Need some advice, please

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LawnMan883, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. LawnMan883

    LawnMan883 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    I know this type of post has probably been posted many times, but here goes:
    I am 23, currently work at Best Buy as a full time sales person. I also have several years of computer technician experiance. I grew up in Illinois and cut neighbor's lawns from 1994-2004. I enjoyed it, i worked by myself and had many happy customers. AFter I moved to Michigan for college the business slipped away. I kept it going my first 2 years of college, but ti was costing me about $65 a week on gas alone and for only 7 accounts it was hardly worth it. I did 1 or 2 acre lawns in Illinois.

    I'm consideirng working part time on lawns up here in Michigan, but i feel if i do it now, I need insurance at the minimum. I have some equipment still from the old business... I just don;t know if I can be profitable here.

    Here is what I own now:
    -2001 Ford Explorer
    -1996 Deere 345 L&G Tractor with 54" deck and 42" snowthrower (Unit has 2200 hours....unit runs great, just mower deak and steering need some work)
    -Honda 4 stroke straight shaft trimmer
    -Cheap 20" push mower
    -tow behind spreader
    -48" tow behind aerator
    -48" tow behind roller
    -24" tiller
    -19 cubic foot material collection system for the Deere
    -Gas chainsaw
    -Electric blower

    I currently have no trailer of my own. The explorer is set up for towing and can do it no problem. To get the Deere back up and running like new it will require about $500 worth of parts and about 5-6 hours of work (new front end, new tires all around, and all fluids changed out)

    We purchased the Deere when it was 2 years old with about 260 hours on it. Ever since then i was stringent on maitenance, including all fluids. I replaced the trans at 1800 hours. The engine runs great. It sometimes smokes a little on startup, but it has no problems with power. Deere claims the 2 cyl liquid cooled kawasaki in there should last roughly 2500 hours before requiring an overhaul. I am getting close, but since i took care of it i hope to get 3,000 out of it.

    With the Deere I could knock off an average 1 acre lawn in about 45 mins to an hour. i charged $40 for a mow and blow, $45 for mow, blow, and trim.

    I was considering either trading in the deere for a new deere front mower or ZTR, but if i keep the deere I have now, all the attachments will still work also.

    i figure for a 6x10 enclosed trailer it might run me like $2,000. Locally i can rent a parking spot for the trailer at $20 per month. i am just trying to figure out if it is worth my expense to drop 2 grand into a trailer and 500 into the deere and find an insurance policy to get things going again. I prefer to keep th ebusiness as a 1 man operation and the Explorer would be used primarially for the business as I have a smaller car I use as my DD. Eventually i plan to buy a used F350 powerstroke plow truck to replace the explorer, but thats not for a few years yet.

    I am not sure the average charge i should expect to get up here near grand rapids. The old market i was in was western suburbs of chicago and my pricing seemed in line with my competitors. I care about the lawns i cut and expect excellent results, which my Deere mower has provided. At the apartment complex i live in now, I do mowing in the summer and they have a Toro ZTR unit with a 60" deck. Its nice, but it can;t tow an aerator, roller, or spreader, so I think i would stick with a front mower or tractor.

    Sorry about the long post. Any help would be appriciated!
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    that is the question ... look in the yellow pages, how many are there, is there really any more work out there, maybe there is.... :)

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