Is my equipment good enough to start

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mmrunyan1, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. mmrunyan1

    mmrunyan1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Actually, I am nowhere near the great lakes area. I am Illinois, but I am only a 20 minute drive from St. Louis Missouri. However, that is an excellent observation and I am taking the location and average yard size in my town into consideration to a great extent.
  2. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    I said start with the 52inch. You can do gated back yards with a cleap pushmower but you can't to 5 acres with a walk behind. A 52 gives a good balence. I was not saying to buy all 3 off the bat.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. crazyflyboy30

    crazyflyboy30 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 372

    I think you go to ebay for $18,000 you this
    1. Two New Husqvarna PZ6029 Commercial Zero Turn Lawn Mowers 60'' Cut With A 25.5hp Kawasaki Engine

    2. Two New Husqvarna 323L Commercial String Trimmers

    3. One New Husqvarna 350Bt Husqvarna Back Pack Blowers

    4. One New 455 Rancher Chainsaw With a 18'' Bar

    5. One New 6.4 x 16 Tandem Axle Utility Trailer w/ 3500 lb. Axles

    6. Set of String Trimmer Racks - Holds 3 Trimmers

    This Package
    I would have got it but this year I got 1 new Husqvarna MZ6128 ,1 new Husqvarna LGT26K54,1 new enclosed trailers 6x12 and more .
  4. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,764

    48" is the most versatile in my area, most gates are made to be 48". To the OP, people aren't being snobby, they can't answer your question without knowing what you have to work with. To say you don't want to spend thousands of dollars and then say you will spend 10k on equipment is contradictory. Go on CL, you can find some good deals on mowers/trailers, I agree with Darryl, buy all NEW profesional grade blowers, trimmers, and other small engine hand tools. You can operate a business with homeowner equipment but expect to have more downtime which will most likely cost you more in the long run.
  5. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    When i saw that you were in the St. Louis area that intrigued me, as I too am in the St. Louis area. When I saw that you were in Illinois and 20 minutes away from St. Louis I got scared, as I am the same. Although the fear instantly dissipated after remembering what a fellow lawn care professional had said to me when I was considering start up. "there are plenty of lawns to be mowed, so jump on in, and don't be scared to take some work from someone they will always be able to find more!" With that said, I am not sure exactly how beneficial I can be to answering your question; but here it goes.

