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View Full Version : Can You Make More $$$ With a 21" Than a ZTR Revisited


Fareway Lawncare
05-18-2005, 09:03 PM
This 21" Metro/6.5hp Kaw has clocked eXactly 55 hrs since May 1....My 21"'s Generate $60 per hr Average...Cutting 3-4, $18 Lots Per Hr. Consistantly....

Therefore this Piddly 1k 21" Unit has Generated $3300 (Net) since May 1......Has Paid for itself 3 Times Over in Just 18 Days and Will be eXpected to Last 3 seasons...My Proline/Suzukis retire after 4 Seasons...I eXpect the Kaw's Will Die Sooner.

21"'s are Money Making Machines and its all Thanks to the Lazy Azz's Rolling around w/Bloated Trucks and 10k Riders and Belt Drive Walks who are Scared of the 21" and its Magical Properties.

dishboy
05-18-2005, 09:13 PM
Don't know about ZTR's but my best hourly rates come off my little lawns I use the 21 on that are all stacked up together.

Lawn-Scapes
05-18-2005, 09:13 PM
They have their place... but not on my rig or properties. I love my lazyass riders :)

DennisF
05-18-2005, 09:53 PM
If you are cutting 3-4 lots per hour with a 21 then those lots must be small.

If you service small properties...use small equipment.

With a 52 inch ZTR I can mow 2-3 acres per hour at $50 per acre. A 21 would not be very efficient on these types of lawns and could not produce the same revenue per hour as a ZTR.

If you service big properties...use big equipment.

leeslawncare
05-18-2005, 10:17 PM
I'am glad it works for you .But...my a&% don't like to walk to make a living !I try to work smarter not harder!!!but to each LCO has his prefrence. so you go for it .

Kelly's Landscaping
05-19-2005, 12:34 AM
Thatís nice Fareway I will pass on that my riders are making me 6 k a week atm and thatís not including other work. And that goes up each day signed 2 more lawns up today. I picked up a 36" exmark TTHP 2 weeks ago and it has cut more then 12 hours a week off our list by eliminating all but about 3 lawns we had to do with a 21" mower.

Fareway Lawncare
05-19-2005, 12:50 AM
It's Nice to See You Kids are Ambitious but my 32" 36" & 48" Viking/Tracer's Don't Make the Same $$$ Consistantly as the Old Stand Bye 21"'s.

21"...Less Hassles Training...Less Initial Cost....Faster on Most Small Lots..

You Kids need to Downsize and Rethink....Kelly's Landscaping My Guess is You Need to Offer Other Services Besides Mowing to Survive..

Tider6972
05-19-2005, 01:15 AM
Faraway, how many full (8 or more hours) days can you keep your 21s busy? Do you have 120 - 160 lawns per week ? What other mowers do you use WITH the 21s, or do you use 21s only on small lawn routes? How many men on a crew cutting with 21s? Do you transport them on trailers, or flatbeds like justmowit? Do you also trim, edge, and blow these lawns which you do in 15 - 18 minutes? How do you bill them?

Thanks.

rlmelton
05-19-2005, 04:22 PM
I have a 26 hp Dixie with a 60 inch deck that I have campaigned by myself for 4 years with 1600 hours on it and when I total my 1099s up it comes to 180,000.00 in 4 years. Do the math . 112.50 per mowing hour. and I'm not nearly as tired as when I had a push mower. Thats working part time when I get of work at 430 pm till dark and Saturdays. What would that 60 inch ZTR yeild if I had a full work week instead of part time ?

The mayor
05-19-2005, 04:38 PM
I have some very large lawns. I will have to switch over to a 21". I will let you know how it works out. Let's see.....9 lawns at over 4 acres...carry the 3 I do see it being very profitable. Anybody want to by a dixie chopper. And a free work out to boot.

Sean Adams
05-19-2005, 04:54 PM
There's customer satisfaction...we all know that

There is also employee satisfaction...and it does play a role in productivity and ultimately your bottom line.

I agree with Fareway's overall point...21's - less hassle, less downtime, less expense, less training, etc....no doubt there. But if you are mowing lawns that could be mowed just as well with a walk-behind then you have that one final piece of the puzzle missing...happy employees.

