Used equipment is one key to profits

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by OwenS, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. OwenS

    OwenS LawnSite Member
    from Montana
    Messages: 11

    When I was starting out in the mowing business, I made the mistake of thinking all my mowers had to be new. I no longer think this way.
    If you can find a 20-50% discount on used equipment, you can either buy more equipment or make smaller payments to the bank. Either way, you will come out ahead. A mower with 25hrs generally does not cut significantly better than a mower with 500hrs.
    Yes, there are more maintenance issues, but if you buy a good machine to begin with, even with some extra repair costs, used stuff in the paper or on e-bay is one key to more profits.
    Who says I'm wrong?:)
  2. Rob T

    Rob T LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    I concur.


    1. Bank will give better rates on new equipt vs. old. If they will even let you finance used equipt.

    2. Some equipt has so many new features or better engineering then it's 3 year old predecessor that it may cost you more in lost time over it's useful lifetime then you'll save at purchase.

    3. You have to be careful buying used equipt. It may be abused, improperly maintained or worse. Downtime may cost you more than you save.

    Sometimes used equipt is the way to go, sometimes it's not.
  3. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    i bought my first commercial WB 4 years ago this past spring, i bought it used for $900. i took a gamble cause it didn't have an hour meter, however after i closely inspected things and looked for wear i decided to go for it. It's still going strong this year and is just starting to show some age, it's blowing a little smoke at first start in the morning, i just installed a new transmission ($220) a few weeks ago. probably due to my (ab)use of the mower in the last couple years.

    So, for $900, i have a mower that cuts good, and i paid for it in 3 months of mowing 4 yards that year. Ever since then its been a pure money maker with the exception of the transmission and regular maintenance.

    I won't buy used 2 cycle stuff like trimmers, blowers or edgers unless i know the person that owned them. Too much risk in someone mis-mixing something and most 2cycl stuff only runs $200-500
  4. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I bought my first commercial walk behind used. A 3 year old 54" Ransomes with a new shortblock for $1400 out the door. At the time I could not think of any better way of jumping in for a relatively small amount of money. Since then all of it has pretty much been new.

    Here's something to remember though. A guy who buys his equipment new also recovers a decent portion of it's value when he sells it if is in good shape. So figure you are just sharing ownership, he takes half you take half...roughly. If he buys a new 48" Metro for $2600 and uses it for 3 years and sells it for $1300, what has he lost? Do you get more out of it for buying it used than he did for buying it new? I will bet there will be more maintenance issues in the next 3 years than there were in the first.

    But it is a great way to get in without spending a fortune, and there are always deals out there that may make your part of the "shared ownership" worth more than you paid :)
  5. Best way would be to lease. New mower every 2-3 years...

    The key to profit is not skimping on your tools of the trade.
  6. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    Considering an hour meter can be put on at anytime makes me always wonder, Does this machine have 500 hrs or 1200? Looks can be deceiving sometimes.
  7. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    LGF and Keith are no doubt correct. I lease to own any major equipment purchase. A 32 and 36" scag I leased to own both at the same time. Gee think it was 6 or 7 years ago. Still have in perfect running condition.

    I would be extremely hesitant buying used. I have a phylosophy that why should I buy anothers' headache when I can create my own.

    Trucks I have always bought new. In June I just sold a 1989 F450 fine running condition. Tired of looking at it for 14 years and I knew that things were going to start going wrong. Same thing with a 1986 F350 when I bought a 2000 GMC W4500.

    In this business you have to replace equipment when the time comes.
  8. Some things used for the first one could not be a big deal. Like an aerator, or a power rake, something you don't have to use every day.

    A belt dive mower could be a decent buy used, but you have to rely on it day in day out, why take the chance?

    I have bought 2 mowers used, everything else has been new. I doubt I will buy used again, but I did know the owner of the 2 mowers, otherwise I wouldn't of bought them.
  9. azturfpro

    azturfpro LawnSite Member
    from arizona
    Messages: 57

    I only buy new and sell it off after two years so it can become another companies problem .
  10. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    1 word. WARRANTY. If you are buying used, you have nothing to CYA when it goes down a couple days / weeks / months down the line.

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