Start-up Equipment


LawnSite Member
Chesapeake, VA
New to the forum and my first post. I am thinking of starting a part-time lawn care service (Mar 01). Have $4K to invest and will probably borrow an add'l $2K from bank. Thinking of buying the following equipment:

-5' x 12' trailer w/2' solid steel sides with brackets for racks, spare tire w/mount, 2'x2'x5' mesh tool box, storage for 5 gal gas can. 3500lb axle. (made to order). Approx $2,000.00. Saw mesh side trailers for $995.00 but no where near the trailer described above.
-36" 14HP Kaw Exmark Metro Gear Drive: $2450.00
-Echo Pro Attachment Series: PAS-2601 power source: $300.00
-Echo Hedge Clipper attachment: $200.00
-Echo Trimmer attachment: $100.00
-Echo Edger attachment: $90.00
-Echo Tiller/Cultivator: $200.00
-Shindaiwa BP Blower EB500: $379.00
-Insurance policy w/remaining money.

I know the above equipment is not the best, would like a Hydro Turf Tracer and individual Shindaiwa equipment but can not afford it now, maybe next year. Do you think the above equipment is alright to start with? Your help and responses will be greatly appreciated. Prices shown are what is on equipment display in store. Dealer stated he would give a better price when I bought everything together.


Former Moderator

Too much money in that trailer, spend it in equipment.

Buy a used trailer, or settle for a 5 X 10 standard trailer
should run you around 6 to 700 hundred bucks new.

Need a 21 inch trim mower. Use your extra money you saved buying the 5 X 10, and get a hydro.

Matt and Jodi

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
Welcome to Lawnsite. For that small of a mower, you can just haul it in the back of your pickup. You could save $2000 doing that and buy a better mower. The mower is what will make you the money. I have always tryed to get the best mower I could since it the most important part of my business. I would take that $2000 saved and add it to what you were going to buy. This is just my opinion though, you may not have a pickup to haul one in. You didn't say what your using to pull this.



LawnSite Fanatic
Flint, Michigan
Spencer, You can probably do better on the price of the Exmark, (I run them) and I KNOW you can do a WHOLE LOT better on the trailer! This trailer may have 2'solid steel sides, but what does that do for the business except add alot of weight to tow? (Gas mileage is a contributing factor in this equation) You can get a ladder frame 16 footer for almost half that cost. Then, you'll have plenty of room to organize it, move around and work, and most of all, plenty of room for growth. And make sure you go bigger than a 5 ft. width. You just might end up with a 60" cut one day. Shop around. The Echo thing - (I run alot of Echo too) is kind of neat, but it's kind of a gimmick, also. As far as the "tiller-cultivator" attachment goes, what would you really need it for? Unless you were going to take care of a whole lot of flower beds or something. And if you're doing this business part time, and paying for a mower too, you want that mower out there WORKING - not sitting on the trailer. The flowers can come later if you desire. A little is o.k., but not enough to justify 200 bucks on something that you'll get that little use out of. Also, keep in mind that these thing DON'T work like the individual pieces of equipment, and yes, not only do they take the time to switch attachments all the time, but they wear out in the joints. Also, have you shopped around for insurance yet? For the policy you're going to need, it may not cost you as much as what you might have been anticipating. When I added up your equipment, I came up with $3719. This was including the tiller gizmo. If you're financing 2K, this leaves you with about 2500 bucks. Now, if you can get a better deal on an "all at once" purchase, (we know you can) you're looking at about $3500.. Plus, a far better deal on the trailer, you best bet would be to buy the real pieces of equipment you need, so it lasts longer, performs better, saves you time, and saves you the grief. This equipment should include a walk behind edger. Now alot of guys will say how well their stick edgers perform - and they DO! BUT, if you are going to own any ONE edger, it should be a walk behind-a GOOD one. The reason being is when you make initial edges, (and you will be) you need this adequate power. By the looks of it, even if you DO buy the proper equipment, and shop around for a decent trailer, you'll STILL have money left to perhaps do yourself a little better on you're mower. How does a 48" sound? Anyway, good luck with it, and I hope you keep us posted on how it goes for you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and don't hesitate to use the search function on here-it's AWEsome! There isn't a whole lot that hasn't been covered on Lawnsite, so it's in there! You can also Email me if you need, my address is in the profile. :)

[Edited by Runner on 01-15-2001 at 11:07 PM]


LawnSite Member
Chesapeake, VA
1MajorTom and Eric: thank you for your input.

Eric: I have a 2000 F-250 5.4L standard bed. Do you really think I can get away with not having a trailer? I was initially thinking about this but thought it would not look professional. If I did just used my truck and bought some ramps that would allow me the option to buy the Hydro that I want. I believe the dealer wanted $4399 for the 48" Exmark Turf Tracer with 15HP Kaw and $4799 for the 17HP Kaw.

Anyone else have any thoughts about just using a truck w/o a trailer?

Any comments on the Echo equipment for starting out with?

Thanks for the responses, it's getting me to think about what I should really invest in. There is so much to buy but not enough cash.


LawnSite Fanatic
Flint, Michigan
As far as just using your truck to haul your equip., it'll work, but remember a big part of this job is picking up the fallen sticks, hauling away the shrub clippings, etc. You will also have other equipment in the back too. This may mean taking your trimmer, and your blower out every time you need to unload your mower. Also, a mower loads aLOT easier onto a trailer than it does into the back of a truck! That's not to mention that a trailer can be used for alot of other things and hauling. It's just a handy thing to have.


LawnSite Silver Member
I agree with Eric. Use the back of your truck and save the cash. I customized a stake rack for the back of my '77 F-100 for about $500 to accomodate lawn equipment.

I thru bolted hooks to carry my line trimmer. I used those triangular hd bookshelf holders with plywood fastened to 'em to hold my bp blower. Both pieces were fastened using bungee's. I attatched a dowel to hold trimmer line to the bulkhead. The grass catcher I kept over the front caster's. Trash bags were on the floor of the cab for easy access. I used customers can to hold the bags open and placed the filled bags at the curb for pick-up that week.

Looking at your prices I figured about $3700. I would upgrade the 36 to a 48 belt drive ($2600). I would purchase a good bp blower ($400+/-). I would purchase a quality line trimmer ($300+/-). I would invest in quality 24" double sided gas shears ($300+/-). I would estimate aprox. $500(+/-) for insurances.

My .02 should save you roughly $1600 +/-. Just some food for thought on your new venture. Hope this helps you some.




LawnSite Member
ON Canada
It's alot more difficult to load up your truck than a trailer. And like Runner said you can use the trailer for a lot of other things also. Why don't you get the trailer for $995.00? It will do the same job won't it? A trailer is a trailer as long as it will haul around your equipment.

Randy Scott

LawnSite Bronze Member
Spencer, I can't give you any recommendations about the mowers but I think you are going to need a trailer. Talk about a pain in the butt loading everything and hauling crap away all in the same four ft. by eight ft. area. What about at the end of the day when you want to go to the store, or the mall, or wherever. You have all your expensive stuff just asking to get ripped off. Maybe you have another vehicle, but with the trailer, you could dump it off at home and go do what you need without any worries. I know you have a budget, we all do, but it takes money to make money. Just my two cents.