When you start up your lawn care business, you can go a couple of ways when it comes to equipment. You can either take the low dow approach, which means the cheapest equipment you can find, or spend some big bucks to get new commercial equipment. Which way you go depends a lot on the amount of start up capital you have. If you are broke, obviously you need to start dirt cheap, but as we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, cheap equipment won’t cut it for long.
A new lawn care business owner wrote “I am just starting up my lawn & landscape company as we speak. I’m planning on getting a truck and enclosed trailer to start. What width and length of a trailer should I go with? I’m debating on 7×16 or 8×16. Also, what equipment would you recommend to start out with. My area is 1/3 to 1/2 acre subdivisions.”
One lawn care business owner suggested “being that you are new to this and aren’t sure if you will do this for long, you should probably start out with the mower you use to mow your home lawn and a small 6′ x 12′ trailer or work out of a pickup. Instead of spending money on equipment now, put your money into marketing. Keep your eye out for used commercial grade equipment and trailer as you start to get more customers. There are a lot of really good deals online. My own biggest regret was spending money on two new mowers and weedeater when I first got started. I simply didn’t need all that equipment or those payments.”
Another lawn care business owner had different advice, “I was in business for about two weeks with a residential tractor mower I had, when I decided to go big or go home. I spent about $7,500 on a brand new commercial zt. It increased my productivity tremendously, increase the quality of my cut, and gave me peace of mind. I felt better knowing it was new & under warranty. I didn’t want anyone else’s old equipment headaches.
I don’t regret that purchase at all. In fact I bought a 2nd machine less than a year later and plan to buy a 3rd in the spring. For me, to be a professional in this industry I gotta be running professional grade gear. Yeah you can buy used commercial gear but who knows what kind of hidden problems you might end up with? My machines have paid for themselves many times over, even before they past their warranty. Any extra time you are able to use them after the payments & warranty expire (without major overhaul type repairs) is all gravy for your business.
The same thing applies to trucks. Some people, and I used to be one of them, would buy older cheap trucks and run them until the wheels fell off. Granted there were no payments but the headaches were nonstop. The brakes need to be replaced, transmission issues, battery, alternators, front end problems. Then I realized, I wasn’t paying a monthly truck payment but I was still making payments. $200 here, $80 there, $400 for transmission work, $100 for a muffler, $150 for a starter etc. I decided to bite the bullet & bought my 1st new truck¬† a few years back. Yup the payments still sucked but the damn thing started everymorning and got me to the job site on time. No headaches and no missed work while fixing it. I haven’t owned a clunker since.
I felt I needed to dive in head first to make sure I would succeed. If you half ass it & don’t invest much time, money, or energy then it’s easy to walk away. If you are all in, you will make it work.
As far as trailers go, I needed to be able to secure my gear at night & wanted to have the trailer all lettered to look like a rolling billboard. I run a 6×12 cargo craft enclosed. It has served me pretty well.”