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iheartJMS
10-03-2011, 09:22 PM
How many of you guys started your lawn business with a regular self propelled mower before eventually saving up to buy your current walk-behind or zero turn?

I feel like walk-behinds and riding mowers are too big for the residental accounts I'm looking to acquire. Pretty much standard sized lawns although I see every lawn service around here using the bigger equipment. Walk behinds do cut down the time but I feel a self propelled push mower would be sufficient until I'm looking to expand...

JB1
10-03-2011, 09:32 PM
theres a reason they are using what they use.

32vld
10-03-2011, 09:53 PM
Being you are so willing to use a small mower makes it sound as if you're young, with not much money behind you.

What I have learned it's best to use the largest mower you can because time is money. Why use a 20" mower and take 1 hour to mow a lawn when you can use a 60" and be done in 20 minutes.

An over simplification.

Also why walk when you can sit. Again you must be young, my 57 year old legs want to sit.

I started off with a 42" JD and a 20" sears pusher because this is what I happened to already own. Many have started off with less and many with more.

Thing is you make sure you don't work to cheap. Or you will never be able to afford to improve on the equipment you have.

FoghornLeghorn
10-03-2011, 09:53 PM
I started out with a honda civic, a cub cadet self propelled mower, and a crappy ryobi trimmer.

But from day one I had $1,000,000 liability insurance.

Start small, grow slow, etc...

jay albers
10-03-2011, 10:00 PM
gotta start somewhere, If thats all you can afford and you want to try it out, go for it!

larryinalabama
10-03-2011, 10:05 PM
If the lots you service ar 10k sq ft or less why have anything more that a 21". I ran my business in So California for 4 years with a Snapper 21

Kelly's Landscaping
10-04-2011, 03:38 PM
If the lots you service ar 10k sq ft or less why have anything more that a 21". I ran my business in So California for 4 years with a Snapper 21

Because a 2 man crew with a 60 inch ztr and a smaller one 36-48 can knock out 4 of those accounts an hour. The only thing any one here is really selling is their time but lawns are a fixed price so the faster you finish them the more an hour you make. The other point few make is durability my personal Exmark lazer has 4660 hours on it and its running strong so 6000 hours is very likely. It will do in 1 hour what a snapper 21 will do in 5 hours. So how many snapper 21s would you need to buy to hit 30000 hours and ill be nice and say they hit 500 each so 60 small mowers for the cost of one big one. (ps I own 2 snapper 21s and know first hand what pieces of crap they are) So upfront costs are smaller but long term cost are significantly higher hence they say being cheap is expensive.

Hoss4x4
10-04-2011, 07:11 PM
How many of you guys started your lawn business with a regular self propelled mower before eventually saving up to buy your current walk-behind or zero turn?

I feel like walk-behinds and riding mowers are too big for the residental accounts I'm looking to acquire. Pretty much standard sized lawns although I see every lawn service around here using the bigger equipment. Walk behinds do cut down the time but I feel a self propelled push mower would be sufficient until I'm looking to expand...

I started with a 21in. When I bought a used 32in ZTWB I saved 12 minutes per job site. Ad that up over a day or even a year and the profits add up. The ZTis bigger cut and faster. I am looking for a 48in now. You can find ZTWB's for $500 to $1000 used to get you started..

WenzelOSLLC
10-04-2011, 07:58 PM
Depending on the size of the property and what obstacles are in the way a 21" is faster than a wider, longer, heavier mower. No reason why it wouldn't work; just get out there and start mowing, that's the first step.

magicmike
10-04-2011, 09:15 PM
Im actually starting out as a business owner (so I'm not very knowledgeable on this subject) but I guess Im lucky because my dad is the owner of a landscaping company and I will be taking over in the next few years but I read your post and I figured I would reply, if you can't afford to finance or purchase a larger mower than DON'T just in case your company doesn't do well as you think and you need to find a new career. Cause you'll be making payments on a mower you might not need, than your credit will get affected, you'll have to go through a lot of work trying to sell it and get the price you want. As long as your customers are happy thats all the matter. Good Luck

larryinalabama
10-04-2011, 11:04 PM
Because a 2 man crew with a 60 inch ztr and a smaller one 36-48 can knock out 4 of those accounts an hour. The only thing any one here is really selling is their time but lawns are a fixed price so the faster you finish them the more an hour you make. The other point few make is durability my personal Exmark lazer has 4660 hours on it and its running strong so 6000 hours is very likely. It will do in 1 hour what a snapper 21 will do in 5 hours. So how many snapper 21s would you need to buy to hit 30000 hours and ill be nice and say they hit 500 each so 60 small mowers for the cost of one big one. (ps I own 2 snapper 21s and know first hand what pieces of crap they are) So upfront costs are smaller but long term cost are significantly higher hence they say being cheap is expensive.

