moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

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gips
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moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by gips » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:33 pm

Hi,

We live in ny and have about 1.5 acres of grass to cut. We've been using a landscaper, he's great but charges $80 per cut and $75 to plow our (long) driveway. Over the course of spring, summer and fall we pay him about $2400 just for cutting our lawn. Then there's spring cleanup, leaf pickup, plantings, etc. He plows whenever we have more than 3 inches of snow, this year we'll spend $600-$800 on plowing.

The spend made sense when I was working 60-80 hour weeks but I retired last year, age 60, and now feel compelled to take on most of the work. Unfortunately, I've never enjoyed yard work, so I'd like to equip myself with tools that do the job quickly but are cost effective. We'll probably keep our house another 5-7 before moving elsewhere.

would love suggestions for lawn mowers, trimmers, snow blowers, etc.

tia,
jd

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Watty
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Watty » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:41 am

gips wrote:have about 1.5 acres of grass to cut......We'll probably keep our house another 5-7 before moving elsewhere.


There is a lot more to having a good looking lawn than just cutting the grass. When you go to sell the house you it will help to have the lawn looking very good so you would need to be concerned about making a mistake when you are taking care of the job yourself. If the landscaper hauls off the grass clipping then you would also need to consider how you would do that if you don't already have a pickup truck.

With just 5 to 7 years I don't see much payback after you go out and buy a riding lawn mower and snowblower and then pay to have them maintained each year too. If you were staying in the house longer getting all the equipment might make more sense.

Doing the yard work would be good exercise but other than that you might want to just keep using the landscape people.

2comma
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by 2comma » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:02 am

I'm probably weird but when I was growing up I always liked mowing the grass but we had a 48" riding mower. I've always thought that a fast and powerful zero turn mower would be nice but I'm not sure which brands are the best and I don't know what a good one costs. For small gas power tools Stihl are expensive but hard to beat. I still do my own yard maintenance with a Honda self propelled mower but where we live it is hot and humid, it's not fun but, it's not even good exercise but I am cheap and I'm still doing it - perhaps as an age/deterioration guage.

I'm not sure you'll be able to justify the cost for nice equipment for 5-7 years. Do you have a place to store it? Can you sharpen the mower blades? If you're used to paying money not to have to do it you might find it hard to start now. The snow plowing cost seems reasonable to me.
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FiveK
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by FiveK » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:02 am

gips wrote:Over the course of spring, summer and fall we pay him about $2400 just for cutting our lawn.
A new riding lawnmower could be ~1/2 that price. Or get a mulching (i.e., powered) push mower and get yourself 2-3 hours of walking exercise each time you mow.
He plows whenever we have more than 3 inches of snow...
How long and wide is the drive?

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sdsailing
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by sdsailing » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:19 am

If there is literally 1.5 acres of grass, $80 seems like a bargain.

letsgobobby
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:21 am

FiveK wrote:
gips wrote:Over the course of spring, summer and fall we pay him about $2400 just for cutting our lawn.
A new riding lawnmower could be ~1/2 that price. Or get a mulching (i.e., powered) push mower and get yourself 2-3 hours of walking exercise each time you mow.
He plows whenever we have more than 3 inches of snow...
How long and wide is the drive?

a good riding mower that also takes a plow and does 1.5 acres in less than forever isn't going to cost half that price.

My lawn is about that size and my riding mower cost $6000 when new, plus attachments. I didn't buy it new though, so he could look for a used one. They yearly service this fall cost $400.

Unless you like being outside, I'd keep outsourcing. As pointed out above, there's not just mowing; but dumping the grass, aerating, fertilizng, weeding, edging, trimming. 5-7 years could be 'worth it' financially but just barely. If you liked doing the work it might be a different story.

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Watty
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Watty » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:24 am

One other thought. A lot of people travel some when they retire. Be sure to plan on how to handle that if you stop using the landscaper.

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FiveK
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by FiveK » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:36 am

letsgobobby wrote:...that also takes a plow and does 1.5 acres in less than forever....
Ah, you mean a fancy one.... ;)

coalcracker
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by coalcracker » Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:10 am

What about a heated driveway? If I were looking to buy a house with a long driveway in cold winter climate, that would be a big selling point.

Do you need to save the money, or just feel compelled to do it because you now have time?

Gill
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Gill » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:13 am

gips wrote:I've never enjoyed yard work...

