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View Full Version : Anything I should be doing now????


Jon99
07-09-2002, 08:42 PM
Starting a business in the spring, is there anything I should be doing now to make sure things are in place???

I am tossing the idea around of buying a mower right now and hoping to land some accounts, but since I am financing the purchase I would hate to toss $6K into a mower and have it parked for 8 months... On the other hand, the Scag dealer has two 48" Tiger Cubs that he is selling for $6K, once he sells the two promo models the price will be $7400, so perhaps I could actually save money by making the purchase now...

Turf Ranger
07-09-2002, 08:49 PM
wait until the winter to buy a mower... the prices will be down. But for now you should be making up flyers, business cards, ect... and i would try to get some accounts for next spring.... you dont want to go spend 6k without having work for it

Jon99
07-09-2002, 09:01 PM
I don't have a business phone line right now, should I spend the $20-30 a month so all of my fliers have the business number on them????

How should I go about lining up accounts for next spring??? If someone is looking for a LCO this time of year, won't they be looking for someone for right now??? Thats why I thought if I bought a mower now, I could try to line up some accounts now so I would have them for next spring...

And you are saying that $6K for a 48" ZTR is not a great deal, but rather one I will be able to match in the winter???

gogetter
07-09-2002, 09:34 PM
Jon, how big are the properties you'd be doing? Do you really NEED to go right for a $6k ztr, or could you start out with a less expensive walk behind?
If you can get by with a $2500 48" wb (or an even less expensive used machine), and if you have the time to take on some accounts now, I'd say go for it.
It'll be that many less you have to try to get next season. Plus it will give you a taste of it to see if it's really for you or not.

Barkleymut
07-09-2002, 09:42 PM
Get your pesticide license and start studying up on herbicides and fungicides and start treating your own lawn to see how everything works. Try your moms, uncles, cousins lawns too. Go bug the guys at Lesco and get some suggestions about chemicals too.

lawnkid
07-09-2002, 09:58 PM
I agree witht the others. I would wait for the business first then worry about buying new equipment. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get your foot in the door now so that people will be thinking of you in the spring. I also agree that you should wait to see the size of the properties you will be mowing before you go out and buy an unnecessary rider. Even though my only mower is a Scag, make sure that this dealer is one that will stand behind you and not just sell you a piece of equipment for your money and screw you off. Anyhow I would start out with a walkbehind. If you can afford a hydro, I would get one or else a belt drive would do. Anyway, good luck! :)

Pelican
07-09-2002, 10:19 PM
You stated "promo" machines, but perhaps you mean "demo"? If that's the case then you need to purchase them when they are available, but generally prices and financing incentives are better off season.

I would be looking for a hydro walk behind as my only machine, unless the terrain in your area is very level. The ZTRs aren't all that good in hilly areas and you'd have to be selective in the accounts you take. When you're just starting out, you can't afford to be selective.

DLS1
07-09-2002, 10:20 PM
I'm with the others. Get a 32" or 36" walkbehind so you can get through gates. How do you know you need a ztr yet? You don't. You may think you like mowing but after a few months you may not like it. Go through the hot summer next year first to see if you want to stick it out more than 1 year. I got 1,000 business cards for $12 at Officemax or one of those type of places. Leave off cell phone number. You can always write it on the card by hand when you get a cell phone next year when you start business.

Are you starting part-time or full-time. Don't give up your full-time job until you try mowing for a year. Think about the medical,etc. benefits you would be loosing from fulltime job.

Lots to think about and lots more advice others can give you.

Jon99
07-09-2002, 10:30 PM
First off, the dealer is a guy I worked for many years ago while I was in college and after college I worked for him on Saturdays, he will shoot me straight...

I have two reasons for wanting a new ZTR, first off I have the mechanical skills of a monkey, if something other than a belt breaks I will need to pay to have it repaired, so I want something reliable... Secondly, I have ran the Scag WB's long enough to know my hands can't take much more of that.. :)

As for the other questions, I live in central Illinois, land doesn't get much flatter than that... I have mowed since I have been 17, now I am 34 so I am sure I know enough about the business to realize I like it...

I am currently unemployed, working 20 hours a week so it doesn't effect my unemployment, so once I start this it will be a full time deal unless I don't have the accounts, then I will substitute teach on days I am not mowing.. My wife teaches so I am on her health insurance...

Thanks all, Jon

Pelican
07-09-2002, 10:48 PM
I've made far more repairs to my Skag ZTR than I ever have to the walkbehind, so if reliability is an issue, in my case the walkbehind wins. It's just a much more versitile machine, that's why everyone is recommending it.

