Running a residential lawn grooming business -all electric challenges

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  • Updated 6 months ago
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Anyone run a landscaping lawn maintenance/grooming business that is all electric? I like the idea. Ego has everything I need but a wheeled hard edger. Charging the batteries is my only concern. I'm guessing I would need some type of battery set up (that gets charged up overnight). Then tie in all my chargers. I know I would be swaping batteries through out the day. But I would just want to make sure I have enough charge to get me through a full day. It would also need to be secured for theft in the truck as well. I also don't want to utilize the truck's battery either. Anyone have any good idea's on this? Type of set up required? Thanks! Stew (Allen, Texas)
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Stew

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Posted 5 years ago

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Jacob

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Solar won't work because the chargers pull almost 600 watts each. It would be a big solarge array. Get 2 optima batteries, tie them to the charging circuit in your vehicle, and get an inverter. Get the deep cycle optima batteries, they can discharge to a very low voltage. Then get some Anderson power pulls so you can disconnet easily to charge the batteries overnight at home. Have the chargers mounted to something with 12vdc input and 120 so you can charge at home and bypass the inverter. The other option is to charge between sites with your vehicle. You wouldn't need extra batteries. Just make sure your current vehicle battery is good, perhaps a voltage cutout to the inverter at 11 vdc.
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Stew

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Great thoughts thanks. So no concerns that too much juice will be pulled from the vehicles battery when the engine is off?
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Jacob

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There is always that concern. Just keep a jump start with you.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Stew, given the extremely short recharge times when using the fast charger (25 min 2.0Ah, 30 min 4.0Ah), I would think you could almost get by charging between jobs.

With a large DC->AC inverter capable of powering several fast chargers at once, you could slap the packs into the chargers when packing up from one job and they would have a significant charge in them, maybe even full, by the time you're done driving to and unpacking for the next job.

Of course, this eliminates your green "cred" by using gas from your truck to generate electricity to power your lawn equipment... not the most efficient process.

As Jacob suggested, a bank of high capacity deep-cycle marine batteries could be charged overnight as could the Ego packs (a few spares also) from household AC, then the bank could be used during the day to top the packs off between jobs.  The DC->AC inverter could be switched over to the truck's electrical system in a pinch if the battery bank was depleted.

How about this, Stew:  If it hasn't been done already (I haven't looked), how about starting a thread in the "Ideas" section here suggesting Ego release a charger that runs directly off of 12V vehicle power, eliminating the need for a DC->AC inverter altogether?  While you're at it, how about a charger that charges multiple packs at the same time?

Good luck!
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Stew

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Sorry for the delay, was on vacation. Great ideas. Appreciate it!
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Matt

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We am running a cutting business using ego products! We charge up at home and head out. As for solar we had givien it some thought it but decided we would wait it out till prices came down.
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Deleted

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I just keep a lot of batteries on hand... About 100 ah worth... It gets me through the day.... Fall cleanup on the other hand.... :/
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Matt

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stew did you ever get into the business?
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Michael Cook

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If you have the fast charger it should charge the batteries while your driving from job to job. You could always ask to plug in your charger to an outside outlet while your working. Maybe connect a couple chargers to a power strip and charge several batteries at once. The only problem I saw was the time it took to mow, trim and blow. I mowed my parents lawn, they have a 75' lot. It took over a hour to do everything on my own with the 21" mower, 15" trimmer. That really limits the number of customers unless you have help and maybe more than 1 mower, one person cutting the front and one in the back. The trimmer works great, but as an edger the line dissapers quickly. I wish they would have made it attachment compatible like Greenworks, Kobalt and Ryobi. Best of luck in your business!!
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Michael, Ego has announced a new attachment capable multi-tool system for release this spring. Pole hedge trimmer, pole chainsaw, brush cutter, string trimmer, and blade edger.
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Michael Cook

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Yes!! I saw that! I just bought the 15" trimmer off Amazon. I'll probably buy the multi tool when it comes out. I've had everything for a few days now mowed mine and my parents lawn, works great. Just wondering how to get a free t-shirt??? Lol
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Jacob

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Blue. You have 60,000 points man. Wtf (frenchtoast)
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Blue Angel, Champion

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One more badge to go, then I get to collect my pension.

