HELP WITH DELIMMA!! Starting New Business..We Can Only Buy 1 Mower What Should I Buy

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by elamey, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. elamey

    elamey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    I'm starting up a mowing business this spring with a partner. I can only purchase one mower to start out. I've got all the hardware, string trimmers, blowers etc... so we have only to purchase our main mower..

    My partner wants to buy a 48" Scag ZTR and I want to buy the new 36" Scag ZTR to get through gates. My goal is 20 lawns or so per week, working 3pm to dark weekdays, all day sat and sunday for catch up if needed. I'll be doing all the labor for 2 years by myself until my partner retires and starts mowing with me.

    My thinking - If I can only get 1 mower, I have to get through gates to get any residential business. Sure, with the 36", it will take me more time to do bigger lawns BUT if i'm doing lawns by myself I have to be able to do gated areas efficiently, I can't push mow them and make anything. Plus i'm not going for 100's of lawns for the first two years 20 or so max. So i'm only going to do the amount of lawns that time and sanity allows with the 36" After two years when my partner starts working, I say we can trade the 36" ZTR in on a walk behind and get a 52" or 60" or keep the 36" for the back areas. I'm going to keep my job in the mean time and I expect to have the 36" paid off within the first year.

    His thinking - The 05' Scag 36" costs the same as the 05 48 so we should get the 48. We'll get a used snapper 30" to do areas inside a gate, used snappers around here cost $1000 or so for a good one with mulching deck. If we get the 36", it's too limiting, the 48 inch cut's almost a foot more. We've got to think BIG. He's thinking we won't get too many smaller lawns anyway, that most people with smaller lawns cut them thierselves (I think you make more money on smaller residential lawns because you can do them so much quicker).

    I'm not slamming his point of view. I just don't know the right answer and i'm looking for some advice to take to him for discussion. I need some pro advice to this delimma, we are going to purchase a mower Saturday January 22.

    Thank you!!
  2. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,908

    first bit of advice, be sure you've hammered out a fair partnership agreement. in my experience, parthernships almost always fail due to one feeling the other is not pulling their fair share. if you are doing ALL of the labor for TWO YEARS, and you have obviously fairly low overhead, you have a partner because....?

    as for the mower, it all depends on your target market. if you want productivity with larger properties, then his scenario seems to be best to me because you also get the flexibility of a smaller mower for the small gated properties. other's may disagree, but i'm not quite sure why you'd go through the expense of a 36" ztr, when for that price you could kill 2 birds with a budget that's not too far apart. personally, i'm more of a bootstrapper when it comes to start-ups and can't imagine buying a new 36" ztr to start with.

    whatever you decide, my opinion is that you need to look at your partnership agreement more so than you need to look at what mower to buy.

  3. TurfdudeNCSU

    TurfdudeNCSU LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    First off why the heck would you want to have a partner that is not going to even be working with you for 2 years?? I don't really know the details but that sounds like he wins on that partnership!! Second, since you are the one that is going to be mowing while he sits at home and plays with his kids or watches tv. I think that you should purchase the mower that YOU would be happier with. I would certainly tell you to consider the partnership for now and maybe go ahead with it and add him in when he retires. Just my point of vue. Good Luck to ya.
  4. AEW

    AEW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    Since YOU are doing the mowing...get what YOU think will work best. Personally if i knew Id be doing mainly residential yards I would get a walk behind and a sulky for it. They are cheaper and a good starting mower. Once you get going full blown into it then keep your walk behind for hills and other areas and buy a ZTR.

    Also like the rest of them stated...make sure this partnership is equall...
  5. a&llandscapes

    a&llandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Get A Hustler 62" Ryder They Are Reliabel And Do The Job The Best.
  6. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    In your Profile you claim to have 20 years in this business.......surely you can decide on your own what type of mower to buy ;) .....unless of course that 20 years is cutting only your own yard. :dizzy:
  7. beransfixitinc

    beransfixitinc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    I'm not sure what your price range is, or if Cub Commercial stuff is even any good...also, I am not aware of the other brands out there with this feature..

    but the Cub Z-wing 48" might fit your needs for the time being. A 48" mower that folds up to 35.5" to fit through gates. (honestly, I don't know why exmark and some of the other "big boys" have not already had a mower like this.. they all must live in the wide open, never run into a fence world.)
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,546

    What are the average size yards? If they are in the range of 10K to 20K get the 36" so you don't have to have a second mower for back yards.
  9. my lawns run between 4 to 12m, nothing takes over 45 minutes with a 32 ' belt drive, unless i have to bag clipping!

Share This Page