There's no doubt what you should do - keep the guy! I love sitting in my leather chair and watching my lawn be cut, bushes trimmed, pool cleaned, etc.
Gill
Last edited by Gill on Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

mouses
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by mouses » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:13 am

Why are all you people hauling away the cut grass? Let it fall into the lawn. It is fertilizer, and will not be obvious within a day or two.

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alec
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by alec » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:27 am

mouses wrote:Why are all you people hauling away the cut grass? Let it fall into the lawn. It is fertilizer, and will not be obvious within a day or two.


a mulching lawnmower will also do leaves, so no more raking or bagging. Even better if it's self propelled.
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Call_Me_Op » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:37 am

I hate landscaping, so I factor that in to my monthly expenses. When I retire, it will still be part of my monthly expenses.
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Yooper » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:37 am

Given the numbers you quoted, I'd do it in a minute. I picked up a Ariens 30" snowblower this year for close to 2K and it does my 300' gravel driveway just fine (I did buy some Armorskids for it though). Got a Dixie-Chopper zero turn mower last year for 4K, if I told you how much grass I cut you'd shudder, but it does a fine job.

In three years the snowblower has paid for itself. Two years the mower has paid for itself. Sure, the lawn may not be quite as nice as having it done professionally but who cares, you're saving a ton of money. Year (maybe two) before you sell go back to having it done professionally so when you do sell your lawn's got its groove back. Potential buyer's come along, tell them you'll sell them the blower and mower for half of what you paid for them.

I say this because I know myself and I know my property. It might not be applicable to your situation.

retiredjg
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by retiredjg » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:06 am

Since you don't enjoy yard work, I think you may be very unhappy if you take on these duties. I also think you may not realize the number of tools you will have to buy and store to do this work. Unless you are just strapped for cash, I'd leave it as is. The mowing, in particular, sounds like a bargain.

likegarden
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by likegarden » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:57 am

Retiring at 60, you should be interested in exercise, and mowing the lawn and plowing the driveway in fresh air is great exercise. Since you want to have exercise several times a week, you need to break up that yardwork and use a walk-behind mower for the lawn. But, I like yardwork for all those health benefits, and have much less lawn and driveway. I also have less lawn because I converted that into plantings which dress up the house nicely.

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:07 am

This is going to sound extravagant but bear with me. Buy yourself a compact tractor with a bucket loader and mower attachment. I have a Kubota BX series, which others use for mowing. Use it in the summer to mow and in the winter to clear the driveway. Get a set of chains for winter use. These are 3 cyl diesel 4 wheel drive units and will hold up for many years. When you are ready to sell your house, sell the tractor. If you really wanted, you could instead just get a front snowblower attachment instead of the bucket. But you may find other uses for the bucket.

I have a Kubota and use it for snow clean up and removal after plowing the driveway (Wrangler with a Curtis plow), for firewood moving and various other activities (moving a snowmobile around when there's no snow so I don't destroy my back).
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letsgobobby
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:12 am

likegarden wrote:Retiring at 60, you should be interested in exercise, and mowing the lawn and plowing the driveway in fresh air is great exercise. Since you want to have exercise several times a week, you need to break up that yardwork and use a walk-behind mower for the lawn. But, I like yardwork for all those health benefits, and have much less lawn and driveway. I also have less lawn because I converted that into plantings which dress up the house nicely.

For those who don't know:

mowing the lawn for exercise is great when your lawn is 1/2 acre, when it's 60 degrees and partly sunny with a beautiful breeze.

It's a lot less fun when it's 95 and humid; when it's been raining for 8 straight days; or when you're walking behind a push mower over 1 acre, or when you have to squeeze it in before or after a vacation or after or before a long stretch of work.

Also, mulching doesn't work well on wet grass. You say, "well, you shouldn't mow your grass when it's wet." In my area that would make for weeks of not cutting the grass.

I don't mind doing it but hae the right tool for the job and might outsource it in retirement. My coworker has a 3 acre lawn and pays $700 per month for it to be cut.

dbr
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by dbr » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:36 am

Ironically the best thing I have done in retirement is hire a landscaper and people to remove snow, both chores I have always hated. But I don't have the acreage you do nor the driveway. Outdoor work might be a very good idea in retirement but it can be a burden and a hazard as well.

