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contingency plans for breakdowns

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by danmc, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. danmc

    danmc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 88

    I'm doing as much research as I can before I start to branch off on my own and here is one of my concerns. If I start off with a used mower and it breaks down and I can't get a loaner (i'm not even sure if loaners are available if you don't buy new) I'm screwed. What type of contingency plans do you have? DO you have someone that is willing to lend you a machine? Do you let the grass keep going until your machine is repaired and work like a dog to catch up? Do you use a 21' mower until you get your machine running again?

  2. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,110

    As hard as it may be to start off, try to start off with two of everything. I started off with two of everything and now I have as much as 3 or 4 of some things. Even if it's a home owner grade it's good to have as a back-up. Alot of the local LCO's around here laughed at me for keeping my Ford Ranger around, it has saved my azz a few times already. I have a Craftsman weed wacker that has saved my azz twice in critical situation, my echo was out of commission and we were doing some big lawns and needed a second trimmer and here came the craftsman to the rescue ( I think I paid $90 for it 2 years ago ) I have good commercial equipment, but nothing wrong with having any other type or brand as a back-up. Good luck to you on the new venture.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    If you are just starting out and don't have a lot of customers yet, hopefully you could manage with a 21". Also, check with equipment rental companies, a couple in my area rent out walk-behinds.

    See if you can qualify for financing at a dealership. That way if catastrophe strikes you don't have to come up with $2,500 all of a sudden.

    I am fortunate to deal with a good salesman at one of the local dealers here. I've known him since I was working for someone else. And I've followed him as he has switched jobs several times. These guys love loyalty. The guy always treats me like a bigshot even though I'm just a tiny fish in a large pond.

    A good dealer recognizes that you need that machine running, and should be at least able to help you identify any problems, rather than just having you drop the machine off to "check it out later"
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    there are places out there that will rent you equipment. I started with a Toro garden tractor (new) but soon found it to be a homeowner model. I had 13 customers but still did about 5 acres of cutting. That is alot for a pushmower unless you had 4 or more of them going at once.
    In a pinch at a desperate moment I contacted a commercial dealer and got to demo a ZTR for a week. It worked. That is one strategy that you may be able to use in a pinch.

    Bottom line is that you have to buy commercial mowing equipment. I am not gonna tell you which one to buy but just to buy something that fits your business. Put the 2000 bucks that you would spend at buying used homeowner stuff towards a new commercial unit and make payments. Its a tax write off anyway. Build your equipment and your business at the same time. A used tractor may be an initial contingency plan as a backup but believe me, eventually its gonna break if you do any kind of serious business. Lastly a 21 inch push mower is a trim mower unless you only have 2 or 3 small residential customers, you will hate this business if you have to rely on a 21" mower to do your route. Good Luck. Buy commercial.
  5. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Check out the rental places, see if they have something for emergencies.
  6. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,449

    its also a good idea to have friends in the business, get know other companies out there. One of my best friends, and my brother in law have lawn care business here, as well as alot of other guys I'm on really good terms with. I've borrowed machines from them for free, and vice versa. Funny, one time my neighbor was watching as a truck pulled up, went into my yard and took a weed whacker..... ofcourse i knew, but my neighbor called me and took info off the truck.
    this theory also works when your broken down on the side of the road, guys will sometimes pull over to help.

    "Up North" recently had a post where he saw a guys machine down, took his off and finished the lawn. They weren't friends of his, but imagine if they were, he probably would have done even more.
  7. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,177

    Two of everything is a must. If one dies, you got something to finish with. Try to keep equipment all from one company. I have swapped out parts between my standers a lot of times. My buddy has 3 lazers, the third one gets parts taken off all the time. (we converted it to a spray rig)

    I loan my equipment to certain people in a time of need. I can borrow theirs if I need it. Try to make friends with other LCO. My best landscape customer even let me borrow his Kubota B7500(same one as mine) to finish a job when mine broke. Probably so I would get to his next landscape project sooner.

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