PDA

View Full Version : Mower trade in/new mower


pblawncare
07-16-2012, 03:12 PM
I've been in the business for three years, and every year have set goals for myself to make that year. `1st year was to get my foot in the door, 2nd year was upgrade to a slightly better mower or two (walk behinds) 3rd year was to get a better truck (which I've done ) and if the opportunity/need came up get a newer/new mower.

I'm running two Toro 52" walk behinds and I find I'm constantly fixing something, I like working on equipment to sell, but when it holds me up from getting my crap done, it bugs me. I've added up the money I've spent repairing these machines and the time spent, and wonder if I'd be better to trade in these machines or at least one for a 2011 Toro Titan 60" cut. costs around 5k and with a trade in of 1000 or so on a walk behind, I'd be looking at 100 dollars a month or so, being more efficient, and not having the amount of stress and headaches I've got now. your thoughts?

Steve
07-17-2012, 12:27 PM
I've added up the money I've spent repairing these machines and the time spent, and wonder if I'd be better to trade in these machines or at least one for a 2011 Toro Titan 60" cut.

How much do you think the older mower has cost you in time down and repair costs?

pblawncare
07-17-2012, 01:06 PM
I've got easily $1000 dollars in it it after having different issues come up.... and I've been basically milking some of these issues along more than I should have, I like having a walk behind, but this is for the birds, I'm not a huge fan of buying in the middle of the season but its getting frustrating fixing stuff ALL the time.

pblawncare
07-17-2012, 01:23 PM
How much do you think the older mower has cost you in time down and repair costs?

As far as down time goes, I've generally been able to fix most small issues that day or within 2 days, but I'm getting to the point now that I can't keep doing it like this, all for being conservative, but good business to me is being productive.

Hedgemaster
07-17-2012, 02:07 PM
This is season number three for me.
I don't really count the first season, since it was mostly spent working for some real estate investors doing all sorts of things - not so much lawn related.

Aside from the first season when I used my Craftsman mower and burned up a TroyBilt trimmer forcing me to buy a commercial trimmer sooner than later, I've bought all of my equipment new starting last spring.

I don't have a lot - just the basics, but I felt that it was more important to have equipment that I could rely on and not lose sleep worrying what I'd do if something went down.

I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to basic repairs, but I'm no mechanic either. Repairs are things I do when I have time - I'm willing to try to figure it out on my own when I can, but when relying on a piece of equipment for a living, I don't have time to research how to repair it - it needs fixed NOW.

Unless you have the ability to quickly repair your own equipment, you need to have it serviced by your dealer. Even though my dealer pushes contractors to the front of the line for repairs, I could be without a broken trimmer for several days. Without a backup, or the ability to fix it myself overnight, I'm screwed. Since I can't likely fix it QUICKLY myself and as a startup I didn't have the funds for backups, I decided to go the "new" route.
Note that any of my new equipment that was not purchase with cash was purchased with a 0% interest credit card and paid off over 18 months.
Currently, only my recently purchased Ferris walk behind is the only thing being financed - again at 0% interest. (3 yrs)

So far so good. It costs a lot more this way, but I don't regret it.

pblawncare
07-17-2012, 02:46 PM
I've got two walk behinds, one has a blown motor but its worth fixing, the other one runs...but the little things happen to it and its slowly deteriating. Luckily enough we don't have a lot to mow till the end of the week, and by then I'll have made my ultimate decision on what to do. The Toro Titan will be my first "new" purchase that I didn't buy straight out cash.... I've got plenty of trimmers and push mowers, but two commercial mowers down in one hit makes a fella wonder if its worth fixing crap to get by...

Godslapper
07-17-2012, 02:50 PM
My first mower was a John Deer 48" walk behind. Commercial type. I could only mow as fast as I could walk and after a while my knees started to give me problems. So I bought a brand new Toro 52" Z with a bagger set up. $ 8500.00 plus tax. Life was so much better and just by doing that I was able to dubble the size of my business.

