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How do you handle mowing duties at your field?

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Old 09-09-2013, 12:06 PM
  #1
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Question How do you handle mowing duties at your field?

We have a club of near 80 members and an 800ft. long grass runway. The runway gets mowed at least once a week. the pits a little less often. The parking area not as often as the pit area and the surrounding area even less but we do have probably a total of 7 to 10 acres that gets mowed at least sometime during the year. As you can see some parts more than others.

The problem is that out of 80 members there are a very few who will volunteer to mow. The club owns the equipment and it is kept in good running condition and fuel is kept at the field so that's not the problem. Those who have kept the field up for the last forty years or so are getting along in age and could use some assistance. I am 65 and have done more than my share in helping this year and I have done a lot less than a couple of other members.

Is there a fair way to share the load? We have members from 7 or 8 years old to 80 years old. Some members have already offered their service for many years while others think that paying dues gives them a pass on any kind of work detail. Of course as soon as the field gets grown up high enough to stop that little .049 airplane or the electric with 3/4" wheels those are the ones who start screaming about the poor condition of the field while not lifting a finger to help.

What does everyone else do? How do you handle the simple task of cutting the grass?

A mandatory mowing list has been discussed but who gets put on it? Everyone? Those who are physically able? Who determines that?

Those who do not wish to mow could pay a surcharge for the privilege or those who do mow could get a reduced membership rate. Would this work? Has anyone tried it?

Thoughts please.

Thanks,
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:25 PM
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Is there a fair way to share the load? We have members from 7 or 8 years old to 80 years old. Some members have already offered their service for many years while others think that paying dues gives them a pass on any kind of work detail. Of course as soon as the field gets grown up high enough to stop that little .049 airplane or the electric with 3/4" wheels those are the ones who start screaming about the poor condition of the field while not lifting a finger to help

there's probably as many ways to go about this as there are clubs. we use to have a mowing list, voluntarily, but only three or four of us would actually mow, the others "forgot" it was their week or something came up. We now have one member that does all the mowing and the club reimburses for expenses
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:30 PM
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Our club is similar to yours, slightly smaller at 65 members.
Many years ago we came up with the idea of paying those who mow with a $5.00 discount off dues ($60.00) per mow.
It has worked quite well for us. It still is mostly the retired gents who mow the most, but now they can easily
reduce or eliminate their yearly dues. But it is also an incentive for others to mow, and enough of us do it so
mowing is never an issue.
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Old 09-09-2013, 01:00 PM
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As was said above, there are many solutions to the problem. First of, the one constant in any club is that 10% of the people will always do 90% of the work. Being the president of our club I know this first hand. There were times that I was mowing the field by myself! Luckily now we have a group of guys that enjoy going out and mowing the field, so we are good.

One thing that I have seen work really well in clubs is the levy a field maintenance fee on every member, and then tell them that they can get the money refunded if they come out a few times a year to help with the maintenance. Maybe 3-4 times a year depending on how many times you do it each year. This will help motivate the members to get out and mow the field, and if not you can use the money collected from the fee to hire a couple of kids to mow it!! win-win either way you go.

Hope this helps

Ken
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:07 AM
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I think the "10% of people do 90% of the work" statement that Ken made is true of most clubs of any type.
You must also consider that those 10% also use all of the club facilities 90% more than other club members, so if you are using the club field more than the other members, you should expect to do the majority of the work.
I wouldn't expect the guy that comes out to the field once a month, to take on regular mowing duties. If he wants to fine, but don't force him on a mowing list, or make him pay extra dues. Let the people that use the field the most keep the field up.

Greg
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:11 AM
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Volunteers do the work in our club of about 140 members. Fortunately we get enough to do the job in about 2 or 3 hours. In another club, it was really hard to get volunteers so we ended up raising the dues and hiring it out. It cost about $2600 a year. They have since moved and have a field maintenance position and that person is responsible now, but there is a LOT LESS mowing than there used to be, probably takes 1 hour. But to be fair, in central Texas, we dont get enough rain to warrant mowing that often. Just prior to events we have.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:46 AM
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We are spoiled, the city shows up once a week and that's that.

But Ken is right, it always seems to be the 10/90 rule.

