Properly maintaining and storing equipment is critical to keeping your operation running smoothly. Equipment storage is an issue year-round. Keeping equipment safe while it’s being stored is even more challenging. These LawnSite.com members discuss what to do when storing landscape trailers and equipment at their homes and getting code violation complaints from neighbors. When should a landscape company keep their equipment at a storage facility or invest in a shop?
Sti2.5ldohc: I’ve recently come under attack from a neighbor for having trailers at my house. The code enforcement has come out before and said the trailers are fine, but the neighbor keeps calling them, so they’re forcing me to remove them. A storage facility doesn’t seem like a great option to fetch trailers back and forth all the time. Eventually I will have to find some kind of commercial parking. At what size can you afford a commercial property? Currently I’m grossing $200,000.
sjessen: My stuff is in the garage but I have only one trailer that, when viewed from the street, is easily overlooked. My next door neighbor isn’t living in his house at the present, so he has no objections. Full disclosure: So many homes in our subdivision have everything from piles of junk to unworking cars and boats in their driveways that they would be hard-pressed to prove what is on my driveway is an eyesore worth protesting about. The blessing and curse of living in the country with few restrictions or covenants.
prezek: I rent parking from a storage facility. I searched and found one that isn’t cramped. I’m able to work on trucks and mowers on the lot and have a few sheds that are 10 feet by 25 feet. It’s starting to get pricey, so I am currently seeking a lot to build my own shop but will probably stay put for another year. The lot has 24-hour access and cameras everywhere, so my stuff is fairly safe. We did about $400,000 last year.
JLSLLC: The zoning officer for my town said he had complaints about me running a business out of my house. (I had to reply due to neighbors stirring the pot.) There are lots of contractors in my development. He didn’t care one bit and said out of sight is out of mind. So I’ve taken his advice and tightened the property up, installed a higher fence and added some Leyland cypress to camouflage anything you might see.
Todd73: Right now, my open trailer is small enough to fit in the garage. I also have a shed. When I get an enclosed trailer, it will go in the driveway until I can widen the driveway, install higher fence panels and park it on the side of the house behind the fence.
kemco: I’ve had a run in with code myself. Although they wouldn’t tell me which neighbor was complaining (I think I know anyway), they we’re actually pretty cool about things once I explained my situation and told them I was working on getting things in order. I had a large, nice, enclosed trailer plus my open landscape trailer. Every night, the open trailer was emptied and all equipment put in the garage. Well, code reads you can only have one trailer in my area. Then they also dinged me on “parking on the grass,” which in fact was an area that used to have gravel but over time had become more gravel with mud than just gravel. But my truck was completely off the street. Even though I took a picture of literally eight people on my street parking half on and half off the grass, every day code said they didn’t care because I was the one someone had complained about. Code reads you must park on a nongrass or dusty surface. So I asked if gravel was OK. They said yes, so I put down 10 tons of fresh gravel, continue to park there and moved one of my trailers to storage. I still have eight to 10 people on my street parking half on half off their grass, yet code does nothing about that.
Get a copy of the actual code because the first letter I received had accused me of a violation, which was not code. They also said I couldn’t park a work vehicle that was lettered in my driveway. Oh, really? Are you going to cite every Trugreen, plumbers truck, etc. in the city? If not, then leave me alone. They did.
Rockchoplawn: I would confront your neighbor and tell him to leave you alone. If he isn’t willing to stop bothering you when you ask nicely, I would explain how this is your job and your livelihood. You may need to get real with the guy. Maybe bring over someone who is built when you go over there.
I don’t think it’ll be as easy to reason with the code officer (if you are in violation, anyways), so your best bet is talking to the neighbor. If he’s sympathetic and understands it, great. But if not, if he’s scared of you, he will probably stop.
grassmonkey0311: Just move your trailer off of your property and rent a parking space at a storage facility for a few months. Install a fence to block his view, then put the trailer back.
ZLCLawnCare: A storage facility is definitely an option. I used one for over five years. I moved around the facility a bit as I grew but eventually I settled down into a 20-foot-by-20-foot unit with very high ceilings. I was able to put in pallet racking inside the unit, and I had three camper/RV spaces that I could park my trucks and trailer (hooked up) in. Same deal as the other guys on here — gated access, video surveillance, etc. Nice part was there was a large section of woods with very thick brush behind the fence, which had barbed wire, alongside my parking spot, so there was no way someone could try to access it from behind. I have since moved to a much larger warehouse that I am leasing now but for under $300 per month.