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Seeking some economical tips

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    1. What size gas container should I buy to be most economical on gas?

    2. What size 2 cycle oil and gas mix container to buy to be most economical?

    3. What size spool of trimmer wire to buy to be most economical?

    4. How much 2 cycle oil should I buy to be most economical?

    5. How much edger blade should I buy to be most economical?

    6. How often to change or sharpen blades?
  2. bjack312

    bjack312 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 0

    It is definitely better to buy 2 cycle oil in larger containers. I use Amsoil, and buying by the quart is about half the price, per ounce, of buying the individual containers.

    Other items like trimmer line and edger blades can be more economical if they are purchased in bulk. You just have to decide if it is in your best interest to purchase the larger quanities.
  3. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Price divided quantity then compare.
  4. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Most of the questions you ask are determined by the amount of business you do, I used to buy 2 cycle oil by the pack with the small containers (STIHL) I now buy by the gallon and mix 5 gallons at a time which last about a week for us, it's best to keep your 2 cycle mix as fresh as possible, you are using non ethanol right? we buy trimmer string 5lbs at a time usually last a month. Like I said it just depends on how much business your doing. Three years ago a 5lb roll of trimmer string would last me a whole season, LOL and five gallons of two cycle would last me months.
  5. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,745

    if you want to be economical, you may want to look at getting an amazon.com prime account. Amazon's prices are usually a good bit cheaper than everyone else and with the prime account you get free 2 day shipping on all prime items and $3.99 overnight shipping.
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    I like to keep my gas fresh. So I have two 1 gallon cans for my 2 stroke. Always have a back up so I never have to worry about running out.

    Same with my gas. Started out with a 2 gallon can, and topping off my mowers. Always made it through the day. Now my route has grown so I have the original 2 gal can and now a 5 gal can. Again never have to worry about running out.

    Some one on another thread said that Wal Mart has plastic 5 gal water cans. No EPA spouts that are a pain to use. Going to try one of those to replace my 2 gal can.

    I use to use the 2 stroke oil in the quart. This year I have been using the little bottle's that will make 1 gal of gas oil mix. Now that I have a BR 600 BP blower I am going through 2 stroke faster.

    Thinking about going back to quart bottles of 2 S oil. Though I like the time saved and convenience of not having to make sure I have the measuring cup. Clean the cup before I measure the oil, not have a dirty the cup to clean up after I use it, not having the expense of shop rags and or paper towels to use when cleaning up the cup.

    Thing is what one LCO does may not work for another LCO. When a blade needs to be sharpened it needs to be sharpened. There is nothing to be saved. One guy sharpens his blade once a month. Blade because he has one single blade mower. Next guy sharpens his blades for his many mowers and sharpens his blades every week because he does more lawns in a week then the first guy does in a month.

    Bulk buying for many does not pay. Use up one spool of line for a season why buy a second tying up money. Large corps keep inventories low because it saves them money.

    Edger blades. I keep 1 on hand. When I use it. I pick up another one within a day or two so I have another blade on hand when I need to replace the old blade again.

    Sharpening mower blades. I have 3 blades so it does not take much time take them off, sharpen, put them on. This past Friday I just bought new blades. One for my 20" and Two blades for my 42". These blades should last the season for me. No reason to tie up money. Money tied up is not profit but just an expense that you have not used yet. And if you had to sell to raise cash you would only get to recover a partial amount of the money spent.

    Now if I had to sharpen my blades every week I could see that the time may not always be convenient for me to sharpen the blades so having an extra set would pay.

    Or if I wore out a set of blades every month for the convenience, time saved, gas saved, mileage saved to buy a seasons worth of blades.

    So as you see there is no set way to save money. Just do what is best for your operation.

  7. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    We have 500 gallons for diesel and 10 gallons of gas for gas mix
    We use 1 gal containers for mixed gas
    We buy 5-7 lbs. of trimmer line for the season
    We buy a case of 2 cycle oil and it usually lasts the season
    We usually keep a couple blades on hand
    We go every 30-50 hours unless we hit an object or mow weeds (especially crab grass.)
  8. seabee24

    seabee24 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    I think that everything really depends on these two factors

    1. what type of financial state that you are in?

    If you don't have spare funds laying around, then buying ahead of time is not the best approach, but it is needed.

    If you do have spare funds, then consider the second part listed below.

    2. what phase is your business in?

    if your solo or just 1-2 helpers - keep your inventory low. having cash will be more important

    as you gain employees, inventory is needed. I buy in small bulk qtys, it helps save a small amount of money, but the main goal is to save labor, and prevent guys from standing around, prevent trips to the store. Gas being what it is, plus labor - If i needed a nut and bolt at a cost of $2.00 it would cost me $30.00 to go get it. So I know when I go to the store i buy $30.00 worth of random nuts and bolts every few months. The same applies for every part we have. My guys are all on overtime as it is, so buying ahead of the problem really helps.

    I could never live on 1-2 sets of blades. We change ours every 1-2 days in the spring , and once per week in the summer. I get a huge cost savings if I buy more than 10 blades at once. its almost 50% off. Once again all my guys are on overtime in the spring, crew of 3 guys on O/T costs $60.00 per hour, that's a buck a min. It saves $10 to swap the blades rather than sharpen them. So i have enough sets to last me 2 months, then on a rainy day we sharpen them all when guys are not on O/T I also have guys on over the winter and this gives them half a days work.
  9. seabee24

    seabee24 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    Related to inventory, I give the guys 1 or 2 of everything they need. Then I lock the rest in a cabinet. Hang up a clip board, and if i pull something from the cabinet, it gets written down, then repurchased. I found that If i just put everything out on the shelf's the guys consume it, and never replace it or bring it to my attention until we are out and need it.

    you should keep in mind on inventory - inventory is money in another form. Money could be earning you interest someplace even if it is small, so you need to make sure that the inventory that your taking on has enough savings or production savings.
  10. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    1. 5 gallon for straight and 2.5 for mix so you can tell them apart.

    2. 2.5 gallon

    3. 5 lb.

    4. Gallon

    5. 500 but I'd start smaller in this case, 50, 100.

    6. Every time the mower needs fuel, daily, or every 8 hours.

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