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View Full Version : Looking for a Zero Turn to start small mowing business.


EBlanton
10-01-2010, 08:00 PM
Hello, I am looking for some suggestions on zero turns. I and a friend are thinking of starting a small mowing business. We are looking to take on maybe 6-10 yards, no more than that because we have full time jobs. We may get a few cemeteries, but most yards will be 1.5 acres or less. What would be a good mower to go with? What features should I mainly focus on when shopping for mowers? My budget is about $4000-$5000. Thanks for you input. Be Blessed!

grassrootsnc
10-01-2010, 08:15 PM
dealer support will be your biggest concern. with that budget you need to be looking at a walk behind or a used commercial Z. Im in the same boat as you but I already have 11 clients and need to upgrade my mower for next season. the one thing that i have read on here is to look at the dealers in your area. for 4-5k you are looking at getting an entery level commercial mower new. something that will not last a long time to be honest. but for that budget you can get a nice hydro walk behind new. but really go to all the dealers around your area cause to be honest here in my area there are a couple that will never get my business and there are 2 that will probably get my money.

chris@perfectlawncare
10-01-2010, 08:17 PM
Hello, I am looking for some suggestions on zero turns. I and a friend are thinking of starting a small mowing business. We are looking to take on maybe 6-10 yards, no more than that because we have full time jobs. We may get a few cemeteries, but most yards will be 1.5 acres or less. What would be a good mower to go with? What features should I mainly focus on when shopping for mowers? My budget is about $4000-$5000. Thanks for you input. Be Blessed!

The search function at the top of the page should help with your mower search. I'd go to the "Starting a Lawncare Business" forum and search for that.

As for my suggestion, get a used hydro walkbehind (turf tracer HP, Scag, Toro T-bar, etc., etc.) off of craigslist. You should be able to find one for about 4000. When you check the machine out, check the oil, get it hot to test the hydros, ask for receipts, etc.

And if you'd like to keep your full time jobs, don't go for cemeteries.

kilgoja
10-01-2010, 10:24 PM
if you spend just a bit more you can get a great ztr commercial mower brand new...my hustler z4 was like $7000....you can get a hustler fast trak super duty for $6000 which is an entry commercial mower

doubleedge
10-01-2010, 10:56 PM
I also recommend the fast trak super duty; mine has worked well so far (about 140 hrs).

Jpocket
10-03-2010, 06:28 PM
I dont think you will pay for the machine in a season or two with 6-10 lawns unless they are paying big bucks

punt66
10-03-2010, 06:55 PM
10 lawns x $40 cut = 1600 month. Wouldnt take too long to pay for it. Ferris has a is1500 ztr for $5900. Cant go wrong there! Plenty of used ones for $3-4g.

mbrew
10-03-2010, 06:59 PM
I dont think you will pay for the machine in a season or two with 6-10 lawns unless they are paying big bucks

I was thinking the same thing. The profit just isn't going to be there.

mbrew
10-03-2010, 07:06 PM
10 lawns x $40 cut = 1600 month. Wouldnt take too long to pay for it. Ferris has a is1500 ztr for $5900. Cant go wrong there! Plenty of used ones for $3-4g.

3.6 months of working for nothing but a mower and that doesn't include operating costs or other equipment (trailer?) that may have to be bought. It's easy to work a whole summer and put nothing in your pocket.

CLARK LAWN
10-03-2010, 07:08 PM
i second the used W/B, if you find out this isnt for you your not out too much money. even for a 1.5 acre lawn get a sulky and it wont be to bad.

punt: 1600 per month GROSS say $200 / month in gas (equipment and truck), insurance ( GL and comm. auto) 100-150/ month, misc $100/month. now your down to $1200/month, $400 to uncle same leaves you $800. like what was said 2 seasons to break even if everything went to pay for the mower.

adblackett
10-03-2010, 07:32 PM
Also keep in mind, if you don't get the "right" customers, you'll be screwed like me. Not one of my customers will let me mow weekly, honestly they don't need it. I have a hard time on a few of them every two weeks. You need to get the subdivisions where everyone has irrigation systems. So that $1600 w/ 10 customers can easily be $800 a month with the wrong customers (biweekly).

Sammy
10-03-2010, 10:18 PM
Hello, ........... I and a friend are thinking of starting a small mowing business. .........................

If you want to remain friends, don't start a business with him.

Trust me, it won't work out.

