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lawncuttin
02-28-2006, 02:58 PM
Hello all, basically im starting a lawn business next month (got laid off two months ago)

I was wanting to know what type of brands you guys recommend ?

I am taking my small 401k check which is $2,732.00 and going into the business with this, im mostly going to focus on residential lawns but if i get a job mowing a larger business lawn or home i will just rent a larger mower for a day or so.

This is what im planning on buying,

Trailer - Is being built, cost $1050.00

I have about $1600.00 left after trailer, so wanted to know what brand of equipment works best ?

I was looking into getting (1) John Deere 21" with the casters and also seen that Cub Cadet has a simular model, which is best ?

What types of trimmers, blowers get the most bang for the buck ?

Homelite, Echo, etc ?

Im my area 98% of the lawns have landscaping/walkways so a swivel mower would work best for me. Most lawns around here are small since homes are so close together.'



Was going to buy,
(1) Self-Prop Mower
(1) Push Mower
(2) Weedeaters Big/Small
(1) Blower Backpack or Regular
(1) Edger
Plus other tools needed.

mike lane lawn care
02-28-2006, 03:22 PM
do not get a cub cadet, they are made by MTD and won't hold up well to commercial use. i have read some bad reviews on them and other people on this site will tell you that out of personal experience. john deere's are good as long as you get a commercial mower, snapper pro is another one and so is lawnboy.

for trimmers, blowers, and edgers, homelite is a home user model hence the name homelite (used lightly at home). echo is a good brand, but so is stihl.

good luck,
mike

Wells
02-28-2006, 03:43 PM
Comparing 2-cycle equipment brands is like the old Ford vs. Chevy debate. Each one is going to do the job just fine and every user is going to have a difference in opinion, here's mine.....

Several of the top brands would include:
Echo
Stihl
Redmax
Shindaiwa

Slighly down the list would include:
Tanaka
Kawasaki
Toro
Troy Built
Honda
Maruyama
Husqvarna

Bottom of the list would include:
Homelite
Ryobi
Weed Eater
Craftsman
and anything with a cord or battery

lawnmaniac883
02-28-2006, 03:55 PM
OK, here is what I would purchase with the remaining 1600 that you have. This is all commercial equipment and prices are ESTIMATED. I also recommend you find a equipment dealer that is in your area, DO NOT BUY equipment from home depot.

1) JX 75 *John Deere commercial grade walkbehind mower. This will cost around 850 without swivel wheels.
2) Stihl fs 100rx trimmer. Approx. 400$
3) Stihl fc 100 edger. Approx 350$
4) Stihl br 500 blower. Approx 400$

Total of all of this comes to around 2000$. I realize that this may blow your budget but you need to buy commercial equipment. Not sure about dealers in your area but my main dealer has an in-house financing program and will also allow you to put items on your account for a small surcharge. We have all tried the homelite crapsman and all other brands, they will not hold up and will cost you much more money and heartburn in the long run. JMO

seacoastlandscape
02-28-2006, 04:18 PM
You def want to go with commercial grade to start out with. Like everyone said it'll turn into more of a headache and you'll find yourself replacing the crap you bought from sears or Lowe's in a year. As far as 2stroke I run all echo, my dealer is good and I haven't had any major problems with any of the stuff, plus a 2year warranty is nice to have. Look into bying a used commercial walk behind, I dont know how large your properties are but a 48 inch deck can handle some large areas, it turns into a pain renting equipment every week. I started out with a 48 inch scag walk behind and still use it to this day, you can find some acouple years old for around 1000 or so. You'll get sick of mowing with a 21 inch push or self propelled real fast. If you think you are going to pick up enough acounts def look into your financing options, I paid my zero turn off in the first month of the season with no interest.

POPO4995
02-28-2006, 04:29 PM
John Deere + Stihl outdoor power equipment from a JD dealer!!:usflag:

lawncuttin
02-28-2006, 05:58 PM
Thanks to those who responded.

