Equipment Required For Startup

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnguy48, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. johnny_boy02

    johnny_boy02 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    Watch craigslist everyday. Good deals pop up often.

    I started with a 21" commercial mower, commercial trimmer, commercial edger, and homeowners blower. I do mostly small to medium yards so I dont need much else. You can get all of this for under 3k dont buy cheap crap. I had a truck already though.

    I didnt buy things till I needed them, for example a hedge trimmer. I had a customer ask how much to trim her hedges, gave her a price she agreed and off I wen to the store. That job paid for half of the hedge trimmer so I didnt have a tool sitting around unused for months. Same deal with my pole saw and trailer. I worked out of the back of my truck till I needed the trailer to complete a job. But I could have rented one.

    I started in April and all my stuff is paid off and mostly new. This type of plan doesnt really work for the guys that have to buy big zero turns, trailers, etc.
  2. chapandrew6

    chapandrew6 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I have been cutting a few yards the last 2 years. This year at one point I had 8 yards. That was while I worked a full time 8-5 day job (it sucked in the spring with all the rain we had). I got fired from that job and HATE the new job so if I havent found anything by spring I am going into lawncare.

    I currently have:
    (1) Chevy Silverado 1500
    (1) 6' x 10' trailer (it has a tall gate in the back and cuts my fuel mileage down to 13mpg once I hook up to it)
    (1) Cub Cadet 50" Zero Turn (its a residential but it works just fine for right now)
    (1) 21" push mower
    (1) Echo trimmer (not sure of model)
    (1) Echo blower (not sure of model)

    If i go full time on this in the spring I am going to try and find a 36" - 42" walk behind so I can get into some of the gates and would work if the Cub died in the middle of a job. Also want to get a Stihl trimmer that I can also put the bush trimmer attachment onto so I would have a backup trimmer. Not as worried about a backup blower as I can always use a broom / mower to blow it off.

    I think that is my biggest fear is that right now I dont have any kind of backup equipment and if something break I am not sure what I will do but take it to the shop and hope it doesnt take very long. If I go into this in the spring I will be solo and want to get about 30 yards or so. I will end up putting an add in the church paper as well as getting some magents for the truck. I got 5 of my yards by posting ad's on craigslist.

    Once winter would hit I can sit back and drink some beer because I wont put a plow on my truck.
  3. GlynnC

    GlynnC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 913

    I like this answer--list of starting equip and method of adding additional equip.
  4. yardude

    yardude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    It has been mentioned but since you are not starting up right away, check out Craigslist daily & you can get some killer deals. Don't buy someone's junk. Be selective. I found a Husky 326 used for $100. This trimmer was used maybe 5 times from a homeowner. I also found a used Echo PS255 hand held blower for $100 at a local lawnmower shop used. Again this was in very good condition & he gave me a 90 warranty on it. Get the items you need to get you going & then buy other items as you need them as you grow. Chances are, you are not going to have 40-50 weekly accounts from the beginning unless you buy a business full of customers. Therefore, you are not going to need as much gear when you first start, but again can grow the business & purchase as you go. I see deals on trailers all the time used, an item you can get away buying used.
    Best of luck with your endeavor & keep your eyes open for deals!
  5. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    Lets not make it sound like a trip to paradise. He will have times when he wished he was still working a blue collar job, or even working for Ronald McDonald.
  6. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    if that isn't the truth i don't know what is.

    these "times" can last for days, weeks, months, hell even whole seasons.

    i'm in one right now. the season started off with more work than i could handle and so much rain i could barely get the work done.

    since june we've had very little rain and i've gotten comfortable with short work days and even short work weeks. finding it very hard to get motivated to do any work when i do have it. right now getting out of the industry sounds pretty good to me.

    but i do know once i work through it, it'll be good again. always has been.
  7. bobcat48

    bobcat48 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,176

    Used walk behind
    21'' mower
    Echo and stihl,redmax,husqvarna,kawaski are all good for handhelds that is pretty much some the basic pieces of equipment you will need and walk behind scag,bobcat and exmark and 21'' honda or toro,craftsman.
  8. plc87

    plc87 LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 119

    My best advice is to stay away from debt completely. I saved and had the luxury to be able to save up 15k to start my business so i pretty much bought whatever I wanted (within reason) and boy am I glad I did! Better equipment makes a big difference.

    Work your regular job and figure out how much money you want to save. Keep working your regular job and save DOUBLE that amount and you should be good to go. It takes a lot of money, you think oh this is all i'll need then something breaks or you realize you "need" this and "need" that!
  9. GrassGuerilla

    GrassGuerilla LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,440

    My best advice is to start looking for a good used walk behind now. Off season bargains are available. Something between 32-44 inches ideally (or whatever is best suited to your target market.) Dont buy a 33" (Troybilt, cub cadet etc) those machines aren't commercial, and cannot pull a sulkey. Your best bet is to find somebody selling their "gate" or "backup mower". $1000-$1500 should buy a decent gear drive (I prefer Toro T-bars). If you live (and plan to work) in an older neighborhood, don't buy a 60" mower that won't fit through all the old small gates. Know your target area, buy appropriately. A sulky or velkey, would be a huge benefit. But not essential (you can always buy one later). Same goes for the basic handhelds, (trimmer and blower). End of season, with new models coming means bargains are out there now.

    I agree with not buying all the specialty tools until you need them. Just budget and save for appropriate commercial tools as needed.

    For your first season, residential customers should be your target (IMHO). With a bit of experience under your belt, you will be better equipped to bid and acquire commercial, and or brokerage accounts. Learn the basics before you try to swim with the "sharks".

    Finally, since nobody else has said it. Don't blow your whole life savings counting on making money in your first weeks or months. Keep enough in the bank to pay your bills on time. Just because you "got the work" doesn't mean they will pay when you'd like them to. It's tough to know when the money will come in. Don't count on it. It would be good if you could keep working another reg job as long as possible. Regular income early on will be an advantage.

    Good luck,
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I started with one of these and it looked just like this one except mine didn't have the collection unit. I also had a broom and a Craftsman $100 special trimmer. I used to load this stuff into the back of my Chevy S-10 and go to work, I started upgrading in my second year.

    hechingers 38.jpg

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