View Full Version : How would you spend your $330

Nichols Quality Yard Care
08-01-2008, 02:51 AM
Ok, heres whats up. Im just starting out and looking to aquire about 10-15 basic mowing accounts (mowing, weedeating, edging, hedge trimming). I have a pretty good husquvarna weedeater, a decent blower, hedge clippers, and backup weedeater. However i have just an old 21" craftsman pushmower with no bagger and no self propel. So im looking to spend about $330 at sears (i have a card) on a mower. What should I get? they have Craftsman, Husquvarna, and Snapper. Hopefully if everything goes well this will become my backup mower for next year and I will get a really nice bigger walk behind

Guzman Properties
08-01-2008, 03:30 AM
Gamble the $330 in lottery tickets, on line poker or do a Bingo night at the church.

08-01-2008, 03:52 AM
Whatever you get just plan on saving up and replacing it asap. Those homeowner mowers only get you so far.

Nichols Quality Yard Care
08-01-2008, 04:01 AM
I do plan on replacing it with something way better in the spring if everything goes as planned. Right now im just getting about 10-15 basic mowing accounts. I have a full time job as a pressman making pretty good money but who couldn't use a lil more. Right now Im just doing this solo so i can earn money so i can buy better gear so i can earn more money. im just needing a mower to get me started. im thinking either the Husqvarna or Snapper. hopefully it will survive to become a backup later.

08-01-2008, 07:35 AM
Are you going to be able to use your sears card to but a Business License and Insurance? What about gas for the mower and your truck?

I never want to discourage anyone from getting into the business, but save up at least a little and do it right!

And stay away from credit cards, that $330 mower will end up costing you twice that.

08-01-2008, 10:44 AM
I would spend my first $330 on advertising. Why buy equipment if you have no customers?

08-01-2008, 11:43 AM
That's kind of like folks asking where they might buy a car for $10...

Now you may not want to hear this but you need about 5 or 10 grand, when folks say this is one of
the cheapest businesses to get into all that means is it doesn't cost 50 or 100 grand, but free it isn't
and there's no real shortcuts to it, even a grand or two won't do and I highly discourage against taking
things out on credit...

Because they are right, you still need a license and insurance and a truck and a trailer
and tools and supplies and certain liquids (like oil) and a bunch of handheld stuff, too.
$330 gets you a nice string trimmer around my part of town.

If money is a problem, you can not and will not survive in this business.
So the first lesson to be learned is how to manage (read: save) your money,
once you have acquired that tool you'll be somewhat ready, my take on that.

I would spend my first $330 on advertising. Why buy equipment if you have no customers?

I don't know if that's such a good idea, we've had one or two over the years come around, they went out and acquired a slew of customers and gave estimates, then found themselves unable to get the work done because they still didn't have neither money nor equipment.

No offense to you, it might work for some folks but it's still a gamble.

08-01-2008, 11:50 AM
If you’ve got $330 to spend I’d hold off on the sears trip and pick something up off of craigslist or a garage sale real cheap. What I mean is why spend that money when you could spend $50 and get something that would do the same job. What you’re looking for is a basic mower that you’ll end up tossing later so why spend more than you need to.

08-01-2008, 11:54 AM
Take $4,buy a bus ticket to the nearest Military recruiting station.

08-01-2008, 01:12 PM
My 32" Toro T-Bar was from craigslist. Got it for $300 last year and she's still running great!

Dunlaps LawnCare
08-01-2008, 01:41 PM
$330 on advertising

08-01-2008, 01:46 PM
im just needing a mower to get me started. im thinking either the Husqvarna or Snapper.

Well, let's see..... The Husqvarna and the Craftsman are both made by HusqvarnaAB, so that's a wash, and the Snapper is made by Briggs&Stratton and based heavily on the Murray push mowers instead of the previous Snapper quality mowers, so I think what I would do if you have a "regular" job and decent credit, is find an actual dealer that can qualify you for a YardCard or Sheffield financing, and use the 6 or 12 Months SAC plans to buy you a decent mower instead of spending $330 on a mower made for one postage stamp size lot a week.:hammerhead:

08-01-2008, 04:35 PM
When your budget is in the hundreds, you're not ready to start a business.

08-01-2008, 05:04 PM
I started out with 3500 of equipment and paid it off by the end of the first season. 3 years later I have a 48" Hustler W/B, kaw blower, red max weed eater, echo blower (stolen) kaw weed eater (stolen) and a trailer all paid off.

