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Message Board - Machinery: Value of an in house 'mechanic'

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Four Oaks
Posted 6 Feb 2009
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Presentation is the name of the game.

Does anyone have any knowledge of the 'going rate' of pay for a dual purpose groundsman, NVQ level 2 sports turf / part time grease monkey?

I am not being derogatory by saying grease monkey but the person is not expected to be a time served proper mechanic, but a fairly competent but not officially qualified person.

It is probable that during Autumn/Winter the work will be split 80/20, mechanical/groundsman and vice versa for the other 6 months of the year.
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Sumomosr
Posted 7 Feb 2009 Last edited: 7 Feb 2009
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GOGGA

IGCEMA Flyer.pdf


I am taking offence anyway. Harrrrumpf!

We strive to improve the image of Turf Equipment Technicians and it appears that you still want a 'Grease Monkey'.

You used the word 'Mechanic' in your thread title.

So, do you want a competant person and to pay for their competance or do you want to pay peanuts and get your 'Monkey'.

Does the level of competance required cover just knowing where the grease nipples are and how to use them or do you expect other "un-skilled" work such as mechanical serviceing, Engine fault diagnosis and repair, Hydraulic fault diagnosis & repair, Electrical fault diagnosis and repair, Electronics fault diagnosis and repair, Welding and fabrication, Cutting unit set-up and maintenance Preventative maintenance, Maintenance record-keeping, Parts inventory, Parts ordering, Budget management etc.

Or are the 'management' handling all this non-monkey workload?

Oh, and you want him to cut grass as well? Groundsman are just 'Mower Monkeys' after all...

Just teasing, all you Groundsmen, but trying to emphasise the point.

AND to answer your question: The value of an in-house Technician who can prepare machinery to the level of operating and cutting perfection for you to achieve the level of presentation you crave in your signature is... Priceless!

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roy123
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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If you don't want to pay for a Technician, just let one of your ground staff loose on the equipment, then you can be satisfied that the machine is in tip top condition and safe in every aspect, after all, turf equipment is pretty cheap these days.

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ian morton
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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Four Oaks,

In answer to your question our technician is paid just under the rate of my Deputy Headgreenkeeper, and is worth every Lita
I would suggest if you can not afford to pay the rate for a “ proper “ Technician then you have two options, keep sending your machinery to your local dealer to be serviced, or invest in the training for a member of your existing staff. I actually sent one of my staff at a previous club to work with the local dealer during the winter when they are at there busiest and while we were fairly quiet. Having spent three months working in the dealership he was able to undertake most of the routine works, it also helped to build a strong relationship with the dealer.
Having just spent 350,000 euro on a mix of new and used machinery no grease monkey is coming anywhere near it.

Ian.
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jlawrence
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

I'd consider myself a 'reasonably' competent grease monkey and nothing more.
I'd expect a grease monkey to carry out basic maintenance - oiling, greasing, spark plug replacement, chain tensioning etc - and nothing more involved.
As for how much a good mechanic is worth - I'd suggest his weight in gold.
I'm fortunate in that I have an ex-motor engineer to look after my machinery - the only thing the machines go away for is sharpening.

Four Oaks: In order to put a value on what you want you need to define exactly what it is that you want him/her to do - that really is the only way to decide their worth to you.
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Grassman2011
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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I could be wrong, but i thought the NVQ covered very basic machine servicing. If that is the case, why do you want a grease monkey ? Get a skilled groundsman in the first place.
As Sumo says, a trained mechanic is so much more. So why be a chimp ? despite how intelligent we are told they are.
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Four Oaks
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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Posts: 260

Presentation is the name of the game.

I thought that might stir it up a bit!

