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Newbie mower advice needed

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by C&L, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. C&L

    C&L LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Messages: 11

    Wow, great web site!
    I am looking for some advice. I have read most post's here and haven’t found the exact answer's I am looking for. I have run a successful landscape business for the last five years. I am in the process of entering the lawn care market. I will be taking my pesticide applicators license test in a few weeks. My plan (which could change after I hear some input) is to buy a used enclosed v-nose drive on, drive off trailer. I would have it professionally stickered up. The thought behind this is that the extra money spent on the trailer is good marketing? I already own Sthil power brooms, weed whackers, chain saw and a blower that see sporadic use in the landscape division. I thought I would buy the trailer, a larger mower (main question) and a trimmer mower (another question). I was thinking of keeping just one or two (any thoughts here) employees busy two to three days a week. I am planning on about 18-25 commercial accounts, maybe some residential.
    What kind of mower should I start with? A new Kubota 60" zero turn, a used walk behind? There is such a huge difference here. I don't want the stuff breaking down all the time. I want to keep my overhead under control. I am looking at 9k to 40k sq ft size accounts. Also I figure our overhead based on gross volume. My early projections on this venture put my overhead around 29% of my gross volume leaving 70% for labor and profit. I figured my fertilizer into my overhead. Does this seem to be concurrent with your businesses? Where do you like to see your net profit? I am looking at bidding around $50. per man hr. I will bid contract, but figure my time do the job based the $50. mark. Sound right?
    I will stop here for now.

    I really hope to gain some insight here.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Chad, for starters, you only need to post your question(s) once. And since your profile says you've been in biz for 5 years, I don't think the Just Starting In Busines forum is for you.

    Next, you have a lot of stuff in your post. I would break it down into seperate posts/threads, you'll get a lot more response that way.

    Good luck.
  3. C&L

    C&L LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Messages: 11

    just starting in the mowing business.... made a mistake on the post... didn't know it was that big of deal I guess.
  4. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    My point was that since you have landscaping business experience, the "Just Starting" forum probably isn't the best one for you.

    At your level you'd be better off in the Commercial Lawn Care forum, more people will see your posts there too.

    Wasn't knocking ya, just trying to help.
  5. C&L

    C&L LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Messages: 11

    this is the commercial forum....... no help from anyone here.... i also posted in the statring out area and have at least received some answers.
  6. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Chad, like I said, I think if you broke all that down to say 2 or 3 seperate posts, you'd probably get more replies. There's just a lot in that post to address.

    Good luck.
  7. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    Based on the info that you provided on the square footage you'll be servicing, a ZTR mower would fit the bill nicely. A ZTR will usually be more productive than a walk-behind, especially on the larger properties. If you have a lot of gates to go through then I would get a 36 inch walk-behind for those properties. The 36 could also serve as a trim mower.
  8. kipcom

    kipcom LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 352

    IMO....for what you stated above.......

    2- 52 or 60" ZTR ( Exmark or ? ) there is some good financing going on now.

    1- 48 or 52" Hydro walk behind.

    You will be amazed at how much more you can cut and places you wouldnt think a 52/60" mower will go ( some say have a 36" WB for these ). Since you say commercial accounts I will pre-sume the are pretty wide open and a larger ZTR will fit the production rate your after. As for your fert program..there are a few products out there I have tested and as for production rate ( short of a hose reel & dragging it 150') I have come up with a great combo unit for fert apps.

    Avg. LCO company profit percentage is around 28-30%

    Hope this helps. :cool2:

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