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small mower help

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by XLS, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    still needing help!!! can a business succeed at a 36" walkbehind mow and go business . i am unsure from town to town if a 36" would be the best choice as a location startup we have always used larger units untill we ran into alot of gates , is this a normal thing in city lots? can a little town offer enough properties for a 36" crew ? what would be some goals to set for a 2 man with a 36" walk setup only offering mow and go, fall cleanups and shrub trimming needing help
  2. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    it can be done. I am doing it now with a 36" bobcat. Its going to limit you to the amount of customers you can complete a day though. Are you starting this as an add-on crew for an already existing company? If so, maybe try sending the crew with the 36" to all the smaller accounts and have the bigger crews focus on the larger accnts and possibly add in some more larger ones to compensate on the added time you have? Also, you could try dedicating the 36" crew as a mowing, hedge trimming, smaller lot leaf clean-up, and smaller projects crew to open up time also. How many larger crews if any do you have? Just a thought.
  3. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    as a company whole i have 20 locations currently each location has atleast 2 crews they are almost setup using 48" and larger walkers or 60"and 72"s so in 10 years we have been mowing all larger locations .then last spring 2008 we begain mowing a small lot's community where a 48" walker was overkill in the large open lawns . we grew that lacation and this year the 3 man crew pushmowed and used a 30"z and a 48"walker . this one location is all the knowledge i have on mowing small areas .

    I got some more good leads this summer in other towns and we decided to open up new locations 15 locations and i am afraid each major town will have more small properties that would make it hard to run larger Z's .
    as far as my personal location we have several guys and 6 trucks we split the crews up depending on the work to be done but these new locations will begain out as a mowing, mulching,trimming and fall cleanup provider of the small lots they have . they will specialize in mowing complexes and high population inner city lots ect.
  4. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    see i want these new crews to target lawns 22k sq.ft. or less and i have these guys being trained as they work this fall each location has currently got 1 man with his own truck and they begain collecting accounts and most of these guys are currently in control of 45 to 60 accounts. come spring they will need these systems in place .
    right now they are just keeping their complexes cleaned up by using push mowers or blowers , and they are just blowing these jobs to the street and using large pails to load the leaves into the pickups nothing fancy. these guys cant pull trailers and we cant train them in such a short time so the box trucks will do untill they can learn .
  5. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    sounds like a solid plan. are you planning on purchasing new equipment or used to equip these rigs? I would recommend used but good condition walk behinds. Sound like your on the right track to time management in regards to the larger accounts tho.
  6. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    the crews that we have had opperational for a few years are soild in everyway each crew member could run a crew themselves if need be, we dont need any help with these crews its the new ones we are struggling getting going .

    My biggest fear in buying 20 units of anysize is , if they are the wrong size in comparison to the means size of lots needing serviced then the crews become inefficent and i would hate to buy even 20 used walks to have to trade them in with in the first year.
    that is kind of what happened in the location wherethe walker was to big the 5th trip they took 5 guys with the walker and 4 push mowers then i bought a 30" z and they loved it they went back to 3 guys after the z . along came fall and the 30" dont and cant bag it only mulches so now they are blowing everything to the road and vaccuming them into a box on the trailer .

    In this crew alone we bought 5 pushmowers we now wont use and a z that can only do 1/2 what we need and a vaccum that they truely are not set up for . i cant have this mistake multiplied by 15 even though financially it isnt a major problem its just aggervating when thing dont go right when you need them to.
  7. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    as far as the units i always buy new for the warrenties . I am at a draw on world lawns 36" and Better 36" . either way i am planning on replacing these crews equipment in 1200 hours as a whole but will replace/upgrade units if needed in 400 hours of use so if the brands are poor commercial units they are going to be throw-away so its no big deal . see come mowing season i will actually be able to buy 1 uint a week for each location so i am just lost on which way to go to keep it simple .
  8. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    gotcha. what are your opinions on the better quick36 mower? Would you recommend it as an additional 36 to couple with my bobcat 36? I have been looking at the better units but am still torn between the better and the exmark. What are the pros and cons to the better?
  9. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    as i said i am torn between better and world lawn . understanding i have never used any walkbehinds of this size the things i dont like personally about the BETTER the deck appears weak by most standards. The deck is a designed and stamped out then it is assembled into a welded deck ,BUT it appears to be a tounge and grove pattern (for lack of better words ) it looks alot like my gravley 60"deck the way it is assembled
    it has like 50 1' welds holding the deck togather, not one solid bead.

    On the deck caster support arms the bearings are uncovered and exposed to the weather . On the ends of these arms you can look straight through the caster area the spanner between the top and bottom bearings is visible and they appear to be weak on these arms .

    the only thing i can think of on wordlawns are the belts are single belts and not teh standard dual belt but the unit is built like a tank to me the world lawn is the closest to an exmak in design, again except the belt . the pro to both of thes units is it allows you to step into the size range on a lower initial cost so if you decide to upgrade or out grow it you are not crunched to sell it for penniescompaired to the purchase price. we are looking at the low cost factor due to the number of locations we are starting up if i was using a cheap push somewhere and new a 36" would work and i was going to upscale my opperation i would go with my closest dealer ,simple.

    I do not have one dealer who carry's walkbehinds of any size or stand on units .
    better has a 30 day money back guarentee if you dont like it they pay for shipping back .
  10. MnGreen

    MnGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    You stated you want to target 22K sq ft lots and smaller for a mow & go operation
    in your new target areas. You have a scope on the lot particulars in these new areas
    or going to end up with a mixed bag which is causing your dilema.

    Small properties in inner city areas in Mpls I would/could do (3) props in 22K.
    Not a "small" lot to me or where you can go out without trailers and equipment.
    You said these new guys cant pull trailers so how will they load anything in the
    trucks beside 21" pushers ? or we talking ramping in to the box of a pick up.
    We target postage stamp up to 1/4 acre lots which 1/4 acre lots are few and far between.
    130 props a week with 21" pushers, mow, trim, edge, blow & go. 2-man crew 30 - 36 daily.
    Only have a handful of props that could use a 32" WB or maybe 36" and 2 guys can knock those out
    and be gone in 20 minutes with 21" pushers.

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