That is how it works, right? :-)
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Jacob

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That's what I heard
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Jennifer VandeWater, Community Manager

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Michael, we can get you a t-shirt! :) We'll send you an email. Look for an email from support@egopowerplus.com to get your details.
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Michael Cook

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EGO should look into buying Green Machine Mowers. They make commercial mowers that are electric. They're kind of pricey for the mower, probably due to the battery cost. EGO could manufacturer the batteries themselves and probably drop the price by a few hundred to a thousand dollars. In the long run, it'll be dramatically cheaper to operate, no gas, oil, maintenance. It even has a solar panel/ sunshade option to charge the batteries while your working. I'm interested in perhaps getting one and building up a business just in my neighborhood. They're building over 700 in the next few years.
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Jacob

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Thass Mean green, not green machine
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Michael Cook

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Sorry Mean Green Mowers.
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Jacob

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And I want one!!!!!!!! Are they like 20,000 or what?
(Edited)
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Michael Cook

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That one as is with the solar panel sunshade is about 10k. They have a walk behind for 9k, and a riding walk behind type for about 14k. They have hand tools, but I think EGO are better and a lot cheaper. The commercial mowers last 7-8+ hrs on a battery.
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Dave .

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I seriously doubt that Ego mowers are durable enough for commercial use.  I mean, c'mon people, these things aren't built very sturdily, and the blades need FREQUENT sharpening.  And how are you going to find a practical and AFFORDABLE method for replacing depleted batteries with fresh ones?  The large Ego batteries cost a fortune.  If you really want to be doing commercial work, get commercial-quality equipment.
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Jacob

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Negative nancy. Lol.
I would say an ego mower would last 2 years in a commercial environment.
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John Hunt

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I used all summer. Have to have couple batteries. I'm looking on putting solar on my truck box to charge extra
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Jacob

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EGO needs to just make a 12v car charger for their batteries. It's not that hard to make.. I don't think. Also make it so it can charge slow. Or fast. Like a 4 hr charge, 2, 1. Because that would enable the use of solar. Otherwise I don't know how solar would work as you would need 600 watts to charge one battety. Don't know what the standard charger consumes. But still. Your solar would have to charge 12v batteries, then you need an inverter to go off of those batteries. If ego made a slow charger this would be a great way to charge batteries with a small solar panel.
(Edited)
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Blue Angel, Champion

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The standard charger is 210W I think.

A rack on a pickup would easily hold 3-4 full size roof solar panels, and each would be good for 200-300W. More than enough to keep a couple Ego chargers going on a sunny day. Overcast or cloudy conditions would be less.
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Tom Meyers

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Solar panels will not hold up on a work vehicle.
On a house roof, sailboat or even a motor home with wind and weather yes.
Not engineered for shock and vibration from a truck.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Agreed 100%. A residential rooftop solar panel would need some ruggedizing to survive in that application!
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Michael Cook

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Depending on your definition of commercial work. I wouldn't consider most residential lawn service commercial. The mower I mentioned is a commercial mower it's a 52" riding mower. The hand tools are fine, the blower has more power than a "commercial blower" , the upcoming multi tool is going to have a metal blade edger attachment. The EGO mower is good enough for places a large mower can't cut. If you go to Greenworks website there's a testimonial from a guy that uses the pro 80 volt system for commercial lawn care. In my opinion the EGO is a better built mower. Besides it takes what 10 mins to sharpen the blade maybe once every few months. You spend more time at the gas pump filling cans and trying to get a gas trimmer to start.
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Dave .

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You are wrong about Ego blade sharpening intervals.   If you were to run an Ego mower for 2 hours per day, you'd be sharpening the blade in less than 2 weeks.  Far sooner if you hit anything harder than a noodle.  I'm talking about "commercial" as if it is a livelihood for you and a small crew, at a bare minimum  A mower would be used for HOURS each day, no less than 5 days a week.   I'm NOT referring to a hobby lawn service.  I'm talking about a legit lawn service company.   The Ego mowers aren't built for that type of service.

Also, it's likely that blade-sharpening might be necessary every couple of days, given commercial use.
(Edited)
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Jacob

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Your also wrong buddy, this time your being generous. You would be sharpening that blade every day. I touch up my blade every hour to be honest. Only because it increases runtime. But it takes a minute to do. All I do is touch up the point. Basically if your going to use it more than I do.. you should have a Japanese sword maker forge you a blade.
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Jacob

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I know this because I have sharpened through 9 blades so far in the last 3 seasons. 2 damaged from hitting stuff.
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Michael Cook

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Can you put a different brand blade? A 21" blade from a Troy Bilt mower or some other stronger blade. If I were to start a lawn service it would be more hobby since I'm a disabled Veteran and it would be extra income to help pay for the mower, trimmer and blower I just bought. If I were looking for full time I'd pick up one of the Mean Green Mowers that a commercial electric mowers, they also are almost $10-15k. You'd make it back pretty fast with no gas, oil, or maintenance. I bought my mower because I have a small yard, my gas power trimmer was a 10-15 min workout everytime I tried to start it. It was only 2 years old.
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Jacob

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Yeah. I don't miss gas powered equipment.

Thank you for your service by the way.
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Dave .

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Yes, I was being generous!
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Blue Angel, Champion

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I think the Commercial vs. Residential argument has a lot to do with how tools are treated.

