Newbie Looking For Insight

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by stizostedion_vitreum, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. stizostedion_vitreum

    stizostedion_vitreum LawnSite Member
    from ND
    Messages: 51

    Hello everyone and thanks for all the valuable information i've been able to acquire from each of you!

    First off, I'm a full time manager of a couple large retail businesses in ND and I also work a part-time (21 hrs/week) evening job at nights. I work 70-75 hours weekly currently.

    I have always wanted to start a business on my own and have decided to start a "Property Care" business. This all happened rather fast due to stumbling upon a nice annual contract that payed pretty well. I will be working my current occupations alongside the new business. I plan to do all the marketing/managing and my wife will handle the supervision/labor for the first year. We will eventually turn the business over to our 3 sons which are fourteen and younger. All of the labor for the first year will be handled by family and friends.

    First year marketing will be residential/commercial from 1/4 acre up to 3 acre properties. We plan to provide mowing, weedeating, trimming, edging, cleanups, fertilizing, hauling, thatching, aerating & snow removal.

    Currently, we have: 96' 1/2 ton 4x4, 21hp AYP product tractor w/bagger, 6.5 Honda push mower, weedeater, elect. edger and trimmer. We also have all the hand tools such as rakes, wheel barrow, etc.... that we should need.

    Our intentions are to grow the business and add services/employees as time/money allows. However, for the first year I would like your insights as to what additional equipment we should need to make a decent go of it, out of the gate.

    If you had $8,000 of startup capital to would you use it to add to what I've listed?

    My immediate thoughts are to add the following:
    1. Trailer at least 12' in lengh x 6'
    2. Ariens Zoom 1944 - (MSRP $4K but can by one for 3600 new and add the bagger for about $650 or total of $4250 w/ 2 yr. warranty.)
    3. Toro Recycler 6.5 wb
    4. Another weedeater, gas trimmer & gas backpack blower

    The rest for marketing and expenses.....

    Ok all, have at it....let me know what your thoughts are...

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    TJ, the walleye of ND, you will of course find many different opinions on how to spend that eight grand wisely, but for whatever its worth, it sounds as if you’re on the right track. Guys will argue what equipment they think is best from now until doomsday. Personally, I made my trailer one of the first priorities. My riding mower, Walker, didn’t come around for a couple of years. In your neck of the woods, however, you may need that larger mower right off the bat.

    Most would say that you need that gas weedeater, gas edger (but the type will be debated), and backpack blower. Those are the basics. But will you do a lot of trimming, and need that expense right now, or will hand shears work for one season? Your spare weedeater could be a used one picked up from a garage sale or auction sale. Do you already have a plow for your truck for pushing snow? Perhaps those are cheaper up where you are...
  3. stizostedion_vitreum

    stizostedion_vitreum LawnSite Member
    from ND
    Messages: 51

    I should have stated that I have a plow for the truck. I also have a ATV/Plow and toro snowblower. I think the snow side will be ok as we don't plan to market the snow side until next winter..

    Right now we are only beginning to market for next spring, cleanups and mowing contracts.

    Thanks again,
  4. PR Fect

    PR Fect LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,076

    Sounds to me as you all ready know what you need. And you also nailed the number of hours per week too!
  5. blair smock

    blair smock LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Messages: 108

    Biz licenses, Sounds like you want a lasting family Biz so start it off correctly. Good luck, and dont forget the insurance, It can save everything you work for or have now!!!!!!! Especially if you are going to have family members working for you, Hit a piece of Iron with a big zero turn and it could destroy you savings home and your life. Not to be a wet blanket but you should consider all the above. Blair
  6. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    "I will be working my current occupations alongside the new business." You hav emore energy than most then. I would bank some more start up cash becuase that equipment won't last long. Even commercial equipment doesn't last as long as you think it will and then there are repairs, that dead battery you had to buy one day and the trailer tire that just blew out etc. You get the idea. Match your tools to the work. Lots of large open propery with no obstructions, wide deck mower, lots of obstacle course properties then a narrow deck would be the way to go. Like already stated a lot of guys will say buy this machine or that. In my own opinion since you are so new and need to conserve start up cash I'd try to invest in a machine made by Walker. True they are not as fast as Exmark or Toro but it has advantages they don't. First the bagging unit is behind you so there is no added width to the mower from some contraption that was obviously a manufacturer after thought and they have interchangable decks. One mower, different size decks available. You can side discharge with one deck and have another for bagging leaves, and in all different widths. You migh be able to get a used one for 8000 that is still in good shape and go that route. Equipment is expensive. As for the blower, trimmer etc. Look at the dealer and see what brands he has and then look at other dealers. The most popular has the advantage of you can get service more places. Echo, Red Max, Shindiwia, Sthil. These are the more popular brands. I had a Tanaka at one time, hard to get parts, Husquvarna's ar esometimes hard to get parts and time is money in this type of industry. If you will be doing a lot of edging buy what is comfortable. If you buy a trimmer with bike bars and it feels uncomfortable all the time it will hurt your productvity. Also realize if you hire labor like your post said they will not be as gentle on your equipment as you would, so monitor that closely and remind them if the tools are in the shop , you make no money so they will make no money.
  7. stizostedion_vitreum

    stizostedion_vitreum LawnSite Member
    from ND
    Messages: 51

    Thank you for your replies....I have the BIZ licensed under the name "Preferred Property Care" and the insurance is paid up for the next year.

    My main concerns right now are what size trailer, which ZT mower and keeping it efficient until the funding starts.

    Thank you,
  8. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Is that Ariens Zoom a homeowner grade ZTR? I'm guessing it is. I would seriously reconsider.

    I won't get into what brand you should get, I'll just say that you should go with something commercial. Do you really NEED a ZTR to start off with?
    A walk behind with sulky is less expensive. Even a stander type is cheaper then a sit down rider.

    Just some stuff to think about.
  9. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    Just because you have 8 grand doesn't mean you have to spend it all... If your credit is up to snuff why not finance the best ZTR you can get? Keep the money in the bank so that when you need it... it's there. You can still get some good rates now through some manufacturers and banks.

    If you don't already have one.. find a good accountant... ask him about incorporating and whether it would be right for you.

    I would look at getting at least a 14' trailer or a 16' if you plan to grow. I went from a 12' to a 16' and find that 16' isn't really big enough. 6' wide is not really wide enough either... look for something 7' wide.

    If you plan to make this work... don't buy junk!

    Good luck.......
  10. stizostedion_vitreum

    stizostedion_vitreum LawnSite Member
    from ND
    Messages: 51

    Wow, what a day!!! I got my business license and insurance yesterday.

    I bid my first job this morning and was awarded the job about 15 min. ago (maybe I bid it too low,) the person who awarded the bid indicated it was because I accept credit cards....anyhow i'm not just in business, I've got a job!!!!

    Well, I know that buying junk doesn't get me anywhere....however my credit isn't good (won't bore you w/ why.) Therefore, I'm stuck working my arse off and making due with what I've got. I should have made this clear in my original post.

    Now, that this is understood....if your budget was limited as mine is, what would you buy for mowers.....another 21", maybe a ZT or WB & trailer?

    Shoot for now I may just buy another 21" and a trailer and forget the other major purchase. Matter of fact, I can probably get by without anymore mowers and just buy a trailer.

    I know I'm gonna learn by mistakes.., but if I can eliminate a few an make some better decisions based upon the insight of others I'm all for that....

    thank you all,

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