By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Our late snow and cloudy, wet spring is doing a number on the lawn service industry.

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Already this May we’ve seen 4.75 inches of rain. That’s nearly two inches above normal.

As a small engine repair shop, Robbinsdale Marine would rather be busy than slow. But what they’ve seen these past couple weeks has them picking up plenty of overtime.

“This is probably the busiest jump-off I’ve seen in a two-week span in quite some time,” said service technician Paul King.

King is currently working 55-hour weeks, trying to mow through a mountain of lawnmowers. Toro’s, Lawnboy’s and Snapper’s keep coming in by the dozens.

“I generally put on about 10 a day depending on what I see,” King said.

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If you drop your lawnmower off at Robbinsdale Marine, you’ll get it back in about seven to 10 days. And that’s about as quick of a turn as you will find. Some small engine repair shops are up to three weeks behind schedule.

The weather is to blame. When the snow and cold finally left in May a lot of homeowners realized at the same time that stale gas and faulty spark plugs had them in need of repair.

“It puts you really far behind. Two to three weeks behind on everybody’s lawn. We are working every day until 9 to 10 p.m.,” said Colton Hentges of Hentges Lawn, Land and Snow.

Hentges normally mows 40 lawns a week in April. He did just three the entire month. Now, as business takes off, he’s playing catch-up with a banged-up mower. He’s tried several repair shops hoping someone can help him get back on track.

“I’ve tried about three so far, and they are all about three to four weeks out. And most aren’t even answering their phone,” Hentges said.

One St. Paul small engine repair shop usually sees about 250 lawnmowers come in in April. They saw just 10 this year.

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The most common problem is stale gas left in the mower over the winter. So technicians strongly advise running your lawnmower until it’s empty at the end of the season.

John Lauritsen