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Next Move With $ Being Tight

The Happy Gardner

LawnSite Member
With a year behind me of running a couple residential crews using only 21"mowers I have seen the light and am going to move up to a 36".

Here's the problem:

Money is extremely tight this time of year. I do no winter work at all!!! ( that will change next off season )
I have $2,500 to spend March 1 and thats stretching it.
Come mid-season I'll have enough set aside to get a 36" Hydro if thats what I end up wanting, but not now.

36" belt drive new
36" used (if I can find one) Hydro
Residential Riding Mower like JD L130 (I don't think this is a good
option but I wanted 3)


LawnSite Senior Member
I bought a used snapper hydro that was 2 yrs. old, but had only been used one season. The second yr. it was in the garage. I got lucky I paid 1800.00, and it's now going be starting the 4th yr. Tony


LawnSite Fanatic
If you are really tight on money I would suggest a belt. I know that I like hydros a lot more and use both belts and hydros, but if the money is tight, stick to your budget and get a belt.


LawnSite Senior Member
boise idaho
Think equipment is expensive? Let's just say you get 2,500 hours out of good quality mower ($10,000) this is just an example. Although the initial investment is high think of how much money was spent just for the labor to put someone behind it.

$6/ hour = $15,000
$8/ hour = $20,000
$10/ hour = $25,000

Now keep in mind this dose'nt take into consideration the money for gas and maintenance. But the cost for maintenance and fuel is going to be a lot less then the time you are paying an employee to ride from job to job.
In my opinion it is cheaper in the long run to spend the extra $$$ for productive equipment. I realize when you are just starting out you cat afford it but b-4 I would hire any employees I would work a 60-80 hour week till I could afford better equipment . Then you drop say $8-10 grand and drop back to a 30-40 hour week doing the same if not more lawns you did b-4. Maximize the use of your new equipment and then hire and employee. Sometimes we try to grow to fast. It's better to work smarter than harder. In our biz you have two kind of people and they both provide different quality. Your either in this biz to make money or your in the biz to just get by. Some do poor quality and make lots of money (usually short term) and others do a great job and just get buy. I think all of us at Lawn Site want to give superior service. Ask yourself

Am I in it for the money, or do I just want to get buy?

If you just want to get by, work for someone else and do a good job for them. They will pay you a little less than you are worth but you will still make more than you would on your own (long term).

I hope you are in it for the money and with a little harder work (I'm not saying you did'nt work hard last year, I too have used a 21" all day long) by the middle of next year you will see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Can't afford the nice equipment. I say you can't afford not to have nice equipment.




LawnSite Bronze Member
Overland Park KS
Go with a used hydro 36 with low hours, buy it from someone you trust, some stores around here sell refurbished ones for half the price of a new one, they clean them up and change all the fluids and belts,


LawnSite Fanatic
with $2500 i could buy at least 3 good used belt driven walkbehinds. what is with you guys ? i would buy a used 36, a used 32, and bank the change. bank the remaining $1100. worst case scenerio, one breaks down, u still have enough dough to put a brand new kawi engine on it, and still have change left over.


LawnSite Bronze Member
South Jersey
I still dunno why anyone would want a 36 hydro. I guess exceptions would be individuals lacking any physical strength ( women and old dudes) I personally wouldn't get a hydro unless the deck size was > 52", or all of the lawns were 20K sq ft+