Conquering Slopes with Remote-Controlled Mowers


ing their current labor force with equipment. The Klausing Group, Inc., based in Lexington,

hile not autonomous, remote-con- trolled mowers are yet another way landscape companies are augment-

Kentucky, started demoing remote-controlled mowers in 2018. Luke Tedder, LIC, business developer with Klausing Group says they tested the Ventrac and Spider units before settling on the Green Climber unit as the best fit for them. The model Klausing Group uses has a slope rating of 60 percent. Operators can remotely control the mower up to 500 feet away. He says all three remote-control mower brands they looked at ranged between $30,000 and $40,000, depending on the included features. Tedder says the company decided to

look into remote-controlled mowers as their Louisville branch began to push into maintaining distilleries and other commercial properties with retention basins. These protected waterways have slopes that exceed the slope limitation of a standard walk-behind or riding mower. “The inefficiency of having six to 10 people string trim those areas with the added risk of slip and fall…it was the best move we could make to both protect our employees and better serve our clients,” Tedder says. Tedder says he had high expectations for

the remote-controlled mowers. “They’ve been exceeded since we

purchased it,” he says. “The functionality as a piece of equipment, the areas that it will go, and the efficiencies that it provides is just more than I could have conceived when we started down this path.” Using the remote-control mowers, Tedder says they are able to finish the jobs in fewer hours, making it more cost effective for cus- tomers. Tedder says their customers are elated with introduction of the remote-controlled mowers.

“It was very well received when they saw it onsite,” he says. “Safety coordinators, plant managers have all given us some feedback that it’s both really cool, and they appreciate the added nod towards safety and keeping our guys and the property safe.” Tedder says they haven’t encountered any issues with the slope mowers yet, but have heard that there are failings if someone

exceeds the slope rating or the remote control distance.

mote-controlled mower, Tedder says it took about half a day for a long-time employee. “The manufacturer came out with a

As for the training of operating a re-

technician and did some training with him in about three or four hours,” Tedder says. “Since then his level of confidence has only grown. He was a bit apprehensive that first day or two. It’s a very expensive new piece of equipment so he took it really slow and he’s gradually eased into it but his com- fort level and ability to operate it at a high level has come pretty quickly.” For other companies that deal with maintaining slopes, Tedder says they should absolutely consider remote-controlled mowers. He says they are both safer and more efficient. “We took several years to make

the decision we knew that it was the piece of equipment we needed we just wanted to make sure we were investing in the right one, and that took some time, but I would say absolutely demo these pieces of equipment,” Tedder says. He says it’s incumbent on the

“It was well received with commercial cli- ents once we sat down and said, ‘Look we’re spending uber manhours on these slopes and it’s still not the safest way to do this,’” Tedder says. “Here’s the better option. We’re willing to invest as long as that relationship goes both ways.” TLP

Remote-controlled mowers allow for safe mowing of dangerous

slopes. Photo: The Klausing Group

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