Im only 16, and most people would look and say oh he is 16, no clue what he is talking about. but i couldnt get a loan to buy my scag when i was 16 due to not being of age, so i had mow with what i had for a couple months until i could save the money i had to buy a used walk behind. You could lay mulch, and in the beginning, it was hard for me to turn down jobs cuz i needed the money, but as i expanded, i got to where i could turn down jobs, and drop the yards that sucked (leave toys out, rocks in the yard, dirt mounts, dog crap, etc...) Make sure that you can get the 60 accts or more before you completely quit your other job, cuz that would suck if you could not get all of those after you thought you could. And i have a commercial account and i have been cuttin for 3 years now, and they didnt try to rip me off....i basically told them, this is the price i will do it for, if you dont like it, then im not doin it. you may have heard this already, but if someone says " do you lay mulch, and i am lookin for someone to mow for me next year" dont give him a good deal on the mulching just so you can get the mowing job, i got screwed over bad doing that, and the guy lied to me cuz he knew i was young, and didnt know that trick. You could get some hedge trimmers if you dont have them already, and you could trim hedges, get a back pack blower, and do leaves, i have taken baby steps to get into the business, and now i am cutting almost 50 a week and going to school. I have a friend that helps me, but before he started helping me, i was cuttin all of them alone during summer. So if i was you, and you had 60 accts, i would not hire help until it is absolutley neccessary, employees beat the **** out of equiptment becuase they dont own it, and it is just another expense. start out offering small landscaping jobs, and if you like them, get into them. If you have a pressure washer, you could do that for the accts you have for some extra money. There is always extra things you can do. I'm not sure if you wanted a reccomendation on equiptment or not, but i know around where i live, you can look in the newspaper right now and find some GREAT deals on mowers because of people thinking that this drought is going to be every year, and its goin to suck this bad, so they are gettin out of it. and during the winter, you can always find good deals on mowers. I would look for a 48 walk behind or something of those sorts....i would go with a hydro if you can afford it,i used to swear by Shindaiwa, but with all of this new tree hugger stuff they are starting to be way underpowered. I like Stihl a good bit, they make good trimmers. Some of the new shindaiwas are ok, but if you get one, go with a big one. I love my shindaiwa EB630 blower, i have a new one and a 4 year old one, the old one is still blowing as hard as the new one if not harder. Stihl FS45(i think) hedge trimmers are amazing, i would look into getting some of those. A belt drive mower is perfectly fine (dont get going fast down hills, it sucks!) i hope this helps out some, and if you dont read it cuz im young, oh well. Good Luck, you sound like a great guy/father. Welcome to lawnsite.