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Hi Guys and Gals,I'm just coming to the close of my first season in the business and wanted to share some thoughts on equipment. I wanted to start out under my own steam, and with just a few grand saved up I needed to spread it very thinly indeed. Here's a breakdown of what I had, how it worked and what I am thinking of upgrading to for next season, would love to hear your comments!1. Vauxhall Combo 1.2 Van & 7' trailer - great workhorse, not big enough, thinking about SWB Transit, but will fuel costs be prohibitive? (the combo sips fuel)2. Hayter Harrier 56 - totally reliable, always started first pop, but very heavy and would not pick up grass with the slighest bit of dew on it - rained off several days leaving me behind schedule - thinking about Lawnflite PRO 553 HRS Pro? Would love the Etesia but cannot justify £2K for one (yet).3. Ryobi brush cutter with expand-it attachments - Knew this would be dodgy, but it did get me through a full season, they are knackered now so thinking about Stihl or Husky?4. Bulldog and Roughneck hand tools and Felco 7's will last for years!5. Tried to manage with ladders at first with a plank lashed to the top - dodgy! Got multi use ladders with platform but these are not much better - thinking tripod ladders or Henchman?Would love to hear other's comments please?Steven

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  • Good to see you're looking forward positively to your next year. You sound like you've got the right idea. I've not got a lot of time to comment on the above but I'd say when you are ready to buy you're next piece of kit just type it into he LJ search box. A plethora of ideas and advice.

    I will also say, though, with regards steps and access platforms - definately a tripod or Henchman. I just got stitiches out of my thumb today from last weeks hedgecutting ladder incident. Value your thumbs and spend the money on something safer than a set of ladders. As above read over the discussions regarding these. I know I will be anyway.

    Best regards

    Neil
  • My Toyota Hiace Powervan gets me buy (bit juicy though)....been very reliable and will carry a Histep Major on the rack no worries, speaking of which the Henchman although time consuming setting up taking down and can be a bit of a wrestling match somedays too has been a really good piece of kit wouldn't be without one now..

    I use dedicated Tanaka hedge cutters but do have a Shindaiwa combi tool which I use for strimmer and pole saw....the motor unit is fine and has despatched it's first season well, the strimmer unit is ok..no complaints, the pole saw attachment is great (quite long too) and and a gives me a good deal more flexability and safety when attacking some awkward stuff plus on occasion saves me breaking out the ladders, I also carry a couple of long loppers (up to 4mtr ish) for the same purpose.

    I've got a Honda powered Flymo and a Honda HRD 536 which get me by mower wise but mowers seem to split people like red or brown on your bacon butties so good luck with that ;-)

    All the best for 1010 may it be a corker for you

    Cheers
    Mark
  • PRO
    get rid of those wooden ladders

    get a bigger trailer and you might not need a bigger van / if the van will pull bigger ? what cc is it? or get a diesel combo better for towing even a 1.5cc

    keep the small trailer as they are priceless (so handy !)

    maybe hold back on the vehicle , although its the best time right now to buy everything !!

    think i just got a Etesia pro51k for £310.....
  • PRO
    I to started out with the Ryobi expand-it gear and it worked perfectly well if a little under powered, i now have some Stihl equipment, bought used to keep costs down but i still use the Ryobi on occasion for light strimming or with the pole pruner attachment.
    Ive got a Hayter Harrier also but like most peoples experience it does a grand job in the dry but struggles pitifully in damp let alone wet weather! after recommendations on LJN mainly from Pro Guard i bought a used Etesia for £340 and it hasn't clogged once, well worth the money and although buying used means it looks a little battle scarred it has been invaluable.
    I have a 2003 Fiat Scudo which most of the time is more than big enough, but it can be a chore when i have a load of gear on board and then also have to take waste to the dump aswell, becomes a bit of juggling act stroke space effeciency game! I'm going to stick with it for now but as mentioned by others a MWB transit i think would be the best compromise between relatively small vehicle and large load space.
  • The Ryobi stuff was ok, but after a whole seasons' use the male-female square linkeage became sheared and then it just revved instead of turning the accessories. Fair play to Ryobi though they have just replaced my flexi mower, tiller and new shaft on the brush-cutter. I just don't trust it to continue working now though, and I found the on/off rocker switch in such a postition that I keep turning it off inadvertantly!

