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Old 03-25-2008, 10:03 AM
ers0302 ers0302 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Reading PA
Posts: 2
Limited Cost Start-up

Hi folks,

I'm looking to own a part-time lawn-mowing business (possible 6 to 8 residential accounts) for the next 4 to 6 years while my wife stays at home with our kids. I want to be professional and do quality work but also don't want to spend so much on start-up that I don't get a return on my investment. Can I buy the necessities (ie. trailer, decent mower, trimmer, blower, etc), get insurance and DBA, all for under $2,500? Any advice on where to get decent used equipment?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm located in PA and getting a late start considering we are near the end of March but my hope is to get a few accounts end of April when folks decide they don't want to cut their grass all summer.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:22 AM
MV Property Care MV Property Care is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Western PA
Posts: 169
Your mower and trailer are the big issues. I do this part time and use a Ford Ranger and ramps with a Quick 36. If you don't have a pickup you can probably search Ebay, and this site for a trailer. A short trailer single axle should run you $500 to $1000.

I would go with a new Quick mower , They have some good deals and thier mowers are built like tanks. Your first year you don't want to deal with mower problems.

DBA. You can go to your local bank and just open a basic business checking account using your name. expample: "Joe's Smith's Lawn Care"

Insurance is a necessity and not that expensive. I would go to a broker who can choose from several different companies. I have Erie Insurance. I pay $250.00 a year for $600,000 coverage.

As for the trimmer and blower, you get what you pay for. It looks like you might want to buy a $99.00 craftsman trimmer and blower for now until you can afford the $300.00 Stihl trimmers and blowers.

good luck
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:43 AM
DA Quality Lawn & YS's Avatar
DA Quality Lawn & YS DA Quality Lawn & YS is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 8,611
ers - congrats on your motivation to start a lawn biz part time.
To supplement what you have indicated on here, make sure you sketch up some resemblance of a business plan including your anticipated exps, income, etc so you have some idea where you are going with this.

$2,500, hmmm, lets see....
I assume you will be sticking with basic mow/blow/trim? How big will your potential accounts be? If we are talking 6-8 residential accts, 1/4 acre or less, and you aren't afraid of work, you should be able to get by with a 21" mower. I would not go cheap homeowner on the mower though, it will get a lot of use. Look at Toro's PT Trim Mower or any professional mowers (like the Toro Proline). With your budget, not sure a 36" WB would be a good idea - you could blow your whole budget on the mower. Could look for a used belt drive, though.
I agree with the gentleman above, get homeowner trimmers and blowers for now. You start buying Stihl or similar at this pt, you will shell out $500-$750 on that stuff alone. But eventually, do realize you will have to upgrade at some point as your business persists.
GL insurance should not run you more than the person indicated above....and if you can afford it, self insure your equipment don't cover with insurance.
Make sure you factor in gas expense, maintenance, and licensing you might need, etc. Then leave a certain percent overage factor...and hopefully you are still within your budget. If need be, just get another customer or two
7x14 Stealth SE Enclosed with 48" side ramp
2013 Gravely Pro Turn 260 with Kohler 26.5 EFI
08 Toro Z400 48" deck, 21HP Kaw with EZ Vac twin bag
09 Exmark Turf Tracer HP 36"
21" Toro SR4 Super Recycler
Stihl KM90 Kombi w/ straight shaft trimmer & tiller heads
2 Husqvarna 125B Blowers
Turfco XT5 Aerator
Turfco LS-22 Overseeder
EcoLawn 200 Applicator

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:47 AM
LawnBoy89's Avatar
LawnBoy89 LawnBoy89 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: East Haven, Connecticut
Posts: 967
Personally I think you are better off buying used commercial equiptment well taken care of then brand new homeowner stuff. Do you have any eqiuptment at all right now?
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:56 AM
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Enzo Enzo is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 86
I agree with lawnboy, try to find used commercial equipment that is for sale. I pay about $1000 a year for insurance up to $1 Million and it covers my equipment as well not just the properties I maintain. You can also probably get by going to Home Depot or Lowes and buying some equipment theresuch as blowers, line trimmers etc. I got into this business because I was doing another business on the internet where it was costing me about $410 a month and I was only bringing in about $200 a month in sales. I stopped doing that and took those expenses and put it toward my landscaping. I just charged my equipment on my credit card and pay a low monthly bill with low interest. You might be able to try that as well.
Minniti's Landscaping LLC
2002 Ford F250
7x14 Pace American Enclosed Trailer
52" Lazer Z HP w/ UltraVac 23 HP Kohler
48" ExMark Turf Tracer HP 17HP Kawasaki
48" Husqvarna 15HP Kawasaki
Honda Line Trimmer
Echo Line Trimmer
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Husqvarna 123HD60 Hedge Trimmer
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:10 AM
ers0302 ers0302 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Reading PA
Posts: 2

Thanks a million guys - I greatly appreciate the help and was hoping to get replies just as you indicated.

Good luck
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