View Full Version : Equipment for starting out

Davis Lawn Mowing, LLC.
03-09-2004, 05:58 PM
I am in the process of finding equipment and was wondering what everyone thought would be the way to go? I am not doing commercial jobs this year, gonna see how the first year goes before I make the jump to the big money. I am just going to be doing residential accounts along with country accounts, 30-60 minute jobs. I was thinking of just getting a regular riding mower for the 1st year with a Stihl blower and trimmer. Save some coin at the start just in case business does not take off right away. If I get a lot of business, I may just get a zero-turn soon. I really like the Bad Boy Mowers, great price. I was thinking of the new PUP series 48 or 52 which run $4995 and $5495 respectively. Any suggestions? ExMarks are beat to death around here, most people in my area use them but I cant seem to find a good site for a price on them. I kinda wanted to stand out a little bit but not go overboard. I am gonna be doing work myself, make all the coin in my pocket. I actually got a commercial account I am 100% sure I can get, even this year if I want it, $350 per mow at my dad's factory where he is the Purchasing Manager so hires the lawn company;) . It is a job that takes 4-6 hours easily by myself and there are plenty of other factories will smaller lawns on the same road I think I might be able to get, probably 10-12 of them, hopefully I can get 1-3 more of them. Thanks for the help folks and good mowing this year. :)

03-09-2004, 06:13 PM
Trust me! Don't waste your money on a "riding lawnmower" they usually aren't made for the commercial industry. Watch your overhead with buying really expensive mowers before you start making money. Good luck!!

Davis Lawn Mowing, LLC.
03-09-2004, 06:15 PM
So jajwrigh, you think I should just get a zero-turn right off the bat then? Even though I only have 5 accounts lined up so far?

03-09-2004, 07:11 PM
Greatlakes, I recommend this, DON'T go with a rider. You can spend the money and get a good used hydro or even new belt drive for under $3000, which if you are going to GET the $350 a week commercial job, will be an easy pay off. You will gross close to 9500 for the year, based on 27 mows. That is another 4K if you have 5 other $30 yards. Your purchase should be based on how much are you doing? 2-3acres? Or jumping around on islands? The machine you want has to fit your needs. Look at a 48-52" w/b. Get a good trimmer, say $200-250 and a good blower, 100-200. You need a trailer under 1k and insurance (I recommend 1mil/2mil policy Erie has my biz and I only pay 325.00 a year) So for under 5K you can get all you need. You can actually get even cheaper if you get a belt drive and smaller deck. If those are your only mow jobs, you have the time to take longer.
Just my opinion. Look at www.landscapersupply.com for a nice heavy duty entry level w/b and even ztr riders, they also have a 90 days sac plan. Other dealers like eXmark have special financing right now. I am buying and exmark this year if I grow and it looks like I am. Hope I helped!

03-09-2004, 08:28 PM
I know how you feel Great lakes.... I'm brand new to the business and I'm wondering if I have enough and/or the right equip.. I bought A toro Zmax 62 inch/23hp kohler rider and a Deere 48 inch/17 hp kawaski, a comm. homelite weedeater, and a handheld blower, I like you I'm going to test home owners first.. I don't know if this helps.. I'm just afraid I won't get any yards....

03-09-2004, 08:36 PM
Does anyone have advice on the right way to get your name out to local homeowners?

03-09-2004, 10:12 PM
This is for cutnitclose I dont know if it is a right or wrong way , but get in a neighborhood knock on some doors and if you do good work it will speak for you and word of mouth goes a long ways also.

greatlakes, I would start out with a walkbehind 1st, cheaper than a ''z'' mower and faster and more dependable than a rider. And almost every LCO has a walkbehind, there are places a z just doesnt mow well at times,. add a velke to the walkbehind and you will be able to cover some ground pretty fast, just my 2 cents worth

03-09-2004, 10:19 PM
Thanx Grass_cutter

03-09-2004, 10:56 PM
I'm not going to be the feel good guy for you. I think you should work for someone else for a while. You have no clue what you are getting into. Keeping all the change statement and the thought that you can get all those other comm'l jobs all of a sudden means you really don't have a good grasp on what is going on.

