Please help me decide!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Greensmith33547, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Greensmith33547

    Greensmith33547 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    So I'm starting a mostly residential lawn biz. Since my current career is repairing computers this is a big jump for me. I have to buy everything from blower to truck but need to keep it around $10k total. I am looking at a Toro SS3200 since it is right in my price range and will fit through gates. As my business hopefully grows I will buy bigger and better to go with it. My question is will this mower last me a couple of years or should I stretch my budget to get a commercial walk behind? The problem is that I want to stay close to $2500 for a mower which the ss3200 is $2300 whereas the walk behind is $3200. Suggestions, comments, etc?
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  2. KeystoneLawn&Landscaping

    KeystoneLawn&Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    IMO, just starting and being solo that mower will be fine for many years. That being said, I would check the used market for a quality commercial mower first. I bought my walk behinds used, I believe in used for larger equipment. I've had my 36" Exmark Viking for 7 years and have never had a problem, its used on 70% of my lawns. The mower is a 99 and came with a grass catcher. I paid $1500 for it. There is no hour meter on it, so I have no clue how many hours it has. Great machine! One more pointer, do everything you can with cash. Good Luck.
  3. Greensmith33547

    Greensmith33547 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I appreciate your advice.... The only reason I'm looking at new is because Toro has a 48 months no interest deal right now so I can live off my cash until things get going. $1500 is cheap though! =-O
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  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,130

    heavy duty equipment can last a long time.
    my advice is to not buy new, you never know if you will stay with this, or this is the career for you.

    Why don't you start a computer repair business? It seems odd to make the jump into something you don't know or havent done?

    A walk behind mower, used in a 48-36" deck size will be best.
    You could find one new for around $3800.00
    A honda 21" commercial mower will be $1000.00
    A stihl PB 55 hand held blower will be around $200
    A stihl FS 55 weed whacker should be $300
    you can buy a neat little trailer at lowes for $2800
    Rakes, hand tools, tarp, a 55 gal rubbermaid garbage pail say another $600.00
    Misc stuff like gas cans etc etc figure another $250.00

    thats all you will need to cut grass and do minor clean ups.

    If you live in a heavy leaf state you will need more in the way of blower, but otherwise more blower is over kill.

    That puts you in around the budget you were hoping to be in with good commercial equipment.

    DO NOt buy a homeowner knock off of a commerical mower. You would be better off (WAY better off) buying a used commercial mower.
    Don't look into a rider at first, unless you have massive lawns in your area (like Massachusetts/ connecticut region) even then start out small, find the neighborhoods with medium to small sized lawns that would can use your walk behinds in easily.
  5. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Messages: 2,419

    Also keep in mind that the RESIDENTIAL Toro with the .. "Toro" engine will not be under any warranty for your income producing commercial use (45 days if any) and should you run in to issues by putting so many hours on it in such a short time (multiple lawns a week vs 1 lawn every week or two) you will be pumping much more money in to fix it vs what you are going to be "saving" with that 48 month deal..
  6. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    Why would you want to go cheap on the thing thats going to be making you the most money? I did the same thing when I first started, then had to sale and buy better equipment. That was a waste. I don't know anything about the Toro so good luck.
  7. Greensmith33547

    Greensmith33547 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Thank you everyone for your advice. Your right I can't be 100% on the business until it's going, however that is why I bought something new so if need be I can resell or use for my lawn.

    The reason for not starting a computer biz is first I am kind of burned out, and the competition is to much with people being able to buy a brand new $200 pc vs pay me $150 to fix it. I do have experience though in this field. This was the field I worked in before going to school for computers.
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  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,130

    Plenty, if not more competition in this field too.

    Buying new, IF you need to resell is a really bad concept.

    That means you are assuming the depreciation.

    If you buy a new mower at say 3 grand, and turn around and try to sell it, you will likely only get 1200-1500 for it.

    But if you buy a good piece of used equipment at a decent price, say 2000 for a 36 walk behind, you could probably sell it off a year later for 1300-1500.

    The used mower will last you many years (because it's a commercial unit, assuming you find a good one, not dont buy some crap that fell off the back of a pickup) the new one from home depot isn't designed to do what you want with it, it might last you a year or two if you are lucky.

    In one case, you lose 1500 on your investment if you try to resell, in the other 500 bucks.

    A "new" homeowner model is not a good choice.

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