First Machine

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Ritcheous1, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. Ritcheous1

    Ritcheous1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Hello all! I'm Thinking about starting up a biz, doing as much research as possible before I do the leap. The amount of info I've
    attained since becoming a member is astonishing to say the least. My question is this, I'm looking at a Wb, 2001 exmark 48" full floater hydro with a 17 hp kawasaki. Would you say this is a good starter machine? This is a used machine, not sure the hours on her. It's going for $3,000 with a velke, good deal? It's from a dealer, I'm sure it has a warranty as well.

    I plan on starting part-time until enough work comes along. Ive got the truck, got lots of enthusiasm, but not much skillz since I have'nt mowed professionally in like 14 years (equipment has changed a heck of a lot). Any info would be gratefully appreciated :D
  2. How many acct do you now have and expect by 9/1/03?
    Estimated sq ft for all accts?

    I use troy Built 33" mulcher, and everbody will bash this mower. Bought it used, $600.00 and use @ 5 hrs per week(40 wk) and cut 70,000 sq ft. Dealer told me it's not a commercial mower, but should last if I keep weekly hrs. in the 10 to 12 hrs. Only problem in first season, was my fault.
    I would keep expense down until client based more commercial equipment. Then you can buy equipment to match your clients needs.
    Juist my thoughts, I'm not big in mowing.
  3. bushwoods1

    bushwoods1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    A couple of questions come to mind.

    1.) Do the yards you plan to cut, have back yards with gates?

    2.) What size are the average lawns you'll be doing?

    3.) Do you really need that large of a machine to start out with ?

    The reason I ask is most back yard gate wont let a 48" go through them. You may be a lot happier starting out with a 36" machine until you get your feet wet, and build up a client base.

    At least with a 36" you should be able to do just about any property you come across with no problems getting through a gate. Unless of course you plan on using a push mower for back yards, and that 's a time killer, and a losing proposition for you.

    The price you quoted for the used machine sounds a little high to me, but that is also coming from a dealer who needs to make a profit. You may want to look in the local papers for a used machine, or talk to some of the lawn businesses in your area. They may be getting ready to buy new, and would sell there old machine to you at a reasonable price.

    I was very fortunate when I started, I came across a 36" and a 48" machine locally for $1500 for both. ( and yes they did run) I just had to change all the belts and blades, but still a good deal.

    I found that the bulk of the lawns were done with the 36" machine, until I picked up some larger accounts. This may work for you as well.

    Good luck with the Biz :blob3:
  4. Ritcheous1

    Ritcheous1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Well, We are at the very begginings of startup here. I have a partner, no accounts as of yet. Just looking at some equipment
    and the legalities of biz. We see the advantages of keeping it small and inexpensive at startup but We've got some capital to work with, just wanted to get some feedback on initial quipment. I see your point on buying used, just want to make sure the equipment is reliable, at least 1 machine.

    We plan on starting residential accounts, most of the lawns here are quite large, 1 to 2 acres minus house etc. and lots of trimming. We're looking to get at least 1 wb and I have a lead on an older 60" ztr rider (not sure as of the condition, but it's a steal!).

    I figure the wb should be the most relaible because of initial cost, and see your point on the 36", never know when an account with difficult access comes along. If we start with say 2 Wb's, what would be a good combo in cut size, 32" and a 36", 36" and a 48" etc.? What about floating deck vs. fixed? Hydro or belt? We want to do the best job possible and be covered in most situations, productivity is the key.

    I'm going with a partner because he has experiance and a pestice applicators liscence as well. I just want to find out as much info for myself, to add my 2 cents. Wow Bushwoods, 1500 for 2, nice deal!!

    Thanx for the advice and I thank all who reply and post.
  5. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,847

    If its a steel, you probably wouldnt even want to steel it;) its either beat to death or its on its last leg. Noone in their right mind will get rid of a good Z. Their value is in keeping them and keeping them moving...there fore they are going to keep them just until it becomes too expensive to run it (it becomes unreliable)

    I use belt drives and fixed decks becuase as a partimer, i cant justify the cost (per hour) to own a hydro or floater. If you want to tie up capital, get a hydro floater, but a belt fixed will work just as well. Belts are less productive, but as you are you need to be the most productive. I dont. Once you are maxed out on time, then upgrade to a hydro or Z and then max out again on time.
  6. Ritcheous1

    Ritcheous1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Sounds good to me Mac, makes a whole lot of sense. Think we will
    pick up a good used 36" and a 48" belt drive, 16' trailer, even if we can't fill it we will have the room for future expansion. It's hard not to get excited about all the new equipment out there, but the cost can't be justified at this point. Thanx for the heads up!!
  7. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    If you are doing 1 to 2 acre lots I would seriously consider a Z.

    For a second mower I would probably go with maybe a 36". Even if you have to finance the Z, your time savings should more than make up for it if you can find the work to fill your time.

    Ideally, a Z, 48 and 32 would be my choices for large lots with possibility of some gates.
  8. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 840

    Hey Guys, I am new in the business as well, with the help and alot of expereince from a friend that has been it it for about 3-4 years now. I have taken his advice and i think it has been a good payoff for me, so you might want to consider this.

    I first thought that I would start with the residential mowers that I had, so I got everything ready and started my advertising with my fliers. I actually signed two accounts on annual contracts before I cut the first blade of grass. The first week I started cutting, I realized that the residential mowers were not going to make the team. So I tossed the option of New vs. Used Equipment. Most of the yards in our area are 1/3 to 1/2 acres, generally speaking. So I got a Brand New John Deere 727 Z-Turn with 54" deck at 3.9% financing and the first two accounts that i signed to contract make the $200 monthly payment. I also got an Exmark 36" Belt drive Walk behind from my freind in the Business. It was well maintained and the only reason he sold it was because he moved up from the belt drive to Hydro.

    For me, New was the better choice: 1. Because I already had the account base (2 accounts) to cover the monthly payment and new I would get more customers. 2. It has a warranty and a great dealer so if it has a problem, I will have a loaner machine and still be able to service yards.

    As mentioned before, the 36" is primarily for accounts with backyards and small gates. So far, it gets used maybe a few times a month, unless I am running with a helper and I get the trimming, Edging done before the mowing is finished, then I use the 36" to help finish up.

    Getting good, realiable equipment now will earn you more money in the long run. Remember, you are in business... The possibility of being completely debt free are very slim if you want to stay with the competition and make money.

    By the way, I am an accountant in my Full Time Job, so if you want, talk to me about the time value of money, or vice versa, money value of time.
  9. martinfan06

    martinfan06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    hey this thread is over 3 years old start a new one next time plez!

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