Would appreciate some start-up advice

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Navig8r, Jul 9, 2002.

  1. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 477

    I have been working for an acquaintance of mine since mid-last season, and I've decided it's time to stop working so hard so someone else can get rich. I have a full-time job, and I started working for him to make a few extra bucks. I enjoy the work, but I find he is relying on me WAY too much. I will even take the equipment and work solo for him if he is busy/falls behind. I figure, I'm already working hard, why not for myself?!? I have been seriously considering buying my own equipment and starting my own business. I would like to start out while keeping my full time job, and if things go well, then that can change to the part-time gig, and lawn care can take center stage.
    I am having trouble deciding a few things:

    1> What mower to buy? I have had enough of pistol-grip W.B.'s, having owned one myself for my own lawn for the last 5+ yrs, and having run one for the past year. I like the Exmark control system, but I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off investing in a ZTR (is the Lazer HP a worthwile investment over a W.B.?)
    ---- I do still have a Scag WB belt drive 48" for home, but I don't want to subject it to regular, heavy use... OK as back-up.

    2> What trimmer to buy ??? is Echo worth it's weight? I am used to the Redmax, but I'm also considering a Stihl. ( I have 2 Stihl dealers locally, one is excellent, I'm not fond of the Redmax dealer, but I like the machine )

    3> Am I nuts to try and start up even a small operation in July-August, or should I just go for it??

    I have read a lot of posts here and have learned a ton already, everyone is so helpful, it's fantastic!!

    I really appreciate any feedback.... Thanks

  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    As far as mower choices go, get the biggest ztr you can afford. I would definately recommend the 60 inch. You can put it almost anywhere you would use a walkbehind, except for the hills and gates. A lot of people ive talked to have regretted getting a 48 or 52 inch rider and wished they had the extra cutting length. As far as trimmers go, i would recommend a split boom model for a solo operator. i have the echo 2400 seris split boom and have the trimmer, edger, power broom and brushcutter attachments. Since i couldnt justify the cost for a seperate power unit for each application, i think this is the best way to go. You cant really go wrong with stihls either. i have a br400 stihl backpack and have used their trimmers and they are very well made. The key to starting up the business is pass out a lot of flyers and get your name out, and the customers will come to you. good luck.
  3. agrostis palustris

    agrostis palustris Banned
    Messages: 117

    Navig8r, where in New York are you from?
  4. wayne volz

    wayne volz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I say go for it. Many of us started in this part time. Be prepared however to see the margins decrease as client base increases. It is not always "greener" on the other side.

    The equipment choices are the easy part of your decision. The most important thing to consider is this. Understand why you will charge what you will charge for your service. Know your cost of operation, apply a profit that the market will bear and with good service and a little good luck along the way you will be OK.

    Too many contractors have no idea why they charge what they charge other than that is what the competition is charging. That is important, but you must know what it cost you per man hour to provide your service.

    We been in this business since 1979 and have seen many services making that mistake.

    Good luck!

  5. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 477

    Thanks for the advice thus far...... I also looked at the Husqvarna trimmers yesterday.... anybody using them ??? any good???

    I have a stihl dealer literally around the corner from me, and he's excellent, so that is a factor I'm considering........ still not decided...:confused:

    Thanks again all !!!
  6. We do 4 U

    We do 4 U LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    Why don't you want to use the wb you already have?
    IMHO, I would use the wb to start out with until you get your customer base up so you won't be out that much if you decide you don't like it or whatever. And if you do get enough customers, you can always get a mower that will suite the customers you have instead of buying one now and regreting it later becuase you bouhgt a wb and need a zrt.
    Anyway, i say go for it. When I started out 3 years ago, all I wanted to make was $100 a week. I am way above that now. By the way I also am a solo part timer. I work at the fire dept. full time.
  7. agrostis palustris

    agrostis palustris Banned
    Messages: 117

    Navig8r. Which Stihl dealer are you considering? I probably know them, or of them.
  8. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 477

    I am near Brady's Power Equipment... That is where my Scag is from... They have always treated me very well !
  9. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Messages: 278

    I use the husky line exclusivly and really enjoy the quality they provide, I never have problems with them and use them day in and day out. I'm one of the few here in my area that use husquvarna tools.
  10. Heller Landscaping

    Heller Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204

    Use the w\b you already have don't spend before you make. If you start out in the middle of the year in the hole you will barely be able to make any clear profit by years end.

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