Thanks to all who have contributed so far, and I'm sure there is plenty of ammuntion there for a sensible cash value to be arrived at or a re-appraisal of the situation.(Ian & JL)

Thanks Sumo for the compliment about my presentation. I am 'proper chuffed'

I think we are going on to the next half level so we have a skilled goundsman with a mechanical knowledge beyond routine servicing. (Bath)
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munkymush
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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i have worked on proffessional machinery for 37yrs now, i went to college to get city +guilds in the nearest thing available at that time. which was a construction plant course, but all my life has been spent at at a mixture of main dealer, local authority,and the last 23 years at a university.. in my time ive seen thousands of scenarios where groundsmen,gardeners, greenkeepers etc have a go at repairing things . most of which are just bodges to keep the thing going,this leads to a bit of confidence on their part which then goes on to another couple of bodges that builds up their confidence enough to get them shouting that a mechanics job is easy and un needed.. till they go a bit to far and end up with a whole load of bits in their lap... which they then sling back together, leave it a day or so so then report a fault they know nothing about ?? ha ha . i think its horse for courses i can cut grass and operate almost any machine going , but i wouldnt bullshit my way into a gardener/groundsman job on principle.. but it does seem that the reverse is a very popular game to the mowermen .
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jlawrence
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

munkymush, I would say one thing though. There's a lot of skill involved in producing a good bodge - far more than I have. A good bodge is something more akin to re-engineering part of the machine imo to make it a) work as expected, or b) to allow it to do something that is useful but wasn't designed in at manufacture. Often bodges are used.

As for a machanics job is easy. To the level that most sports 'clubs' think of a mechanic then it actually is easy, all they consider is the odd greasing, oiling etc - ie what you'd call normal (very basic) daily maintenance. Clubs don't consider (or simply don't understand) what a 'proper' mechanic could actually do for them.

rofl @sumo daring to mention paper work. Just re-read some of the threads on Risk Assessments to see how much importance groundsmen (and clubs) attach to do relevant paperwork.
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gregevans
Posted 7 Feb 2009
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Hi twin oaks

I think the way you describe 'grease monkeys' could be the same way that you interpret your own job as 'grass cutter'. Very insulting and factually incorrect!

Regards

Cutter of grass or greaser of machines.
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calcallaby
Posted 7 Feb 2009 Last edited: 7 Feb 2009
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A day without sunshine is like errrm night.

It is probable that during Autumn/Winter the work will be split 80/20, mechanical/groundsman and vice versa for the other 6 months of the year.

In your "time table" above there is no mention of what you will get your "grease monkey" to do for 80% of six months of the year, six months is an awful lot of monkeying around for someone with no real mechanical training. You must have a lot of grease nipples and sump plugs if you're taking him off the task he has actually been trained for for that length of time. Selecting a member of staff who changes the oil on his car and fits new brake pads occasionally may be easy but placing him in a workshop environment for six months is quite another.
The quote below contains the real question “what do you want him to do”? Your question was more typical of a manager in that you ask, “how much do I pay him”?
First you decide what you want him to do for six months!!!!, then examine the skills of the staff you have already (or are thinking of hiring) to see if anyone is capable of meeting your requirements. The answer may well be no, if so you need to rethink the whole thing through from “time table” to pay scale.
A more realistic way to tackle it in my opinion is to: ~

1. Make a list of what you want this person to do.
2. See if you have on the staff or can employ a person capable of delivery.
3. Talk about money when this person proves his worth.



In order to put a value on what you want you need to define exactly what it is that you want him/her to do - that really is the only way to decide their worth to you.
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munkymush
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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i take your point jlawrence about it just being the basic greasing etc, in my opinion though i dont think they will get a good mechanic to put down his tools to spend a good part of the year doing a groundsmans job.. they will only end up with a decent groundsman and a half decent mechanic? but im talking about a mechanic who can diagnose every fault be it hydraulic,pnuematic,electronic,electric, be able to weld and manufacture/repair components to the specified bs standards for welding, work on diesel,petrol 2 an 4 stroke engines of al sizes and kinds? ( i have heard mechanics say they dont do chainsaws because they are too small ha ha ..
really meaning its too fiddly for them or they dont understand 2 strokes.the thing is with the mower repair trade every one compares it with car mechanicing and its nothing like, but everyone who has to pay for repairs either begrudge paying or think they can get anyone with a spanner to sort it.. its a weird thing a car or vehicle seems to have a certain something that makes a car mechanic look impressive, but working on mowers, and tractors etc is not so impressive, the reality is ive worked alongside car mechanics who fancy a bash at the "easy mower repairs" and ive pissed myself at what they dont know about basics
chuck em in at a all hydraulic 5 unit ride on or triple with problems and it suddenly dont look so simple as keeping their suffolk colt goin on a sunday ha ha .but im not knocking all car mechanics cos i know some are great, its just sooo easy having plug in diagnostics and main dealer backup.
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jlawrence
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

munkymush, you're probably right. A good mechanic will likely not be overly interested in using the equipment, just in using his skills and ingenuity to keeping in tip top condition and sometimes making it better.
What I meant was you could consider the 'grease' monkey's job as being the basic greasing etc but he/she'd be unable to go beyond that to do the diagnosing/repairing that a 'proper' mech would be able to.

