Start Up Help for Equipment

Hello everybody I've been reading this website extensively for the last 2 weeks.  Thank you for all the great help and advice on this site.. its amazing!!!!

Also, sorry if I should be posting this somewhere else, but this is my first post!

I'm just starting a garden maintenance business after many years working behind a desk (going back to my roots as a farmer's son).  I'm incredibly excited about getting started, after spending the last year as a "stay at home Dad."  Money is tight starting out & as I'm sure you all appreciate that while I'm not buying everything on my list right away, I certainly can't afford to buy bad gear.

I'm a 1 man band, focusing on maintenance & quick tidy ups... staying away from hard landscaping (hoping its easy to develop relationship with somebody).

We moved to the city 3 years ago & broke my heart doing up our own little garden using all the "retail garbage" tools available in the local hardware places.

So now that I'm taking this seriously I need serious tools that won't break after mild strain.  This is what I've decided (nearly decided) on so far:

Power tools: Stihl for my new strimmer, leaf blower, & hedge cutter.  I was tempted to go for Tanaka for some of these, but found a great Stihl dealer who gets me almost wholesale prices :)

Hard Hand Tools (spade, fork): Probably True Temper (carbon steel, not stainless)

Other Hand Tools: Probably Wolf Gartner (rake, hoe, trowel etc)

Pruning Saw (pocket sheath & telescopic): jury is still out, thinking Silky would be best, but might just go with Wolf Gartner as its cheaper & a local nursery stocks them.

Lawn Mower: Completely undecided. I've looked at a Rover with swinging blades for nearly 1,000, & a rotary Garden Flight for 500. Not sure what width to get!!

Reference Books: Chiefly RHS (loads of them) including a plant encyclopaedia, & I've ordered Paul Power's start garden business book, but have yet to come across a great "what/when not to prune guide"

Vehicle: wow this is hard! Tool security & passengers were my initial considerations.  I've been through all sorts of options! I do the school run with my 2 young kids, but in the end decided on a small van (such as a ford connect or vw caddy). This will mean returning home to collect the van after school run with the family car, but the space compromise of a double cab pickup or larger van with a crew cab made either option pointless.  For now I'm just going to use the family car which is a hatchback, but once clients start coming in & sums start to add up I'll get a 5-10 year old dedicated vehicle & have 100% decided on a small van (until I can afford bigger;)

Clothing: Just using what I have for now, but will be getting some Englebert Strauss when things get going.

Gloves: local supermarket brand & if it gets really cold some leather musto fingerless with neoprene backing (designed for sailing).

I'd really appreciate your feedback on the above.  

Everything I've read on this site is pure gold, & I know you guys will steer me right.

And thank you for all the great advice on this site which has gotten me this far!

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      • RHS website is a tremendous resource. It's a bit Latin, but absolutely invaluable!
    • Agreed on the pickups, no use for my purposes. Small panel van all the way.&lt;br /&gt;<br />
      If you like the buckler gloves, try popping into a sailing supplies shop (chandlery) sometime, &amp;amp; check out the fingerless leather gloves with neoprene (wetsuit) material on back of hands. I have used them with hand tools when extremely cold & they are excellent!
  • Rhs pruning and training is a good book.  Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning is the best I've come across. It's American but still relevant here. Very obviously written by someone who's been there done it and got dirty hands in the real world. And she's a funny lady.

    • Nice! I'll suggest these as Christmas gifts ;)

  • Me personally if you have the budget to invest a £1000 in lawn mower then I would make the effort to get some sort of uniform. People like to see people in uniform and it also tends to set you apart. Even if it's just a couple of t shirts with your logo on £30?
    First impressions count and will get you a lot more business than that £1000 lawn mower.

    We started off with mcculloch because we just didn't have the money but now running stihl and viking equipment. Also have just bought a countax ride in with about 70 hours on. Good finday and cheap enough for us to step up our game on the bigger gardens.

    Hope everything goes well for you. It's hard graft but well worth it!

    • Great point Ash,

      Some kind of uniform is a great idea. My budget can't stretch to any lawnmower yet, but I'm hoping to bring in enough for something in the spring.

  • Hope it goes well! today was my first day of on my own/with my hired help and it went great. the other thing i would say is you might want to think about a bigger van. As i have a vauxhall vivaro high top and i filled it today. and i wouldn't want to have to empty the van every day. 

    • Hi Joe, hope the help worked out for you!?!

      I hear what you're saying about probably needing bigger vehicle, but with my shoestring budget II have to keep it tight.  Van will likely be something like a Kangoo or Berlingo in January, & a hitch in case I need to rent a trailer :)

  • PRO

    Rover at nearly £1,000 - just bought two 21" pro's this year from APS in Walthamstow eat London at about £790 ea. or they may have been about £820-£830 - nowhere near £1,000.00!

    • PRO

      They're currently £700 on their site.Have you tried them out yet?

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