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View Full Version : Getting Started, Next Step?


MAllenT
06-10-2010, 10:55 PM
Hi All,

I've been getting ready to start my business and take on a few residential lawns. Since I live on 3 acres myself I have some of the equipement, some I've had to buy. I run a Hustler Fastrak Super Duty (48") on my 3 acres and like it a lot. I also have a Stihl FS110 line trimmer, Stihl edger, and a Stihl 550 backpack blower. My guess is that the only two things I'm missing is a walk behind mower and a trailer to carry it all, although until I have lawns to mow that require the Hustler I suppose I could just put everything in the back of my truck (2010 Dodge Ram Hemi).

My plan, since I'm retired & about to be 46 years old is to be a one man show. I'm not interested in running crews or supervising help. What I would like to have is about 30 (50 max) residential customers that need mowing, line trimming, edging, blow off the clippings and move on to the next lawn. From these 30 customers on a weekly route I would expect to bill out $1050 a week at a minimum price of $35 per lawn. So, that's my plan.

My first question is about walk behind mowers. I was hoping to save some start-up costs by going with a good walk behind that's not what the retailers are calling a "commercial" mower. John Deere makes a 21" deck mower that will rear bag, side discharge, or mulch. It's their JS series and the top of the line costs $500. Does this sound like something I could expect to get 30 lawns a week out of? I also noticed a Gravely walk behind that runs about $600~$700 and is called a commercial mower but I don't know much about it. Remember, this mower is just to get started with. Once I have those 30 lawns to mow every week I'd probably run this mower until it dies an awefull death then spring for a commercial walk behind.

Thanks for your help!

Matt

Steve
06-11-2010, 07:09 AM
Hi Matt,

Welcome to our forum!

Are you looking at getting a consumer model mower? Many of those mowers won't last over 200 hrs. While a commercial unit will last 2500 hrs +.

Ultimately, you may decide to go with a consumer model, if you want to get your feet wet and experiment to see if this is something you are going to be happy doing without having to invest too much money to find out.

Keep us posted.

robgee05
06-11-2010, 02:22 PM
Hi All,

I've been getting ready to start my business and take on a few residential lawns. Since I live on 3 acres myself I have some of the equipement, some I've had to buy. I run a Hustler Fastrak Super Duty (48") on my 3 acres and like it a lot. I also have a Stihl FS110 line trimmer, Stihl edger, and a Stihl 550 backpack blower. My guess is that the only two things I'm missing is a walk behind mower and a trailer to carry it all, although until I have lawns to mow that require the Hustler I suppose I could just put everything in the back of my truck (2010 Dodge Ram Hemi).

My plan, since I'm retired & about to be 46 years old is to be a one man show. I'm not interested in running crews or supervising help. What I would like to have is about 30 (50 max) residential customers that need mowing, line trimming, edging, blow off the clippings and move on to the next lawn. From these 30 customers on a weekly route I would expect to bill out $1050 a week at a minimum price of $35 per lawn. So, that's my plan.

My first question is about walk behind mowers. I was hoping to save some start-up costs by going with a good walk behind that's not what the retailers are calling a "commercial" mower. John Deere makes a 21" deck mower that will rear bag, side discharge, or mulch. It's their JS series and the top of the line costs $500. Does this sound like something I could expect to get 30 lawns a week out of? I also noticed a Gravely walk behind that runs about $600~$700 and is called a commercial mower but I don't know much about it. Remember, this mower is just to get started with. Once I have those 30 lawns to mow every week I'd probably run this mower until it dies an awefull death then spring for a commercial walk behind.

Thanks for your help!

