When I started I didn't have any cash in hand but did have credit. I financed the equipment at 8k which included a 36" Exmark, and a handful of stihl equipment: 2 line trimmers, edger, hedge trimmer, blower, chainsaw. My monthly payment is $150 which is paid for with just one decent account.
If I had cash in hand I would have bought a used mower, but all new hand held equipment because there seems to be a shorter life cycle and more maintenance. Its a tough job and the last thing you want is to be fighting with your equipment.