If you feel your body's not up to the task, then why bother? There will be days that you'll have to work sun up to sun down to get caught up after a week of rain.

You've asked for input here, but it's beginning to sound as if you already have all the answers.

Jon99
07-09-2002, 10:57 PM
How much more versatile is the WB though??? While a WB will work better on small properties and in ditches (here in Illinois, thats our only hills) a ZTR will be more efficient on larger properties.. I guess another piece of my puzzle was that he wanted more money for a 52" WB than he wanted for the ZTR...

Another thought I had was buying a new ZTR and then picking up a used 36 in Scag for the pieces that a ZTR will be too large....

And I just wish I had a few answers....

Thanks again...

Turf Ranger
07-10-2002, 12:40 AM
have you ever tried the Toro walk behinds? they have T-Bar steering that is easy to use and doesnt tired out your hands.. and by the way what kind of ztr are we talking about? or did i miss it?

bruces
07-10-2002, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by Jon99
Starting a business in the spring, is there anything I should be doing now to make sure things are in place???

I am tossing the idea around of buying a mower right now and hoping to land some accounts, but since I am financing the purchase I would hate to toss $6K into a mower and have it parked for 8 months... On the other hand, the Scag dealer has two 48" Tiger Cubs that he is selling for $6K, once he sells the two promo models the price will be $7400, so perhaps I could actually save money by making the purchase now...

I am not familiar with the Scags, but a price of 6K for a 48" does not seem like that great a deal to me. I bought a 52" Toro Z w/ 19 hp Kaw last July for 6k plus tax. I would assume the machines are somewhat similar. If you have other dealers around, I would check prices. $7,400 definitely sounds overpriced for a 48".

I wouldn't think you would have much trouble picking up enough work to justify the mower if you get it now, but I don't really believe you are getting an exceptional bargain.

If you want to buy a mower now and you are going to finance it, a lot of companies (Toro & Exmark I know of) have some very attractive financing plans now.

Good luck.

HarryD
07-10-2002, 09:11 AM
now come on ive been running pistle grip walk behinds for 22 years and its not that hard on your hands.

first off do you have a truck and trailer to haul this equipment, then you must think about liability insurance
do you have a trimmer and a blower
plus if your gunna get a rider go bigger 52" or 60" a 48" rider is a waste IMO

if you can afford the ztr and a 36" walk behind go that route, theres gunna be a lot of 36" gates you will need to get through almost everyone now days has there back yard fenced in plus there always gunna be that property that you will need a 21" pusher

Jon99
07-10-2002, 04:20 PM
Thanks guys, especially about the price of a Toro in comparison... 22 years running WB's??? You are a better man than I.... :)

The only equipment I have right now is my 2001 F-150, a Shindaiwa blower and trimmer plus a 21" Deere that I just bought this spring for my yard....

The main reason I am not feeling the need for a 36" is because the guy I work for has about 75 residential properties and needs his 36" for all of three yards.. I would hate to buy a 36" and have the thing sit on the trailer all day...

What price range can I expect to spend on a used 52" WB in good condition???

bob
07-10-2002, 04:25 PM
Wait until next year. Most dealers have special financing in the spring anyway. Who knows, maybe you dealer will still have those 2 mowers then!

gogetter
07-10-2002, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by Jon99
What price range can I expect to spend on a used 52" WB in good condition???

Well, as an example, I picked up an unused Snapper 52" hydro wb for just under $3K. Btw, this has the "loop" steering, no pistol grips.
This may give you some idea of what's out there.

Jimbo
07-11-2002, 08:37 PM
Jon99,

Everyone else has had there say so I might as well add my .02

I started out with one 36" Scag WB, and a 21" push mower. After my first year I bought a 52 Scag ZTR $6700.00

If I were you I would start out with a WB, and then move up. However if you are dead set on a ZTR, then wait until Winter and see if the demo units drops in price. I dont think many people are going to be buying equipment this late in the year, so it should be around come Fall.
I would recommend at least a 52" for a ZTR. If your properties are anywhere near open I would go bigger than 52"

The last thing you want to do is pay big money and be upset because the deck is too small to make good time on larger properties. After all thats why people by ZTR's right (to mow large areas fast? Most people don't buy them because WB's hurt their hands.
P.S. In my area the difference between a 52", and 60" deck is about $150.00 (not bad in my opinion).

Jim