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Growing..should probably buy different equipment..need advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by amos_moses, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. amos_moses

    amos_moses LawnSite Member
    from AR
    Messages: 14

    This is my first year of seriously trying this biz. I have 13 accounts now. Two of them are commercial. I'm almost done taking over 18 more from another LCO. Six of those are gas stations, the rest residential. Total of all props should gross about $1000 per week. I have a 50" cub cadet z-force residential Z, 21" pusher, HS80, BR600, FS90, 16x6.5 open utility trailer, Chevy c1500, 8.5' utility trailer with sides, and some odds n' ends. I have insurance. Most of my current customers came from newspaper. I'm going to drop 4 of them at season's end cause they are PITA.

    My props: by the time it's all said and done, about half will be 1/4-1/2 acre, mostly flat, some gentle slopes, two with narrow gates, 5 of them irrigated and fertilized. 1/4 will be commercials with 2000-10,000 sq ft areas and some long narrow strips and lots of curbs and walks. The other 1/4 will be flat, open, no fence 1acre-2.5 acres.

    I have no biz debt thus far.

    My question is this: In your opinion, what equipment should I purchase, if any?(sizes and brands welcome) I THINK I need more speed. My Z still runs great, for now. I've been told I should run it 'til it pukes. The prevailing notion on here seems to be I should have never bought resi in the first place. At this point, I don't mind financing, as income is adequate from the accts i have right now, I think. I also work 9-5 so I'm not going to starve if something goes wrong, but I also don't want to take unnecessary risks. I have about $1000 in cash on hand and about another $1500 in accounts receivable.

    I welcome all opinions. I think I need a collection adequate for any conditions, but will still fit on my trailer. Also, I can't get a bigger trailer. I don't think I can afford it and I don't know if my 1/2 ton will pull much bigger.

  2. pbdlandscaping

    pbdlandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    i would purchase a commercial 36" walk behind, maybe see what they will give you for trade and its you can buy a commercial stander or z-turn. the cub cadet tanks are probably your best bet for a z turn and the great dane stander you can get with a 52 inch deck for 4700 from lesco...i would start with the 36 definately...maybe upgrade to a larger trailer....your half ton can handle a 12-14 foot trailer... one of our trucks is a 1/2 ton sierra and it has pulled the 18' trailer with 2 z-turns and a walk behind fine...but it usually pulls the 10' without even knowing its on the truck...it does have a 5.7, i donno if a v6 would be able to handle but the 5.0 and 5.7's will pull it fine
  3. weeble67

    weeble67 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    I have to agree. I would buy a stander, or walk behind with a sulky. Wait and see if you need a Z. That would keep you debt down lower than biting the bullet and dumbing 8-10k on a good Z.
  4. amos_moses

    amos_moses LawnSite Member
    from AR
    Messages: 14

    My big trailer is 16x6.5 and my little one is 8.5x5.5. The truck is 5.7 vortec.
  5. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    1000 per week with 31 customers, your prices are way too low
  6. amos_moses

    amos_moses LawnSite Member
    from AR
    Messages: 14

    All total would be about $1200-$1300 if I kept everybody. But I won't. i'm going to fire 3 or 4 of mine and I'm assuming I'll lose 3 or 4 of the 18 new ones. Factor out a little bit more because about half of the total remaining 24 or so are not every week, but 10 days-2 weeks. I try to keep my prices up. I have had some turn-downs cause I am too high. That's a ballpark estimate for after all the firing is done. I also forgot to mention that I'm not getting any equipment from the other LCO.
  7. amos_moses

    amos_moses LawnSite Member
    from AR
    Messages: 14

  8. barefootlawnsandlandscape

    barefootlawnsandlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 296

    My question is do you plan on doing this full-time next year? If you do then take advantage of some of the special financing going on this time of year and get some new equipment 36" walk would be good according to your description of properties. I assume you don't have any 12 month contracts so paying out through the winter will be tough. You should be able to pick up more accounts next spring through advertising and people seeing you out there doing the work and should be able to grow into your equipment.

    I agree that your prices are to low based on what you have told us in the previous post. If you are just ball-parking it then you are already making a mistake. You should know your numbers inside and out especially with a company your size.

    Where are you located in Arkansas. PM me and we can talk some more.

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