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JimsLocalLawn
01-22-2013, 07:28 PM
This thread is for the solo guy who is looking to get into this business on a budget, making the BEST decision on what walk behind to buy. Most of you would say "go commercial" but we are just starting out here ON A BUDGET under $2000!!! Used is out of the question, assume that option doesn't exist!

Toro Timemaster 30" Walk Behind ($1000)
Cub Cadet / Craftsman 33" 760es Walk behind ($1200)
Bradley / Redhawk 36" ebay Walk behind ($1500)
Ariens WAW34 34" Walk behind ($1600)
Billy Goat Homepro34 Walk behind ($1700)
Worldlawn 33" Walk behind Honda engine ($1900)
Simplicity Pacer 32" Walk behind ($2000)

Lets make an informed decision here, these are your ONLY options available, post your opinion and any experience you had with these machines. Seven models, one choice ... Which is yours?

lifetree
01-22-2013, 08:17 PM
Of the choices listed, I would go with the Bradley / Red Hawk option !!

KS_Grasscutter
01-22-2013, 08:27 PM
The cub cadet. But better yet I'd search for a used dual hydro floating deck 36" for the same money.
Posted via Mobile Device

dstifel
01-22-2013, 09:38 PM
Simplicity

kandalawncaremgr
01-22-2013, 09:52 PM
Hey Jim
I was in the same position last year and I went with the timemaster and was every happy. But everyone has opinions and I'm sure they'll talk **** about the timemaster. But you asked for my opinion. I would spend a grand on the toro and 500 on a good handheld blower and trimmer and the other 500 on advertising. That's what I did and I gotten 24 weekly accounts my first year . Starting my second year soon.

orangemower
01-23-2013, 08:51 AM
If you only have 2k and you are "trying" starting a business, all I can say is good luck.

kandalawncaremgr
01-23-2013, 09:18 AM
Hey orange I started with two grand. You just got to know what to spend money on. Buy the right things. Insurance, business lic, start up equip and away you go. I'm starting my second year with 40 weekly residential accounts.

smallstripesnc
01-23-2013, 07:03 PM
Take my advice on the timemaster. Dont do it. I made the decision last spring to purchase one and used it for a week or so on about 30 lawns a week and the engine rpms kept shooting way up and after bringing it to the dealer quite a few times they found it shattered a governor gear. I will never buy anything made by briggs and stratton and most importantly i wont buy anything made for
residential. I cant say which one to buy but dont buy anything thats not made for commercial use.
Posted via Mobile Device

Above Par Lawns
01-23-2013, 07:39 PM
If you only have 2k and you are "trying" starting a business, all I can say is good luck.
2k is plenty enough to start a lawn business. Don't forget you were small at one time to. People like you make me hate these forums.

You just got to know what to spend money on. Buy the right things. Insurance, business lic, start up equip and away you go. I'm starting my second year with 40 weekly residential accounts.
BINGO!
Congrats!

newguy123
01-23-2013, 08:12 PM
Read this thread about the timemaster. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.p...ght=timemaster

kandalawncaremgr
01-23-2013, 10:28 PM
Above par,
I'm the same way about these forums. A lot of people forget they started at one point. I come to these forums for guidance and directon on things I don't know and pass it on to others. Maybe its just my nature of helping people my whole life. But I can't stand people who think there better then everyone in these forums. It just leads me to believe that there company was probably given to them by daddy also just think if they treat others on this forum like sh*t I could only imagine how they treat there customers.

JimsLocalLawn
01-23-2013, 10:39 PM
Crawl before you walk, walk before you run... its easy for someone on top to forget about how it all got started. This thread is all about learning to crawl, not run!

Anyway this is my second season, My first season was with the cub cadet 33" and my personal review on it is this....

Great machine for its price point! MTD did well on this, at 300 hours its still going strong HOWEVER this is not the mower to hand over to your helper! The first day I did that it ate a belt and broke a cable... if you don't "baby" this machine it will break. For solo its perfect, I picked it up used for $600 put $300 into repairs in it, at 12 hours the prior owner ruined it (bad pulley's bad deck belts bad cables). I rebuilt the entire deck, all new cables, all new pulleys AND brackets, and new belts.

After all this I put over 250 hours on it with ZERO problems till I handed it to my helper (who was hard on it).

If I could do it over again I would of went with the timemaster, but that option didn't exist at the time. I plan on going to my local dealer and looking at the toro turfmaster 30" for $1899 (commercial version of timemaster) tomorrow... I'm extremely excited!!!

