w/b or wait for rider

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Angelo, May 23, 2002.

  1. Angelo

    Angelo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    This is the first year I am out on my own (part time) and have enough accounts to fill a saturday and sunday. I have all new commercial equipment but I was unsure about buying another mower? I currently have an exmark turf tracer hydro 48". So my questions is having only 1 mower should I buying another w/b. I have one partner who ususally trims while I mow, So is it worth it for me to buy another mower, I have read threads on backup mowers which came to mind but I am in this to make $$(i do have have POS garden tractor I guess if necessary). Also should I wait say 2years and by a rider? The thing is I am not sure what next year will hold in store for me. I am eventually thinking about full time so any help would be good. My funds really don't allow for any purchase but nothing wrong with financing.
  2. Turf Technologies

    Turf Technologies LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 590

    Sure youll need a back up. If the lawns arent to big stay away from a rider.You wont save anymore time then what you make now.We service 1/4 of an acre lawns, we use WBs well my brother got a rider and then weight of that machine has ruined his lawns(groves ,ruts)Maybe find a used with low hours WB.
  3. tovoninc

    tovoninc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Buy a used WB or ZTR. Keep the garden tractor at home unless your back is against the wall. If you want to grow you can't let customers wait and you can't expect the shop to jump through hoops expecially this time of year when he has jumped through hoops for his other 20 commercial accounts not to mention his 40 joe homeowner accounts.

    concerning the rider making ruts, you may want to vary your mowing patterns. This will even out the ruts.
  4. ScotLawn

    ScotLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 309

    did someone say the dreaded "f" word... finance. so you have enough yards to fill a sat and sunday. To me that isn't enough yards to even consider a 7k ztr. you already have a 5k mower. if you need a backup mower then buy a 36" exmark metro for 2k-2200. MUCH CHEAPER than a Z and it will allow you access to gated back yards with a commercial mower. I'm running one 48" metro and have 20 res accounts and dont have enough to warrent a 7k ztr. two of my res accounts are 1.5 acres are larger.

    Also what happens if you finance that mower and then don't have the yards to make the payments or decide to get out of the business and your stuck with a mower worth 5k but a note of 6k.

    Yes i'm NOT a big fan on financeing equipment esp when people don't need the overkill for the small amount of yards they do. put more of that money in your wallet and if you have to save up for it.

    sorry i'm long winded but this is just one of my pet peeves.

  5. tovoninc

    tovoninc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Here we are walking the tight rope of cash flow.....
    Can you balance the future need with an outlay of cash (or payments) now or can you wait, gambling that your equipment will not breakdown at the worst possible moment (Murphy's Law) and hold your cash. It all depends on your risk tolerance, your goals and the timeline for ROI (Return On Investment). What works for me may be useless for the next guy. All of my equipment is paid for. When I decide to make the next expansion I may or may not finance something.

    Business' come and go based on cash flow..... hey, that rhymes.:D
  6. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,144

    We only mow 2 days a week and run 2 ztrs. Its not always how much work you have for the new machines...but more of how fast do you want to do the lawns that you do have? We do landscaping the other days of the week so it is very important for us to finish all of our mowing on thursday and friday to keep the rest of the week open for landscape work. Do you have a full time job that limits your mowing to only the weekend? if so then maybe a ZTR isnt a bad idea. You would be able to take on many new accounts and complete them in the same amount of time.
  7. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 739

    I think Evan justifies his equipment perfectly. If you absolutly need it, get it. But think long and hard before financing, the other guys are on the mark about that. Too many times people don't think about the repercussions of their actions. You're showing your maturity by asking your peers for advice.
  8. Angelo

    Angelo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    OK I appreciate all the advice and have come to a conclusion. I am going to hold my breath this year with 1 mower and hope for the best ( i have contacted a few mower rental places just in case). and perhaps at the end of the season pickup a used w/b or wait until next year to see what my customer base looks like and buy a new w/b but I will hold off on the rider for now. As you all know they are a lot more $$$ and I figured I would not be getting that many more lawns done to justify the difference in price of mowers. Perhaps when I can go full time a Z will be in my future but for now the w/b will do just fine. Also hopefully pay cash for the mower next year if this years productivity keeps up.
  9. ScotLawn

    ScotLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 309


    Very wise decision. A lot of guys just go out and buy the biggest and the best without checking to see if they really can afford to have that kinda note during the off season or if there customer base will allow them to pay for it.

    You just made a very hard decision and one that will push your company into a more comfortable financial standpoint.

    You moved up alot in my book as far as the wise business man's ladder goes. Keep it up and you'll go far in this business.

  10. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Posts: 278

    This is my 3rd year at this, The first two I didn't have a rider just midwalks, I wanted a rider, just at the time it just didn't make sense to lay out the money if you really don't have the yards to do it and the cash to pay for one or you couldn't get good financing.... This year I did buy a nice John deere SST16 rider with a 42 mulching deck, I put $2000 down and financed the other 2500 at 5.9% The reason I purchased the rider was because I'm going after yards that I can use it in and have pick up quite a few that scrubs used to mow with a 21" (idiots) and It really has saved me physically, My knees just can't handle being on a sulky anymore and I am deffinitely less tired when I get home after a day.... It really amazes me that a scrub will mow a HUGE yard with a 21" mower and only charge the homeowner $50.00 for it... the homeowner said it took the guy 4 hours to do it. I qouted him $76.00 per week and it will take me 1.5 hours. The scrub just stopped showing up, We'll see if the guy hires me or not. I personally do not have any problems with my rider causing any ruts or grooves, instead it leaves a very nice smooth finish like a carpet.

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