Robotic Mower Fleet for large properties. Do the number$ make sense?

Robotic mowers are getting more and more popularity because of the advantages that they bring to the quality of lawn as well as to the pockets of their owners. Robotic mowers have been known more in single implementation scenarios like a single family home with a lawn up to 1.5 acres in size. But what if the lawn to be mowed is 10 acres or more? Do the numbers make sense from an ROI perspective. Let’s check it out.

The best way to make an assessment will be to take a real life example, where a mix of various mower models were used to mow the entire area. The image shown is for an area in the country side of Fort worth, TX, where about 12 acres of lawn was regularly maintained by 3r party services. SmartDots LLC was given the task of designing a robotic mower deployment in the most cost efficient way possible. To achieve this a combination of 9 mowers from Husqvarna were used to cover the entire area. This included 450X(5), 430XH(1), 315X(2) and 435X(1). The 315X models were deployed in small subsections of the property, whereas the 450X and 430XH were deployed in large open areas. The 435X was deployed in the area by the lake that had steep slope and was hazardous for conventional mowing (pic below).

435X handling slope by the lake like a charm

Let’s examine the cost of this deployment and compare it with conventional mowing service.

Total cost of the mowers =  $26,600

Total cost of installation + material (assume 30% of mower cost) =  $7,980

Total Cost = $34,580

If the cost above is prorated over 3 years (36 months) then the cost per month is approximately $960.

Now lets compare this with conventional mowing services. While the cost of mowing service can vary from area to area, lets assume some conservative numbers for the sake of comparison.

Cost of mowing per acre = $50

Cost to mow 12 acres  = $600

Additional cost to mow steep hill = $75

Total cost per mowing session = $675

Total # of mowing sessions in a year  = 32

Total cost per year = $21,600

Total cost for 3 years = $64,800

When compared to the robotic lawn mower cost, the total expenditure is almost doubled. Clearly, the robotic mowers win hands down. The cost of the mowers is recovered in less than 1.87 years. One may argue that 32 sessions is a lot of mowing. Even if we cut it down to half, the cost of robotic mowers is recouped in about 3.74 years. We can round it up to 4 years, assuming there may be some maintenance required on the mowers over 4 years. Husqvarna Automowers are designed to last for a period of 10 years. A service will still be required to maintain the flower beds, trim the trees, edge the lawn, but this way the service provider is being encouraged to perform more skill and knowledge based tasks, rather than the mundane task of mowing a lawn.

Lets not forget the other benefits these machines bring to the property owners when compared to a lawn mowing service,

  1. There will be no dependency on a service – Imagine that you have a party in 2 days and your service provider has not yet confirmed the service – That would be a nightmare!
  2. If the service providers are bringing their own mowers, then there will always be a risk of letting weeds and diseases from other lawns come into your lawn – Hence more fertilizers, weed killers etc.
  3. During rainy days a service provider may cancel their service and wait for a sunny  or no-rain day before they can re-schedule service. With all that rain, the grass grows even faster and its becomes a vicious cycle as the service provider falls behind on all the customers in the area, further delaying your service. With a robotic lawn mower, there is no issue because it also mows when it is raining.
  4. The lawn will remain “Always Mowed” – Imagine waking up each morning to a lawn that is freshly cut rather than an overgrown shabby looking lawn that is waiting for a service which is long overdue.

Yes, there are other aspects like maintenance of the robotic mowers and potential issues that need to tackled when the mowers are stuck. That is why it is important to choose a provider that can provide you with end to end services like professional installation that minimize such errors, maintain and manage the mowers, support warranty, answer questions etc.

For local customers in the DFW area, SmartDots is happy to help. If you are not in the DFW area and would like to discuss your design with us, we will be happy to discuss over a phone call. So next time if you wonder whether robotic lawnmowers are feasible for large properties, be rest assured that we have seen it work like a charm and save lots of $$$ for our customers.

Smart Solutions that complement a Robotic Mower