Drive for show putt for doe. It’s an old saying in the sport of golf. The drive off the tee may be impressive but the money is made on the putting green. These days in the lawn and landscape industry we need to be practical and more conservative. There is still money to be made. However there is more competition due to unemployment and immigrant labor. The large lawn companies are either buying out mid size outfits or driving them out of business.
As mentioned there is still money to be earned. In order to keep the overhead low we need to streamline our operation. Equipment and labor being our largest expense. Speaking for myself I like to invest in good equipment and hire as needed. With that being said the area we have more control over is the machinery we purchase.
A new truck is nice, don’t get wrong. But your going to pay for it. You can easily spend upwards of fifty some thousand for just a three quart ton. Even more if your in the snow belt and need a plow and a salt shaker. Yet it’s important to get a good truck because it is the backbone of your company. What I am saying is you need a good truck not a new one. For half the price of a new truck you can get a used heavier truck that will do more work.
When it comes to lawn tools my general rule of thumb is anything under $1,500 I’d recommend buying new. Basically all your gas powered hand tools. One gas powered tool I don’t recommend fooling around with is a backpack blower. Get the biggest one within reason. You’ll get that investment back in time saved blowing off yard debris and pushing leaves.
Walk behind mowers and ZTR’s can be purchased used with low hours and maybe only a season or two on them. You just need to have a little patience. The money saved purchasing a new unit verses used can be utilized elsewhere.
Belt drive vs hydrostatic walk behinds. If your just starting out there’s nothing wrong with a belt drive. They are simple to work on and you will save about a $1000 up front. However, if you have the means I’d look for a hydrostatic unit. Once again you’ll save on time and gain in productivity.
Reframe from buying residential lawn equipment. It just won’t last. You need to be in the commercial machinery market otherwise your wasting your time. Often time you get what you pay for. Replacing a mower every couple seasons because it’s falling apart is not productive. The extra funds you spend on a commercial unit will save you in the long run. Often times you need to spend more upfront to save in the future.
Bottom line is you need to impress with your work not what your working with.