To those recommending buying commercial equipment i understand, however i dont want to over-invest in this business in case it does not work out like i planned. I want to start out spending what i planned on spending to start out with. Down the line 6-12 months if i begin to see a profit and i am sure i will be able to get by with the money i make then i will take the leap and upgrade to the top of the line commercial equipment. I have $10,000 in my savings in the bank however i would not invest in this business that much to begin with. I just wanted to see what brands i could get my moneys worth out of.

Living in Dallas the market is oversaturated with those "$20 or Less" lawn care business cards, thats why im not looking to invest a whole lot to begin with.

You def want to go with commercial grade to start out with. Like everyone said it'll turn into more of a headache and you'll find yourself replacing the crap you bought from sears or Lowe's in a year.

I agree, however if things go as planned out i will upgrade all equipment within the first year.

Petr51488
02-28-2006, 06:08 PM
Why would you waste your money twice? Buy it rite the first time so you don't have to go through buying real equipment the second time

YardPro
02-28-2006, 06:32 PM
that's a pretty tight budget..
a good commercial 21" is $1K
then each commercial handheld is $300 each.

DO NOT TRY AND SAVE AND BUY HOMELITE ETC.....

only buy commercial, it will save you money down the road.

CAG
02-28-2006, 06:41 PM
First off try to get out of that trailer deal its a bad move with that budget. If you think about it their is not that much that can go wrong with a well maintained used trailer. On the other hand the two stroke equipment can have u looking like a fool pulling them a million times in the customers yard to try to get them running( we have all be their at on time or another ). So take the others advice and go with new stihls, echos or similar brand. You might also what to look into a trimmer that takes the attachments it will save you some money if you need a edger too. I'm not sure why people don't understand that if you were to invest say 10k in equipment and things didn't work out depending on what you bought you could probably sell it the next year and get 75% of your money back.

lawnmaniac883
02-28-2006, 06:58 PM
Not to be a dick but why ask us what brands we recommend when you are already dead set on homeowner crap?

YardPro
02-28-2006, 07:30 PM
a lot of people ask questions, but don't want to hear truthful answers... they want to hear what they want.

CAG
02-28-2006, 07:37 PM
Thats what I was thinking but I'm too new to the site to say it..lol.. But I really think when it comes down to it he will that the advice..

OutdoorExtras
02-28-2006, 07:38 PM
Check Ebay listings and get a Shindaiwa T260 whip, Shindaiwa stick edger and a Red Max blower. Those items should run around $1200.00 new (cheaper if used) and will MAKE YOU MORE MONEY!!!! Then take the additional $400.00 and use it as a down payment on a small walk behind (Maybe a 32" model if you need to fit in tight areas). If the business does not work out you can sell all the stuff on ebay and get most of your money back. You won't be able to get much of anything for homeowner grade equipment if it is used.

B&D Lawn Care
02-28-2006, 07:53 PM
I would say look for a used comm. walk behind, you can get'em on EBAY for around 1000, then go for a Stihl BR340 ( no not the top of the line but for the budget a damn good blower) should be around 260 or so. Finally get a good trimmer, I currently am using Echo SRM230 and a Shindaiwa T261 (got it for less than 350 on ebay). An edger can wait plus it'll give you invaluable expierience edging w/ a trimmer. All of this can fall below your 1600 budget plus you'll have some good stuff to start off with.
BTW I got my Echo from HD 4 years ago and ain't had a bit of problem w/ it. The beauty w/ HD is they offer 90 days return on power equip. Maybe the service ain't there but at least you will have that to fall back on.

Roger
02-28-2006, 07:59 PM
You may wish to consider the plan lawnmaniac laid out, but with modifications -- if you are tight on budget. I don't know about your neighborhoods, but an edger may not be necessary. I worked for a few years without an edger, and still managed to get started and build. I bought one later when I felt I could offer better quality work for a few of my properties.

