Help getting a decent mower!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by chris brauch, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. chris brauch

    chris brauch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    I'm 18 years old and have no credit history. last year i had at one point 42 residential accounts i was mowing for, but this year i will only be starting with approximately 30. Last year, i used a piece of **** Craftsman Lt1000 lawn tractor to cut with. I hated it! it scalped yards, cut uneven, brakes sucked, looked unprofessional and even more. This year, i really need to get a decent zero turn walk behind. i was interested in getting a brand new snapper pro (made by ferris) 48'' dual hydro walk behind this year for $4499 but credit got declined. Everyone may say well why don't you save up cash and buy one with 42 accounts you should be able to pay for one cash. Untrue. My bills are sky high. Does anyone know how i can get my hands on a mower or people who do in home financing for someone like me??
  2. nylesedwards

    nylesedwards LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Spend $2,000 and get a decent used one
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. ddixon7

    ddixon7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Sounds like anything would be better than what you were using. Even a belt drive would be better than a lawn tractor. You could find a decent used belt drive for cheap I would imagine. You could build yourself up this season and then eventually sell it and buy a hydro. Or, I bet even one of those new 30" Toro or Exmark walk behind push mower styled ones would do better. I think they are only around $1800.

    If I was you, I would try your hardest to save 100 dollars a week at least. I know it is extremely hard when you are young and starting out. Try your best to cut back on something in your life. Continuing to use that lawn tractor will cost you more money.
  4. brc1989

    brc1989 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 177

    Don't have anyone who could co-sign on a loan for you?
  5. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

  6. chris brauch

    chris brauch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    ddixon 7, thanks for the input. that's the type of replies that are useful that i can actually learn something from. and No, i do not have a co signer.
  7. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,925

    Lets break this down a bit.
    You don't have credit, probably a good thing, all credit is for business is trouble.
    You need a better mower? (we will save this one for a bit.) But didn't state size of property so is up for grabs what size you really need or "want".
    You did 42 lawns and only 30 want you back? (could be the mower, could be many things.)
    Your 18. And have a lot of bills, hence the reason you got turned down for credit.....

    First off... Personal bills are different from Business bills. Figure out what you need to make on your business to pay those bills and then what you need to make a decent wage.
    Business bills include: fuel, insurance, licenses, EQUIPMENT, repair, supplies, and so on and so forth.

    Second the Wage you take from the business is your personal cash and will be taxed (highly), so save for that.
    The wage will be what you need to live on.

    What you want is often not what you really need to accomplish the tasks at goal.
    Step back a minute and look at the whole picture and not at one little, tiny, itsy bitsy pice of it.

    Now that that is said. What types of properties do you have and what equipment do you have and we just might be able to help you.

    Don't think I am a D!<k as I was there once in my life before Wanting and not looking at what I needed. *trucewhiteflag* Just trying to help some one before they try to put their selves in debt on a piece of equipment that is not really needed.
    Baby steps Crawl, walk fall down, walk again and eventually run!!!!!:walking:
  8. ddixon7

    ddixon7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Considering he was using a lawn tractor, his properties can't be huge. The number one thing in life is organization skills and time management skills. You have to organize and prioritize your life. 30 years ago when I wasn't much younger than you, I started with homeowner push mowers.. Then I stepped up to Toro commercial 21 inch mowers with 2 strokes (I still have 2 of these). Then I added a belt drive Exmark 36". Then finally a hydro 36" and so on... (I will admit they did not have near the equipment back then as they do now so I was kind of stuck using that stuff.)

    Don't jump in thinking you need the fanciest mower out there and 200 accounts. Start small. Start gradually. Start with what properties you think are the most quality with the most reliable paying customers. You need to start with what you can maintain efficiently and properly. You don't need to get strung out with pissed off customers because you don't have the resources and time to do a good job on everyone's property. Don't slack on your quality. You want to keep and build a good name for you and your business.

    You had 42 yards you were using a lawn tractor on and it scalped them. Maybe even picking up one of those 30" residential Toros for a grand and doing quality work on 20-25 of them would do you well. After you get on your feet, and you have a happy customer base, you can expand and grow into more accounts and larger and better equipment.
  9. chris brauch

    chris brauch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    Sildoc, i appreciate your input and reply. I don't take it harshly, i actually appreciate you putting some thought into the post. Here it goes:

    I have been at it since i was 12, i am 18 now but just now getting my **** together. i had 42 accounts last year, now i am starting with approximately 30 only due to the reasons that 1.) The client couldn't afford to pay me anymore or sold their house or 2.) I dropped them as a client because he/she wouldn't comply or cooperate. As far as the whole bills thing, my PERSONAL bills living at home with my parents is about 900/month. My BUSINESS expenses is about 750/month. As far as the type of yards i am cutting,they are generally 40 minute lawns or 25 minutes with help. 90% of them are subdivision lawns, and half of those clients have gates. 90% of the clients that have gates i could fit my 42" deck through the gate just fine. The other 10% of clients have light acreage and are not tough lawns to cut. Again, i have NO commercial accounts these are all residential especially considering my insurance policy is based on residential work. All of my equipment currently is PAID OFF and that includes.

    96 F-150
    6x12 utility trailer
    Craftsman Lt1000 42" mower
    Toro 21" push mower
    Shindaiwa multi tool trimmer
    Maruyama standard trimmer
    Weed-Eater brand blower
    seed spreader
    rakes, shovels, hand tools etc.

    I normally work by myself but on busy days i will have one guy working with me that i pay for $8-$10 dollars an hour/cash. With one person working for me, i would really like to have a 36" mower and 48" mower going at the same time, but i know two mowers is out of reach for me right now. But since most of the time it's just me, i could see one 42" Toro zero turn mower being right since it will fit through the gates but be big enough for large areas of lawn. The cost is approx $2500 for a new one with a dual hydro system, anti scalp wheels, Kawasaki 21.5 hp motor, and a three year residential warranty. What do you think about these details? NOTE: my payments would be lower than what i spent every month maintaining my other mower because it constantly broke on me....
  10. chris brauch

    chris brauch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    ddixon 7,

    As far as the organization, and record keeping i am very strong in that area. I am not bragging here at all, but i am super serious when it comes to that stuff. I use landscaping software called, i have a clipboard case where i keep my schedule, planner, and client contact information in. i have a to go filing system where i keep customer details such as how they like their lawn cut, how often, and i keep track of all of my income and outgo. I actually made a big budget that took me weeks to do. That's how i know i am spending 700/month in expenses. I keep all my paperwork and expenses down. I also wrote down how much and how often i paid the guy working for me and i kept track of how i got my clients. Mostly, i got my clients from a local ad in the newspaper, then referrals, then craigslist being my last resort.

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