To begin with, don’t buy lawn equipment in the wintertime. Hold off on buying new equipment as well. In fact, the first thing that you ought to do is probably buy some used equipment. You can put a trailer behind your minivan, and trailers are cheap. You can get them for six/seven hundred dollars. If you get them used, you can probably get them for a couple of hundred dollars. Look on Craigslist, then after that, start looking for a mower.
Right now what you probably want to get first is a 36-inch walk-behind mower. They’re beasts, and they’ll last forever. They’re really good mowers. There’s a lot of different makes and models out there that will work for you.
What Kind Of Lawn Equipment Works Best?
Get a hydro drive mower. The difference between belt drive and hydro is night and day, especially when it’s wet. When it’s wet is when you have to go the fastest because you’re trying to catch up. So make sure you have a hydro drive.
Make sure it’s a 36-inch lawnmower and that it’s a walk-behind. That would be your cheapest way of starting out. Get a nice trimmer. You can get the echo trimmers from Home Depot, or Stihl trimmers are really nice. They’re a little more expensive, and there are other ones that you can get as well.
Get a trimmer and a blower. Right now, the way the industry is electric, an electric blower is actually really handy. It’s not as powerful as a gas blower would be, but they’re so convenient. It’s so nice. You don’t have to worry about carburetors or gas mixture or anything like that.
So once you have that, you’re set to do your first few lawns. You’re like “well I can do it better and faster if I had a bigger mower.” Yeah, you’re right, but let’s wait. Let’s get some customers.
Don’t Put The Cart Before The Horse
Guys, stop buying lawn equipment. I had a company that got started that I was familiar with. I helped them get started, and the owner was always calling me in saying, “I saw this piece of equipment, it looks so great, let me get it.” Pretty soon he had four or five pieces of equipment in his garage and he still hadn’t cut any grass for anybody.
It’s like — really? Why are you using your life savings to buy old equipment that you’re not going to use? At least not for a few years. So, it’s great to have grand ideas but let’s get started and let the business build itself.
Remember, treat the business as a separate entity, something that has to stand on its own. So it has to buy the equipment. In other words — you have to make money off of the customers before it can buy that piece of equipment. The business has to have money in its bank account before you can buy that next piece of lawn equipment.
Make Smart Decisions With Your Start-Up Capital
Don’t go into debt, especially with a business that is just starting up. Stop and hold yourself back. I know it’s nice. I know the dealers are offering 0% financing and I know they’re saying it’s so reliable and this, that, and the next thing.
But think about it. For the cost of a brand new piece of equipment, you can buy two used ones. That way you can have one of them sitting there that can be fixed during rainy days while the other one’s working.
That’s the type of equipment you need; a 36-inch walked behind, a trailer, a trimmer, a blower, and you’re ready to go. Maybe you need a couple of hand tools. Don’t buy any more equipment. Go out there and start hitting the streets. Put out those door hangers. If you’re not cutting grass, you’re putting out door hangers. And that is the way that you are going to build your residential lawn maintenance business.