I have been looking after people's gardens while studying and have used the owners' tools. When I leave college next month I want to set up a mobile business with my own equipment.

I've got a van and some kit but the mower is proving the biggest problem.

I want a good one but will only have £250 to spend. Do you have any suggestions?

It is likely that much of your time will be spent mowing, so you do need to choose which one to purchase carefully.

In the first instance I would go for a wheeled rotary model because they are very versatile, but it needs to be one that leaves a good finish.

Push will be the cheapest option and has advantages in that you can nose the mower under shrubs and follow bends and curves at your speed rather than the drive speed.

Ideally, because of the frequency of use, you should look for a commercial mower but, with your budget, your best option would be to buy an entry level mower to get you going and give you the opportunity to earn. Then upgrade to a commercial model as soon as you are able.

You should try to buy new. Not only will this look smart and boost your business credentials, but with zero hours on the clock it should be trouble-free while also allowing you to get on with your work.

A visit to your local garden machinery dealer should reveal several options under £250 but one that impresses me is the Masport 200ST which is distributed in the UK by FGM Machinery of Warwickshire; this mower is available through dealers and online. It costs around £220, including VAT.

Masport mowers are engineered in New Zealand. It seems to me that New Zealanders know a thing or two about grass cutting.

Trimax tractor-mounted mowers used on sports fields, golf courses and turf farms also come from New Zealand and they are impressive cutters too.

When I used the Masport 200ST a couple of weeks ago, it was the quality of cut that struck me. It coped well with wet grass and has 10 cutting heights, using single-lever adjustment, from 70mm right down to just 10mm.

Pick up and collection is phenomenal, although the catcher is not the easiest thing to fit and remove.Construction of the 220ST is solid and the engine is a Briggs & Stratton. The machine weighs £28kg.

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