08-01-2008, 05:40 PM
i would survive the rest of the year with ur old mower and just buy somthing good next year.

08-01-2008, 06:31 PM
You can not start with $300. And think twice before entering, there's no future in this business.

Forget about 21" mowers altogether, they're useless. I paid $1100 for a commercial push mower and it's sitting on the trailer doing nothing. These machines are just not productive, period.

Spend the $300 on a trimmer (example Stihl FS-80) + accessories. Ask kindly and borrow $2500 from family members or consider a loan. Then get a Quick 36 with a 16hp kaw and you're in business (properly) with 2 year of warranty to fend of disasters. Good luck.

08-01-2008, 11:10 PM
Ditto on the advertising. I was in the exact same position a year and a half ago and the $300 spent on advertising was way more important than the equipment. My Craftsman 21got me down the road far enough to get established and buy better equipment (Quick 36Sam).

08-02-2008, 01:07 AM
Not sure where in Central Ar. you are but most of my weekly jobs are dying out. Plus with no rain and 100 degree days all next week, who knows ??? My advice is run what you got, save your money, and prepare for next year. I was in the same boat you where this time last year. Just save your money and invest in reliable commercial grade equipment. A wise old man told me once " if you don't have the money to do it right the first time, you'll have to spend twice as much, to do it right the second time " Don't know if that helps, but listen to what these guys have to say. Paul

Nichols Quality Yard Care
08-02-2008, 03:12 AM
Ok first..I already have a business license and insurance. I am a pressman at a large printing company full time so i printed myself out 7500 business cards and 600 Nice flyers..more where that came from if i need it. I own a 2003 Chevy Silverado x-cab z71 for my truck. I have plenty of money set aside for gas and repairs and oil and trimmer line and a cooler full of bottled water. I am wanting to feel my way into this slow...NOT investing a small fortune on lawn equipment..I want my business profit to buy my nicer gear. I am trying to get into some cheaper gear (YES I know i will have to replace it or upgrade it soon) so the cheap gear can make a lil money to buy some better gear, and then that can make some money to buy even better gear..and so on and so on..Im not some 15 year old kid mowing his moms and grandmas yard, But i am not about to invest my familys savings on a bunch of high dollar gear for a buisness that I dont know for a fact will survive. Im going to get out there on the bottom, bust my butt, pray, and let my buisness build itself. My boss at the print shop gave me some advice.."Never put YOUR personal money on the line unless you know for sure". His company is a 7 million dollar business and he has never put a penny of his money on the line. The best advice ive seen on this post was to buy some cheaper used gear...cheap gear is cheap gear? I think I will go that route...Thanks yardkeeper and toac. I thank all of you for the advice but not a single person threw in an answer to the question. everyone assumed I had no clue what i was getting myself into.

08-02-2008, 09:04 AM
I thank all of you for the advice but not a single person threw in an answer to the question. everyone assumed I had no clue what i was getting myself into.

OK here's your answer, pick which color you like best because it doesn't really matter. For $300 it's a blade attached to an engine with some wheels and a handlebar. Unless your mower doesn't work, spending $300 on the same unit you already have isn't money well spent. That's why you're getting the advice to spend it on something else or save it and add more to it so you can buy a decent mower.

Maybe our advice isn't what you wanted to hear but it's coming from people who've battled through the start-up mistakes and are looking back on it in hind sight.

08-02-2008, 10:08 AM
not a single person threw in an answer to the question. everyone assumed I had no clue what i was getting myself into.

There are a lot of people on this site that have bought $300 crappy mowers (like me), that would not advise you to do so (like me). Did you expect someone to say "Yeah!! get the Craftsman, that thing RULES!" If so, this may be the wrong site...you may want to look at Consumers Reports.

So it looks to me like you got lots of answers, but not the one you were looking for. Look, you just got thousands of dollars worth of free advice on how to get started...all from a pointless question regarding a $300 POS mower. Just buy one, use it, wreck it, junk it or sell it, and get on with it.

Marvelous Gardens
08-02-2008, 12:30 PM
Buy the cheapest rear wheel drive mower you can, then spend the rest on advertisement, and spend a few days going door to door trying to find clients, after your first few clients start putting commercial equip. in your budget along with insurance. I started out with all craftsman equip. basic riding mower, and push mower, and weed-eater brand line trimmers. I pulled it all behind a DODGE STRATUS and a POS trailer. Keep in mind its not where you start but where you finish, and dont let anybody discourage you. By the way six years later we have a Chevy Dura-Max for our work truck, an enclosed trailer, a landscape trailer, and all echo power tools, and scag mowers.

