1st Mower

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mrbenfer, Jun 4, 2003.

  1. mrbenfer

    mrbenfer LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 136

    New to commercial lawn mowing.

    I'm 17 and have around 12 accounts that on average take 45mn to a hour to complete (one takes 2 hours to mow) with my 21"YardMan W/b. I'm STILL growing by word of mounth.

    My question to you is this :
    Is this the right time to upgrade to a commercial size mower?
    OR... Am I still young enough that i can stick it out for another year or so?

    Since i'm a teenager i dont have much money to work with if i choose to upgrade. Since i'm under 18 i cant take out a loan.

    I'm interested in a used commercial grade mower W/B with a 36'' deck that i can add a sulke to. I'm not interested in anything over $2500. Can you find a mower at this dollar? Or would it be wizer to stick it out and save up?


    Thanks for the advice.
    -Mitch
     
  2. GrassMaster84

    GrassMaster84 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    Yes Go for the upgrade... if you feel that you are financially capable.

    $2500 dollars can buy you a new 36in gear drive walkbehind. Go the dealers in your local area and demo one. It will definately save you time and plus you'll be able to take on more accounts.
     
  3. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,849

    i bought a used Gravely PRO-50 for $900 4 years ago. It paid for itself in no time. If i did it again, I'd look for a used Hydro machine, my machine doesn't drive very well when its wet, so i avoid cutting when its wet when possible.

    With all the time you'll save by using a commercial deck you'll have more time to take on more clients, or relax.

    good luck
     
  4. Signature Services

    Signature Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    I think Lesco is a nationwide company with a 36" w/b that leaves nice stripes for about $2395 brand new.
     
  5. lawnsbyryan

    lawnsbyryan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Definitely go for the upgrade... when i upgraded from my 21" to my first commercial mower I saved an incredible amount of time(obviously) and my business keeps growing and growing. Furthermore, people have a tendency to take your 'business', or services, more seriously and because of that I got a lot of new clients!

    As for a mower, if you can wait until the end of this mowing season you can get a MUCH better deal. I got my 36" Toro for $2100.00 at the end of last mowing season. It's a gear driven machine (cheaper) but it sports the new T-bar system, i'm pretty sure it's on all, or most, makes now and is a helluva lot easier than learning to handle a commercial mower plus the pistol grip set-up.

    I'm not quite sure if you need a sulkie though... if your accounts are that small than it really isn't necessary, but Toro does have a nice tru-trak sulky...

    Well, good luck and I think if you upgrade you will never want to look back!!! (sorry for the breathy reply)
     
  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    WHAT EVERYBODY SAID!
    Plus Get a Easy to ajust Deck.
    john
     
  7. Signature Services

    Signature Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Yes, Yes, Yes! Make sure you can adjust cutting height without tools or a ramp. If you are out far from you truck and need to adjust you really need easy on/off.
     
  8. Heron Cove PM

    Heron Cove PM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    Welcome to the industry. Make the best of it and learn as much as you can from as many areas as you can.

    Yes this is a good time to upgrade. There are many benefits to a commercial machine; Quality of cut (blade speed and lift), maneuverabilty, longer life of the machine(very rugged), and less operator fatigue. There are many more reasons and with proper maintenance it will last you a long time.

    As these other fine people have said there is a lot of good deals out there. Demo as much as possible. Give cedit a try with a co-signer you might suprise yourself, however don't get in over you head . Keep your feet on the ground and MAKE THOSE PAYMENTS!


    One place you may want to look is yor dealers. I know the ones in this area have a lot of good used equpiment from time to time. They get trade-ins, repos, even units on consignment from guys going out of business. Look the unit over real well, try to demo it, and go with your "gut" if it's too good to be true, it probably is. Check the engine for knocking and pinging( not good), give the blades a test; engage them, listen for bad noises.(with the engine off) wiggle the blades from underneath; you want to have good spindles.

    GOOD LUCK! give me a hit anytime you have a question. KEEP POSTING and ask away. The only dumb question is the one never asked. Marshall
     
  9. mrbenfer

    mrbenfer LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 136

    thanks for the info guys.... Since my slave mower/21" broke down just the other day, now might be a good time to think about monthly payments :\

    HAHA when most people have a car payment I have a LAWN MOWER payment.
     
  10. pottstim

    pottstim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 501

    Sorry to hear that your mower broke down on you. This past friday, I bought my first commercial grade mower. It is a 2003 Toro Proline 48" gear drive walkbehind 15hp Kawasaki. I picked it up for $2795+tax, and the dealer threw in the velke for $260. I paid a grand down and dealer got the rest financed for me through a local bank for 6.25% apr. My payments are $74/month for 36 months, and I plan on paying it off early. If you can get your folks or a close family member to co-sign for you, you'll be in business. Then, make all of your payments on time and you will start establishing some good credit for yourself. You'll find that this will help you a ton in the future when you go to buy that new car or home. BTW, after owning my Toro for only 2 days, I would never go back to any homeowner-type mower. The difference in productivity is unbeliveable! Just go to the various dealers in your area and demo as many different units as possible. Pick out the ones you like best, and a friendly, helpful dealer will help you a ton in the future. I believe I've found a good friend in the dealer up the road. Best of luck to you, and I hope there is a brand new commercial mower in your future. Let us know what happens. BTW, what the guys said above about fixed deck vs. floating is true. The floaters are a lot easier to change your cutting height on. However they are noticably more expensive. If you end up with a fixed deck, just read your owner's manual and you'll figure it out. I'm working on doing that very thing right now. All it takes is practice. The manual includes a chart that shows you which spacer combos on the casters and blade spindles give you a certain cut height. Right now i'm cutting at 3" .

    Tim
     

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