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I'm starting a Lawn Business. What Equipment do I need?

jhogan20

LawnSite Member
Location
Farmington, MN
Hello,
I am new to the forum and need some advice. I have been a graphic designer for the past 15 years but used to do landscape during my college summers. I recently was given the oportunity to take over some commercial lawn maintenance accounts & decided to start a part time lawn care business. I currently own a push mower, a Yard Man 42" auto drive lawn tractor w/bagger, a gas powered trimmer/edger & gas powered blower. All of this is stuff I use for my home use. I realize that I will need to upgrade to some commercial equipment but I have no idea what brand, size or style? Also, I am on a buget at first so I only have about $3000 for startup cost. I will be responsible for spring cleanup, mowing,edging,shrub trimming, & fall cleanup.
Also, I will be working solo to start with.
Thanks for any advice!
 

mowerbrad

LawnSite Fanatic
Well, $3000 is an extremely tight budget if you going to be getting all "new to you" equipment for your business. Let me start by saying that if these commercila properties aren't too big, use your yardman mower for a couple weeks, just to get some extra money coming in and maybe increase your budget a little bit.

Anyway, you could probably use your current trimmer, edger, and blower for a while so you won't need to upgrade those for a couple months. But your lawn mower should be upgraded either before you begin mowing or about a month into it, that yardman mower will not last very long in the commercial industry. Your main item to pick up would be a commerical mower. With your budget, you could probably afford a used belt drive walk behind with either a 36" deck or a 48" deck. I'd go for something with a 48" mowing deck, just to make the job go a little quicker. You can eventually put a sulky on it so you can just ride behind it instead of walk. But even a good used walk behind like I suggested will run you $2500+/-.
 

Mowingman

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Texas
Ok, I am not trying to be a smarty or jerk here. However, if you have to ask people on this forum what you need to mow lawns, you probably do not need to be entering the lawn business at all.
Only you know what type of lawns you plan on servicing, how many customers you hope to attract, and what kind of services you want to offer. There are plenty of places on the internet to look at equipment and equipment specs., as well as shops in your area that sell lawn equipment. What are other people in your area using?
I think you really need to do more homework on your own, and possibly rethink your choice of a new profession, if you have to ask that kind of a question.
 

valeofparadiseLLC

LawnSite Member
Location
Valparaiso IN
There is nothing wrong with asking questions. The bottom line with any equipment is to take care of it. If you take care of what you have you should be able to get by until you get your first big check. Most commerical properties take awhile to pay. Look around and you can find some good used mowers to take you far into the season, when we first got started we sat down with the owner of a toro dealership and had a heart to heart and he helped us out. Being honest, a good work ethic and doing a good job while communicating with whoever you are working for will carry you a long way. Don't worry to much what people say on here, there are some great helpful people here then there are the ones who are gods gift to lawncare. Everyone starts somewhere, and everybody has a different set of circumstances that they start with.
Best of luck
 
OP
J

jhogan20

LawnSite Member
Location
Farmington, MN
Thanks for the advice. I spent the day researching potential properties yesterday and pricing out some used equipment. My main reason for this post was to get a handle on what size/type mower I would need. I know plenty about my home use mowers and trimmers but commercial mower equipment is something I little knowledge of. Anyway, it turns out the 3 properties I have the oportunity to take over are far too big for the equipment budget I have. Rather than starting out the business in debt I have decided not to pursue this business at this time.
 

JohnnyRocker

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
Yeah, how dare you ask for advice for entering the "lawn industry" in a "lawn industry" forum!! LOL :laugh: You could probably find a decent used 48" walk behind between 800 and 1200 bucks. I like the Bobcats as far as belt drives go. Maybe get a cheap push mower if you have gates. With your budget, you may want to get two of the same type mowers. Good to have a backup,plus you can swap parts. That may be a little challenging finding that. You might only need a 5 by 8 trailer at first. I'm just thinking of cheap ways to help you out. Also, belt driven mowers are way cheaper to fix than a hydro system. Insurance isn't very expensive. I pay 600/year billed at $300/6 months. It covers all my equipment and liability. Hope this helps a little. Type in "48" in the search on craigslist in the farm and garden for sale section, you should see a few used 48" mowers on there.
 

daveintoledo

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
northwest ohio
no one here is trying to discourage you. I made the same move 7 years ago from computer graphics. Do you really think your going to attract commercial clients with no reputation established for your company yet. Dont you think someone is already mowing existing commercial properties. Why would they dump an established reputable company for a new start up. Unless the price is so low its silly, why would they. They wont.

Get some residential accounts, and hopefully a few commercial ones too, become a licenseed legal business and build yourself the best reputation in town, in a few years they will be coming to you.

Hope all goes GREAT for you.
 

LB1234

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Central Jersey
I think 3k is really really low for startup. Assuming you have the vehicle/s (truck/trailer, etc) to move the equipment around I would start with a used hydro WB mower...maybe somewhere between 1500-1800. I would then spend 350 on a solid commerical line trimmer and 500 on a solid blower. The rest of the money sink into a decent hedge trimmer.
 
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