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View Full Version : Shying away from large properties ... Quick 36?


Exact Rototilling
03-01-2008, 04:35 PM
Ok I have a Quick 36 Samurai with a step saver - still lots of snow here so I haven't used it yet. There are many properties in my area where the grass area easily exceeds 2 acres? I know the correct answer is get a much bigger riding mower ZTR 52"+ etc. However for the 2008 mowing season my most productive mower will be my Quick 36.

It is very possible that I will buy a 44" or 48" WB if I sign up a bunch of accounts and the $$$ pours in, however a ZTR mower will require a trailer and vehicle upgrades that I'm not willing to pay for this year . . . unless cash flow is explosive.

In light of starting out with a Q 36 what size properties would become counter productive compared to mowing 1/2 acres or less properties for the gong rate of $35+?

topsites
03-01-2008, 04:47 PM
I would think a full acre would be the absolute most I'd want to tackle with a 36" deck.
At least initially I would stick to < acre, smaller and up to a full acre.
Then if you should find an acre isn't all that (after you've done a few) you could adjust.

Do work hard and start saving for a 48", that extra foot of deck makes a world of difference...
But the Q-36 is a great starting mower, it really is, you'll be fine.

Whitey4
03-01-2008, 05:21 PM
I don't have any properties near that large, so take what I say with a grain of salt... I think 2 acres would be the max, but some caveats: If most properties are well over an acre, I don't know if you have a choice. If you want growth, and growth could fuel your bank account for a bigger machine and a trailer for next year, maybe you bite the bullet, and give that Quick a good workout this year.

If you have enough small properties to fill your schedule, then wait, and don't go after the bigger ones. If your schedule isn't filled, then take some of the larger properties so that you can upgrade your equipment inventory next year. Your efficiency would suffer in terms of $ per hour, but if that's what it takes to get a bigger machine to grow in your market.... then I would take some of those bigger plots. Better to make 70% of your hourly rate to fill down time than to have down time that makes no money.

Sometimes I think one just has to work a little harder to grow and to be able to afford bigger, more efficient equipment in a given target market. If there are enough smaller properties to fill your schedule, target them. If not, make sure your schedule is full, even if it means taking on bigger properties at a reduced $ per hour rate.

ProStreetCamaro
03-01-2008, 07:27 PM
You will look like a fish in the sea with a 36" on a 2 acre lawn. It just wont be profitable for you.

Exact Rototilling
03-01-2008, 07:36 PM
Excellent responses - I agree. Fish in the sea :laugh: maybe . . .

If I do get any calls from large property owners over 1.5+ acres for estimates I'm seriously considering offering them an initial mow, trim & blow at a reduced rate, one time ONLY strictly specified [no future obligation] so my basic costs are covered. This will not be advertised but will be offered at the time of the estimate. By using Google maps with the aerial overhead view I can get an idea of how large the properties grass area is. This gives me a chance to chart my total time and allows me to gauge within reason profitability, efficiency etc. This also allows them to see the quality of my work. Then I state my rate, price, contract, service agreement, negotiate etc. Not sure if this will be well received but I think it will work depending on the client.

I did a vacation mow last year with my 21" on a huge corner lot just so I could find out how much time it would take me. I was paid $50 but it took me 90 minutes. I walked away with the experience which allowed me to gauge future properties. I also realized that the 21" is not going to cut it :hammerhead: and I needed to buy a Quick 36 at a minimum to speed the process up for anything bigger than a small lawn.

Roger
03-01-2008, 08:05 PM
I posted in a different thread earlier today with some of my experiences:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showpost.php?p=2183679&postcount=11

Maybe something in that post will help.

mag360
03-01-2008, 08:17 PM
Keep to the small stuff. It's more profitable in most cases anyway.

ed2hess
03-01-2008, 08:59 PM
If you are in this to make extra money you got to concentrate on one size of lawns and go for it. Obviously you selected the small unit so do small yards and forget the big stuff. A guy with a 61" will blow you away in pricing a acre yard--if he can get into it.

lifetree
03-01-2008, 09:02 PM
I would think a full acre would be the absolute most I'd want to tackle with a 36" deck. At least initially I would stick to < acre, smaller and up to a full acre. Then if you should find an acre isn't all that (after you've done a few) you could adjust. ... But the Q-36 is a great starting mower, it really is, you'll be fine.