I have over 15 accounts so far and plan on gaining at least 15 more this year! I want to step up to full commercial but the funds just are not there. I'm investing $3000 in the truck, $3000 in new equipment, and $3000 on advertising, insurance, etc. I started with $1000 and have full commercial stihl hand tools (trimmer, blower, stick edger, hedge trimmers). I learned real quick these are the "must have" of the business.


It can't be done? It has been done... I'm FAR from the top, but would of never guessed I would of made it this far with the limited funds I started with. Oh and I do this part-time and looking to transition into full-time next year.

kandalawncaremgr
01-23-2013, 10:50 PM
Your on the right track jim. One thing I learned in this business is not to look back and continue to steam foreword and everything will fall into place. Sometimes takes longer then other but then you sit back at the end of the day looking at the enterprise you built and you can smile.

biodale
01-23-2013, 11:12 PM
It is difficult to start with $2000, but not impossible. I did it. I do not know what your goals are for this endeavor. You can get used equipment and a used trailer, trimmer and blower for the $2000. Forget the license and insurance for the first year or two. I know, I know, but you just won't have enough money for that right now. Gas, repair on equipment, labor if you need to hire any, printing of flyers, billing (stamps, envelopes, paper, etc) will be more than you expect. It will be a month after your expenses before the money comes in. If you are living at home (in my case living on wife's income), and are willing to put most all the income back into the company, you will be able to make it and even grow.
Good luck

Above Par Lawns
01-23-2013, 11:19 PM
Jim, we have the same number of clients going into this year. You say you're doing it part time; what shift do you work at your current job? I ask because I'm in similar situation. I am due back at the golf course March 1st and work a 6-2 (5-1 summer). I'm debating going back. I only bring home about $550 every 2 weeks at the golf course but it's nice to have that steady check. I know that I still have 5-6 hours after my shift I could handle any lawns I have, and with only having 15 at the moment that shouldn't be a problem. But I expect to gain more customers and just don't want to find myself turning down business over an $8 per hour job. If I commit to going back, I'll finish out the year. I won't quit on my boss. Too many people have been doing that around there and I'm not one to burn bridges so that's not an option. What do you guys think?

newguy123
01-23-2013, 11:19 PM
If it was me I would get a Timemaster for 1K, then $200 echo weed whip from Home Depot and a $300 blower, echo from home depot. Then you still have $500 for??? whatever you want.

$500 will get you a lot of postcards from gotprint.com

Above Par Lawns
01-23-2013, 11:26 PM
I made a mistake of buying a $600 snow blower my first year thinking I'd do snow removal......it never snowed. :cry:

Shame on me for even putting gas in the damn thing.

weaver
01-24-2013, 10:12 AM
I made a mistake of buying a $600 snow blower my first year thinking I'd do snow removal......it never snowed. :cry:

Shame on me for even putting gas in the damn thing.

Man i read this and laughed so hard..

:laugh:

JimsLocalLawn
01-24-2013, 10:34 AM
I'm going today to demo the ALL NEW Toro Turfmaster 30" Commercial vesion of the Timemaster. My dealer is letting me tear down the mower so I can inspect EVERY aspect of the machine, what was changed other than the obvious (Motor, drive system, etc). He is pulling both models for a side by side breakdown so I can see if the price can be justified.

I will let you guys know my thoughts and the subtle changes (if any) that I see.

Not trying to hijack my own thread here... but throwing the Toro Turfmaster 30" commercial version in on the list because its NOW an option at $1899.

weaver
01-24-2013, 10:36 AM
I'm going today to demo the ALL NEW Toro Turfmaster 30" Commercial vesion of the Timemaster. My dealer is letting me tear down the mower so I can inspect EVERY aspect of the machine, what was changed other than the obvious (Motor, drive system, etc). He is pulling both models for a side by side breakdown so I can see if the price can be justified.

I will let you guys know my thoughts and the subtle changes (if any) that I see.

Not trying to hijack my own thread here... but throwing the Toro Turfmaster 30" commercial version in on the list because its NOW an option at $1899.

Can i go with ya? Grass isn't growing, no snow, what' else do i got to do?

kandalawncaremgr
01-24-2013, 11:22 AM
Hey weaver I'll pick you up. Sitting here too. I hate this. I'm in Chicago where there should be 10 inches of Snow and we still haven't seen over 2 inches

Above Par Lawns
01-24-2013, 12:21 PM
Man i read this and laughed so hard..