If your business relies on employees, see how long they last pushing, pulling, and dragging 21's around when they could be comfortably walking behind a 36 or 48. They will get discouraged and disgruntled real quick.

I don't think comparing lawns that could be mowed with ZTR versus a 21 makes much sense. If all else is equal.....tight route, efficient employees, same sized lots, etc....the ZTR will ultimately make you more money...and this doesn't even begin to go into the solo-operator factor....who wants to push a mower for an hour, pick up a trimmer and then blow-off? Tired, sore, and eventually the chance of injury, not to mention exhaustion, dehydration, and so on.

David Grass
05-19-2005, 05:09 PM
I make $1000 per hour if I use your initial calculations, on one yard. It is 10 foot by 10 foot, and takes me 10 seconds to mow with my 52 inch side discharge Walker. Too bad I dont have a hundred of em in a row. Point is, no matter how small the yard, I can mow with great lines and without scalping because I "read" the terrain. There is still no comparison of my large mowers with a 21, (which I gave away to a friend many many years ago).

rodfather
05-19-2005, 05:24 PM
Kelvin aka Fareway...has the snow finally melted up there???

BTW, bring all of your 21 inchers tomorrow to help me with an 11 acre residential prop. You should be home NLT than the middle of November I would hope. Your sled dogs will be happy to see ya too by then since you would have had snow on the ground for 2 months already then...

rodfather
05-19-2005, 05:28 PM
I don't think comparing lawns that could be mowed with ZTR versus a 21 makes much sense.

Sean, when has Calvin, Jack D., Ultimate, and/or Fareway ever made sense I ask you? Hell, that Canadien propellor head got a WB stuck in someone's back yard once thinking it could go up the flight of stairs as easily as it went down...LOL

Sean Adams
05-19-2005, 06:21 PM
Jack D? Did I miss one?

Can't fault the general reasoning....(of the 21 not the mower and the stairs)....I had a kid...great kid...18 years old, great attitude, worked like an animal just for the life of him could not figure out any other machine besides the 21's. He did a good job...but like I said, it eventually got to him. Not easy watching co-workers clean, without a bead of sweat gliding along on a ZTR in wide open terrain in 90 degree heat while he was cutting in, doing curb sides and small hillsides....he apologetically quit and took the postal exam before we even got to August.

pcnservices
05-19-2005, 09:16 PM
It's Nice to See You Kids are Ambitious but my 32" 36" & 48" Viking/Tracer's Don't Make the Same $$$ Consistantly as the Old Stand Bye 21"'s...............
You Kids need to Downsize and Rethink....Kelly's Landscaping My Guess is You Need to Offer Other Services Besides Mowing to Survive..
Ouch, who are you talking to here? There are not too many "kids" on this site and those who I know are smart enough to manage their businesses in a financially feasable manner. Sooooo, you wanna pushmow to make money? - go for it! I have a life to live and I'm definitly not gonna spend it push mowing yards with a 21".
Good luck
PC

rodfather
05-19-2005, 09:16 PM
Jack D? Did I miss one?

You certainly did and I will not mention the Green Industry website he uses that name to post on too btw...

Kelly's Landscaping
05-19-2005, 10:43 PM
It's Nice to See You Kids are Ambitious but my 32" 36" & 48" Viking/Tracer's Don't Make the Same $$$ Consistantly as the Old Stand Bye 21"'s.

21"...Less Hassles Training...Less Initial Cost....Faster on Most Small Lots..

You Kids need to Downsize and Rethink....Kelly's Landscaping My Guess is You Need to Offer Other Services Besides Mowing to Survive..

No I do other things because they expect it but to tell the truth just cutting is looking real good atm. I can see that may be what we end up doing in a few more seasons other then fert and weed control work. I put in lawns and stuff like that but I have so little time for it especially with the employee problems I have had this year. This week has been hell one guy quit and my other guy is on leave his wife just had a baby so Lou and I have been going out solo each day it looks like we may finish cutting Saturday. Not sure about you Fareway but 170 lawns /125 acres is not to bad for 2 guys in 4 days guess the ZTRs do help.

jgtxusa
05-19-2005, 10:58 PM
Loaded question huh. You really want to get these guys stirring. I seem to lose money with the 21s or ztrs. Either way is fine with me.

Tider6972
05-20-2005, 02:41 AM
Faraway, my questions are serious. I hope you'll respond.

