How does a lawn mowing operator cope with extreme weather?

Being a lawn mowing business owner means your schedule relies heavily on the weather. Rainy days, cyclones and other weather anomalies can really take the ‘wind out of the sails’. But making the most of the bad weather is what will get you ahead of your competition. When Cyclone Gita battered parts of New Zealand in February, the effects were definitely felt. Though it was downgraded to an ex-tropical cyclone, it still left a lot of people around the country with a big clean up. Crewcut operators had to work around Gita to make sure their business didn’t suffer from the forces of nature. 

Then you get other big storms like the one felt across the country April 11. Powercuts, tree debris on the road, and plenty of wind & rain have accounted for some home owner stress. Just imagine how it feels for the lawn mowing operator. 

So how does a lawn mowing business work around a cyclone or crazy weather?


When the grass gets wet it can cause a problem with most lawn mowers, as it clumps together and gets stuck in the blades. During rainy periods, you may find some lawns fully submerged in water. Not only can it do damage to your mower, but there is a big health and safety risk as well. The grass becomes slippery and operators can find themselves in a potentially hazardous position on a slope where they may slide out of control. It can also cause damage to the lawn as the wheels will tear up the soft ground. We advise Crewcut operators not to work on the tools when the weather takes a turn for the worst. 


We contacted some of our Crewcut operators from New Plymouth to Nelson to find out what they do when the weather makes it impossible to provide lawn mowing, or garden services.


In New Plymouth a state of emergency was declared during Cyclone Gita. It wasn’t until Sunday when it had been lifted, but the cyclone had left the city with no fresh drinking water for five days. Neil, a New Plymouth Crewcut operator, mowed for as long as he could on Tuesday when Gita came through. However, by 1pm he had to call off his jobs due to the rain and wind being too heavy. Neil’s solution around this extreme weather was getting out on the tools earlier on the day of the storm and the day after to pick up on missed work. This initiative made sure that his business wouldn’t miss out on any income. The day after the storm did require a bit more than mowing though. He found himself doing some section tidies to get rid of broken branches and other debris. Unfortunately, the storm also knocked out their power, so all of the online paperwork had to wait until the computer could be turned back on.

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At the top of the South Island, Phillip Rogers provides his service to Nelson. Though a lot of the area he operates in wasn’t affected by flooding, the surrounding areas did encounter the overflow. The cyclone however did prevent Phil from getting to work for his clients. The rain and wind proved to be too much and he had to take one day off while Gita passed through. Though he didn’t miss on this opportunity to make sure his lawn mowing business still operated well. He managed to get maintenance done on his gear, clean out his van, and finish off plenty of admin work. The morning after, he just waited out for the sun to dry off the grass so he could get back into what he does best, lawn mowing. Getting all of these tasks done during the weather chaos allowed him to relax at night knowing that he’d done something productive. 


Two of our operators in the Wellington region had similar scenarios with the weather. Adam from Lower Hutt had to take the day off as well, though it wasn't such a bad thing. It was his first day off in four weeks, so he got to spend the time with his wife and kids. Relaxation is another important part of running your business. It’s not worth going non-stop if your mental health and family are taking the backseat. 


Kapiti based, Tony, said that thankfully there was no flooding. However, there were plenty of branches and cabbage tree leaves on his client’s properties the next day. There were also a few slips on the way into Wellington, so anyone heading there had to be careful. He also had to take the day off from providing his lawn mowing service due to the weather. Instead, he worked on his fuel tax rebate so he still managed to bring in a few hundred dollars without being on the tools. This is another great initiative to take to make sure you have a steady flow of cash coming through. 


When it comes to this extreme weather, our Crewcut operators need to be motivated and smart with their time. Owning a lawn and garden business is more than just mowing a lawn or trimming a hedge. A smart operator will carry out maintenance on their gear, get up to date on their paperwork, or take the well deserved break to spend time with their family. There is so much more to business ownership than the service itself. Taking the initiative and making smart choices with your time will lead your business in the direction of success.

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