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HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

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tejas241
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-11-08          100073


Hello all, and thanks for taking your time to help!!!
I am a newbie and need some advice: I am semi-retired from offshore construction(commercial diver) and have been in an office for a couple years. Everyday the walls close in about 3", and i am miserable, I like to work outside with my hands. I have been envying you guys and have decided to take the plunge...
Went down to my Lexmark dealer who is also Kubota to price ZTRs and am now confused ! His question was whether i intended on doing lawncare OR landscaping , where I thought most LANDSCAPERS did both or at least were somewhat one and the same.
I can only afford one major piece of equipment. His opinion/advice seemed to be that if I wanted to do lawncare only, then he would get a ZTR. But if I wanted to offer the broader spectrum of actual landscape services then he would go with a Kubota 7800 compact utility tractor, cutting deck, and a couple implements. Then use my JD riding mower on small lawns.

As experienced professionals what do you guys think? Have any of you made that decision? With that kind of money I cannot afford a mistake!


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HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6885 Waterville New York
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2004-11-09          100098


Lawn care is where many landscapers start out. It is harder to buy all the equipment that is needed to get started with the excavation equipment that is needed to do the actual work to make a lawn and the yard for a lawn. The lawn mowing means that you have to be accountable on a day to day of mowing where the landscaper has the larger equipment investment and more flexibility in scheduling. Go with the ZTR and a big walk behind saving your deere for back-up. This will get you some base accounts to pay the day to day bills and expand your customer base and then you could just rent the equipment for a while for the heavier work to help you expand into the installation work. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7151 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-11-09          100105


Ditto to what Art said.

I would however, differ in one aspect, don't buy a ZTR if you are just starting out. It is a big production machine, a serious grass-getter, but IMHO, a little over-kill for someone just starting out.

I would suggest that a Ferris Pro-Cut 20 or 30 would be all the machine you need, it is a lot less money and about as dependable as gravity.

The grass will look the same after you run it over with both machines and the savings will help you pay for other items you will neeed also, the list is long, blowers, edger, trailer, truck, etc., etc.

Best of luck. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-11-09          100111


I agree with Murf and Art. Start out slow and cheap. You need a decent mower with bagger, weed whacker, blower, edger, several sizes of hand and electric pruning shears, a small generator with 100 ft or more extension cords, tarps along with a pickup truck and trailer to haul equipment and yard waste. A place to dump the stuff or recycle into compost.

I do some mowing on the side and most of my accounts are smaller residential lawns and a few condos. They generally want you to mow once a week and don't want clippings lying around. To mulch you need to mow every 3-5 days which is too often. They also don't want big tractor marks on the lawn and a sub-compact is too tall to fit under ornimental shrubs. Usually you trim shrubs once or twice a year. They want you in and out fast without allot of noise and no mess. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

View my Photos
tejas241
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-11-09          100113


Hello and THANK YOU ALL for your responses! This equipment issue has been one of extensive research and much contemplation.
It sounds as though you guys have some extensive experience, so could your brains for some pricing and service info:
When doing a lawn how do you determine pricing and what is fair?

What services do you include in basic lawn care?

Do you guys include edging, blowing drive and walks, and pruning in that pricing or are any of these extra?

Do you guys offer lime/fertilizer/pesticide etc?

Thank you all! ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

View my Photos
Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7151 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-11-09          100114


The market, prices and services offered/wanted differ WILDLY from area to area.

It would be like saying "How much will dinner at a restaurant cost me?"

What restaurant and where will dictate the answer more than anything.

The other factor is your target market, are you aiming at Yuppies or Seniors? One wants full-blown do everything service, the other will just want the basics.

Probably your best bet will be to speak to people in your area, dealers also, they know what people want based on what the contractors are buying/using.

Best of luck. ....

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HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-11-10          100131


tejas241: First of all let me congradulate you for having the guts to tackle the world of being self employed. I've been self employed all my life as a farmer, furniture plant owner, and real small time landscaper. Others have given their advice on the equipment so as I called myself, a real small time landscaper they are much more knowedable on your equipment needs than I. I'll just pass along a few things learned from the self employed life. Whether you're building furniture, cutting grass, or whatever field you chose in working for the public I think good customer relations is probably the most important lesson I've learned. Make sure there happy, keep in touch with them to build your customer base. After 30 some years in the furniture busines my Son is still working for some of the clients I had 25 yrs. ago. I've allways told a customer, if there is a problem with something I built call me first, I'll come fix it, then call your neighbor not the other way around. And of course the non paying account can cause frustrations, I was real fortunate that in my time in the business I was only ever cheated out of a hundred dollars many years ago, so I just chalked that up to experience. So the best of luck to you in your new venture. Frank. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

View my Photos
yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2004-11-10          100148


My suggestion is to start out slow and do a few jobs to get a feeling for project times so you don't underbid on your estimates. Don't quit your dayjob yet. Yes, Yuppies and Seniors in single family units and duplexes are my target areas. Seniors are so prompt with payment and generally nicest to deal with. I also give them price breaks.

Basically, I string trim,blow debris off of landscaping, then mow with bagger and do a final blow off on sidewalks. I trim sidewalk edges with a string trimmer every other time and use an actual edger once or twice a year. I usually charge the same price although early spring has more growth. Mid-summer has less growth. Falls has leaves to deal with. When edging, I charge an extra amount as well as for trimming shrubs. Running an add in local papers will get you started in the late winter/early spring to get things going. Word of mouth helps to get a few more. Remember happy Customers!!! You will find that allot of people are doing this(more younger people). Seniors feel more comfortable with "older" people doing the work, they are more trusting and reliable. Develop a good relationship with your people as Hardwood has said. If you have a ladder cleaning eavestroughs is a good fall thing.

I have lots of stuff, so when I run an ad it reads as follows:
-Lawns mowed
-Weeds whacked
-Gardens plowed & tilled
-Shrubs trimmed
-Trees pruned
-Stumps dug
-Soil, stone and mulch hauled
-Driveways graded
-Potholes filled
-Boulders placed
-Gutters cleaned
-Critters trapped
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Free estimates & reasonable rates

I've been told that allot of people cut out my ad and place it on the frig. waiting for things to happen. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

View my Photos
tejas241
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-11-10          100183


Thank you all, your comments and/or advice is GREATLY apreciated.
The average lawn size in my area is say .6 acres, I am in South Carolina, what do you think would be a fair starting price for that service? ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
HELP ANY LANDSCAPERS ZTR or Kubota 7800 for rural suburb area

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bobkro32
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 38 Mill Spring, North Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2004-11-15          100344


Tejas 241--

Its probably not going to be very helpful for someone from Washington state to try to tell you what to charge for your services in South Carolina.

If you need to get a feel for your asking price, check out the local competition. Call competitors and ask for a estimate to do your lawn. Specify what you want done, and ask for a price for a one-time only, and then a contract deal. You might want to have the work accomplished, and watch the operation closely to see what is done, how it is done, how many people/what type of equipment is involved, and how long it takes to do each task.

Use this information to determine what your costs/rates will be, and to determine if you can compete fairly in the local business environment, and how long it will take you to break even, etc. ....

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