Figured I would chime in as well. I been doing this part time with a friend for 3 years. Not a pro in the least but owe nothing on equipment and have grown each year. Nothing wrong at all starting with a lawn tractor. We started there With 1 account that was a total if about 15 acres. Took forever to mow but it was almost all profit aside from gas. Year two we borrowed to buy a zero turn, paid it off in 1 summer, did the same last year. If I was in your shoes I would pay off what you have and limp along until you save up to move to a commercial unit. That cub cadet will do you fine as a backup to a commercial unit. The difference isnt just speed, until you use a commercial unit you wont know how much better they truly cut. Go with a used unit, search and you will find. We have less than 6000 in the two we have, a 48" exmark and 52" toro and both have less than 600 hours on them. Building your business comes with time and is much smarter than trying to "look" Professional. With advertising your best bet is decide what market you want and focus on marketing to them. We only search for commercial properties because we does this part time after our "real" jobs so we dont have time to go to several locations. We dont do much advertising because we send directly to the businesses that we want. If you are wanting to go the flyer/postcard route then volume is your friend. Ask anyone in sales and they will tell you, the more you ask the more you will get a response from. In short my suggestions would be, build slowly, dont do long term debt(anything more than 1 year), find your target market, deliver the best service possible, and value yourself. Hope that helps.
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