Many here made fun of justmowit and his 21s, too. There is a market niche for them, and I'm going after it. Faraway ?

Toy2
05-21-2005, 03:12 PM
My 21 is used more than the 36", is this my fault....don't think so.....we know you can make $$ with them....Justmowit...prefect example of that.....customers are sick of the blow and go....they want to see you work, it makes them feel better when writing the check.....

David Grass
05-21-2005, 03:51 PM
Not my people, they want me in and out burning as little fuel as possible giving them the best job possible. They appreciate that I have 15 grand in two mowers to do them right.....FAST and beautiful.

PTP
05-21-2005, 05:42 PM
A 21" mower is not necessarily slow like you might think. Of course, it is useless on a field but for small residentials it is perfect.

I have a 2-man crew that does an average lawn in 23 minutes - including drive time. The lots are about 12,000 sq ft average. I don't think that is all that slow. We can get 1/2 the lawn done by the time some guys are finished unloading thier trailer.

rodfather
05-21-2005, 05:43 PM
Not my people, they want me in and out burning as little fuel as possible giving them the best job possible. They appreciate that I have 15 grand in two mowers to do them right.....FAST and beautiful.

Same here...people don't want us making a career of mowing their lawn. Period

A+ Lawncare
05-21-2005, 06:53 PM
i guess my question has room on this thread....

how many sq. feet is a 21'' productive on

greeneakers04
05-22-2005, 12:36 AM
i guess my question has room on this thread....

how many sq. feet is a 21'' productive on

I would say up to 20,000 sq ft total lot size, but that is assuming you are running two at a time. For one mower, not more than 10-12,000 in my opinion.

Now using 26"s though, that may be another story. If you running 2 of those at a time it is the same as running a 52" Z for about 1/4 the price!

dishboy
05-22-2005, 09:15 PM
i guess my question has room on this thread....

how many sq. feet is a 21'' productive on


IMO up 3500 sq ft. After that size up.

gunner27
05-22-2005, 09:24 PM
I wonder if Jack D. has an opinion in this?

freddyc
05-22-2005, 09:30 PM
I would say up to 20,000 sq ft total lot size, but that is assuming you are running two at a time. For one mower, not more than 10-12,000 in my opinion.

Now using 26"s though, that may be another story. If you running 2 of those at a time it is the same as running a 52" Z for about 1/4 the price!



From my calculations, you are right on... I'd say about 11000 for a 21-26 (single unit only considered). The 26 would be a small advantage but very slight considering cost and low volume work. Then a 36-48 until you hit about 3/4 acre. Then its blurry between a larger mower and the actual number of large properties you do. In short at just between 1/2 and 3/4 acres and up it seems to really make sense to have the biggest mower...provided you keep it busy. payup

drmiller100
05-22-2005, 10:23 PM
i think the 21 inch is most productive on lawns 100 square feet or less.

Lets do some math.

option A are a one man crew with a 7000 dollar mower, 700 dollar 21 inch, 400 dollar blower, and 250 dollar trimmer.

Option B is two man crew with two 700 dollar mowers, blower, and trimmer.

My big mower will cost me an ADDITIONAL 2000 dollars per year in depreciation. I am NOT convinced the big mower costs more to maintain then the little 21 inchers if both are properly maintained.

Can I hire an employee for 2000 bucks a year? Nope. Can I send a single employee off with the big mower, pay him a performance bonus, and have him HAPPY at the end of the day after spending most of it riding around on his ass either on the big mower or in the truck? Yup. Riding the big mower around is actually pretty fun. Your buddies see you, and they actually want to ride around on it for a while. Does the single guy get lonely? Sure. But the discussion of "i can sell the big mower and use the proceeds to buy you another 21 incher to push around all day" ends the lonliness in a big hurry.
NO ONE WANTS TO PUSH A 21 INCH MOWER AROUND EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

My biggest cost of business that annoys me is Truck Time. Two people costs me twice as much in truck time as one person. I do not at all understand why anyone would EVER have a 3 man crew.
on another thread i got called a lowballer. i prefer the term "businessman." Not hobbiest. not whiner. not lazy.
one of my guys was trash talking about how the giant walkbehinds are the fastest thing ever to cut grass. "it will cut grass faster then you can walk behind it!"
I stuck him on the 737 with gator blades for half a day. With the 737 with gator blades, I can cut grass faster then ANYONE can run along behind me in jogging shorts, let alone trying to drag a 21 incher with them.

