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Old 02-02-2013, 04:53 PM
hi_speedreed hi_speedreed is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Appalachia
Posts: 534
Originally Posted by Jlin428 View Post
First off, thank you for your input! I appreciate the realism.
Unfortunently, I relieze how little amount of startup money I have but it's all I got for now, hopefully I can upgrade equipment along the way.

When you say homeowner vs. commercial machines I'm just wondering what defines the differences?

I think the easiest way to explain it is a homeowner machine is designed to be used 15 times a year while a commercial machine is designed to be used 15 times a day. I started with a higher end homeowner machine and it lasted barely into my second season. To compare, my dad bought a similar machine and by only mowing his yard he is in his 10th season. I own a commercial mower now and expect to get at least 2500 hrs of run time out of it. Homeowner machines used commercially will void the warranty because that is not what they were intended to do.

I understand what both terms mean, but does Home Depot for example sell both homeowner and commercial units? How would I know? Is there a technical difference between the two?

Home Depot and similar big box stores do not sell commercial equipment. You need to go to a dealer to purchase commercial. What I call a string trimmer has many names. It is regional, some call it weed eater, weed wacker, brush cutter but most manufacturers call their product a string trimmer. If you are comfortable working on your equipment then you could buy trimmers from Home Depot because they do not service, and you will only be able to buy the entry level commercial, the SRM-230. I use the 230 and it suits my needs. You will hear many arguments over Echo, Stihl, Husqvarna, RedMax, Shindaiwa all are makers of commercial products but it is the old Ford Chevy Dodge argument. You will know a commercial product from a homeowner product by doing research and studying how these machines are constructed and if you notice the brands I list are not WeedEater, Homelite, Yardman. Basically your best bet is if a big box sells it, stay away. The brand of mower I use is Hustler. Hustler, Scag, Bobcat, Exmark, Toro, Dixie Chopper, Ventrac, Grasshopper, Wright, Husqvarna, Kubota, Walker, are all well known commercial mower manufacturers. I would recommend going to their respective websites and checking them out.

Also by blower, I assume you mean leaf blower right?

Yes a leaf blower. You will find there are lots of uses for a powerful blower besides just moving leaves. They will be manufactured by the same companies who make the trimmers. This class would be referred to as handhelds. Your trimmer, blower, hedge trimmer, edger. Do not skimp on a blower. You will regret it immensely. The best advice I have seen for blowers is to go look at them, pick up the most expensive one you can afford, then buy the one two steps above it. I have the Husqvarna 570BFS, the 580 is the only one bigger. The 580 produces a slightly greater volume than the 570 but lacks the mph for scouring.

Yeah hopefully I can snag a trailer for relatively cheap, that is going to eat a large chunk of my funds, but ya need money to make money.

Sorry if these sound like beginners questions (I'm kinda a beginner lol), but hey gotta start somewhere right?

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Like I said previously. You really need to do some research. Look at the cost of equipment. The SRM-230 has a MSRP of $289, The 570BFS $525, so with two pieces of vital equipment I just blew your budget out of the water. You still don't have a trailer or a mower. Everyone says this is an easy business to get into. It is because of the relatively low start up costs. But, most people thinking of making this jump already have the equipment you need to buy so your initial investment will be substantially higher. Realistically, if you really wanted to make a go of this like you say in your first post you are looking at needing capital in the 4-5k range. If you wanted to go full on commercial its closer to 10k with 1 walkbehind mower, if you go with a zero turn you are creeping up close to 15k that is for a trailer and every tool you need to do the job you are describing.

Homeowner grade
quality 21" mower - 350
decent trimmer - 225
good blower - 300
zero turn - 2500
misc hand tools 200 shovels, rakes, brooms, mattock, etc.
trailer 700
hitch 150

total 4425 not counting gas, oil, trimmer line, blades, blade sharpener, filters, or business start up costs such as licensing and insurance.

I am not saying don't make a go of it. I just don't want you jumping into this blindly.
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