Buying Equipment from a city

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mowerdude777, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. mowerdude777

    mowerdude777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,735

    Is this a good idea, to buy used equipment from city's, I recently found out that a local city has a Giant Vac leaf vac and a Jacobsen 48 WB mower for sale and they are CHEEP and still work, but is it too risky to buy used equipment from a city?
  2. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    just buyer beware, or if you are handy working on equipment go for it.
  3. StihlMechanic

    StihlMechanic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    If the price is right, buy it. Cities buy new equipment at the begining of their fiscal year, which starts Sept 1st. Your not necessarily buying someone elses headache, they just have new units to replace the old. My experience with cities and their equipment is that they are on strict service schedules.
  4. corey4671

    corey4671 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,931

    I know around here the have the inmates running the equipment. there's a reason why they upgrade it so's usually just absolutely used up
  5. ShooterK2

    ShooterK2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 815

    Inmates run them here too. My dad is shop foreman for our city, been there 26 years, and works on all the equipment. When I was first getting started in this business, I asked him about the city's old equipment, and he said that, basically, they use it until there's just nothing left. I'm not saying all cities do this, but they use parts off the old mowers to fix the newer ones, and don't sell off anything until it's absolutely of no use to them whatsoever.

    Yes, they're on strict maintenance schedules, but they don't get treated very "nice" by the users. From what I've seen and heard from my dad, those guys don't care at all what they "mow" with the city's mowers......
  6. StihlMechanic

    StihlMechanic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    What prices are they asking?????????
  7. rwaters

    rwaters LawnSite Senior Member
    from Online
    Messages: 731

    I am sure it depends on the city(as far as maintance, I sell to a few citys close to me 2 really good ones and 1 extreamly bad one, the rest I don't fully know) but I agree with the fact most of the time they are selling it for a reason(if you are a good mechanic you might get a deal otherwise you most likely have a problem) However the leaf vac is more likely to be a good deal, I have 2 citys here with them sitting in the shop as like a lot of rural customers they do not like using the vac systems(the end up using gator blades on the mowers) The walk behind I would not buy unless I had an inside track to make sure the deck is not bent.
  8. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Now all cities/townships sell off their equipment every year and buy brand new stuff. I know at our township DPW they use the equipment for several years. They maintain the stuff pretty well and it all looks pretty nice too. When the department wants to keep the equipment for several years, they are going to take good care of everything.

    If the equipment checks out okay when you look through it, I'd say its a safe bet that it will give you some good use.
  9. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    Our fiscal year starts 7/1. I am not sure if it is like that in every state but anyways. This is gonna vary from city to city. Its kind of like asking if you should buy equipment from a landscape company. Some cities and towns are gonna maintain their equipment really well, on a full maintenance schedule but I suspect a lot of times with budget cut backs and stuff they might be more on a maintenance by breakdown schedule. I think it's gonna really depend on the town. I would try to go down and talk to the mechanic if you are serious or try to find catch one of the guys on the grounds department at a coffee shop or something(shouldn't be too hard to find a municipal employee at a coffee shop) and just ask them. I heard such and such piece of equipment is for does that thing run. Then ask if they maintain their stuff pretty frequently. Another thing about the municipal stuff is they might not have enough equipment to let something go for a day once a week or every couple weeks. In short it will totally depend on the city you buy it from and it will be tough to generalize on municipal equipment. One thing you can be sure of it when it is running, its probably run hard, which most commercial mowers can take but look at them closely. If I heard about a equipment being sold by a local municipality for cheap, I would definitely go look at it. I buy a lot of stuff from auctions too which can be a crap shoot but if you get stuff reasonable enough you can miss once and a while and still be ahead.
  10. mowerdude777

    mowerdude777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,735

    Its on a surplus auction site, the bids last I checked were 150 for the vac, 35 inch path and has a briggs and the mower is at 200 and has a kaw 24 hp but they just extended the action another 8 days:mad:

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