Four oaks: what sort of club/surface are we talking about ?
I think you might find some groundsmen that are willing to go on courses and learn some of the mechanic's job (beyond that of greasing) in order to move to fulltime (summer and winter) employment. You will need to realise that there will be quite a bit (mechanically wise) that he won't be able to do.
If you want him to do the more indepth mechanical stuff you'll need to provide the relevant equipment/workshop and (I'd imagine) that unless you're a big outfit you'll find the cost of this prohibitive. Few clubs even have the space available to build a workshop let alone the funds to outfit it in order to make it useful. Outside of the golf world there will be few sports clubs (of anykind) who have the workshop facilities capable of carrying out indepth work in. Golf clubs tend to have them out of necessity due to the number of machines that they have and the fact that it works out cheaper for them to do a lot more mechanical stuff in house rather than call in the dealers.
There would have to be some serious sums done before setting up a full workshop.
My home workshop cost many 1000's to setup and would cost many 1000's more if I were to try and outfit it to work on bigger machines like triples etc.
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munkymush
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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thats spot on jlawrence.. if you look at good grinding machines you can be £20k ,and thats prices i knew were current about 6yrs ago when ours were replaced, welders steam cleaners,and a million+ one things extra etc really do make it an expensive project, and to be honest what stopped me going it alone years +years ago.when compared to other trades ie a plumber who only needs a van + pipe rack its bloody hard to get sorted..its possible to do a good job for a few clubs and offer a dam good service on a partly mobile arrangement so long as the clubs have a good building to work in .. but ive always had cylinder/bottom blade grinders to use ..because unless your pretty well in with a local dealerwho will get your cylinders/blades rushed through mid season when needed quickly u get stumped waiting in horrific queus .. ive not priced grinding lately but i bet its not cheap either?
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jlawrence
Posted 8 Feb 2009 Last edited: 8 Feb 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

grinders, mill, lathe, steam cleaners (+associated waste storage), wash down areas, oil storage (+any applicable licenses), fuel storage, drills, air lines, 3 phase supply, machinery lifts, welding machinery (of various types) + suitable welding area, various hand tools (sockets of every description, air tools etc etc etc).
These are some of the things I'd want in a fully equiped workshop.
If I could equip a workshop for under 50K I'd be very very surprised.

ADDED:
It's one thing having a "mechanic" it's quite another to actually provide him/her with the tools and equipment to do the job.

Myself and our mechanic often find ourselves saying if only we had one of these or one of those. Two things that would be very high on my list would be machinery lifts and air tools.
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munkymush
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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yeh i know we use a 4 poster 6 ton lift every day and take it for granted, and that alone dictates a much l;arger workshop so the cost goes on+ on ..funny how its changed over the years really 30yrs ago lifts for machinery more or less were motorbike type benches for lifting ya certes or marquis to workin height.
but its pretty much impossible to get to some ride ons now without a lift. 50k would be a deposit these days, so retraining as a plumber with escort van+pipe rack is pretty inviting ha ha
especially as ya dont even need to solder now with all this plastic push fit stuff .. god some people have cushy jobs dont they?
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Mike
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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munkymush - typical grinding prices usually range from £2 per inch upwards, sometimes up to £3 per inch.

We only have our blades ground once anually, this is something that I am not happy with. My belief is that blades should be ground as and when it is needed. Currently, we spend approx £1k r year on grinding, if we were to have the blades ground when it was needed, we would probably be looking at nearer £3k per year. I have seen decent second hand grinders for about £5k.