Your dad would be neglecting his duty to his company if he just gave you this work without having any experience.

So unlike others making you feel good, I will give it to you straight. This is more than I believe you think.

03-09-2004, 11:02 PM
65hoss got any advice for me?....... I know I should probaly work for someone else first, but I work a regular job on Fri,Sun and Monday, and to be honest it is a really to good to quit, so I figure I would get my feet we on tue-thurs. and sat. withsome local home owners, all of my equip is paid for, so I can start slow... any advice would be greatly appreciated

03-10-2004, 12:37 AM
This would work well for what you want to do.

36" or 48" WB with sulky (more productive than a lawn tractor)
21" (for the tiny spots)
trimmer with edgit guide. (for trimming AND edging )
handheld blower (for cleaning up)
small trailer to haul it all.

You can add more and larger equipment as you need it later.

Davis Lawn Mowing, LLC.
03-10-2004, 10:28 AM
Thanks for all the input guys. And I have worked in this business for 3 years off an on so I do know what I am getting myself in to. It was a cost cutting measure on my part with the equipment I was going to purchase. Why go balls to the wall when you dont need to. And the company I worked for, established 20 years, had my father's company since 1990, long before I came along to work with them. But the owner retired and sold off his equipment separately so my father is looking for a new company this year to take over. So its not really neglecting his company one bit. But thanks for all the tips.

Expert Lawns
03-10-2004, 07:32 PM
Great Lakes: did you know there is a Great Lakes Land Care in the area too? Just wondering if you guys have ever ran into each other.

Davis Lawn Mowing, LLC.
03-11-2004, 06:32 PM
I actually just got a letter back today and have to change my name, someone has Great Lakes Lawn Care too close to me apparently. I am going to go with Davis Lawn Mowing, the name my dad liked anyway. :mad:

03-11-2004, 08:54 PM
Great Lakes,
I started out with a regular riding mower my first year out. I was
part time, mowing six lawns per week, but by August that year I
had 14 lawns. I sold my riding mower and bought a 48" eXmark
lazer z hp. It fits in tight spots, mows anywhere a walkbehind
does, except steep hills and doesn't take up any more trailer
space than a walkbehind. Don't limit yourself with a riding mower. They are too slow and un-productive, I think you will regret investing money in a riding mower without being able to get it out in a trade-in.
The moral of the story is, think about the future, how many lawns
do you want to do and will the equipment you are looking at support that goal. Good luck.

03-11-2004, 09:30 PM
unless all the lawns are tiny in your area, if you grow beyond a 1 man operation you will eventually need a 60" plus zero turn and a large size w/b, plus a smaller mower for gates and what-not. since you aren't there yet, get equipment you can use both now and then. because of money, wait on the zero turn. if you have a little money, get a used 54" hydro w/b and a 21" 5+ hp push mower w/ big wheels. if you have a little more money available, get a big w/b and a small gear driven w/b, one whose outer width on the deck is less than 36". (a 36" mower has a wider than 36" deck).

just my humble lil ole opinion ;)

03-13-2004, 12:02 PM
See if you can get a job part time doing lawns for someone else. You don't want to start with a bad rep as a person that doesn't know what they are doing. Alot of people take landscapers for granted because of this. Are you gonna be better off starting now? or in a couple years are you gonna be better off because you have a solid foundation and more confidence. Learn how to be efficient and it doesn't matter if you charge high rates. Where do you want to be in 5 years? Would you be better or worse? I hope that helps some. As far as the mower pick up a used 48 hydro wb for 1500 bucks. They were made to be used and abused. Say you mow 40 hours a week, right. Homeowner mower 30 minutes a week. Over 1 year it would be around 1300 hours you are gonna be putting on it. Homeowners in a year put about 20 hours a year on them. over 10 years homeowner = 200, commercial = 13000. Even if its used, buy the one made for wear and tear. Good luck.