upgrading my mower


I started my gardening business last year, up and running instantly on little money - I bought a Mountfield 164 self push mower from Screwfix for about £150, which is still going strong (plus titan 2 in 1 hedge trimmer and strimmer)
However, I'm now thinking of upgrading.

Last year I started at £30 for 2 hours of maintenance and quickly increased to £35, £40 on a few jobs further afield (or £70 for 4 hours) regardless of the job.

I'm not doing so many maintenance jobs this year, more bigger quoted for jobs. Overhauling overgrown gardens, railway sleeper walls, raised borders, repairing decking, turning bland sections of gardens into decorative spaces with gravel, bark and shrubs etc. But my phone is constantly ringing about lawn cutting as well. I'm thinking of expanding taking someone else on to do the basic maintenance jobs (but I don't think I can legally use them as contractor invoicing me, so I'm not so sure I want the hassle of having an employee).

If I can upgrade my mower so that I can cut quicker then I'll fit more jobs in.

I'm looking at machines that can mulch, as when the lawns are very owergrown, esp if wet so the machine clogs up, it's the constantly stopping to empty and clear cuttings that adds to the time.

On the other hand, I feel that if I got a machine that has a rear roller I could charge more.

Would a self propelled machine, such as Mountfield SP180R self propelled (£399), Hayter Spirit 4 autodrive (£419) with rear rollers or Hayer 46 3 in 1 auto drive with mulcher but no rear roller (£320) enable me to cut much quicker than my current Mountfield?

Thank you all

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  • PRO

    I would advise that you consider your mower  to fit the needs of your target customer's lawn size/type. No point getting a 56cm deck if you only have small lawns. If you have a limited budget, decide too on the mowing service you will offer. Do your customers  want or care about stripes? You will save £ not getting a roller mower or paying the same and usually getting a better or larger cut size non-roller mower. 

    Cobra has some reasonable roller mowers sub £400, I have one as a backup and great option for small lawns. I have recently been similarly advised to check out 2nd hand Hayer 48 Pros for similar price or another recommendation I was given was for a 3 in 1 sub £400 is the Gardencare LM56sp (not tried it but it had good reviews when I investigated it). 

    • PRO

      my lawn sizes vary, some are pretty small, some medium, nothing large. Generally your 3 bed terrace or semi

      My main thinking about upgrading my current mower, is to speed up the job.

      No point buying another unless there's noticable difference of speed and efficiency and for that I have no idea.

      Thank you

      • PRO
        I think you need to up the budget from the £400 range if you want to improve both speed and finish(which should be aim number 1 in my opinion) . Grass cutting can be a gold mine with the right tools
        • PRO

          The thing is I don't do that many lawns at the moment and my diary is full for the next month.

          What sort of price do you think I need to spend to see a noticeable difference on speed?


          • PRO
            Are you looking at new? If yes then Roller wise your looking at upping to £800-£1200 depending on size of machine, either way when you buy the machine "if new", you will have to speed it up yourself as factory settings are generally p*ss poor...
          • PRO
            I honestly think speed should be second on the list to a good finish better to have a perfect finish and do 6 a day for top money than 10 with a mediocre finish for mediocre money.....
            • PRO

              It doesn't have to be new if I can get a decent second hand, but prefer to have new as there's the risk of buying second hand.

              Out of all the lawns I've done last year and this, apart from 3-4 customers, people don't want them cut more than every 3-4 weeks. They're not after top quality perfect finish, they're after the length kept down and edges tidy (so i've answered my own question about needing/not needing a roller). Or even more often they call me when it's 1 foot high, get it cut down, don't want to book in again, wait until its crazy long again and then call me again and somehow think I'll be able to fit them in within a day or two

              I think if I have to spend £800+ on a mower to get much difference it's more cost effective to stick with my £150 Mountfield mower because it'd take me more than one season to get the money back

              • PRO
                fair enough just a suggestion;)
                I'm surprised the mountfield is in one piece still throwing that kind of work at it......
              • If it's cutting long grass have you thought of getting a strimmer, thus lighting the load of your mower?

                • PRO

                  hello, yes i have the Titan 2-in-1 hedge cutter and strimmer, with brush cutter head too. Whilst I absolutely love the hedge cutter & brush cutter, I am looking at changing the strimmer coz its faffy.

                  Any recommendations for strimmers?

                  As I say I don't do all that many lawns and this is only my second season, but the Mountfield is holding up well so far :)

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