When Joey Cuzzort started mowing lawns as a summer job in high school, he didn’t know that he was launching a company that would eventually employ a dozen people and manage full-scale residential and commercial lawn care needs.
“I just bought my first Grasshopper and built from there,” he says.
As a teenager in 1991, he started cutting grass in Cedartown, Ga. Now 20 years later, he is a successful business owner and credits much of his success to his Grasshopper mowers. Currently he is operating MidMount™ models 329B powered by a Vanguard engine and a 10-year-old 325 mower with a 25hp Kubota engine.
Each mower is in action about 56 hours per week. To keep both machines operating smoothly, he usually spends a total of three hours a week on routine maintenance such as sharpening or replacing the blades, replacing the air filters, checking the brakes and greasing the necessary components. His 10-year-old 325 Grasshopper, which he calls "Betsy," has more than 13,000 hours on it; his goal is to get that mower to 20,000 hours before retiring it.
The professional cut and easy maintenance he has enjoyed with the Grasshopper mowers are what keep him coming back. “My mowers stay in top-notch shape – the Grasshopper is all around a professional machine,” Cuzzort says.
Cuzzort says he most enjoys the cut and serviceability, and that he can do 99 percent of the maintenance himself. If he does need a part, it’s readily available in at his local dealer.
“I’m a true believer in Grasshopper, and I’ve tried about every machine on the market. It’s the easiest and most dependable machine," he says. "The way Grasshopper makes their decks is better – it gives a more professional cut.”
He also enjoys using the mower’s mulching kit on most of his properties so he can ensure a clean quality cut and keep grass out of flower beds and off vehicles. He only uses side discharge in wide open areas.
And that professional cut helped Cuzzort grow and maintain his business. His friends and family, including his wife, have all helped out at times he says.
Cuzzort’s company was known as Greenscape for nearly 20 years. Just recently, the name was changed Cuzzort Lawn Care. Even with the company's established credibility in lawn care in Cedartown, the name change has actually helped business, which was inspired by Cuzzort's father joining the business after retirement. Now, his dad helps with the mowing during peak times.
With a variety of clients, he keeps the business on track with attention to detail and organization. Every property has a set way for mowing, and everyone has a specific job for efficiency. In addition to mowing, the company provides professional pruning and landscaping. While they do not install irrigation systems, they do help clients with maintenance.
Clients have also enjoyed the professional cut of his Grasshoppers since the early 1990s. One of the many properties Cuzzort has worked with for 20 years is Mullen’s Lake. Originally started by the founder of Rome Plow, the 250-acre property was first established for employees and is a private lake for the Mullen family today. Cuzzort takes a crew of three people to work on the nearly 75 acres of mowing. In four hours, they are able to get the job done.
In addition to the advantage Cuzzort attributes to his Grasshopper mowers, he has also added certifications to help distinguish him from the competition. He has a certification in Turf Management from the University of Georgia and also has studied pruning with The Pruning Guru in Atlanta.
“I went to learn about things like roses and crepe myrtles, and I learned the proper way to care for them,” he says.
The professional Grasshopper cut combined with the sterling customer service needed to keep long-term clients are great indicators that Cuzzort and his Grasshoppers not only have a wonderful history but a very bright future.
TIPS FROM THE PROS
With a 10-year-old 325 Grasshopper clocking more than 13,000 hours to date, Cuzzort is a bit of an expert at keeping a Grasshopper in shape. How can you get the maximum longevity out of your Grasshopper mower? He says to keep the oil changed and make sure the hydrostatic transmission fluid is at the right level for optimal performance. He also recommends you clean your mower once a week and clean air filters as needed. He emphasized, “I’m talking more than once!”
Cleaning under the deck daily – it’s a must. He blows debris from the deck on each stop to ensure proper function and good weed control from yard to yard. If major work needs to be done – do it.
“This mower has paid for itself many times over. I plan to 'baby' this one just to see how long it lives...”
Cuzzort's "Ten Commandments for Mower Maintenance"
1) Check engine oil and all fluids
2) Check the air filter to make sure the inside of the seal and the inside of the filter are clean (Even if the outside of air filter is dirty, as long as the inside of the filter is clean, the filter is functioning properly. If you need to clean the outside of the air filter, tap the filter in your hand to remove dirt and debris.)
3) Blow debris from mower deck
4) Check belts for wear or looseness
5) Check air pressure in tires
6) Check levelness of mower deck
7) Check front wheel bearing for wear
8) Check each blade for sharpness; sharpen as necessary making sure each blade is properly balanced after sharpening to prevent vibration damage to the mower deck
9) Check each blade spindle for loose bearings
10) Keep under mower deck clean with scraper or flat tool