View Full Version : Best Equipment to start with?
07-09-2008, 03:19 PM
Hay guys in the next 2 months I will be starting a lawn care company in FL. Some of the people I talk to have told me that the best way to go is to buy used homeowner grade equipment and after a year go for used commercial equipment.
I however am not a fan of this advice and want to go for used commercial equipment for the better quality and durability. was wondering if you guys had any pearls of wisdom on this thanks.
07-09-2008, 03:33 PM
what size lawns are you looking at?
07-09-2008, 03:43 PM
to begin with residential suburbs of Orlando to Lakeland FL. Wold also try to pursue so commercial biz
Lawn Care Expert
07-09-2008, 03:48 PM
If I had to do it all over, I would apply for loans and build start-up capital any way I could - borrowing from friends, family, whatever, to buy used late-model commercial grade. The extra bucks you spend (depending on your scale) will pay off by saving on repair bills and saving you frustration.
In many cases, home-grade equipment simply can't handle the work a business can pile on it. I wish I had someone to tell me that starting out when 3 of my 5 mowers literally broke the same day after taking the cheap classifieds route.
Do it right once, not OK twice, and watch your budget. Just my 2 cents!
07-09-2008, 03:56 PM
Go with the lower end Stihl stuff. Once your business grows, you can buy the more high powered stuff and keep your old stuff as backup.
Stihl FS 90 R-$329
Stihl FC 75-$329
Or, if you're doing hedge trimming, get a KM 90 R with the edger and articulating hedge trimmer attachment.
I am currently using Echo but slowly converting to Stihl. I love my KM 90 R so far.
As for mowers, go with a used commercial mower to start with. Out of all mowers I've used, imo eXmark is the best, but I also have used and liked Gravely and Toro. I have heard good things about Dixie Chopper, and Wright.
07-09-2008, 07:15 PM
Try and stay away from financing when purchasing mowers. You are just starting out so you have no idea if you will succeed or not this year. If you start financing all these pieces of equipment you will be owing thousands of dollars to the bank. And if your business doesn't succeed then you are left to pay the rest of the loan off with no job.
You don't need to start with the best equipment, build your business as you go. Start with a used commercial walk-behind (like a 36"-48"). If you find a used piece of equipment at a dealer, make sure the dealer is a good one. For your trimmers and blowers I would buy the lower end commercial models. Try to stay with just one brand, I really like stihl and have used them for years.
Build your business as you go. No business started out huge, they all started small and worked their way up. Look at the John Deere company. That starting with just John Deere working as a blacksmith making plows. As the years progressed, Deere became more of a company and manufacturing tractors. It too the Deere co. many many years to get to where they are today. So just start small and work your way up. If you have enough motivation you should have no problem being successful in this business. Best of luck to you.
07-09-2008, 07:33 PM
We have just started out 2 months ago. We started with our troy-bilt lawn tractor and trimmers. We didn't have the money for a good used commercial equipment.
We are saving for a good used commercial mower. As of now the equipment we have is getting the job done.
If you go with with non commercial mowers to start you need to realize that it will take you 2 to 3 times longer per yard.
Our goal is to fill up our schedule with what our current equipment can handle. Once that happens we will have saved up enough for a decent commercial mower and can then work on getting the rest of our schedule full.
If you have the funds I would definitely go with a used commercial grade mower.
We did not want to finance anything or borrow any money from friends or family. You never know what can happen and maybe this wouldn't be for us.
Puddle of Oil
07-09-2008, 11:18 PM
36'' wb and a push mower, thatll last u a couple years.
07-09-2008, 11:29 PM
i started just a couple months ago with everything in my sig except for the eXmark, 5x10trailer and blower. everything worked fine but but it takes a little longer to cut a yard. I do it partime right now so growing is in the future just not in a big hurry for me. slowly making my way to the Top!
dura to the max
07-09-2008, 11:43 PM
all this is great advice. however noone mentioned the better outdoor products quick mowers. these are some great commercial grade machines w/ a decent price tag. great start-up mower. i like the advice on the stihl, and staying w/ the same brand. look at the km series and buy the attachments you need as you go. i like having dedicated pieces of equipment, and i run multiple peices at one time, so i need this, but for startup the km series should be great. also look at some used commercial w/b. i personally have had great success w/ these. you could get along fine w/ a used 36" or 48" depemding on the sive yards you will be doing. i usually can find a used w/b for about the same as a "high-end" residential mower from the chain stores. stay away from debt especially as you start out for the reasons mentioned above. i have multiple trucks, mowers and all and am and always have been debt free. it is possible. also look professional and know your stuff, goes a long way w/ potential customers.
07-09-2008, 11:52 PM
First mower I bough was a brand new 48"TTHP, right along with a new 36" Viking. I was already dedicated to this kind of business, so I made the initial sacrafice, I'm glad I did too.
Then I bought a used 32" metro..I could live without the metro...but there's no way that I could have gotten the work I've gotten, as quick as I've got, and be able to do it without that 48"...I do mostly resi's.
