1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

New guy needs some help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Orrdc, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,115

    I agree with most of what David said, except on not using it as often as you think or not being faster than your 21". I have one terraced place on the mountain here that I can't even fit my 36" on, if it wasn't for that it would never come of the trailer. It would just be a backup. The additional sizes makes you more flexible, which allows you to offer more services or bid more jobs if the need ever arises. I don't pull anything off my trailer but my 60" or 66" mower, trimmer, and blower, unless there is a gate or something blocking my way to get to the property that needs mowed. If it's 10' x 10" my 60" is three swipes and done. Takes as long to back off the trailer and reload as it does to cut it. You'll love a 36" over the 21". Times that love by 10 going from a 36" to a ZTR.

    I'm by know means saying buy a ZTR or anything out of your budget or need, but with the right tools you can do amazing things.
  2. Orrdc

    Orrdc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    thanks guys, all good advice. From the yards we have I would say the 36 would be used on pretty much all of them
  3. J & D Greens

    J & D Greens LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 763

    Here is the thing, this guy is only going to do this as part time income and I am only using my biz to supplement my retirement, we are not doing large properties and only service 20-25 (in his case) or 35-40 (in mine). So I was just saying is it really going to be cost effective to have a 32" or 36". I can say if all my lawns were easier to mow with my 32" mower I definitely would, but most are so small and have things like elevation changes that a 32 would scalp were as I can use my 21 with out worries. I wish they made a solid in between mower 25"-28" I would consider using one full-time, but all the ones I have read review on here about seem to be flawed in some way. Were as you get any of the four major players in the deck mower walk behinds and as a solo opp. it should last 7+seasons with regular wear and tear.

    For me other than a hand full the 21" mower does just fine.

    I'm not saying you have a valid point in the increase in productivity and cut quality, but you do this on such a big scale (like my boss when I was 12 years old and all he used was the best) you have to use the best you can get you hands on.

    What if he does increase his biz by 5 accounts to justify the new addition. Full-time job+25 lawn accounts (now I did this for 3 season with 20-25 accounts before I retired no real quality time with anyone to drained, keep in mind he has no intention of leaving his full-time job to do this full-time) depending on the 32"-36" mower to get it done in record time. Now he suffers the misfortune of a major break down on his 32'-36" mower now what, he has to cut all 25 lawns with his trusty 21" and work himself to death until he gets it back. So now we need two deck mowers just in case right? It just becomes a vicious cycle of pouring money into a Biz that is supposed to be low overhead so he has a decent return on his time.
  4. Orrdc

    Orrdc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    JD I gotta say I agree, I dont want to get into that cycle. I have a great full time job that happens to give me lots of time in the summer off which is why I can handle it. The problem as we all know is grass isn't a June-Aug job, so when I am working I dont wanna get too crazy.

    From the opinions I have gathered I feel like getting a 36 would be beneficial however im not going to go out and drop 2k on one. If something comes along that I just cant pass up I may jump on it, and it may be this scag. I think I could get it for the 6-700 ballpark and it looks great in the pics. Once I go check it out and check out the guy selling it may be a deal I can't pass up.
  5. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,115

    David I get your point and agree with you. I started out part time as well with a walk behind as my first mower. I had a 21 as a back up. I guess I was just trying to get across the benefit in time savings that he's going to see, which equates to more free time for family etc. or getting more work and $s brought in in the same amount of time without taking any time from other areas. This is the only area I disagree. Maybe I misunderstood but it originally sounded as though you were saying the 36 vs the 21 wasn't going to be much of a benefit. I'm saying that it is and it just broadens his options and makes him more flexible. Another perk IMO is that it looks more professional than a 21. A small thing I know. But it sets him apart from the school boy down the street going door to door. I makes him look as if he's committing and more professional.

