"Starter" Equipment List??????

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sailorslawncare, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. sailorslawncare

    sailorslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I need some suggestions for equipment to do mostly residential accounts. I think I am going to go with used equipment as I'm just getting started. I am going to be a "legit" lawn service so I want professional equipment for a decent price. Can you help???
  2. Leaf Jockey

    Leaf Jockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    Bare minimum you need a mower to cut the grass. This could be a 21" push or a 72" ztr. It depends on the size of the properties, and size of your budget. You also need a string trimmer and a blower for cleaning up after yourself. You will also need to get this equipment to the job site. I'm not sure if this answers your question.

  3. sailorslawncare

    sailorslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    a little more in depth... trailer size, brand of equip, size of mower (width&hp), how many trimmers, edgers, other tools, exc... I'm also gonna be doing tree services as well. The lawns are from less than a quater of an acre to half an acre. I have between $3000-$4000 to spend.
  4. advantage landscaping

    advantage landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    that's a fairly tight budget. first things first though. you NEED a truck and trailer. Let's hope you have the truck, and the right trailer hitch. For a trailer, go 6 x 12. You can go bigger in the future, but for now you need at least that. a 5 x 10 is pushing space considerations.

    Once you have the trailer, you need a mower. Tight budget means you probably have to go belt drive instead of hydro, but for small lots that's okay. A 36'' fits your budget well, a 48'' would be better but on smaller lots will not make all that much of a difference. A 15 hp KOHLER OR KAWI is plenty, 17 if on the 48". You can get a nice scag or exmark metro for $2000 used, and be sure you get the grass catcher. Without that good luck on fall clean-ups, you're going to need it.

    Go with a reputable brand for hand-held power equipment. I like all the ECHO products, Shindaiwa is good and so is Stihl. I wouldn't buy used because the money saved is marginal and there is a lot you can do to mess with a 2-cyl engine. Not necessarily like the mower.

    For used stuff, including the trailer and mower, check craigslist. Or, go to a local scag, toro, etc, dealer and see what they have. Maybe they know of someone who needs to unload some equipment. Best of all - The dealer would know in this case if the unit was always brought in for routine maint.

    Brand really isn't that important. Don't go buy the Toro trimmers at Home Depot (or any other brand there for that matter, although some sell ECHO which is fine) because they are made as cheap as possible. As long as it is commercial, the most important selling point is dealer support. If you have a good dealer than that's about all you can ask for.

    By the way how are you planning on getting enough customers to justify $4000? Figure $2000 for a mower (at least), $600-800 for a trailer (at least, and this is open) and another $500 + on hand held power equip. including hedge trimmer, blower, edger, string trimmer, etc. That's a lot of money to spend, make sure you have the business first. AND DON'T UNDERBID AND LOW-BALL JUST TO GET BUSINESS!!! BELIEVE ME, YOU ALWAYS END UP LOOSING IN THAT CASE!!!
  5. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    You don't absolutely have to have a trailer 1st yr. A 36'' Wb, 21'' Wb, Trimmer , Backpack blower, etc, can all fit in the back of a normal 8 ft. truck bed, and a set of ramps take care of the loading/unloading problem. If I could make it work, so could anybody else o a tight budget.
  6. advantage landscaping

    advantage landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    You're just waiting for an accident though, i have done it too...

    And that's saying he has a big truck. What if he has a compact pick-up?
  7. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    Well, then there's the risk/reward thing. Is it worth it to put money up for a trailer right away, or can you take the risk of a possible accident to save money for a year or two? It's a whole lot easier to build up if you're not in debt. When I started seven years ago, I didn't even have a truck, and I still was making thousands each year to save for equipment, etc.
  8. M&R Specialty Lawns

    M&R Specialty Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    If you don't mind me jumping in on this topic...that was a question I was going to ask on another thread....Getting the business b/f you buy the equipment...I wanted to know if that is the way that biz owners do if they don't already have the equipment....

    Now referring to having your equipment on the truck...how many of you believe that customers are turned off by that??? To me professionalism is the upmost importance...many of you may disagree and state that your performance is most important, but I for one would be turned off if I didn't see a professional looking product arriving to do a service....what do you all think??

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Alright if your going to have a lawn service and a tree service then you are going to need quite a bit of stuff.

    For a primary mower i would go with a exmark or cub cadet 32" which is about $2100
    For a 21" mower id get a snapper commercial hi vac with the honda engine for $899
    And for hand helds im a echo and stihl fan. I have echo blowers which for good ones are around $450 and i also have an echo edger which is around $260. The stihl weedeater id go with is the biggest but it is the best in my opinion and worth every cent, it is the FS-250R and retails for about $450. But if you dont want to spend that kind of money get an echo SRM-210 trimmer for $199. And for a good climbing saw i love my Stihl MS-192T it has great power at a great price, it is only $299. And a ground saw a MS-361 or 441 is are good saws but go for about $600-$750. And if you are going to do tree work then you are going to want a tandam axle trailer with 4 foot mesh metal sides. A 6.5 by 12 is good and is what i have. with the tall sides you can put alot of branchs in there if you know what you are doing.

    If you have any questions on equipment feel free to ask because i worked at a equipment dealer over summer and i know alot about the stuff.
  10. advantage landscaping

    advantage landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    see, there's a lot of middle ground in getting work and getting equipment. The fear, understandably, is that you have 5k or 10k in equipment without the work to back it. I say have AT LEAST the work lined up to cover your costs. If that means you are going to spend $5-10 k for the year total, have at least that cost in clients BEFORE you go crazy and spend on stuff.

    You have to bite the bullet though, everyone who starts does. You have to have the equipment prior to the season. While it may seem a little scary, if you want to grow fast that's how to do it. And if you have the equipment advertise you a** off to get business. You can't be scared - And remember yes you did pay $x in money for your equipment, but you do own it. And that means if things don't work out, sell it and take a little bit of a hit, but you still don't loose a whole lot of money.

    Business is an adventure if you want to be good at it, but it can also be fun and very profitable if you know what you're doing and do good work. Good luck, and how are you feeling about your biz M&R?

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