Also, you may not need a backpack blower. Again, we don't know your neighborhoods. If you have little leaf work and are only needing to blow off driveways and sidewalks, then the Stihl BG85 hand blower may be plenty of power. I've been working for 9 seasons, and still do not have a backpack. The hand blower works well for driveways and sidewalks, and works pretty well for beds doing leaf removal. I have a wheeled blower to use with my hand blower for leaves, so a backpack isn't nearly as important. I work solo, so cannot use both anyway.

I started with a commercial Snapper, 21" mower, and worked the first season until I generated some cash, then moved to a walk-behind 36" mower. From my history, I was able to bootstrap the first season with what equipment I had, then expanded later as customer base grew, and I had a better idea of what to do, how to do. So, don't be discouraged by threads on this Forum that suggest you need the biggest, latest, etc to make it work. Obviously, everybody has their own approach, but mine was to start slow and build as I learned. One of the first customers I acquired was a lady with nearly 2 acres -- I cut it all season with the 21" mower, about 4.5 hours and 4-5 tanks of fuel. It was a good learning experience!

J&R Landscaping
02-28-2006, 08:48 PM
If you are looking for good 2 stroke equipment and want an all in 1 machine, The ECHO PAS line may be the way to go. You can get an edger attachment, string trimmer attachment, hedge cutter attchment, pole saw, and many more. They make the power heads in a 23 cc and 26 cc model.
If you are looking for the BEST HANDBLOWER in the industry, stick with a REDMAX HBZ2600. They go for $199 and you can't beat them!
I agree, you might want to look at a used 36" walkbehind on ebay, but for best support, go to a local dealer! I got my 36" for $300 and all it needed was an engine which I got a new kawasaki fb460v for $420 more. I'd say it was a good deal!

RB Lawn
02-28-2006, 11:18 PM
Check around at your local dealers and any small engine repair shops.You can find some good deals on used equipment alot of times. I would also try to get out of the trailer deal you got going.You can find a good used trailer and save a small chunk to spend on better equipment.

Rcgm
02-28-2006, 11:42 PM
Everybody has there own brand they like. I have heard every brand so basically I think it is just what you prefer.I hate Redmax someone else loves it.Cub Cadet owned by lesco they build a junky mower but have great spreaders.
But I think I heard 21" are you just wanting to get a push mower? I had the Lawn boy 2 cycle had nothing but problems.I just buy a 150 mtd home depot special it last a season I junk it but I just us it maybe 2 hours a week.So if you are just going to do small yards why don't you start out without a trailer get nicer equipment put it in the back of the truck then when you get rolling buy a trailer?Just some of my ideas.

Good Luck and Take Care

lawncuttin
02-28-2006, 11:44 PM
Not to be a dick but why ask us what brands we recommend when you are already dead set on homeowner crap?

I asked what brands, thats what i got. Whats your problem ?

Im not looking to spend $1500 plus on a mower right now.

lawncuttin
02-28-2006, 11:45 PM
Everybody has there own brand they like. I have heard every brand so basically I think it is just what you prefer.I hate Redmax someone else loves it.Cub Cadet owned by lesco they build a junky mower but have great spreaders.
But I think I heard 21" are you just wanting to get a push mower? I had the Lawn boy 2 cycle had nothing but problems.I just buy a 150 mtd home depot special it last a season I junk it but I just us it maybe 2 hours a week.So if you are just going to do small yards why don't you start out without a trailer get nicer equipment put it in the back of the truck then when you get rolling buy a trailer?Just some of my ideas.

