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  #1  
Old 01-05-2014, 09:07 PM
CPE CPE is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: St. Charles, MO
Posts: 26
New business coming spring 2014

Hi guys I'm starting my business in the spring. I have some basic questions and I'd like your input and advice. Any pros/cons to the questions are appreciated.

1. I can only have one mower to start - would you go with a 36" so you can get in most yards or just go bigger (what size) and do fenceless yards only?

2. I'd like to expand and grow this business and quit my full-time job at some point - should I get the biggest trailer and truck I can afford in the beginning or just start with a small (5x8) trailer?

3. I'd like to know about pricing/quoting my work (I'd love input from people in the Midwest/St. Louis/MO areas). I don't want to just steal work by undercharging and underpaying myself.

4. Brands of mowers - I'm thinking it's going to be one of the following due to reliability and dealer support here : Ferris/Snapper Pro/Scag/John Deere. What do I need to look out for with used mowers?

5. Is door-to-door the best way to get clients? How about Craigslist? And just friends/family networking?

I'm sure I'm missing a lot of things so please feel free to give me any advice you have.

Thanks,

Clint
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  #2  
Old 01-05-2014, 09:33 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ragland Al
Posts: 10,188
Good Luck and welcome to LS.

If your starting from scratch buy used equiptment, a 36 or slightly larger mower and a 21 will be a nice start.

Id try to do everything debt free, a 36" mower and 21 should both fit in that back of a pickup.

Pricies are all over the place, you may call a couple of lcos and try to get a estmate on the phone to get a general idea, you do not want to be the hightest, and you for sure don't want to be the lowest.

All the brands of mowers you listed are good.

Fliers, word of mouth craigslist are inexpensive and may help.

Do quality work and show up clean cut is half the battle in this business.
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2014, 10:15 AM
gmlm gmlm is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: locust, nc
Posts: 115
if i had to start again...i would get a 48" hydro walk behind/or stander and carry a 21" honda push mowers to mow yards with fences. i would not just wait for fence less yards. the 48" will have a nicer look to the stripes and you will complete the yard in better time. that is the main goal right.... quickly complete the project at hand.

instead of a 5x8 with a 200lb axel on it....i would save up and get a 6x12 with 3500 lb axel....this way you will be able to haul rock, mulch, or clean up trimming debris at the same time.

located in the south east...i wont touch a yard for less than 40.00 per visit

i have exmark, scag, and toro mowers. best cut is exmark,...best price is scag....best warranty is toro. toro's cut quality is a little less to be desired. having hydros is definitely more expensive so i would say start with belt driven....but as soon as you use a hydro mower..you will never buy a belt drive again.

i started with craigslist but then word of mouth is how i stay busy,...and keep 4 other guys busy too. i have not paid for any advertising in 2 years and steadily turn work away. although we do much more than just mow and blow.

good luck to you....the best advise i can give is "dont ever give up" if you dont give up you beat most of the competition.
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  #4  
Old 01-06-2014, 02:30 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LI NY
Posts: 3,101
Hi guys I'm starting my business in the spring. I have some basic questions and I'd like your input and advice. Any pros/cons to the questions are appreciated.

1. I can only have one mower to start - would you go with a 36" so you can get in most yards or just go bigger (what size) and do fenceless yards only?


So you will have so many people wanting your services that you will turn down work from those that have small gates? Counting your chickens before they hatch. I would go with a 36" WB.


2. I'd like to expand and grow this business and quit my full-time job at some point - should I get the biggest trailer and truck I can afford in the beginning or just start with a small (5x8) trailer?


Get a 5 x 12 not that much more money and you will not out grow it that fast. First job you get with a decent amount of debris to haul away you will regret having to make two trips to the dump because your 5 x 8 was too small.


3. I'd like to know about pricing/quoting my work (I'd love input from people in the Midwest/St. Louis/MO areas). I don't want to just steal work by undercharging and underpaying myself.


You need to figure the SF of the property's. See how long it takes. Then you will have an idea it will take to mow a lawn of that size. Start out with your own lawn. You will eventually figure out the time.

You get every job your prices are to low. One out of ten your prices maybe to high.


4. Brands of mowers - I'm thinking it's going to be one of the following due to reliability and dealer support here : Ferris/Snapper Pro/Scag/John Deere. What do I need to look out for with used mowers?