    I started up this year using a mini van, a 1 year old troy built self propelled push mower, worx weed eater, a battery operated leaf blower, a very old edger, a plastic dust pan, a 30 gallon trash can, and two wooden 2x6 boards for ramps because lifting the mower into the van was not happening! I quickly learned that the battery operated way was not the way to go even with purchasing extra batteries, because the charge time was way too long. I then returned the blower and purchased a prolaun blower, and echo weed eater (kept the worx for home use, I love that little piece of equipment not to use it) The blower was supposed to have the capability of mulching the leaves which it did half way through the first attempt. then the blades on it which are some sort of plastic material, began to chip and grind away which left it basically worthless to use as a mulcher, and later this season it became difficult to keep running. Not professional grade at all! If you can get by purchasing something better on that end do so, if not the prolaun will work for at min one season only for blowing. As for the mower I have had a fondness for troybuilt since childhood when I mowed our one acre lawn with a push mower. That thing is a titan! Lasted all year! and still going strong! So as far as doing lawns with a push mower to start with is completely do-able! I ended up taking a lawn from another lawn care rep, due to as the customer put it crappy service, she ended up donating her john deer rider thinking that it needed a bunch of work, when all it needed was a battery (i offered to pay she said no way, I can't use it anyway) a riding lawn mower worked on her property since the size of it was so large but would not recommend it for smaller lawns, although it will work it is more of a hassle than anything. Taxes I am planning on purchasing a zero turn and some other much needed equipment as for what kind i do not know yet, although I am having a bit of an issue with deciding because most of the residential lawns where I am have a bit of an incline in the front lawn which i believe will be difficult with a zero turn although i have seen several of the trailers around here have them so I am not sure how that works i have never seen them in action only driven on a trailer. I am considering purchasing a stand on model of some sort as some of the research i have seen seems that they handle the inclines better, and they can be purchased in a larger width as well. As for the trailer i did manage to get a trailer this year that i purchased from trailers plus in mo it was a bit of a drive though can't remember off the top of my head exactly where it was but the guy worked with me and i love my trailer i bought it new after seeing that there were hardly any trailers used on craigslist and most were close to the same price as a new one. I purchased a 5 1/2 x10 utility with a gate. My suggestion, get an enclosed trailer, with swing doors and get some good ramps. this is a personal preference for two reasons. I don't have anywhere to safely store the equipment out of the elements, and theives unless i chained each item to the trailer and tarped it every night and that wasn't happening so i have to rent a storage facility which is kind of nice because it provides extra storage for other equipment that isn't being used at the moment, like the snow blower, and other stuff... also the swing doors seem to me now like a better idea because me with a bad back which is kind of what lead me to lawn care anyway, it is really difficult to lift that gate over and over through out the day. Get the largest one you can to start off with because you will eventually need the space. Save money where ever you can to keep your costs down this is where you will get the most customers. I ended the year with only having 10 customers with which i gained through only door to door flyers hung by a rubber band. I only hit a few streets deliberately to test the waters so to speak. This way i wouldn't get overwhelmed with it and end up having too many to handle and crash and burn before i had a real chance this way it would give me the ability to make a little money while learning the ins and outs of starting a business. If you have an income source i highly suggest keeping it for one year before you dive in head first. Figure out the business side of things. How will you determine your prices? Figure up your running costs if your hiring people the amount you want to make, the amount the "business" should make and so on. There are several ways of doing this and honestly you will end up having to figure that one out on your own. I highly suggest not eye balling the price. Payments set up some type of invoicing system. collecting payment at the door when service is completed seriously sucks! I did that all year, and with some I had to come back because they were sleeping, or what not, that was a waste of time and gas so next year i plan on doing a monthly billing system. You can either ask them the day that they choose or pick the day yourself. Picking the day may be best and sticking to it. hope any of this helps.
  6. rds390

    rds390 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I'd say go out and buy a used but in good condition bobcat or scag walk behind a 32 or 36, 32 is good cause you can get it in most backyards i just bought a new 36 & 32 walked out the door with a $6,000.00 bill both with the wheels to stand on and catchers just to give you an idea what new will cost you i just sold my old 36 with the catcher for $500.00 on craigslist just keep your eyes open over winter deals are out there you just gotta look and watch with using a 21 on lawns cause people pay for a lawn service to make their yard look good anyone can cut with a 21 or buy one
  7. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,649

    My only suggestion is on handhelds. Equipment like a commercial trimmer and blower are pretty cheap to buy new. The price difference from used is minimal, and they should be a lot more reliable. Most guys seem to like Stihl, Redmax, or Echo around here. So for the small increase in cost, I suggest buying new.

    Buying a used truck, trailer and mower is a good way to get highly productive commercial equipment for a much lower price, without sacrificing much reliability. Buying a used mower from a dealer is a pretty safe bet, assuming the dealer has a good reputation. Another example...I recently had my oldest trailer rebuilt by a mechanic. New bearings, breaks, tires, and then I painted it. I think it is good for another 10 years.

    In my opinion, downtime is the biggest potential cost. If a machine breaks, and you can't work, the money simply stops. Having a plan for rapid repair is essential. Some dealers will promise to repair commercial equipment in 24 hrs, which makes a used mower from a dealer even more attractive. Be careful, some dealers just don't care about commercial customers any more than homeowners.
  8. New2TheGreenIndustry

    New2TheGreenIndustry LawnSite Senior Member
    from GA
    Messages: 925

    When I started I didn't have any cash in hand but did have credit. I financed the equipment at 8k which included a 36" Exmark, and a handful of stihl equipment: 2 line trimmers, edger, hedge trimmer, blower, chainsaw. My monthly payment is $150 which is paid for with just one decent account.

    If I had cash in hand I would have bought a used mower, but all new hand held equipment because there seems to be a shorter life cycle and more maintenance. Its a tough job and the last thing you want is to be fighting with your equipment.

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