Sandtrap
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:48 am

This is an outstanding opportunity to shop for a small John Deere tractor with the mower attachment (for grass), and the blade attachment (for snow, etc), and the other very cool attachments. And also a Husquvarna Zero Turn riding mower because it can get close to things. And also a new storage building to put away those toys for the winter. And. . . . . .

retiredjg
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by retiredjg » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:58 am

Sandtrap wrote:. And also a new storage building to put away those toys for the winter. And. . . . . .

Yep. You can save a lot of money by doing it yourself after you buy that new storage building. :happy

TravelforFun
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by TravelforFun » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:05 am

I guess I'm opposite. I became semi-retired late last year and am thinking about getting someone to do my yard so I can have even more free time. 8-)

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by TRC » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:25 am

total overkill, but investing in a solid garden tractor that can accomodate a shaft driven snowblower, mower deck and front end loader would fit the bill and is totally awesome! I own a John Deere Diesel X748 and it's a beast! Here's me snow blowing a blizzard of 2+ feet. It's like a hot knife slicing through butter! https://vimeo.com/59312458

gips
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by gips » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:03 pm

thanks for all the replies. I've done some research, I can get a floor model sear craftsman 20442 rider mower delivered for $1800. Comes w full warranty, well reviewed by consumer reports and on the sears site. Maybe I'm missing something but seems like the payoff would be one season or less.

Another idea is to shop around for a lower price as our landscaper is known as the most expensive in the area. OTOH, he's a personal friend and may be insulted if we use someone else. also, it's not entirely clear he's charging us market price and I do take comfort that as a friend, he takes care of us.

we can definitely afford to have him continue landscaping, I've been conscientious about exercise and I'd rather play 3 hours of tennis than work on the lawn. It bears some thought.

dbr
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by dbr » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:09 pm

Machinery you own requires maintenance as well.

Then maybe you want to participate in a "cylinders" club. The contest is how many cylinders of internal combustion machinery you own, cars, outboards, all the way down to chainsaws. One year I beat out the guys at work with all their four wheelers and jet skis when by bizarre chance I owned four cars with V-8 power.

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by pshonore » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:19 pm

gips wrote:thanks for all the replies. I've done some research, I can get a floor model sear craftsman 20442 rider mower delivered for $1800. Comes w full warranty, well reviewed by consumer reports and on the sears site. Maybe I'm missing something but seems like the payoff would be one season or less.

Another idea is to shop around for a lower price as our landscaper is known as the most expensive in the area. OTOH, he's a personal friend and may be insulted if we use someone else. also, it's not entirely clear he's charging us market price and I do take comfort that as a friend, he takes care of us.

we can definitely afford to have him continue landscaping, I've been conscientious about exercise and I'd rather play 3 hours of tennis than work on the lawn. It bears some thought.
I'm not sure I'd go with Craftsman. They're not necessarily bad products (I've had one of their snowblowers for 12 years) but it can be tough to find people to work on them. And I'm not sure Sears will be around for a long time. I personally like Gravely stuff myself (taken over by Ariens), but there are lots of good brands around.

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by jebmke » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:23 pm

TravelforFun wrote:I guess I'm opposite. I became semi-retired late last year and am thinking about getting someone to do my yard so I can have even more free time. 8-)

Same here. I started my working life cutting lawns. I'm sure not going to end it the same way. That would really be a setback.
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by ram » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:34 pm

Didn't read all the replies but I wonder if you will end up like me. Buying the equipment and still outsourcing the job. (I am still working.)
Ram

retiredjg
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by retiredjg » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:36 pm

gips wrote:thanks for all the replies. I've done some research, I can get a floor model sear craftsman 20442 rider mower delivered for $1800. Comes w full warranty, well reviewed by consumer reports and on the sears site. Maybe I'm missing something but seems like the payoff would be one season or less.

But...what about the other lawnmower you need for trim work? And the string trimmer? And leaf blower? And limb grinder? And rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and fertilizer dispensers? Or whatever you need in your area? Unless you already have all that stuff, this is not about the cost of 1 lawnmower.



we can definitely afford to have him continue landscaping, I've been conscientious about exercise and I'd rather play 3 hours of tennis than work on the lawn. It bears some thought.

I don't know why you would even consider doing this yourself if you know you won't enjoy it.

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Nearing_Destination » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:53 pm

retiredjg wrote:
gips wrote:thanks for all the replies. I've done some research, I can get a floor model sear craftsman 20442 rider mower delivered for $1800. Comes w full warranty, well reviewed by consumer reports and on the sears site. Maybe I'm missing something but seems like the payoff would be one season or less.

