970 Guelph Street, Kitchener, ON
20 Apr 2022
Blog title for a day in the life of a summer employee

A Day in the Life of a Green Ventures Summer Employee

Hi, I’m Cody.

I’m currently a full-time student at university, and I work on the maintenance team with Green Ventures as a seasonal employee.

I’m a student first, and the demands of university are high. What I enjoy about working as a seasonal employee is that I can work as much as I want around my exam schedule, or I don’t have to work at all. They’re very flexible.

If you’re considering a job as a seasonal employee with the Green Ventures maintenance team, this is how my typical day looks:

I like to show up at the shop at 6:45 am to get the day started. We typically get our tools organized, equipment ready, and check the trucks to ensure they are ready for the day. The shop is located at 75 Howard Place in Kitchener, Ontario.

From the shop, we head to our first property of the day and get ready to tackle the maintenance list.

In the spring months, we focus primarily on bringing life back to our properties and making them beautiful again. Before the season begins, we have a few training days to make sure our teams are ready for the season. There is more emphasis on cleanup and prep in Spring, like edging garden beds, dethatching lawns, and mulching.

In the heat of the summer, our focus is more on maintaining the landscape. The maintenance crew looks after cutting grass, weeding, and trimming. It’s rewarding to see the impact of our efforts during the spring months – the landscapes are beautiful, and our properties truly stand out because of the team’s hard work!

We do a great job of being in constant communication to ensure we complete our tasks. If one team member needs help to finish, the team is ready to jump in to assist. We function well – the team is very diverse with different levels of experience. I’m always learning on this job. I play a lot of sports – this job helps me keep in amazing shape! I rarely have to go to the gym!

For the most part, we all get back to the shop around 4:30 or 5:00 to conclude the day. We end up hanging around and chatting with the other teams about how the day went and sharing our stories. Sometimes, we go for dinner together.

I know it sounds cliché, but this job feels like it’s a tight-knit family. I look forward to re-joining the team each summer because I have a blast. Green Ventures does an amazing job of welcoming me back each season.

Want to work with our team?

Check out Green Ventures employment opportunities!

04 Mar 2022
Gas Vs Electric Lawn Care Equipment

Gas vs. Electric Lawn Equipment – A Shop Manager’s Perspective

Spring has sprung and it’s bringing new changes to the Green Ventures Landscape shop.

Our preparations for the southern Ontario spring are a little different this year because Green Ventures has gone, well, a little greener.

This year, we’ve switched primarily to lithium battery-powered lawn care equipment, including our string trimmers, hedge cutters and lawnmowers. We even have a battery-powered zero-turn lawnmower in the line-up, as well. In previous years, we primarily operated gas-powered equipment, so it’s certainly a big change.

At the moment, to set up for the season, I’m working on the maintenance and prep of equipment, and as you’ll soon read, there’s not much to be done. Here’s why we made the switch to go green (keep in mind, these are our opinions and findings at this point in time):

 

SPRING MAINTENANCE

Safety is paramount to us. We conduct annual maintenance on every piece of equipment to ensure our team is kept safe. We also conduct annual maintenance to reduce downtime on the job site. Here is my experience so far:

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Each spring, I order spark plugs, fuel and air filters and change them in each piece of equipment. The cost is higher because we use genuine parts to ensure the best performance for our equipment. We also carry spare plugs on our trucks for team members to repair in the field if needed. Typically, I adjust the carburetor and listen for audible indicators. I rarely have to take a carb apart to clean it.


Curious about how to maintain a gas-powered lawnmower? Learn from Colin himself!

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT:

We plug each battery in and check the condition of each unit. We make sure each piece of equipment is operating properly and sharp (if it needs to be sharp), then we grease the unit. That’s about it.

I don’t need to order spark plugs and filters anymore; they’re not needed. Spark plugs aren’t cheap!

I would estimate that gas-powered equipment is about 80% more maintenance time than electric. For me as a shop manager, this is a huge advantage in time savings.

 

PROBLEMS IN THE FIELD

Nobody is exempt from equipment troubles on the job site. Things break, whether they’re electric or gas-powered – it’s a fact of life. Here’s my experience with our team members putting our equipment to the test:

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Typically, we experience downtime in the field because of fuel-related issues. Because of the changes in emissions requirements, I’m finding check valves (for emissions) stick or fail often. Spark arrestors get clogged and prevent airflow. If a team member stores a piece of equipment incorrectly, sometimes the air filters become soaked with gas and the unit won’t start. Electric coils go bad, which is difficult to diagnose on the fly.

There seems to be more troubleshooting involved in the field with gas engines, which creates downtime and is a disservice to our customers and our business.

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

It’s still a little early to tell at this point what kind of problems we’ll encounter in the field, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t put this equipment through the wringer.

Mower blades for electric are thinner than gas-powered motors. It will be interesting to see how they fare in a blade vs. rock scenario.

To sum it up, the electric equipment either works or it doesn’t. Change the battery or pick a different powerhead and get back to work.

 

POWER & EFFICIENCY

I test all equipment as if it was my own and I run it like I’m using it in the field. That means checking that our mower blades will cut under heavy loads of thick grass. I run string trimmers through heavy weeds and put pressure on the trimmer heads. I check for audible changes and adjust from there. Here’s what I’ve found in both cases:

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

You can’t beat the power of a gas engine in lawn maintenance equipment.

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

I notice that an electric mower doesn’t cut grass as nicely as gas, but it still gets the job done. The run time on the batteries is about 45 minutes at full power, although we would rarely run equipment 45 minutes straight at full power.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

GAS LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Emissions controls are top of mind for most manufacturers and landscapers. Although there have been improvements in emissions controls (check valves, for example), there are still some improvements to be made.

Although we aim to keep the noise down when operating gas equipment, the noise pollution of running gas-powered machinery is hard to control on a job site.

ELECTRIC LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

Electric equipment does not require fluids, other than lubrication for moving parts.

We no longer make the trip to recycle the used oil for most of our equipment.

Yes, the environmental impact of creating lithium batteries is a conversation in itself, but we’re excited that a good portion of the battery itself is recyclable.

Lack of noise pollution is probably the biggest benefit. The retirement residences that we service are very grateful that the noise pollution is drastically reduced. I can have a full-phone conversation while riding the electric zero-turn mower and the person on the other line has no idea I’m cutting grass! Also, I go home smelling great! No more carbon emissions and smelling like a gas station. My wife is happy.

 

OUR VERDICT:

It’s tough at this point to give a final verdict, but I will say this… so far, I’m very impressed with the electric equipment, the reduction in noise pollution, and, above all, the time saved in maintenance.

More of our commercial customers are requesting electric instead of gas, primarily because of the overall reduction in noise. This is definitely a value-added service to our customers.

We may have to hire an electrician to add more electric outlets in the shop!

 

THE BOTTOM LINE:

We believe that a landscaper’s job is to make the world a more beautiful place and we should be doing everything in our power to protect our landscapes and to reduce our carbon footprint.

I’m very proud that we’re doing our part at Green Ventures to protect our Earth. I hope that this little bit of insight may help your decisions about future equipment purchases in a small way.

– Colin

Photo of Colin, Shop Manager