    As I said in my prior statement, i even bought my 36" hydro used for $1000. Matter of fact bought all three of my walk behinds that I've owned I bought used. Low overhead is a good thing, getting a good deal is a good thing. It didn't seem like taking on additional customers was the goal from what I read but again it would be another option. This is a great thing. With today's market, if heaven forbid he was to loose his full time job unexpectedly, this option would look quite good. The big question is, is weather or not roughly $1000.00 for a used mower is worth the extras. I'm guessing the thread would not have been started if he didn't consider that it may be. Going a little further, if it doesn't work out after he buys it and it doesn't suit his needs, it's a good chance he could resale it and recoup most if not all he paid for it. Shoot if finds a screaming deal maybe even make a little money selling it. A good point you make is what if he decides to take on more accounts and his mower brakes down, now he's killing himself trying to keep up with his 21. This is the risk we all take, big or little. By the way I only mow 28 yards average. Another note. I didn't see if he uses or owns a trailer but make sure to figure in transportation of the mower. Your not going to pick up a 36er and stick it in your trunk like you could the 21.

    Orrdc you may want to consider paying to have a used mower checked out prior to buying it buy a dealer unless you're wrench handy. This can save you some heart ache.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012

    TJSTONE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    The only way to control overhead is to do as much for yourself as is possible. If you can't do your own maintenance then a used mower of any kind is a millstone and who needs that? Again IMO the only mowers that I have are wb's. The reason is time, my 32 is 2x faster than a 21. I use it on any and all small properties, sometimes it is a PIA but all of them are. I bought used belt drives because they are simpler to maintain and less expensive to repair. I do small commercial and residential up to and acre and am full time. I would love to have hydro for more speed/ less time but till I land more accounts and the right used machine,I'm fine as I am. Good Luck.
  7. Orrdc

    Orrdc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    I need some opinions on this scag. It's 36 in, it's 20 years old but in great shape. Was never used much according to the guy and it does look like it. I have pics, It ran great when I went and saw it, needs a mulching blade. Not exactly the easiest thing to get around but it worked fine. What would be a Very good price, if I'm going to buy a mower that old no matter how great of condition it's in I want to get a good deal. I was thinking maybe 650-700

    Here is the link http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/grd/2940913125.html
  8. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,115

    If it's in good condition I think you have the right $s in mind. It may be missing the top shield that covers the belt. I would want one. If he doesn't have it, see how much one costs and deduct that from the asking price also. Again having it checked at a shop may be a good thing if you're not mechanically inclined. Do a compression test on the engine. Check spindles, casters, all pulleys, and wheels for excessive play and/or noise. Of course make sure all things function correctly. No cracking in deck or frame, excessive rust, etc. Good luck.
  9. Orrdc

    Orrdc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    He does have the cover, I did a quick check but not super through . I assume getting a new set of mulching blades shouldn't be a problem. How will I know what will fit. I don't need the sulky, I doubt it would do much for me anyways. Maybe 650-7 wo the sulky
  10. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,115

    Nice to hear about the cover. I wouldn't want to guess what Scag wants for a new one. Odd a guy would take a picture with parts missing from it as a sales pic.

    Blades shouldn't be any problem. I would go with the factory oem high lift option (this may what it came from the dealer when new) or possibly try the Oregon G5 blade for that mower. That seems to be the blade to have. Typically a decent blade runs around $15 a piece plus shipping. In this case, times two.

    Personally I would take the sulky. Esp. if it's a two wheel with an extended tongue that's rigid at the mower but flexes at the sulky end. Maybe tell him you have no need for it and see if he'd sell just the mower, but more than likely he'll want to sell it as a set. This will get him thinking about the price and make him feel like it's really not something that turns you on. He probably has no need for the sulky without the mower. It may help bring him down on the price even if you take the sulky. Look sulkies up. They're not cheep. Typically around $150 to $300 new. (to keep things in prospective you could buy a throw away 21" for what a new sulky sells for) They come in handy. If you haven't used one they're very nice on level large properties and if you don't like it you could always sell it to bring down total overhead or throw it in the garage till the day you sell the mower. It might make it more desirable/marketable to the next owner.

Share This Page