Matt


I would never recommend anyone just plan on using a consumer model. But I originally started cutting grass in high school. I bought a craftsman with the larger self propelled pulley on the front. Had to be at least 5 years old. I paid $75 for it and got almost 2 full seasons out of it. Till the engine actually blew a whole in the side. I was doing about 15 yds a week. If you plan on buying a 21 inch Troybuilt makes a nice little one with HONDA engine. We actually use it to hit tight little spots. We put very little use on it and paid about $200. I think the self propelled is like $275. Its a good throw away model. Look at it this way. If you put a minimum of 200 hours on it @ $35 an
hour. Your making 7k minus expenses off your 275 investment. You cant find any stocks like that. GL

MAllenT
06-11-2010, 09:42 PM
Good point. I met another guy today that was pulling a 16 foot landscape trailer behind his truck. He had two Hustler Z mowers, an exMark walk behind, and the trimmers and so on. He said he is mowing 80 lawns a week with himself, one full timer and one part time guy. He has some larger lawns, mentioned one that is 5 acres. I asked him about his walk behind mower and he said that out of his 80 lawns there are 4 that he uses it on, so I suppose he goes for the larger properties. Seems to be a lot of work in my area, all three guys I've met so far who mow say they could work sun up to sun down 7 days a week if they wanted.

Found my trailer today, it's a 6 x 10 with a ramp & locking trimmer/edger rack for $1000. Will probably pick it up next week, going to buy the walk behind tomorrow. So my guess is that by this time next week I'll have an ad in the paper and will be ready to roll.


I would never recommend anyone just plan on using a consumer model. But I originally started cutting grass in high school. I bought a craftsman with the larger self propelled pulley on the front. Had to be at least 5 years old. I paid $75 for it and got almost 2 full seasons out of it. Till the engine actually blew a whole in the side. I was doing about 15 yds a week. If you plan on buying a 21 inch Troybuilt makes a nice little one with HONDA engine. We actually use it to hit tight little spots. We put very little use on it and paid about $200. I think the self propelled is like $275. Its a good throw away model. Look at it this way. If you put a minimum of 200 hours on it @ $35 an
hour. Your making 7k minus expenses off your 275 investment. You cant find any stocks like that. GL

Steve
06-12-2010, 04:53 PM
Keep us posted on how all this turns out!

MAllenT
06-18-2010, 07:14 PM
Thought I would post an update. Got the trailer, got the Troybuilt 21" push mower with the Honda engine, also bought a new pair of hedge clippers (manual type). So that rounds out my "getting started" gear.

I ran an ad in the paper and posted a service ad on Craigslist for my area. Got a call yesterday from a lady who is out of state who said she saw the ad on Craigslist and asked me to quote her a price for her mother's lawn in my town, so I did, and she went for it. VIOLA! First customer!! Cool.

So today while on my way to mow this customer's lawn I get a phone call from a lady here in town who says that she and her husband own a vacant lot in town and the city is getting on to them about keeping it mowed. They are older and the husband just had surgery and can't mow & probably wont be able to for the rest of the year. She explained where the lot was, and that it was over grown with lots of johnson grass, & asked me to take a look and give her a price. I went to look at it and sure enough the grass was about 2 foot tall, but the lot size would have been a $35 mow job otherwise. I called her and told her I would do it for $50, she was very happy! Hmmmm.... She came by as I was finishing up to pay me, said the lot never looked better, and the city truck drove by while we were chatting.... she was all smiles.

After that I went to mow the other yard. This one is on weekly service, monthly billing, her daughter pays for the service. Two lawns, $50 in cash and $35 billed, I owe I owe so off to mow I go!!

Now, here's the kicker for the day, ya ready for this?? While talking to the lady who has the vacant lot she said that when she spoke with the city ordinance officer she asked if they knew anyone she could call to mow the lot. The officer gave her two names, she called them, they never retured the call, she saw my ad in the paper & called me. Well... ready for this... my wife is the court clerk for the city and is friends with the city ordinance officer!! She's going to let the officer know to give people my number & I'll mow those vacant lots, Cha-Ching!!!

Maybe I should get some business cards.

robgee05
06-19-2010, 07:17 AM
Your off to a good start, congrats. I would get that lady with the lot on a regular plan though, or else she'll expect you to mow it for $50 everytime it gets to 2 feet, which is kind of cheap. But you have to start somewhere.

Steve
06-19-2010, 11:55 AM
She's going to let the officer know to give people my number & I'll mow those vacant lots, Cha-Ching!!!

This is very interesting. We were just talking about something similar in another post.

It might be as easy as him just knowing your wife and thats that.

Or there might be an official list you sign up for in the town hall building. I am sure your wife will find out. Let us know how this works out.