    Anthony Toop said:
    I to started out with the Ryobi expand-it gear and it worked perfectly well if a little under powered, i now have some Stihl equipment, bought used to keep costs down but i still use the Ryobi on occasion for light strimming or with the pole pruner attachment.
    Ive got a Hayter Harrier also but like most peoples experience it does a grand job in the dry but struggles pitifully in damp let alone wet weather! after recommendations on LJN mainly from Pro Guard i bought a used Etesia for £340 and it hasn't clogged once, well worth the money and although buying used means it looks a little battle scarred it has been invaluable.
    I have a 2003 Fiat Scudo which most of the time is more than big enough, but it can be a chore when i have a load of gear on board and then also have to take waste to the dump aswell, becomes a bit of juggling act stroke space effeciency game! I'm going to stick with it for now but as mentioned by others a MWB transit i think would be the best compromise between relatively small vehicle and large load space.
  • Hi
    I would stay away from the lawnflight for now as they are a very heavy machine and need alot of maintenance. In the wet there a great machine and on commecial work I wouldn't fault them but on small domestic gardens it would be a nightmare.

    I would opt for the van as I find carting a trailer around all day a struggle especially if parking is an issue.
  • You're dead right Martin, the trailer has been a godsend for doing clearance jobs - with the high sides it takes loads of green waste mashed up or trampled down and only costs £15 in leeds for half a ton. Downside is I hate reversing it - doesn't even reverse straight back but goes off to one side, and it's a liability because it is not insured unless it de-couples in transit!!! I have to clamp it every time I stop, even for a few minutes at B&Q because they are targeted by thieves. I paid £750 for it, and it's a really good trailer but I am seriously thinking Pro Gard and others have the best idea with a bigger van!

    martin said:
    Hi
    I would stay away from the lawnflight for now as they are a very heavy machine and need alot of maintenance. In the wet there a great machine and on commecial work I wouldn't fault them but on small domestic gardens it would be a nightmare.

    I would opt for the van as I find carting a trailer around all day a struggle especially if parking is an issue.
    • We use the new shape ford transit lwb med roof very thirsty on fuel but one of the best decisions I've made.

      Steven Whitaker said:
      You're dead right Martin, the trailer has been a godsend for doing clearance jobs - with the high sides it takes loads of green waste mashed up or trampled down and only costs £15 in leeds for half a ton. Downside is I hate reversing it - doesn't even reverse straight back but goes off to one side, and it's a liability because it is not insured unless it de-couples in transit!!! I have to clamp it every time I stop, even for a few minutes at B&Q because they are targeted by thieves. I paid £750 for it, and it's a really good trailer but I am seriously thinking Pro Gard and others have the best idea with a bigger van!martin said:
      Hi
      I would stay away from the lawnflight for now as they are a very heavy machine and need alot of maintenance. In the wet there a great machine and on commecial work I wouldn't fault them but on small domestic gardens it would be a nightmare.

      I would opt for the van as I find carting a trailer around all day a struggle especially if parking is an issue.
  • I've managed with the Hayter 56 though in terms of weight (about 60kgs I think), the challenge is I have one garden that is massive with a paddock, I could really do with a ride-on for that one but none of my other gardens warrant it. I think the lawnflite is about the same weight, and my customers have got used to the stripes now!
  • PRO
    Steven Whitaker said:
    and I found the on/off rocker switch in such a postition that I keep turning it off inadvertantly!

    Yeh this has caught me out on numerous occasions, the first time it happened i couldn't work out what had gone wrong and it was 5 mins of head scratching before i realised!
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