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How many accounts do it take to pay cash for commercial zero turn?

CJIII1983

LawnSite Member
I will be starting a part time lawn mowing business next spring, but my question how many accounts will take for me to be able to pay cash for a stander or a 48'' zero turn, I am starting my part time business with what I have a Honda 21'' Self Propelled mower, Echo SRM-225, I need to pick up a handheld blower and a set of hedge trimmer, hope to get those tax time. P.S I have a full time job but I have the weekends and Mondays off.
 

Cut n Strut

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Midwest
I will be starting a part time lawn mowing business next spring, but my question how many accounts will take for me to be able to pay cash for a stander or a 48'' zero turn, I am starting my part time business with what I have a Honda 21'' Self Propelled mower, Echo SRM-225, I need to pick up a handheld blower and a set of hedge trimmer, hope to get those tax time. P.S I have a full time job but I have the weekends and Mondays off.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic # across the board. Be nice if there was but there isn’t. Here’s a tip, take you’re average charge per lawn, divide the total cost of the mower you want by that #, multiply that # by 65% and that will tell you how many “mows” you need. You can then divide how many “mows” you need by the # of cuts you do per customer in a season(here it’s around 25) and that # will tell you how many customer you need, theoretically.
 
OP
C

CJIII1983

LawnSite Member
Looking at a Exmark Lazer Z 48'' E Series, Scag Tiger Cat II 48'', Wright Stander I 36'' or 48''.
 

Freaky Fido

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Northeast USA
I can't answer you question but, some food for thought for you...

Why pay cash when you can usually get 0% financing?

Working on weekends puts you on your customer's lawns while they're trying to enjoy it. I only mow on Saturdays at vacant properties or after checking with the customer to see if I would be disturbing them and I NEVER mow on a Sunday. Furthermore, most customers don't want their lawns mowed on Monday because they want it looking freshly mowed for the weekend. Thursday and Friday are the prime mowing days in my opinion.

As far as mowers go, I feel that a commercial walk-behind mower, preferably a hydro one, is more versatile and the best mower for a start-up that needs something more than a 21 inch mower. You can add a riding platform (sulky/velkie) for larger lawns. The disadvantage is using a grass catcher instead of a vacuum bagger system, but they are available for walk-behinds.

I hate to be negative, but I'm not sure that your business plan is ideal.
 

TSP Lawn Care

LawnSite Member
Location
NorthEast
What if you have bad credit and can't get financing? What do you do?
Work your butt off to make the money to buy one. I also work full time at a dealership 45hours a week and mow on fridays and saturdays and sometimes sunday if i have to and my customers are ok with that.

Ill tell you my experience as this was my first year in business. I started the year with a 34" gravely walk behind mower i bought for $650 in the end of March. Used it to make enough money to purchase a stand on great dane super surfer (older model but low hours at only 800hrs) on the machine. Sold the walk behind, which was a mistake as the stand on was a 52 and for some backyards i had to use my push mower. The stand on ran me $1800.

Fast forward to August im finishing up my mowing day and on the last property the mower starts acting funny. Sounded like it was running on only one cylinder. Turns out a valve in the head was stuck and now it needs a new head. This put me in a bad spot as either i try and do my 23 accounts all with my 21" mower which would have never worked in the time frame i had. So in the end i had to go through sheffield and picked up a brand new 2020 wright stander x. Out the door ended up being about $8900 after discount. That would have taken me about 75% of the year this year to make that money back with 23 weekly customers.

My biggest suggestion is to buy the best product you can. You live and learn and now im having to pay $650-$700 to have the great dane fixed so that i can either use it next year or sell it and try and recover some money back. Doing this part time I made about $15000 gross this year for my first year. Some landscaping jobs aswell. I learned some unvaluable lessons and how to promote my business which are the biggest hurdles to get over. Quality is my biggest concern and professionalism, but do great work and let the work generate you more buisness. I had a lot of referalls and not all were permanant customers but about 80% were so word of mouth is definitly the best way to promote your business as well.
 


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