equipment suggestions for expanding business?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DJB, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. DJB

    DJB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Hello,

    I'm new to lawnsite. I'm a pastor full-time and provide lawn care part-time. We've been doing mostly residential lawns for 27 years. We are near a college and so have mostly used grad-school students working out of their own vehicles using small push mowers. We are expanding this year and I'd love to hear some feedback as to larger equipment. For those who have been doing this for some time, what would you buy and in what order if you were in my shoes. In particular, what are the relative advantages between ZTR, Walk-behinds, Standers, etc? What width? I'm sure there are a bunch of opinions on brands but I'd be interested in that too. I have a few leads on larger commercial accounts and that is my goal, to become competitive in large residential and small to mid-size commercial accounts. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. Scag413

    Scag413 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,283

    First off let me say God Bless you pastor. I also pastor, go to school full-time, and have a small mowing business. Secondly, welcome to Lawnsite. Now for the business questions...before we go any further I would simply tell you to make sure you have insurance if you don't already. You will need them to get commercial accounts. Now, since you said you mow mostly residentials....what size are they? What equipment do you currently have? My suggestion as far as upgrading would depend on your budget. If you can afford a commercial zero turn rider then I would do that and would look for a 48"52" deck. Choose any of the top brands (scag, exmark, hustler, etc.) with the closest or best dealer around you. If that is not an option check out craigslist and buy a commercial belt-drive or hydro walkbehind. Once again with a 48"-52" deck. Just keep checking craigslist for nice used handhelds and a trailer. Also, let us know what equipment you already have.
     
  3. DJB

    DJB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Also, if there is already a thread addressing this that anyone knows about, please let me know.
     
  4. SuperiorService.110mb.com

    SuperiorService.110mb.com LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85

    Well Scag is a very good brand, great cut and quality machine. Walk behinds are a big jump from a push mower but still more for beginers or small properties. They are work to run and don't leave behind as nice a cut as you are walking on the grass or draging a Velky behind the cut path. Z turns will cut more grass and leave a cleaner cut. Standers are the best of both worlds, compact, great cut, no back problems, and can cut steeper banks. As for size, well that depends on the properties you are cutting. 36" will get into back yards and still put down some grass. Never liked anything between 36" and 52". 52" has three blades and seems to mulch and cut taller, thicker grass better. Bigger than that is great for big flat properties not res or hilly areas. Next is HP, don't buy a 36" with less than 15-16H or a 52" with less than 23H. More power means it will cut taller thicker grass easier and will last longer in the long run becuse the motor is notr working as hard. Wright makes a great Stander.
     
  5. DJB

    DJB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Thanks Scag413. Nice to know of someone doing something similar. I have about 5-6 push mowers, weed-wackers, blowers, a hedge trimmer, lots of hand tools, and some other random small pieces of equipment (power edger, high weed cutter). As far as vehicle I just got a truck and have a small (4'x8' trailer) which I plan to sell for something larger. I am thinking I will spend 4-5K including the trailer upgrade. Would a new zero turn be feasable for that? I'd love to go with something new to not be plagued with repair issues. Especially since my thought is to get through one season with only one large mower, then next year add another. Thanks
     
  6. DJB

    DJB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Superiorservice, Thanks. You say standers are the best of both worlds. I understand you say they cut better than walk behinds. I was wondering what they would have going for them over ZTR's. Is it that they are less expensive or do they perform better in some way? Thanks, this is helpful stuff.
     
  7. DJB

    DJB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Oh, and I am insured.
     
  8. DJB

    DJB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    As to what size are my lawns. Most right now would fall in the 4,000-10,000 sf range. My larger ones go up to about 25,000 sf. I did a bid today on a 4 acre and am thinking that the 1-5 acre range is my next step.
     
  9. SuperiorService.110mb.com

    SuperiorService.110mb.com LawnSite Member
    Posts: 85

    DJB
    Well the are lighter in weight for the same size cut and more compact, meaning you can fit them on smaller trailers and get in and out of tighter areas on a property. Being more compact also means you can get closer to things resalting in less weedeating. Becuse you are not stuck on top of a mower you can transfer your weight around to cut steeper inclines or duck down to cut under trees and also cut feather into a trees low having branches where you would otherwise need to weedeat. If you get the mower stuck you can get off and help it out easier if your by yourself, try that with a Z. You can also pick up trash or more hoses or garbage cans what evers in your way with never getting off the mower. Hopes this helps but be ready to spend some money.
     
  10. DJB

    DJB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    That helps. Is $5000 not realistic?
     

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