Southern Pride
10-04-2010, 01:01 AM
It doesn't really matter if the lawns don't initially pay the mower right off fellas. These guys already work full time. By the time the lawns do pay off the mower it should be nice gig for that extra $...
1.Exmark
2.Exmark
3.Exmarrr ok... Scag
I don't know much about the Ferris, noone uses them down south really. Exmark and Scag are like your Ford and Chevy with Exmark being the chevy :D and Scag being Ford. These brands are PROVEN. I wouldn't stray too far on some side deal some non proven company is trying to promote their crap mowers.

MAKE SURE you get a kawasaki engine on that mower.
Realistically If I were yall I would go for a used 48" exmark turftracer walkbehind with a Kawasaki engine. 6-10 lawns isn't really calling for a ZTR unless they are all 1.5-2 acres. I handle 25 residentials alone with my 36" exmark no probs. Just because you have 4-5000 doesn't mean it should all go into the mower. Do you have a good trailer? Good strong reliable trimmers and blowers? Be careful in a partnership with a friend, it can get complicated quick...Tried that with a guy last season because together we had enough money to do something but seperately did not and we were sick of working for someone else. Looking back the problem was him. He was manipulative and trying to lopside things because his daddy and brother collectively bought him a 16ft trailer, and a whole entourage of commercial stuff. Now, I busted my ass and bought everything in my sig, started my own business (from 3-25 customers since April), and he works at a bank. (Because he's spoiled and cannot handle to responsibility of owning his own business) Make sure your friend is responsibile, trustworthy, and has a good work ethic and understand what a partnership means. You realize you will have to have twice the customer base to be as profitable as if you just did it yourself. Jointly owning a $5000 ZTR trailer trimmers and blowers can get complicated so just be sure to watch out for yourself. If you were solo, you'd only have to have 5 yards to be as profitable w/ this guy. I'll quit blabbing but when I see someone talk about it I have to give my experienced opinion.

rain man
10-04-2010, 02:39 AM
Also keep in mind, if you don't get the "right" customers, you'll be screwed like me. Not one of my customers will let me mow weekly, honestly they don't need it. I have a hard time on a few of them every two weeks. You need to get the subdivisions where everyone has irrigation systems. So that $1600 w/ 10 customers can easily be $800 a month with the wrong customers (biweekly).

South Bend will be getting some new competitors soon in the irrigated subdivisions I see.

Jpocket
10-04-2010, 04:10 PM
i second the used W/B, if you find out this isnt for you your not out too much money. even for a 1.5 acre lawn get a sulky and it wont be to bad.

punt: 1600 per month GROSS say $200 / month in gas (equipment and truck), insurance ( GL and comm. auto) 100-150/ month, misc $100/month. now your down to $1200/month, $400 to uncle same leaves you $800. like what was said 2 seasons to break even if everything went to pay for the mower.

Thats what I was trying to say...but didn't feel like breaking it down for him. It's one thing to buy a mower to cut YOUR house and cut a few extra lawns to pay for it. But it's another to buy a brand new mower and try to make a profit with TWO ppl let alone one. Idk I thinkou should rethink this, unless these accounts are paying $75 percut

Southern Pride
10-04-2010, 09:24 PM
I have one friend out of so many that I would ever go into business with and is trusthworthy, responsible, loyal. He is my best friend of all time and we are just alike so I trust him. I know I'm coming back to the partnership thing but it's so crucial that this guy is everything you expect and more in a business partner, whether you have 10 lawns or 100. I agree with Jpocket and CLARK. The more I think about it the more I would also recommend investing in the basic walk behind (48" deck max with a nice strong Kawasaki greater than 15 horsepower). Make a minimal investment and see how this partnership really works out ,so you are not out too much if it does not.

BestImpressions99
10-05-2010, 11:46 AM
The others on here have very valid points. I'd also recommend getting a 44-52" walk behind to start out. Also something to think about that if this is your first ZTR you've riden you'll be slowing down getting the hang of the controls whereas with a good sized and well proportioned walk behind with a sulky (hydro drive of course) you'll cut much faster initially. If you want to eventually work up to getting the ZTR I'd understand but initilally go with the walk behind, you won't go wrong.

Another thing to think about is don't skimp on the quality that you get. Don't go with homeowner versions of the big names, you'll find yourself in 3 seasons needing major repair (imho). If a brand new SCAG Freedom cost you $5k (just as an example) and you can get an Exmark Turf Tracer HP with low hours for about the same... much better quality due to a professional versus homeowner mower.