PDA

View Full Version : Equipment Selection Question


Spartan
12-24-2008, 08:48 AM
Starting up my lawn & landscape company as we speak. I'm planning on a truck and enclosed trailer to start. Question: What width and length of a trailer should I go with? I'm debating on 7x16 or 8x16. Thoughts?

Also, what equipment would you guys recommend to start out. My area is 1/3 to 1/2 acre subdivisions.

thanks and happy holidays!

Steve
12-26-2008, 02:04 PM
Hi Spartan,

Why not just start with a small open trailer and a small mower? Then put that extra money into your marketing material?

What's your view on all that?

grassmowers08
12-27-2008, 02:27 PM
I agree with Steve. You should probalby start out with your mower and a smaller trailer or work out of a pickup. Put your money into marketing. Keep your eye out for used equipment and trailer. Really good deals on craiglist. My biggest regret is spending money on two new mowers and weedeater.

Steve
12-27-2008, 06:58 PM
I agree with Steve. You should probalby start out with your mower and a smaller trailer or work out of a pickup. Put your money into marketing. Keep your eye out for used equipment and trailer. Really good deals on craiglist. My biggest regret is spending money on two new mowers and weedeater.

What did you start off with initially and what would you start off with if you could do it all over again?

musician/lawnman
12-27-2008, 07:35 PM
My biggest regret is spending money on two new mowers and weedeater.

Really?

I was in business about 2 weeks (with a residential tractor mower I had) when I decided to go big or go home, I dropped about $7,500 in a brand new commercial zt. It increased productivity, quality, & peace of mind (new & under warranty.... nobody elses old headaches). I don't regret that at all, In fact I bought a 2nd machine less than a year later & plan to buy a 3rd in the spring. For me, To be a proffesional in this industry I gotta be running professional grade gear. Yeah you can buy used commercial gear but who knows what kinda hidden problems you might end up with? My machines have paid for themselves many times over before they even ran out of warranty, then any time you get with em after the payments & warranty are all gone (without major overhaul type repairs) are gravy. To each his own though I guess.

I suppose it's like a car, Some people (& I used to be one of them) would buy older cheap cars & run them till the wheels fell off, Granted no payments
but the headaches were nonstop... brakes, transmission issues, battery, alternators, front end problems. Then I realized I wasn't paying a car company, but I was still making payments.... $200 here, $80 there, $400 for trans, $100 for muffler, $150 for a starter etc. I decided to bite the bullet & bought my 1st new vehicle in 2001. Yup the payments still sucked but the damn thing started everymorning & got me to work on time.... no headaches, & no missed work while fixing it. I haven't owned a clunker since.

grassmowers08
12-28-2008, 07:58 AM
I started out with a cub cadet push lawn mower, a ryobi weedeater( were mine), a mcclulough back pack blower($85 ripp off killed middle of the season), and a open end tilt 5x8 trailer for $350, brother in law gave me a nice trailer later. Ill post pic. Now I have two 22 inch Toro mowers,Echo weedeater.ITS AWESOME! A homelite blower planning on getting a echo back pack next year.The same traier.

If I could start all over I would have a 6x12 trailer, two hyrdro 36 in. walk behind,2 echo weedeaters,two echo back pack blowers and thats it.IT would be all commercial equipment. I might have a couple of zero turns if I got an extra crew to do commercial work when I retire from my job or my son Travis would. For now Im doing residential.

Spartan
12-28-2008, 08:08 AM
The reason for the enclosed trailer is that I need to lock everything up at the end of the day so an open one will not work right now. I'm also going to billboard the sides of the trailer and truck to work as a moving billboard to start off.

But, I agree with Chuck about the go big or go home. I'm very big on setting myself apart and letting people know that I'm in this for the long haul. It's just a belief I have to build this business.

With that said, any thoughts on the size of enclosed trailer?

thanks fellas

musician/lawnman
12-28-2008, 10:27 PM
Spartan,

That's how I felt when I started, I needed to dive in head first to make sure I would succeed. If you half *** it & don't invest much time, money, or energy then it's easy to walk away. If your all in, you will make it work.

As far as trailers I had the same issue, I need to be able to secure my gear at night & wanted to do up the trailer with graffix & lettering. I run a 6x12 cargo craft enclosed. It has served me pretty well.
Drop me a pm with your email, I'll send you a few photos of my set up.

