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Captain Brendan
11-08-2009, 07:32 PM
This is my first post on the forum. I am looking to open a small lawn and landscape company this upcoming spring. At first it will only be part time for myself and brother until we are able to gather a good amount of accounts. That we could part from our current jobs. I have been doing my research about just about everything. But when it comes down to mower selection everyone seems to go in different directions. We were planning on getting the following kawi 750 backpack blower and kawi string trimmer and a small open trailer for starters we already have a 21" push. As for our main mower we are not sure which way to go. put out less money and get a 36" walk behind used. Figuring we will need it in the future anyway to get threw those 39-42" gates. Or just bit the bullet and get a ZTR right off the bat. :confused:. Any help full suggestions would be really appreciated.

FYS777
11-08-2009, 09:08 PM
????
do you have accounts now?
what is your start up budget?

get some accounts first!!
If it was me I'd go with the w/b first, then build up!!

Captain Brendan
11-08-2009, 10:55 PM
As of right now we do not have accounts. We have just been trying to plan out our budget. We are trying to keep it as low as possible yet being realistic about looking semi-professional (not pushing some rusty antique around there property). We have been building our business plan and the only 2 things we have left is deciding upon an accurate amount of capital to get the ball rolling. As well as the best area in which we would focus most of our advertising. Also is there any formula or suggestion upon how big of a deck size to get? The area in which we will be mowing a large variations in lot sizes. The smallest would be like 100x100 up to lots of 2 acres or so. I had plans of a 36wb or 36ztr and then a 60ztr in the future depending upon customer response.

LouisianaLawnboy
11-09-2009, 12:55 AM
If you plan on getting smaller subdivision lots, then I would spring for a 36" ZTR, two trimmers, and a bp blower all on a 5x8 trailer with racks and a toolbox. If you go used you could proly get all of that for under 5000.00.

Allens LawnCare
11-09-2009, 08:24 AM
If your cutting lots and only need a 36" don't pay the extra for a ZTR, stick with a walk behind and save the extra dough. I'd start with this:
6.5x10 open trailer (so if you get a ZTR at some point you have some room)
1 36" walkbehind
1 21" push
2 Trimmers
1 or 2 Blowers (Mainly for fall clean ups)
Hedge trimmers (If your gonna cut)

Landscape Poet
11-09-2009, 09:53 AM
If you plan on getting smaller subdivision lots, then I would spring for a 36" ZTR, two trimmers, and a bp blower all on a 5x8 trailer with racks and a toolbox. If you go used you could proly get all of that for under 5000.00.

I second this setup - it is what I started with - ZTR fits anywhere you need it but adds the speed you will want. Saves on operator fatigue so it is a wise investment.
Of course with Zero Customers it is overkill, however if you do good work you will grow rapidly enough that it will come in handy.

Many will come on here and suggest that a WB is the way to go as compared to ZTR. I am telling you that a ZTR can be used in place of WB without any issues as I have done it. Many will tell you that a ZTR is too big to fit in many areas - Not true if you start out with small ZTR because it is actually smaller in length than some WB with Sulky.
Best thing about this is not only will you not fatigue as quickly, later if you grow and your main Zero Turn has to go to the shop, you can still use it to keep on track, you can still use it to get in your gated properties. Ask anyone that owns a small zero turn like myself - you can get them to work anywhere a WB can, you just are not as warn out at the end of the day!:weightlifter:

If you are positive this is what you guys want to do - go with small ZT and I can tell you that you will be happy in the long run.

Captain Brendan
11-09-2009, 03:35 PM
Thanks guys I am going to start researching some 36" ztr's. Any suggestions on make and what I should look to pay. For a fairly used machine. Thanks again guys get help. :clapping:

LouisianaLawnboy
11-09-2009, 03:57 PM
Under 3000.00 for a good commercial unit with relatively low hours.
Posted via Mobile Device

Landscape Poet
11-09-2009, 04:19 PM
On the make - find a good dealer in your area - one that can service your needs - ask them how long parts take on average to get parts etc. This will be critical for you. Down time when you have a full book is not a good thing. Other than that - it is up to your personal preference just as long as it is commercial grade. If possible ask for demo time. This is the only way you will really know how well it will handle out in the field.

Landscape Poet
11-09-2009, 04:30 PM
Although the person did not do a good job of cleaning up the mower before pictures - and the price is a little high - this is an example of what is out there if you do some looking around. 200 something hours is not a lot of hours for a commercial mower just in case you do not know.
Good luck and do lots of looking and find what will work for you. Go with you instinct and not JUST what people here tell you.

Allens LawnCare
11-09-2009, 05:28 PM
Although the person did not do a good job of cleaning up the mower before pictures - and the price is a little high - this is an example of what is out there if you do some looking around. 200 something hours is not a lot of hours for a commercial mower just in case you do not know.
Good luck and do lots of looking and find what will work for you. Go with you instinct and not JUST what people here tell you.

That's true, good solid advice.....come to a help forum, ask questions and then go with your instincts, not just what people here tell you.

