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my main (and first) mower purchase

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by johnjw77, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. johnjw77

    johnjw77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Hello all,

    I am new to the forum (been researching for weeks). I am starting a part time lawncare business as of now while I work a regular job, however hope to make it full time in the next few seasons.

    Here is my question:

    I am looking for my main mower. Right now I have a new Stihl weedeater and a Stihl blower along with my truck and 5x8 trailer. I have around $2,000 to spend on a set of mowers or a single. I like the idea of a 48" and a 21" but I haven't found many 48" on my local craigslist that are under $1500 that look reliable. There is an exmark metro wb with 300 hours and only residential use for $2000 and he wont budge, but that leaves me with no money to buy a 21". I also seen a cub cadet 52" ztr (non commercial) for $1600 with 164 hours. I know most guys recommend staying commercial but I have ZERO contracts yet and dont see myself getting more that 10-15 the first year since I'm starting a little late.

    There are a few scag, bunton and lesco 36"-48" wb's in the $1500 or less range but all appear to have heavy use and no hour meters.

    I also have about $3000 on a discover card available but hate to finance without contracts to repay.

    Any help on what you think I should do is GREATLY appreciated!!
  2. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

  3. johnjw77

    johnjw77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    yeah I've seen both those, but the guy with all the exmarks was obviously fasing them out so they have probably seen heavy commercial use. The others also dont have hour meters which just makes me think they are high hours.

    Also spending $2000 leaves no money for a smaller mower for gated yards.

    Would the cub be a bad investment for the first season since I wont have many accounts? Maybe sell it early next season to upgrade?
  4. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

    I guess it would be ok for a year. I'm being nice, though. You really need a commercial mower. They're built so much better. I have a turf tracer and it's awesome. I assume you'll be mowing in the affluent suburbs of Indy? You want to leave a good impression. A commercial mower will stripe nice and won't give you fits. Headaches with the equipment on a 90 degree day are the worst.

    Keep looking for deals. Heck, save up money til next year and start off right.
  5. johnjw77

    johnjw77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I appreciate the tips.

    Do you think a 48" exmark metro with 320 hours, one owner with only use on his yard is worth $2000? I am debating just buying it and charging a 21" mower.

    I also found a 36" bunton for $1500obo, but most gates in these HOA's are 48" so seems a smarter buy.
  6. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

    That seems high to me for a belt drive. I got my turf tracer 60'' for $2500 with similar hours. Someone out there is desperate to sell. Well, those guys you usually can pounce on in February. Might be too late to find a great deal like that now.

    Did you check the Cincinnati craigslist? I went up to Indy last fall to purchase a snow plow. The drive was worth the deal I got.
  7. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

  8. johnjw77

    johnjw77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

  9. baseball9074

    baseball9074 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 197

    Turf tracer is a hydro drive, floating deck, anti scalp wheels.
    Metro is a belt drive, fixed deck.
    I have owned both. The turf tracer is a much better mower but also more expensive to purchase/maintain. The metro I had worked perfectly for when I started out. I'd recommend finding one in good shape at a good price. 2000 for the metro is high in my opinion. Maybe around 1500 depending on shape. I paid 1800 two years ago for one in great shape with a velke, bagger, wheel weights, and spare parts.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. johnjw77

    johnjw77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I have been debating purchasing a 48" turf tracer with sulkie thats listed locally for $2350, but that puts me at charging some of the balance and no extra start up cash.

    I also just seen a MTD pro listed with sulkie for $800. I wasn't sure a MTD was a good route to go, but after researching on here a little it seems its not a bad mower to start with and use as a secondary/gate machine later. That also leaves me with extra cash for gas/string/oil/advertisement/etc. The owner claims its a 33" but looks like it was made in a 32" and 36".

    Anyhow, just curious your thoughts on this machine to start up? Anything special I need to look for when I check it out? Is it even worth checking out? Supposed to be meeting the guy tomorrow morning at 9am to look it over.

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