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View Full Version : Starting a business... Need some help


CRE1992
10-16-2011, 12:30 AM
Hi, my names Charles, I am 19 and I would like to get some peoples opinions about starting a business. I want to start a lawn mowing business, strictly on weekends or after work on weekdays.

I currently have 4 people that want me to cut their lawns next spring. These lawns range in size: 4 acres, 1.5 acres, .75 acres and .25 acres. I would like to invest in some equipment. I already have a truck (2008 silverado) and a 5x14 trailer. I have a walk behind little wonder blower, and a trimmer. I am very mechanically inclined and fix mowers and equipment on the weekends (I'm away at college during the week).

I currently have 3 mowers, however they are home owner machines. ( Toro Wheel Horse 520H 60" SD, Toro WH 416H 42" SD, and a Toro WH 314-8 42" RD) They are phenomenal machines in their own respects, but not for commercial mowing. Besides the turning radius stinks on them. I would consider selling all of them, and their accessories (snow plow, snow blower, leaf sweeper, etc) to get a nice zero turn. If sold I would get about $4500-6000 for them.

Now equipment wise and because the size of the lawns, any recommendations? Also my property is 5 acres and I have to mow that also... I was considering going with a new toro G3, but pricing them is about $7400+, however they come with a 5 year 1200 hour warranty. local dealer quoted me $7600 on a g3 commercial with 23hp and 52" deck. Any thoughts on the toro grandstand? I have never used them, but I know some people like them.

Any opinions and recommendations are welcome.
-Charles

StihlMechanic
10-16-2011, 01:28 AM
Use the search thingy, it is a wealth of mediocre knowledge.

CRE1992
10-17-2011, 02:32 PM
That is not the response I was looking for, I have looked through other threads and post, and feel that aren't answering what I am looking for. So I would appreciate if someone would try and help me out here. Because what is the point of joining this forum if people aren't willing to help someone else out. When they help other people out.

Seltzerpm
10-17-2011, 05:11 PM
I'm 19 as well. Go to your nearest lawn dealer and talk to someone who knows the business and they'll tell you whats best. Place thats near me, help me decide what was best for me, spent a little over $3000 for exmark 36in walk behind.

Chris

MGenay
10-18-2011, 11:54 PM
If your looking to really make some money with that a mower, you're gonna need more than 4 yards. Throw out some fliers early spring. Target developments, upper middle class neighborhoods. They are much more willing to pay for a better quality of service.

I'd recommend a walk behind mower. In my opinion everyone should have one to deal with hills. I'm in relatively the same boat as you. Looking to pick up a 48" Exmark Turf Tracer this spring. Personally, my moto is to charge a little extra for a little better quality (better edges, bag everything, etc.), point is though, make sure what ever mower you get does have a bagging capability. Makes fall clean ups 100 times easier.

You have a pretty big spread of property sizes there. You'd honestly be best off with the biggest mower for that 4 acre account but you will need to compromise so you can still deal with .25 acre - .75 acre properties (the real money makers in my opinion). In my opinion a 48 in. walk behind covers it all.

You're going to need to pick up a trimmer. No one is going to just let you cut their grass, they need edges. Don't buy a cheapo. Spend the money up front for a piece of equipment that will serve you well day in and day out. I'd recommend 2 trimmers (so you have a back up) but if you're in the same boat as me and funds are limited, buy one now, and one when you can afford it sometime in the spring or summer.

Your lil' wonder blower will be great for leaf clean up in the fall, but for cleaning up trimmings in the cutting season your going to need a smaller one. I'd recommend a handheld one to start off with (cheaper, and the extra effort requires you to build skills). Again, spend the money up front.

Two final things. Make sure your truck bed has some kind of liner, otherwise you will beat that to hell in no time. Second, and most, most, importantly. Make sure you charge enough. Around here some of the high ball crews charge as much as 110-130 an hour. Your just starting out, and like me, there is no way in hell yours gonna get that from the get go. I started out spring at a flat 20$ a hour. It didn't take me long to jack that up 40. The point is, start out low enough in the spring that you get your foot in the door, and raise your price as people begin to notice the quality of your work. Remember though, bid your grass at what ever you expect to be needing at the END of the fall, not the spring. Finally, add on a few bucks, 15-20%, for me just to cover **** ups.

CRE1992
10-19-2011, 12:06 AM
Finally! Thanks for some real input! I am trying to spend less that 4,000 to start out with. I already have a 2008 silverado 1500 ext 4x4, and two trailers. I think I will buy a nice back pack blower, and a nice trimmer as of now. Probably an echo solely because of the warranty... But mower wise I would love to have a toro g3. I am pretty sure I could easily pick up quite a few accounts from word of mouth. I will probably pick up a couple of spots in my dad neighborhood which are about a half acre. So I will probably stick with a 48" I would love a z turn rider. I could probably borrow some money from my dad because he is good like that, but I would rather refrain from owing anyone. I have to sell my other stuff first before I consider purchasing anything.

-Charles

Georgia Lawn
10-19-2011, 11:09 AM
CRE1992

I was in the same boat as you at the beginning of last season, I had a truck, trailer, trimmer, blower and a 21" toro push mower with 4 accounts and a 2 acre lot of my own to cut. I used my push until I got up enough money to get a good used commercial toro walk behind off of craigslist. I would hesitate to go out and buy a brand new mower right off the bat with that little amount of capitol coming in, I know you said that you could probably get some more accounts from your dad's neighborhood, thats great, go ahead and get those accounts and throw out some flyers like MGenay said. That way you can get more of an idea of what type and size mower you would need to fit your needs and it will make borrowing and paying back that money much easier. Provide great service and call people back and you will be ahead of the game.

Puddle of Oil
10-19-2011, 12:29 PM
Buy a stand on mower. A walk behind is going to be a pain to mow 4 acres. Brands to consider are toro, exmark, scag and a new gravely pro stance may fit your budget the best. Good luck!