Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by NWebb2002, May 11, 2008.

  1. NWebb2002

    NWebb2002 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Been reading on this site for well over a month trying to find out everything I possibly can to start a Lawn Service. This is what I have come up with.

    **Please throw out any suggestions and/or questions

    Plan – (2 man crew/Oklahoma/Already have 2 16’ Trailers available)

    - Have about 20k in startup Capital and Looking to purchase the following

    1.) 48” – 52” ZTR – After looking at Toro, Scag, Hustler, Dixie Chopper, Ferris, Deere, Land Pride I have figured out its all a bunch of crap. The way these dealers are able to switch up the engines, decks, and accessories it is really hard to make a choice. I am leaning towards the Toro 52” Z400. (Will be primarily used for larger residential/small commercial). Want to stay at around 7k
    2.) 36” Walk Behind – Still have not decided here (There is a Ferris Walk-Behind for sale at one of the local shops for $2,600.00 which seems to be a good deal, but the local dealers do not have many Walk-Behinds of this size to look at. Want to stay around 3k
    3.) 32” Walk Behind – Looked at a Toro for about $3,500.00. Want to stay around 3k

    The primary idea IMO is to get in and out of the job as quickly as possible. On smaller yards, we will use the 32/36 Walk behinds to get in and out quick. Larger Yards either the 32 or 36 depending on gate size and the ZTR. The reason I am leaning towards Toro is I personally talked to the owner of one of the local shops who was a mechanic that worked on commercial mowers for 20 years. Had a lot of good input and I believe he will treat me right (service etc..), though it seems there is not a single local dealer willing to budge on price.

    We have a local Real Estate company that will be turning over property to us to mow prior to the listing and throughout the sale. The grass on these properties will need to be bagged initially (Long). After the first cut mulching will be acceptable. So I am trying to figure out the best option for mixing bagging options with the equipment I am looking to purchase. I have found this link on this site… to the Accelerator baggers and really liked the options available there. Since we will be using the Walk Behinds most of the time, bagging with these must be an option.

    Of the 2 Trailers we have available, one is setup for Hauling Equipment, the other for Clippings/Tree Limbs etc…

    4.) Stick Edger’s/Trimmers – I like the Shindaiwa products so far
    5.) Blower – Undecided
    6.) Trim Mower – Probably Toro 21’ Com
    7.) Chain-saw – just because

    OK… so I want to get all the ******** crap out of the way now so I don’t blow my darn mower up the first week and be set back for a month. Here are my questions…

    1.) Decks - If I go Toro the main difference in price is based on the 7 gauge Deck vs. the Turbo Force. Worth getting the Turbo Force for an extra 1k to price? Do all commercial mowers have the same options when selling deck’s?
    2.) Blades – The standard blades that come with these mower’s decent? Or should I go ahead and buy better blades the day I make the purchase. How hard is it to change blades? How often do you sharpen and do you sharpen them or let the dealer? If you sharpen them what do you use?
    3.) Mulching Kit? Yes/No? Matter?
    4.) When Bagging do you… use a tarp and blow/dump all the crap on the tarp and throw that in the back of your trailer? If so.. special type of Tarp? Do you buy large Trash-Bags and use those? If so.. special type of Bags? Is it worth investing in a Vacuum to handle this instead of using a bagging mower? If so.. best type of Vacuum?
    5.) Where do you dump your clippings? Do you go to the local Landfill or a local Compost service? Other Suggestions?
    6.) Accessories – Gas Can’s, Fix-a-Flat, Edger Cord, Oil, Grease, Cooler, Rakes, Brooms, Shovels, Trash Cans, Tie Downs for equipment, Power Washer, Air Compressor, Primary tools… What am I missing? Any other suggestions?
    7.) Clothing - It gets to be 100+ here, is there any recommendations for clothing. Do you wear long-pants/shirts (thin material that breathes)? Or shorts, wife-beater =) , and flip flops. Recommended shoes? Tennis shoes or…?
    8.) Water or Energy Drinks to keep going on those really hot days?
    9.) Mowing a yard with weeds then mowing a lawn w/out… Do you wash the mower prior to mowing the next yard so you don’t have to worry about depositing seed?
    10,) Trailer setup – any creative items you guys have created that save time? Storage on your trailer… where do you keep all the misc. stuff?
    11. ) When determining routes what is priority? What do you use to determine this priority?
    12.) Do you accept Credit Card Payments? Cash-only? Monthly-billing? What do you prefer and how do you go about getting what you want?
    13.) What time do you guys start mowing in the morning? Sun-up? When do you quit?
    14.) Anyone have bad allergies/sinus issues that mow? How do you deal with it?
    15.) Poison Ivy/Oak or any other of that nasty crap out there… Stories? What do you do if you see it (or think you see it)?
    16.) Do you ever pull out grass killer/weed killer?

    I have many more questions, but this has already become a book.. should be a good start though.

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    do not take offense but judging from some of your ? i think you would be better off to go work for some one else for a year or two to learn this field its not as easy as you think.
  3. NWebb2002

    NWebb2002 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    You realize you've just shut this whole thread down by responding that way. I don't take offense to your post, but the other people that might want some of these questions answered might.

    I have many friends that are local fire-fighters most of which run a lawn-care service. It might not be to the extent that you all run yours, but they make $$ and do a good job. I would say that they do very simple jobs. I don't mind doing the simple stuff and making all the mistakes most make and learning that way. I figured I would hop on the "Largest Online Community in the Green Industry" and get a couple reasonable responses.

    I know something for sure. There is always someone that makes more money and for damn SURE there is always someone that can do it better. I'm pretty sure I know the answers to the questions in my post. The fact is this is a public forum with many different answers and perspectives to the questions posted above. I would much rather hear a 10 worded response to one of those questions to help me and others that read this thread than "its not as easy as you think".

    What do you wear when your mowing? Just a simple question...

    Do you have a shirt designed for business? Do you wear this shirt when you work? What color is this shirt? I would think if it were black that would be a bad choice... Do you wear blue-jeans? What type of shoes do you wear?

    The reason I ask is this... I could wear Carhartt Artic Gear and mow a lawn... LOL, though this is not the best choice OBVIOUSLY. The link below is about a study designed around making clothing for the Lawn Care business.

    Yes, the question seems a tad ********, but someone might have actually thought of wearing comfortable clothing while mowing.

    Hell, do you drink out of an insulated cup while working to keep whatever you drink cooler longer?

    We all know, using the RIGHT tool for the job makes all the difference in the world! You guys know the right tools to use. I was just hoping you would share.

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