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New to the business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Dougbythesea, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Dougbythesea

    Dougbythesea LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    This site seems to have an abundance of good knowledge so I'm looking for some help!! Just getting started in the lawn care business and have already become confused on which equipment to buy ? The zero turn is my choice but was getting ready to buy a full service rig that has a Grasshopper until seeing here that that mowers a NIGHTMARE!!! What do all you pro's have for the new guy on that ??
  2. 2 clowns mowing

    2 clowns mowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 566

    check out www.walkermowers.com the mt-20 is what i have comes with grass hopper and you can buy extra decks that are easy to change. so you can have a 42" ghs deck and switch it out to a 48" or larger with side discharge. the high dump option is worth the price. keep in mind what ever you buy it has to be a great dealer to work with and in case yours breaks down they have a spare for you to use.. good luck this is a great site so use it.
  3. jpiwowar

    jpiwowar LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    What information drew you to the conclusion that a Grasshopper's a "nightmare"?
  4. Dougbythesea

    Dougbythesea LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Well some of the threads that have been posted on this site!! Since then I have been looking hard at what to buy and have found the grasshopper to be a great mower. This is simply adding to my confusion. I have left a high paying job so that I can be my own boss and simple want to start with equipment that will give me a fighting chance in this competitive market!!
  5. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    Exmark and scag seem to be 2 good choice's
  6. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    Man you are letting all this info get to you. It is a bit overwhelming when you first start learning about lawn care. Since there are so many varied opinions on this site that can add even more to that confusion. You need decent equipment but it's the equipment that's between your ears that is most important. There are lots of company's that make decent ZTR or Walk Behind mowers. Yes there are some of us that have our favorites, but we seldom agree. I mean I have been on here for years and you develop a feel for different brands. But all in all this is a business and you have to approach it as such. You can make a living with any brand of machine. Take your time and read as much as possible. The best thing you could do is work under someone for a while to learn as much as possible about the business. But if you don't have the time or patients for that believe me the equipment will not be the biggest problem. There are sucessful company's using Grasshopper, Exmark, Scag, Hustler, etc. etc. Watch the other LCO's in you area, talk to them, see what kind of equipment they are using. Learn all you can before taking the plunge, work at this part time if possible and ease you way in. It's very easy to make mistakes buying equipment until you really have a feel for the business. But just for the sake of discussion Exmark, Hustler, Scag all have a large presence in Florida. If you get the right model and size for the type of work you are going to be doing you won't have any problem equipment wise. Grasshopper is not as popular in Florida (or elsewhere) but it is a good machine if you decide to go that route. I would be more concerned with building up a good customer base, finding out what the going rates are in that part of the country (which I hear are cut throat in parts of the state), building a good reputation in your area and getting your name out there. You will probably have to be pretty aggressive in Florida to get a lot of work, the market is saturated in parts of the state. Well, keep reading, learning and getting some hands on experience and you will do fine if you have the will. It may be tough for the first couple of years.

    Although a ZTR may be appealing, it may be that with the small lot size in parts Florida that a walk behind mower would be a better choice in most area's. Hopefully some one with more knowledge of that area will be able to assist you on this site.
  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,896

    Agreed, read forums in here and learn, learn, learn.
  8. bblawncare

    bblawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    I have to agree with 2 clowns mowing about the dealer you choose. Most of the commercial equipment sold is good, but there can always be problems, so it's the dealer's customer service that makes a difference. Do they offer a loaner if they cannot fix yours within 24 hrs? Do they stock parts so there is no extra delay in fixing it?

    I have been with the same shop since 1994 because of their customer service- in 14 years, I have purchased from them 2 Dixie Choppers, 2 Wright Standers, and a Hustler 60"-and each one has had its problems while still under warranty, and each time my shop has promptly taken care of it-most of the time back to me the next day, and sometimes they've even fixed it while I wait (if its a simple fix). Just last week tho, my Hustler had to be there for 2 days, so I was given a loaner to use-and my Hustler is 20 months old. It's not just that for me tho, I am a solo operation, and yet my shop treats me just as if I were a huge company who brings them a lot of money!
  9. Dougbythesea

    Dougbythesea LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Thanks for all the great advice. I have seen both the walk behinds and ZTR mowers being used in the areas that I will be working so maybe having both available to me would be a good idea.

    When first starting out how did you first get customers?? Should I do flyer's or mailings in target areas? How much budget should be set aside for advertising in the beginning?

    I don't really have the time to go work with someone so getting started soon is my goal. I did work many years ago on a golf course and I know the grass cutting won't be the same but the hard work will along with the now how of doing most of my own repairs and upkeep.

    I did find a rig with a 6x12 dual axle trailer,48" ZTR grasshopper 20hp Kohler 2007 with 38hrs, 1 high torque echo ss trimmer, 1 standard ss trimmer, 1 echo edger, 1 echo back pack blower, 1 briggs push mower and hand tools. Also has 4 accounts- all for $8500.00 - does this sound like a far deal ?

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