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After managers establish a budget for a pending mower purchase, the next step is to assess the characteristics of mowing areas to determine the machines that best match the facility's needs. The amount of acreage, the type of terrain, and the presence of obstacles such as flowerbeds, trees, and passageways all contribute to the purchasing decision.
"Managers must understand the variety of tasks required for different jobs," Simmons says.
"Having the right equipment is of the utmost importance when it comes to maximizing time and effort for any job. The managers should be able to identify and implement the most efficient use of equipment and staff to get jobs completed safely and efficiently."
Manufacturers also can assist managers in developing more efficient mowing practices.
"Evaluate all properties being mowed and determine the mowing practices that are working and identify areas of improvement," Dobson says. "Is there a more appropriate mowing practice for specific applications, such as side discharge, mulching, rear discharge, collection or a combination?"
Managers also might be able to take advantage of a manufacturer who offers to tour a facility's grounds in advance of a purchase.
"We go in and do a complete overview of the products they're currently using," says Allen Baird of Cub Cadet. "I'll do a walkthrough of the campus and see what they're doing to get the job done, and if it can be done more efficiently or with another product. Some of the grounds managers base their day-in and day-out jobs on what they've done the last five or six years. But we go back to the beginning of how you maintain the product, how it's run, the efficiencies, attachments and the accessories to determine how we can deliver a solution for their toughest jobs on campus."
Turf Considerations When Specifying Mowers