Am I being stupid?

Jake Boes

LawnSite Member
Location
Texas
hello, I have been looking at buying my first riding lawn mower for my business. As of right now, I am using a non-commercial push mower in a trailer pulled on a bike, during the summer I was doing about 2-4 yards a day 5-6 days a week. I started early July, after 2 weeks I had to take 2-3 weeks off to recover from surgery, then had to take 2 weeks off because of coivd. Then school started and I had to drop some of my business down. After all this, I made $3000. I have been looking for a riding lawnmower so I can, increase my available mowing time during the school year, and expand my business radius (so I can do more in the summer). Also having a riding lawn mower would allow me to make money doing leaf removal during the fall. Anyways, I went to a mower shop to look for a used steering wheel mower (because that was in my price range). They asked me some questions about my operations and told me that buying a non-commercial mower for the amount of business I am handling during the summer would not be a good idea. They told me they could sell me a used (in good condition) toro 48" Z-master 74418 Zero-turn for $2k. This summer I have learned a lot and have great plans for next season, I think ill make a lot more money (especially if I had a riding mower.). My problem is though, I don't feel good about spending 66% of my profits this year. I haven't been able to make up my mind on what to do and was hoping to hear what more experienced people thought about this. Thanks!
 

hal

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Kansas
What year and how many hours? They are good mowers, I had one for 13 or so years.... Do you have a mode of transpo for it? Truck, trailer........
 
OP
J

Jake Boes

LawnSite Member
Location
Texas
What year and how many hours? They are good mowers, I had one for 13 or so years.... Do you have a mode of transpo for it? Truck, trailer........
I think like 100 hours. If i need to get the mower a shop my dad has truck, but for mowing my lawns, I plan to bull my trailer with the mower.
 

GRANTSKI

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Ct Shoreline
You are in for a sad Awakening. Rule of business don’t plan on making any real profit / steady income till year 3-5 . Gotta tough it out and build and invest. And invest smart. Listen to ur dealer a home owner steering mower won’t last. It’s built w less power and cheaper parts etc … breakdowns and repairs will loose any $ you save by not buying commercial.
 

gchidest

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Central Florida
If your in this for the long haul, you'll be sinking more then 66% of your profits back into the business. Buy the best equipment you can, down to rakes and shovels. It pays off using quality professional tools and equipment by making you more efficient and quality of work is enhanced.
That being said, you can run a business with home owner equipment. I have a friend that does just that. He has a riding lawn mower, push mower, and some small echo home owner equipment. His yards are some of the best looking around. He keeps enough accounts to pay his rent and buy himself lottery tickets every week. He's happy and content with that. Doesn't want to grow and hates zero turns. Says he has to replace the front wheel bushings in the riding mower about every 3 months. He runs commercial blades on the mower.
 

grass man 11

LawnSite Bronze Member
Can I be honest with you. This might not be the industry for you. Hard to say. I guess I don’t know you personally or your accounts. I was mowing 7-8 lawns per day with a self propelled. 21” before I got my first mower. Dealers will sell you anything, I hardly ever listen to them unless I know them personally. Your sinking 66% and not liking that because you worked hard for it.

Reality is , you should have made 2-3x that, and then you would have less of a hard time swallowing the cost for the mower. I also hate to be another guy to tell you, if your going to be serious, it will take 3-5 years to show any major profit. If dumping back profit bothers you, I would suggest this and many other business might not be wise for you.

figure out what you want to do long term, make a decision based on that.
 
OP
J

Jake Boes

LawnSite Member
Location
Texas
Can I be honest with you. This might not be the industry for you. Hard to say. I guess I don’t know you personally or your accounts. I was mowing 7-8 lawns per day with a self propelled. 21” before I got my first mower. Dealers will sell you anything, I hardly ever listen to them unless I know them personally. Your sinking 66% and not liking that because you worked hard for it.

Reality is , you should have made 2-3x that, and then you would have less of a hard time swallowing the cost for the mower. I also hate to be another guy to tell you, if your going to be serious, it will take 3-5 years to show any major profit. If dumping back profit bothers you, I would suggest this and many other business might not be wise for you.

figure out what you want to do long term, make a decision based on that.
In July when I started I was 13, this is my first experience in business or anything like that. These months were me learning the ropes, and I know next summer Ill make more than I did this time (just because I know more now). I don't have any other options for jobs and plan to stick with this long-term (up until college). The money I made this summer is the only money I have. I don't mind putting money back in, it's just the risk if something goes wrong. Making investments like this is the kind of thing I am trying to learn about.
 

grass man 11

LawnSite Bronze Member
Here is why I loved that answer. Sooo many guys on here think it’s cool to just buy equipment because they think they need it. Yet at your young age, your willing to throw up the red flag and stop before making that purchase and realize that it takes effort and time to make that money. In a way it’s painful to part with it, and that’s a good thing. Soooo many guys would just
Spend it.

my suggestion is that you figure out how many lawns you need to mow and how long it would take to get your money back on the mower. That’s a very simple ROI conversion. While it is a risk, business requires risk. The best thing you can do is minimize the risk. What you need to focus on is how fast can you get the money made back. What’s the ROI.
 

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