Dues discount is probably a good way to go.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:56 AM
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If the club has nothing else the grass should be cut every week regardless if someone thinks it should or shouldn't be.
When the season starts it seems folks are gung-ho to do the job..........for the first few times and then the novelty quickly wears off and it ends up being one person doing it ,or it goes undone . Trying to put a volunteer schedule together usually will not work.
There really aren't many choices but here are a few:
*The president, vice-president (and possibly a club member)are responsible to cut and trim the grass. Need motivated ,dedicated individuals in these positions,
*Mandatory club participation. Everyone is responsible to take a weekly turn. If someone can't physically do it then they get another club member to fill in for them. If there are enough members each person may only have to do it one time. Small price to pay to keep dues low. Install a combination lock on the building so everyone has access to the mower and a club officer is responsible to keep the gas cans filled.
*Raise the dues and hire someone to cut the grass .

I've been at clubs where all of the above have worked well.

If your club is fortunate to have some folks either officers or members who cut the grass every week without question or complaint then the members should thank them and do everything they can to keep them happy.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:59 AM
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Free dues would be nice.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:21 AM
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We have 69 members, a high for us in recent years. When I joined 7 years ago, the club routinely had 50 members. Perhaps 10 members actively flew and used the field back then, perhaps 15 now at most. When I joined just 2 guys were mowing the field. One of them left, and I hated to see the other guy mow all by himself, so I volunteered. To tell the truth, I always wanted a riding mower and never had one at home due to small yards. So I enjoy mowing the field now and the last few years that I have done it. Actually I consider it great therapy, lol. Bob and I probably split evenly 50/50 and there is no assigned dates for mowing. He and I play it by ear and the field gets mowed once per week, minimum, frequently twice when the grass has been fertilized and watered. In the winter it grows slower even with more rain, and we still mow about once per week. We just send each other e-mails as soon as we have mowed. Like today, I know I mowed midweek last week, and I intend to go out there and mow today. As soon as I get home, I will send Bob an e-mail so he does not have to go out there. By the way, Bob is our chief mechanic and he fills the 5gal gas cans. I just show up and mow and tell him when a belt has broken or the cans are all empty. Fortunately Bob lives about 2 miles from the field while I live about 8 miles away. To tell the truth while a few guys have offered to help, we have not taken up their services simply because the two of us don't mind doing it, and also the mower is kinda finicky. We don't get any compensation as dues are already so cheap for us...$50 for those under 65, just $30 for 65 and over. Jon

Added note: our runway is 60' wide and 250" long, with two small bulges towards and encasing the pits on each end. Mowing takes maybe 40 minutes, sometimes longer if the grass is tall such that it requires a lower gear on the mower, or two passes.

Last edited by maukaonyx; 09-10-2013 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:16 PM
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I belong to two clubs, one of them is fortunately enough to have two guys permanently assigned to mowing duties and as someone else mention they like it, so there are no complaints there.
The other club is hughe 250 members and one or two Saturdays a month they do work parties, no one flies until the field is mowed, so everybody there works for a little bit so they can fly, then there is a BBQ lunch paid by the club
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:03 PM
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Our situation is not typical. We have a very small number of people in our group, only about 15 total and only about 6 who show up every Sunday and Wednesday. One of these six lives very close to the field and mows for us as the field needs it. The field is 700 feet long and 120 feet wide and he keeps it absolutely beautiful. He supplies the mower and the fuel and does not require payment from anyone. Most of us slip him a twenty dollar bill sometime during the year but it is not required and nobody keeps track. He would do it for nothing.;
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:42 PM
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We have an asphalt runway in the middle of an overflow parking lot and the parking area is a grassy weed mix. The county mows it a couple of time's a year and we are lucky in that a couple of fellows mow the grass on the edge of our runway which makes it a really nice place to fly. I do agree that our club is also the basic 90/10 rule, both with work parties as well as flying. I think this is a common theme with all clubs. Good luck, Dave
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:00 PM
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we have about 80 or more mebers with nearly 80 acres and about 50 of which are cleared and treeless. we have an onsite caretaker. he simply lives there at the club with no rent (there is no power at the club so no worries about that) tomake sure that nobody comes and starts running motorbikes around or shooting on the field etc he also uses the clubs trctor to slash the field (once every 3weeks or so) and keep the strip, pits, and cl circle mowed. it has worked with several members having taken up this offer and even some nonmembers having done it but they didnt stay because of the noise and living without power. it has worked for several years now and has given no problems yet
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:38 PM
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I belong to 3 clubs.Only one has it down pat. Club Members bid for the mowing contract each year. Club furnishers the machnes. Mowers get paid the bid amount each year, by the month. When that program was first started, a dues raise was voted in. For the next several years, it was voted each year, and the membership rather pay the cost than work. Club owns 50 acres. Grass runway. 45 acres is leased TO a farmer and he gets the hay, while the club gets the Agriculture Tax Exemption. Club enjoys air-conditioned kitchen and ready-room, along with 5000 sq. feet metal shelter over concrete.
One big problem of RCers is they are a tad too cheap to really enjoy a club as a business.

