Newbie here, ready for my hazing

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Desoto_Lawn_Care, May 4, 2007.

  1. Desoto_Lawn_Care

    Desoto_Lawn_Care LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 49

    I'm a kinda young guy in my 20's, I've been doing neighbors yards and minor landscaping on the side since i was 10 and I enjoy it. I work for one of the big box home improvement stores and I'm going into the lawn care business part time, for some extra income - maybe even a full time business after awhile. I tried the school thing for awhile, but being a teacher these days just isn't worth the risk of getting shot. Not to mention becoming a police officer either.

    I just bought a new home and truck so my options are very limited as far as going to a dealer and taking out a new line of credit on commercial equipment. My only option right now is to use my "big box store" credit card + employee discount on a residential mower.

    I'm looking at a John Deere ZTR with a 42" deck and one cylinder 18.5 hp. Briggs & Stratton. The other is a "commercial grade" Troy-Built ZTR with a Kohler V-Twin 22 hp and a 50" deck. Both the same price. I've heard some pros and cons about both mowers. Everybody is recommending the Kohler with the V-twin but my concern is it might be too big for smaller yards in neighborhoods.

    I've got a few 1/2 and 1/4 acre jobs lined up. I've already got a 6x12 utility trailer, echo trimmers, a 21" inch pushmower, various other equipment and a decent truck to pull it with. I'm not expecting to make a ton of money right off the bat. I just want to get out there, make a few bucks on the side, work my ass off and make some good impressions because I've always enjoyed doing lawn care. I want to eventually turn it into a full time business and get some better equipment along the way.

    Am i going about this the right way? Please give me your input good or bad.
  2. hess

    hess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    Some people won't agree but any way residential mower is fine for starting out i been using my John Deere for the past 4 years and is doing fine as long as you take care of it i't will take care of you. Welcome and good luck!!!!
  3. Budget

    Budget LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 368

    If i started over i would of purchased my WB. (walk behind) first. Will you be working on hills? Do you have propertys with hills in you area that you might find your self bidding on? Keep that in mind cause nothing worse then equipment that sits on the trailer and makes no money.Use the search option to find more talk on WB. and Zeros, and get ready to do some reading. Alot of good info here.
  4. EngineeredLawns

    EngineeredLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    It all depends on the yards you are cutting. If they are really nice yards, the Z turn may tear up the grass if you are not carefull and some people don't want that weight on their lawns. If you have gates in the rear, it also may not fit. A WB is lighter, but you will not be able to get it at the box store on the credit. The two Z turns you bought are not commercial grade, but if you don't abuse them and you are not cutting on rough ground, they will hold up for a while. I know that string trimmers, home owner is designed for 50 hours use, commercial about 500 hours. Mowers, home owner, may last 500 hours, commercial, can last over 2000. But that is alot of hours of mowing.
  5. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 2,592

    Have you tried shopping around used stuff? I picked up my (barely) used Scag wb for about 1/3 of what a new runs. It was, however, about what an entry level box store rider would cost you. You could use that box store card to pick up your hand tools, blowers and such. Maybe your trailer too, depending on where you're shopping.
  6. Desoto_Lawn_Care

    Desoto_Lawn_Care LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 49

    I picked up the Troy-Bilt 50" ZTR 22 hp V-Twin today with my employee discount and rebate it came to a hair over 2k and cut my first customer's yard with it, i did my yard and my mothers for practice before that and i was impressed just how fast this thing cuts. I cut 3 yards in the same time it took me to do 1 yard before, and I'm just a beginner. My first customer was very impressed and said I did a professional job. I even took a little extra time to remove debris and I pulled a few annoying weeds. I told him I would put the same care into his yard as a do with mine, and he said he wants me to continue mowing his yard and he is going to tell his neighbors about me. Down here in FL most the yards are flat (thank god) but I might eventually get some hilly ones so what would be the best kind of mower for hills and getting through fence gates?

    Anyway, my mother is happy I'm cutting her yard now because her old lawn care service used to do a 10 minute fly-by job @ 80 bucks a month, edging/weedeating once every 3-4 weeks and he even refused to do minor side jobs like pulling weeds or planting small plants for her. Why is it so many people are unprofessional in this business or are they just too busy w/ too many accounts?
  7. FSully

    FSully LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Check the classifieds for used equipment! Past couple of weeks in my local paper, the list of equipment is growing. Some of it is almost new....people are washing out already and the heat hasn't started.
  8. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Messages: 1,209

    If I cared for my customers lawns like I do mine I'd be out of business :) I spend too much time on theirs to work on mine.
  9. ChadsLawn

    ChadsLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    Where in Fla are you located.. Im in Pasco County..
  10. Desoto_Lawn_Care

    Desoto_Lawn_Care LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 49

    I'm right next door to you bro, Hillsborough County - Plant City. How's your business doing with all the competition around here?

    Patriot - that's another concern of mine. If i spend too much time "going the extra mile" on yards then it would cut back on yards per day. But I will not do a sorry half-assed job. I don't want my name associated with poor service. I'm sure there are plenty of scrubs willing to to do fly-by jobs who treat their customers like garbage at a lower price, but in this town word spreads quickly. What do you think?

    By the way this board and all ya"ll have been really helpful, lots of info here. Thanks for what you guys are doing.

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