How do you determine what equipment to buy?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Smitty58, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. Smitty58

    Smitty58 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 531

    If I were a rich man I would have every piece of equipment to do any job. Since I'm not ,I have to figure what equipment to buy to get the best return. I have to buy a new plow for my new truck for this winter ,but I'm thinking about fall cleanups. Do you try to offer a service for every season ,and if so which season brings you the most money? This is what I would like:
    spring - mulch blower, spray setup for fert, aerator, of course mowers and all the small stuff for pruning etc.
    summer - pretty much same as spring
    fall - leaf loader, aerator
    winter - snowplow and blowers

    Is this a pretty normal setup to have?
     
  2. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Fall cleanups can be great money if you have the right equipment to do the job.. If you are running around with a leaf rake and garbage bags, you probably won't be making a dime..

    The bagger systems for ZTR's are amazing. They cost quite a bit but will save you hundreds of hours over the course of a few years. Make sure you get one with a stand-alone engine, not a spindle driven that is tied in with the mower power..

    I run Peco bagger systems (about $2,300 each) but worth every penny for every one I've bought so far.
     
  3. AlbeLawn

    AlbeLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    DITO!!!!
    A good collection system for the cleanups is great. I blow out all of the beds tarp the huge piles and then do the final touches with my trac-vac. It looks amazing compared to the guys with the blowser and the tarp only.
    a leaf loader would be good too but the money and the time to suck i think is not tha much more then having to tarp them too the street anyway.

    I have no problem saying that the trac-vac has been prob my best investment, hands down.
     
  4. Smitty58

    Smitty58 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 531

    So instead of blowing leaves to the road and loading them with a loader you just vac them up with a trac-vac and then what? How do you get them into your truck/trailer?
     
  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Boy, now this is a good topic. I say that because in this business, I feel that buying decisions can be some of the MOST CRITICAL decisions you can make. Even under the most scrutinty, these decisions can sometimes be more than an educated guess. On top of it, you are rarely ever 100% certain you made the right decision at the right time. In time you'll know if it was a good decision, but you have no way of knowing if there was a better decision to be made.

    But let me tell you..... boy do you ever know it when you make the wrong decision and man it sure can hurt in more ways than one!!! Bad decisions are always really really expensive in the long run it seems.

    In addition, it seems like we often have to deal with "the chicken or the egg theory" when trying to decide what to buy and when to buy it. These things are seldom easy. Startup, growth and change force us to be faced with these decisions.

    The same goes for where you attempt to take your business and the type or types of work and customers you seek, ect.

    I could go on and on about good decisions I have made, bad decisions I have made, decisions I made too soon, decisions I waited too long to make, ect. Some would be useful to some and not apply to others.

    The best thing I can tell you to do is think about what will make you happy while you are making money working for those you want to work with and doing what you like to do.... while avoiding as much burden of a heavy overhead as possible. Being happy and healthy while growing weathly and wiser without a lot of undue outside pressures is key.

    Seek the advice and experience of those here that are near your area.
    Take that information and apply it to what you are wanting to do.
     
  6. Smitty58

    Smitty58 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 531

    I could not agree more Envoy. I have rented equipment in the past so often I could have just bought the thing but you never know how much you'll need it. If I bought it up front I probably wouldn't use it near as much ,you know what I mean. Right now I want to buy a dump trailer because this year we have hand loaded and unloaded our landscape trailer too many times. I think if I buy a dump trailer I'll use it to death ,but then again you never know. Same thing goes for other equipment ,like a mulch blower. We want to buy one of those but at $30,000 that is a huge risk ,not one I can make right now. Some people seem to just buy everything and make it work ,but I guess I don't have the guts for that. Wouldn't it be great to just buy everything you need to do whatever you want to do up front.
     
  7. ToroLandscaper

    ToroLandscaper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177



    Where did you get that or do you know of anywhere online i could look at one.
     
  8. A Simple Cut

    A Simple Cut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Spring/Fall : I'm going to buy an aerator and a power rake, I rented them this year. I purchased a Little Wonder high performance vac, the thing works great for my smaller residental cuts, and I use it to sell to the anal customers telling them I'll vac the clipping instead of blowing them.
     
  9. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Buying equipment is a love/hate win/lose relationship to some degree. haha

    I have always got a long term plan in mind. I make my purchases based on planning and needs. Generally by the time I need to purchase something I have already done all the homework by reading, researching and demo'ing at expo. I always wait and pay with cash, never to this point used credit for equipment. With expansion plans down the road, that may change some...but not entirely.

    Anytime I buy something, I have it planned to pay for itself with a short timeframe.
     
  10. LawnBoy89

    LawnBoy89 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 967

    The thing about walking around with a leaf rake and bags is that you do make money, everything that you make pretty much goes straight into your pocket. Yea it takes alot more time but no overhead at all. No wear and tear on the equipment, no gas money(except for getting to the location), nothing.
     

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