For landscapers, work begins long before they arrive on a job site and continues well past when their on-site tasks are completed. Why is that? It’s because these professionals rely on complicated, expensive and invaluable landscaping equipment. Here are some pointers for landscaping equipment management, from safeguarding large stores of equipment to managing individual pieces of machinery and monitoring entire fleets.
Security Strategies for Protecting Landscaping Equipment
It’s no secret among landscapers that theft is a frequently present threat for the trade. Landscaping equipment is expensive. As such, it commands a substantial price on the secondhand market.
A 2020 article in Irrigation & Green Industry described three sets of risk that landscapers must guard against:
- Potential theft of equipment from job sites.
- Break-ins that target landscaping equipment stored in the company’s facilities.
- Theft of equipment perpetrated by employees.
To protect landscaping companies from these three threats, the article recommended:
- Locking down trailers, including using hitch and steering wheel locks.
- Housing equipment in cages when left in a trailer overnight.
- Parking the trailer in a way that prevents easy access.
- Prominently displaying the company logo on trailers and machinery while logging all serial numbers and monitoring landscaping equipment as it’s checked in and out.
In order to make sure their central storage location is well protected, landscapers should make sure to have clear lines of sight surrounding the grounds, and they should use spiked fencing or other deterrents.
Irrigation & Green Industry also encouraged landscapers to conduct background checks on employees, regularly change locks on the premises and make sure to uphold personnel restrictions and safeguards, even for trusted employees like family members.
Ensure Landscaping Equipment Is Up to Code
Regulations for acceptable landscaping equipment vary from one location to the next, and they’re often subject to alteration due to safety issues, environmental concerns and excessive noise.
For example, as ABC 7 News reported in January 2020, California may ban gas-powered lawn equipment statewide. While this is already the case in dozens of municipalities, a statewide ban would obviously have a bigger impact for landscapers.
Make sure you’re familiar with the regulations in your area and wherever you do business, whether that’s in nearby towns, counties or even across state lines.
Lawn Mower Maintenance
An important element of managing landscaping equipment is the proper maintenance of individual pieces of machinery, and lawnmowers are some of the most important tools in the business. When landscapers take the necessary precautions to keep their equipment in good working order, they’ll be able to operate their equipment safely and efficiently.
In addition to standard advice like changing the oil and filters, an article from the Home Depot recommended that mowers have their spark plugs changed annually. Companies should do a deep clean every six months. It’s also important for landscapers to prepare their mowers adequately for seasonal weather conditions.
Each piece of landscaping equipment logged by serial number should not only be monitored for checking in and out, but it should also be assessed for quality and slated for routine maintenance.
Landscaping Fleet Management
Managing landscaping equipment, especially for large landscapers, often involves maintaining, monitoring and tracking a fleet.
Some professionals in the industry use video telematics to monitor how crews handle vehicles and trailers containing landscaping equipment. A 2019 article in Total Landscape Care featured the Lytx system. Proactively using this kind of equipment to assess driver behavior and log unsafe actions can help avoid collisions that cause injury or damage to vehicles and landscaping equipment.
Subscription models for the service are based on the features used as well as the number of vehicles in the fleet.
Landscaping Equipment Management: Stay Involved at All Levels
Landscaping equipment management is not an event that happens one time at one level of operation. These practices are an ongoing effort to safeguard landscaping equipment and its use from internal and external risk. Landscapers need to commit to this ongoing process throughout their entire organization to ensure that their equipment is properly and safely maintained.