Just starting out.


LawnSite Member
New Lenox, IL
Okay, I'm in the process of starting a lawn cutting service. Can you guys give me some advise? I'm learning a lot on this site so far, but at this point, every little bit helps. I'm looking at starting out next spring (obviously) and have some questions. I'm going to concentrate on residential for now and grow into the commercial as time goes.

What's a good brand mower? I like the Deere's. I've heard a lot good things on parts and service.

Mulch or bag? I have a place to dump grass for free.

Trimmers and blowers? What brands are the best?

What's a good price to quote? I'm in a suburb of Chicago, and most of lots 1/4 to 1/2 acre. Do you charge more for people with fences?

That's it for now. Any helpful advise would be appreciated.




I would suggest reading all the threads in this forum. There are over 28,000 discussions in the commercial section alone. By spring you should have them all read and ready for success.

At the top right you will see a box that says Show Threads From: click down to show all threads, then click go. Then go to the bottom and you will see page numbers. There are like 80 pages of discussion to click through.

Have fun!


LawnSite Platinum Member
Kends, Welcome to the forum. Thats a pretty broad question, but I'm sure you'll find all the answers here. The moderator of the forum is Eric, who also lives in the Chicago suburbs. He's his web site http://www.elmlawnsite.com/


LawnSite Bronze Member
Somerset, NJ
Chuck's advise is great. To get to the bottom of your specific questions faster use the Search button in the top right corner of the page. All of your questions have extensive discussions already here. Try Mowers, Blowers, Trimmers, Pricing, Bagging, Fences, etc. That will keep you busy for a while, then come back with more specific questions based on what you've learned from those threads. Good luck!


LawnSite Senior Member
Columbus Ga
You have come top the right place complied within these eletronic walls are countless hoards of the right info to get you started .from mowers to how tpo handle cutomers. boy I wish i was in your shoes you get to learn from our mistakes and that will put you that much head of your competion...come and break bread with us and absorb the sea of knowlege.. your off to a excelent start just being here.


LawnSite Senior Member
Southwest VA
As far as Deere parts and service goes, (I've never had one, though) it depends on your dealer! You need to make sure you like your dealer and that he keeps things like blades, belts, filters, and such in stock or can get it in a couple of days. We have a local dealer in Bob-Cat, Shindaiwa, Toro and Snapper, and we like them a lot, we've got a Bob-Cat and plan to get a Toro push and possibly a Shindaiwa, so he's perfect! It's so great to have a dealer like this, especially since we live in the "sticks"! (Well, maybe not the sticks, but in a county of 16,000.)
Choose your dealer wisely.

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
Welcome aboard Kends!!! Yes you have come to the right spot to learn. There is so much information already posted here, it will give you a big advantage that most of us never had. I started out with JD's too, but found out later, that green paint is expensive and also found out there are lots better machines out there for mowing lawns. My biggest mistake was buying a tractor type mower and found out that a dedicated mower with Zero Turn is the way to mow. What you need to do when you get ready to buy a mower is DEMO them all and see which one you like best and the guys here would think I lost my mind if I didn't tell you to make sure you try a Dixie Chopper out too. :) I've had great luck with them and they do cut a lawn nice and make decent stripes. If you want to see lawns cut with DC's, check out my site. Other guys have websites too, so you can see how their mowers cut. If you ever want to chat, I have a Chat Room for Lawnsite on my website so come and join us. You need AOL Instant Messenger to chat there and if you have any questions on how to set it up, email me and I'll be glad to help you out. You have all winter to read all these posts and learn as much as possible, so enjoy. As I said before, welcome aboard.


LawnSite Fanatic
Marysville, WA
Kends-Heres what I would buy if I were you:

Mowers-Exmark Turf Tracer 36" (Hydro's are a little easier handling)
21" Toro
Deere's suck-too expensive, not very good quality cut on some models.

Mulching is best-I mulch all of my lawns because it actually helps the lawn. Sort of a fertilizer if you will.

Blowers-I've got a Stihl but Shindaiwa or Redmax would be alright. You can't really beat the Sthil though.

Trimmers-I've got a Homelite that runs great but I will probably get a Stihl next year. Look at the FS80. Great trimmer.

As for charging, look at the lawn and see how many little things that slow you down: trees, beds, etc.. Then figure out how long it will take and make your bid that way. I would only charge by the hour on like specialized jobs. I think bidding by job is best. I hope this helps and good luck!:)



LawnSite Member
New Lenox, IL
Hey guys, thanks again. Sorry to say...I just bought a JD. An HD45 with the 36" deck. I'd figured I'd get one for now to practice with on my lawn.

Been to your site...Cool. Did I read that you are some where in the Chicago area too? (I know...click on the profile button, but just thought of that). But, do you think the DC. is the way to go for the size lawns that I'll be cutting to start out with? I've seen some of the lawns you cut on your page....I can only hope for accounts like that at this point. Let me know...

I'm just about done setting up the Corporation stuff now. I'm going to start out with the yellow pages and A LOT of flyers on mail boxes. I really think the flyers will work, I don't see that a lot in my area. What do you guys think? I was thinking about giving one free cut if you sign a contract b/4 the end of year deal. That way I'll have an idea on how much equipment and employees I need.

Thanks for the info. on the blowers and trimmers. I see a lot of companys with the Stihl's. Even the park districts use them. (I've been doing a lot of stalking latley) I think that's the way I'm going to go.

Take care guys.


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