SuperiorPower
01-07-2009, 12:02 AM
I am obviously speaking from the other side of the fence but have to agree, If you are going to purchase equipment, purchase good quality equipment. Equipment does not have to say "Exmark" "John Deere" or "GrassHopper" or any of the other higher end brands to be "good quality". Just be equipment that is designed to do what you are planning to do with it. I have been servicing equipment for over 10 years and have seen the death of many cheap trimmers, mowers, and accessories sue to one thing: they were being used for "commercial use" when they were intended for residential use.

When I say commercial use I mean that you are using it for more than to just your own yard. For example, Weedeater featherlite trimmers may be light and may be easier to use due to less fatigue, etc, but what about the fact that it may not last all season? Or that it may die on you when you are half done with a job? Do you want to have to leave a good customer's job half trimmed or half mowed just because you were to cheap to buy good equipment and it quit in the middle of Saturday afternoon? Granted, any equipment can quit at any given time, but good quality equipment is less likely to do so.

Then there is the matter of what type of business you are running. If you are the neighborhood kid who is getting their feet wet in the business or earning some summer money by push mowing a few neighborhood yards, then you may be able to get by with a simple, used push mower and a cheap $60-$70 Featherlite. But if you are trying to operate a credible business, with credible customers, you realize the customer is who feeds you. You want to attract customers who are willing to pay you and refer you to their buddies. I know each person is in business for themselves and with a slightly different point of view but remember, whether you are mowing 50 residential yards or 50 commercial lawns, you need to appear professional to your customer. I will refer to these customers as Commercial customers due to the fact they are probably more than single job customers. Also consider this, if your customer drivers nice vehicles or has a nice lawn, they are probably going to expect a decent looking piece of equipment on their lawn.

Just a few ideas to keep in mind. I would not recommend someone buy $20-$30 grand in equipment the first year. But then again, it is your business and only you know what your expectations are. I can't dream your dream nor can I live your dream. Just make wise, informed, and well thought out decisions.

PM me if you have any questions for me as an equipment servicing dealer.

Eli

Steve
01-07-2009, 01:12 AM
Eli,

Can you tell us what the main difference is in life span between a consumer and commercial piece of equipment? What makes one last longer than the other?

Also what kind of equipment do you recommend?

SuperiorPower
01-08-2009, 02:33 PM
I don't know off the top of my head how many hours they are "rated" for. Each brand and type of equipment has a different answer regarding the life span. For example, as we know, many cheap push mowers and string trimmers (like the Poulan Weadeater Featherlite) are intended to be used by the consumer and are manufactured to hold up for them for a season or two. Consumer equipment are typically not intended to run more than one or two seasons while only mowing one lawn. Commercial equipment is intended to be used all day, every day, for season after season. They may last longer but are not intended to hold up like the Commercial equipment.

Typically the deciding factor is in what kind of materials are used to manufacture the equipment. Again, as most of us know, when you compare a cheap walmart pushmower with a John Deere mower you will find the John Deere is heavier. It is made out of heavier and higher quality materials.

For example, my personal favorite brand of 2-cycle equipment is Shindaiwa (http://www.shindaiwa.com/nam/en/home_nam.php). Almost their entire line of equipment is Commercial Grade. Then compare Stihl. About 1/2 of their equipment is consumer grade (example, is chain saws: models like the ms200 are commercial while models like the MS210, MS230, MS250, MS290 etc are consumer grade).

The difference comes in the quality of materials. Shindaiwa uses the best materials available in their cylinders: Chrome plated cylinder with 2-ring piston. Most of their competitors use only one ring on the piston. Shindaiwa engines are built on tight enough tolerances that you can remove the piston ring from a new engine and start the engine with no ring. This is impossible on most other brands. Shindaiwa also uses bigger bearings than most other brands do and thus there is less wear on the larger bearing. As you can tell, I am a big fan of Shindaiwa equipment and no, I am not a dealer at this time. As my business grows Shindaiwa will be the first brand of Power Equiopment I intended to carry. Absolutely stay away from anything Poulan, Craftsman, MTD, Ryobi, Murray, Homelite, Stihl trimmers, and anything "cheap".

The next closes brand of equipment (in my opinion) is Echo. I will however choose Shindaiwa over Echo. The last I heard they are the 2 top commercial trimmer brands in the US. If you have specific questions please ask and I will do my best to get an answer to you.