08-02-2008, 01:26 PM
Since you have a truck and a 21" mower already, why not get an older belt drive 36"?
You might have to do some digging and travelling, but I think it that will get you started, plus you might be able to sell it for what you paid down the road.

Allens LawnCare
08-02-2008, 04:00 PM
I don't use a commercial push mower beause $800-1000 isn't worth it for me, I use it once a week. Heres the deal....Don't buy a front wheel propelled mower.they suck, the cut sucks because they suck.....get a rear wheel propelled.......Look for a snapper high vac machine. I have a 6 3/4hp 22" Craftsman and the snapper runs circles around it. The craftsman bogs down in high grass etc....

08-02-2008, 11:25 PM

Here ya go !! No credit card needed.

08-02-2008, 11:43 PM
That's how I started this year... I spend 3(!) weeks driving around and placing flyers (print+gas+time)=$1000 I did 4000+flyers. I got 60"Exmark AS+3 bagger ultra vac=$12000 then I got Viking for back up 48" (ebay)=$1800. I rebuild my box truck (added tail and ramp)=$1200 Then I got sthil blower+trimer+heige trimer=$1200 plus catcher for Viking=$200 and hand held eqwp+$500. Yes I still paying my loan from Sheffield, but I got 46 customers, and planning pay off everything next month...so what we have here...$17700 so far and there is no END to spending if you want make some of it! My advise thing twice before do something like this, you have to be prepared, those guys out there (other LCO's) they have to do it too and it's tuff to get your place under the sun!

08-19-2008, 01:08 AM
haha yea im going to have to agree with most the guys on here. i have 5 pieces of stihl equpiment and i think the cheepest one i have was 300$ i have about $2000 just in my side equipment. not counting the vehicle or trailer or the 7-8+ grand you spend on a commercial mower....

08-19-2008, 02:36 AM
I love the reply on page 2 Nichols!!! Very well said.... I am not a pro or anything. I am on here also for suggestions like yourself. But here is my 2 cents... I would suggest be patient and browse local papers and craigslist like others on this thread has mentioned. I see a lot of good deals on there. Sometimes people move to a smaller residence and sell there equipment really really cheap. I added a link on bottom of page for you if you are not familiar with craigslist. Click the closet town to you then click farm and garden. Sometimes they are scattered around in other links as well. Good luck BRO!!


08-19-2008, 03:01 PM
Craigslist- just got a echo blower and a sthil hedge trimmer for $350

08-19-2008, 03:57 PM
The $350 21" lawnmower I bought for my guys to mow inside of small gates blew up in a month and a half, You get what you pay for. Sure its under warranty but we have to wait for it to be repaired. Things don't always go as planned, especially when you curse yourself with crap equipment. Save up for a nice commercial 36", or 48" walk behind new or used, If your business doesn't go as planned you can always sell it. I know you don't want to spend much money, but its pretty selfish to start a landscape company offering professional service and then cut their lawn with $300 21" walkbehind they can buy at sears. The customer deserves more respect than that.

08-19-2008, 04:43 PM
I am certainly not big time, but what I would do is what I did. I also have a full time job, and just wanted some extra cash. I had a murray, homelite string trimmer and a push broom. Started with one client, and saved the money made. When I got another client I needed to speed up my operation so I got a blower. Got another client, got a new mower, and then an echo string trimmer. As I started getting clients I upgraded my equipment to suit my needs. Now I have 11 clients, and am looking to start upgrading all of my equipment to the next level.
So to answer your question I would start with a good blower.

08-20-2008, 07:37 PM
I kinda think it depends on his target market and the size of the lawn. Here it would be crazy to buy a ztr avg lawn size 1000 sq feet, a 21" mower works fine, problem here every mex and his brother doing it. Personally I think starting with low overhead is key, he already has a job so no big deal if things don't fly. Try to find out how many peeps are doing mow and blow, here its not to hard to know evey mex and his bro is driving around with mowers. Anyways I think you should use what you have, focus on advertizing, stay out of debt, and invest in new equip as needed with monies made from doing the business. This will create low risk if you cant get buis or if you decide this racket is not for you.

Kennedy Landscaping
08-21-2008, 12:58 AM
Put a tank of gas in the truck. Lol