Good Luck and Take Care

I just paid my SUV off, dont plan to get rid of it anytime soon.

lawncuttin
02-28-2006, 11:46 PM
What type of mower can i get for $1,000 or less that is "great" ?

mcwlandscaping
02-28-2006, 11:49 PM
Honda 21", even though its labeled homeowner, as long as you do the reg maintenance on it, it will last!! Honestly, for handheld 2 stroke stuff, i would reccomend going with commercial stuff, stihl is great. Also, dont' waste the money on the 21" mowers with the casters, not worth it at all. But those Honda 21"ers are great, $400 for a new one that can bag and mulch. I run 3 of them, one going on its 8th season, one going on its 6th, and another brand new one i got about a month ago, all still run great, first pull everytime. Just my .02

lawncuttin
02-28-2006, 11:56 PM
What i was trying to explain to those telling me to get a bigger mower is that 98% of homes in my area have landscaping,

Take a look below, look at the right of the picture


http://www.gehanhomes.com/images/dfw/community_photos/somerton/model_exterior.JPG



Homes around here are like that, so it would be kinda hard getting 30+" mower around lanscaping.

lawncutterupper
03-01-2006, 12:12 AM
it looks like your going to "try out" the lawn mowing business. As a new business owner im jsut going to be honest and tell you your not going to to see the type of income you wnat your first year, especially by not going after it 100%. Your client base will take a while to build and Your going to run into expenses you never knew exsisted. Dragging a around a 21in push mower on $1000 trailer with an SUV is complete overkill, and a waste of gas which is a waste of money. Your worrying about spending a few extra hundred $ on equipment but if things dont work out, your going to lose more money by being stuck the homeowner crap. If you want to start a successful business than you have to do it right the first time. "Half drunk is a waste of money. If you are going to do something do it right with 100% commitment."

CAG
03-01-2006, 01:08 PM
I just spent about 2 minutes looking at the pic and im pretty much speechless. Wow

lawncuttin
03-01-2006, 03:02 PM
it looks like your going to "try out" the lawn mowing business. As a new business owner im jsut going to be honest and tell you your not going to to see the type of income you wnat your first year..


Who said i expected to see a "huge" type of income within my first year ? I have owned two businesses in the past that i both sold, both of them i started with small investments. If i see a profit after a few months in this business then sure i will upgrade mowing equipment otherwise i will continue with what i have.


especially by not going after it 100%

How am i not going after it 100% ? Just because im not buying high dollar equipment to start out with ? Im going FULL-TIME and see what happens. You think when companies like UPS started out there courier services that they use top of the line delivery trucks ? Nope. Hey if a company has enough money to start out with the good stuff then more power to them, im just not looking to invest everything (money wise) into a business since there not always guaranteed to be successful.


Your client base will take a while to build and Your going to run into expenses you never knew exsisted.

I know what type of expenses are involved in the lawn business. I have done research and talked to people over a couple of months, i didnt just decide one day hey lets make easy money.


Dragging a around a 21in push mower on $1000 trailer with an SUV is complete overkill, and a waste of gas which is a waste of money.

Actually i make custom cabinets and the trailer will also serve the purpose of hauling wood, which i used to have delivered at a cost of $29 a trip. Who said i would be hauling around (1) 21" Mower ?

Your worrying about spending a few extra hundred $ on equipment but if things dont work out, your going to lose more money by being stuck the homeowner crap.

Did i ever say i was going to buy homeowner crap ? Hello i asked what brand you guys recommend, you all are telling me to get a 30+" mower to cut a small piece of grass, i didnt ask that i asked what BRANDS.

chaz
03-01-2006, 03:25 PM
You have to spend money to make money. What are you going to do about advertising? I would take that 10K and buy real equipment, and use your 2600 on flyers for advertising, and for advertising in the paper. If you do this you will have more work than you will know what to do with, and the 10k you have spent on equipment won't be an issue. The only problem you will have is figuring out which piece of equipment to purchase next. If you are going to do something, do it right, or don't do it at all. Don't be scared, if you build it they will come. Commercial lawn equipment holds its value very well, so if it doesn't work out sell the equipment.

rodneyskip
03-01-2006, 03:49 PM
What i was trying to explain to those telling me to get a bigger mower is that 98% of homes in my area have landscaping,

Take a look below, look at the right of the picture


http://www.gehanhomes.com/images/dfw/community_photos/somerton/model_exterior.JPG



Homes around here are like that, so it would be kinda hard getting 30+" mower around lanscaping.

