PDA

View Full Version : can't figure out how much to spend/which lawn mower to get.


Reminisce32
10-05-2010, 09:53 PM
Here's my dilemma. I want to give a lawn maintenance business a shot. I have the money to buy whatever lawn mower, but I'm saving for a down payment on a house so I don't want to spend too much. I already have a trailer, weedeater, blower, etc. I just need a lawn mower. I initially wanted to only spend $2,000-3,000 on a mower. After looking at prices, it seems like the only thing in my range are really residential lawn mowers (such as a Hustler Sport for around 3k), or a used commercial. I found a commercial John Deer, 4 years old, but with a new motor and deck for 3,700.

My brother in law has a Hustler MiniFastrak which he got for around 4,000, but they seem to be in the 5k range now.

So the question is should I take the 4-5k gamble and start off with a commercial mower or should I start off with a residential zero-turn mower then try to upgrade later? I really don't want to invest too much early without being 100% sure I will like this business or be able to even get off the ground to pay for the equipment itself. So what should I do?

PS. some of the yards will be in the 1 1/4 acre range, so a walk behind might not be a good idea.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
10-06-2010, 12:14 AM
well have you thought of the larger walk behinds? They come as big as the zero turns but can be just as expensive. Maybe looking into a mid size mower like a 33-36incher could be what works for you. If you find the right large land owner equipment it could get you into your commercial mower later on. Right now our largest mower is the Sutech stealth 33. But I also dont have the massive yards to worry about(largest in our area is 1/4 to 1/2 acre). Also the billy goat mowers are just as cheap as the Sutech but dont know much else about them.

JP Landscaping
10-06-2010, 12:31 AM
I think a walkbehind is the best way to start. I have a 36" and it works for all the lawns here. what you need to think about is getting the lawns to make sure you will be able to get the money you spent on the mower.

I got mine used for $600 and it has worked great. Starts right up. Once you have enough business, you can upgrade.

The thing I would do is to get a used walk behind 36" and start with that. Once you have more work than time with the 36", then you know you have enough business and are able to get your Zturn.

StartALawnCareBusiness
10-06-2010, 12:55 AM
How many hours does the JD engine have on it? How many hours does the tranny have on it? Was the engine installed by the dealer? Asking a ton of questions will help you make your decision.


In my opinion, you can't go wrong buying commercial over residential. Commercial units can cost double over a comperable sized residential unit. Commercial units have heavier decks, better transmissions, and more durable components all around.

Before you buy anything, demo all the units you can get your hands on. You don't want to buy a mower only to find out it hurts your back or the controls aren't the right fit for your hands.

Keith

Reminisce32
10-06-2010, 01:12 AM
How many hours does the JD engine have on it? How many hours does the tranny have on it? Was the engine installed by the dealer? Asking a ton of questions will help you make your decision.[/URL]
Not sure about the hours. Just know it's a used 717A 48 in. ZTR with a new motor installed by the dealer.

I think a walkbehind is the best way to start. I have a 36" and it works for all the lawns here. what you need to think about is getting the lawns to make sure you will be able to get the money you spent on the mower.

I got mine used for $600 and it has worked great. Starts right up. Once you have enough business, you can upgrade.

The thing I would do is to get a used walk behind 36" and start with that. Once you have more work than time with the 36", then you know you have enough business and are able to get your Zturn.
When you say walkbehind you mean like a little push mower, or one of the big ones that you just walk behind it or use a Sulke? I'd love to find a commercial walk behind for that price but dont seem to see any on craigslist besides something like this http://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/grd/1979646335.html.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
10-06-2010, 11:34 AM
Not sure about the hours. Just know it's a used 717A 48 in. ZTR with a new motor installed by the dealer.


When you say walkbehind you mean like a little push mower, or one of the big ones that you just walk behind it or use a Sulke? I'd love to find a commercial walk behind for that price but dont seem to see any on craigslist besides something like this http://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/grd/1979646335.html.

Dont know much about the encore brand but ya thats exactly what we are talking about.

JP Landscaping
10-07-2010, 12:18 AM
Yes... That's what we mean. If that Encore works like stated, I would say that is a good deal especially if it has a bagger. And it has a sulke so you don't have to walk. You just ride behind it. Plus the 48" deck would be better than a 36" for the size lawns you are talking about.

picframer
10-07-2010, 06:21 AM
Personally I would take the Deere as I know them so well, their service is top drawer should we have issues it is fixed immediately or at least it's looked at immediately, if need be even when things are in for service they offer a used or demo machine.

In your case what can you get serviced locally? Personally I would have the Deere unit taken in, pay service to go over it, probably will cost you $50 to $80, that way you will know exactly what you are getting and if anything needs to be fixed.

For people that live in other cities, I always suggest they check the dealers and service places first, in our business we can not afford down time.

As for the bagger on the other machine, we will not bag, it's too hard on the lawns over the long haul, if it really needs clippings taken up, we have tow sweepers than can go on right behind the mower.

WLS
10-07-2010, 11:11 AM
I'm at the end of my first year and I would suggest a 36" commercial walk behind very versicle mower it's what I have. I do every thing from small commercial to an acreage that takes me about 1.5 hours to mow. The main thing make sure you get a sulky for it it makes it much easier to use. If thing take off and you like what you are doing you can up grade next year.
To let you know I have been doing this for a while about 12 years ago I closed my lawn care business to have a family now that my kids are in school I'm getting back into it. But, In 1993 I started off with a JD 318 it worked OK for what I used it for but, not the Ideal mower. Residential equipment I have found will work but, the up keep will cost you a lot more than commercial equipment.

mcscapes
10-20-2010, 07:02 PM
My first mower was a 36 bobcat walk behind with velki new prices are 2,500 and have seen them on craigs list for 700 used no matter what you get buy used keep it clean and serviced you wont have any problems just like buying a truck the prices are negotiable on mowers so shop and be a informed business owner.

jasonw
10-22-2010, 03:58 PM
Here's my dilemma. I want to give a lawn maintenance business a shot. I have the money to buy whatever lawn mower, but I'm saving for a down payment on a house so I don't want to spend too much. I already have a trailer, weedeater, blower, etc. I just need a lawn mower. I initially wanted to only spend $2,000-3,000 on a mower. After looking at prices, it seems like the only thing in my range are really residential lawn mowers (such as a Hustler Sport for around 3k), or a used commercial. I found a commercial John Deer, 4 years old, but with a new motor and deck for 3,700.

My brother in law has a Hustler MiniFastrak which he got for around 4,000, but they seem to be in the 5k range now.

So the question is should I take the 4-5k gamble and start off with a commercial mower or should I start off with a residential zero-turn mower then try to upgrade later? I really don't want to invest too much early without being 100% sure I will like this business or be able to even get off the ground to pay for the equipment itself. So what should I do?

PS. some of the yards will be in the 1 1/4 acre range, so a walk behind might not be a good idea.

$1,200 TB Pony problem solved. Mine is still going strong, All my TB equipment has been supper awesome. I plan to do a big write up on all my stuff tomorrow. As far as you house, Congrats, Its the best thing I ever did. A tip though. You can and will get hit with huge expenses in business. In my first real year my ford blew up and I was forced to buy a truck so ask your broker about using the USDA Rural Development loan. They put nearly $15K in my pocket for my house, 0 down 103% financing, it was awesome. I just quit paying rent then the next month started paying mortgage in my new house.

Steve
10-23-2010, 09:17 PM
I plan to do a big write up on all my stuff tomorrow.

Looking forwards to it.