Basic Questions

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by TRINITY, May 28, 2001.


    TRINITY LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Im new to the lawn stuff and I have some questions for you guys. I want to plow snow like I do now and get into lawns too and make a living. I know that you typically mow, trim, and blow at each visit. What about sidewalk edging, hedge trimming, mulching beds, and fall leaves? Do you try and sell these as seperate services or include all this in you price as one service? Do you put down fertilizer or some kind of weed control? If a lawn has weeds is there something you can put down to get rid of them? When all the weeds are gone is it bare where you would have re-seed?

    As far as equipment is concerned it looks like the cheapest way to get started would be to get a gear drive walk behind. I was thinking about the Toro gear drive 15hp Kohler 44" deck or the Exmark Metro HP gear drive 15hp Kaw 48" deck. I was leaning more towards the Toro because of the amount of dealers around me. I don't even know who sells Exmark by me. I was quoted $3699.00 for the Toro does that seem high? With my goal being to get a 60" zero turn in the future would it make more sense to start with a 36" walk behind instead of the 44" or 48" so I could use for gated and tight property? I realize a 36" is pretty small for larger areas that I will encounter now but what do you think is better for the long run?

    Sorry this is so long and im so ignorant on this stuff.

  2. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,473

    ok this is what i do and i think most of the guys here do.
    I edge the side walks trim everthing and blow the beds(not if there are leaves). The mower you chose looks good but you really need accounts before you decied what kinda of mower to get maybe look into buysing some accounts from some LCOs (local companies)i dont know how to go about this i just strted one lawn but 1 lawn. I would get the 28" mower toro or exmark it doenst matter both great mpwers try to demo them if you can. stuff like triming bushes and fertilizing etc. i do as extras not inclueded in the original price.:blob3:
  3. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    I would go with the 48" deck. You can sweat out the gated yards to start out. Then replace them or buy a 36" if the budget allows, and you have enough gates to justify the purchase.

    As far as the other questions, I would advise you dont go overboard with too many services to start. I would begin with the grass, then prepare for the leaves, along the way note the things your customers are desiring and slip in some extras when you can afford the extra equipment.
  4. NateinAtl

    NateinAtl LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 121

    There are really two approaches you can use. You can first do the mow, trim, edge , blow and go method. Or you can offer all the extras. What I would suggest would be to find out what the customers are wanting, and then go from there. You can also do it like a car wash does: say Package #1 includes mowing, edging, trimming, blowing. Package #2 includes m,e,t,b and hedge trimming, and weeding of beds. Package #3 includes.....and so on and so on. I would deffinetely include leaf clean ups for everyone. If the customer isn't able to mow, then they surely can't keep their leaves up. Besides, if you don't get the leaves up, it will make for a tough start next spring. Good luck
  5. Atlantic Lawn

    Atlantic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Outer Banks NC
    Posts: 939

    Buy the best mower your budget can afford, not always the biggest. If you're just startin' out you can't afford down time. Get to know a local dealer and if he's good stick with him, if you need service he can get you in and out fast. He may even have a loaner to keep you goin. Stick around this site, read the posts,and use the search feature. Good Luck
  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Heres my cliffnotes version of answers to your questions:

    1. SEARCH THE ARCHIVES. You will find the answers to all of your questions and statements to make you think of those things you have not already thought of.

    2. MOWING: Most of the contractors here will mow, trim/edge, and blow at each visit. I prefer to trim/edge every second visit. You will need to decide for yourself weather you can mulch or if your clientel will need to have all clippings removed during mowing and then disposed of by you afterwards. You might want to consider a composting bin for them if there are no City Ordinances against this for there demographics.

    3. HEDGES/SHRUBS: Prune flowering specimens after they have blossomed, cut evergreens back so that you are only taking off the new growth, cut back most to their existing shape, make structural changes by cutting at laterals(crotches).

    4. MULCH: Consider that many here purchase mulch for $8-13/yd and then charge upwards of $55/yd for the installation including the price of the product. I prefer to have the mulch taper away from the edge so that it looks like a "check mark" when finished. Some like to mound the top and others like to keep it flat.

    5. SEASONAL CLEAN-UPS: This will vary by contractor. Some charge 5-7 times the cost of a cutting for the fall clean up and others will charge per the hour $25 upwards.

    6. FERTILIZATION/WEED CONTROL: You must first obtain your State Certification prior to applying chemicals for weed and insect control. You may apply a basic fertilizer with no other insecticides/fungicides in it at your discretion. The standard seems to be 6 weeks between applications. Consider a season long grub control in the spring and a pelletized lime application in the fall.

    7. OVERSEEDING: I prefer to offer this service to clients in the fall as there is less weed competition. Prices start at $20/m sf upwards.

    Hope this helps. Dont forget to do searches on these topics and you will be able to find what most are charging.

    Good Luck in your entreprenuerial(sp) adventure!
  7. here is what i do. cut / trim / edge at my disrcretion / blow pavement: thats it. everything else is extra. leaves, trees, trim the hedges, everything.

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Posts: 665

    After a couple of years in it full time, I realize
    that there is alot to learn. I still say to anyone
    thinking about doing this to keep a day job with
    insurance,buy your stuff,and do it part time. That
    way, when you get ready to jump in full time you
    have your equip. paid off and you gain all of the
    multifaceted skills you will need to be a success!;)

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