Planning Ahead

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by colinthomson, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. colinthomson

    colinthomson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Hi, I have been reading this forum for a while, and found some great help. Here is my situation: I am hoping to start a lawn mowing business at the beginning of next mowing year (whenever we get rain and people are thinking about it), so I have some time to ponder what I should do and have a good plan before then.

    I was thinking that I would try to get the weed eater, edger, blower, chain saw, hedge trimmer, and trailer, all without going in to any debt. But I will have to in order to get a zturn mower and truck (I am 18 and have no vehicle yet). I was looking at either Dixie Chopper, Exmark Lazer, or Hustler, and thinking I would start with at least a 50 inch deck. But this would probably make me about 20k in the hole to begin with. I have been working part time as a plumber's helper, and could probably keep doing that until the business got going.

    So, my question is, do you think that that is starting out too fast? Should I instead go with a Cub Cadet, or something cheaper to begin with? Or would that just mean an upgrade later.

    I would love to hear what you guys think.


    Colin Thomson
  2. Supper Grassy

    Supper Grassy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,582

    buy the items as you get the money.
    The items that are needed the most are Trimmer, Blower, Edger (good to have), Mower, Truck, or something to haul equipment with.
    i would try and find USED equipment, you sould be able to get some fairly cheap beacuse of drought
  3. colinthomson

    colinthomson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    So would you say a used brand name, or a new cub cadet or something?

    Colin Thomson
  4. Turfinator1

    Turfinator1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    Colin, I have started a lawn care this year. What i did was went to the local hustler dealer (in Lakeland) and got a start up package. I got all the hand equiptment (stihl) and a 54'' fast trak (residental mower). This mower was about $5,000 less than a commerical one. This zrt will get me started to making enough to get a commerical mower. I paid about $8,000 for all of it to get started. I was also approve through hustler financing which it $80 a month for 2 years then it goes to like 6% of whatever is left. I was told many times dont go cheap on the equiptment. I didnt want to just start out new get new clients and had crappy equiptment to where I wasnt able to service them because the equiptment was broke down. My suggestion is to buy inexpensive new starting out. The payments arent much. If you go with the home owner equipment and work up from there.
  5. Supper Grassy

    Supper Grassy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,582

    Turf is right.

    No crap equipment, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR this happens to be one of the truest things in lawncare. help your self out, don't go to hope depot and get residental equipment.

    like turf said, go to a dealer and see what he can do for you, mabey he can hook you in to special financing, or a package deal.

    Look for a used mower, cheaper, and the owner should give you some help, or tricks
  6. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    Don't go into debt on a mower unless you absolutely have too! The minute you do, you start losing money. Save until you can pay cash for something; it works out better in the long run.
  7. colinthomson

    colinthomson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    So when the time came to get the used mower, do you think that e-bay is a good way to go? I would have to go pick it up, but is seems tough to find used good mowers around here. Something like this might be a really good deal (though I would have to add up the gas costs):

    Thanks for all your help. When I do end up doing this, I want to do it right.

    Colin Thomson
  8. colinthomson

    colinthomson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Any more opinions?

    Colin Thomson
  9. Lawn_Boy

    Lawn_Boy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Well is it neccessary to start off with a riding mower? Why not start off with one or two 21" mowers and target smaller properties. Save your earnings and then invest in a riding mower a few seasons later if desired.

    I know when I get into anything, I always want to start big and skip the whole building up phase. But for me and a lot of others, money prohibits that. So anyways, we all have to start somewhere.
  10. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,315

    A ZTR is not necessary for the first year. Look at getting a Quick 36 Walkbehind or something similar. This will give you the ability to do 1/2-3/4 acre properties without taking too much time and will be small enough to do some of the postage stamp lots in new developments.

    Also, debt is not always bad. If a $500 monthly loan payment for equipment can enable you to make an extra $750-1000 per month, I think the loan makes sense. You alway have to be tihnking of cashflow, not total amounts.

    For the truck & trailer I think you can get a decent truck for $5k-6k and a trailer for $1k. You can always get a new truck for '09.

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