Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by The family mowing co, Apr 14, 2002.

  1. The family mowing co

    The family mowing co LawnSite Member
    from Mi.
    Messages: 1

    First we would like to say thanks for having this site.We have a some questions.We are starting a part time lawn mowing business(maybe 10 lawns) using push mowers or self propelled and small string trimmers.What would you folks recomend for mowers and trimmers?
    Been to Menards,Lowes and Home Depot,would those mowers and trimmers work ok for us?And one if in the feature we got a 32-36" mower is it ok to haul it in the back of a pickup?The reason I asked is a couple of people told me it's not good on the mower,to bumpy and they also said ramps are a danger zome.
    Thanks for all your help.
  2. Southern Lawns

    Southern Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    It's a tough one to answer. You'll need to try and look into the future at what your goals are. My first answer would be buy the best equipment you can afford. If you can afford commercial grade equipment such as Stihl etc. then opt for that. If you cannot or do not want to put that much into it then go for a brand that will back it up when you need it (service/support) That goes for if you go commercial as well. As far as putting mowers in a truck beds, it's going to bounce no matter......trailer or truck bed. A little tricker getting down from a bed though.
    I guess the bottom line is.......It's not what you use it's how you use it and how you conduct your business. The better equipment just makes it easier for you it doesn't make your business!
    Good luck,
  3. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    Back when the world was flat I used homeowner equipment to get me started. I eventually upgraded to a commercial 21" Lawnboy ($700). That is what I would recommend. And place it near the cab of the truck to limit the bounce effect.

    If you dont mind replacing the mowers frequently the cheaper the better, and skip the self propelled ones, they dont propel fast enough.

    36" mower in the back can be done, turn the fuel valve off or the mower may flood from the bumps.
  4. mikal

    mikal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I have been doing lawn work for a # of years but this is my second serious year. I own husk equip (blowers trimmer, stihl saws, lawn boy 6.5 self propell (nothing but hills here), yd mchne mulch/bagger, yard machine 13 hp 36 cut and trailer with drop gate. There are a few complants about the LT but I cant afford a gravley yet. I ran with out a trailer for a few years and in buying one was the best investment I ever made. As your buisness grows try to buy commercial grade. The pains of the cheaper products will get to you. Im up to 17 residential and one commercial; in one full season from word of mouth and sign on the side of my truck. You get what you pay for but that doesnt mean that the equipment makes the worker ( just faster and more reliable )give me a sharp blade and some fuel and I can make a lawn look great with any mower.
  5. J.Henderson

    J.Henderson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    I just finished building a ramp system for my Dodge 2500. I had to build a deck first to store the ramp under while traveling. It works fine as I put my Exmark 36" in first gear, lower the throttle and walk right up the ramp. For the deck height, I used the pre-formed platforms that Dodge puts in it's pickup beds. The ramp is 8' long by 42" wide. Works great so far.
  6. AK Lawn

    AK Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Quality over Quanity first will get you Quantiy, go for semi grade commercial to make sure you are cut out for the biz and then move forward, just dont put your self in to debt it is hard to pull your self from, as far as the truck situation, i run two full crews with trailers and apart time w/ truck and works great but do not put a WB in the truck just two 21" and a trimmer so there is what i have to offer
    AK Lawn
  7. Esby

    Esby LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    I would recommend one these 21" mowers: (these will range in price from about $450-$900). I personally have had great luck with Ariens, but I know that Toro, Exmark, and Honda make great commercial 21" cutters also.


    I would stay FAR FAR away from any "homeowner equipment," this would include, but not limited to: Murry, Craftsman, MTD mowers...ect., and any "cheap" trimmer from a store such as Home Depot, Mills Fleet Farm, or Menards. I am speaking alot based on experience and also speaking on hearing horror stories from fellow contractors in the business who decided to "go cheap."

    I would deffinately spend the money on a good trimmer. If you buy a cheap trimmer and lets say it has carberator problems, it will cost more to fix it than what you bought it for. The commercial brands are made to last. I've run Echo power equipment for several years, and it hasn't failed me, especially their trimmers/brushcutters. If you are looking for a curved shaft, check out the Echo GT2400, for a great straight shaft look at the Echo SRM2400, for a handheld blower by Echo, look at model PB2100. I own all three of these products and they have never failed me, and they are used ALOT! Stihl also makes great trimmers and blowers. Their BR400/BR420 back pack blowers have been great to me, I am sure others here can back that statement up too.

    A good, quality, commercial trimmer will run you anywhere from $150-300, a handheld blower will run from $120-200, and a backpack, which has alot more power than the handheld, will cost you from $350-600. All of these prices are ballpark figures and you will be able to find some very nice equipment that falls in that price range.

    When I started out years ago, I tried to "get by" with cheap equipment, it just doesn't happen. Your equipment is what keeps you going, if it breaks, you are shut down. All 21" mowers DO NOT leave the same cut, cheap mower and often lead to a poor, unclean cut-not to mention lots of breakdowns. Also, find a good dealer that carries these commercial brands. Your dealer is one of the most important life lines for you. In my case, if a piece of equipment of mine breaks, I can bring it to my dealer and he will have it fixed on the spot, if he can't, he will give me something equivilent or better to get me by until it is done.

    Here are some websites for the manufactures I mentioned. I would buy the best commercial equipment you can afford...You will not regret getting quality, dependable equipment. Now I am sounding like a broken record, but I can not stress that fact enough.

    GOOD LUCK!!!:blob3: :blob4:
  8. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,732

    well, like the others have said, invest in a commercial grade 21 if you are going to do it. also for comparison, find you a dealer that does small engine repairs and ask what their labor rates are. you might find that 2 hours labor to fix a mower would cost what you originally paid. exmark has lots of dealers still offering their 36" metro for $1999+tax. i bought this one, it's got a 15hp kohler that i have yet to choke and then i bought the mulch kit (incredible mulching system) for another $100. also the 36" is more productive over a 21" so you'll get more done faster with a better quality cut over a home owner version. you could actually make time for more customers.

    if you buy a residential mower and cut 10 yards, that's 9 more than most people cut per week. you'll see it will wear out 9 times faster plus the wear from transporting it.

    in the long run, you would be much be off spending a little more on the front end. you can make it back easily before too long.
  9. rkbrown

    rkbrown LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    Family Mowing Co.:

    I am in a situation in some ways similar to yours. I am starting out in this business part time. I have a fulltime job as a software developer, but

    a) need more $$$ as I have twin daughters that will be 9 years old this weekend and have to think about college, proms, cars, etc for them, and

    b) I'm tired of being indoors all the time. Every spare moment when I'm home and not playing with the kids, I'm either wrenching on the truck or cars or doing something with my lawn/landscape.

    Due to economics, I will be starting out with a high-end residential mower (Snapper 21", bought from a Snapper dealer), and Ryobi trimmer with edger attachment. I am planning to upgrade to commercial after one season. I plan to have only 4-5 accounts this season and grow from there. By next season I plan to have a commercial grade 36" WB, trimmer and stick edger.

    I presently do not have a decent blower, but will rectify that in the next couple of weeks when I buy a commercial grade backpack blower. I will buy this from a dealer as opposed to a Lowes or Home Depot operation. I think it is important to build a relationship with a dealer from the service aspect. I, therefore, plan to avoid buying equip at the Loews, Home Depot type of places in favor of a good dealer of quality commercial equip.
  10. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 897

    Rk brown i am curios how much does a software developer make? Would you not make more money staying in your industry and doing software work on the side as opposed to lawn work?

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