View Full Version : $5000 you pick the equipment

01-14-2000, 02:27 PM
OK, you got $5000 and you are just starting a lawn care service. what equipment would you buy? You need everything but a truck. choose the best setup and tell why you pick them. <br>

01-14-2000, 02:37 PM
OPTION 1: Put $4000.00 into Cisco Systems stock and $1000.00 for a semester at Junior College.<p>MASTERCARD OPTION:<br>Trailer 1500.00<br>Shindiawa Trimmer, Blower, Edger 1000.00<br>Lesco Fertilizer Spreader (Stainless) 300.00<br>Downpayment of eXmark Lazer Z 60&quot; 22hp Kaw liquid 2200.00<br>Out in the sopping cold rain mowing 7&quot; tall thick grass while your customer is complaining because it's Thursday and she wants to get cut on Friday: Priceless. <p>I seriously think option 1 will make you more money and be less work. (but less fun)<p>

Eric ELM
01-14-2000, 02:57 PM
Lazer, your really pushing those Exmarks!! LOL Dingo, I would say Lazer gave you some good advice. The only thing I would change on his list is the brand of mower and one of these days, I'll get Lazer to change his brand too. (If I live that long) <p>If your planning on getting into this for the log haul, use the $5000 wisely and get the best equipment you can get. The 2 main tools that gets used the most is the mower and the trimmer, so don't skimp on them.<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>

01-15-2000, 07:00 AM
I agree with all of the above! I would take the 5 grand and get all the top quality hand tools, trimmer(stihl), edger (stihl), backpack blower (stihl), thats around $1100.00 so far, go out and find an 8x16 trailer, ( $725.00 )next get all the appropriate licenses, tags, insurance, shirts, jackets, sweatshirts (all optional, but desireable) haircut (also optional, but desireable) all the prices for this stuff is variable so can't place a $ amount on it. Go to the printer and get your business cards printed $30-40 bucks, run an add on the cable channel and last but not least, put the rest down on a brand new 60&quot; DIXIE CHOPPER. The rest is up to you but now you have the BEST EQUIPMENT ON THE MARKET! Lease it or buy it, but don't buy or lease any other brand or you&quot;ll be sorrrrrrrrrrrrrrry!

Eric ELM
01-15-2000, 07:22 AM
Homer, Very good advice.<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>

01-15-2000, 11:09 AM
Eric, I thought you would loke that one! In all seriousness, you can stretch 5 g's a long way. It will buy all the necessary tools to get started and put a good down payment on a DIXIE CHOPPER. I did not start with a lump sum. Just bought one pc. at a time. Oh, one thing I forgot was a good set of hedge trimmers. I do not own the Stihl brand here, too heavy for a lot of shrub work, I own a set of Tanakas. They have served me well and have plenty of power for shrub work and seem to weigh 5 or 6 lbs. less than Stihl. <p>Homer

01-15-2000, 12:36 PM
I think If I had $5000, and was just starting out, I would be very conservative. About 90% of all new business fail during the first five years--I am sure the ratio is the same for new lawn care businesses.<p>Why not buy used equipment to start out--you could probably do this for $1000-$1500. Also, you can rent a trailer for $10-$15 a day. Then take, say $1000, to spend on marketing and keep $2500 in reserve. Within 6-8 weeks you should know if you are going to be successful. <p>If it looks like you won't be successful you can sell your used equipment and move on to something else without experiencing a total loss. If you are successful you can sell your used equipment and buy the type of equipment that you will need in the future.<p>Not as much fun as spending everything on new tools and equipment, but a lot safer.<p><p><p>----------<br>A and B Lawn Services<br>

01-15-2000, 12:50 PM
There are several right answers to this question. I would suggest going to a few areas you might want to work. Do they have fences? Small gates? If so, you need a 36&quot; walkbehind. Otherwise, if most don't have gates, you can get away with using a little bigger mower. One 42-48&quot; (varies by brand) ZTR could get you a heck of a start. <p>Keep in mind a ZTR can mow more quickly every minute, literally, is worth something on the jobsite. This fact evades too many people, or they just don't realize the time they waste. <p>If you need to get in backyards in a decent percentage of your perspective areas, You would want to try maybe a 36&quot; for that, and a larger walkbehind for larger stuff, with the eventual plan of getting a ZTR. <p>Essentially, you need a mower or mowers, gas trimmer, gas hedge trimmer, tools(hopefully you have SOME already and a trailer to pull it all with. This is not a complete setup, but it would give you a decent start. Also, a commercial fert. spreader.(need to be licensed for anything other than NPK) Etc. Etc. Hope I stirred some thoughts for you. <p>John

01-15-2000, 02:50 PM
I did this several years back but only had about $2800 to work with.<p>I would buy a new 48-52&quot; belt drive walkbehind, probably an Exmark. Cost about $2700.<p>I would buy a Shindaiwa trimmer, edger and hedge trimmer. Cost about $1000<p>I would buy a Stihl BR400 blower, about $430.<p>I would try to find a trailer for about $800.<p>Best of all if you have $5000 to work with you will have no equipment payments. When you get more accounts then buy the Lazer.

