View Full Version : Newbie

10-14-2002, 12:55 AM
I know you guys probably hate this question but if you want to know something ya got to ask. I want to get in to this business and I need to know what is the minimum equipment I need to get, to get started. Can I get away with using cheaper residential mowers to get started with? I got about $8,000. Thanks

10-14-2002, 12:59 AM
Borrowed 5k. I only needed 4k to get the equipment but went ahead and got an extra grand for operating expense.

10-14-2002, 01:05 AM
Do you have a truck or trailer? You'll need a mower, trimmer, fuel cans and a blower at a minimum. An edger, hedge trimmer rake and broom will get you a little more prepared. I'm sure given a little time others will offer some insight to you. Good luck.

10-14-2002, 01:13 AM
I don't have anything yet. I've estimated a truck and a trailer for about $3,000 - $4,000. My other option to cut that down is to just put a hitch on my wife's '99 suburban and let her use my car.

10-14-2002, 01:45 AM
Here's what i would do put a hitch on suburban

you can pick up a used 6x12 trailer for around


lesco has 48" w/b for $2200

echo trimmer at home depot $200

echo blower at home depot $400


dont forget about insurance

10-14-2002, 01:51 AM
I was told by someone (don't know how reliable) that I don't have to get insurance if I don't do commercial property. It didn't seem to me that it would be necessary for one and not the other. Where do I look and about how much for a 1-3 man operation (my two teens)?

10-14-2002, 01:59 AM
Where in Tampa are you located . We do most of our work in New Tampa and Cheval and Avila with some in Westchase.I could probaly show you some stuff here in Tampa what to buy , where to get it and where to start.If interested E-Mail me back

10-14-2002, 01:59 AM
I dont know if its law that you have to have ins.

and its to protect you. hate to take somebodys

eye out and they sue you at least this way you

will be protected

liability ins. in my area is about $400/year

Expert Lawns
10-14-2002, 02:02 AM
not having insurance is a poor way to go about running a business. in the long run, it could bite you in the arse. be careful. you could throw a stone out of your discharge and hit a kid playing 3 yards over, you just never know. :p

10-14-2002, 02:53 AM
not sure how big of town you live in but we have pawn shops all over mine . surf them for your trimmer and blower most in there are from the poor LCO that didnt have it locked down . you can find some real nice deals . not that long ago I picked up a redmax double blade hedge trimmer that looked brand new for $175 and at the time they were going for about $450 new . you probly could find a decent 21" trim mower in there also

10-14-2002, 07:43 AM
I do commercial and residentual. My comm. properties require proof of ins. (I carry 1 million liability) plus all my equipt, trailer and truck are fully covered. To me having good ins and good comm equipt in this bus. just makes good sense. I guess you could get away with cheaper res. equipt but I think if your serious about this you would be better off with good comm equipt in the long run. Also there are a lot of good people here with good advise to give. I reccomend you visit often and learn all you can. The best of luck to you.

10-14-2002, 11:04 AM
I don't want to cut corners as a business owner. I just want to get started as soon as I can. The reason I want to have my own business is because I hate seeing people who don't care about having pride in thier own business, don't care about the customer, don't care about the value of hard work and in alot of cases just plain stupid and lazy get ahead and sometimes excel just because they own thier own business. I on the other hand have been working 10-19 hrs a day for the past 7yrs (avg. about 14hrs) and feel like I have to prove to myself that it really does just come down to self pride,respect and hard work to be sucessful. So if it seems I'm trying to cut corners buy not getting insurance or using cheap equipment I'm not. I just want to get started and I'll re-invest my money to buy better equipment when that comes available.
I have been visiting this site for a couple of weeks now and can appreciate the people on here who are helpful and willing to help people who in every sense could be thier competion.
Thanks again, I won't make us look bad. I will never be a scrub.

10-14-2002, 11:43 AM
Can I ask what you currently do for a living?

