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Shying away from large properties ... Quick 36?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Exact Rototilling, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Ok I have a Quick 36 Samurai with a step saver - still lots of snow here so I haven't used it yet. There are many properties in my area where the grass area easily exceeds 2 acres? I know the correct answer is get a much bigger riding mower ZTR 52"+ etc. However for the 2008 mowing season my most productive mower will be my Quick 36.

    It is very possible that I will buy a 44" or 48" WB if I sign up a bunch of accounts and the $$$ pours in, however a ZTR mower will require a trailer and vehicle upgrades that I'm not willing to pay for this year . . . unless cash flow is explosive.

    In light of starting out with a Q 36 what size properties would become counter productive compared to mowing 1/2 acres or less properties for the gong rate of $35+?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I would think a full acre would be the absolute most I'd want to tackle with a 36" deck.
    At least initially I would stick to < acre, smaller and up to a full acre.
    Then if you should find an acre isn't all that (after you've done a few) you could adjust.

    Do work hard and start saving for a 48", that extra foot of deck makes a world of difference...
    But the Q-36 is a great starting mower, it really is, you'll be fine.
  3. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I don't have any properties near that large, so take what I say with a grain of salt... I think 2 acres would be the max, but some caveats: If most properties are well over an acre, I don't know if you have a choice. If you want growth, and growth could fuel your bank account for a bigger machine and a trailer for next year, maybe you bite the bullet, and give that Quick a good workout this year.

    If you have enough small properties to fill your schedule, then wait, and don't go after the bigger ones. If your schedule isn't filled, then take some of the larger properties so that you can upgrade your equipment inventory next year. Your efficiency would suffer in terms of $ per hour, but if that's what it takes to get a bigger machine to grow in your market.... then I would take some of those bigger plots. Better to make 70% of your hourly rate to fill down time than to have down time that makes no money.

    Sometimes I think one just has to work a little harder to grow and to be able to afford bigger, more efficient equipment in a given target market. If there are enough smaller properties to fill your schedule, target them. If not, make sure your schedule is full, even if it means taking on bigger properties at a reduced $ per hour rate.
  4. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,289

    You will look like a fish in the sea with a 36" on a 2 acre lawn. It just wont be profitable for you.
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Excellent responses - I agree. Fish in the sea :laugh: maybe . . .

    If I do get any calls from large property owners over 1.5+ acres for estimates I'm seriously considering offering them an initial mow, trim & blow at a reduced rate, one time ONLY strictly specified [no future obligation] so my basic costs are covered. This will not be advertised but will be offered at the time of the estimate. By using Google maps with the aerial overhead view I can get an idea of how large the properties grass area is. This gives me a chance to chart my total time and allows me to gauge within reason profitability, efficiency etc. This also allows them to see the quality of my work. Then I state my rate, price, contract, service agreement, negotiate etc. Not sure if this will be well received but I think it will work depending on the client.

    I did a vacation mow last year with my 21" on a huge corner lot just so I could find out how much time it would take me. I was paid $50 but it took me 90 minutes. I walked away with the experience which allowed me to gauge future properties. I also realized that the 21" is not going to cut it :hammerhead: and I needed to buy a Quick 36 at a minimum to speed the process up for anything bigger than a small lawn.
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

  7. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,445

    Keep to the small stuff. It's more profitable in most cases anyway.
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,452

    If you are in this to make extra money you got to concentrate on one size of lawns and go for it. Obviously you selected the small unit so do small yards and forget the big stuff. A guy with a 61" will blow you away in pricing a acre yard--if he can get into it.
  9. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    To an extent I would agree with topsites ... I would argue that the Quick 36" could easily handle up to between 1 - 1.5 acres without any real degradation in productivity. However, what topsites said about do a few and then determine for yourself whether you think could do larger properties with it ... this realy id the best approach to resolve the question.
  10. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    If smaller properties are more properties then can the case be made to avoid larger properties the bigger trailers and trucks to haul around the ZTR's etc. :confused:

    My business model is actually not to cater to mowing specifically but I view MOWING as a fill in around the other HOPEFULLY more profitable other work I will provide. Aeration, rototilling, turf repair etc. That's my biz plan for 2008. :rolleyes:

    That doesn't mean I won't do an excellent job of mowing . . . but I'd rather focus on the more profitable services.

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