When I think traditional commercial application I think about a crew of younger people abusing equipment; tossing it into the back of a truck for example. I'm thinking along the lines of the companies who have large job contracts to care for big commercial properties more than residential work. Or a rental shop renting out equipment to anyone needing it to do anything, and the equipment being treated like they don't own it.

In that scope, no, I don't think Ego's current equipment is up to the task of "commercial" duty.

Now if you're talking more along the lines of a company who does 100% residential work, then I can see Ego's equipment doing very well as long as the physical abuse is kept in check. The one exception, as Dave and Jacob point out, being the blade hardness. There would need to be a few spare blades in the truck, and a sharp one put on the mower every morning.

Member Steve Valdez also had an issue with the wheel height adjusters on his 20" mower giving up after a while (he uses the Ego mowers for his lawn business). I'm not sure if he ended up replacing his mowers with the 21" model or not, and if so whether they fared any better?
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Dave .

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My Honda Harmony, after more than 10 years of usage (just on my small property) was in such good shape that I got $200 for it and it looked nearly brand-new.   Just one set of rear tires, and a few blade sharpening was all it needed.  And of course some oil changes.  Hondas are just about the only mowers you see in the SJ area, for residential gardening services use.  It had a Xenoy deck which is FAR more rigid than the flimsy plastic used in the Ego mower.  That thing flexes--the Xenoy deck felt more like a metal deck, but no rusting, no denting, and less weight.   Tis a shame the Honda mowers have metal decks now.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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With steel prices so low, it's probably an issue of cost savings... who'd have thought a steel deck mower would actually be cheaper than a plastic one?
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bigfootcountry

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Honda still makes a plastic deck mower. Not commercial quality but close. Look up Honda Hrx.
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bigfootcountry

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I am a solo operator and have been testing out ego handhelds on a few of my accounts lately and so far pretty much so good. The string trimmer, with a few mods, is light and has plenty of power and really is holding up well. The blower is excellent in smaller settings and also seems durable. The hedge trimmer is nothing special. It is just adequate with slow cut speed and a blade that seems a little soft. Ego has a much more promising UK version that i hope they bring over soon.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Thanks for the feedback!

Can you expand on what mods you did to the string trimmer?
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bigfootcountry

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Just a warning...at least one of the mods will most likely void you warranty....the other may or may not. On standard commercial grade trimmers the trimmer head spins counterclockwise. ...and for the last five years I have been using this style exclusively so I am pretty use to it. So as you know Egos trimmer head spins clockwise and after using it a few times I decided to change the way the trimmer head spins to match my commercial trimmers. Also because of the way the guard is designed to cut the line on a clockwise spinning head I removed it. For what it worth Husqvarna has a string trimmer that has a switch that allows the operator to change the way the head spins......not a plug for Husqvarna......just for that feature.

Now again these mods will most likely void your warranty and some may consider removing the guard as dangerous so proceed at your own risk.

For an established edge this trimmer works excellent as an edger due to its very smooth trigger response and controllable power. I run the trimmer with the 2.5 battery and it is very light and a real pleasure to use just from a sensory perspective with very low vibration and very low noise. I run .095 Vortex line and it matches the trimmer well.

The future of professional lawn care is green and part of being green is also low noise. Ego is doing very well so far and I look forward to future products from them.
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Dave .

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I too, love the Ego 15" string trimmer for it's quietness, low vibration, weight and string-advancement reliability.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Gotta ask... how did you reverse the rotation?
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Jacob

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You take the head off and switch any of the 2 wires that go to the motor. It's 3 phase brushless so switching the 2 outside wires is the preferred method. So.. what colors you ask..I'm not quite sure. Taking the head off is easy. 1 screw I think. Then 3 bullet connectors if my memory serves me right.

I think
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Michael Cook

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Interesting, but then how do you cut the line to keep it from getting to long?
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bigfootcountry

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Egos trimmer guard doesn't allow you to switch cutter sides....bummer. Line length is controlled without a guard cutter fairly simply. Start with the line stick out that looks about right to you...and go for it. Your line tag ends will generally wear down at about the same rate so just pay attention to your cutting swath and bump as needed. If you start looking at some of your local lawn care companies you'll notice that quite a number don't run guards. Guards are removed for a few reasons....visibility, line length, weight, maneuverability, etc.

