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how did you guys do it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bw, Mar 19, 2000.

  1. bw

    bw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    I'm doing this part time now(mowing, landscaping, yard clean up etc.)and the equipment is so expensive, i'm using my ford ranger right now(that is paid for) which i know i want a bigger truck at least a v6 4x4, but the mowers are so expensive (walk behinds)I'm getting ready to buy a trailer so i can use my craftsman riding mower, which i know won't last long, and i got a troybilt push mower for free last year and fixed up a little to use.I'm not a guy who likes to borrow money except when buying a house or vehicle, so i was just wondering how you guys got all your nice equipment. By the way i started this as a means of extra money, but now want to do it full time, and i don't make very much money at my job and neither does my wife, by not very much i mean around 38,000 a year total with both our incomes.
     
  2. DMC300

    DMC300 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 325

    BELIEVE IT OR NOT MY WIFE STARTED THIS BUS.WITH AN OLD SNAPPER RIDER AND SECOND HAND PUSH MOWER.JUST AS A FAVOR FOR HER PARENTS,GRANPARENTS,FRIENDS, ETC... AFTER AWHILE SHE HAD ENOUGH ACCT'S.AND A FEW GOOD&quot;ANCHORS&quot;,SO WE WENT AND BORROWED $7000 AND BOUGHT A DIXIE 50&quot;FLATLANDER. THREE -FOUR YEARS LATER,I'M FULL-TIME WITH HER PART-TIME FOUR MOWERS ,AND LOOKING AT A NEW 60&quot;THIS SEASON!<p>----------<br>DON<br>LIANNES' MOWING
     
  3. EDL

    EDL LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Posts: 110

    BW, I would take out a little loan for a mower, one lawn at $25 would pay for a loan toward a belt drive 48&quot; mower. When i started the mower was around $85 a month, so one lawn account was $100 a month. It is a low risk that you couldn't keep up with the loans. Tom
     
  4. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    BW, I agree with EDL. If you have the accounts to get going, get the biggest and best mower you can afford that will fit on the lawns you have. You will be able to do several more lawns with a bigger machine than with a smaller, slower one. The extra money you can make will easily make the mower payments. I started out with a 38&quot; mower and out grew it in no time.<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.townserver.com/elm/&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>
     
  5. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 502

    My advice is to first, determine whether or not you really love this business. I think you will find that to be important down the road when it comes time to make decisions. Next, if you do love it then take the income from your business and put most of it back in for right now. Are you liscenced to fertilize, do you have the basic equipment, do you have a wholesale nursery stock dealer's liscence so that you can take on some landscape jobs, can you care for shrubs? etc.<br>Customers want the full service. Can you provide full service? If you cannot do everything now then continue working at your current job and moonlighting in L&L untill you have the equipment and customer base to &quot; take the plunge&quot;. <br>Bottom line is, get the business first and then you can purchase equipment. Do not go out and finance a lot of high dollar machines. Anything can happen, droughts etc.. dedicate a few accounts and take that money and pay for your equipment. When you have some basic walk behinds etc. paid for then go for some bigger fish. Make lots of sales calls, dress nice and act professional. Be honest with people and tell them you are just starting out, then when you get some work do the best job they have ever seen. Your signature is on every thing you do and your work stands on it's own. Good luck!
     
  6. ashlandscaping

    ashlandscaping Banned
    Posts: 113

    I would look for a used walkbehind mower find the newest and largest that will fit in the yards and go for some more accounts. First year started with push then small self propelled then worked a deal out to use a 48 and 36 walkbehind for cutting a couple lawns that where out of range. Then bought the machines from the guy. But once I was uses the walk behinds what took me 4 nights turned into 5 hours of mowing. It made a big diff. you said you have a push mower so go find a 48 walk behind and start kicking. I also agree take 5 lawns or so and reinvest that money back into the company. String trimmers hedge trimmer ect. Do it on the side till you have a name and all the basic tools to go full time then jump in and make a way for your self. GOOOD luck
     
  7. cutntrim

    cutntrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 474

    If you decide to get a WB or ZTR check out Toro. I don't know if they're running the same program in the States, but up here you can finance a piece of equipment at 0% with only the taxes up-front. That's how we just got our new Z-Master 150. Ours is a demo that they're selling us with &quot;as-new&quot; warranty. A gear-drive walk-behind will amaze you with its productivity compared to the push mower you've got now.<p>----------<br>Dave in S.Ontario<br>www.cutntrim.com
     
  8. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    We started out with a 21&quot; mower and could never seem to get ahead. My mother gave me $2800. With that and a little more I went to the Walker dealer to buy a 42&quot; 16hp GHS. I figured they would jump on a a 50% down payment....but they didn't. He told me I could buy a Scag with the cash. That just pissed me off.<p>A few days later I found a 54&quot; Bobcat walkbehind for $1400. With the rest of the money I was able to buy a new trailer, edger and blower I needed. For my lawns, the big walkbehind was more appropriate than the Walker would have been anyway. <p>A year later after establishing a little credit I was able to finance another walkbehind and the year after that, a ztr rider. <p>My advice: Buy a big walkbehind or two and when you step up to rider keep the walkbehinds, they serve as good backups. I made the mistake of buying the ztr and allowing my walkbehind to get run down. Well sure enough the ztr broke. I didn't have time to fix it and ended up buying a 36&quot; walkbehind to try to catch up...that doesn't work well. The ztr stayed broken because we were working our asses off trying to keep up. In one year we put 600 hours on the ztr. In about 8 months we put 1400 on the 36&quot; mowing the same stuff.
     
  9. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,446

    There are 2 ways to earn money:<p>1.) Do something very valuable: Surgeon, Lawer, Computer Programmer, etc.<p>2.) Be productive.<p>I just don't see how mowing w/ a small mower fits into either of these catagories.<p>'course now Eric Elm fits into both! <br>Eric, which mansion on your webpage is your own home? ;)<br>
     
  10. crew

    crew LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    if you have the accounts,figure out your income for the season and if you can swing it, get the 6 month interest free financing.You pay 50 bucks,get the better part of the season to MAKE MONEY,then use said money to pay for machine and next year your on the gravey train.Make sure you can pay at due date or the interest is,typically,retroactive.<br>I did this last year and just made the payment on 60&quot; lazer. Come on spring!!
     

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