:laugh: Yeah it wasn't my brightest moment! So many other things I could have done with that money! Oh well, it'll be here IF we ever get any.

I'm going today to demo the ALL NEW Toro Turfmaster 30" Commercial version of the Timemaster.
Let us know how it goes. You shouldn't have any trouble with that machine!

JimsLocalLawn
01-24-2013, 02:24 PM
Ok so I just went and checked it out. WoW What a machine, lots of changes over the timemaster. Lots of durability improvements, the only downside I seen was the extra weight, but the front extension of the handlebar negates this! Toro really put in the hours when they made this machine. Looks like these are the main improvements over the timemaster....

-Bull nose bumper in front (timemaster is plastic)
-Extremely heavy duty height of cut adjustment, also EASIER than timemaster version to adjust
-Extra heavy duty handlebar NO plastic anywhere, reinforced in area's that need it!
-Heavy duty bail drive system, single bail the harder you pull it in, the faster the machine goes (NOT 1 speed) similar to a hydro drive sytem (no gears) HOWEVER this a gear driven machine, doesn't make much sense but you squeeze hard and you go fast, squeeze slowly and you go slow, its VERY rugged not like the plastic found on the timemaster
-Bail system does 2 things, drives and blade clutch. To turn the blades on you pull it to the right slightly before engaging, when you engage the drive sytem the blades will start HOWEVER if you want to use the self propelled without the blades engaged you can (just don't slide the bail to the right). SO IT DOES have a "blade brake clutch" VERY nice job toro!
-Super heavy duty Kawasaki 6 hp engine WITH throttle control YOU CAN adjust the RPM on this machine unlike the Timemaster . This motor makes the briggs version look like a toy! When you engage the blades on this machine, it sounds like a helicopter! I'm not sure of the blade tip speed however.
-The deck is surrounded by a steel plate at all corners to reinforce it which would be nice if you hit something
-SOLID Steel mulch cover, backplate where the bag is, AND its incredibly EASY to change from side discharge to mulch plate!


All in all, all I can say is "WOW" Worth EVERY penny of $1899. I'm going to order one in the next 2 weeks. There is nothing else like this machine, TORO covered every aspect that needed corrected with the timemaster for us landscape contractors and renamed it basicly. Its in a league of its own and NO Doubt will hold up better than any walkbehind on this list.

JimsLocalLawn
01-24-2013, 02:27 PM
Oh and they added a fuel shut off, easy change fuel filter AND a 1 gallon tank ... probly the most important feature can't believe I forgot to add that, LOL

Above Par Lawns
01-24-2013, 02:55 PM
Nice, it sounds like a great machine. My only issue is the price tag. Will this be your main mower? 2k seems like a lot to spend on a push mower. I feel like you could find a pretty good used 36 or 42 stander for that much and get a 21 for tighter areas.
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JimsLocalLawn
01-24-2013, 03:48 PM
The biggest selling point is I can buy a 5x8 trailer put TWO of these machines on it, AND a 21" mower. With a full rig outfit less than $5000 new and operate a two man crew nearly TWICE as efficient as "the other guy". Yes it has its drawbacks, biggest is only serving customers who have less than 1 acre of lawn to mow. 90% of my customers have less than 1/2 an acre. The fuel savings , lower insurance cost, less wear and tear on the truck are worth it IMO.

A solo op guy can fabricate a setup in the back of a s10 or ranger size truck while getting 20 mpg. I plan on changing my business plan to this personally! Downfall of this is having somewhere to put the clippings, Could put in bags and leave in trash or come back later and pick them up.

At the end of the day Business is SALES - OVERHEAD = PROFIT

Increase your sales, lower your overhead, increase your profit .... its that simple ALL business is the same

As far as "the heavy price tag" I am with you on this one, its nearly double the cost, but will last much longer than the residential version. Short term the residential is better, long term NO DOUBT go commercial. Turfmaster is double the machine the timemaster is. Thats why its nearly twice as much!

Also I don't care how good of a driver, there are places YOU CAN NOT get a trailer, no matter how compact. I live in the city where you can barely park a truck! Most lawn company's won't take a customer like this...which is why I have 3 customers on the same street the first year in business, THANK YOU! =)

IMO used is like picking up a grenade, more important than the machine is why they are getting rid of it...After all we are just starting out and don't need the headaches that come with used equipment. Downtime in this business will bankrupt you!

Valk
01-24-2013, 06:03 PM
Turfmaster: 6hp to run a 30" commercial mower sounds a tad anemic, imho. Yes, I realize it's only ~170 lbs.

