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just starting in spring '04

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by firedog2710, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. firedog2710

    firedog2710 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    first of all, this site is a godsend. i learned more info in five minutes on this site than i learned talking to people in the biz i know since i decided to do this about 3 mos. ago. i have a few small questions. i don't have any equipment yet. none! right now i'm looking at trailers. should i get a treated wood floor, mesh floor, or diamond plate. the diamond plate is the more expensive. since it's just me, should i get just one of everything (wb, trimmer, blower, etc.) or multiples of some? is now the best time to buy a mower/trimmer/blower since its the end of the season and model year or is spring better? i've pretty much decided on a 36" exmark since its the prevailing brand of equipment on this site and the prices around here are pretty fair. i've also pretty much decided on new equipment due to the reliability factor (and no standby equip.), but i'm still checking the classifieds every day. thanks in advance guys and wish me luck.:)
  2. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    Welcome to lawnsite.

    Trailer floors, I have mesh but the next one will be wood. Mesh is nice because grass and dirt fall through and don't build up on the floor but I doesn't hold up and the welds at the edge break up. I hae one spot where the mower wheel always sat that is broke through. Like I said the next one will be wood.

    Mowers, you might want to wait a bit until you see what type and size of lawns you will be mowing. Keep your eys open for some deals and try to demo a few. I just upgraded to a 48" hustler super walkbehind. this machine is well worth the money. the controls are very natural. You can pick out your trimmer already and ad an EDGIT to it (www.edgit.com) It will help yor trimming and edging. do a search to find out more on that. I just use handheld blowers. they are lighter and I don't need the power of a big backpack to just blow gras off of drives and walks. I have one that gets switched to a vac for spring and fall cleanups.

    Good luck and keep asking ???
  3. Southpaw

    Southpaw LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 88

    This is my first year. Not one for great advice, only personal experience. I was so excited to buy a trailor from a friend that never used it anymore. The wood was rotten and we replaced it with new pressure treated lumber. I wire brushed it and painted it also and it looks great. I've used it without any problems. But:

    It is a single axle 12 x 6 ft. trailor. It feels every bump, railroad track, speed bump and so forth. My equipment bounces around something awful. I don't plan on being new next spring and I want something better already. Since this is my first year, I am happy with what I have. I spent $500 on the trailor, plus another $120 on lumber and paint, gorilla locks, and new light kits. I am going to sell it for at least cost and get another next spring. I am not snobby nor do I need something out of my league, but I have used dual axle trailors with brakes and it makes all the difference in the world. My current trailor now for sale is not a bad deal compared to many "new" trailors more expensive at half the size, but I plan on growing into my next purchase as I hope you do as well. If you have not yet purchased a trailor, look into those factors and choose wisely. Any trailor is better than none at all, of course, but large single axle trailors can be frustrating. If you can afford it, dual axle w/ brakes will bring more benefits vs. cost in the long run. Anybody want to buy a trailor?
  4. firedog2710

    firedog2710 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    my thought on trailers and equipment right now is that i'll get what i can afford now, even if it is small and if i need to i'll upgrade later. i figure if i feel the need to upgrade, then i'll be able to afford to. my situation is that i'm a full-time firefighter/paramedic and i only work nine days a month which leaves me with at least 20 full days a month to have a part-time job. i'm really not out there to make a whole lot of money because fightin' fires pretty much pays the bills, but with all that extra time, i figured i'd use it to start my own business on the side and i've always wanted to do this. no one answered my question about the best time to buy equipment. i talked to someone today and he said that the early springtime is when a lot of dealers have sales. i also thought about putting a piece of oxboard or treated plywood over the mesh trailer bed (if i get one). any replies?:help:
  5. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    Many dealers have spring "shows", usually in March, and that is a good time to buy equipment if you want really new, 2004 mowers. Right now may be a good time to look at equipment because some dealers probably want to get rid of some of their 2003 equipment.

    I would go with a wood plank floored trailer. It is easier to repair. Also, if you want to modify the trailer the wood floor gives you an easy place to drill or attach stuff.

    If you are working alone, you only need one piece of each equipment. The problem is breakdowns. If possible, try to get "backups" for your main equipment, even if it is old. It doesn't have to work great, just until you get your "main" equipment fixed.

    Good luck.
  6. firedog2710

    firedog2710 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    what about my choice of exmark? is john deere or toro any better or just more expensive? what about size? i've noticed that upgrading up to a 48" from 36" is only a few hundred dollars. i've read the threads about getting into fenced yards, but i can use my 22" craftsman push mower for those. any ideas?:help:
  7. ffemt1271

    ffemt1271 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,285

    firedog, i was in your same situation. 20 days a month to mow lawns, but soon you will find you have no time off. i started in may -bought new shindaiwa trimmer, edger, backpack blower , 48" metro hp and 16' landscape trailer. --within 1 month i was busy enough i needed help a couple a days a week--in july i added a 60" lazer to the line. you at least want a trailer big enough to carry a rider and a w/b.

    good luck and enjoy your new biz

    BOSS MAN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    in my opinion toro is much better than exmark or john deere. the deeres are a little pricey and some friends of mine who are in the business as well say they're not worth the money and they don't last the long haul. personally i've never owned an exmark but i hear they're all right for the price. now on to the size, personally i use 36''s for the backyard because they fit into all most any gate. i have yet to find a gate that my 36''s won't fit through.
  9. WeatherMan

    WeatherMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 693

    Good Luck Go with the deere's "nothing runs like a deere"
  10. Tony Clifton

    Tony Clifton LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 865

    Hey Firedog, hopefully I will be able to help answer a couple questions for you. First off I would get a wood floor on your trailer. I am not sure what size you want or what you are pulling it with, but if you are doing strictly mowing and not bagging the grass I would get a 6x12. However, if you do a lot of bagging, leaf clean up, pruning, mulching, etc. I would get a 16' trailer, just be sure it has brakes. As far as the mower is concerned I would go with the one that is serviced by the best dealer in your town. From what I have heard exmarks are great, however in my market the exmark dealer is small, doesnt have the parts in stock etc. so I wont use those mowers. Visit a couple dealers, get a feel for the people you will be dealing with and make your decision based on that. I like John Deere because they offer such easy financing options, and my dealer is easy to work with. One thing I wish I did when I first started out was finance all of my equipment instead of buying outright. However, it sounds like this is not a business that you want to grow a whole lot so if you have the cash go ahead and buy. If you do want to grow keep all the cash you can in the bank, and finance everything (as long as the interest rates are reasonable.) You can let the money you have work for you by using it for marketing etc. Also, if it is just you, start out with 1 of everything, no need to buy backups. I would wait until something breaks, and if it cant be fixed in time buy another one and use the old one as a back up when it is fixed. also, I would go with a 48" mower(no need to go bigger) unless the yards you will be servicing are small with a lot of gates etc. I would also go with a hydro mower instead of belt drive.

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