MowingMowingMowing
11-09-2009, 06:10 PM
I think that buying a ZTR is the wrong choice. It is going to be more expensive and what happens if you need to mow hills/slopes/inclines, etc. the zero turn will be useless (unless every lot you get is flat). If you are really worried about getting worn about from a walk behind, buy a velke.

I would advise buying a used walk behind (preferrably a hydro unit). You can find some good deals now on Craigslist (people getting into lawn care now getting out) or dealers (left over models, demos etc.).

Good luck!

unkownfl
11-09-2009, 06:45 PM
I have tried many setups this year my customers are starting to scratch there head when I show up with a different mower every week. I have came to the conclusion it is pointless to have two and three types of mowers unless you want to make less money. I spend way to much on gas hauling my trailer around it is useless because when you start up your accounts are going to be every where you get a job within reason and won't have a whole street right off the bat. The best mower for me is my wright 36 stander. It can mower anything a walk behind and more because you don't have a sulky making it longer or harder to back up. It weighs the same as a hydro 36 and is slightly shorter so it will fit on a trailer when you get big enough to get a 60 inch. I had a gear driver w/b 36 which is a no no in Florida. It rains all summer everyone waters in the morning and basically you can't mow until its hot and the water bakes off. The hydro is a big step up but reverse sorta sucks because you have the sulky so its like backing a trailer up in tight spots I found my self hanging it up to back off and on the trailer the thing is a PIA to unload because you have to hang it up or reverse super slow and so on 10 lawns a day and takes extra room and leaves weird lines blah blah. With the stander I can be a lot more productive then the walk behind with a sulky. I know the additional cost is slightly higher but is well worth it. I would not get a 36 rider because they are not really commercial quality to me. Like mentioned above if it will be your only mower a 36 rider will not work the first hill you mow you will see a 36 rider can't go across as it is to narrow and you can't really shift your weight like a w/b or stander.

Captain Brendan
11-10-2009, 09:27 AM
Thanks again guys. I am having a hard time looking for any decent commercial grade mower for under $3000. That is not old or have over 2000hrs. On that note at what point does a mower have a lot of hours? For example is 1000hrs a lot? :confused:

Allens LawnCare
11-10-2009, 09:44 AM
A machine that has been maintained correctly can last 2500...on the other hand I've seen machines with 130hrs that needed the engine replaced

XLS
11-10-2009, 10:24 AM
time for my bashing ........if on a budget look at a 3016 husqvarna its a cheap -o unit we have run it day in and day out this year with out a problem at all it is a single blade with a stamped deck but a good $$$2200.oo unit new

XLS
11-10-2009, 10:25 AM
it runs 7.8 mph i think they rate them at 6.5 mph

Landscape Poet
11-10-2009, 10:37 AM
I The best mower for me is my wright 36 stander. . I would not get a 36 rider because they are not really commercial quality to me. Like mentioned above if it will be your only mower a 36 rider will not work the first hill you mow you will see a 36 rider can't go across as it is to narrow and you can't really shift your weight like a w/b or stander.

I agree that the wright 36 Stander would be a fine choice if you can afford it and have a good dealer in your area. unknowfl - I use only a 36 rider - I have hills that I can mow with them - I have not come across a property down here that I could not mow yet. I have 8 homes in the Gated section of Oviedo Forest that are all water front with a deep swell. I will try to take pictures on Thursday when I am out there so you guys can see what is possible with a 36 rider. Now I have not used that many 36 riders, so I can not say this is accurate for all of them, however my little Hustler Mini Z gets the job done.
You do not think that a 36 is really commercial quality? LOL - maybe you have not looked at the Hustlers- they and are made just like the 48 only slightly smaller - same warranty etc. It is a little tank. Now from what I know - the 36 riders are no longer available so this my not be a option for him, but from what I know, he is not looking to buy new anyway.

Landscape Poet
11-10-2009, 10:39 AM
Got to go now - I got to take my non commercial (LOL) 36 rider out and provide maintainence on 14 properties today - just praying it holds up - LOL - trust me these little guys are great for a solo operation!

XLS
11-10-2009, 10:43 AM
i dont understand why everyone thinks you have to get a commercial unit on start up
crap buy something cheap and dependable and in a season you will know if new business is going to take off and then run the cheap-o untill it dies and buy a better setup .
SIMPLE

tropical breeze
11-10-2009, 11:18 AM
I am starting with a murry 17.5 horse 42in cut a 5x8 open trailer with racks and a tool box a push mower a robi weed eater a blower few shovels and a rake. need a few more things. Not the best but payed for all clean blades are sharp and everything start first or second time every time. As I grow so will my equipment. KEEP YOUR OVER HEAD LOW AS POSIBLE. I payed $ 1400 for all on craigslist.