But...what about the other lawnmower you need for trim work? And the string trimmer? And leaf blower? And limb grinder? And rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and fertilizer dispensers? Or whatever you need in your area? Unless you already have all that stuff, this is not about the cost of 1 lawnmower.



we can definitely afford to have him continue landscaping, I've been conscientious about exercise and I'd rather play 3 hours of tennis than work on the lawn. It bears some thought.

I don't know why you would even consider doing this yourself if you know you won't enjoy it.


The maintenance on the equipment is a problem as well, especially if you've never done any before-- including winterizing equipment, changing out/sharpening blades, etc. There's a lot of issues to consider; also of note, what happens when you are off on vacation for two to three weeks ( or longer).

BTW: around here, in lower COL area, those numbers for acreage and snow clearing are not out of line.

Hockey10
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Hockey10 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:00 pm

Move to a warmer climate with a smaller yard.

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:32 pm

gips wrote:thanks for all the replies. I've done some research, I can get a floor model sear craftsman 20442 rider mower delivered for $1800. Comes w full warranty, well reviewed by consumer reports and on the sears site. Maybe I'm missing something but seems like the payoff would be one season or less.

Another idea is to shop around for a lower price as our landscaper is known as the most expensive in the area. OTOH, he's a personal friend and may be insulted if we use someone else. also, it's not entirely clear he's charging us market price and I do take comfort that as a friend, he takes care of us.

we can definitely afford to have him continue landscaping, I've been conscientious about exercise and I'd rather play 3 hours of tennis than work on the lawn. It bears some thought.

I think you've answered your own question here. You can afford to continue with the landscaper and you'd rather play tennis than mow the lawn. There's no reason to spend money on something you dislike when you can afford to do something else. The point of being a Boglehead is not to be frugal for frugality's sake. It's to be frugal in some aspects of life so you can afford to do the things you enjoy, particularly in retirement.

So sign up for more hours at the local tennis club (or wherever you play) and keep the landscaper.

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by chw » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:09 pm

gips wrote:thanks for all the replies. I've done some research, I can get a floor model sear craftsman 20442 rider mower delivered for $1800. Comes w full warranty, well reviewed by consumer reports and on the sears site. Maybe I'm missing something but seems like the payoff would be one season or less.

Another idea is to shop around for a lower price as our landscaper is known as the most expensive in the area. OTOH, he's a personal friend and may be insulted if we use someone else. also, it's not entirely clear he's charging us market price and I do take comfort that as a friend, he takes care of us.

we can definitely afford to have him continue landscaping, I've been conscientious about exercise and I'd rather play 3 hours of tennis than work on the lawn. It bears some thought.

If end up retaining your friend for mowing, his rate does not seem out of line based on where we live, and considering the size of your lawn (we live in a moderate COL area). Think twice before shoveling snow by hand at an older age, unless you are in superb shape. I've known a few fiends to have heart attacks in their 50s/60s moving snow (snowblower may be ok).

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by ralph124cf » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:22 pm

I would love to own a smaller tractor with a mower and snow blower attachments, and a bucket as well. Unfortunately, I have no place to put them. My homeowners association forbids temporary sheds, and a conforming building to house those tools would cost about $10,000.

Ralph

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by fishandgolf » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:40 pm

Nearing_Destination wrote:
retiredjg wrote:
gips wrote:thanks for all the replies. I've done some research, I can get a floor model sear craftsman 20442 rider mower delivered for $1800. Comes w full warranty, well reviewed by consumer reports and on the sears site. Maybe I'm missing something but seems like the payoff would be one season or less.

But...what about the other lawnmower you need for trim work? And the string trimmer? And leaf blower? And limb grinder? And rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and fertilizer dispensers? Or whatever you need in your area? Unless you already have all that stuff, this is not about the cost of 1 lawnmower.



we can definitely afford to have him continue landscaping, I've been conscientious about exercise and I'd rather play 3 hours of tennis than work on the lawn. It bears some thought.

I don't know why you would even consider doing this yourself if you know you won't enjoy it.


The maintenance on the equipment is a problem as well, especially if you've never done any before-- including winterizing equipment, changing out/sharpening blades, etc. There's a lot of issues to consider; also of note, what happens when you are off on vacation for two to three weeks ( or longer).

BTW: around here, in lower COL area, those numbers for acreage and snow clearing are not out of line.