-doug

drmiller100
05-22-2005, 10:32 PM
lets say you have a 1000 square foot lawn to mow. that size lawn is TINY. Assume that there are no trees on it.

so if i take my 51 inch ztr, i can trim it in say 7 minutes, then mow it in 4 minutes, then blow it in 3 minutes. total: 14 minutes.

or, I can have two people with 21 inchers. say it takes 4 minutes to trim (trimming with 21 inchers does go a lot quicker). then mow it in 7 minutes more, then blow it off in 3 minutes. this assumes that the guys are coordinated. Again, it only took 14 minutes. but really it took 28 minutes of man time, so it cost me 20 bucks in labor instead of 10 bucks.

but wait. there's more. cuz then the next yard is 5 minutes away in the truck. which is actually 10 minutes with 2 guys.

oh, but you say you have 3 lawns in the same neighborhood? I'd bet anyone on this list dinner that my ztr can road down the road faster with a trimmer in your lap then you can push your 21 inchers.

freddyc
05-22-2005, 11:01 PM
In strict numbers, a bigger mower always wins. No matter what.

If you had only 10 lawns that were 1000 ft, would you buy a 52" mower??????????????????????


So, there are a lot of variables to consider. For comparative purposes, using only a solo operation, doing small lawns you spend as much or more time blowing and edging as you do mowing. Every bit of savings counts, but if all your lawns are tiny, then loading and unloading time must be considered and the very small difference (a few minutes) in mow time between a 21 and a larger mower might get absorbed in the minutia. How much does it cost you if you can't get the 52" thru the gate?? In short, you almost always need a smaller mower.

The actual question should be where is your net profit diminished enough with a small mower to make the extra expense of a large mower worth it. Unless your dance card is full, it might not matter to you.

Doc Pete
05-22-2005, 11:15 PM
Faraway, my questions are serious. I hope you'll respond.

Many here made fun of justmowit and his 21s, too. There is a market niche for them, and I'm going after it. Faraway ?

What's the problem here?????
It is a well known fact for years on this site that Fareway lawncare, AKA Casey, Ultimate lawns, Frassygrass has only one adjenda: To make ridiculous statements and then watches the "unknowning people" as yourself make total fools our yourselves.
Don't you realize this yet???? Gees, come on guy's!!!
Once and for all read my lips: Fareway/Ultimate lawns doesn't even have a LCO company.

Kelly's Landscaping
05-22-2005, 11:20 PM
lets say you have a 1000 square foot lawn to mow. that size lawn is TINY. Assume that there are no trees on it.

so if i take my 51 inch ztr, i can trim it in say 7 minutes, then mow it in 4 minutes, then blow it in 3 minutes. total: 14 minutes.

or, I can have two people with 21 inchers. say it takes 4 minutes to trim (trimming with 21 inchers does go a lot quicker). then mow it in 7 minutes more, then blow it off in 3 minutes. this assumes that the guys are coordinated. Again, it only took 14 minutes. but really it took 28 minutes of man time, so it cost me 20 bucks in labor instead of 10 bucks.

but wait. there's more. cuz then the next yard is 5 minutes away in the truck. which is actually 10 minutes with 2 guys.

oh, but you say you have 3 lawns in the same neighborhood? I'd bet anyone on this list dinner that my ztr can road down the road faster with a trimmer in your lap then you can push your 21 inchers.


I think the math needs more work the ZTR is much faster then that. Not sure who makes the 51-inch but ill go with it figure 4 feet wide at 10 miles per hour. Your max performance will be 3,520 sq ft per min lets cut that time by 2 thirds so est. 1200 sq ft a min and thatís crawling thatís a 1 min cut not a 7 min cut. Your 21 inch time seems about right though.

Fareway Lawncare
05-22-2005, 11:35 PM
You can't Cut Small Res. @ 3-4" Like you Would acreages especially in the Spring...Nothing Safer @ 2"-2.5" Than a 21"...Give Pedro a 21" & Let him Go Nuts.