Does this picture look funny to anyone else? Take a close look! :dizzy:

Roger
03-01-2006, 04:06 PM
If you are referring to no driveway to the garage ... I thought the same when I first saw it. I was wondering if the picture is foreshortened, so that a circle driveway between the bushes and garage door is obscured.

If not, then I have no idea how to get to the garage!!!

lawncutterupper
03-01-2006, 04:25 PM
My guess is its a sample house of many to come. I cut grass in a new development before the houses were sold and the landscaping was done the same way. As for you lawncuttin, I still think your going about this teh wrong way, just my opinion though, goodluck i hope it works out

lawncuttin
03-01-2006, 04:36 PM
Does this picture look funny to anyone else? Take a close look! :dizzy:

Its a demo home, thats the type of landscaping the houses around here come with.

Wells
03-01-2006, 05:08 PM
What few people take into consideration is that everybody has to start somewhere and that different areas of the county require different types of equipment.

Many people mowing 2+ acre sites back east think that is the norm around the country however come to SLC and most of the lots sizes are under 1/4 acre. A 50" mower makes sense in some places but not others, every area of the country is going to be different and you need to purchase equipment that will best meet the needs of your area.

For those of you that may not recognize the name Eric Elm, he was a well respected individual on this board that was truly admired by many. His name is almost synonymous with Dixie Chopper, Double Blades and Striping Grass. To this day people still talk about the quality of his workmanship and his striping abilities. Below is info from an old post that shows how Eric started out in business.


Eric Elm
I am from the Chicago area, far west suburbs and this is our full time, all year long income. We aerate in the Spring and Fall, mow only 2 plus acre lawns all summer, 95% residential and plow snow on 60 plus big residential driveways during the Winter.

I started out with.

72 Bronco w/6.5' Western Plow
Home made enclosed trailer 6' X 6'
1985 John Deere tractor with a 38" deck w/bagger.
Murray 21" push trim mower
$95 Homelight trimmer
$100 Sears hand held blower
and some other junky tools.


It just goes to show that we all had to start somewhere. I would say that if the picture you posted is representative of the average lawn size in your area then by all means stick with the smaller mowers. By the way most of my mowers are still 21" and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Rhett
03-01-2006, 05:43 PM
Didn't read all the posts but here goes. Stihl Combi system FS 85 or the new 4 mix. Weed eater atachment, edger attachment, edger attachment, hedge attachment. Not a huge fan of Stihl but while you are there a 600 blower. This should leave you about 500 for a twenty one inch mower. If things go well after the first couple of monthes look into a 48 or 36 walk behind.

out4now
03-01-2006, 06:35 PM
I agree with getting out of the trailer right now if you still can. While it is hardly ideal, you can lift that 21 out of a pick up for a while. You need to put aside some of that money for unforseen expenses and insurance. One lawsuit without insurance can wipe you out. I also agree with going with the best commercial equipment you can. The homeowner stuff just will not hold up well over time. It is much less costly to invest from the start rather than get into some hefty repair bills and find out latter. Everyone is really trying to help, but like mentioned if you're set on the homeowner stuff then you're going to be risking it . The returns will not be what you can live on really at first. Do you have a significant other to help support or is this going to be your sole income? As sole income it will be dicey. I imagine there that there are an abundance of lowballers like here intentionally cutting prices just to get jobs. Figure out what the expected life of your machines are going to be by looking up old threads here and figure out your costs. Its a lot easier to exit the business before you start. What i mean by that is that if you find your expenses will be too high to meet what you desire to make in a month then don't even buy the equipment. It may sound harsh but people are simply trying to get you see the big picture here.