Let me tell you about homeowner equipment...it just that:homeowner equipment, It'll do just fine cutting one yard all year, not getting banged up in a trailer. I have two homeowner 21" mowers...bought both brand new, The honda doesn't ever run anymore, and actually I just got the husky out of the shop today...It had a stuck valve that wouldn't allow it to start!
So If you can't spend 2-6K on a WB, you can get a real good 21" mower for $1000-$1500...but plan on not making as much money with it...theres only so much grass you can cut with those...not to metion anything real high.
07-11-2008, 10:37 AM
Thanks for all the info. I am sort of in the same boat.
I have a few accounts as I do the lawn service biz on the side of my full time job. I'm using my 21" Toro Recycler and I feel that even the small amount of work I currently have has been putting it through a beating. From this site I have been really intrigued by the Quick 36" and associated mowers. It seems as though those who have them can only say good things about them. I like their website and the mowers seem to be top quality at a reasonable price - even less than buying a similar used commercial walk-behind. I figure this will eventually be the way I will go.
As far as trimmers and edgers go, I'm using Echos that I bought for my residence last year. Both seem to be able to get any job done and are about $100 less than the Stihls. Overall, I see no major difference than the Stihls. You can find a good dealer and can count on good support for them as well. They start consistenly, run evenly and get the job done efficiently. Keep in mind I'm not servicing 30 accounts a week though.
dura to the max
07-11-2008, 03:48 PM
the echos might be $100 less than the stihls, but there is a reason. not name or saying stihl is far superior, but looking as far as the models that you're looking at being comparable, stihls and echos run almost neck in neck on the same sized machines. having a good dealer for you echos is good, if you're pleased w/ them and the dealer then i see no reason to change. (by the way i run all stihl)
07-11-2008, 04:36 PM
well there is were I STARTED I WENT ON LINE TO EQUIPMENT-TRADER ON LINE ,,THE SITE HAS USED MOWER'S,, I GOT ME A SCAG 48 INCH 19 HP KAW WITH ABOUT 500 HR'S GOOD SHAPE FOR AROUND $3500.00,,, THEN AFTER 3 YRS I GOT ME A NEW MACHINE,,SOME THING TO LOOK IN TO,,, THEN WENT TO PAWN SHOPS AND GOT ME A BLOWER,,EDGER,,WEEDEATER,, I THINK I PAID 150 FOR BLOWER,,, TRIMMER,, 75,,,,EDGER ,,,85, BUT U HAVE TO SHOP AROUND,,, BUT IT IS COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT,,, BUT I HAVE HEARD OF OTHER'S GOING TO EBAY AND HAVING PRETTY GOOD LUCK THERE,,,,:waving:
07-11-2008, 05:08 PM
go back to school and get out of this never ending work load while you can!! :)
It takes more start up money than you might imagine. If you bought a used belt-gear drive 48" machine for around $1,000.00-$1500.00; used commercial 21" for $500-$1,000; used blower-$150-$200; about the same for trimmer; also an edger; used 12' trailer-$800.00-$1000.00. Also, there are all kinds of necessary accessories-trimmer rack, fuel cans, shovels, rakes, etc. And you will want a sulky. You would be coming out real nice @ 3K and you haven't bought a business license, insurance, or commercial plates for your truck and trailer. I hope you have a truck. Then again, you could take a chance on cheaper homeowner equipment and get by for about 2/3 the cost. However, you will not like quality or performance of that stuff and you certainly won't like the image you project with it. Be a professional and use professional equipment and you will grow. Otherwise, you're just another guy with a 21" Craftsman hanging out of the trunk of his Buick. PLEASE, don't be that guy. Good luck with your decision and career. By the way, I have a 48" Husqvarna belt drive that is a great cutting machine for around $1000.00.
07-13-2008, 02:16 PM
go back to school and get out of this never ending work load while you can!! :)
Funny I am going to school and am studying turf science becuse I love this kind of thing. I guess I could Go and try to become a golf course superintendent but to rise to the big money in that could take as long as 10-15 years. In this business I can make it in 5 if I have a good business model and as you say a never ending work load that just means more money.
07-13-2008, 08:04 PM
it all depends on your money flow. if you could afford the used commercial mowers and equipment than buy it, but if not go with the residential equipment until you can do better. majority of lco started out small. work hard, try to save as much as you can.
07-13-2008, 09:50 PM
I have Jim Adams' book "Earn $300 a day mowing lawns" and he said he started with yard sale homeowner equipment, then upgraded as soon as he had enough cash flow to afford the payments on commercial equipment. In this economy, I wouldn't suggest financing and going in debt for equipment. It's ok to get started with a $50 mower if you have yards that are small enough it can handle them without killing you. If you do go with homeowner equipment to start out, don't buy new. The warranty will be void and you'll spend too much. A two year old homeowner mower could cost half of a new one, so you're saving the rest of the money for your upgrade.
For two-stroke handhelds, I do strongly recommend starting with low-end commercial stuff. An Echo SRM210 trimmer is $220, PB251 blower is $170. That's all you need to get started and it will last you pretty well. Resist the $100 or less Sears or Lowes equipment. It will rattle your hands off and have no power, plus only last a few months.
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