Confused on equipment

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Jdmtnbikr, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Jdmtnbikr

    Jdmtnbikr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Just starting out on my own in maintenance for residential gardens and landscapes. I see alot of you recommending commercial grade lawn mowers for 2-3k each.

    My question is, if the main scope of my work is NOT lawncare (i.e. more planting, pruning, trimming, mulching, fertilizing etc etc the surrounding landscape) do I really need something that fancy? I was just going to go to Home Depot and get one of their "better" mowers for clients that need that particular service as well. I don't see myself mowing acres and acres of lawns at residences, but you never know I guess.

  2. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,656

    You may want to just start out with a quality 21" mower if you won't be doing very much cutting. I wouldn't buy a $2-3K mower if I wouldn't get much return on investment from it. You need to decide if the amount of business you have will warrant the purchase of a mower that will allow you to cut more in less time. How many lawns will you be cutting, how big are they? Do you want to expand into more mowing? If so, then you might want to invest in a larger mower for the future. If you think that you will only cut 5-6 lawns, a 21" mower might do just fine. No, I wouldn't be the fastest, but over the long run, it might be the most cost effective. This business is about making money. If you will make more money by getting a larger mower, do it. If not; don't.
  3. Jdmtnbikr

    Jdmtnbikr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    good advice, that is kind of how I was thinking

    If I get into it and realize I am wasting too much time cutting, and the business is there, Ill get something bigger/better.

  4. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    As said it depends on how much cutting you're really doing. If its not the core of your sales then by all means just go with a good grade of mower and not worry about it. Like the other guy said its the ROI you're concerned about. If it isn't paying for itself then why toss the extra bucks into it.
  5. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 2,384

    I agree with the others, would only like to suggest checking with a commercial dealer befor you buy at Home Depot. Around here Home Depot sells Toro, my dealer also sells Toro, and I think there is little if any price difference. I would rather buy from a local dealer, for the service and support.

    We bought a Toro self-propel from our dealer that my son uses on our small lawn and it works great. I could do the lawn with the ztr but it's good for him to learn to work.:) He's 10 and he can't wait until he can use the ztr's.

    Hope this helps, if you do get the Toro, I would get the personal pace.

    CURBAPPEAL NC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    Quick 36! cant beat it for the price.
  7. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    buy a used commercial mower in the 30"-36" wide range. A good new 21" mower goes for $250 +. You can find a good used commercial WB for $500. The nice thing is its not that much more but will save you lots of time in increased speed, give a better cut, have more power for wetter grass and if you ever do get into cutting, it makes a great unit for the houses with small gates/big back yards.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Are you asking about size or quality, Are you going to offer mowing or not?
    In my area, to do what you want would be kind of hard as most customers get the mowing done first and than add the services you talk about from the guy mowing.
    If you offer mowing than I believe you will find that that will start to be the main thing people want.
    If that happens you want a Commercial mower. Than buy the size that fits your lots. If that is a 21" fine but still stick with commercial.
    The cheap mower from HD or Lowes is designed last about 8 to 10 years at most. But only doing 1 yard each week. If you only do 10 customers you will burn through that life in 1 year or less. 20 yards and you are shopping in 3-4months, Even with heavy use the commercial will last for many years.
  9. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    The bottom line in operating any business should be to maximize your equipment before purchasing more. If your only going to mow 1 or 2 homes per week then there is no reason to purchase a piece of commercial equipment thats going to run you $2000 but only generates $200 worth of income per month.

    A piece of lawn equipment should easily be able to generate its own worth each month, if it can't then you probably over purchased.

    The biggest mistake people make is to buy a bunch of new equipment and then hope they can get the work necessary to generate a positive cash flow.
    Your equipment should only increase as your current equipment becomes maximized by its current work load and schedule.

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