Trimmer Expense

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I'm just curious if anyone who has been in the business for some time, has made any attempt to estimate the actual cost of running a string trimmer? I know it could, and would, vary greatly depending upon conditions, etc, but was wondering what the estimted life of the average 2-cycle trimmer is, 1000 hrs, 2000 hrs.?

    In other words, in computing costs (aside from labor), what would you figure per hour (or minute) the actual cost of running a trimmer to be?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It's weird for sure and it varies... I treat my equipment carefully MOST the time. I can never figure the hours, so I go by yards serviced figuring ~700 yards/year. Then 1,000 yards at a time and run a trimmer 10 minutes/yard average - if a trimmer lasts 2,000 yards OR 3 years, I am happy.

    Every trimmer I've bought (so far 3) cost 300 dollars.
    The FIRST one (a stihl fs-85) lasted only ONE low-production year (my first year I did not have many customers) and I had to buy another trimmer my second year because my first one had lost ALL compression.
    - I ran the Fs-85 Wot all the time and mostly with .095 string.

    My SECOND trimmer (an echo srm-260s) is still running strong, now in my 4th year, after having gone through a couple fair years, you could say 1500 yards, maybe 2,000 under the echo.
    - I ran the echo with just enough throttle to do the job, and mostly .080.

    So, I bought another fs-85 because I have the hedge trimmer attachment made for stihl and I wanted another tool as backup, it is brand-new, just broke it in and is still running .090 (or .095 whatever that thick line is) came with it from the dealer.
    - I run 'enough throttle to do the job,' and that's how I broke it in...

    So I have now the echo AND the stihl, as soon as the stihl runs out of .095, I'll install a pre-wound spool of .080 on it as I prefer the thinner .080 string nowadays. Ok, I would say I have enough trimmer and line to last me through at LEAST two, likely 3 more years (lets go 4), and lets figure fuel:

    ONE tank of mix is about 24 ounces of mix at $4/gallon, one tank lasts ~7 yards @700/year = 100 tanks x 24 ounces = 2,400 ounces / 128 ounces = 19 gallons x $4 = 80 dollars / year, make it $100. Then, add $100 / year in filters and maintenance.

    So $1,500 spent / 4 years = $500 / year BUT both trimmers are good and I got a TON of string + like a case of oil left.

    So add $800 for the next 4 years for fuel, filters, plugs and maintenance.
    $2,400 (cauz 2300/8 is bs) for 8 years = $300 / year.

    Hmmm, add another trimmer, +$300 + $200 (fuel + bs) and another year:
    erm 2300 + 500 = 2800/9 is bs so $2,700 / 9 = $300 / year arrrg lets go 10:
    2300 + 700 = 3000 / 10 = $300 / year.

    Well... $300 / year it is, you should be able to come out lower but it's hard to say without running for 10 - 20 years solid, the figure is estimated and may be higher or lower in the end AND depends on your business but there's something is not TOO far off, me thinks.
  3. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    My dealer has been tracking cost for years on 2 cycle and just a couple of years on the 4 strokes, he has approx 400 clients reporting to him. As of Jan 2005
    2 stroke cost of unit is $2.16 per hour
    4 stroke cost of unit is $1.49 per hour
    this covers the cost of the unit, fuel/oil, maintence, repair
    Hope this helps some
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,558

    How about a little explanation on this....does this say that my trimmer that I am running 1000 hours a year is costing me $2000?
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I look at a trimmer as a throw away expense. I buy a new one every year. $300.

    If anyone is ever looking for a trimmer, let me know.
  6. Lake Claire Lawn Ranger

    Lake Claire Lawn Ranger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Well, NOW you tell me. :D
  7. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I had asked the same question Ed and his answer was '' Some people get alot of hours from a trimmer, alot more than others''. But as an avg here are the cost breakdown on a 2 stroke. unit cost per hr.40/ fuel cost per hour $1.01/ maint cost per hour .41/ repair cost.34/ for a total of $2.16 per hour.
    I figure the cost per hour would be less on a trimmer also, I never put a pencil to it, but I can get 3-5 years from a trimmer and I dont think I have spent $2.16 per hour on it including the initial purchase ,up keep, and replacement purchase and I would be less than that.
    On the other hand, I have seen owners here at lawnsite that say there employee's go through a trimmer every year. I had a part time employee one time and he used 3 times the fuel, string that I did. Plus he didnt own the trimmer so he didnt care how bad he treated it. If you are replacing a 300.00 trimmer every year then I can understand it costing that much per hour
  8. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    Thanks for the replies. This was exactly what I was looking for as I try to get a handle on my exact expenses. From the figures so far, if one used a figure of 4 cents a minute, then that would, in most cases, probably be more than adequate to cover costs. Neill
  9. nriddle77

    nriddle77 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 271

    Do you literally throw them away? You should list them here on the LS marketplace. I'd bet you could sell them.
  10. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    No, I don't literally throw them away. They sit in the back of my shed for 2-3 years, until I get 2-3-4 and then I sell them for $10-20.

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