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Need Advice!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by xchevy, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. xchevy

    xchevy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I`ve just been laid off permanently from a job I`ve had for 15 years. I`ve got a good old friend that is also sick of making someone else money and we have been talking about starting a lawn and yard care business. He also has many years of tree experience. We have trucks, trailer, misc. equipment and both have the mechanical experience and tools to maintain and fix equipment. The only real investment would be a zero turn mower. There are many newer developments and more going up in every direction, in this area, so It seems to me that it could be very lucrative. I am one to thoroughly research something before I jump in. I have came across this site and have only begun to explore but seems to offer a wealth of info. I`ve also come across a few programs for sale offering all info about starting up along with contract and other forms needed. Just wondering if you pros would advise the purchase of one of these informative packets and would also appreciate any links you may know of that may be helpful. Any advise you could give would be greatly appreciated.
  2. n2h20

    n2h20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    well you have found the place to find info and have questions answered,., browese the many different discussions alot of answers will be answered,...
    also try the search option
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    First thing you need is equipment, truck, trailer, and 5 thousand dollars cash to spare on top of that... At which point I found everything else to be a waste of time, and money (you can always buy it later, like next year).

    The first year is the hardest, I would highly recommend get a 44 - 48 inch deck Walk-behind mower such as a Toro with a T-bar control and a Velke. You can get a pistol-grip or ECS control mower but you will see people here complain about sore wrists come June (and from the sound of it, it really hurts), so get a T-bar mower.

    Reason I say this is because the Walk-behind (even new) is about half the price of the ZTR... wait:

    A walk-behind is a Zero-turn capable mower, but is one you can not sit down on .
    A true ZTR is the big machine with a seat and the tank-style controls.

    Get the walk-behind, it's far more universal, eats less gas both in the yard and on the road (it weighs less, a lot less), and it still cuts 4-6 times the grass of a push-mower (a 21" that is).

    And I would get a 1-5 year old, used machine if I were you. New machines are a luxury many splurge on in their first year, those of us who last more than 4 or 5 years started with used machines (at least I did). You will find a slew of 30-36 inch deck machines all around, they're a dime a dozen compared to the rather rare, larger decks. That's because 3-foot decks cut 25 percent less grass per pass than the 4-footer, and the guys who buy them go broke and they are resold year to year to the next fool. Also, the 48" deck is the largest deck still fits through a 4-foot gate.

    Because you still need a weed-eater, a blower (get the backpack for starters, you can always get a handheld later). And, buy all commercial, from a dealer. Other stuff to get would be a wheelbarrow, shovels, rakes, a tarp (get the cloth one from northern) all this stuff is ok to buy at Home Depot or Lowe's (the hand tools, I mean). Jumper cables and a long sturdy rope (such as an old tree-climbers rope) will help you get the Wb out of the ditch when you get it stuck (tow it out with truck).

    Couple of 5-gallon gas cans so you can afford to only refuel once/week helps save time and money.
    Get a 2.5 gallon gas can to be used for mix fuel only. Then, buy a box (48) of small echo or stihl mix oil, get the ones that will pre-mix 2.5 gallons per bottle, so no thinking about it (dump the oil, add fuel, BLAM!)

    You need at least a 3/4 ton truck, like a D-250, F-250, or GMC 2500 series. You can find one used for 1000 - 1500 dollars, no a/c.

    You need a 6x12 trailer, I bought this new for 1500, then you need a Class-III trailer hitch capable of towing 10 thousand pounds. Don't rely on bumper hitches, spend the 200-300 on a quality tow-kit, usually the guys sell the trailers sell and install the hitches as well.

    That's it for me.
    good luck.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Sorry to hear about the job.
    Before you pay for a program use the search button on this site and you will get a great education.
    Before you buy a mower see what kind of lots you have to mow. No sense buying a big Z to do little lots.
    Best advice is to create a business plan.
    Remember, buying high quality equipment at fair rates will produce high quality work at a profitable rate. Being cheap at start-up and cutting corners will set your business practice for the future. Plan for success from the start.

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