XLS
11-10-2009, 11:23 AM
we will do our startups with a dovetail truck one primary unit ,trimmer blowers ect for less then $6 k for the setup and it will be 1000 hours before we worry about the upgrades at all

Captain Brendan
11-10-2009, 01:13 PM
Ok so for example then for the first year do you think a 36" ztr non commercial for $2000 new would be a better descion then a high hour commercial machine. To get my feet wet. Or are they complete nightmares and unable to make it threw a season. Cause if it could I would just sell it cheap and up-grade the next coming season if things worked out.

unkownfl
11-10-2009, 07:12 PM
Got to go now - I got to take my non commercial (LOL) 36 rider out and provide maintainence on 14 properties today - just praying it holds up - LOL - trust me these little guys are great for a solo operation!

Im not bashing your fastrac but even there website says it is not commercial. Look under commercial and show me where there is a 36 inch cut rider!!!

Captain Brendan
11-10-2009, 11:38 PM
Just to keep the thread rolling. I am still doing some serous research spoke to a good friend of mine that lives in what would be a great neighborhood. All the lots are like 100x125 100's of houses all tight together. So I asked him what pays to have the lawn cut. This is unbelievable. He says he had a company come to the house like 2 years ago and this is what they charge and do. Every week front yard cut and trimmed $11 every third week back yard as well another $13. And he claims now these guys do like the whole development. Is this common? Do you guys come across this a lot.

FYS777
11-11-2009, 02:16 AM
Just to keep the thread rolling. I am still doing some serous research spoke to a good friend of mine that lives in what would be a great neighborhood. All the lots are like 100x125 100's of houses all tight together. So I asked him what pays to have the lawn cut. This is unbelievable. He says he had a company come to the house like 2 years ago and this is what they charge and do. Every week front yard cut and trimmed $11 every third week back yard as well another $13. And he claims now these guys do like the whole development. Is this common? Do you guys come across this a lot.

I've seen this here, dont know about the price though. but were i have seen it the front lawns are only about 500 square feet of grass, all open and they use a 36 " with a sullky. they can do around 20 fronts in 40 min, even if it took an hour, that would be 220 bucks an hour, sounds good.

XLS
11-14-2009, 09:38 PM
we have 500 lawns like this at 25 and the guys use a 30" z non comercial cost $2100+tax and onlytrops the gate 5 times a week

Landscape Poet
11-15-2009, 12:43 PM
Im not bashing your fastrac but even there website says it is not commercial. Look under commercial and show me where there is a 36 inch cut rider!!!

Bought it last year at the end of the season. It is not the regular fastrak - It is the MINI Z - not the same thing. It is commercial - sold as commercial -built commercial - commercial warranty.

They no longer make them - 07 was the last season - that is why I got this one at such a good deal - the shop bought in 3 from a dealer in Colorado that went under.

The closest thing that you can compare it to I think the closest thing you can compare it to that they have now is the Z4.
Do a search here under Mini Z - you should be able to pull up thread in Hustler forum that PJ explains it.

I understand you were not bashing - but just wanted to set the facts straight

Landscape Poet
11-15-2009, 12:55 PM
Here is a link for anyone else that is interested in a Commercial 36 zero turn...LOL at you unknown -
http://www.a1tractor.net/HustlerNewProd.htm

g21
11-15-2009, 09:04 PM
Brendan,
I think a good 36 walk-behind, maybe a stand-on attachment and some good two-cycle equipment will be all you need to get your operation up and running. Let me know if I can help you on the business end.

Good Luck.
Tommy

Captain Brendan
11-17-2009, 12:12 AM
Thanks tommy (Checked out your company interesting stuff). Spoke to a friend in the business this week and he told me get the ztr out of my head. Until I have a good 36" wb. He says he has a couple lawns a week that he is unable to use his ztr's on due to slopes. So I was leaning towards a belt driven 36" Bobcat wb new. I know hydros are better don't slip in the rain or morning dew ect. But I think I would rather save some of my capital to put towards a 61" ztr ( if we get enough accounts). Cause I feel that with out a larger ztr we will not be nearly as productive as we could be. Thanks again guys this site is a real help.

Captain Brendan
11-19-2009, 10:31 AM
Came across 2 2005 scag belt driven 36" walk behinds with baggers. Apparently have approx 1,000 hours or some on them. Would $3000 for both be a good deal?

XLS
11-20-2009, 09:48 PM
if you are prepaired to possiblly repower or add a hydro pump to one of them then go for it we have guys that are running 1600 hours a year on units and depending on the maintenance schedules on the units the engines could be nearing their lives we repower at 1200 to 1500 hours on some to as high as 2200 on others so i would say take the chance and make money as long as they can .

XLS
11-21-2009, 10:25 AM
just to clear the air i had 0 accounts when i bought first setup a 50" dixion in august that fall i needed leaves cleaned up and no way to do it so i bought a 36"walker $8500.oo cash with 0 cleanup accounts just a few homeowners i had mowed for that late in the year . by april i was out of debt with the bank and had plans on another walker .
dont think because you dont have accounts you cant get them we run 1000 hors that first year on the walker the dixion had 750 or so .

Allens LawnCare
11-21-2009, 09:54 PM
Glad you cleared the air!

XLS
11-21-2009, 11:25 PM
i bet your glad j/k