Equipment advice please

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Basilhayden, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Basilhayden

    Basilhayden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    I am looking at getting started part time at first and then eventually fulltime down the road. Could you guys give me your opinions on the different brands of equipment. What should I stay away from? I take it that toro isn't very well thought of for a mower? How are kawasaki weedeaters and blowers? Would you consider a used mower and how many hours do you generally expect to get out of a good mower? Thanks for any advice and for pointing me the right way.
  2. Ronniecoleman

    Ronniecoleman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    My only advise is buy commercial equipment, for handhelds I use a mix of redmax, kawasaki, echo. There is nothing wrong with toro mowers, just be sure to find a good deal which ever brand of mowers and handhelds you decide on.
  3. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    1. do a search. I doubt you'll get full rundowns on all brands in a single thread here. Especially as it's been done so many times before.

    2. Consider the source. Toro is a popular and well respected brand. You will learn that you have to sift idiotic kneejerk opinion from well reasoned and rational criticism of brands to get an accurate picture. Some people will rave about and others will scorn THE SAME EXACT MOWER. I've recently read some criticisms of mower brands, including toros, that included such criticisms as pull cords that broke (they apparently didn't realize that the engine manufacturer provides them, and the various mower manufacturers all use the same Kawasaki, Kohler, Briggs, and other engines) or "the tires kept getting flats". (apparently they expected steel belted radials on their mower)

    3. There are likely at least a few shills here, as there are on any public forum where you don't have to confirm your identity. Anytime money is at stake there may be attempts by some to trash the competition by posing as a dissatisfied user. Or to hype a product they want to sell more of, posing as an objective reviewer.

    4. Brand chauvanism is alive and well here. It is human nature that someone who buys brand A will feel the need to praise brand A as the wisest choice and trash brands B, C, D, etc as being worthless. Be wary of unbalanced, overly emotional reviews. Pay attention to the reasoned, pros/cons ones. If you see anything like the "chevy is junk, ford rules" attitude seen in the car world, disregard that review.

    5. There are so many attributes to consider on a mower than no single person likely knows about and has used every mower in every type of mowing conditions. Some mowers cut tall lush grass well but can't handle lower cut varieties w/o problems. Some people think pistol grip mowers are easy to use. Then they admit they have not really used anything else.

    6. It will take hours and hours of reading posts going back years to get a complete picture of what fits your needs best. I happen to know from 18 years of using Toro walk behind mowers (21, 36, 37, 40, and 44") that they are overall quite reliable and effective machines for how I use them. This doesn't mean they're perfect, or even the best. My latest addition cuts undulating lawns beautifully that another Toro could not, but it packs up the deck with clippings where the other one did not. So is Toro good or bad based on that? I've replaced one clutch, one transmission, one pto switch, and two output shaft bearings (cheap part) on a total of 6 midsize toros over the years. My opinion would be that reliability isn't a problem.

    7. Use common sense. Mowers that are "TRASH" or "JUNK" or "cut terrible" or are unreliable would not have long histories and its unlikely their companies would grow.

    8. Always remember there are trade offs. Speed, power, weight, ease of use, versatility, cut quality in all types of grass, maneuverability, comfort, durability, and PRICE are just some of the factors. Usually you will not get perfect scores in every area.

    9. A lot of reviewers have what I consider unrealistic expectations. They will put a machine in very difficult conditions, almost abusive, and expect it to remain trouble free for 1,000 hours. It's just not going to happen. I happen to know that I can wear the pump drive belt out on an Exmark Lazer in a day if I try to. That same belt can last a season if the mower is driven more gently.

    10. They're complex machines. It's unlikely any one sentence "review" is going to be useful. So pick a brand you're interested in, do a search, and you'll find you get widely varying opinions. Look for a general consensus.
  5. Alan0354

    Alan0354 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,450

    Brucec32 put it very nicely.

    My vote for hand held is Kawasaki mainly it is a lot cheaper buying new on ebay. It really worth your while even considering it is more difficult to get warranty service. You are talking about 1/3 cheaper.

    Like Bruce put it nicely. You will here people raving on one brand and trash another. From my experience and from reading a lot a lot of posts in different forums, there are followers on every single commercial brand. Bottom line is they are very close. I just go for the price. Dealer have promotion all the time, get the one on promotion/sale. Or buy on Kawasaki on ebay for really cheap.

    Commercial hand held brands are Echo, Redmax, Maruyama, Kawasaki, Stihl, Tanaka, Husqvarna....did I miss any??
  6. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    Also keep in mind where we're at. Around here I can get John Deere, Husqvarna, Stihl, and Kubota equipment. Anything else requires a couple hours drive. Some of us may not have experience with all the brands out there.

    Very nicely put Bruce32.

    Let me qualify my statement: Out of the brands readily available to me I like Husqvarna the best. Good equipment, good price, very happy customer.
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    You should take a ride aorund your area and see what brands are available. The come back and do a seach for those brands like Bruce32 said.

    I have no experience with Kawasaki hand helds.

    Toros are as good a mower as any other.

    As far as a used mower... What kind of used mower? Push, mid sized walk behind, ZTR, riding tractor?
  8. sdk1959

    sdk1959 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    If you already own residential equipment you can use that to start out and buy used or new commercial later on. If you don't own any equipment buy used commercial or new if you expect to stay in the game. Don't buy new residential equipment.

    Be open minded and see for yourself when considering equipment, not just the opinions here.

    I prefer 4-stroke engines in trimmers and blowers. For me they have been extremely reliable, always start 1-2 pulls, great on gas, no mixing gas and oil, quieter, have better low RPM torque than the 2 stroke engines. Some people prefer to trim at full throttle, I prefer much less throttle (less stones kicking up, grass flying) so I wanted a trimmer with excellent low end power that would not bog down at less than half throttle. My trimmer is a Honda. But again, this is my preference so check out both types.

    If you see a used walk-behind or ZTR with a floating deck go for it, they will follow the contours of the land for less scalping and a better cut. The cut a mower has is very important, and often overlooked, don't just look at speed.

    Good luck in business.:)
  9. jhawk60

    jhawk60 LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 241

    You missed Shindaiwa
  10. albhb3

    albhb3 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    well lets say we have a 3 in 1 mower its a sears, toro, and craftsman. Runs better then our newer toro. Its name is frank.

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