17 year old starting with bare-minimum

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by brlally, May 24, 2012.

  1. brlally

    brlally LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I'm 17 years old and I'm from Massachusetts. I just recently started mowing my mom's friend's lawn every week for some spare money. I got 2 walk-ups my first day mowing the grass. One was for a spring clean up and the other just for a cut. One week later I have acquired 2 more biweekly contracts. None of these lawns are very large. At the moment I have my 1995 f250 8ft bed, a shitty wooden trailer, a 21" toro push mower, a kombi weed whacker that my grandpa gave me, an old stihl handheld blower, and some tools (shovels, rakes, etc.) I am making some money now but using this push mower takes some serious time. I can't fit these into a day after school. I have been trying to do them all on Saturday but have been doing mulching and other odd jobs for family for some spare cash. My question is when would buying a walk behind mower such as a scag be justifiable. I want to buy used because there is no way I can afford a new one. I also want a 36" because gates are an issue. I have made a little over a $1000 total so far. Also is there any brands that are cheaper than a scag but will still offer better cutting than my push mower. Also how much should I spend on one? I plan to try and grow this business. I am getting business cards made and made my own t-shirt with an iron on transfer at home. Any other tips on just starting out will be much appreciated!!! Also, down the road I would like to buy a ploy for my f250, do you think it is worth it? I have heard mixed answers.
  2. Hansen's Lawn Care

    Hansen's Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Good for you Brett. Stay with it and by the time you're in your mid 20's you'll be able to run the business instead of mowing every day, if that's your goal...both are good depending on what you want.

    I would wait until you have at least 10 weekly accounts. Reason being is by then you'll be making decent money especially being only 17 years old. But I would wait until you had 10 weekly's and then buy a 36" belt driven walk behind. Check craigslist...a decent, used 36", I wouldn't pay more than $1200, that's pushing it. You'll find a good deal just be patient and don't buy the first thing you see until you look at a couple more too.

    The plow question...I think it's a good idea, but again, I would wait until you have more like 15-20 snow customers. If you have any less than 15 I would buy a single stage snowblower. Single stages have rubber paddles instead of the 2-stage augers...and the rubber actually sweeps the ground so you get a cleaner look. Plus a single stage is so light you can pick up and throw in the back of your truck. An average driveway with an average storm, 4-6 inches, wouldn't take you more than 30 minutes and if you charge them around $30 per snow event, you're making a decent hourly wage there.

    Any other questions just ask...welcome to the industry buddy.
  3. brlally

    brlally LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Thanks a ton man! Very informative! I'll postpone that for now then.
  4. Ethan51

    Ethan51 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 190

    hey brett! I'm a huge fan of Craigslist for getting yourself a walk behind. I picked up my first walk behind last season for $500, and they help. But don't get rid for your little one when you upgrade, because there is landscaping (atleast around here) that I can't fit my 36 inch by.
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  5. brlally

    brlally LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    What are brands that you would recommend? I have heard good things of scag and exmark. Also what are some you would steer clear of?
  6. Ethan51

    Ethan51 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 190

    I very strongly recommend exmark and scag, I have run both of those and I own an exmark metro 36 inch that I have fully redone. But for smaller mowers, I would say look into a bravo 25 inch and an exmark metro 21 or 28 inch. I would stay away from buton, that's about it. I really just don't like them at all, they don't seem to work well for me, the hydros go out, the controls are slow to responding, they just don't work for me. And for zero turns go with scag.
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  7. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Messages: 1,390

    Get a timemaster for now. I have cut 40 lawns with mine in the last two weeks with no problems.
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  8. CozyHollow

    CozyHollow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    Welcome to the industry Brett! You're young and it sounds like you are a serious worker cause you didn't complain about "the work" at all...as the one guy told you, when you're in your mid 20's you can literally be running the show and making some REAL NICE cash!

    There's NOTHING that YOU CAN NOT do...just BELIEVE that!

  9. Kartanimal29

    Kartanimal29 LawnSite Member
    from Ct.
    Messages: 209

    Brett , Keep picking at it. One of my buddy's that I went I school with started out the same way and now has one of the largest Co. in CT. ,that was over 20 years ago. He started out just like yourself.
  10. thelawnman

    thelawnman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    I m same age as you. Go with scag but my 36 dont fit in gates so maybe look for a 32 scag.

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