To an extent I would agree with topsites ... I would argue that the Quick 36" could easily handle up to between 1 - 1.5 acres without any real degradation in productivity. However, what topsites said about do a few and then determine for yourself whether you think could do larger properties with it ... this realy id the best approach to resolve the question.

Exact Rototilling
03-01-2008, 09:07 PM
Keep to the small stuff. It's more profitable in most cases anyway.

If smaller properties are more properties then can the case be made to avoid larger properties the bigger trailers and trucks to haul around the ZTR's etc. :confused:

My business model is actually not to cater to mowing specifically but I view MOWING as a fill in around the other HOPEFULLY more profitable other work I will provide. Aeration, rototilling, turf repair etc. That's my biz plan for 2008. :rolleyes:

That doesn't mean I won't do an excellent job of mowing . . . but I'd rather focus on the more profitable services.
payup

Big C
03-01-2008, 11:01 PM
My plan is sticking to smaller 1 acre or less properties with my Q36...seems like it is more profitable anywayspayup

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-01-2008, 11:14 PM
I agree with Big C - I will also stick to acre or less mowable with my Quick (when I purchase it). I also think as long as you stay away from mowing wide open lots where Z's are dominant, you will be fine. The quality of cut of the Quick over a Z will really show on 1 acre or less lots where zooming back and forth isn't the only thing you do.

landscaper22
03-01-2008, 11:34 PM
I guess I understand not getting a larger ZTR if you will have to upgrade trucks and trailers, especially if you are not financially ready. And I also like some of the smaller properties. But I would not say the smaller properties are more profitable than the larger ones. The largest property I have is a industrial account with between 5-6 acres of grass. You just have to price it right, and it can be even more profitable than the small properties. I like the larger accounts (especially commercial ones) because it keeps me from spending so much time traveling from job to job, and most larger commercial and industrial accounts I have serviced let me do my job and they leave me alone. I have two accounts that I would consider fairly large. They are my favorite ones to service. They also have made a huge difference in my income level.

I also think a little differently about mowers. I do have a 36" walk behind, but I rarely ever use it. I will probably sell it. My opinion is that they are just too slow and work you to death. The one exception would be the Toro with the T-bar. My 48" Exmark LZHP has a deck that is large enough and is fast enough to cut most larger properties. It is also small enough to cut fairly smaller lawns. The few properties that are just too small for the 48" I will just use my 21". I know everyone feels differently about this. But, this is what works for me.

mag360
03-02-2008, 02:49 AM
I guess I understand not getting a larger ZTR if you will have to upgrade trucks and trailers, especially if you are not financially ready. And I also like some of the smaller properties. But I would not say the smaller properties are more profitable than the larger ones. The largest property I have is a industrial account with between 5-6 acres of grass. You just have to price it right, and it can be even more profitable than the small properties. I like the larger accounts (especially commercial ones) because it keeps me from spending so much time traveling from job to job, and most larger commercial and industrial accounts I have serviced let me do my job and they leave me alone. I have two accounts that I would consider fairly large. They are my favorite ones to service. They also have made a huge difference in my income level.

I also think a little differently about mowers. I do have a 36" walk behind, but I rarely ever use it. I will probably sell it. My opinion is that they are just too slow and work you to death. The one exception would be the Toro with the T-bar. My 48" Exmark LZHP has a deck that is large enough and is fast enough to cut most larger properties. It is also small enough to cut fairly smaller lawns. The few properties that are just too small for the 48" I will just use my 21". I know everyone feels differently about this. But, this is what works for me.

To your credit you have specialized equipment to extract the most profit from your larger properties (and it must be working---I saw the new kubota).
We use only 60-61 inch ztr's and a 21 for poolyards only and service a wide range of properties. Even with the larger machines the money makers for us are the blocks of 8-12 small lawns where a little extra profit on each one adds up in the long run. It is also easier to recoup fuel costs from multiple customers (we add a fuel surcharge to monthly invoices from $3-$10 monthly).

landscaper22
03-02-2008, 10:29 AM
To your credit you have specialized equipment to extract the most profit from your larger properties (and it must be working---I saw the new kubota).
We use only 60-61 inch ztr's and a 21 for poolyards only and service a wide range of properties. Even with the larger machines the money makers for us are the blocks of 8-12 small lawns where a little extra profit on each one adds up in the long run. It is also easier to recoup fuel costs from multiple customers (we add a fuel surcharge to monthly invoices from $3-$10 monthly).