BlakeReeder
03-01-2006, 06:35 PM
You def want to get commercial equipment. Not only for the durability but the quality of cut is way diff. It may seem that you are getting a good deal. It may look like the same motor, but they are diff. If you plan on growing a business in a saturated market you are going to have to produce a product as good or better than the rest. If you use a home owners modle you can not produce the same product.

lawnmaniac883
03-01-2006, 07:02 PM
I am going to be quite honest with you on this one. About 1/4 of the members if not more on this site have started the same way you are planning to start and have found themselves wasting money. The reason I say they wasted money is because they have invested 1k+ into homeowner grade equipment and not only did they have to upgrade later on but they also had to pay for repairs and downtime as well.

Facts are facts, homeowners are going to "notice" a LCO with commercial equipment before they recognize and call a lco that is using homeowner equipment. This is the way it is, better equipment = more, better customers.

Do what you want, after all it is your money just keep in mind that those of us on this site are looking out for your best interest at this time; a 36'' mower may be overkill for a beginner but for your own good, dont buy your equipment from the depot or lowes.

You may look into the lower powered models that I have listed, they will be cheaper and are still commercial grade machines.

Have a nice day :waving:

Wells
03-01-2006, 08:57 PM
I agree that the commercial equipment is more durable then the residential stuff but everyone needs to evaluate their own situation and make purchases that not only fit their needs but also fit their budgets.

Who ever in this thread said that a commercial mower gives a better cut that is noticeable I challenge you to prove your theory (cut has absolutely nothing to do with what makes a commercial mower a commercial mower) The difference is in the transmission, deck and h.p. and I've yet to come across a customer that can tell me what type of equipment i'm currently using.

Most clients are only concerned about two things:
1. Was the lawn mowed this week.
2. Am I getting the best deal possible.

I would say that as long as you realize the possibility of having to re-purchase equipment sooner because you bought some cheaper stuff to start and your fine with that then it really doesn't matter what everyone else thinks.

BlakeReeder
03-01-2006, 09:43 PM
It wa me that said there is a diff in cut quality... Take a 5.5 horse mtd or homedepot anything. And a 5.5 honda commercial. Cut two lines one with each. The commercial will actually cut the grass instead of rip it. Blade speed is the cause of this. A commercial mower has a higher blade speed and will handle cutting the thickest of grass even with a dull blade.

Big Mack
03-02-2006, 08:31 AM
Lawncuttin, you need to do what you feel confident, safe, and comfortable in doing. These guys are giving us priceless educational info in the industry. And this particular site is much kinder to new members from what Ive been reading in threads the last week or so. My story is exactly like yours man, and a simple post just like yours turned into a free for all at another site, because I didnt appreciate a few (what I took as) arrogant posts made by some members there. But it made me realise that when we dont see someones body language, or facial expressions, things can get out of hand easily. My plans are to take the exact actions as you are and build my clientel as I go while I incorporate the equipment as I go to the best of my ability. Ive been to several dealers so I know who has what and where I can get it. Fortunately one place here has Ex, Husky, Scag, and all the hand tool manufacturers like Stihl and Echo. I got alot of PMs from others encouraging me to take the road youre describing because although most wont admit it, they too started in the same fashion, and many are still using less expensive/smaller equip and making a decent living. Im sure you will do fine because you have your mind made up, and you seem confident in yourself. And that my man is worth more than the most expensive piece of equip you can find. Enjoy the freedom in what youre doing, and remember, do what makes YOU comfortable in starting up.

spinrider2000
03-02-2006, 02:30 PM
lawncuttin, what is your BUSINESS PLAN? What you have to spend to start a business depends on the segment of the market you will work. If your customers have very small residental areas where a 21" will work then look for a good commercial 21". IMO blowers and trimmers can be replaced when you make the profit. However, know your market, buy the size mower to handle the situation or you work forever and work for nothing. Think about the customer requirements first.