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Starting Budget

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by A1 Grass, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. A1 Grass

    A1 Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    I am getting ready to buy some equipment to branch out into my own (1-2 man) lawn care business and have decided (?) that I should be able to purchase decent enough equipment for about $4000. Here's my breakdown. Please comment and give suggestions (other than "try the search button")

    1. Gravely Pro G 32" walk behind w/velke (fits any gate) $2500
    2. 5x8 trailer $700
    3. Echo weed trimmer (model ???) $200
    4. Backpack blower (Echo or RedMax) $350
    5. Assorted yard tools $250

    The amounts are what I am alloting for each purchase. If someone has a better suggestion, please....

    I need to try to stay under $4000 if possible - am I on the right path?
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Always get the biggest and best you can afford. Of course this probably shouldn't be applied for starters (get good stuff and keep costs down, don't outgrow yourself too fast.)
    Good luck,
  3. lgi

    lgi LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    what i would do is get a 48in mower to save time on the mowing end. I wouldnt buy a backpack blower at first just get a hand blower and just get a push mower for small stuff
    good luck
  4. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    Well, for the basic essentials, you have the right idea.
    Now, do you want or need new equipment, or used in very good condition? This you have to ask yourself ...
    I have found that by looking around, locally, you can often find used equipment in very good condition at often less than half what you would pay new and having work well for you for many years, say 2-3, before you would ever have to consider selling it or making major repairs. Look around !!!!!!
    That said, I am not personally familiar with Gravely or their new types of equipment. They have a good reputation for many years in the agriculture and lawn industry but we do not have many/any dealer for Gravely in my area. If you can afford to but new, that would be best. Less things to go wrong and usually at least a one year warrantee.
    I personally would get a 36" as opposed to a 32" but I do not know what market or customers you are targeting, the bigger the better!!! If you have a few customers that you can't fit a 36" thru their gate, then most likely you won't fit a 32" either. And the few you can't, you DON"T NEED. Plus, it would depend on what type of "next" machine you plan on getting, if you get a 32", then the blades would interchange with a 48". If you get a 36" then the blades will fit a 52". Just something to consider, plus the blade tip speed on the 36" and 52" is usually faster than the 32"/48" because of the length of the blade alone. Try looking at Exmark (Metro) if you have a dealer near by .... great machines!
    Trailer - Get the biggest you can afford. Obviously you are looking at an open type ( I prefer enclosed, for convenience) which I would try and get a 6x10 at least, you always think you don't need or want as big as you really need and the price difference is negligible. If you have more than 20-25 lawns and have two guys, you need room for a second machine at some point and a 5x8 is real small!!!
    Trimmer - Possbly look into getting a split boom, where you can add an edging, hedge trimmer, or broom attachment later on as you get bigger, many manufactures offer this option - Echo, Shindawia, Husky, RedMax ... I went with Shindi, but in this area, Echo also leads in it's own right.
    Backpack - I would go with the RedMax of your two offerings, but honestly, if you can find a Shindawia dealer, they used the same short block from Zenoa-Komatsu, and it has the same power and is a lot lighter. Echo isn't a bad machine, but I have had good luck with both my Shindawia and RedMax's.
    As far as Hand tools, a spade, round (digging), flat (grading) shovels, a couple of rakes, a grading rake (aluminum at least 30"),
    and a cultivator and a "Garden Weasel", and you should be set. Trust me, the Garden Weasel is a great and versatile tool for cultivating and for spot seeding. Oh, and some lopping shears and a small hand pruner.
    The only thing you haven't addressed is Hedge trimmers - I would try and get either a set of Echo or Shindi double sides ones about 20-24" long, and you should be good.
    A couple of Barrels would help too ....
    Good Luck..... :D
  5. IBGreen

    IBGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 726

    You're on the right track, start off with a walk behind and a set of jungle wheels. It will keep the price in you're range if you buy a fixed deck, minus the jungle wheels. Echo makes a 260 blower for $299 which would be great to start off with and a trimmer model #210 I think it is for $199 and they should both last for a really long time! Thats what I started off with. Good Luck!

    Brandon Shaw
    Evergreen Landscaping Concepts
  6. A1 Grass

    A1 Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    The reason I want a 32" mower is because I am going to concentrate on small to medium residential yards and I can save money by avoiding the "2-mower" purchase.

    May take a little longer but I can do anything with a 32" that I can with a 48"+21"...right???

    If the business expands then I'll buy a 48" later...
  7. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    Personally, I can't see what most career minded landscaper would want or need a 21" push mower for anymore with the manuverability and ease of use of most of the commercial w/b and ZTM's out there ... the touch up work or close cutting can be done in conjunction with regular weed whacking and edging.
    As to your desire for a 32" as opposed to a 36", yes, you will have that little bit more versatility in getting into back yards, but another thing I found with 32" machines is that they are almost as heavy as the 36" but with much smaller and narrower tires ... which will , over time, begin to "rutt" the lawn.
    I will say that your idea of small to medium residential lawns is a good one ... I find them to be much more profitable and less hassel and you can always upsell other services. Just make sure to have a minimum cut price and don't le tthem nickle and dime you.

    LAWnENFORCER LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    I recently bought a 6'x16' tandem trailer w/gate for under $1000. It is not very heavy duty and does not have brakes, but it works great for what i have. If you need further info just e-mail me. I think you might be low on the trimmer, should be closer to $250. (shindaiwa t230). If you have only res. I would wait on the bp blower, go with a hand held and use the extra money for a stick edger. I am not familiar w/ the mower.

    What will you be pulling the trailer with?

    Just my opinion!

  9. A1 Grass

    A1 Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    I already have an '88 Dodge Ram 1/2 ton sb. Great for this I think.

    I should expand on this budget thing. Let's say that I am limited to no more than $4500 - I should be able to start with what I have outlined above, right? I really don't have the credit or accounts to justify (or support) a 10k loan. Plus, I am trying to "do with what I have" as I have heard a few times on this forum...

    LAWnENFORCER LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    You are on the right track. If you don't mind me asking are you ft or pt and how many accounts do you have?


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