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Looking for advice for a rookie....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jon99, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    First off, a little background on myself... I am 34, married and have a mortgage... Have a degree in finance but recently lost my job due to downsizing... While I was in college I worked for a lawncare company and have on several occasions since, whether it be on the weekends, between jobs etc... Currently I am working for a outfit a few days a week (only a few days a week so my unemployment is not effected) and this has me leaning towards starting up my own business next spring...

    What I have in mind is buying a trailer and either a 52" Scag WB or a 52" Scag Tiger Cub or possibly both (I would prefer new to avoid maint. costs).... As of right now my only assets are my 401K and Roth accounts and the est. 10% equity in the house, plus a money market e-fund of about $3000... In other words, I am going to need some financing to get this off the ground and even though I have a finanical background, I am not familiar with what my options will be... Numbers wise, estimated $2K for a trailer ,$6K for a mower and $1K for misc equipment (blower, trimmer, towing package for my truck), I am looking at equipment start up costs of about $9K.. I guess I could save $4K by Feb, I will need about $5K.... I see Scag offers financing, but at 12%, I can do better than that charging it on a credit card... Any suggestions or advice??

    Our household expenses are just about covered by my wifes salary so the income I need for us live comfortably is pretty small, less than $1000 a month... So what I am planning on doing as the business grows is to either substitute teach or work for a temp agency like Accountemps so I have some flexibility to get the business going and to have some income...
  2. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

  3. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    Seems like a lot for a trailer. Down here in Central FL we can buy 6x16 2 axel trailers with brakes for 11 - 1200 new. Why a walk behind AND a ZTR? If it's just going to be you working by yourself you don't need 2 machines to start. If it is just you the best (most economical) choice would be a Hydro walk behind. Since you're in your mid 30's maybe a ZTR would be a better choice (I'm 52 and can tell you from experience that it don't get easier, LOL). Get the most productive equipment you can afford to start with. Look for a dealer that will provide you support and quick repairs. Carry business cards with you wherever you go and don't be afraid to pass them out. You should have some former clients that you can approach about doing their lawn maintenance.
  4. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    To be honest, hadn't really looked into the prices for trailers, I guessed $2K wanting to error on the side of caution...

    As for the mower I would love to get a ZTR as I have ran the walk behinds enough in my life to realize my hands can't take much more of those.. My big thing with the WB's is their flexibility and ease on smaller lawns, and starting out new I want the ability to mow as many different kinds of properties as possible. Perhaps a better choice would be a new 52" ZTR and a used 36" WB????

    And thanks for the SBA loan, after doing some more thinking, why not use a 0% introductory offer on a credit card to purchase a mower???

    Thanks guys, Jon.....
  5. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213


    Toro has a permotion going now until the end of July,Zero down,Zero payments, Zero interest for 1 year. One of my dealers just took on the line and is pushing to move some machines. I have a DEMO coming one of these days soon.

  6. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Personally would not touch any previous investments to start the business. Use other peoples money if rates are below 10%. Leases can be a complete right off also.
    Good luck!
  7. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    Exmark also has a nice financing deal or two.

    Check out their 0 down/12.95% deal.


    With the right amount of accounts and a little creative budgeting you can pay for one of the best machines on the market...easily!

    I own 2 Exmarks (a 2001 60" Lazer Z and a 2002 36" Turf Tracer) and these machines have paid for themselves quickly due to their remarkable dependability and awesome productivity...and me bustin' my crack. ;)

    Best of luck to you in your endeavour, Jon99, and welcome to LawnSite! :D
  8. Pelican

    Pelican LawnSite Member
    Messages: 164

    I started my business as the result of a lay off too. Fortunately I had sufficient severance pay to buy my start up equipment. I bought a 2 year old 1 ton dump, a 52" hydro Skag walk behind, string trimmer and backpack blower. In my area the lawns are fairly large, so the 52 works well. I revamped a snowmobile trailer someone was throwing away, put rails and a ramp on it and used this set up for the first season.

    By the second season, the business had grown to where I purchased an enclosed trailer and a 61" ZTR, plus hired a part timer.

    I think your idea of the 0% credit cards is a good one, I've been considering paying off a higher priced loan in this method. Just read the fine print to see what the fixed rate will be after the free term. I've found that Capitol One seems to have the best package currently.
  9. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Starting out, don't get yourself into a huge hole from the start. You can get yourself off the ground with a new w/b and as business increases get a bigger mower. A 32" or 36" eXmark with a flexdeck attachment would probably be great for you.

    I too have a finance background. Actually I managed and consulted on 401(k)'s, so I'll tell you: KEEP YOUR PAWS OFF THAT MONEY!. The tax implications alone will get 30% of it. Forget its even there.
  10. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    I wouldn't even think about touching the 401K money, matter of fact my wife and I have decided we will still add $500 a month to our Roth's...

    And I really do need to buy a 52" ZTR... I live in town and my parents live on a farm with a very nice 40x60 shop... Part of the deal is that I can store my mowers at the farm, use the shop for working on the mowers and dump any clippings down by the creek...

    The cost to me??? To mow their 3 acre yard....

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