What to look for when buying a mower?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LawnNinjas, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. LawnNinjas

    LawnNinjas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Hello everyone! This is my first post and I am fresh to this business. I have been doing all the back work for my business. I have a name, logo, Web site, business cards, third line on my family plan just for the business, and everything but accounts and equipment. I will not be taking out a loan. I have money saved up to buy the equipment and possible trailer. Not a lot, close to 2,500 dollars.

    So here are my questions:
    1. When buying a used walk behind mower, what am I looking for to make sure that it's a good deal?
    2. What kind of brands should I look for when buying equipment? Especially since I am starting off and have a certain amount of money. And won't have a lot of accounts starting off.
  2. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    Many will tell you that $2500 is not enough and the same many have probably started with allot less. I know I did. I would look at the dealer where I would be getting my parts and repairs from. Until you have two working mowers, you are going to be at the mercy of the dealer for repair times. After buying a used mower, I would go to pat's small engines online (their prices are unbeatable) and purchase spare belts and one spare spindle. I would buy a 48" walk behind mower and push mower for a backup and keep my lawns small till I grew a little. A 5x8 trailer should do in the beginning. Get you a about three cans of dollar store black paint and paint that trailer every season. I been doin it for years. I started with much less than that. For years I grew the business faster than the equipment would support comfortably. It was a struggle but the payoffs were big in the end.
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,556

    Well since you are in Flordia I assume you will be cutting small yards so get a 21" mower. Unless you are a good mechanic I would get a new Honda around $500.
  4. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    It's probably going to take a lot of luck to find all the necessary equipment used and still in good condition and a trailer with only a $2,500 budget.

    You might be able to find a 36" walk behind that's still in decent shape for somewhere around $1,000 to $1,500. I'd suggest buying the trimmer, edger and blower new.

    You might want to consider taking advantage of the 0% financing being offered by most of the big name companies on their new mowers…this is a good time of year to get a good price on a new mower.

    As far as what to look for when buying used, make sure it easily starts when the engine is cold, has clean oil, no leaks, clean air filter, make sure everything is lubed well…what is the condition of the belts and tires? Do all the gears work? Do the controls work? What is the overall condition…has it been used and abused or has it been well taken care of? What type of engine does it have and how many hours are on it? What do the blades look like…do they look sharp or do they look like they haven't been sharpened ever? Dull blades means the engine, belts, etc. have all been working harder to push the dull blade edge through the grass to tear the grass instead of cut it like a sharp blade does. It is also a possible indicator that regular maintenance might have been ignored. Do the blades turn and stop when you activate/deactivate the control? Check all the hoses…are they in good condition or do they look cracked and brittle? Check the spark plug…does it look new, slightly used or old and rusty? Check the inline fuel filter…is there one?…is it clean or is completely clogged? Does the exhaust smoke?

    I'm probably forgetting something so I'll let others chime in.
  5. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I couldn't agree more. Once I started buying new it changed my life forever.:clapping:
  6. Jaybrown

    Jaybrown LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,160

    Timemaster 30 or a turf master Toros. Nobody uses 21s here anymore. They are a waste of time plus the 30 has a twin blade that leaves an awesome cut
  7. Triton2286

    Triton2286 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    If you must go with a used mower here's two thing to do.

    Check to see if the engine is warm when you show up, they ran it to make sure it started on the first or second pull.

    Bring a compression tester as well and check that.

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