Cutting grass on the side

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Nicholas Voltaggio, Jul 2, 2019.

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  1. Nicholas Voltaggio

    Nicholas Voltaggio LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1


    I'm Nick, 27 years old and i'm a full-time college student as well as have a full-time job. I was looking into cutting grass, weed wacking, leaf blowing on the side for some extra money. I landscaped for 3 years and I was in charge of my boss's lawn care crew which was cutting grass everyday, 5 days a week. Currently saving money for the equipment but had a few questions.

    1) I am trying to cut residential properties in my cul-de-sac with about 6-7 neighbors. Each house is about 1.5 acres or less (probably less). I've cut my own house with a zero turn mower and it takes me 15 mins tops. First question is do I need a commercial lawn mower for this or would a residential zero turn from home depot or lowes in the range of $2,500-3000 do the job? A friend told me to get a commercial lawn mower because the mower would be "running all day" but if i can do mine in about 15 mins and lets say I got 6 neighbors to say yes for me to cut their lawn (15 mins x 6 houses = 90 mins) Is a residential mower from home depot really going to have more wear and tear/not hold up as well from an hour and a half of cutting every week as opposed to a commercial one?

    2) How much would I have to charge (1 neighbor currently gets his cut for $30)? What factors go into price? Looking to mow, weed whack, and leaf blow every house I do lawn care for. Not trying to make this a career just trying to make some extra money. Probably won't have the equipment until 2020 as i'm still saving money for the equipment.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even advice for things I have not thought about.
  2. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,807

    My advice would read this forum and HEED the advice. Not like you did with your friend--who had some good advice:rolleyes: Welcome to the forum:waving:
    Walker56, Mark Oomkes and MattZ28 like this.
  3. weeze

    weeze Banned
    Messages: 17,196

    don't get a commercial mower if you're only gonna do that few number of yards only for a year or two.
    Cam15, kemco and Mumblingboutmowers like this.
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,919

    I cut grass out front, not the side.
    Cam15 likes this.
  5. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,807

    He still has to be dependable. I would at least buy something a dealer can work on. Unless he is mechanically inclined and can get parts. I got a brand new commercial mower. Within 400 hours it needed 2000$ + warranted work. Glad I didnt buy it from a box store. If I am going to invest 3000$ it wont be at a box store. I might go for tractor supply bad boys. 60 inch deck mowers are 6000. No one close by to work on them. That is the problem. Now weedeaters and blowers is another story. My last 3 of blowers have come from dealers since you cant get stihl blowers in box stores here. You can get a good deal on echos.
    He is cutting some large lawns. He is talking about doing each of them in 15 minutes:dizzy:
    Walker56 likes this.
  6. sehitchman

    sehitchman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    I don't think the op really knows how big these properties are. Even on a commercial 72 you would be hard pressed to cut 1.5 acre in 15 minutes. Go to and do a measurement of the turf. If they are that big, and your competition is at $30, you're going to have a difficult time making any money.
    Cam15, Wye Oak Tree and Charles like this.
  7. Mumblingboutmowers

    Mumblingboutmowers LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 935

    There's nothing wrong with starting out with a residential. I used residential mowers for probably my first decade in business. Sure, they do wear out quicker and are easier to break but your looking at 2-3k VS 10k. It just isn't worth it getting a 10k mower for a few yards. What's the point? No point in doing it if he is not going to make money if all his profit goes into paying for a commercial mower that he doesn't really need.
  8. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,537

    First zero we got was a gravely homeowner. Put about 1500 hours on it. As the business grew finally stepped up to a gravely commercial. The difference was night and day, but so was the price. In retrospect I'd still do the same thing. At the time I might have had the # of lawns to justify the 2x expense of the commercial. But the homeowner version did just fine. Had good dealer that worked on it. It did need to be worked on a few times. My 2 cents.
    hort101 likes this.
  9. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,741

    $30 x 6 lawns is $180/week. If you get 30 cuts, that’s $5400. If you spend $3k on a residential ztr, you’ll be left with $2400 minus fuel, trimmer line, maintenance, oil, etc. Let’s just say you’ll spend an additional 15% of your gross for those items, $5400 x 15% = $810. So $5400-$3810 = $1590 net. You’d have roughly 45 hrs servicing 6 lawns @ 15 mins each for 30 weeks. $1590/45 = $35/hr, not bad for a side gig.

    I prob wouldn’t do it for that but I don’t like spending my free time busting my a$$ for very little $ and lots of liability. If a rock were to hit little Johnny and he went to the hospital, I assure you that $1590 won’t even touch the ambo ride.

    If you still want to do it go buy a push mower and get busy, no need for a ztr unless it’s for your ego.
    Cam15 likes this.
  10. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,807

    Some of you are not reading or comprehending what in his post. He is basing his venture on cutting 6 or, 1.5 acres in 15 minutes each. Surely he knows the size of his lawn and he says he can cut it in 15 minutes "tops". So you think he can do that with a homeowner mower?. Full time college student that owns a home with 1.5 acres.. Neighbor paying $30 for 1.5 acres. Being a college student he should know what 1.5 acres looks like or what size his lawn is. Hmm something fishy about this thread:rolleyes::laugh:
    As for homeowner type mowers. Parts don't last near as long as commercial. Especially when cutting 10 or more acres weekly or bi weekly. He is starting off with large lawns..maybe:laugh:
    Doc8406, Walker56, RussellB and 2 others like this.
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