How well does the lesser/homeowner Timemaster disperse the clippings when side-discharging?

I looked at a Timemaster yesterday...the cutting area under the deck looked more rugged than I had envisioned.

W/o reading back through all the reviews from '12...can anyone tell me if there were any issues with the cogged drive belt running the timed blades? It seemed to me that this could have been a weak area.

kandalawncaremgr
01-25-2013, 11:55 AM
I own a timemaster and use it on the front lines. Never had a problem with it. I had a house where the grass was almost 8 inches tall. I raised the wheels all the way up and side discharged. Then lowered them obce used the bag then final cut I mulched. I was suprised cause everyone talks sh*t about it. But then again everyone is open to opinions. After this experience I think sometimes its operator error. But anyways I enjoy my timemaster, and maybe next year upgrade to the turfmaster.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-25-2013, 12:00 PM
I started out 5 years ago with a Toro SR4 SuperRecycler, hdwe store trimmer and blower, and a Ford Escape (thats right NO trailer:) Seems almost laughable now, but I grew that thing from nothing to a nice sized 2 employee business and growing. Minus the vehicle, all that cost me under a grand. It can be done OP.

I am not going to give an opinion on your mower choices. Pick the one that doesn't clog and bog in wet grass is all I can say.

weaver
01-25-2013, 12:01 PM
Turfmaster: 6hp to run a 30" commercial mower sounds a tad anemic, imho. Yes, I realize it's only ~170 lbs.

How well does the lesser/homeowner Timemaster disperse the clippings when side-discharging?

I looked at a Timemaster yesterday...the cutting area under the deck looked more rugged than I had envisioned.

W/o reading back through all the reviews from '12...can anyone tell me if there were any issues with the cogged drive belt running the timed blades? It seemed to me that this could have been a weak area.

You know i thought the same thing about the engine size at first, but think back to some of the older snapper riders. Some of those things came with a 8hp Briggs and it had to pull the machine as well as the operator, and did just fine...

newguy123
01-25-2013, 03:34 PM
I was told that Kawi usually under rates their motors. Is that true?

Ciruspilot
01-29-2013, 03:38 PM
Since there has been so many replies to the op's question I was wondering if ya'll could answer mine along the same lines.
I have a 48 craftsman residential tractor. I'm going to start cutting lawns this spring and was wondering. should I use it. Can't afford a 2k lawnmower.
I was planning on getting a gas trimmer, blower, and walk behind. Already have a 10 double axel trailer.

Thanks folks.

Green Industry Pro
01-30-2013, 02:21 AM
I'm not sure which I would choose. I frankly think its a waste of money to buy any of those. Just save up another thousand and buy a brand new full-commercial walk, or buy a used one.:usflag:

Crimson Lawn
01-30-2013, 08:30 AM
I might get hit for this but it was a learning exp. for me.
I got a Toro Commercial 21", Toro 828 LXE Snow Thrower, Echo ES 210 Blower Vac, Echo SRM 210 Trimmer and a Power Trim Walk Behind Edger on Toro Credit from my Dealer. Mistake! The only thing I still have after 5 years is the Snow Thrower, great machine but it has to snow first.
My first truck was a used Ford F150 4x4 with a lot of issues(cash).
Second Mistake was buying a Toro 32" Commercial Belt Drive on Toro Credit.
Still got it, cuts and stripes great but not worth the dang payments.
Now I try to pay cash for everything, got a good used Snapper Pro 52", Encore 52", Snapper Pro 48".

Take your time, work for a while, see were you customer base takes you and believe in yourself and your service. When you are ready, take a look at decent used mowers. Save cash. If you got a primary job and this is on the side, grow it til you can, dollar for dollar, eventually make it your thriving small business. Own it!!
It doesnt make it easier when your daughter looks at you and says "Daddy"
or your, in my case former, says I need some money for this doctor or that book. Take your time and review what your thinking.

Richard Martin
01-30-2013, 06:59 PM
2k is plenty enough to start a lawn business. Don't forget you were small at one time to. People like you make me hate these forums.

Uh huh. I was a small fry once too. I started with a riding tractor and a junk trimmer. No blower, I had a broom. But I had enough in the bank to pay my bills for a couple of years and get me going. And it was a whole lot more than $2,000.