I do see your point. My opinion about the postage stamp properties is they are very profitable if you get several yards together without having to move your truck. If you have 4 very small yards for $30 each without any additional travel time, it is almost like having 1 larger yard at $120. And if you add up the total lawn area of all 4 of those small properties and compare it to one single property of the same size there is no way you could get $120 for the one larger property. Probably could only get like $50-60 for it.
The problem I see is that when you get the postage stamp lawns scattered all over the place, then you spend more time traveling than servicing.
I also guess I should have been a little more clear in my last post. my experience has been that the larger residential properties seem not to be as profitable as the smaller ones. However, the larger industrial and commercial accounts really seem to be very profitable for me.
I just feel like with some of the LCOs limiting themselves to a 36" cut and smaller, they are cutting themselves out of some nice profitable accounts. Of course everyone has a different view. If your business has a niche with very small lawns, that is great. It can work. But, I have just found a great balance with a large variety of property sizes.

On your other point with fuel charges, I have not started with those yet. The only reason I don't like them is that you have to do away with those charges if fuel ever goes back down. I just try to price the jobs taking fuel prices into consideration. If I increase prices, I would rather make it a permanent increase. I just works well for me. But, I have been considering a fuel surcharge.

Mimowerman
03-02-2008, 10:36 AM
its amazing how guys will use such small mowers for these properties... I have a 44 wb with sulky for some gated yards, a 52" z for a 2nd zero turn and a 60" hustler super z as a primary unit on lots 1/4 acre and up. the 44 gets out of the trailer 2x a week at most 60 can be used on all but the two lawns. why such small mowers????

Whitey4
03-02-2008, 10:54 AM
its amazing how guys will use such small mowers for these properties... I have a 44 wb with sulky for some gated yards, a 52" z for a 2nd zero turn and a 60" hustler super z as a primary unit on lots 1/4 acre and up. the 44 gets out of the trailer 2x a week at most 60 can be used on all but the two lawns. why such small mowers????

I'll be getting a Quick 32 delivered this week. Why such a small mower? My area is a 50 year old development. There are still many of the old cyclone fences with their narrow gates here. The properties are about 6k. The house is 2 to 3k. Then add a driveway and a deck or a pool. Lots of turns, small amount of turf. A 21 is too slow, anything bigger than a 32 won't get through 20% of the gates.

So much depends on what area an LCO works in. If one is a start up like me, there may not be enough in the buget to get big machines and go after commercial accounts (there are virtually no one acre residential plots where I target). If I can only afford two machines, a 32 and a 21 is the only way for me to go. My largest account has only 4.5 k of turf. 2.5k of that is behind a 40" gate. It would not make sense to run two different machines to cut that property.

coonman
03-02-2008, 10:55 AM
its amazing how guys will use such small mowers for these properties... I have a 44 wb with sulky for some gated yards, a 52" z for a 2nd zero turn and a 60" hustler super z as a primary unit on lots 1/4 acre and up. the 44 gets out of the trailer 2x a week at most 60 can be used on all but the two lawns. why such small mowers????

Because some of us have small properties that are all gated. I could not get a 44 inch through any of my gates. I could get the the 36 through maybe half of them. I guess in a perfect world, I would have a 21, 32, 36, 44 and then a larger z, but thats not going to happen. Thats why I think its wise to set yourself up to be productive in a certain situation. If you are going to be using the Quick 36 then go after the smaller yards, it would be extremely productive on the small lawns and you would not have to carry thousands of dollars in mowers around on a trailer. If there are not enough smaller lawns to go around in your area, you may have to get you a larger z to compete.

brucec32
03-03-2008, 02:08 AM
Stick to your niche'. I did a couple of those 2 acre deals with 36" and even 44" wb's long ago. In retrospect it was not the best use of my time and energy. Don't be afraid to say "no" and concentrate on the best bang/buck. Leaping up to a huge $9000 machine to capture a couple of big jobs is a common early mistake, too. If they go (and they all come and go) you lost the rationale for the machine. Make sure your market demand supports the equipment you get.

You can do a wide number of small/medium props with that machine.