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Thinking about getting in to Stump Grinding.

Discussion in 'Tree Service Equipment' started by MOW-A-LOT LAWN, Oct 15, 2013.


    MOW-A-LOT LAWN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    I have a well-established lawn/hardscape business, been in business for 9 years. Been doing small tree removal and have wanted to buy a stump grinder to get more work. My question is: What's the going rate for stump removal? Is it worth it? Im looking at a Vermeer 252 for $5,000. Thats a big hit for me,especially going into the winter. Just looking for something to help me through the cold months. Any input is appreciated.
  2. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    Not worth the investment most likely. One can only grind a stump once and with the competition of the tree guys you'll most likely not have much work with it after you do the few that you know you could get at your own lawn accounts.
  3. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,486

    don't listen to sprinkler buddy, he clearly doesn't know the stump grinding market, and hasn't done much stump grinding.

    depending on the area you live in, if its middle to upper class there could be a good market for it. personally I wouldn't buy a small machine like that, unless you have used one before and know how slow they are.
    my dad has a 34hp diesel rayco tow behind stump grinder with a 28" grinding wheel and with that I have made a few hundred per hour grinding stumps alone for days, and weeks. not even cleaning up debris. just grind and go! he just bought a rayco 1635 super jr. on tracks and its a little 35hp gas motor with a 12" wheel and I hate using the thing and won't grind stumps with it is so slow and under powered compared to the diesel, but he uses a lot in the spring and fall, and makes decent money.

    my dad was charging 3.00 an inch for stumps that's no clean up involved. if they want it cleaned up 6.00 an inch, and that's on the cheap side. when i would grind stumps I would just look at a stump and throw a number out there. 50 dollars for a small stump, 75 for a medium 100 for larger stump, if the stump is being measured by the foot it was at least a few hundred. I did 3 monster stumps 3' wide and 3 medium stumps that were 24" in 3 hours with the tow behind stump grinder for 500 dollars for my old boss and that was just grind and go so he got a deal but its not hard to make some decent money doing it. I just don't know what your area is like for money....
  4. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    "don't listen to sprinkler buddy, he clearly doesn't know the stump grinding market, and hasn't done much stump grinding."

    That's right, I haven't. So spend your money and I hope its a big success and your not trying to sell it off in 6 months from now.

    Location for it is everything, I would probably get a bucket truck and a dump truck too and go in the tree business. If a customer hires someone to take down a big tree, they will most likely have them grind the stump also and not hire that out separate.
  5. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    I would be very careful investing $5,000.00 into a stump grinder. Just because the market is strong for one members Uncle in the North east,does not translate into the same if any market share in the Mid-west.
    I believe you need to find out your competitions market share for said business and think long and hard since the niche market you are trying to fill is, or at least should already be covered by existing firms offering full service Tree work. Good Hunting.
    easy-lift guy
  6. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,021

    Get your advertising in line, see if calls for work come in then rent equipment until you have guaged the market well enough and find out it supports purchasing equipment.

    I'm cautious about high $ specialty equipment purchases so I done exactly as I explained above with aeration and overseeding and things are looking good. It's late in the season but now that the advertising has kicked in, I can see there is a market for it. Next season I will continue to evaluate the market and make my decision on equipment purchases from there.

    edit: Hopefully you have an efficient advertising mechanism set up so it is free or at least very cheap.

    Regardless of what someone with experience in this field says, buying equipment based on 1 persons point of view is definitely not a good idea if you have not gauged YOUR market.
  7. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    from OH
    Posts: 2,328

    I will never, ever, ever, never ever, use another sc252. I had to rent one for a couple jobs I had lined up in a day plus a few stumps at my house.

    You will hate locking hubs just to relocate the machine (trust me, I tried sitting on the back to put weight on the steer tire also), Its slow and underpowered.

    I have read about some guys throwing the 35 vanguard on it with a new wheel and making it a whole new machine, but it involves some custom work for a return that varies from person to person.

    When it comes to tree equipment, it often pays more to buy more machine that you need at the given moment, especially for chippers...hate the 6" models...
  8. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,486

    I would never own or use a 6" chipper ever again in my life. the one time I rented one was once too much 12" chipper minimum, and diesel only. and yes those small stump grinders are painfully slow and under powered, but I still managed to grind 14 stumps between two houses next to each in 6 hours for 2200 so they can make you decent money but you really gotta charge for those stumps to make it worth the time!
  9. tigerepairdotcom

    tigerepairdotcom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 324

    Had a 252 it was a joke. Actually had a rayco 1625 super junior. It was like others said painfully slow. I switched to green teeth that was a small improvement . But then realized the teeth were wearing out much faster than they used to, The way of the world. MY advice is buy something diesel or don't buy anyhting. carlton 4012 is the way to go.
  10. jmkr02

    jmkr02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 264

    A diesel unit is needed for efficiency and withit you can do business to business sales. We sub out our grinding. You call them tell them where and they get it done well. All they do is grind and go.
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