I usually run guard on since I pull the trimmer towards my body......but guard off can be liberating. Visibility, maneuverability and with a strong enough trimmer increased cutting swath all can be had going guard off.
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bigfootcountry

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One more thing...if you go guard off....and you get your line stick out to long you will notice a degradation in the performance of your trimmer. Manually trim back line to the point where you trimmer performs strongly again and try to maintain that length.
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Michael Cook

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Cool, thanks I appreciate your help!
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bigfootcountry

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I took the end the battery attached to apart. It was cleaner and I figured to have more room and wire length. 3 wires correct....switch the black to white...white to black. Leave the green wire alone. Ego makes it easy....waterproof covers slide off and wire are plug in style connectors. Took about five to ten minutes to switch.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Very cool!
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Mark Govers

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Bigfoot, thank you, I particularly followed your comments, as they seemed most suited to the original question, awesome info.  Would you like to share your charging setup, and logistics with that?  Charging between jobs, at home, inverters etc? 
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Lapp3r30

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I run a business here in Winnipeg, MB Canada that is all Electric and use all EGO products.  Also looking at doing snow next year.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Is that a push cart full of lawn gear in your avatar? If so I’d like to see more pics!!!
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Lapp3r30

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Yes it is a trailer to pull behind the equipment behind a bicycle. They were customer manufactured.

You can email me firectly at aaron@moweco.ca if you have any questions. 

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/lance/Trimming-the-cost-of-lawn-care--377045691.html


(Edited)
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Blue Angel, Champion

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I checked out your website, looks like quite an interesting business model you have there!
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Lapp3r30

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Thank you!  I'm not sure how far into the website you went.  But it has some bugs that we are working through to prep for this season.  We didn't have them last year but we're doing a lot of front and back end work.  I appreciate the compliment there.
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bigfootcountry

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I'm now into my second year running Ego handhelds and still zero equipment failures and now three battery issues..or maybe four. Flashing green lights on 5ah batteries only. All 5ah batteries still work fine and I use them first daily.

16 or so inches of rain here last month and off to a good start this month and the ipx4 waterproof rating continues to be tested and vastly exceeded. I use the tools daily rain or shine sometimes a little...sometimes a lot. Water will literally be dripping out of both tool and battery and they still keep working. Not recommended but I am kinda curious what will kill one.

I have had to take the brushless hedge trimmers apart and clean the trigger area....trigger was sticking...and now they work fine.

Short update....so far so good.
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szwoopp, Champion

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Thanks for giving us the update.  Always good to hear the experience of someone giving the tools 10 times the work load of an average homeowner 
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Lapp3r30

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I moved on to my second mower in my 3rd year in business.  I estimate that I had 1,500+ mows on the mower.  Mower still works at 100%.  However, the safety clip on the side broke off and I'm not in a situation to be dealing with it all day long.  So I laid Betsy to pasture (And felt bad about it. LOL).  I'm sure I can still sell it w a battery for a nice price.  Perfect for home lawn care. 
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Blue Angel, Champion

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If you’re talking about the clips on the extending handle, you can call Ego Customer Service and they can send you a new set. There may be a charge for this but I think it’s small, and it’s an easy fix that takes no more than 10 minutes and a number two Phillips screwdriver.
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Lapp3r30

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Yes those are the clips I am referring to.  I am going to message them to see if I can purchase them.  Thank you!
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szwoopp, Champion

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Message them ?
It may require a phone call.
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Bryan

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Bigfoot and others, do you see your self eventually investing into EGO's commercial line? https://commercial.egopowerplus.com/
(Edited)
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Lapp3r30

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I don't see moving to commercial.  We have a model different from other companies that have crews and drive out and do the work.  We use individuals who are mowing properties within their local community.  So I think the residential has been fantastic.  We also have inventory of unopened equipment that should last for some time.  But having to attach to the pack seems a little 'clunky'.  I definitely see the utility for a business that is using bigger crews.  
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bigfootcountry

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I would definitely be interested in Ego commercial products if they followed closely to their consumer line.....but they dont. The tether to the backpack battery is pretty much a non starter with me.

The upcoming commercial line really needed the ability to run on their best in class batteries already available.

I'm not sure what they where thinking.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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As far as I know the Backpack Link has the same connector as the Pro Series tools, so you could still use your existing batteries.  But the battery backpack form factor still exists that way.
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szwoopp, Champion

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The UK sight states that the battery link works with the commercial line.  Hopefully the same is true for the NA models.  It makes sense, but not specifically stated on the NA website.  Then again the commercial line has not been released in NA, so that makes sense as well.
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bigfootcountry

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Most likely will work with the backpack link but that doesn't mitigate the significant inconvenience of having to have a cord attached to your piece of handheld equipment.

I can think of a few advantages of having large battery capacity on your back....but I can think of more advantages to having an all in one unit in your hand.

But really the powerhead unit plus other handheld units are working well for me daily and I will happily continue to use them until Ego, or another company, comes out with something better.
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szwoopp, Champion

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Agree - you have to have big jobs with long run time to offset the hassle of a cord.
Especially with a tool like the hedge trimmer !
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Blue Angel, Champion

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The hedge trimmer runs a long time, even on the 2Ah battery.
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szwoopp, Champion

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True true