I have questions about everything, please help

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jmfoxllc, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. jmfoxllc

    jmfoxllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Hi, i am looking to start up a basic lawn care service in south louisiana and need help with some questions. What kind of insurance is normally needed and how much does it normally cost, where do i get it? Where do i get contracts from? I want to make sure that they cover my ^sz. and What is a good starter Zero turn? Something in the 19-22hp range. and cost efficient for a starter. I am a honda cert small engine and motorcycle tech, and i have to say that i love Kawasaki engines as far as utility. Is that a crazy thing? Basically, please help me with all the basics. Thank you dearly, jason
  2. Rhett

    Rhett LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,071

    Hey Jason, Welcome to the wonderfull world of "Mowing the Grass" Insurance would depend on what type of accounts you plan on servicing. Many commercial accounts require a minimum of 1 million before you set foot on property. Start looking by contacting the agent you have your vehicle and home insured with. If they cannot help you they can usually point you in the right direction. As far as a starter Z first thing is to figure out what kind of accounts you will be servicing. Gates? Wide open areas? My advise would be to start with a HYDRO 36 walk behind and add a Z when you actually need it. If your really stuck on a Z look at the smaller Toros. My mechanic as of late has sold 3 or 4 44s with I believe the Kawasaki 23s on them. I am not a Toro guy but while comparing them to Exmark's Phaser Toro hands down. Hurt my feelings that he is able to sell them for just a few hundred dollars more then what I payed for my 36 Viking. Right around five grand. Good luck and happy mowing


    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    I would definitely go with a Toro. I have one and love it. I have Selective Insurance and haven't had a problem. The rates are reasonable. I am not sure as to what I pay b/c my wife handles most of that. Don't forget some places if you are incorporated you need workers comp. and commercial properties require it to. But workers comp varies from state to state.
  4. jmfoxllc

    jmfoxllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Toro hu? I have been looking at the zero turns really hard. I love the features of the Ferris, but cant find a price on one. Ive looked at the Woods, Cub cadet, and i even like the gravely 144m. What do you guys think? And what about trimmers? Am i right on wanting a Shindaiwa?
  5. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    when i started i was nervous about buying a really expensive mower .just in case my business was slow till i got work.so i went to the local mower shop.which sells com & res mowers and they showed me a 50" Toro timecutter 5020 ZTR it came with a kohler 23hp command engine and a 2yr warrenty all for roughly $3,400 out the door and he said that i would be fine with residentials and lite commericial work. and he was rite it was a good deal and ive had no problems with the machine ive even let my other buddys borrow it to do the commericial accounts to them it had its pros and cons but over all they said they like it..but since then ive bought an exmark which works great but i still own the toro and i let the new guys use the toro till they get use to the ZTR functions... edger ,trimmer,blower= ECHO chainsaw = STIHL farm boss ,Hedge trimmers = Shindaiwa..i went cheap on my mower but i didnt skimp on the other tools
  6. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,578

    Great advice given so far. One thing on the Gravely's, and no Im not saying anything bad about them, but something you need to consider if safety is a concern to you is the ROPS. On the Toro's the ROPS comes standard, however if you want it on the Gravely, it is an option that you have to pay for extra. This is important if you plan on mowing on slopes or hills where you may possibly tip your Z. You choice of Shindaiawa is a fine choice. It is a great brand that is very dependable and reliable.
  7. jmfoxllc

    jmfoxllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Thank you guys, i am so glad i found this site. I am Really scared that i am not going to be able to find enough accounts to pay my bills at first. Its like if i dont get enough accounts, i might be looking at bankruptcy within a year. I only owe about $45k total, but i dont know if mowing will be good enough to get me back on track. I need to at least pay my minimums totalling about $1800.00 per month. Do you guys think that mowing can produce enough income to get me going? I sure hope so. I have a friend that maintains 65 accounts yea-round, it took him about 4 yrs to get to his point but he is doing great and he is only 23 yrs old. What do you guys think? How many accounts would it take to produce $1800.00 per month?
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This may not be the answer you were looking for but if you're facing financial difficulties it is my recommendation you work towards that solution before considering running a business. This way you'll be far better prepared, because this is one angle of the equation I would not want to do without.

    For instance you'll want to start looking into what created the debt, how to resolve it for one but at least as important is how to prevent it from coming around again, and then there's a budget and living within your means and having the ability to save, but that's all for later, first you'll have to get around or through the bankruptcy and all that.

    This might take some time, but you really want your figures in the black, it helps considerably to have saved money over top of that but more than anything no debt, almost a guaranteed must have for start up operations in my opinion.

    Just my take on it, best of luck whichever way it goes for you.
  9. Midstate Lawncare

    Midstate Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    This past year I mowed with a 2005 Gravely 260Z 26hp diesel. Before you say they will tip over, take one on a 45-55 deg. grade (pond dams, yes I'm nuts) I'd do it all day now. And now that I'm going solo, I wouldn't have anything other than Gravely.... if I could afford one. I also Ued a 2004 Toro ?hp 60" and talk about slow! maybe 6 mph top travel speed. Gravely at least 11 mph mowing in normal grass. Toro can't hold the pond dam either. But you get what you pay for in equipment. If anyone wants to argue this, come to Jacksonville, Il and look me up.

    Main reason gravely's don't tip easy is their weight, also a drawback. 1500 lbs. + -. but rops is always a good Idea.

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