I guess a 60hp tractor with a batwing mower could do a subdivision including trimming trees and shrubs in a couble of hours, might even sell a few new mailboxes along the way.

Darryl G
10-05-2011, 12:24 AM
I started with a 21 incher but it wasn't self propelled, lol.

Kelly's Landscaping
10-05-2011, 01:03 AM
I guess a 60hp tractor with a batwing mower could do a subdivision including trimming trees and shrubs in a couble of hours, might even sell a few new mailboxes along the way.

If that's what you got give it a try ill stick to ztrs they are more maneuverable aside from a few windows from the guy on the weedwackers iv never had a claim.

iheartJMS
10-05-2011, 01:12 AM
Thank you for all of the replies everyone :) Sure has helped a lot. The residential accounts I am currently going to be servicing do have a lot of landscaping and obstacles in the way which would just make the job longer (or just as long) if I were to use a bigger mower. Guess I'll wait until I expand before buying a bigger mower.

Aaronnc
10-07-2011, 03:19 PM
I know what you mean OP. While not Orlando, I just got back from Jupiter and Juno Beach, and yeah, I saw some serious postage stamp sized lots and subdivisions. Something like a 8th of an acre or something like that. Nothing like here is Eastern NC.

Anyways, I would research a 32" Toro walk-behind, 32" Wright Stander, or even a 32" BOP. Those and a good trimmer. Maybe even a Y-Bravo 25 or something. Good Luck.

Krakatau42
10-07-2011, 04:01 PM
Right here. Rebuilding after getting robbed of all my equipment started with a Toro Personal Pace (that I bartered for in exchange for mowing services!) in the back of a crap Dodge Neon. It was horrible, but can be done.

Hoss4x4
10-08-2011, 07:21 PM
I have a 32in ZTWB I will sell you cheap to upgrade you slowly. PM if interested. I am just south of Orlando.

THIESSENS TLC
10-08-2011, 10:10 PM
started with a 22" craftsman self-pp. found it on the side of the road with a free sign, put about $60.00 into it and it still runs 4 yrs later!

iheartJMS
10-09-2011, 12:54 AM
Awesome :) lol thanks for the replies everyone

johnny_boy02
10-09-2011, 03:36 AM
Most 80% of my yards are small, sub 10,000 sf lots and get mowed with a 25" Ybravo. I have a 32" BOP mower that I use on the larger stuff. Once things get green again I will be able to use the 32" a bit more. In all honesty I prob shouldn't have bought the 32" but it is fun and at the rate I use it it will last forever.

It all boils down to what the yards are like in your area.

Green Industry Pro
10-13-2011, 03:55 PM
Because a 2 man crew with a 60 inch ztr and a smaller one 36-48 can knock out 4 of those accounts an hour. The only thing any one here is really selling is their time but lawns are a fixed price so the faster you finish them the more an hour you make. The other point few make is durability my personal Exmark lazer has 4660 hours on it and its running strong so 6000 hours is very likely. It will do in 1 hour what a snapper 21 will do in 5 hours. So how many snapper 21s would you need to buy to hit 30000 hours and ill be nice and say they hit 500 each so 60 small mowers for the cost of one big one. (ps I own 2 snapper 21s and know first hand what pieces of crap they are) So upfront costs are smaller but long term cost are significantly higher hence they say being cheap is expensive.

Interesting you say your Snappers are pieces of crap. I've never had any problems with mine. Do you own the homeowner models or commercial model?

Green Industry Pro
10-13-2011, 03:57 PM
How many of you guys started your lawn business with a regular self propelled mower before eventually saving up to buy your current walk-behind or zero turn?

I feel like walk-behinds and riding mowers are too big for the residental accounts I'm looking to acquire. Pretty much standard sized lawns although I see every lawn service around here using the bigger equipment. Walk behinds do cut down the time but I feel a self propelled push mower would be sufficient until I'm looking to expand...

I'm pretty sure most everyone started out with a homeowner grade 21' walk. That's how I've started and I'm just trying to gain accounts and save up money to buy better equipment and grow. Slow and steady always wins. You should be fine with a 21 if your lots are smaller.

TLS
10-13-2011, 05:24 PM
My first push mower was a PUSH mower. I never owned a self propelled push mower.

1980 18" Jacobsen push mower.

That wasn't my only mower however. My lot size back then was 3/4 to 1 acre lots. I used a Garden Tractor.

Use what you feel comfortable using/affording.