J & D Greens
03-26-2013, 06:13 PM
When I started I bought a little 7' x 43" trailer ($200.00) and sold a 21" commercial 2 stroke mower and bought 2 used 21" Toro recyclers. Just shot by the hip with 15 accounts at the beginning. It was a good thing that my wife and I had full-time jobs also and the Biz was able to run on its own income for a while. That being said we worked with even less, although I agree buying a new mower would be great. Where will you get everything else? If you spend $2,000.00 on one mower all that start-up money is gone. I did not see anything you list. Except maybe the Toro/Exmark 30” mower.

I am just wondering if you mean that you have $2,000.00 to spend on the first mower. And have all the other tools to get you by? Because when you get going. Man the money just evaporates if you are not careful.

If I could bought new and was able to afford one I would look into the Y-bravo 25" mower. and build from there. I don't own one but from what has been said one the site and just checking them out it would be a great walk behind to start with.

But I have not bought a new mower since we started and have made a lot more money taking some one else’s used equipment and running with it at half the cost. All the equipment I have now is Commercial and runs great. Here is a mower I am going to take a look at tomorrow. http://denver.craigslist.org/bfs/3689107992.html

J & D Greens
03-26-2013, 06:16 PM
Here is the site for the mower http://www.ybravo.com/store/pc/Bravo-25-Commercial-Mower-BBC-1p560.htm

GMLC
03-26-2013, 07:15 PM
Im going to be 100% honest here. I HATE Chinese mowers but the Bradley/Redhawk is the only commercial mower on your list. I hate to say it but I would buy the Bradley/Redhawk 36" walkbehind. It should get you through a few years until you can upgrade.
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GrassGuerilla
03-26-2013, 07:16 PM
Starting up in this business can be done on almost any level. The basics of a push mower, trimmer and blower allow you to get your feet wet and make a couple bucks. My first entrance into the game was with a $179.00 k-mart high wheel push mower and a Homelite trimmer and blower. All bought new for around $400. Hauled to site in my Honda Accord. I thought I was outsmarting all those guys with trucks and trailers. I worked my rear off that first summer.

About halfway through the season, I "found" a Redmax trimmer in a new customers overgrown yard. Customer said it had been there since last year when it quit and the former lawn guy just left it (threw it apparently). Shortly after getting it running, I realized "gee, commercial gear really is better".

My point being, a good used commercial 32-36" WB will simply deliver better service than most if not all the options listed. Putting all your eggs in one basket is seldom a good idea. When that "basket" is a residential mower being pressed into commercial work, it seldom makes your life easier. Whichever route you choose, hard work and perseverence will pay off in time.
Posted via Mobile Device

J & D Greens
03-26-2013, 07:57 PM
About halfway through the season, I "found" a Redmax trimmer in a new customers overgrown yard. Customer said it had been there since last year when it quit and the former lawn guy just left it (threw it apparently). Shortly after getting it running, I realized "gee, commercial gear really is better".

My point being, a good used commercial 32-36" WB will simply deliver better service than most if not all the options listed. Putting all your eggs in one basket is seldom a good idea. When that "basket" is a residential mower being pressed into commercial work, it seldom makes your life easier. Whichever route you choose, hard work and perseverence will pay off in time.
Posted via Mobile Device

I agree with GrassGuerilla when it comes to starting with whatever you can. I went from the used home owner Equipment to good used Commercial equipment. What a difference all the way around. The mowers had less breakage and the hand held’s more power and are reliable (even being used). No matter what you do decide to go with, you being the only one operating your equipment and that makes all the difference in the world when it comes to keeping things going strong. Good luck with your endeavor.

JimsLocalLawn
03-26-2013, 09:18 PM
Ok so I decided to buy the Bradley 36" belt drive.

Here is what I got for $1700 TOTAL out the door price.

16hp Kawasaki vtwin engine. (upgrade from the 15hp Kohler)
7 gauge steel deck
Peerless 5 speed transmission
Cast iron spindles
5 gallon tank
1 year full commercial warranty
2 wheel quick release sulky

Price INCLUDED shipping!

I really went back and forth on this thread, got some great advice. Thank you guys! I will post pics of the Bradley when the weather breaks.

Paul's Green Thumb
03-26-2013, 10:00 PM
Sounds like you did good ;)

Go make some $$$!

Valk
03-27-2013, 11:12 AM
Im going to be 100% honest here. I HATE Chinese mowers but the Bradley/Redhawk is the only commercial mower on your list. I hate to say it but I would buy the Bradley/Redhawk 36" walkbehind. It should get you through a few years until you can upgrade.
Posted via Mobile Device

Are Bradley/Redhawk affiliated with Worldlawn...or are they all separate?