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PRO

Grass cutting business.

Hi there chaps, I've been reading the forums for a while now and I would love some advice please? 
I'd like to start a grass cutting service and maybe in the future if the business gets bigger window cleaning and hedge trimming.

It's been a pretty challenging period with losing both my parents within 6 months of each other last year both were young and was hard to take, as challenging as that period was and is I've come to the conclusion that I need to do something for myself and ive started that with passing my driving test last year. I bought a nice estate car that can accommodate the lawn mower and a few other things and like I say I'd like to concentrate on grass cutting first and maybe if it picks up I'd get a van.

I know it won't be a gaurenteed wage but I have a full time job where I can go part time and do grass cutting in the afternoons. Even at the start it just tops my wages up I'd be happy but then will add things like two In one service of cutting the grass and window cleaning. 

id just love some advice on what mower to get, I have my eye On hayter pro 41 Honda engine roller mower, I'd like to finish the gardens with stripe Finnish.

I'd love to do contract grass cutting with local councils or public spaces grave yards etc is there any tips to get in the door with contracts? I want to do this to be self employed and I want to do everything above board in terms of paying tax and public insurance and waste licenses, there's a guy down the road who cuts grass £5 ago and I know for a fact he hasn't a job which annoys me, but I want to stand out from those types and offer striped professional finish.
sorry for the long post chaps and I thank you in advance for reading. Rich.

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Replies

  • PRO

    Richard - there is always a demand for a competively priced, good quality grass cutting service.

    Remember you will need business insurance (you WILL break some windows!), also a waste carriers licence if you are taking anything away from customers premises.

    As regards contracts with councils etc, start small and these kind if contracts will come to you when the time is right. You will need to be working full time, with proper pro kit to be able to run contracts like this though.

    • PRO

      Thank you Adam for the advice. Yeah I plan on getting all the relevant licenses as you say I'm pretty sure I'll put someone's window through(by accident) of course. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself and thought I'd just stick to one stream (grass cutting) at first just to get some more experience and build my business. Do you have any advice in terms of pricing jobs like small/medium/large lawns? I see some people charging £5 a lawn and obviously there mostly cowboys. Thank you again Adam. 

  • Good luck and go for it. One thing though... get a 48 or 53cm mower. The 41 will be painfully slow and make it hard to earn a decent income. 

    Stihl roller mowers are super easy to fold the handles and slide out of a car on ramps. 

    • PRO

      Hi Dan thank for that mate. I liked the 41 Honda engine hayter and I did think I'd be losing money if I had massive lawns to do. I had a budget of around £800 can you recommend any roller mowers? Thank you again. 

      • Hayters are renowned for being very poor in the wet. If you only do lawns on a Saturday, for example, what if you get 3 wet Saturdays in a row? You'll struggle with a mower that's not up to it. 

        Weibang and stihl are probably the best budget roller mowers that'll collect full bags in the wet. You don't want to be lifting any mowers, always use ramps, so getting a slightly heavier one shouldn't be a problem. 

        Don't always be quick to label cheap gardeners as cowboys. I know some cheap guys who do excellent work. Some people don't need to run healthy profits in a business, they just want a bit of cash to get by. I welcome them, always admire anyone who works hard. 

        • PRO

          I had my eye on the hayter pro 41 with the Honda engine, but good point about being wet, Someone said the new hayter pro picks up in the wet pretty well but I'll just have to look into that. I might have a look into something bigger as I'd be targeting a variety of different sized gardens and properties. 

          Another thing I'm struggling with is what to charge, I'd like to be in and out as quickly as possible so don't think I'll go for hourly, what would you suggest?


          I'll be finishing work at around 2pm everyday and go it after then and maybe on a Saturday too. Also I'll regraded that statement people being cowboys, I just know of some people being in the dole and doing it on the side which I just don't agree with. Thanks for your advice Dan really appreciate it.

  • I've used Masport Rotarola mowers for years and found them pretty much indestructable ............not sure about the latest "Rotarola" models as the design has changed slightly........... but I've always found them brilliant.  £600-£700 roughly so would be within your budget. 48cm width which I find ideal for domestic gardens...... Collects well in the wet and very light............. never needed to use ramps. 

    Talking about £5 lawns, I've actually got one............ size of a postage stamp as they say.... takes 5 minutes and it's next door to a larger job I do + she does a lovely cuppa with biscuits!!  I't's also worth remembering that if you've a lot of small £5-£10 jobs immediately next to each other, it can work out  quite well if each one only takes 5-10 minutes. 

    • PRO

      I'll have a look into those when I get home as they sound ideal. 

      Yeah if I could get those cuts within close proximity to each other that would be great. Do you have any advice in advertising with leaflets cards and Facebook? If it takes off I'd like to maybe incorporate window cleaning aswell so can do garden and windows? Thanks for your advice graham reall helps.

  • You might have already seen it, but check out the LJN hourly rate calculator:

    https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3314062352?prof...

    https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3314062352?profile=original
  • Richard, Good luck in your venture. As to mowers there are only really two which we use for domestics, the Hayter Harrier Pro either 41 or 48, these are new from the ground up models introduced in 2019, they are a totally different machine from the previous models which should be avoided at all cost ! On the plus side the wet grass collection is superb and there is not anything else out there in a roller which will match them, they have very recently been improved even further with a slightly different blade etc, so if you go for these make sure it is the improved 2020 version. On the negative side -  the forward speed is an unalterable very fast 3mph which is challenging on small lawns ! but I believe there is a dealer modification to slow them down.

    As an alternative we have used the Mountfield SP505 RV, this is variable speed, the handles have a very easy to use fold down function which if you are using a car will be of benefit and  wet grass collection is good but not as good as the Hayter.We have used this machine on commercial sites as well as domestics for over 2 years with no issues, if we had to choose and were in your position we would go for the Mountfield purely on the variable speed option as you will find a fixed speed on small lawns very awkward. Avoid buying anything online, use a local reputable main dealer, if anything goes wrong you will need a quick fix - not waiting for a carrier to pick up and return.

    As to pricing - remember anyone can be busy fool ! You will have expenses, mower servicing/spares, business insurance, fuel, don't forget that you are using your car for business and will have to tell your insurers which will inevitably mean higher premiums and don't forget to tell them you will be carrying a petrol can ! Add the yearly costs together this will give you a figure you will need to earn just to cover these, a minimum charge of £10 for a small lawn I think would encourage customers initially and I'm assuming you don't want to get rich, but you will find your own way after a while as to what the market will pay.

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