4th year questions

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by JBZ Lawns, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. JBZ Lawns

    JBZ Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    I guess this is a noob question that almost answers itself, but I need to know that my decision will make sense. For 3 years I've been operating out of a F-150 with a camper top, only room for 2-21" mowers, 1 weed eater, 1 pole trimmer (used for hedge trimming and all), 4 tank sprayers and all other miscellaneous tools/materials.

    I'm thinking about taking advantage of a $10,000 business loan offered through the new bank I'm switching to this year, to buy a box trailer and 30" mower, worth a total of under $5000, using the rest to take care of minor truck fixes, equipment maintenance etc.

    I've been hiring high school kids out for summer in the past, and after doing the math, I figure I'm not really doing myself any favors there, over investing that same money into something that will help me knock yards out faster.

    I currently have about 50 customers of various sizes and I think I could handle all of them by myself with the upgrade on deck size plus expand to 65+ customers this year, keeping in mind, I'm in TX, where summers hit 102 with 90% humidity on a cool year. I currently gross about $35k a year btw (which is a long way from the $14k I started out at). Loan is at 3-5 years, my choice.

    I'm only really held back by the fact that if it's a bad decision, it doesn't just affect me but my wife and 3 year old. Please, any and all help or advice is appreciated. I started this business on a $2,300 tax return and am now up to roughly $9,000 in equipment (including truck). I can pinch a dollar out of a dime if needed, but not with 100% success.

    Again, ANY and ALL advice is welcomed and appreciated.
    Bcoogan23 likes this.
  2. jonnyz37

    jonnyz37 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 461

    Forget the 30" mower idea. Yes it's better than a 21"...barely. If you want to make your life easier and business more profitable, then get a 36" walk behind hydro with a velky. You will be amazed at how much easier your business is. Next, get an open utility trailer... Not an enclosed trailer. The open trailer is more versatile. Lastly, please quit trying to save money... Embrace the concept of investing in your business. You will grow faster and your body will thank you.
    kawasaki guy, KAZ and ltdlawn like this.
  3. OP
    JBZ Lawns

    JBZ Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    Everything you said Jonnyz makes sense but I have limitations.

    - 36" mower would make me have to change mowers way more often and is nearly twice the cost up front.
    - Theft is a problem in my area and I do not want to pay for remote storage, not to mention drive time every morning, so I need covered.
    - While I openly embrace the old "spend money to make money" adage, I am the only source of income, so I have to be a bit short sighted, as, at this point, one horrible year could mean my family living out of the truck.
  4. ltdlawn

    ltdlawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,422

    IMG_0738.jpg Lose the cap on your truck. Why will 36" need to be changed so often? Gates? You can load a 48" wb in the back of the truck with proper ramps($150)I did it for a year. This picture has 48" 21" string trimmer bp blower ramps and gas can.
    Your gonna hurt yourself by taking that loan to buy a 30" and a trailer. If your dead set on the commercial 30" it will fit in your truck why not just finance it at dealer?
    You've got a decent amount of customer for your current equipment your gonna need to increase your efficiency to become more profitable i.e. Larger commercial mower. You shouldn't be paying out labor with your billable hours.
    Bcoogan23 and Mark Stark like this.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,017

    Buy a bigger truck
    Like a used uhaul or Penske truck
    Build ramp for back
    Huge pay off
    Low price
    Sell the f-150 unless it’s your personal car as well, then keep it off back up

    Buy 36” wb like previously mentioned
    Ditch the high school kids
    More production
    Stay solo
    Mark Stark likes this.
  6. OP
    JBZ Lawns

    JBZ Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    While welding is a hobby/supplemental income, and I'd love the project of new ramps; I can either afford a box truck or equipment upgrade. For the price, I can upgrade to a 30 and afford help next year, or a larger mower and have to switch mowers between back and front yards. F-150 does count as my personal as well, nothing wrong with your suggestion, it's what I'd like, but I'm just not there yet.
  7. wbw

    wbw LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,410

    I don't know about Carrollton but every lawn in Houston has a wooden fence around it with a wooden gate. A 36 won't fit through a lot of the gates. Something to think about.
    JLSLLC likes this.
  8. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,423

    I would finance at a dealer before a bank loan. Almost every manufacturer has a zero percent deal.
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,652

    Sometimes they tack on a fee. Like John Deere has a $500 fee for 0% over a certain amount of years. Unless that has been changed since last year
    grassmonkey0311 likes this.
  10. JLSLLC

    JLSLLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,695

    If your solo I wouldn't get that type of loan for mowing only. Maybe for landscape jobs.

    Get a trailer and a walkbehind like most say here. New is less headaches for sure, but good deals are to be had if you can find them
    sjessen likes this.

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