new in this business,need help!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by opher, May 7, 2006.

  1. opher

    opher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    What would you guys reccomend for me to purchase,for a zero-turn and a walk behind.No commercial accounts yet but planning on a school next year.(10+acre)wanted to stick around $10,000-$12,000. They all sound good from the salesman, I want to know from the people who use them every day.

    :weightlifter: OPHER
  2. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,034

    No accounts yet?

    Buy nothing until you get accounts.

    What do you mean by a walk-behind?

    For one person, a ZTR (Ferris), a push mower, and a trimmer, and a blower should be sufficient until you need another commercial mower for the second person of your crew.

    Unless of course you have deep pockets. Then I recommend a Ferris ZTR for a lot of day long mowing, and a Wright Sentar for slopes and hills.

    My first commercial mower was and is the Ferris 1500Z IS. For support machines I bought a $150.00 21 inch push mower from Wal-Mart, as it is useless to by a $400.00 push mower when there is little push mowing to be done. I then bought a Stihl straight shaft trimmer. It is worth getting the commercial line of trimmers. They are warrantied for life, and will handle any job you give it. Then I bought a pack blower for $20.00 at a yard sale. If you cannot find a good blower at a yard sale, then Stihl also makes those.

    A warning on the stihl pieces. Have a way to lock them up or they will most likely be stolen in your first summer. People are bold these days and will gladly help themselves to nice stihl equipment while you are in the back yard.

    Another thought. Take the money that you would spend on the walk-behind, and hire a sales rep, or config your business in such a way that someone (maybe you) are out getting new good accounts right away and every day.

    I wish I had the money to hire a sales rep and also another guy to help mow.

    Those are my thoughts. Maybe someone else has a better idea.

  3. PMG

    PMG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Before you go out and spend your money on just a mower...

    There are companies out there like Snapper, Bobcat and one other one that I can't remember that offer packages. You can get a 48" mower, a string trimmer and a back pack blower for one low cost, the cost usually runs around 2,500 or so leaving you plenty of money to get a quality trailer. You should also be able to get a zero turn in place of the walk behind or both. Look into specific package deals that these companies offer or approach them or dealers in your area and ask them for a package deal price.

    Always keep your eyes open for a deal, starting out much like you are, it is best to invest wisely and not just buy a mower.

    I wish you the best of luck...
  4. PMG

    PMG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Oh yeah...I forgot to mention....

    You should have some customer commitments prior to investing the money unless you just want to professionally maintain your own property.

    Good Luck!
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No doubt, I might additionally recommend for the lawn-mower is to buy a used one because:
    - If your business doesn't make it (over half don't), you're out of less cash.
    - Allows you to learn on an older machine so when you make a mistake, the repairs are less costly as well.
    - Allows you to figure out what type of machine you really like before you spend the big money, will give you a better idea.

    For references:
    A pushmower is any of those 20-22" or whatever things, yes, even self-propelled ones are still push-mowers.
    A riding mower is just that, usually shaped a bit like a tractor.
    A Walk Behind is any commercial mower with a deck of at least 30" and although zero turn capable, it is called a Wb.
    A Ztr is the big'un, the tank with the seat in the center and your feet out to the front, you sit on top and operate the beast.

    Just in case, I know a lot of folks here run out and buy a Ztr their first year but I am in my 5th year and have never owned one because I consider them a luxury. They cost twice what a Wb costs but no, they don't get twice the work done.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Do not buy the Z as a first mower. A walk behind in the 44-48 range will be you most useful at first. Than build as you need
  7. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,034

    I am not one to adimately argue this point simply because I have never owned a WB, however without a sulky or velke, I cannot imagine anyone keeping up to me on the ztr when I am crank'n through the grass at near full speed, unless I am really taking my time.

    I can just see the Larry the mower man, with his beer gut hang'n to his knees and his crack show'n running behind the WB pushing 5+ miles an hour through a lawn.:laugh: On a serious note, anyone for that matter. Not all day long anyway.

  8. mr.we.mow.grass

    mr.we.mow.grass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    I want to chime in on this. With a good plan you can go from 0 to however many accounts you want. We put a plan together in Jan 1 06 with no accounts at all, no experience other then mowing our own grass at home. Spent about $10,000 on 6 mowers, 4 trimmers, 4 edger’s and 4 back pack blowers, bought one 1994 Toyota truck for $3500 and put a flat bed on it. Pretty dumb huh! Well, let’s look at what happened, shall we. I had 100,000 door hangers printed $1800, got a group of people together and put out about 5000 on a Sat at the end of March. So what happened? By the third week in April we had 170 accounts and still adding. We bought another truck and it will go in service next week. We put out another 5000 hangers over the weekend. We will have to see what that does over the next few weeks. We are still getting accounts from the first wave of hangers we put out.
    If you are serious about something do it, if you want a hobby that’s what you will have, and that’s fine, but for some people it is their livelihood and their bread and butter! Is this the way to do it, who knows? It is hard work to take nothing and make something! You have to get a lot of things together, the equipment part is easy, it’s the other things like, office detail, maintenance of the equipment, spare parts, flat tires and broken glass you get the picture! I wish you much success!! Mel

    One more thing you will need a partner and his name is Jesus Christ!

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