For someone responsible for maintaining more than 200 pieces of small equipment, heavy machinery and trucks, Jake LePard is pretty easygoing.
Maybe it’s his experience as a firefighter/EMT for the towns of Plymouth and Waterville Valley that’s responsible for his calm demeanor. Or, perhaps it’s the patience that comes from being a father to four children: two boys and two girls ages 13, 11, 2 and 1. Whatever his secret, 3 Lakes Landscaping in Plymouth, New Hampshire, is fortunate to have Jake LePard leading up their new small engine repair service.
Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jake enrolled in his high school’s auto mechanics program. That experience opened the door to a 15-year career working on 18-wheelers, diesel trucks, heavy equipment, forklifts and more. Jake, who appreciates a good challenge believes, “Everything with an engine operates in a similar way. The difference is what the equipment does and how it does it.”
Keeping Small Engines Running Smoothly
Nowadays, there’s not a lot that comes through Jake’s shop at 3 Lakes Landscaping that he can’t service. “We repair customers’ generators, chainsaws, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, weed whackers and snowblowers,” he said. “We also sharpen mower blades and chainsaws and can make new chains.” The average turnaround time on small engine repair projects is about a week, but it depends on the issue and parts needed. “One of the things that sets us apart from other small engine repair shops is that we can get next-day parts,” he noted. “And, as a gold-status partner with our suppliers, we get great pricing on replacement parts. That means we’re able to pass along those savings to our customers.”
“Honesty and integrity are important to us. That’s why we warranty our parts and labor for 30 days.”
3 Lakes Landscaping offers pickup and drop-off services for customers in the Plymouth area who have small engine equipment that they can’t transport on their own; an additional fee applies. “Sometimes, I can do repairs on-site for our customers,” Jake said, “But for the most part, I work on our customers’ equipment here in my shop where I have the supplies and tools I need to do the job.”
“When a customer brings in a piece of equipment, we’ll talk through their concerns about its performance,” said Jake. He then performs a multi-point inspection that helps him identify potential sources of the problem. “I usually start by checking if it sparks, if it’s getting fuel and if it’s getting oxygen.” Through a process of elimination, Jake locates the problem and then presents the customer with his recommendations.
That recommendation may be a new piece of equipment if the cost of the repairs and replacement parts exceed the item’s value. Jake’s goal is a satisfied customer who appreciates his honest and transparent approach, “I’ll research what the customer’s equipment is valued at so I can say I fix it for ‘X’ or you can buy a new one for ‘Y’. I believe this is fair to the customer and ensures that the end result is a happy customer with a functioning piece of equipment.”
Jake fondly recalls a challenging fix, “Once, I had a customer come in with a generator and you could pick it up by the pull cord. You just couldn’t pull it over. I took the entire generator apart, found that it needed a new camshaft, and reset the valves. When I was finished you could pull it over with two fingers.”