Purchasing new equipment in most cases is a necessity to grow your business. Some are a no-brainer like buying a trusty SureCan Gas Can! Others take a lot of thought and can be very time consuming in researching the best brands and styles. When you are faced with this large purchase there is one question that always comes up, do I buy NEW or USED? The answer however is always different for each person/business owner. We caught up with David Ovando from Mower Man Lawn Service as he just went through very same situation!
"When growing or starting your lawn care business, you don't always have to go new on equipment. We recently had to make a decision on a mower that could help expand our mowing capability to several acres. I demoed several brands at local dealers and spoke to different lawn care companies in the online lawn care community and in our local area. What I learned is that many pros usually just went out to buy new equipment and had to finance it, but then you have payments to make each month. Only a small percentage of fellow landscapers that I spoke with went out to buy used equipment. Both new and used purchases have their pros and cons. What I hope to accomplish by sharing my experience, is how to make the best educated decision to help build your business.
My company has been very profitable as it has grown and I have been able to add new equipment as needed. In my new service area my business continues to grow but I don't feel like I want my income to go towards payments on any equipment. I want to keep growing at a steady speed. When looking for a new 52" or 60" mower, the cost varies from $6K - $12k for a commercial unit. With my 8+ years of experience in small engine repair, I thought to myself, "why not just buy something used that I could fix or work on to make me money vs making payments?"
The lack of warranty on a used unit scared me at first, but each new part I add myself gives me the knowledge to use in the future vs taking the new mower into dealer because it may be too new in the model year for dealer to know how to fix it or could be an expensive repair since our local shop charges $85 per hour for service. I went shopping on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and our local dealers that had used equipment. After a couple months of searching, I came across a mower on Facebook Marketplace. It was definitely a classic mower but knowing how Gravely Mowers are legendary and known for how well they hold up, I was not worried on my purchase. So far only minor work has been done to it and the mower itself runs just as good as a new mower. I ended up naming my new to me mower," El Capitan," since it will become the captain of the #StripeHighway as I start mowing with it more.
Take a look at my 2005 Gravely 272z 72" Specs:
28hp Kohler Engine Electric Fuel Injection
Top speed 13 mph Forward / Reverse 6 mph
14 gallon gas tank
Hydraulic deck lift height adjustment
Can tow up to 500lb
Tires: Front 15x6 - 6
Rear Tires 24x12 -12
My advice to you on buying used mowers is, know your mowers or have a friend that is knowledgeable to come with you to look at the mower. Check the engine oil, hydro oil, Air filter, spark plugs, mower blades, mower deck for breaks, pulleys, belts, and spindles. Everything should be fairly clean and fluids should always be topped off. Give the mower a thorough walk around to check for leaks. Used mower will have wear but you can clearly find abused equipment if you look carefully. Maintenance records are a huge plus and can help with checking things out. Not everyone will want to buy used, but if you do, these are things that you can be on the look out for.
I hope this was helpful if you are on the edge about going out to start your business or are like me and needing to add a mower to your fleet."
Check out more from David on Instagram at @MowerManLS and see "El Capitan" in action!
We would love to hear your story about how the SureCan has helped make your life a little bit easier. Each month we will feature a new SureCan Story, please submit yours by emailing us at Info@sureCanUSA.com and don't forget to include pictures!