Personal use equipment to start.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by JohnnyCuts, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. JohnnyCuts

    JohnnyCuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 256

    Hoping to get 20-30 mowing acounts this year (mowing only to start). I'm thinking of starting with my own riding mower and trimmer and buying commercial edger and blower units and a trailer to tow it in. This would allow me to start up for $1000 or so. I would then use my first month's income to pay for a good mower and upgrade as I need it. I guess my biggest concern would be a breakdown the first month. Any others started this way or have any input on my plan of action?
  2. Dunlaps LawnCare

    Dunlaps LawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    thats how i started out
  3. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    There is nothing wrong starting with res. equipment, to keep costs down. I started that way and all my residential equipment got me through the first season. You will need commercial equipment down the road, but just start off with what you have. Once you start making some money then try to upgrade. Also by waiting to buy you will have a good idea then on what kind of stuff you really need by what accounts you have. If the equipment you have now does hold up, then it can be used as backup in a pinch.
  4. agm

    agm LawnSite Member
    from NM
    Messages: 178

    I started out with a craftsman 21" mower, home depot cubcadet trimmers, a home made trailer, and home depot hedge trimmers. I say get what you can afford to start out then like you plan, upgrade. Don't plan on using that equipment long, cause it won't last that long, but it is a start. I now have all commercial equipment and a very nice trailer. Good luck!
  5. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    you are smart...... you will be fine... heres a little secret.... your customers for the most part.... don't care what you use

    Good luck

  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,266

    johnny - like the others here, I give you props for having ambition and not wanting to overspend right off the bat while you build a business. Put some time and money into marketing this first year (different methods), and do a knock-out job for your customers, and things will grow though it may take some time. AND, I used a 21" Toro S/R, WeedEater, and residential hand held blower to mow my handful of customers all season long last year and the stuff held up just fine. If you are talking 20-30 accts, I might be a bit hesitant on how your stuff would last. Though you said you will buy as you go so thats good, as you may be forced to buy if your homeowner equip. goes belly up.
  7. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    I mowed with my dad's old Cub Cadet 1440 garden tractor when I started, although I only had 1 customer. I have about 15 now, so we sold the Cub and bought the Ferris, which I'm buying from my dad. Your plan is exactly what Jim Adams recommends in his book, "Earn $300 a Day Mowing Lawns." He started with a garage sale push mower and weedeater and a broom. When you start to buy commercial stuff, buy the best stuff you can find. Even if you have to save up a little longer or finance some of it (make sure you have enough cash flow to make the payments), don't get the smallest commercial equipment. Get what you really need. You'll thank yourself for it and see much higher productivity and profits.
  8. DK lawn care

    DK lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    I used a cub cadet lt1042. Put 840 hours on it in 2.5 years. and i still have it to lol. It still runs really well.
  9. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    Our Cub had over 400 hrs when we sold it. That Vanguard was one of the best engines I've run in a mower. Only 14hp, but it had gobs of torque. You just couldn't stop that thing. Get it in high weeds and you could feel the torque. I kind of hate we sold it, but we needed to make room for more productive equipment.
    This is for JohnnyCuts: Don't make the same mistake I did and go from homeowner equipment to more homeowner equipment. After the Cub, I bought a Deere F525, which is a small front mount mower. I loved the trim capability of that mower, and it would almost make a zero-turn, but it was slow and underpowered. It had a 17hp single cylinder engine that would bog down in moderate grass, and only went 5mph. My dad bought it from me and gave it to a guy from our church in exchange for some help landscaping around our house. The Ferris absolutely blew me away going from a homeowner mower to a commercial. 21hp, 10mph, 6 gallons of fuel, and a lot better ride make for some very productive mowing. With the same deck size, 48", the Deere took me about 3 hours to mow and trim my largest yard (about 2.5 acres) and the Ferris cut that to 1 hr 15 minutes.
  10. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,621

    Excellent plan.

    I have 1 suggestion. Plan also to spend as much as it takes in advertising (or other forms of marketing) to achieve your goal of 20-30 accounts. So the question is: How much of your $1000 is set aside for marketing?

    Getting the customers signed up is a priority. Once you are confident that you have happy customers, you can justify the expense of better equipment. In my area, 90% of the customers sign up in May/June, so I spend most of my advertising $ at that time.

    When you sign up 20 accounts at maybe $40/week, you can then make your equipment purchasing plans based on your forecasted revenues of $3200 per month...less expenses.

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