Starting a new business, zero turn, or walk behind?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Jordan Hayslip, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. Jordan Hayslip

    Jordan Hayslip LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hey, so I am in the beginning stages of starting my new side business. I am looking to maintain 10-20 residential lawns. (This will be done from 2pm until dark, or on days off.)

    My question is should I purchase an ex-mark zero turn E series for roughly 5-6k, or should I begin with a walk behind of another brand until I acquire more business?

    Should I finance, or buy with cash, I have either option available.

    Thanks for the input, I am definitely a newb.
    Cam15 likes this.
  2. ltdlawn

    ltdlawn LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,864

    But low hour used machine cash. I run walkbehinds with sulkies. Pick a target lawn size and base you mower deck size off that.10k and under 36” .25-.75 48/52” .75up 60”
    Really focus on weekly customers that fit your equipment. If it’s just side business you can be choosy on who you service. Don’t just pick it up, make them fit your business or walk.
    Cam15 and hort101 like this.
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,923

    Well... a good hydro walk behind will cost 5-6k anyway
    So either way you’re spending the money

    I’d say finance IMO
    Put cash in bank
    Just in case

    I’d lean toward the rider because you’ve got limited time

    BUT that assumes you’ve got the right types of lawns to permit it.
    Problem is you don’t have any of these customers yet and you don’t know what kind of customers you will get.

    Get preapproved (like with Sheffield or yard card) so you can buy equipment at a moments notice
    Then sell jobs
    Buy what you need when you need it
    Not before
    By the time you’re forced to buy you’ll have a better idea of what mower will be right

    You can mow your first few lawns with a 21 or commercial 30 until you build up your customer list
  4. OP
    Jordan Hayslip

    Jordan Hayslip LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I have two yards lined up so far, (friends of mine) I think I will try to be select with the type of yards if I can be, most are very open, but some are on large inclines in my area.

    If I get closer to Atlanta is where the smaller homes/yards start to come into play.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,923

    I would not count friends yards as something to base a business purchase on
    And limiting yourself to what yards you take on this early is severely limiting to growth

    Base your business investment on the work
    Not your work on the investment
    Cam15 and hort101 like this.
  6. OP
    Jordan Hayslip

    Jordan Hayslip LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I understand, thanks for your input. I will take it into consideration, so walk behind or zero turn?
  7. hal

    hal LawnSite Silver Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 2,685

    Get a good self propelled push mower first, when you out grow that then consider a bigger mower, like a good 36 walk behind. When more comes your way then go bigger, but keep the walk behind for smaller yards and to get through gates.
    Brucey, Cam15, NormP and 1 other person like this.
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,923

    like he said,
    get a push mower first (i believe i said that above)
    like a good commercial push or a 30"...youll have need for it anyway in the future.
    Mow lawns with that until you have more lawns than time.
    Then make a purchase based on the lawns youve been getting.
    J Hisch likes this.
  9. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,049

    Start with commercial push mower as mentioned above and no debt... Only purchase equipment when you need it not in hopes of what you might sell.
    AlohaMowing likes this.
  10. Jeff@diyokc

    Jeff@diyokc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179

    Neither, you don’t have the business yet , nor can you forecast the future of what you will get!

    As suggested, a 30 inch commercial mower will get you going and can be used as necessary depending on how your business grows!

    Selling/working for your friends is easy, getting AND keeping customers, that’s your challenge!
    tareece and AlohaMowing like this.

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