Like others, I didn't read all the previous posts but this guy nailed it! I retired at age 56 and do all the stuff mentioned.....only because of budgetary reasons. About the third time it comes to mowing grassing, blowing snow.....etc, ect, etc.....it's get pretty mundane. If you don't like it, why buy stuff that will make you like it a whole lot LESS. For me.......I do it because of the budget.....but would rather be fishing and golfing .
:sharebeer

N10sive
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by N10sive » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:01 pm

Maybe a few options/questions

1. How often does the landscaper cut your grass? $80 does seem a bit cheap for every two weeks(if that is the case for a 1.5 acre lot). Your $1800 riding mower would be paid for in 1 year.
2. What about moving the maintenance to every 3 weeks(see question above). That would reduce some cost.
3. Cutting grass is rather easy I would try to do that and keep the other gardening items to the landscaper. I hate landscaping etc and in this position that would be what I'd do. I've also never had to work on a mower albeit not a riding one in my lifetime. Just like cars, I'd buy a honda and it should last for a very long time. All you would need to do is sharpen the blade but you can pay someone to do that.
4. Have any high schools around the area? Or a neighbor that is looking for dough? My weekend job in high school was to mow a 1 acre yard and landscape(hence why I pry hate it now). I made close to nothing but it was still money.
5. Buy a snowblower though, that's easy and will pay for itself in no time. Again Honda brand.

letsgobobby
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:27 am

ralph124cf wrote:I would love to own a smaller tractor with a mower and snow blower attachments, and a bucket as well. Unfortunately, I have no place to put them. My homeowners association forbids temporary sheds, and a conforming building to house those tools would cost about $10,000.

Ralph

All the points made are important.

The vehicle I have is more than enough and costs $6000 new. I got it with the sale of the house so can't provide a firm dollar value on what I paid.

The $400 maintenance this fall should be less in the future, closer to $200 annually. Once a summer I have to change the oil and take off the blades to have them sharpened, no big deal.

I paid $80 for a used, commercial heavy duty edger. New they are $300-$500.

$200 for a spreader (fertilizer, moss-killer, etc) which I didn't get around to using last fall, ran out of time while I was raking leaves. By the way I need a $400 backpack leaf blower.

Need to get a $300 core aerator. Don't nail those sprinkler heads or you'll be out that money, too.

Paid $200 for a gorilla yard cart that can hook up to the mower and tow dirt, river rock, etc.

This property had a special built outbuilding for tools and a riding mower garage. My friend on property says she has 'barn envy.' It's not a common amenity, but an extremely nice one. Without one your big green machine will age quickly. Not good.

Again, mowing a big lawn in great weather is one thing. All the other times are a bit less fun. Unless you really like the stuff, you're paying a fair price for the work you're having done and I wouldn't try to change that.

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by jadedfalcons » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:17 am

You can buy a nice TORO zero turn for three grand. You'll like a zero turn much better than a standard tractor model of mower. The tractor models are cheaper, you can easily pick one up for less than a thousand. Benefits of the zero turn are you'll be done faster, they're more fun to operate, and you'll look cooler and more hip. Is looking cool a boglehead thing? I'd check with your local dealers to see what's available in your area to get the plow hookup and everything. You'd be okay dropping down to the $2500 models, as long as they'll work with a plow. The bigger models (like what I assume your guy currently uses on your lawn) have bigger beefier tires. Good for traction, but also harder on your grass.

As far as a trimmer and blower are concerned, a Stihl FS56RC-E would be ideal for that size of property, and a Stihl BG56C-E blower. I sell the trimmer for $219.99 and the blower for $179.99, but the pricing on some items varies from state to state, though I think those are pretty static. That's a trimmer & blower combo that needs minimum maintenance and if you're easy on them, you'll have no issues getting 10 years out of them. Honestly, a lot of my customers get over 20 years out of their equipment, but even at 10 years your cost of ownership is pretty low. Is there cheaper equipment out there? Sure, but part of buying better equipment is that it does the job better, faster, and doesn't break down near as often. That being said, you're better off staying away from your Poulan/Craftsman units, along with other bargain basement price items.

A commercial spreader with pneumatic tires will generally run you $100-200, and can take care of grass seed, fertilizer, & ice melt/salt.

letsgobobby
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:06 pm

jadedfalcons wrote:You can buy a nice TORO zero turn for three grand. You'll like a zero turn much better than a standard tractor model of mower. The tractor models are cheaper, you can easily pick one up for less than a thousand. Benefits of the zero turn are you'll be done faster, they're more fun to operate, and you'll look cooler and more hip. Is looking cool a boglehead thing? I'd check with your local dealers to see what's available in your area to get the plow hookup and everything. You'd be okay dropping down to the $2500 models, as long as they'll work with a plow. The bigger models (like what I assume your guy currently uses on your lawn) have bigger beefier tires. Good for traction, but also harder on your grass.

