A lawn care equipment dealer’s recommendations.

Everyone has their own view of what kind of lawn care equipment you should get when you are new to the lawn care industry. Some will want to buy cheap equipment, others will spend their entire savings. But what would a lawn care equipment dealer recommend? Surely they have seen many new lawn care business owners make many mistakes when it comes to buying equipment. Here is a view from a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum who also owns an outdoor power equipment business.

He shared “I am obviously speaking from the other side of the fence, as an equipment dealer, but I have to say, 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 of “good quality”. Just be sure the equipment you purchase 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 do to one thing: they were being used for “commercial use” when they were intended for consumer usage. There is a big difference in the design between these different categories.

When I say commercial use I mean that you are using it for more than just your own yard. For example, Weedeater featherlite trimmers may be light and easier to use while being less fatiguing to operate, but what about the fact that they 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 are you running? If you are the neighborhood kid who is getting his 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 trimmer. On the other hand, if you are trying to operate a credible business, with real customers, you need to realize the customer is who feeds you. You want to attract customers who are willing to pay you and refer you to their friends, family, and neighbors.

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. If your customer drives nice vehicles or has a nice lawn, they are probably going to expect a decent looking piece of equipment on their lawn and a decent looking lawn care truck parked in front of their house.
Each brand and type of outdoor power equipment has a different life span. Most consumer equipment is 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. Some consumer models may last longer than others but none are intended to hold up like the commercial equipment. Many commercial products can have a lifespan greater than 10 times a consumer model’s lifespan.

Typically the deciding factor is in what kind of materials are used to manufacture the equipment. When you compare a cheap bigbox pushmower with a John Deere mower you will find the John Deere is heavier. It is made out of heavier and higher quality materials.

My personal favorite brand of 2-cycle equipment is Shindaiwa. Almost their entire line of equipment is commercial grade. Then when you compare Stihl about 1/2 of their equipment is consumer grade (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 tolerances so tight 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.

I would not recommend someone go out and 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.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success