Decisions, decisions! Which lawn mower type is the best to start your mowing business with? Should you get a walk-behind? A lawn tractor? Or maybe even a ZTR? There are a bunch of factors that go into the decision making process but most landscapers will agree on one type to get started with as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I’ve worked for a local lawn care business since I was 15 years old, I first started as just weekend/summer help and when I graduated high school I was promoted to field manager. I worked there till I was 20 years old and then started college. After sitting down with my old boss/friend and talking about the lawn care business and how much potential there truly is in this area I got to thinking that I might start my own company.
I currently have almost all the lawn care equipment I need to get started, a commercial grade line trimmer, blower, 21″ push mower, pickup truck, and an 8ft landscape trailer. The only thing that I’m lacking is either a larger commercial walk-behind or a riding mower. I’ve got about $3,000 dollars saved up from student loans I think I can use to help me get a jump on next season.
So, I guess, what I’m seeking is the advice of some of you as to which type of mower I should purchase. I’ve operated both walk-behind mowers and ZTRs and I personally think both have pros and cons. Where I live a lot of the local home owners use riding mowers because they give you a more precise cut since they don’t move as fast. But when you’re getting paid by the hour, time isn’t something to be wasted. I was debating on either a 42″ v-twin tractor or a 36″ walk-behind.
So if anyone would like to shed some light and share some wisdom, please feel free.”
A second lawn care business owner shared “the walk-behind vs. ZTR is a popular question for new mowing business owners.
I believe a walk-behind is a must have as a first mower for most lawn care businesses. Walk-behinds offer great capabilities in the types of lawns they will mow. If all your lawns are wide open areas, then yes, stick with a ZTR. However, if even only a small percentage of your lawns have slopes, tight spaces, or technical areas, a walk-behind will offer the maneuverability to handle these areas.
Walk-behinds also give a feel for the work you are doing. You can sense bumps and dramatic undulations allowing you to stop or lift the deck before scalping the turf.
I’d also suggest you pick up two or three lawn customers this season to get your feet wet while you are still working full-time. The experience you gain with a couple customers this year will be invaluable next year when you finally go full-time.
Since you’re not ready to purchase your walk-behind this year, seek customers with small yards you can do with your 21″ mower. If you work hard between now and the end of season you can probably save all the money you need to purchase any mower you want come next season.
Oh, also, think seriously before using a student loan other than for its intended purpose. When I was in college I knew a number of people who ‘redirected’ their student loans. No matter how noble their intentions, it always seemed to come back to bite them in the butt. You can start your business without the need for creative financing.”
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