As far as a trimmer and blower are concerned, a Stihl FS56RC-E would be ideal for that size of property, and a Stihl BG56C-E blower. I sell the trimmer for $219.99 and the blower for $179.99, but the pricing on some items varies from state to state, though I think those are pretty static. That's a trimmer & blower combo that needs minimum maintenance and if you're easy on them, you'll have no issues getting 10 years out of them. Honestly, a lot of my customers get over 20 years out of their equipment, but even at 10 years your cost of ownership is pretty low. Is there cheaper equipment out there? Sure, but part of buying better equipment is that it does the job better, faster, and doesn't break down near as often. That being said, you're better off staying away from your Poulan/Craftsman units, along with other bargain basement price items.

A commercial spreader with pneumatic tires will generally run you $100-200, and can take care of grass seed, fertilizer, & ice melt/salt.

hello, any thoughts on a stihl kombi unit? or a hedger?

tibbitts
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by tibbitts » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:45 pm

I would continue to outsource depending on how significant the money is to you. My guess is not really very significant and you're just being... a Boglehead.

For snow in the driveway, get a plow for your 4x4 truck if you must.

sawhorse
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by sawhorse » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:14 pm

Please please do not try to shovel the snow yourself at your age. I know 60 isn't that old, but it's still an age when heart attack risk increases a lot, and falls can be devastating. I knew two people who died of heart attacks while shoveling. One was in his 60s and in seemingly good health. When the weather is bad outside, otherwise survivable heart attacks can be fatal because the ambulances take longer due to road conditions.

Likewise, if it's 90 degrees out, please do not try to do your own yardwork.

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burt
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by burt » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:18 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
likegarden wrote:Retiring at 60, you should be interested in exercise, and mowing the lawn and plowing the driveway in fresh air is great exercise. Since you want to have exercise several times a week, you need to break up that yardwork and use a walk-behind mower for the lawn. But, I like yardwork for all those health benefits, and have much less lawn and driveway. I also have less lawn because I converted that into plantings which dress up the house nicely.

For those who don't know:

mowing the lawn for exercise is great when your lawn is 1/2 acre, when it's 60 degrees and partly sunny with a beautiful breeze.

It's a lot less fun when it's 95 and humid; when it's been raining for 8 straight days; or when you're walking behind a push mower over 1 acre, or when you have to squeeze it in before or after a vacation or after or before a long stretch of work.

Also, mulching doesn't work well on wet grass. You say, "well, you shouldn't mow your grass when it's wet." In my area that would make for weeks of not cutting the grass.

I don't mind doing it but hae the right tool for the job and might outsource it in retirement. My coworker has a 3 acre lawn and pays $700 per month for it to be cut.


Regarding "My coworker has a 3 acre lawn and pays $700 per month for it to be cut."

Remarkable. I guess I really am a rube from the country.

burt

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burt
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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by burt » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:41 pm

Recently retired and moved to a small house in the upper mid-west.
I bought a self-propelled walking mower and a snow blower. Lawn may take 2 hours, snow removal may take 1-1/2 hours.
I do it for exercise. I also like helping the neighbors when the snow is deep.
I don't do this in one shot. I take breaks.... because I'm retired and have the time.

burt

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Re: moving from landscaper/snow plower to diy in retirement

Post by Cruise » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:29 pm

sawhorse wrote:Please please do not try to shovel the snow yourself at your age. I know 60 isn't that old, but it's still an age when heart attack risk increases a lot, and falls can be devastating. I knew two people who died of heart attacks while shoveling. One was in his 60s and in seemingly good health. When the weather is bad outside, otherwise survivable heart attacks can be fatal because the ambulances take longer due to road conditions.

Likewise, if it's 90 degrees out, please do not try to do your own yardwork.


OP: Consider this a +1000.

Right now you have your health and a great worker to take care of your driveway and law. Both are precious resources. There is a finite time of good health in retirement.

If you are lucky, your health and ability to take on the lawn/driveway duties will last a long time. However, health status can change in a minute, and you might find yourself with not only the inability to perform the tasks, but also the need to find a new worker to take over the duties.

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