Steve
01-08-2009, 05:36 PM
Eli,

Thanks for sharing your view with us on trimmers. What about blowers and mowers? Which model and brand do you recommend and why? What is good to start with?

Also what size mower should a new lawn care business owner start with and why?

SuperiorPower
01-19-2009, 11:12 PM
Eli,

Thanks for sharing your view with us on trimmers. What about blowers and mowers? Which model and brand do you recommend and why? What is good to start with?

Also what size mower should a new lawn care business owner start with and why?

First off, sorry for being so slow on the reply but my schedule has been rather hectic recently. Here is a general question set for each person to ask themselves (I found this on another forum and thot it worthy of posting here. I will try to post a similar one for trimmers in the near future.):

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU BUY A LAWNMOWER.

First, know that there are many types.
There are;
1) Small, self powered (no engine or motor) reel types
2) small electric push mowers
3) Push type small engine mowers
4) Walk behind, self propelled mower
5) Small rear engine riding mower
6) Regular manual shift lawn tractor
7) Hydrostatic drive lawn tractor
6) Multi-purpose Garden tractor
7) Zero turn radius residential or commercial mower

The questions for you are as follow:

A) How much grass will you mow (acres or hours)? Will you also mow other properties?

B) Do you want to walk or ride?

C) How much area do you have to store it?

D) Will you do the maintainence or will you have it serviced?

E) Do you want to bag the clippings, throw them in the grass or mulch them?

F) Do you have a brand or a dealer that you are loyal to?

G) Is your terrain flat, or hilly, clear or full of trees, etc?

H) What is your budget?

I) Are you a "hayfield" cutter, or do you like a manicured looking lawn?

J) Will there be users who have phyiscal limitations?

K) Do you already have a relationship with a local outdoor power equipment dealer that you trust?

L) Are there any features that you really want, like key starting, three way bag/mulch/throw, self propelled, blade/brake clutch, rust free deck, cup holders, gauges, easy height adjusting, etc,etc?

This is by far not an exaustive list. Hopefully we have given you something to think about. The right mower could last you years, and cost a good deal of money....it is good to give your purchase some forethought. I am here to help.......feel free to ask me any questions about any aspect of lawn mowers and any other outdoor power equipment.

I am open to individual questions but recommend the member go through these questions first and have some general idea of where they are headed.

robgee05
06-09-2010, 08:54 PM
Im a big fan of their stuff. What do you think as a equipment guy.


TY

SuperiorPower
06-10-2010, 12:33 PM
Redmax are good. Unfortunately, Husqvarna bought them. I don't expect their quality to improve much because of this. They sure beat some of the other brands that you could be using.

JP Landscaping
06-10-2010, 08:31 PM
The size of the trailer depends on the size of the mowers and how many you will have in the trailer.

the size of the mowers/equipment depends on the size/type of lawns you will be mowing (residential and/or commercial)

So from this point of view, if you don't have the customers, how will you determine the types of machines and then the trailer to fit them all in?

I feel a safe machine to go with is a commercial grade 36" walkbehind mower. I think it's one of the most versitle mowers. You can upgrade to bigger machines as you need them.

The down side of going big or going home is that it is a big risk, especially in these economical times. When you invest thousands of dollars into your business, you need to assure you will be able to cover the expenses: meaning getting enough customers in time.

But everyone has their own ways. I hope this helped and wish you luck.

robgee05
06-11-2010, 06:51 AM
The size of the trailer depends on the size of the mowers and how many you will have in the trailer.

the size of the mowers/equipment depends on the size/type of lawns you will be mowing (residential and/or commercial)

So from this point of view, if you don't have the customers, how will you determine the types of machines and then the trailer to fit them all in?

I feel a safe machine to go with is a commercial grade 36" walkbehind mower. I think it's one of the most versitle mowers. You can upgrade to bigger machines as you need them.

The down side of going big or going home is that it is a big risk, especially in these economical times. When you invest thousands of dollars into your business, you need to assure you will be able to cover the expenses: meaning getting enough customers in time.

But everyone has their own ways. I hope this helped and wish you luck.

Im there with you on the mower JP. As far has blower trimmer edger. The costs are worth the commercial equipment if u can afford it.