providers each year because they have sat over the winter and varnished; however, this doesn't need to be the case.
To protect your equipment, either drain the fuel from the machine, or use a fuel stabilizing additive that is approved by the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Generally speaking, you may also treat your other fuel stores with such a product.
Oil helps the inside of your machine's engine stay clean and lubricated, but the wrong type of oil, low oil, and old oil can cause irreparable harm to your machine. Inspecting the oil in your machine regularly is crucial for a successful lawn care season. You'll want to look for the following indicators:
- Oil that is beginning to, or already, turn black in color.
- Oil that has a milky or foam colored appearance
- Oil that is lower than the manufacturer's recommended level
- While edging, the blade comes off and damages property or injures a person
- A machine damages a client's walkway or concrete
- A lawn mower throws debris that injures a person or damages property
- You cause damage to a client's sprinkler system
It's a good idea to change the oil in each of your machines at the start of the season. You should completely drain the oil, replace the oil filter (if equipped), and refill the crankcase with the correct oil as specified by the machines manufacturer.
The Air Filter
Have you ever tried to breathe when there was a lot of dust in the air? It's not very fun or easy, is it? The same goes for an engine with an old air filter.
Be sure that you have taken time to clean and inspect the air filter on each machine that you own. If you need to, don't hesitate to replace it because if you don't, dust and other harmful particles could wreak havoc on the engine.
The Pull Cord
You might be thinking, "what could possibly need inspecting on the pull cord?" While a pull cord might not cause harm to your engine, it can be painful when it breaks and cost you valuable time.
To inspect a pull cord, simply pull the cord out slowly and inspect the knots that hold it in place as well as the full length of the cord for any frays, cuts, or breaks. If it has any, you will want to replace it right away.
Hardware and Other Checks
Since your equipment for your lawn care business has likely been sitting dormant during winter season, you'll also want to give the hardware a good going over. Much like having a good lawn care insurance policy, this check will protect your business in the long run.
Not only will you want to ensure that the lawn mower and edger blades are sharp and the weed eater spool is full of string, but you'll also want to check that all bolts and fasteners are tight and blades are mounted securely.
Check Equipment before Each Use
Of course, each piece of equipment has it's own set of requirements and needs. You should also follow the pre-use checklist found in most user manuals. In addition to checking the oil, air filter, and hardware, the user manual should list other items that need regular maintenance.
A single check-up does not ensure that everything will be okay for the rest of the season. You should check your equipment each time you use it. Sure, taking the time to check the machine before you use it can be inconvenient, but it makes sense. These precautions could help you prevent major damage to your equipment and consequently help you avoid the expensive cost of repairs or new equipment, and they could also protect yourself and others from potential harm or property damage.
The Hazards of Not Maintaining
Failure to properly maintain your equipment can cost you and your business hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs and new machines. If your equipment is not functioning properly and the guards are not in place, you could very well damage your client's' property or even someone who is nearby.
In addition, your bottom line could be at risk. Machines that don't function well don't do the job right. If your client's think the job you did was sloppy and poor, it could cost you in terms of clients and recommendations.
Lawn Care Insurance Protects Your Business
Despite your best efforts to maintain and protect your business, some things may still go wrong. Consider what may happen in the following situations:
For these and other reasons, you need to have a layer of protection for you and your business. Lawn care insurance from Insurance Canopy can offer you protection and a layer of defense against liability claims. Get your policy today by clicking here.