Lets Not Forget Kids... these Arn't "Push" Mowers...They Self Propel

Regardless...It's Ironic that a 1k "Trim" Mower if Used on the Correct Properties can Generate a Higher and More Consistant hrly than a 10k Rider.

drmiller100
05-23-2005, 12:13 AM
hmmm. so i thought about this some more.

Lets say i finance 8000 bucks of equipment at 14 percent annually. My monthly payment is 200 bucks. That means my annual payment is 2400 bucks.

And, just for giggles, lets say my mowing season is 4 months.

lets say i find the most inexpensive labor in the whole world, and they only COST ME 15 an hour. my employees cost me closer to 20, but lets say i find an unlimited supply of intelligent, hardworking employees all with great driving records, insurable, and my second truck is free.

And, lets say I have the world's smallest route, and only mow 10 hours a week. So, 10 hours a week, at 15 bucks an hour by 16 weeks is 2400 bucks.

So the break even point is if I can save hiring an employee for 10 hours a week by running a one man crew with big ztr versus a two man crew with pushers.
Hmmmmmm. Someday I dream of having TWO days of mowing a week. But, instead, I can't afford to because I am spending 10 hours a day pushing a stupid mower around with my buddy and don't have time to return calls to potential customers and the danged lowballers are undercutting me and making 75 an hour while i only make 25 an hour wiht my stupid pushers.

so, you are right. it makes absolutely no sense to buy a big ztr if your time is only worth 15 bucks an hour and you mow less then 10 hours a week.

-doug

Northwest
05-23-2005, 12:19 AM
Everyone seems to forget we all don't cut the same properties. Fareway is talking about small 7,000-12,000 sq ft lots with 2000-4000 sq ft of grass. I have 21's and 36 inch hydros and on the majority of the lawns the time spent is about the same if either is used. Depending on the shape of the lawn if I can make it look good with the 36 I will use it because It requires a little less effort but with some of the shapes and smaller sizes it is actually more of a hassle. You guys with the ZTR's and acres of lawns on each account are talking about a different world that is why you can't relate to his statement.
You can make money with either.

drmiller100
05-23-2005, 12:53 AM
i do mobile home lots where the LOT is 4500 square feet, and has a driveway and mobile home on them. less then 1000 squares of lawn.

big trimmer with the horsepower to turn a long trim line, experience with it, and the ztr.

Lawn Wolf
05-23-2005, 02:09 AM
It's common sense that a bigger mower will cut a wider path then a smaller one side by side. With one pass of a 48" wb a 21" has to do two passes. If you need to lose weight use a 21" inch. Once you meet your goal of sweating the fat out , you deserve a break and ride the ztr and hope you don't eat any jelly donuts while you ride..... :dizzy:

David Grass
05-23-2005, 07:37 AM
its also more than just a wider path, it is ground speed, a 52 will cut a large yard in 15 minutes, where a 21 might be there 3 hours if the grass is kind of high.

LittleOranges
05-23-2005, 07:49 AM
Hi folks. My widest mower is 36" walk behind. Definitely need it for most lawns. But, I have found that if I target "high end" residential neighborhoods with nice lawns, I can charge 10.00 more than everyone else in the area if I mow the front with my 21" mower and the back with the 36". Most customers like the front mowed with the 21". We've all talked about this before. I guess the point is that the mower has to fit the lawn and the circumstance.

greeneakers04
05-23-2005, 08:50 AM
lets say you have a 1000 square foot lawn to mow. that size lawn is TINY. Assume that there are no trees on it.

so if i take my 51 inch ztr, i can trim it in say 7 minutes, then mow it in 4 minutes, then blow it in 3 minutes. total: 14 minutes.

or, I can have two people with 21 inchers. say it takes 4 minutes to trim (trimming with 21 inchers does go a lot quicker). then mow it in 7 minutes more, then blow it off in 3 minutes. this assumes that the guys are coordinated. Again, it only took 14 minutes. but really it took 28 minutes of man time, so it cost me 20 bucks in labor instead of 10 bucks.

but wait. there's more. cuz then the next yard is 5 minutes away in the truck. which is actually 10 minutes with 2 guys.

oh, but you say you have 3 lawns in the same neighborhood? I'd bet anyone on this list dinner that my ztr can road down the road faster with a trimmer in your lap then you can push your 21 inchers.

This is why you must pay "per lawn", in my opinion.