01-15-2000, 03:33 PM
I agree with all the other guys an the shindiawa equip. GREAT. But I would sugest dhecking into the 48&quot; wright stander a great mower short manuverable and dependable. good luck<p>----------<br>Dale moonarrow@hotmail.com<br>Southern lawn and Landscape

01-15-2000, 09:36 PM
How about with 10,000? I just found out tonight that my money is coming through, so I'm awfully excited. Here's what I have come up with. Any input on my choices or if I'm missing something is appreciated.<p><br>Exmark Lazer Z 18 hp 52&quot; deck $5800<br>Shindaiwa t270 trimmer $365<br>Shindaiwa Eb500 blower $360<br>Shindaiwa Le260 edger $350<br>Toro 21&quot; $800<br>JD aerator/spreader (tow behind) $400<br>JD 110 tractor to pull the aerator(already own it)<br>16' trailer $1000<br> <br> total $9075<p>remaining money for insurance, advertising etc...

01-16-2000, 01:23 AM
Ok here goes and I know I'll get beat up for this. But the guy ask to only spend 5 grand.<br>A Cub Cadet Z 42 15 hp ztr 3800.00<br>A good weed eater (shindiwa, echo, shihl) 400.00<br>blower 200.00 you can get a back pack later<br>gas cans, line, hand tools, extra blades, hand grinder, oil, safty glasses, extra safty glasses. 100.00.<br>trailer 500.00. <br>There youve blown 5 G and havnt started, but the equip is paid for. As soon as you can get insurence and talk to a CPA. <br>The cub has features on it that a lot of the commercial units have, I know its not heavy duty enough, but mines mowed for two years with no problems, and its gonna havta make it this next year. Its paid for itself many times over.<br>Some things that I recommend having on your truck;extra blades,you will hit somthing to dull the ones you have on the machine and stopping to sharpen is out of the question, and 2 sets of safty glasses cause you will loose one set somewhere.<br>Just my openion stay out of debt as much as you can. You can get good equipment to start out, but you can also trade up as you can. You gotta walk before you can run. Jim

01-16-2000, 03:31 AM
Naturalawn,good advice about the safty glasses,but don't forget the steel toe safty shoes as well....they saved me once big time.I pulled a 21&quot; mower over my foot,they work!!

01-16-2000, 07:20 AM
I would buy:<br>Echo blowers: 400$<br>echo weedeater: 300$<br>We get by with using the weedeater as an edger around here.<br>New Exmark laser 42&quot; to 60&quot; depending on your market size lawns.<br>Kubota for incline grass cutting and attachment pulling and leaf bagging. <br> Buy new equipment when at all possible. You are never sure of what you will be getting with used and the financing and warranty are better on new. Used equipment may start need wear and tear items alot sooner and may hit the shop sooner.<br>The bottom line is all the COMMERCIAL grade equipment mentioned in the previous replys will do just fine. Just pick the ones suitible for your market and the type of lawns you will be doing.<br>Charles

01-16-2000, 09:51 AM
jason, i agree with alot of what you decided to buy...... im tellin you though finance the extra money for a 60inch mower, its way worth the extra money in the long run.a 60 inch lazer is 7500 with a kholor 25hp engine. also there is no use spending 800 dollars on a 21inch mower. considering you wont use it much get a cheep 99 dollar mtd.well those are my sugestions. put the money saved on the 21inch towards a 60 inch rider

01-16-2000, 09:59 AM
naturalawn, sorry but i think thats not very good advice. cubcadet is homeowner quality equipment and will not hold up for commercial use. in the long run it is worth spending the extra money and being able to depend on your equipment for years to come.

01-16-2000, 11:17 AM
I agree with the previous post, you don't need an $800 push mower UNLESS you are going to do a lot of small lawns. And if you do a lot of small lawns then skip the ZTR and get a 36&quot; Walk Behind. Also you mentioned a John Deere aerator. DONT get it! My dealer who swears by Deere said that the aerator is a piece of junk. I believe Trac Vac makes a comparable model that holds up much better and is about the same price.<br>Also don't spend all $5 or $10K on equipment, save some because those insurance premiums are expensive and I'm sure you will find something to spend your money on once you get started and realize what you need the most. Good Luck.

