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New Vs. Used mowers to start

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Mike821, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    Hello all....My question is do you purchase new or used mowers to start. IMO new will allow you almost zero down time and that can be a real factor when you are a one man show. On the other hand, do you want to keep your start up costs low so that you have a greater bottom line profit at the end of the year?

    Equipment.....ZTR Vs. WB with Velkie or both.

    Starting out with 1/2 to 4 acer plots (assumtion upon the demografics here in NJ)

    Capital is not an issue.....will finance for the credit and write offs.

    My plan is to have more time for hardscapes and less for mowing. But need the mowing to keep that steady income when you have down time (if any). Be a one man show until I have 4-5 steady days of work and then hire another guy. Then the fun begins.....once you have another dude you can focus on other areas that had to take a back burner because you busted your hump to get to this point. Do a little selling to the neighbor. Distribute some additional fliers.....sign's with your logo and svc's.

    My gut feeling is that if you spend the money up front for say a SCAG ZTR 52" with a 23hp Kohler......you should be able to make that up in time saved each week. That dam thing is fast as heck and from what I am hearing it is a tank. Not to mention the toll on your body one might take with just a velkie More expensive....but in my eyes it is like buying a pair of shorts from Target Vs. a pair from your local sporting good store (Carharts). In two months either you have your shorts or you lost them due to poor workmanship and quality.

    Your thoughts..............
  2. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Posts: 213

    I'd say start with used equipment. You never know if you will or will not like this business. Plus, it is cheaper and you will still get the same job done. Once you've been doing it for a year or two, and have plenty of money saved up, then I'd say you are in the clear to go buy new equipment. Hope this helps.

    And I agree with the "hiring another dude"; it will make your job easier and more productive. Good luck.
  3. DillonsLawnCare

    DillonsLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,100

    well...if you buy used...then you could get a great deal on a mower and not spend that 8000 new. youll be able to take more profit in buying used. zero turns are great if you have alot of flat huge yards, but walkbehinds can get the job done just as well but maybe a bit slower. if you've got hills, go with a walkbehind. or you could just get a 52" rider then get a smaller walkbehind. maybe like a 40" or a 36" for trim and gates(if you have any). and if you were to buy used, you wouldnt be putting your whole income toward the bill of the mower, youve got other expenses like gas, maintenence, and paying someone to work alongside with. just think about it and talk to some more guys....
  4. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    True about the used equipment......it will be cheeper and my year end profit will be more than having new equipment. That is how I started 13 years ago when I had my scaping business.(sold it at that time) Just wanted to get some pointers as to what people felt about new equipment. So tempting to take the dive for a new ZTR.....but why do so when I don't have clients yet. (starting in the spring of 2008)
  5. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,131

    The only aspect of buying capital equipment that effects profit is the depreciation of the capital. It doesn't matter if its new or used or how much you paid. What matters is how quickly you depreciate it.
  6. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from ohio
    Posts: 502

    not to sound like a broken record, but you should definately go used. I think everyone on here knows that I'm a big fan of Walker mowers, especially if you are starting out and have the budget to spend on a quality used machine (5-6K). They give a quality cut, are dependable, lots of service centers, and will serve you well into the fall and spring clean-ups because of the tremendous vacuum. That being said, look for a 2003+ with a 26EFI and 48" GHS deck. Then buy yourself a good 21" walk behind for inside of smaller gates. I have a hydro drive honda with the quad cut system that has served me very well and is half the price of an exmark 21". Figure how much you would be looking at in monthly payments including interest, fuel, advertising, insurance, and other business costs. divide that by whatever your lowest service charge per cut is and figure out how many lawns it will take to at least cover your costs. That will give you an idea of what kind of dough to spend on a mower without breaking the bank if you don't get a rush of customers your first season. Good luck to you =o)
  7. inline lawn care

    inline lawn care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    thanks for the info. I'm starting out with a good used mower and expect
    my business to grow rapidly!!!!
  8. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    Great thoughts and ideas, but I have hardscaping also that I want to accomplish 2-3 days a week. (six day week) I would like to mow three and HS three in an ideal world. I know rain will dictate what my schedule is going to be like, but being a one man show to start I would benefit from a good rider. In addition a small wb for pool type area's like mentioned.

    With that said.....if I go the route of a ZTR should I opt for the new equipment knowing that I will have less down time due to wear on used equipment? Near us, walker is not that popular....well, the places of service for walkers are not as common. SCAG and Emxmark are the mainstream, but personally I would go with the SCAG because it is a TANK and comes with a great warrantee.

    OK.....for used equipment.....what is the life span of a rider engine (approx) I know that service and upkeep have a great deal to do with it, but there has to be a hr. rate for ZTR engines. Air and water cooled I know differ in life so is there an middle point. I don't want to consider a used machine with 2,000hrs and spend half my time in the shop getting a new....this that or engine...ya know.

    What are your thoughts....still used?
  9. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from ohio
    Posts: 502

    keep your eye on the classifieds and on ebay. There are plenty of good used ZTR's with under 1000 hrs. out there. Last Walker I bought was a 2003 26EFI MTGHS 48" with 9 1/2 hopper and 62" SD deck for 6K. Only had 415 hrs. on it. It sucks, but landscapers are going out of business left and right (at least around here). Maybe because they don't realize its more than mowing, maybe there just aren't business smart... I don't know. But they are selling all kinds of like new equipment in the classifieds.

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