10-14-2002, 11:57 AM
I am a commercial truck driver. I don't do over the road any more and my job now is basicaly just to load and jock trailers. I have a rotating scheduel (10hrs X 5 1/2 days - 4wks 1am to 11am, 4wks 3pm to 1am). I like my job, no hard work, play on my lap top computer all night, average between 42 - $49,000 a year now. I used to make 52 - $56,000 a year working 15 to 18 hrs a day before switching position in the same company. Now I have more time with my wife and kids.
I have been teaching my kids that they should not think like employess but rather think like business owners. I guess i said it enough that I started listening to myself. I hope I can set an example for them. That's what brought me here.

Fantasy Lawns
10-14-2002, 12:30 PM
Your most important equip purchase will be your mower ... n to stay in your budget that will be like a 36" Snapper or so type of HYDRO (4k new)... get one that allows easy deck height adjustments .... if you can get a good used Walker .... buy one

Spend the extra ... our rain n thick St. Aug will slow the belt drives down n we tend to have smaller lots with lots of things to back away from .... a decent 6x12 trailer would be nice .... but I started with a 36" running out of ramps onto my 4x4 Ranger

Insurance in NOT neccessary to operate your business ..... (the state should ask for proof of insurance just like when registering a vehicle .....but that would make too much sense) ..... to work without it .... you open your self (and family) to tons of legal issues .... an educated consumer will ask to see it .... and to be honest even a basic 250k is quite reasonable for the peace of mind .... as you grown .... so should your insurance liablilty coverage ... yu'll find most commercial like at least 500k and the WC coverage

Don't worry about commercial too soon .... there's lot's of resi work

In Fl you have more that 3 employees you must have WC .... visit your local county extension about Round UP ( gotta have a "blue card" to spray)

This is a tough time of year to get work ....Dormant is coming in 2 weeks .... but to get started part time untill ready is the way to start anyways

Good luck ;->

10-14-2002, 07:01 PM
Thanks for your responses so far. I'm listening with open ears.

10-14-2002, 08:29 PM
Are there any good trade magazines or publications I should get? I have a lot of time on my hands at work at night. I would like to use it learning all I can. I've seen magazines at Home Depot and Lowes but they seem to be for land scaping designs. Should I get these? Thanks

10-14-2002, 08:48 PM
Are there any trade magazines or publications I could order. I have a lot of time available at work on night shift and I would like to use it wisely. I have seen magazines at Home Depot but they seem to be for land scaping and designs. Thanks

The Mowerdude
10-14-2002, 08:49 PM
When I got my business license, the trade publications started arriving in my mailbox like magic. A lot of them are dedicated to niche markets such as waterscapes or erosion control. But the really good one to get is "Pro." They will give you a free subscription as long as you remember to keep renewing it. You can give them all of your pertinent info at:


This mag covers it all from the really little LCOs to the really big landscape contractors. Plus they have all the latest info on the newest epuipment. Did I mention that this is free? Anyone that's serious about being in this biz, needs to have a subscription to Pro.

Lawn Wizard
10-14-2002, 08:49 PM
Welcome to lawnsite. Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about being a LCO can be found here. Might I point to in the direction of the search button in the upper right of the page. This button is the holy grail of all things lawncare.

As for what you need to get started, I would say all you need at the bare minimum is a 21" mower, about 1000 flyers, and liability insurance.

Once ya get a few customers and decide you like this type of work you can go and get the rest of the equipment.


10-14-2002, 09:03 PM
Welcome to LS. :drinkup:

Get insurance man, it will save you a bunch of head aches. I ran for a few years with out it. Then when getting commercial props they required it. I had no idea the peace of mind that it would provide.

Good luck with your plans.

I had to laugh. It wasn't until the end of the first page some body told the new guy to check out the search button. It makes a big difference in the response a guy gets depending on his attitude and what he says the first few posts. I remember guys that get on here and blast the LS old timers for the prices and ideas those that been in the biz for a few years have. That doesn't go down well. :eek:

10-15-2002, 11:59 AM
Thanks for the links. I appreciate everyones help. Keep it coming. I have found out that you can never have to much advice from knowledgeable people.

Fantasy Lawns
10-15-2002, 12:18 PM
A good Book for an over-all insite to the business is at book million (or barnes noble)

"How to Open & Operate a Home Based Landscaping Business"
by Owen Dell (Globe Pequot Press)