Equipment when YOU first started out?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by osmann_lawn, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    Did anybody start off with a garden tractor or push mower? What kind of equipment did you start off with? Just curious to know what everyone started out with & how they are doing now.
  2. H & M Yard Improvements

    H & M Yard Improvements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    Garbage! Plain and simple. Upgrading equpment this year. Had a friend that owes me money that does landscaping on the side who is giving me his 36" Bobcat. Just needs a new belt and servicing to get it ready for the start of the year. Pickin it up in 2 weeks. Gonna shop around for some other new stuff with some tax money.
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  3. mykayel

    mykayel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I just restarted my part time buisness last year (I used to do this part time in highschool). This time I bought a used 40" toro hydro with 140 hours on it for about half the cost of new. There are plenty of deals out there for used small walk behinds. Commercial equipment is the only way to go wheather it be used or new. A new garden tractor designed for homeowner use will crap out on you quickly and just be a waste of money and a cause of frustration, and it will take you twice as long to cust with one vs with a commercial mower. They just slowly go as the homeowner using one of these isn't looking to speed through their yard.

    Lets just say that you have 30 accounts of just average sized residential yards. Say each of these is 1/3 of the size yard that a "garden tractor" is designed for. So each week you would be putting the wear and tear on it equal to about 1/3 of a year that a homeowner would have for personal use. So over the course of a year you'll put about 10 years worth of use on it. Does the average garden tractor last 10 years?

    The same goes for handhelds, get a commercial grade trimmer/blower. I like the echo trimmers and the SRM-230 which is about $300 is a good trimmer that will take the abuse of commercial use.
  4. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    I started with a Yard Machines by MTD push mower (not self propelled) and it needed to be primed manually (taking air filter off to put gas in carb), a weed eater brand straight shaft weed eater, and no blower.

    I had plans to go into the US Army and was just wanting money to support my family until I left. I posted on CL just offering $20 cuts, no contracts, up to 1/2 acre. Keep in mind I started very late season (July) and was slammed with work! I was driving my 1983 BMW 320I putting the mower in my trunk (don't ask how I did it lol).

    A client gave me a blower because she no longer needed it.

    The military didn't work out for me and now I'm doing lawn care full time. I am working on getting clients for 2012 and have a few people already but my goal is 30 accounts (6 properties a day 5 days a week) and I now have a Toro 22" self propelled recycler, a homelite backpack blower I got off CL for $80, a Echo SRM-225 line trimmer, and a trailer and hitch for my BMW to haul my equipment.

    I plan to get the new Toro timemaster 30 as my main unit this spring due to its light weight and all I really need for the small residential properties around here is 30 inches. Anything bigger is too big in my opinion. Its not a commercial rated mower but I believe with proper maintenance and upkeep that it'll do just fine.
  5. mykayel

    mykayel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I give it to you for starting off small without hardly any investment in equipment... but that's hard work compaired to a walk behind with a sulky. You'll have to decide if you can make it worth wile to spend the capital to get a walk behind mower... by myself I was doing 1/4 to 1/3 acre lots (cut, trim, and blow) at about 2-3 yards an hour. You could easily do 3 times the number of yards with a walk behind, but of course you'd have to get that many more clients also.
  6. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    My first mower was a Dynamark 22" push mower. Bear in mind I was in 6th grade when I made this big purchase of $140 from K-mart! I saved some more money in a month. And went back and got the side catcher for it. A couple years later I upgraded to a Snapper, bought my first gas powered trimmer an IDC, and eventually got a homelite handheld blower. My dad built me a cart that I could pull behind my bike and I had 8 to 10 lawns around my neighborhood.
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  7. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    I bought a new Cub Cadet SLTX1050 Lawn Tractor, ECHO Trimmer, Backpack blower, Edger & hedge trimmer. 12ft galvanized utility trailer. All bought last year (almost paid off). I only have 6 yards to mow currently. I am advertising heavily this year (5,000 door hangers, 2,000 postcards, fliers & 2 newspaper ad's). My goal is to get 12 accounts out of the advertising. When i get all the accounts & start making money i will get a used commercial walk behind mower 36' or 48'. I have been looking around but nothing at the moment looks good enough to buy for the price. I plan on keeping the lawn tractor for fall cleanups. I also need to get a push mower for some of the properties i mow the hill incline is too steep. I am looking at getting a Honda. I never hear anything bad about them. Anybody have any suggestions about a push mower? Any comments about my plan would be appreciated!
  8. stickleylawncare

    stickleylawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    For our needs, our Exmark dealer recommended the Honda's as solid push mowers that can stand up to pretty heavy use, if you cant justify double the cost for the Exmark 21".
  9. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    Yeah honda's are usually strong engines. What do you think about the brand Gravley? I have a dealer close by and i was looking at the 21 commercial for $849.00. Eventually i would like to get a Gravley ZTR or Walkbehind 48'
  10. BrianTetreaultLandscape

    BrianTetreaultLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    So this is how I started out last year at 20 years old:

    13,500 flyers + 5,000 door hangers two weeks before the start date the grass cutting year.

    Within those two weeks I signed up just under 100 homes and a couple commercial lots.

    Bought 5 Yard Works stand behind NOT SELF PROPELLED lawn mowers. (Garbage)

    Two Stihl Motors, 1 of the following: trimmer, blower, hedge cutter, and edger attachments all Stihl (best buy period)

    Had an SUV already, and a double axle 5x8 trailer heavy duty.

    Gas cans, for mixed and for regular fuel.

    Half way through the season bought a 6 wheeler dump truck to keep up with demand of side jobs, and a bit later on a second hand nearly brand new Toro sit on tractor 42 inch deck, and 3 more mowers to replace the broken ones.

    Recently bought a Ford New Holland 7740 tractor with 3069 hrs on the cummins engine, with a 96 inch plow on the front and a 96 inch blower on the back, and a 1991 Chevy 2500 6.2 diesel, with a 7.5 foot plow.

    Never going to look back on it. Used to work at the Royal Bank of Canada, I can't do the sitting down thing.

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