Whasts the right direction?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by born2farm, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. born2farm

    born2farm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,149

    Even though I haver some existing acounts next year will really be my start up year. I have looked at some many trailers, handhelds and mowers I have no clue what direction to go with my outfit. If you guys wouldnt mind sharing some thoughts I would really appriceate it.

    What I have to start with-

    1/2 ton truck (havnt bought one yet buy my parents agreed to buy first vehicle) -- plus the equipment in my signiture. I have 5 existing accounts and hopefully will be picking up 10 to 15 more weekly mowing accounts.

    If you had $5000 in startup money (i know not very much) how would you spend it starting out with what i have?
     
  2. born2farm

    born2farm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,149

    i forgot to say my accounts now are all 1/4 ac lot but next year I will be targeting some 1 to 1.5 ac lots/
     
  3. progressivelawncare

    progressivelawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    quick 36 3000

    kawisaki kgt27-a 225


    put the rest up for now and use for gas, trimmer line, insurance payments, and so on so you can sign some monthly pay accounts........it is best to have prepay monthy but it don't always go that way. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE HOW MUCH YOU'LL BE SPENDING ON GAS WHEN YOU FIRST START UP...

    that is what i would do......
     
  4. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 2,246

    id get a good edger and string trimmer. and a 16' open trailer. it sounds big, but thats where you're headed, right? (if not get out now). 16' is very versatile and pulls good w/ a half on truck. after that get a quick 36" or a 48" w/b. i cant say what brand, i have exmark and stihl b/c of the dealer support. go w/ a good dealer. echo, stihl, redmax, shindaiwa, honda, kawasaki make good handhelds. exmark, toro, scag, are probably the top mowers. most commercial grade equipment is well built, so go w/ a good dealer that has good mowers and handhelds, a good service center, and puts the LCO's in front of the residentials in the service center.
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Here's what I would do, and you need to start shopping now because you'll have to look long and hard, but anyhow:

    Function and performance takes priority over cosmetics.
    Better to have something that runs good and looks like crap, than a great looking POS.
    And whether tight on money or not, this has been a rule of mine for many years, function over appearance always.
    Same goes for frilly thrilly stuff, skip the fancy crap and stick to basic stuff.

    1. Get a basic used work truck and make it a 3/4 ton 250/2500!
    No a/c, no radio, standard cab, two windows, horn and a button and thank you.
    Plan on spending around 1400-1600 on this, if you really shop hard you can find one hopefully 100k or so miles.
    Let me find an example (not being geographically specific here):

    This one looks like a winner, an XLT Lariat is actually a niiice truck (not basic):
    http://www.cars.com/go/search/detai...onal&paId=136074713&recnum=13&leadExists=true
    TRY not to go over 200k miles when shopping for a truck, less is better.
    Unfortunately to get anything that will last you more than a year, $1400 is what I spent on a 1986 D-250 that ran for 4 years... Now it was hot in the summer and what a basic truck, only thing power was brakes and steering but I sure got my money's worth.
    I did buy my first truck for a grand, but that was a 1974 F-250...
    A 28-year old truck at the time, you really want to shop around for a long time, keep looking and think $14-1600.
    That first truck of mine almost didn't make the first year, and it was scary to drive, it shouldn't have even passed inspection but the sticker was valid when I bought it so I didn't ask lol. But...

    Also the trannies on used trucks?
    Get a 3/4 ton, them 1/2 tonners can be down right sketchy in that department, even the 3/4's fail some days but they're beefier.

    2. Get a used Walk-behind lawn mower for about $1,000 OR consider a Quick 36 for 2g's but it's new.

    3. A 6x12 single axle trailer with some SIDES $1,500.

    4. A trimmer $300, a backpack blower $500, hedge trimmers $200, a chainsaw $250, hmmm...

    5. wheel barrow, pitch fork, shovels, rakes, tarps, jumper cables, first aid kit and all sorts of knick knack crap, lets include the business license and a few of those 'fees and dues' things: $1,000

    'k what we got:
    Truck 1650 +
    Trailer 1500 +
    Quick 36 2000 +
    CRAP!

    2-cyclers 1200 +
    load of bs 1,000
    = 7200...

    'k....

    Shop for that used mower -1,000
    skip the chainsaw for now -250
    Get a $400 blower, -100

    = 6,000...
    Maybe if you can find a decent used trailer... -600?
    But I bought mine new, forget it, that thing gets used A LOT, like every day.

    You might can get away with $500 on the knick knack crap but...
    Don't forget ttlir, that'll run you 2-300 between truck and trailer.
    See...

    Well I tried, look it's some ideas, hope it helps.
    btw I started with 5g's...
    It's tight the first year.
     
  6. KingSteveTTC

    KingSteveTTC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Topsites-

    I'm sort of in the same boat as the thread starter and your post was extremely beneficial to me.

    THANK YOU, greatly appreciated.
     
  7. Liendeni

    Liendeni LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    I would get the 16 foot trailer. I just started a couple months ago and the trailer looked huge when I bought it....way to big. Man am I glad I got that trailer though. One ZTR, one 36 inch WB, a 21 inch push mower, one garbage can...and that sucker is filled to the max. You will grow into that thing very quickly. I am soooo glad I took the recommendations of others on here who said, "Go with a 16 footer...you will be glad you did" and man am I.

    Even when duing mulch jobs....about half the front is filled with mulch...and the back is holding my ZTR and it is totally full. I would have out grown that 12 footer in two weeks.

    As for the rest, Topsites had some good input.
     
  8. Liendeni

    Liendeni LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    And one last thing, the price between the 16 and a 12 is not that great...couple hundred bucks....money well spent.
     
  9. freshprince94

    freshprince94 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,449

    I use a 4x8 as my lawns are gated so all I will need to carry is a 36" unless I start targeting bigger lots. You should start with maybe a 6x12, that should be fine.

    For mowers, I would recommend an eXmark Metro 36 w/Velke. You can find these boys used for around 1500 and new for 3000.

    As for handhelds, you mentioned that you has Stihl as dealer support in another thread. Stihl is a great brand, I am switching over to them now. I used to love Echo but I have mediocre dealer support, plus Echo is underpowered compared to Stihl in my opinion.
    Trimmer-Stihl FS 80, that will last you for the first few years until you grow big.
    Edger-Stihl FC 75, again a good start-up edger. I dunno if you use a trimmer as your edger, I don't recommend it but it saves $$$.
    BP Blower-Stihl BR-420 if you're doing mostly grass, if you're doing leaf cleanups than go with the BR-600.

    All of this stuff I sugggested, when your company grows and you need more powerful stuff, this stuff will become your backup, it is always good to have backups.

    Hope this helps.
     
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 17,338

    Topsites great advice.............What ever you dont go into debt.
     

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