01-16-2000, 11:33 AM
first thing is to shop for prices some of you guys are paying to high prices I bought my shin. t230 for $265 and edger same , shin.500 blower $285 Wright 48&quot; stander $3,687 21&quot;toro $675 good luck<p>----------<br>Dale moonarrow@hotmail.com<br>Southern lawn and Landscape

01-16-2000, 11:43 AM
Thanks for the advice. You guys are probably right about 800 bucks being a bit much for a push mower. I do have a 21&quot; push with a 3 hp briggs I bought for 15$ at a auction. It runs good, maybe I'll just stick with that. Also appreciate the feedback on the jd aerator, I did want to know more about it before I bought it. Now I'll look around a bit more for an aerator.

01-16-2000, 12:23 PM
Wow alot of good advice here. But I agree with most of them above. Shop around find the best deals you can maybe you might buy a lower end string trimmer at first something like the echo 2100 which rans around me for $ 200.00 it will hold up for a couple years. Look at what size accounts you will be mowing. If they will be like most guys first lawn shoebox lawns don't spend the money on a rider maybe a stander but not worth the bucks for a ztr. If your going to be doing large lawns acres plus then buy a ztr. Also do you have a lot of gates to deal with and if yes how large are the back yards can they be done with a push or is a 36 more usefull. If alot of fences maybe look into a Greatdane gate mower or look into finding a used 36 and a new 52 walkbehind. As far as trailers go I have seen atleast around here 16 ft. open trailers for as little as $ 400.00 just take a good look over the trailer before you buy. Look at all the welds see if any have been rewelded and if so is it been done right or is it a back yard weld. Take a look and see if it has a twist in the frame or in the tongue. Look at the shackles on the axles see if they are wore out or over strechted. Used is not always a bad deal just take a good look over it first. Also go to auctions I have gotten great deals from them. Most of all try to put at least a $ 1000.00 to the side to start just for what ever comes up. Repairs to machines truck or what ever. Always have someextra money around. Since we all have had a customer or 2 delay on paying all ways have a little a side to work with. Plus this way when that dixie or lazer ztr demo goes up for sale at $ 3000.00 less then it sells for you can buy it.

Eric ELM
01-16-2000, 12:32 PM
Jason, if your looking for a good pull behind core aerator, check out the Classen built 42 inch at Lesco. It's built like a tank and does a great job of aerating. I redesigned mine a bit so it can only go in a certain depth. I have settings of 2 or 3 inches and with the wheels all the way up, it is supposed to go as deep as 4 inches. I think that is a little too deep. The price was $1299.00, but it should last forever as stongly built as it is. You may have seen it already, but if not, mine can be seen on my equipment page on my site.<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>

01-16-2000, 12:53 PM
Ashland, Been keeping my eyes open for a used trailer. $1000 is my upper limit. I've also considered building a 16' but after considering the amount of labor involved I feel it will be cheaper to just buy one. A few years ago a buddy and myself built one to pull our race car, and It just takes too damn long. Buddy got the trailer, and I totaled the car. Lot's of fun but that's another story.<br> Eric, I've checked out the Lesco/Claasen aerator on your web site. Looks like a nice unit. But I can't seem to find anybody around here that carries them. Lesco has a terrible web page. No dealer location info, and checking with the yellow pages here, I can't find lesco either. I've been looking all over for Lesco and just can't find them. I did find that JD aerator/spreader combo but I guess I need to be a bit leery about it. Also a dealer here carries tow behind aerator's by a company called mill creek that look pretty good.

01-16-2000, 04:24 PM
Well, since it is very troublesome to haul any type of commercial mower in a pickup, the first thing would have to be a trailer. Preferbaly 6x12. There goes about $1000.<br>Nest I would buy a walk behind mower, 36, 48, 52, it all depends on what you are going to be cutting. A hydro would probally de ideal, but since there are budgetary constraints, we will go with belt drive. There goes $2500. You will also need a 21&quot; mower, if smaller jobs, and the mower will get lots of use, get a commercial Lawn Boy, $650, or if larger jobs, and the mower will see little use, a mid grade homeowner Lawn Boy will do, $300. A trimmer will also be needed, how about an Echo SRM 2100 to start, $225. Now, something to clean up with, how about an Echo hand blower, $200. A set of gas hedge clippers, again, Echo, another $250. Take the last $200 and use it for hand tools, rakes shovels, tarps, gas cans, ect. <p>Since The origional post asked only about what equipment to buy I have used the entire $5000 for equipment. If that is the total operating budget, some cut backs would need to be made, for insurance, advertising, fuel, and other misc. startup expenses.

01-17-2000, 07:23 AM
This may really be a stupid question, but here goes...what about renting or leasing your equipment..is there anyone doing this? Or is this such a good business to be in that no one feels they may get caught short with equipment they no longer need?

