Best low-budget solution for 1 acre lots?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LawnMowerMan2003, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 768

    I had to start over this year, but I'm not giving up. I found a customer that has 2 lots that are close to an acre. One is empty for commercial purposes and the other has a house. I currently only have 20 inch mowers and I'm wondering what my next step should be because I don't want to turn down the business. I mowed them once with a friend's help who had a John Deere rider and we finished in 2-3 hours, but he no longer has the use of the John Deere rider so I'm looking for the most economical solution to keep the customer untill I can get better equipment. Obviously a larege ZTR would be great but that's unrealistic at this point. I don't even have a trailer, not to mention the $5000 or more. Any ideas?

  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,206

    They must be paying you big bucks for you to want to bother with mowing open lots? Why not just go find some yards you can mow with your small unit?
  3. joshco84

    joshco84 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 411

    find a used ztr or walk behind in the one or two thousand range. should pay for itself in a few months if you get it out and use it a lot.

  4. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 806

    Mow it with what you have. It's not impossible and all add up in a year from now when you build up your cash flow. You "don't" need a fancy z. Consider offering landscape services to add to your cash flow. There are many times where I'll have 3 guys working simple shovels and bringing in over 3 grand a day in revenue. Sometimes, the simplest of tools bring in enormous revenue.

    Good luck and god bless!

  5. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    Old Snapper Rear Engine Rider for cheap

    Craftsman or Murray or MTD 38" rider for cheap

    The skills and time to keep the rider repaired

    Eye out for cheap trailer ASAP for safely loading the rider

    - OR -

    Best ramps you can find to get mower in the Ranger. If Ranger has a kit in it to raise it, take the kit out. If it has big wheels and tires, go back to stock or smaller. You don't want the bed any higher than stock. You don't want medical bills.

    None of this is very good but would beat pushing two acres. Those old riders would be a lot cheaper than a 36 belt wb in most cases.
  6. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 768

    Well, the first one was pretty overgrown and I wouldn't have been able to cut it with a 20 inch at all but I charged $200 and they offered to pay $200 for the other lot, which wasn't as bad. I think they're going to pay $150 if it's kept manageable. With the right equipment I'm hoping to get them done in 3 hours, but obviously that won't happen with a 20 inch. The empty one that wasn't as overgrown took about 2 hours with a 20hp John Deere, plus 2 hours of weed trimming with my little echo cause there were some areas with rocks that couldn't be mowed. I'm hoping to get a bigger trimmer soon and cut the trimming time down.

    I'm targeting small lawns because of my limited equipment. I think I can compete better for a small lawn because I should be more efficient than a crew of 5 guys. But I have less than 20 and most people in my area only want to mow them every 2 weeks. In order to target only small lawns I have to put flyers in the neighborhoods and that's working but it takes a long time.
  7. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 768

    When I save up the money, a used 36 would probably be a very good investment, however, how can I know that somebody took good care of it and I don't end up having to replace the engine or something else expensive? I love Kawasaki, but I'm sure even those wear out eventually. Also, would it be difficult to find used walk behinds?
  8. joshco84

    joshco84 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 411

    usually the local mower shop should have quite a few used wb's. ztr riders as well. i got my snapper pro 36 wb with a new engine for 2800, but it is a pretty nice mower. the snapper pro is dual hydros with an adjustable deck. i like it pretty well, it stripes nice and is even pretty fast. just not a real big fan of the controls, gets kind of hard on your hands. i would keep my eyes open for an exmark turf tracer with the ecs controls, nothing is more comfortable to run. and they mow excellent.
  9. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 768

    Is that similar to the Toro T-handle? I like the Toro hydro alot better than the Scag or John Deere belt drive units I used, and one reason was the handle was less fatigue.
  10. joshco84

    joshco84 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 411

    no it is like loop handles, but they are at a better angle and are not hard on your hands at all, maybe the first day or two they will be sore if you run it a lot, but they are 100 times better than regular loops or pistols for sure. i have only run a t bar on gear drive and it sucked, but i could see how it would be nice on a hydro.

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