is it worth it to buy used equipment?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GreenerSolution, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Nothing is better then new. However buying used is a gamble. When buying something used it has to look well cared for, light use, and a price to good to let pass.

    As a lot of people I do residential snow with snow blowers. I reached the point where I was getting more work then I could do with one blower.

    One of my customers had a 28" Sears bought new in 2003. They used it for the first few years and she worked for Sears so she got the maintenance serviced for free. It sat for many years after in her shed until I started doing her driveway in 2010. The husband and wife were not that old but they were not able phyiscally use the blower any more.

    I saw how clean, lightly used, and new looking the blower looked. For the Price of $150 I jumped on it. All I had to do was take off the carb bowl, mixture screw, spray out the carb. Changed the oil and it was good to go. Used it two seasons no problems.

    My other 1996 Troy Bilt blower was bought new. Only have changed the oil and replaced the blade and the shoes on the side of the housing.
  2. TeamYardsale4

    TeamYardsale4 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    This was my first season and it only made sense to buy used equipment considering I had know idea how much work I would end up with and how much income I would be making. I watched craigslist like a hawk for awhile and bought both my mowers. Im also that guy that if you are selling something for $1000 I will offer you $700 if you add has been up for more then 30 days and sometimes people go for it cause they want stuff gone. Dont get me wrong my equipment may not look as good as alot of other companys and my John Deere is almost 20 years old but Im a pretty good mechanic and take care of my equipment with pride. Total investment for me this year was only $1750.00 and i was able to profit just over $6k for my first year I was pleased and looking to improve next year!
  3. mountainmowinman

    mountainmowinman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    I have over the years probably bought 80% of my equipment used. With that said, I do a lot of research about the products I buy. Even a brand new piece of equipment can be a LEMON!
  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,649

    I buy both, I rearly buy used handhelds. Im not afarid of having some homeowner stuff eighter.

    This year I bought a toro grandstand with 60 hours for 4200$, I thought it was a good deal has its basically new.

    I rearly pay more than 60% of the cost of new, and for well used stuff it drops to about 25%.

    Over the years Ive come out on top buying, allot of the equoptment I have I could sell and make a little money on it.
  5. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    trailers, trucks, leaf loaders, plows, snow blowers, i have bought used and usually i end up saving a great deal of money and have something that will make a lot of money very quick, mowers I have only bought new, trimmers I only buy new, wheeled blowers like my little wonder I went new, but would consider a like new one that is very lightly used. backpacks i have only gone new so far, but would consider a used if it was like new and the price was right.
  6. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    You own a 2007 Duramax but only profited $6k????

    To the OP. Trucks buy used. The equipment that acutally makes you your money I like new (mowers, trimmers, blowers, for a mowing company). So I'd look for newer or lightly used spray equipment in your case. See if there are any winter deals on that stuff as it may not be selling as quickly now. Or buy last years model type of thing.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  7. GreenerSolution

    GreenerSolution LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 84

    thanks MD. im trying to keep it simple this first year. its just hard going from 0-60mph in business.
  8. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Definitely tough. Some say buy used pay cash, others would rather keep their cash on hand and finance a little. Everyone deems financing as an enemy. Not saying you should go one way or the other but those are the two schools of thought and neither on each side will back down or find a middle ground. There is no right answer as each side has had its successes and failures. Also when buying new no one said you have to buy the top of the line in a particular brand. I just would hate to have used equipment go down with zero warranty. Now you've spent your money and need to pull more money out to repair. But it could last you forever.
  9. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    if you know you will have the money for the payment, buying the best is the way to go. I did and haven't looked back, I bought my first scag and financed it when i was 16 it had a nice warranty and all, but i never used, as a matter of fact, it never needed anything except regular maintenance. i just bought my 2nd scag in june after i traded my 1st one in payed for that one in full. what a nice feeling. it has some kind of warranty but seeing as how i went with the air cooled carb. motor i high doubt it will ever have an issue either.
  10. GreenerSolution

    GreenerSolution LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 84

    that was my thinking as well. I have a pretty nice car (audi a4) that i think I can trade in towards a truck. I'd like something certified used i believe to get the most bang for my buck. I know a guy who knows a guy who owns a dealership. one of those situations. we'll see if the deal is there or not.

    Im pretty good with money. I HATE financing, but i dont mind investing. I think that might be the key. I'm 27 with a degree and paid off all my school loans as of last year. So im kind of slow to go into payments + interest again. But I am very diligent with $$. Or I try to be.

    Because my niche is lawn applications only, i can keep costs for equipment lower up front and just "muscle" through a year or two until I can upgrade to better equipment that will make things easier. i.e. zspray/ pg. It's just the start up costs and the cash flow that I'm looking at.

    Thanks for the advice everyone

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