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Should I invest?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SSS 18734, May 25, 2006.

  1. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    So i'm 17 and have been mowing since my freshman year in high school. Right now I have a Toro self propelled mower that does a nice job, and I have 5 lawns a week which brings me $180 a week @ about $30 an hour. If I keep going at this rate, I want to have about 10 jobs a week this summer. so about $350 a week.

    But recently i've been thinking of really expanding my work. I don't have enough money to buy a real commercial mower, and was wondering if a used residential zero-turn mower would be a good invenstment to make? Ones that are about 3 or 4 years old are going for about $1000 in the classifieds. I figure with one of these I can mow, trim, and clean up a lawn in about half an hour and make somewhere around 80 bucks an hour doing so. But at the same time, I have to find about 15 more jobs, pay off the $1500 or so that I will need for the mower and trailer, and have a used mower on my hands that might possibly need repair. I really need to be making more money than I am for college, but I don't want to make a big mistake that will just drain most of my savings. Any comments? advice?

    oh and how do you get a 42" mower into a fenced in backyard?
  2. mrbray101

    mrbray101 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    if you plan on doing this for any length of time a commercial walk behind would be a better investment for you. Spend 1000-1500 on used walk behind and trailer. 36" would work fine but if back yards arent an issue then you could move up to a 48 or so. A commercial mower will hold up to abuse, a residential mower will be hassle. Good luck man.
  3. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Well I plan on doing it this season and the next until I start college next fall. So basically about 1 and 2/3 of a season. I will have to drop it when college starts and will probobally sell the equipment. Any reccomendations on what type of mowers to look for? I am completely new to larger mowers.
  4. Frosty03

    Frosty03 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Why sell? That would be a perfect way to get extra money through college or even work your way through college.

    10 accounts at the rate you are charging is $1400 per month. Why quit? Even if you are moving off, you can get accounts somewhere. If you want to have a place to stash your equipment, do like I did, I found a nice widow and cut her grass in exchange for a place in her garage for my equipment until I got one of my own.

    If you are going to invest in something only to sell it later, go cheap. If you are going to keep at it, go with a major brand like Exmark.

    If you do get a walkbehind mower, get a hydro drive for ease of use.

    Good luck.
  5. firefightergw

    firefightergw LawnSite Gold Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 3,340

    Ditto! Good advice.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Get a walk behind, you can drive it into the back of your truck with ramps and not need a trailer.
  7. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    well, unfortunately I have a station wagon. Right now I stow all my equipment inside the wagon... there isn't any room for a commercial walk behind so a trailer is a must.

    Would a 32" commercial walk behind mower really get a job done much faster than the 21" Toro self-propelled mower I have? I still have to trim and clean everything up in addition to mowing. If a regular 1 hour job would take me 40 minutes with a commercial machine, it wouldn't be worth it.

    Also, any ideas on where to look for a used walk-behind?

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    A 32 or 36 walk behind will be a good bit faster than a 21. The time savings really depends on how large your lawns are...if they are pretty small, like 2-4k, you won't save a great deal of time. You start getting larger than that and you will save some time.

    You can check at the local equipment dealer, see if they know anyone selling a mower. Or Craigslist, you can find people selling walk behinds too.
  9. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    finally people are being helpfull and not asking if he is licensed and insured...

    anyways my motto is dont waste any money unless you desperatly need a new mower... If you can get the 10 lawns down with your current mower then keep doing that for a month or two and save the money and buy something used but that isnt abused... If you will be absolutely dead from doing 10 lawns with ur current mower then yes buy what you gotta
  10. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    I was looking around on eBay. I was wondering if this mower, if I got it for around $1200 would serve me well? It's barely used, it's local, and would be awesome if I could get a good mower at a good price. Should I make an offer?


    Physically, is work with a commercial walk behind much easier than a self-propelled mower? That is my main concern, because after 3 or 4 jobs in decent weather, I am exhausted. But if I could do 7 or 8 a day (and do each job about twice as quickly), I can accumulate more work and earn more money.

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