No matter where you live in Australia, you don’t need to walk very far to realise that lawn care is big business. In fact, Australia is second only to America when it comes to the time and treasure invested in uninterrupted stretches of meticulous maintained greenery. From homes and golf courses, to parks and promenades, there’s no hesitation about going the extra yard (no pun intended) to having a lawn that looks just right.
And why wouldn’t we want to lavish our lawns with attention? Not only does a well-manicured lawn scream with the irresistible pride of symmetry (after all, it’s hard for anyone not to want to run a hand across a patch of freshly trimmed fescue), but every square metre of that oxygen producing flora provides a much-welcomed environmental service as well.
In short, lawn care isn’t just big business, it’s a beneficial business, and regardless of whether you’re just thinking about breaking into the business, or if you’ve already been in it a while and looking to expand, there’s no better time than now.
A trailer’s tale
Regardless of which stage of the business you’re at, it’d be unnatural if your lawn mower, or laying hands on a newer, bigger lawn mower, wasn’t somewhere near the front of your mind. And that’s perfectly acceptable, but don’t let visions of a sparkling new 60 inch zero-turner blind you to that other piece of capital equipment that may not be your biggest expense – you’ll find it putting in heaps more work than you’d have originally imagined.
It’s your trailer – and if you’re in the lawn care business, it doesn’t take long to realise that a practical lawn mower trailer does a lot more than just haul mowers. In their most basic form, trailers are the able-bodied, all-weather transporters and custodians for all lawn care equipment, your hand and power tools, jerry cans, spare parts and more.
Of course, if you have more than one mower or your business includes removing lawn trimmings, fertilising, mulching or any of a hundred other lawn care tasks, it’ll still be your trailer that you expected to step up and literally carry the load.
It’d be difficult to identify a simpler or somehow less exciting piece of wheeled-equipment than a mower trailer; but make no mistake, having the right trailer is going to make a huge impact on your business. There’s a world of criteria to consider beyond just length or width when it comes to selecting the ideal one, and they’re all about how you expect to use it. There are two types of trailers to choose from:
· Open deck utility trailers
Open deck trailers are the straightforward, easy to clean platforms with high or low, drop- or fixed-side configurations that are used by most lawn care businesses. They’re easily customised with cages and toolboxes, and easy to drive, making them the all-around favourites for hauling lawn care equipment between a garage and jobsites. Mower boxes and tipping trailers fall largely into this category.
· Enclosed cargo trailers
Enclosed mower trailers are the heavier, but more secure versions of utility trailers. What they generally lose in drivability, they make up for in spades with custom shelving and features that allow you to organise and protect mowers and equipment at all times from theft and the elements, whether it’s at a jobsite or in your driveway.
The custom trailer for the evolving business
Trailers are the kind of asset that once you have one, you’ll immediately recognise more ways to put it to use within your business. A modest lawn care business can evolve almost overnight into one performing full-scale landscaping services just because a trailer suitable for hauling hardscaping materials, lumber, and trees and plants is available.
There’s no shortage of hybrid trailer variations on the road that combine the best characteristics of both cargo and utility trailers; and once again, the key to making the right decision when it comes to finding that right design is knowing what’ll best meet the needs of your business and how you expect to use it.
For that reason, quality trailer suppliers are very capable of building just about any type of custom lawn mower trailer to satisfy a variety of objectives, offering a mix of features like:
- Sliding or folding rear ramps
- Side steps or side ramps
- Custom canopies and siding
- Custom railing or tie-down points
- Ladder racks and storage boxes
- Custom lighting or wiring
- Jockey wheels or heavier duty tires
- Custom tracked or checker plate flooring
- Drop axles
Trailers, even custom ones, aren’t hugely expensive, and ideally, the trailer you ultimately choose should be one that’s capable of doing slightly more than you currently need it to do regardless of whether that’s measured in hauling capacity or any other option. It’ll not only give you peace of mind knowing that whenever you have to task your trailer beyond its usual service, that it’ll be ready for the job, but it also guarantees that you won’t suddenly find yourself hard-pressed to upgrade to a more capable trailer if you fortuitously realise that your business is rapidly expanding.
Fine trailer tuning
Once you’ve laid out the full range of expectations you have for a trailer there’s still, however, a small handful of operational points that are integral to the purchasing process that you don’t want to overlook. These are questions to ensure that regardless of the type of mower trailer for sale you decide to go with, that you’ve chosen a piece of equipment that you’ll be proud to look at everyday as a faithful tool for your business and not a reluctant liability.
· How much weight are you carrying?
This is a question that goes hand in hand with how you see your business growing. That 60 inch zero-turn mower you were dreaming about earlier weighs almost 1000kg, and when you combine that with the rest of your tools and lawn care equipment, you’re stacking up some pretty significant Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) numbers. If the numbers look a little bit one-sided, it won’t be the trailer’s fault.
You don’t want the mechanical or legal headaches that could arise from overloading an insufficiently rated trailer. Your trailer supplier will undoubtedly know whether you need a higher-rated single axle, tandem axles, or potentially different brakes, especially if they’ve prepared a custom trailer for you. You’ll also want to explain to them precisely where you see your business headed in the future so you can get ahead of the curve sooner, rather than later.
· What’ll be pulling the trailer?
This is more than just a GVM or “how strong is your tow vehicle” question. Assuming your tow vehicle itself is more than up to the task (physically and legally) of pulling whatever you set behind it, you may realise that you still need to invest in a new hitch that’s adequately weight-rated and provides a level tow height.
You may also need an extendable drawbar if added clearance is required between the trailer and the tow vehicle for making sharp turns or for backing up. An extendable drawbar actually adds ride stability to a trailer overall while it’s being pulled and if you’ve ever seen a trailer being towed that spent just as much time moving laterally as it did going forward, then you already understand why stability matters. Ultimately, if you hadn’t already thought about the difference an extendable drawbar can make for both your trailer and tow vehicle, now’s the time to do it.
Now’s also a great time to mention fuel efficiency, too. If you’re towing a trailer, any trailer without exception, it means you’re going to burn more petrol. There isn’t a lot you can do to improve the aerodynamics or the resistances on the trailer either, but that still doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down. Invariably, learning the ways of a gentler throttle will be your best remedy and keeping your faithful tow vehicle well tuned, along with filters changed and tire pressures checked regularly, will help it to do its level-best to avoid the petrol stations.
At the end of the day, if you’re serious about getting into the lawn mowing and lawn care business, or you’re already in it and looking to do more, a top-notch lawn mower trailer is going to be an essential part of getting you where you need to go.
Deciding early to get the best trailer possible gives you a logistical advantage that your competition probably didn’t start with, and over the long term, it’s likely to cost them customers that you’ll be perfectly positioned to pick up. Now go get mowing and happy trail(er)s to you!