Last edited by Hossfly; 09-10-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:28 AM
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We have a mowing contract and hire a pro that happens to be right down the street. He gives us great rates and he uses it as fill in work. We also have a machine to mow the field in case the pros schedule did not include us during the week.
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:35 AM
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We have a retired member who volunteered and mows with the new JD zero turn mower the club bought. He loves it, because he flys electrics he mows it every week and then flies without all us gasser guys bugging him. He also does all the fertilizing and other maint work and recruits others when he needs the extra help. At the end of the year we reward him with a gift card to a restaraunt so he can take his wife out. He also cooks at most of the club events. It's always the same in any organization 10/90 in regards to work. We have 60 members and only 10-15 fly regularly. It is what it is and if you wait for volunteers it won't happen it works better if you just ask someone directly if they would be willing to do X
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:17 AM
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Club owns own lawn tractor and some retirees volunteer each week to do the mowing.
I would also volunteer to mow, but do to health issues, volunteering is not in the big picture for me.
Seeing that health issues have stopped me from helping out with club chores, I usually contribute extra monies for the purchase of hot dogs and hamburgers for when the club has its open house.

On a second note, years ago I belonged to another club and I use to mow on a weekly schedule. That was until one of the members told me that if the lawn tractor breaks while I am mowing the club field, then I am responsible for the cost of repairs to the tractor. Which brought me to asking the question, what are we paying club dues for and what is done with that money ? Could not get an answer. So, needless to say, nobody ever observed my butt on the club lawn tractor again ! LOL
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:29 AM
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I'm the president of a club in Florida with 65 members. The grass realy grows alot here so we we need to mow about 35 times a year. We have a mowing crew of 10 members who work in teams of 2. The club ownes 2 commercial Dixie Chopper mowers that make mowing the 4 acres a little more than an hours work. We rotate every week so even in the summer when you need to mow every week it still is only once every 5 weeks. We are forntunate to have a club where we get about 40 percent of the club to partisipate in work projects. We also have about 20 members who fly regularly.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:57 AM
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Small club with an abundance of common sense. Variable grow rates so sometimes it needs it twice a week or twice a month.

Get to field. Look at grass. If it needs cut, cut it. If you need gas for mower, get it, submit receipt to club treasurer for next years dues. If you do not know how to operate mower, either fly or wait for the next person to show up.

If grass does not need to be cut: assemble model, fly model, repeat as necessary, clean model, take apart model, go home.

Or make the heli guys do it
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:32 AM
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Do what I did after a club member told me to vacate the runway so he could fly. I packed up my lawnmower and never came back.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:10 AM
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Shirts Ink, it's time for your boys to man up and get it done. Especially the new guys.
We usually mow on a big day like Sat when there's a club officer present to round up volunteers and shut down the field when the wind picks up and flying slows down.
Field maintenance is its own reward. No money exchanges hands, you're simply invited to participate and we never have a shortage of guys of all ages pitching in to keep the place looking nice. Granted, we're setup nicely with a few rider mowers which the landowner provides us to maintain the field as part of our land usage agreement.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:29 AM
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About 8 years ago, I got tired of listening to people argue over whose turn it was to mow, etc. As a result, I took over the job entirely. Once a week and it takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. I also do some of the maintainance on the tractor and mower deck. What has amazed me is the number of people who are hostile towards me. Everything from complaints about how I mow, a couple of threats, and one person draining the roller because he didn't think it should be used. I came to the conclusion that the safest thing to do in a club is to do nothing, because then nobody notices you! There are others that do other chores like fence repair, working events and such, and you'll hear people grumbling about them. I continue to mow every week anyway because I like to contribute and the runway looks terrific.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:16 AM
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If anyone ever asked me to stop mowing so they could fly I would say sure, right after I'm done running over your airplane. Really the nerve of some people
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raptureboy View Post
If anyone ever asked me to stop mowing so they could fly I would say sure, right after I'm done running over your airplane. Really the nerve of some people
Personally, I would have parked the mower in the middle of the field and stated to the IDIOT that after YOU get done mowing, then YOU can fly your plane.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, and as I drove away, I would have showed him my bird ! LOL
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