01-17-2000, 07:56 AM
Thats what I do, rent a chop saw for those bluestone walkway jobs, rent power auger for fences, rent a skidsteer for the occasional larger job. I would rent a rider if I was able to get a few large(over 2 acre) mowing jobs, rent it for the day or half day.<p>Heck, if Home Depot had those flatbeds for rent when I started out, maybe get a smaller truck (better on fuel, ins, etc) and rent their truck, $19 for 1 1/2 hours for the occasional trip to the nursery!!Hahaha...<p>Seriously, it makes sense to rent any equip that you wont be using more than say 20 hours total per season.<p>Bill

01-20-2000, 11:39 PM
Dingo<p>Just remember what can go wrong. Keep money in reserve. A blown transmission,engine,differential all cost some bucks. If you buy a used mower, make sure you up keep. Hit every bearing with some grease once a week. sharpen blades bi-weekly. If something major goes wrong with mower, like the gears, or engine, the shop probably can't fix it tomorrow. In my area it would take at least a week, and a couple hundred bucks. Just some things to think about

01-27-2000, 10:03 PM
Hello guys. I live in a town of 2500 and I just got a grasshopper 725g2 w/ 60&quot; flp up deck w/ a 60&quot; sno blower for $12377., tax included. I've been researching and buying equipment for the past two years, getting ready to jump in there. Chose the grasshopper over the dixie for the out front deck and ease of swapping attachments. Hope it proves to be as long term reliable as the dixie's. No lawn maint. co. in my town, but two do bid work here, from a town 20 miles away. I plan on being selective on my bids and I know the customers already and I know what the bids on all the jobs have been for the past two years. Research and more research for your particular requirements is what it is all about.I'll let you know how it turns out for me , with the hopper and a new business. Thanks for sharing the info. and ideas.

11-19-2000, 03:05 PM
If I was just starting out I would go purchase a Used Dixie Chopper.Even Used they are better than the new stuff on the market today.Providing the previous owner didn't run them off a cliff.Spend the rest on new blowers and trimmers.Get a good trailer with brakes,brakeaway kit,trimmertrap, and aplace to lockup the rest of your equipment like a cage on the front of the trailer.Cover yourself with at least a million $$ insurance.John

11-19-2000, 04:17 PM
Your question is really kind of broad in away when it comes to debt, available credit, any sure accounts for next year, size of accounts, other income from another job, any personal equipment that you can use, your goal in this biz, are you aggressive, specific idea of Lawn care service, etc...

But if you only had a truck and $5,000, TOTAL, to spend and I wanted to get my foot in the mowing biz end, I would do it this way.

A small trailer 5x8, 6x10, etc... with a gate can be had for around $500-700.

Trailer plates, $25.

A small 21" trim mower that will mulch, bag or side discharge is self propelled with a 6.5hp can be found at any dealer or store for under $500.

A midsize gear drive walkbehind with a 44-48" side discharge deck. This will be your money maker, so get your moneys worth. Check out all the brands and prices. Make sure you like the controls, T-bar, Loop, Pistol grips, etc.. Prices are as low as $2,500 up to about $3,500.

Trimmers are had for under $100 at retail stores. Really trying to keep costs down you can go that way, but if you can go a little more get one that is heavier built like a Ryobi commercial for about $199.

Handheld blowers can be found at most stores for under $100.

Gas cans, Rubbermaid 5 gallon and 2 1/2 gallon for about $20.

Trimmer line spool, $5.

Safety glasses, $5.

MOST IMPORTANT! Liability insurance, small policy can be found for around $250 a year.

All this could leave you enough for some business cards or signs on the truck or even a sulky. The sulky would give you some added production ability as well as relieve if you had a few bigger accounts. The sulky also gives you the ability to do bigger yards as if you had a rider or ztr.

This would get you going with no debt and as you grow you can upgrade to better equipment if you want or need. It would be a good start.

Eric ELM
11-19-2000, 04:30 PM
I think he has his stuff picked out by now. This thread was started back on January 14, 2000

11-19-2000, 06:05 PM

Oops! Did not see that posting date. Maybe he is slower than me and has not made the jump yet.

11-19-2000, 07:09 PM
Option 1 would have givin you a $3000 gain had you sold the stock the third week of March. You would have had a decent gain up until the recent sell off. Right now your $4000 would be worth $4000. Option 1 was a solid option. I believe however, like Henry Ford, you have to invest in yourself.

11-19-2000, 08:01 PM
since this came back up i'll put a couple cents in. Why the rush to get a trailer? Ramps to get the 36" Metro on the truck worked good when i started, i had a 12' trailer but saw no reason to drag it around just for mowing? I know looks scrubby but starting on a budget that low something has to go!