New Maintenance Business Mower Advice

Hi guys my name is Lee and after 15 years of working in various aspects of horticulture I am going to start up my own garden maintenance business. I have £1200 redundancy money to buy equipment with. I know thats not a lot and I can spend a bit more if I have to but would ideally like to stay within that budget. My main problem is that initially I will be using our Ford Fiesta so the first mower needs to be light & portable. I would ideally like to go all cordless - strimmer, hedge cutter & blower will probably be cordless whether I buy them at the start or later down the line. I quite like the looks of the Viking cordless mowers and petrol wise Honda Izy looks suitable apart from not being good in the wet. Mulching would be great with my lack of van. The gardens will be small to medium, I am unsure if people will want stripes or not but to be honest I may have to forgo a roller until I can buy a second mower & van!

So my question is really should I spend most of my budget on a mower and go without some of the other kit to start with or get a cheaper mower and start out with blower, strimmer & hedge cutter? I would prefer to buy new really. Quality of cut is important to me. I am RHS qualified and hope to be able to charge towards the higher end of the spectrum when I am established.

Sorry for such a broad question, I have used the search to look at other posts. Perhaps if people could state what their ideal setup would be for starting out I could see how much extra I really need to spend.

Any advice much appreciated.

Many thanks 

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  • PRO

    You need to go see your local dealer and speak to them.

    Priced off of the dealer I use this is the cheapest decent or above quality tools I can find for you.

    Echo SRM 222 ESL Strimmer (straight shaft) £184

    Stihl hs 45 24 inch blades £206 (18 inch blades for £7 less)

    makita bhx2501 £180

    Izy 18 inch SP £434

    That comes to £1004 however you need more than just the tools.

    You could get a cheaper Izy but who really wants to push a mower all the time? You could save £50 and get a 16 inch instead but 18 is fine for all round mowing.

    This is pretty much bare minimum and still being able to do an acceptable job. Vibration will be bad on everything however and with just a small handheld hedge trimmer yoou wont be able to do large hedges.

    Forget mulching for anything but weekly or high summer, even then weekly mulching isnt great unless it's a dedicated machine.

  • PRO

    I started out with a Toro personal pace recycler mower which collects and mulches , It was recommended to me by a gardener who has been in the business for 30 years and then i asked a dealer to recommend a good start up mower and he recommended the exact same mower although i was yearning towards a Honda after years of experience with Honda's i know how reliable they are and the izy is a great mower but not sure if it mulches . anyway i went with the Toro .

    I bought a Stihl Combi new and a blower attachment to fit the unit and an assortment of the wolf garten tools which are excellent , space saving and versatile . 

    The Stihl gear got stolen , bear this is mind don't have your tools on show if using a car , cover them up with a tarpaulin , anything to keep them out of sight . 

    The Toro is still going strong , My biggest job is about an acre of lawn at a residential complex , i only have a small van so don't have the capacity to carry bags of grass unless its empty, the mulching facility handles the grass as long as i keep on top of it and any odd clumps of grass i simply blow off and it leaves a nice finish . 

    My personal preference would be to buy a mower new with a warranty , it's the one thing you don't want to break down half way through a job , I have never been asked to stripe a lawn ever ,  I would try and buy a combi which has not being hammered secondhand from a dealer as it may give you some comeback if its faulty , short warranty or good customer relations policy but if you can stretch to new  even better .

    I started up before i discovered Landscape Juice so did not have the benefit of the great advice other members offer on here .  My choices have worked out for me and nearly into my 4th year and have only added to my kit as i have needed to , the one thing i couldn't do without is my blower it saves me so much time on the maintenance jobs , the other piece of kit i cherish is my mattock for removing roots . 

    You are sure to get some great advice and i wish you all the very best .

  • Many thanks Seth & John for the detailed responses. It feels a bit late in the day to be investing in petrol powered tools really. I think I may have to up my budget because I feel the benefits of cordless are too big to be ignored. It's frustrating having to buy a charger for each device, wonder why they don't offer a triple charger or something?
    Perhaps I should have asked specifically about an all cordless set up for a new business. It's just the more I think about noisy tools are the worst thing about modern gardening - I still love using shears, edgers and a broom personally if it wasn't for the time constraints.
    • PRO

      You are welcome lee , Probably

      • PRO

        Sorry Lee for some reason the rest of the reply suddenly vanished , I was saying probably the strimmer and hedge trimmer are the two main culprits where excessive noise is concerned . 

        Why not put up with petrol until you can invest in decent cordless or cherry pick your jobs , small suburban gardens where you can use shears or even think about domestic cordless , we forget domestic machinery is designed for gardening , I know it doesn't tick all the boxes in constant use but it is relatively inexpensive and if it lasts a season and makes you money it owes you nothing . 

        Eventually i would like to trade my petrol machinery in for good cordless , Ego or Pellenc but would keep my petrol mower as it doesn't offend the hearing and senses so much , plus i have a soft spot for engines . 

    • PRO

      Although cordless is certainly coming and fast. I personally wouldn't spend the outlay on my first set of tools on cordless machines. Perhaps your replacement tools (when you have a bit of work and more money) can be cordless?

  • Thanks guys looks like I've got a bit more thinking to do. I'll pop down the the excellent AMP Services in Portslade again tomorrow I reckon and see some of the options in the flesh.
  • Have to say the new Hayter Harrier 41 Pro is looking very tempting!!
    • PRO

      Screwfix are doing a 19" Honda powered Mountfield for £349. I bought one as a spare and my guys like it. Comes with mulching plug and works pretty good. Being Screwfix, if it breaks in the first year then they'd just replace it.

      The Honda engine is not like any I've seen before, but is a genuine Honda. Presumably built in China with Honda quality control. I hope.

      • Thanks that's interesting. The only way I can afford all the gear I need is by going for a cheaper mower. I've got really into the stripes idea now so I'm torn!
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