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Trailer size for a lawn care newbie?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Holland, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Holland

    Holland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 748

    Wanting to start a small lawn care business in spring 2013. Gonna concentrate on residential homes in my area. Just in few miles radius are 10+ large newer neighborhoods with homes selling like hot cakes. I already own a newer crew cab Silverado but was wanting a small trailer to start off with. What do you guys recommend? If I have the extra money should I do a small enclosed 6x12 for the advertising or since I'm just starting off stick with say a 6x10 or 6x12 open? I can always sell when I outgrow so that's not a problem.
    Im gonna do a one man show and already bought a few used Stihl and Echo handhelds and a blower. Im now looking for a used commercial Honda or Toro 21 and a used 36 walk behind.
    Thanks for all the great info from you guys on lawn site!!
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  2. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Enclosed trailers are nice if you are lacking storage space and/or want to keep your equipment out of the weather. Are they worth the extra money?...well, that's how important the previously mentioned things are to you. I've been using open trailers and have never had any problems and am able to get more trailer for my money. I always believe that you should go about 2' bigger than what you need in a trailer, so if you NEED a 12' trailer, go for a 14' one instead. Many guys on here say to go as big as you can afford, I have to disagree with them...get one that will allow you to grow a little but don't get one that is far too big for what you need in the foreseeable future.

    If I were in your shoes and from the equipment you described, I would go with a 6x12. If you can get a 6.5' wide trailer, you'll appreciate the extra width.
  3. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,220

    Start out with like a 5x10 or something like that. Do an open. You can get those pretty darn cheap.
    Then when you starting building the biz, step your trailer up and PAY CASH. Ignore those on there that say buy a 7x16 enclosed right out the gate if you will be borrowing money to do so. If you have the cash then by all means.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,937

    I use a Big-Tex 6.5X12, single axle trailer. My truck is an F-250 XL, reg cab, 8 ft bed. The bed has a cap (cabin high). I have built a two level shelf in the rear, so that I can carry handled work tools, tool boxes, gas cans, and other boxed items for ropes, parts, etc. on the bottom. The top has partitions for my handhelds ( e.g. hedge trimmer, trimmer, edger, hand blower. This means that all these items are reasonably secure, and certainly all out of the weather. I work solo. I've used my trailer two ways,

    1. Fully open, carrying a 36" w/b, 48" ZTR, and 21" hand mower. This still gives me some room to haul other things (e.g. tied tarps), 8hp wheeled blower, ladders for trim work, planks, etc.

    2. Debris bin in the front, open in the rear. I made a plywood bin to enclose an area in the front, 6.5 wide, and 4.0 long, with sides that were 36" high front/rear, and 27" side/side. A plank bolted to the uprights at the 4 ft mark provided a "bumper" for the equipment carried in the remaining 8 ft of rear. I used the debris bin to haul grass clippings, leaves, or other debris I needed to carry. Removal of the debris is by silage fork, or pitchfork. The rear area will carry two push mowers, my wheeled blower, and 36" w/b OR 48" ZTR (not both). Also, there is limited space to carry a few other items, but not equipment.

    Because of wanting to carry both the w/b AND ZTR last season, I moved to configuration #1. I did away with the debris bin, using other methods to handle the debris. I was making too many decisions on route selection and job arrangement to carry one or the other. Having both the w/b and ZTR on the trailer at one time gave me more options.

    I think the 6.5X12 trailer is a very good place to start. I worked with a 5x10 for years before having an opportunity to buy the 6.5X12 very cheaply. I should have made the switch much earlier. I did not have the 48" ZTR when using the 5X10, only the 36" w/b and hand mowers.

    I think I see one solo operator in my area with an enclosed trailer. He has been in business a very long time, and does specialized work. Everybody else has an open trailer, most with the 6.5X12, sometimes a 6.5X14 (tandem axle).
  5. Holland

    Holland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 748

    Thanks for the replys. Yeah I don't plan on buying anything on credit to start. Only bills I want is the mortgage and between me and the wife one truck note but only 2years left at $350 a month.
    So I'll be buying or have bought everything cash. I have enough to buy the enclosed, but is the extra cost worth the advertising and professional look? Open looks professional as well, but with an enclosed I would be only one in my area with one. Is that a good thing?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,220

    I can say one thing with an enclosed, I prefer it over an open. But do not get a single axle enclosed you will want a dual axle - keeps some weight off back end of your truck. I would plan on spending at least $4K new for an enclosed, then more to letter it up and build the inside with racks and shelves like you want. Chinese tires will go to crap first season, then $500 more for all new tires.
    If that is easily in your budget to start up, then go for it you wont be disappointed. If this will blow your budget away, go with a simple open to start.
  7. PabsMaster

    PabsMaster LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    I use a 4x7 open trailer. It fits a scag sfw, and a honda push mower. Thats just what I use, and because I have to fit in the garage. A 5x8 should be fine.

    Good Luck!

  8. I started out with a 5x8 and it was ok with a 48 inch mower so I'm glad that I got a 6.5 ft. x 12 with rails that come up over 2 feet high. I really prefer the higher side rails as opposed to those that only come up about a foot above the trailer's bed. I've got a toolbox mounted on top of those rails on the front of the trailer and it's worked out pretty well. If you don't have a shed, garage, or some place to keep your trailer under then you might want to consider the enclosed trailer.
  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I tend to think about fuel consumption. An open trailer will always be easier on the gas tank as will a single axle trailer over a tandem axle trailer. If I were you I'd get a 6X12 open trailer. You have room to grow if you get a bigger mower and it cuts down on fuel consumption over an enclosed trailer.
  10. skorum03

    skorum03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    I would go with a 6 X 12. Just starting with the mowers you have that will be more than enough room. Besides, the price difference when buying new between a 6 x 12 and a 6 x 10 really isn't that big so you might as well get the extra space, and possibly build a bin like some of the other guys have said. I'm going to get a 6.5 x 14 this year and that should last me for a long time, and I'm definitely putting a bin on it.

    YardBros Outdoors

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