5. Is door-to-door the best way to get clients? How about Craigslist? And just friends/family networking?

I'm sure I'm missing a lot of things so please feel free to give me any advice you have.

Thanks,

Clint
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2014, 10:33 PM
CPE CPE is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: St. Charles, MO
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 32vld View Post
Hi guys I'm starting my business in the spring. I have some basic questions and I'd like your input and advice. Any pros/cons to the questions are appreciated.

1. I can only have one mower to start - would you go with a 36" so you can get in most yards or just go bigger (what size) and do fenceless yards only?


So you will have so many people wanting your services that you will turn down work from those that have small gates? Counting your chickens before they hatch. I would go with a 36" WB.


Clint
In my area there are a lot of neighborhoods with no fences - the HOA doesn't allow it. Those would be the faster jobs for people with good income levels. I have a 21" mower I could do small back yards with.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2014, 09:58 PM
TTS TTS is online now
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 555
Start advertising and obtain a few yards. Once you see what you will be mowing it will be simple to figure out what size mower to look at. Since you have a push I would probably go 48 plus unless you're mowing postage stamps.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2014, 12:08 AM
205mx 205mx is online now
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 1,691
Speaking of mowers,
I hav a 48" Bobcat, hydro with 38 hours on it. With a velkie for sale.

It's like new. Will sell it to a new guy cheap.
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2014, 09:08 PM
CPE CPE is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: St. Charles, MO
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 205mx View Post
Speaking of mowers,
I hav a 48" Bobcat, hydro with 38 hours on it. With a velkie for sale.

It's like new. Will sell it to a new guy cheap.
Posted via Mobile Device
Thanks. I think I'm sticking to either a Ferris, Snapper Pro, or John Deere due to the level of dealer support in my area.
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  #9  
Old 01-17-2014, 05:49 AM
TuffTurfLawnCare TuffTurfLawnCare is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Pittsburgh (South Hills)
Posts: 542
I started last year and was in a similar position. I ended up with a 48 hydro walkbehind and a 21" push on a 6x10 trailer. I had the trailer built by a local company. If your going to go with a new trailer, dont buy one from a big box store. They are flimsy, and generally poorly built. Get one from a dealer that is designed to be used daily, not one that was intended to be used once a month hauling a quad. My 6x10 is wide enough to fit the 48 and the 21 side by side and plenty of room for hand helds, and all the other stuff. Plus it has a 3500lb axle under it so it can carry a decent amount of mulch, plants, etc. After having my 6x10, Iwouldnt go any smaller. It would be way to cramped and may even cost me time, juggling equipment around to get the other mower off, etc. Most importantly, when you get your trailer, GET TIE DOWNS AND USE THEM!!!!

When it comes to mowers, I like going new for a new guy. There is good debt and bad debt. Good debt makes you money and costs little, if anything. Igot my entire set up, trailer, two mowers, back pack blower and trimmers at 0% for 4 years. I could have paid cash, but it was better to stay liquid and use their money for free. The benefit is that I have warranties on everything. If something breaks, I take it to the dealer and they give me a loaner. No stressing over waiting for parts, repair bills, or loosing customers because I dont have equipment running.

Go talk to a local dealer. Tell them what your looking to do and listen to what they say. If its a good dealer they will spend tie with you and give you some options. A good dealer wont be trying to sell you top of the line anything, but will reccomend what works in the area. They work with LCOs every day. They know what works, what doesnt and why. They have probably seen dozens of guys like you walk in the door. This is also a geat chance to guage their service. Which is just as important, if not more, than the color of the mower your buying.

Ask the dealer all of the questions you have asked us, here too. Since they know your market, they may have different answers that are more focused on the area you wan to service.
__________________
Just like everyone else on here, I have stuff that cuts, whacks, mows and blows. And way to haul it around.

Last edited by TuffTurfLawnCare; 01-17-2014 at 05:53 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2014, 09:08 AM
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TML TML is online now
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Southern, ME
Posts: 587
Mabye you already have one but if I was serious about getting into this business for more than just beer and vacation money I would get a pick-up truck first and foremost.

Without knowing your age or situation I would advise trying to find a quality established LCO to work for even if part time. This way you can learn about different aspects of the job, how to do, how long it will take, what equipment works for what and how to use and possibly service it. That way when you can hit the ground running with confidence.
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