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randyhutch
11-20-2009, 01:28 PM
I am starting a new lawn care business in the spring and would really like some help on what I should purchase? Below is a list of things I already have. What should I buy if I had $10k to spend?

01' Chevy Silverado 1500
John Deere LX172 38" Rider
Stihl BR550 Blower
Stihl 90 Line Trimmer
Stihl Edger
Stihl MS290 Chain Saw
Stihl T81 Hedge Trimmers
Toro Commercial Push Mower 21"
Poulan Backup Line Trimmer

Things that I know I need to purchase is a standon or walk behind mower between 36" - 52" deck widths. Possibly a 60" zero turn mower, atleast a 16" dual axel trailer.

Questions
Mower, should I buy a a ZTR and a trailer and maybe a used walk behind? Or should I buy a nice stander and a walk behind? Or just a nice walk behind? I am going to be mostly just doing residential to start so what should I really go for?

Trailer, I do not have a space to house my trailer so I am thinking I should pick up a used covered trailer 16' + around $3k?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Ole' Hickory
11-20-2009, 06:12 PM
Welcome to the sight Randy,
Seems like you're on your way, do you have accounts lined up yet, and are you going solo or have employees ready to go?

SW Services
11-20-2009, 06:59 PM
why not start with a used walkbehind mower like a bobcat or scag roughly 32 to 36" and add a sulky to it that way you can ride around the yards. You can find good condition belt driven bobcat 36" wb's for good deals. I have seen them on craigslist selling for 500 dollars and just needed 1 or 2 replacement belts. With proper engine care they can last a forever with just replacing belts. Sounds like you have solid trimmers and a blower but I would add a push blower to your arsenal for leaves and debris.
I have a 4x8 and 5x8 trailer both open trailers. I am going to convert the 4x8 into a leaf trailer for the fall and also use that for mulch jobs during summer and spring. I would go with an open trailer at first until you know as a fact that your going to get enough buisness.
Also, starting with the walk behind you will be able to guage if your going to have large enough lawns where you would need a riding ztr. These are just my opinions.

randyhutch
11-22-2009, 07:52 PM
I do have around 12 accounts lined up so far but thats only 4 weeks into marketing. I will be going solo and my retired father in law offered assistance if I need it here and there?

I appreciate the advise and I do think I will be purchasing a walk behind mower. Anymore advise is appreciated.

SW Services
11-22-2009, 07:59 PM
whatever mower you do end up purchasing, if it is belt driven, make sure you keep at least one replacement belt of each one onboard with you in the truck or on the trailer. If one breaks in the field and you have to either go home or to a repair shop, its buying time you could be working. Also, keep an extra spool of trimmer line with you. Goes quick when you slam concrete retaining walls by accident.

swflagreenlawn
11-22-2009, 08:05 PM
Randy - I cut 10 a day solo to start and really enjoyed the profit with no help. Go solo as long as possible to start. Good Luck!

Ole' Hickory
11-22-2009, 11:21 PM
Congrats on the accounts, good work!!
My opinion,
If you are confident that the Deere can last a season or 2, then you have a solid 38" mower already -MAYBE I would pick up a used 48 or 52" WB, depends on how many more you pick up-- At your rate you may be one of those 40-50 account newbies by Spring! But if your solo and the Deere runs well, and you have some money to invest, I might start looking into a good deal on a used 350-550 range dump truck. You have some time so you could catch a good deal if research. An enclosed trailer is the way to go, and 16' is nice. I have a similar setup to yours and I only have a 12' enclosed. If you organize things (racks etc.) the stuff you have now will easily fit. 14' is good too.
I guess my point is that if you have 10K to spend, a dump truck ($6-8K) and an enclosed trailer (14' = $2K) will carry you and all your current equipment plus some material to the job with no added overhead, and at the rate which you are marketing, you can pick up another mower during or after the season. Plus you'll better know what size you should get.
Again, this is just how my mind works so do what you feel is right, but I think for you, a dump is a money maker!!!
Damn I wish I had $10K!!!!!