Except for summer help from time to time I was a one man show. I used that Toro as my main work horse for about the first 5 or 6 years. I put a ton of hours on it. As with all things, they tend to get old and need a lot more attention and TLC. Got to the point where each year I was putting 2 or 3 grand a season into it just to keep it running ok. Never as good as new.

Then I bumped into a guy that had been in the biz a lot longer than me and we got to talking. Of course he used to do the same thing I was doing but then he figured out a better way.

He would buy a brand new mower on credit. It would come with a three year bumper to bumper warranty. He would use it for the three years and sell it in the fourth year. He only bought the toro he wanted 52 or 60" Z with a bagging system. Lets say it cost 10,000 K. After he used it for the three plus years he would sell it for 6 or 7 K. His payment on the mower was just one of the fixed costs and there would be almost no down time.

It made sence to me. So that's what I've been doing. I can tell you that It's a lot of fun to buy a new mower and It's feels good to let the old one go to a guy just starting out that is still figuring all this stuff out.

To sum it up. Less head aches, less down time, when something does go wrong it fixed for free. Cost is less than if you were to keep it untill the wheels fall off. Hope this helps a little.

pfreeman
07-17-2012, 03:48 PM
This is my second season. My Ferris 61 had 500 hrs. when I started, now I have 850. I have had to replace a spindle, starter time delay, and PTO switch. All repairs were manageable. When it went down in a customers front lawn, I decided to purchase a Scag 36 ProV which is smaller, but will fit in fenced backyards and mow a commercial property with a wicked berm. As I have grown, I purchase equipment that will make me faster and more productive.

I was speaking with a competitor that only purchases used or new residential grade, he is constantly paying for repairs that eat his bottom line. I am a firm believer that you must buy the have the right equipment for the job or you are losing money via lost productivity.

Evaluate your accounts and see what equipment will make you the most productive. Then purchase the equipment that fits that profile. Or, purchase the equipment that you think you will need to grow your offering and portfolio next year.

wandfsmall
07-18-2012, 07:22 AM
I've been in the business for three years, and every year have set goals for myself to make that year. `1st year was to get my foot in the door, 2nd year was upgrade to a slightly better mower or two (walk behinds) 3rd year was to get a better truck (which I've done ) and if the opportunity/need came up get a newer/new mower.

I'm running two Toro 52" walk behinds and I find I'm constantly fixing something, I like working on equipment to sell, but when it holds me up from getting my crap done, it bugs me. I've added up the money I've spent repairing these machines and the time spent, and wonder if I'd be better to trade in these machines or at least one for a 2011 Toro Titan 60" cut. costs around 5k and with a trade in of 1000 or so on a walk behind, I'd be looking at 100 dollars a month or so, being more efficient, and not having the amount of stress and headaches I've got now. your thoughts?

You are looking at a mower that is higher in quality then anything you will find in a box store. However it is only a commercial inspired mower or what we used to call an estate mower. I would not expect it to be trouble free on commercial use. Another suggestion is buy the Kawasaki engine I have not seen the Kohler Courage engine doing well as far as life is concerned.

As for a recap I would expect that if you are using this mower commercially you will have to upgrade in a few years as this is not designed for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. The desk is a little thin without reinforcements compared to a lot of mowers in its class. The engine choices are consumer grade engines, with the best option the Kawasaki.

Yes you can make money with this mower, I am just pointing out what you are buying to help you make a wise decision.

SECTLANDSCAPING
07-18-2012, 10:00 AM
I'm a firm believer if you cant buy it in cash you cant afford it. This doesnt mean dont finance it means dont if you cant pay off the balance any day you wish.

wandfsmall
07-19-2012, 09:09 AM
I'm a firm believer if you cant buy it in cash you cant afford it. This doesnt mean dont finance it means dont if you cant pay off the balance any day you wish.

I do not always agree with that, I have customers that would save money if they bought a commercial machine as the parts bills cost more then a payment would cost for a decent machine. But I do agree that your best bet being a business owner is keep your debt at zero.