Advanced Criteria for Mower Selection
There's no one perfect mower for every site, but by prioritizing your top criteria, you can choose the best equipment for your particular needs.
After working through these four major components, managers are likely to find that their choices of manufacturers have decreased, and they will have narrowed their brand options. Working with the equipment dealer, managers can sort through the remaining options.
Managers can select airless radial tires that cannot go flat and can offer improved ride quality. They can select upgraded seats and suspension options that increase operator comfort and reduce fatigue. Sunshades or cabs can protect operators from the elements. Managers also can consider options such as integrated jacks and trash cans based on property and maintenance shop capabilities.
In putting together an ideal mower, managers need to keep in mind that these machines require maintenance. Managers who plan for this phase of mower ownership during the specification process can save themselves headaches down the road.
For example, if a mechanic does not know how to service a diesel engine and the dealer is an hour away, that engine might not be the best choice. Managers also must make sure to consider fueling options. Evaluate fuel-storage capabilities to make sure the department can safely and legally store the specified type of fuel.
Propane mowers require filling stations or tank cages that might not comply with codes, and liquid fuels need approved storage options, such as fireproof cabinets. Electric mowers require dedicated electric circuits. Depending on the building, managers might need to upgrade wiring or electrical service to efficiently charge the batteries.
As with every piece of equipment, a new mower will break down and require service. Managers need to purchase extra blades, belts and filters at the time of purchase to make sure they are on hand when needed. They also need to download copies of the owner’s manual and parts books so they are readily available for operators and mechanics.
Lastly, managers need to understand that while there is no one perfect mower for every site, using the best information available is essential in making an informed decision. Beyond that, the must-have option at the time of purchase might be so critical in the future.
Brandon Haley is a grounds project manager for SSC – Services for Education, a service provider to K-12 and higher education facilities. He is a Certified Grounds Manager (CGM) through the Professional Grounds Management Society with 22 years of experience in the green industry.