Advantages of "disposable" equipment

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BAMARED, Jun 3, 2002.


    BAMARED LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    I always wanted to ask this question, so here goes: What's everyone's thoughts regardijng buying cheap, "disposable" equipment that will last only a season or two vs. buying quality, commercial equipment to do the same tasks that will last for many seasons? I'm talking about from a financial perspective.

    Example could be:

    - Trim mower - $139 @ WalMart that will last you for a season or two vs. $500 - $900 for a commercial unit that will last 10 years.

    - Trimmer - $69 @ Home Depot, lasting a season vs. a nice $400 Shindaiwa that will last for many seasons.

    You get the idea.


  2. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    Disposable equipment has it's place.

    I wouldn't:

    a.) buy a disposable peice if I were using it all the time, ie a line trimmer. If it's a push mower I need twice a week, then the cheapos makes sense.

    b.) buy a peice of equipment that does not allow me to do top-notch work.

    c.) put too much confidence in cheap/used/inferior equipment when I am earning a living by operating it.

    Would you get your family pictures taken by a guy using a disposable camera?
  3. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 949

    I guess it depends. We have 4 homelite trimmers. They are about 70$ and last for a couple of years and then throw them out. Trimmers get beat up pretty bad and are easy for someone to walk off with. We only do about 5 mins worth of trimming/ yard so they do fine for us. If a commercial trimmer sinificantly reduced my time and saved me money I would get a few. Also, I always have to have at least 3 trimmers on the truck. One for each worker and a spare. Now the $$ is adding up. The system has been working for me.
  4. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    I was using a Ryobi crooked shaft - $ 60. Finally got a 265 John Deer for $220. Wish I never bought it. Gonna sell it if I can and take the loss. It's slower cause of the head rotation direction, I forgot that these " quality " trimmers force you to walk backwards most of the time which = more time trimming = less profit. Going to get a Homelite streight shaft ASAP and go back to walking forewards and making money.

    My .02
  5. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    I have a Homelite straight shaft trimmer as a backup, and my son used it when he was younger and was mowing 7 or 8 lawns during the summer by himself, but my primary trimmers are Stihl 85s. The Homelite seems to have held up fairly well, although I have had to do more work on it. I really don't know how long it would last as a primary, however. JD
  6. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    asking the guys to use anything less than commercial grade, 12 hrs a day, in the tough spring growth, would be insane.

    even with fs85 there are times more power could be used.

    if you are solo, maybe working after work or weekends for extra money, i guess you could get by, if you are patient.

    but still , better to be super fast rather than just get by.
  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    if im using it i can get 2-3 yrs out of homeowner stuff with echo 50-1 an 90 octane. if im handing it to a helper he gets something that is a little harder to tear up. bottum line is if the trimmer or what ever is going to run hard for several hrs a day ,stay with commercial. homeowner just aint made for that.jmho
    stihl, echo man myself.
  8. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I find it to be a hassle to have to buy new equipment every couple of years. And I don't think that El Cheapo equpment would last me anywhere near that long.

    I think I read somewhere that the expected lifetime of a Homelite backpack blower is around 100 hours. The expected lifetime of a Stihl BR400 is around 400 hours. The Stihl goes for $379.00. The Homelite is $179.00. You would have to buy 4 Homelites for $716.00 to get the hours that you get out of 1 Stihl. Where's the economy in that?
  9. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 949

    I agree with the backpack blower. I just purchased a new sindy 630 because it is a huge huge time saver even over my br400. We spend about 5 to 10 min max trimming per yard. The blower saves me hours of work a trimmer maybe just a couple minutes. Plus it is a very light machine. If we had hours of trimming I know I would get a commercial trimmer. This method just works for my situation not everyone elses.
  10. smburgess

    smburgess LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    Some good replys...

    I believe "non-commercial" equipment has it's place, and it depends on usage. I stopped buying toro commercial mowers ($1000.00) a few years ago and started buying the "personal pace" ($369.00) mowers since they were only used a couple of hours a week, and I swear I have LESS trouble with them.

    Weed-eaters I think are a different story, daily use is around 8 hours, five days a week, I go with Shindiawa T230's because they make a good machine with power and a low weight. I just bought 2 more off the net at $249.00 each plus $12.00 shipping.

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