Ole' Hickory
11-22-2009, 11:29 PM
One more piece of advice.........
Leave the father in law out.

randyhutch
11-23-2009, 09:08 AM
I appreciate the advise, the father in law would have no stake in the company what so ever he would just be a helping hand if I got behind or needed some extra help here and there. I am planning on staying completely solo if I can. Thanks

Big C
11-25-2009, 12:46 AM
One more piece of advice.........
Leave the father in law out.

Yeah..that's a fukin disaster waiting to happen

MnGreen
11-25-2009, 02:51 AM
Don't spend $$$ just to think you need to.
With 12 - 20 accounts you have all you need already outside of a trailer.
Get a good used 14' open trailer for 1g or less and be set for 2 years.
Then start thinking long term investment needs when your customer base
grows. No need for over head @ this point imho

helidriver
11-29-2009, 12:38 PM
Hey randy, been there done that. Key is storage and anti theft. If you dont have a place to put your equip. Then enclosed is your only option. Theft is rampant in this industry. I lost a thousand dollars in equipment while i went into a wawa for a sandwich one day. Yup. Protect your hard earned money. Dont let someone walk away with it.
Next...a 54" rider/zturn is next. Go used and keep a few thousand of that money in liquid for the rainy days you will have. Protect your assets and keep some cash ready. Other than that....go to work and learn! Dont take any crap from the bigger guys, they all started where you are. Do good work and next year see what you dont need vs. What you know you need, o.k.
All the best. Stu.

integrityman
11-29-2009, 02:31 PM
Ditch the rider. They wont last and they kill you on maneuvering time. Get a walk behind PREFERABLY a hydro drive.

randyhutch
11-29-2009, 07:33 PM
Thanks Stu I appreciate it.

Randy

jeffslawnservice
11-29-2009, 08:12 PM
Hey randy, been there done that. Key is storage and anti theft. If you dont have a place to put your equip. Then enclosed is your only option. Theft is rampant in this industry. I lost a thousand dollars in equipment while i went into a wawa for a sandwich one day. Yup. Protect your hard earned money. Dont let someone walk away with it.
Next...a 54" rider/zturn is next. Go used and keep a few thousand of that money in liquid for the rainy days you will have. Protect your assets and keep some cash ready. Other than that....go to work and learn! Dont take any crap from the bigger guys, they all started where you are. Do good work and next year see what you dont need vs. What you know you need, o.k.
All the best. Stu.

I know your pain. I recently lost a blower while in a wawa too. I may have not lost thousands and it might have only been a crappy craphsman blower, but it was only in the wawa for about 5 minutes.

supercuts
11-30-2009, 12:49 PM
whatever mower you do end up purchasing, if it is belt driven, make sure you keep at least one replacement belt of each one onboard with you in the truck or on the trailer. If one breaks in the field and you have to either go home or to a repair shop, its buying time you could be working. Also, keep an extra spool of trimmer line with you. Goes quick when you slam concrete retaining walls by accident.

i have never ever had a drive belt snap and run them till they have deep cuts in them.

supercuts
11-30-2009, 12:56 PM
a walkbehind will be 2-3x faster than your riding lawn tractor and a ZTR will be 2x as fast as the walkbehind. if your think you'll have the work, spend alot of time looking for a sweet deal on craigslist. there are alot of people dumping great mowers on there. as far as a brand, find a good dealer close by and try to get a brand they sell. a good dealer is more important than brand IMO. when it breaks down, you'll need it fixed quick

helidriver
11-30-2009, 04:27 PM
yo jeff where you located.....I think wawa should give me a free lunch once a week for life over that one man...hahahahaa.

helidriver
11-30-2009, 04:34 PM
Hahahah....yeah, helping you out is a favor.....favors need returned and usually at the damndest times. hahaha