A decent cylinder grinder is the one piece of kit that I crave for our workshop.
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munkymush
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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yeh its gets expensive when u look at 5 or seven 30" cylinders.. i remember the days when it was a pound an inch lol does the £3 include cylinder +bottom blade i can see a bit more use for our grinder here at a good price all round?
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Mike
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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As far as i'm aware, the price per inch is only for the cylinder in most cases.
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munkymush
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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interesting, might be worth me doing some grinding at the right price then? i can do insitu up to 36" as well as 36" b/blades and obviously loose cylinders ..
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Mike
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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I know of one golf club in my area who have a cylinder grinder, and I believe that they do some cylinder grinding for a few of the other local clubs. If we are ever in a position to buy a cylinder grinder, offering a grinding service is something that I would look to do.
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calcallaby
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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A day without sunshine is like errrm night.

http://www.pitchcare.com/magazine/article/2308
Heres my take on owning grinders, not sure why there appears to be two articles in one though!!!!!!!!!!

Mike A grinding usualy includes the bedknife, obviously not supplying it or changing it though, just the grind.
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Mike
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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Cal - at our local dealership, the bedknife is extra, but then again we actually pay just under £2 per inch. It must change from place to place, either that or we are just strange!
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Aintgottaclue!!
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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I may cut grass, but i'm not green !!

Im not even sure that the term 'grease m****y' isnt racist you know!
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jontaylor
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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The ciderman rolls

Only racist to those who choose to think that way - as are so many of today's political incorectnesses.
A monkey is a primate with a basic ability to use tools.
Sorry if I took your comment the
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jontaylor
Posted 8 Feb 2009 Last edited: 8 Feb 2009
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The ciderman rolls

Only racist to those who choose to think that way - as are so many of today's political incorectnesses.
A monkey is a primate with a basic ability to use tools.
Sorry if I took your comment the wrong way - the ciderman has been visiting his garage......hic
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paul kelsey
Posted 8 Feb 2009
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Got a quote for grinding in november on a triple 22" cylinders cost was £110 + vat for each unit i wont name the dealership.
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overstone
Posted 9 Feb 2009
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Paul. If this price was for stripping down the machine grinding re assemble, bottom blade sharpen, set up,you would have had a good deal.
Mike
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munkymush
Posted 9 Feb 2009
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paul what did you get for that, did they just have cylinders off you +bottom blocks to grind , or did they grind the cylinders insitu, i dont think you could get the units stripped,rebuilt +ground for that money .. then theres the cost of bearings seals caps etc, which would need replacing as a matter of course if you strip a unit, because insitu grinding is quicker + cheaper if bearings feel ok its fine to grind and take a chance on bearings, too much work to strip and replace with old bearings though.
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paul kelsey
Posted 10 Feb 2009
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Sorry guys think i got confused was looking at your £2/£3 per inch i didnt think it was that expensive but i dont control pursestrings needless to say it aint done but it has only done 80 or so hrs since we got it and i am told it was ground when it arrived, it did cut ok last year and wasnt backlapped which is done now
PS price included pick up and delivery
Paul
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Neil Dixon
Posted 10 Feb 2009
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I have a groundsman / mechanic, he is paid for 8hrs a week at an agreed engineering rate, this covers any running repairs / general bits and pieces.

Any servicing is carried out on a overtime rate, as are any major breakdowns, he is not paid to "service" machinery as part of his engineering duties.

My mechanic has a background in cars ( Ford) and also F1, IMO it is well worth getting someone in if they can do both Grounds / Engineering jobs, just make sure the boundaries are set.

Regrinds etc are sent away.
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Martin
Posted 11 Feb 2009 Last edited: 11 Feb 2009
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When it comes to cost remember its not only about the man but also the equipment, the training and the insurance cover you will also need.
I know i'm going further away from the original question.
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Chalky 1
Posted 18 Feb 2009
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Hi

Could any of you learned folk tell me if there is an equivalent qualification for a mechanic/fitter as their is the NVQ2 sports turf for greenkeeping?

I'm thinking of starting an apprentice and one candidate has a strong mechanical background, enough to make me think instead of studying greenkeeping at college, perhaps he could start out with training in servicing and basic maintenace and learn the greenkeeping part out on the course.

Is dealer provided training the best way to go?

Thanks

Chalky.
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calcallaby
Posted 18 Feb 2009
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A day without sunshine is like errrm night.

Hi Chalky 1,
Yes your man can take levels 1,2 and 3 in Land Based Engineering at several colleges in the UK.
If you would like to contact me via calcallaby@btopenworld.com I will give you a contact number.
Cal
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