The prices for consumer grade mowers can make them a tempting option for the new startup entrepreneur. But when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it all, there is a hidden cost associated with those cheaper mowers. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, there are certain paths the more successful landscapers take and there is a reason why they take them.
One lawn care business owner wrote “today I went down to the local big box store that is having a sale. Nothing was priced as low as I had hoped. As I looked around, I stumbled across a walk behind mower. The starting price was $1,450 and the sale price was some where around $1,000 but I think I could bring them down to $900.
With that in mind, I was wondering if it is worth getting a consumer grade mower at this price point? Currently I mow 10 yards and some of them are larger. I realize I don’t need this mower right now but I think business will pickup any day now and this deal is hard to pass up. What do you guys think?”
A second lawn care business owner said “if you mow any hills at all, I’d say this would be a big no. Let me explain.
I was just looking into these exact mowers a few months ago. Initially I wanted a used commercial walk behind, but didn’t have cash on hand to buy used, so I started looking into the consumer grade walk behinds as they run around $1,200.
Quite a few of the mowers at this price point are the exact same mower painted different colors with different manufacturer names on them. There may be a few minor exceptions with some having slightly more horsepower and some being lighter weight but that’s it.
For flat lawns, I might have considered it, but I have sloped lawns and many properties with hillsides. These mowers do not have independent steering - meaning both wheels turn, and you have to manhandle them around turns. This is a bad thing for hills because as you are mowing across, the front wants to roll downhill, and you can’t correct for it by working one wheel over the other to keep it straight - you must muscle it. That was a deal breaker for me.
I ended up buying a commercial 36″ walk behind mower for just under $5,000 instead. I’m running this business to earn a living and decided to make the investment. I got it with 0% interest for 3 years and that made it all possible.
I won’t harp on the differences between consumer grade and commercial, but it really is night and day. Do what you have to do, but know what you are buying.”
A third shared “I bought the same type of mower you are speaking of about 2 months ago. I have a little over 20 mowing accounts already and I will tell you do not waste your money!
I am getting ready to buy a 48″ commercial stand-on unit because I wanted to save the cash and go the cheap route!!! I have already had to replace 1 spindle on that cheapo mower after hitting a small piece of bark on a job. This is what you get when you buy a consumer grade mower.
Trust me, save your money and go commercial as soon as you can, you will be glad you did!”
A fourth added “what you have to remember is a consumer mower is not designed to hold up to commercial use. I can say with an absolute certainty it will break and break often. Now do some people do it? Yes, but is it as profitable? NO.
I know one local landscaper who buys one of these mowers every year. If he just thought about what he is paying he could get a top of the line zero and save money.”
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