Lawnmowers

The best lawnmower to use domestically or to start a lawn care business.

The kind of mower you choose depends entirely on what type lawn you have or the business you want to build. I always specialized in the domestic and small commercial so in 30 years I never really progressed past push mowers and a 42-inch lawn tractor.

I got this size lawn tractor because it allowed me to get through side gates on residential yards. This machine lasted a few years but when it wore out I did not bother replacing. I was making a better income with less hassle doing small to medium-size domestic lawns.

I was better off running vans with one worker, no trailer, and a push mower, blower, and a weedeater. I wanted a business model that was easy to repeat and easy to scale. Before I downsized my business and sold off most of my contracts I had built this up to 5 workers and five vans turning over 50k each per year working 35 hours.

The profit was good but having just turned 50 I was getting tired of employing people. My house looked like a train station every morning, and if anything went wrong, I have to work the extra hours to pick up the slack personally. I wanted a lifestyle change.

I kept the best performing lawns out of 450 contracts, and I now work a 20 hour work week and earn the same as the full-time guys in town, and I’m happy with that.

I would suggest when you start that you don’t spend vast amounts on equipment. Buy mid-range and work hard then you can decide if you want to move into large lawns with zero-turn mowers or focus on the smaller yards as I did. You can make good money either way.

I will run through a few things I have learned here but I will not be able to recommend my favorite push mower as they are not available in the states. I have however used a lot of brands over the years so I will recommend brands that I have used and liked.

Push Mowers.

Start small. A lot of new lawn care guys have told me that they bought a cheap mower and worked as hard as they could until they raised the money to buy a bigger mower that was more to there liking. The good thing about starting small is, it saves having to spend a significant amount of money or take on a loan the needs repayments when your business is new.

I started with entry-level commercial equipment myself. I actually shudder now when I think about the gear I initially went out with 30 years ago. Then as time passed, I gradually upgraded my machines. Eventually, I was always using new, commercial equipment.

A good mower for a lawn care business.

When looking at a push mower there are a few things to consider. If you live in a wet area, then you want a lawnmower that will handle damp grass. There is nothing worse than working in the wet and having you mower chute block up continuously.

This mower also has a wide cut with a 21-inch deck and a Briggs and Stratton 850 engine which is my favorite engine. I have lost count of the amount of these engines I have owned.

This mower is a little pricy but well worth lookin at.

Snapper 2185020 / 7800979 HI VAC 190cc 3-N-1 Push Lawn Mower with 21-Inch Mower Deck and Ready Start System and 7 Position Height-of-Cut.

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For small business or domestic lawns.

If you are looking for an excellent all-around mower for home or to start a small business, that doesn’t cost a lot. You could try this Honda. It is not built for commercial use so if you use it for your business it will not be covered under warranty. However, I have owned a few Honda mowers and You should get 10 years domestic or around I year commercial out of a machine like this.

I have had bad experiences with second-hand equipment, so I only buy new now. However, if you are comfortable going with second-hand equipment you could reduce your start-up costs even more. Do bear in mind that you will find that the older a piece of equipment gets the more maintaining it needs. Just be careful that you are not buying someone else’s problem or a piece of equipment that a contractor feels has hit its use-by date.

Lawn Tractors

The Goldilocks spot for a lawn tractor is the not too large and the not too small yard. I used a lawn tractor for a few years, and they are hard work to turn around. You can lose a huge amount of time if you are doing a straight up and down cut with one of these machines.

If you have big lawns where you can comfortably drive around in circles all day, then this machine will make you money.

My lawn tractor had a hydro-static clutch which means you have a two-sided floor pedal, and one pedal is forward, and the other end is backward. It can take a while to get used to a clutch like this.

Here is a chart to give you an idea of the sizing of what size cut and engine you would ideally want for these size lawns. Do bear in mind that these are general figures only.

  • Up to 1 acre  42-inch cut with a 14hp engine
  • 1 – 2 acres    46-inch cut with a 16hp engine
  • 3 +Acres     50-inch+ cut with an 18hp+ engine

I had a Castle Garden 42 Inch lawn tractor for a few years. That particular mower is not available anymore but it was very simular to this one. It ran the same engine and Hydro-Transmission system. If fact nealry all the componets are the same. This machine is mainly for large domestic lawns. It will do at a pinch semi comerically but I would recomed that you get a zero turn if you want to go down that road.

Craftsman T225 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Gold 46-Inch Gas Powered Riding Lawn Mower

Zero Turns.

Although I have not worked much with Zero Turns a lot myself I do know a lot of contractors who use them.

Most of the contractors I know use Husqvarnas. They are good zero turns and seem to be a bit more durable the some of the others.

The one shown here is a 54″ with a 24HP Kawasaki engine. This is a good machine but really all of the Husqvarnars are good mowers.

Husqvarna MZ54 (54″) 24HP Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower

If you are getting your first zero turn I would sugest that you visit your local dealer. Take one for a test drive and buy it if you think its a good fit. Do your reasearch online but buy localy if you can. This makes life a lot easier when it comes to repairs, maintance and parts.

Find a good mower shop, buy from them and they should look after you. When you buy parts etc on account make sure you pay them religiously on the due date.

With this kind of relationship I was able to get immediate repairs while I waited (providing he had the parts) and proity service. My jobs were put ahead of other contractors simply becouse I supported them and paid them on time.

I suggest that you do the same.

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