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  #1  
Old 05-18-2001, 04:57 PM
LakeCountry LakeCountry is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: East Gull Lake, MN
Posts: 57
Another Rookie!

Hi guys,

I have been reading through these threads all day today. I am a Marketing professional in Minneapolis that is throwing it all away to a lawn jockey.

I am very happy to see I have started off in the right direction. I have been working on a business plan that has grown from a mission statement to a 21 page list of everything you would ever want to know. I have been doing competitive analysis of the Brainerd MN area where I plan to start up shop in a month or so and that has been the most fun yet.

I am looking for information on equipment. I am ina sticky situation where we have a lot of equity that will be available from the sale of our home, but I don't want to squander $10k on some equipment if it doesn't work either. I feel confident we are offering a broad enough range of services to make us profitable and competitive, but I want to minimize the risk.

So a couple of questions:
1. What brands do we all like here and what would be a good starter machine?
2. Lease or buy
3. Would it be a bad idea to start off with a $1000 lawn tractor from the Home Depot until we were up and running or could that negatively impact my image as professional? I thought it would be a low cost entry and would allow for a back-up machine if my newer had to go in for service.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-18-2001, 10:35 PM
John DiMartino John DiMartino is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Walden,NY
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1).Brand wise,form most popular to least,in my area. Ransomes/Bobcat,Exmark,Scag,Grasshopper,Toro,Dixie chopper. Id buy any of them if the dealer was good,and price right.

2)cant help you,I leased though

3)Very bad to start out with a tractor style mower,unless its for your lawn only.Buy a used 48"-61" WB to start out,they are tough and will hold up to the commercial use,and give a quality cut that the homeowner style tractor cannot give.The cut difference is huge,and cannot be underemphasized,if you want more refferal work,you need to cut clean,(no clumping)and have it look good.Once up and running you will want to switch to ZTR style machines on larger,flat propertys to save time,and money.Good luck getting started.
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Old 05-19-2001, 12:27 AM
lawnman_scott lawnman_scott is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: st pete, FL
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1] Any commercial brand is fine.
2] Either way, depends on the situation though i think.
3] No it would be a terrible idea. I agree get a used walkbehind, preferably a hydro.
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Old 05-19-2001, 08:36 AM
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MOW ED MOW ED is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: N.E. Wisconsin
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I'm not criticizing you but when you did all of the analysis of the area didn't you check on what local LCO's are doing in this market. Your competition will hold lots of information. Ride around and see what they are using.

1. There really are no starter machines, once your in you should have the machine that fits your mowing situation to the best of its ability.

2. I don't have any opinion other than I always buy my equipment because that's what works for me. It is mine and I service it.

3. Very bad idea to use a lawn tractor. I know because I started my business with one before I had the knowledge of Lawnsite 6 years ago. The lawn tractors short of a Steiner are for a homeowner who will mow his 2 acres once a week. You will demolish one of these within months. They are not made for constant use or banging down the road on a trailer. Don't even think of one as a back-up. If you are going into a commercial business you need commercial equipment. You wouldn't be able to run a restaurant out of your home kitchen very long, think of it that way.

Good Luck and welcome to Lawnsite.
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Old 05-21-2001, 10:13 AM
LakeCountry LakeCountry is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: East Gull Lake, MN
Posts: 57
Cub Cadet Commercial

Thanks for the input guys. I had a clear idea of what I wanted as far as equipment went, but my wife was headed in the direction of using something in the meantime and then upgrading. My question was to affirm what I thought was true, that being professional and well-equipped from the start.

I visited a dealer and they showed me what I thought was an impressive line-up of Cub Cadet commercial mowers. they WBH and Z-turn and they seemed to be of very high quality. This dealer also sold Toro and John Deere Commercial products. I was most impressed with the Cub Cadet.

Has anyone heard anything in the field about Cub Cadet Commercial?
[link]http:\\www.cubcommercial.com[link]

Next: Is a 36" WBH too small to start? I wanted to be sure I had clearance for gates and such, but in the commercial area, would I be too small to be productive?
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2001, 01:34 PM
mike mike is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 33
A 36" HYDRO WALK BEHIND IS A GOOD MOWER TO BEGIN WITH. AS YOUR BUSINESS GROWS YOU WILL FIND THAT A LARGER MOWER WILL BE NEEDED. I HAVE A BELLY MOWER THAT I USED WHEN I STARTED. THEN I GOT THE WB FRONT DECKS. I STILL HAVE THE BELLY MOWER. IT STAYS COVERED UP WITH A CANVAS UNDER MY POOL DECK. I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER BELLY DECK. AS YOU GET BIGGER THE 36" WB MOWER CAN BE USED FOR DITCHES & HILLS OR ROUGH AREAS WHERE YOU DO NOT WANT TO USE YOUR BIGGER MOWERS. GOOD LUCK.
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