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View Full Version : Thoughts on a Scag/Hustler for home use


Steelratt
07-05-2006, 08:18 PM
Hi,

First-time poster here. I currently have a contractor that mows my 1.25 acre lawn (with lots of landscaping), but for two years he has failed to give me requested bids for landscaping, while continuing to do the landscaping for those around me. Also, it's plainly obvious that his other customers in the area are receiving better service than I am. Frankly, I am tired of his excuses, soured on the whole contractor experience. and figure I might as well do my own lawn from this point on.

I believe in spending extra and buying quality, rather than buying a cheaper piece of equipment that will just wear out in a few years. Therefore, based upon what I read in this forum, I went out and looked at several ZTRs and WBs. I have pretty much settled on a Hustler or Scag, as I liked their equiment and the local dealers.

For the Scag, I really liked the Tiger Cub. The local dealer quoted $5799 for a 2006 one with the 24 hp briggs and stratton and 48" deck, which strangely was cheaper than any of the other engine choices. For Hustler, I liked the 42" 19hp kawasaki, which was apparently around $5100, though I couldn't get an exact quote. Now, how do these prices seem in comparison with other dealers? Is this type of mower going to be complete overkill for me? I refuse to shell out $3000 for a home depot special, but would I be better off with a smaller Dixon or Hustler pseudo-commercial/residential mower?

Thanks!

lawnmaniac883
07-05-2006, 09:27 PM
You are smart not shelling out 3k for a cheapo depot job. The tiger cub isnt a bad machine but I would look for an engine aside from B&S, kawasaki or kohler even honda if you want to pay that much are better choices. For 1.25 acres, a 42'' machine will be enough and I assume the hustler is their mini Z. Go for the hustler if you like that mower. The price is not bad at all and no, the mower wont be complete overkill. This way you will have some time to spare after mowing the lawn which would probably only take you around ... 40 minutes once you get used to operating the machine. Good luck with whichever you decide.

Splicer
07-05-2006, 09:29 PM
A buddy of mine just bought a 61" Scag 2006 model and has no intention of anything more than home use...Of course he mows 4 properties but total they don't come to 1.25 acres...He is tired of junk and repairs so blew a wad on this and is very happy...

Steelratt
07-06-2006, 01:39 AM
You are smart not shelling out 3k for a cheapo depot job. The tiger cub isnt a bad machine but I would look for an engine aside from B&S, kawasaki or kohler even honda if you want to pay that much are better choices. For 1.25 acres, a 42'' machine will be enough and I assume the hustler is their mini Z. Go for the hustler if you like that mower. The price is not bad at all and no, the mower wont be complete overkill. This way you will have some time to spare after mowing the lawn which would probably only take you around ... 40 minutes once you get used to operating the machine. Good luck with whichever you decide.

Yeah, that Briggs engine is the only thing that is bringing me down. From what I have read, just about anything else would be better, and Scag slapped the motor in the cub just to make the sub 6K price point. I can't help thinking that a 20/52 Fastrack would work out fine.

EMWEB
07-06-2006, 01:55 AM
Get the SCAG with a 19 or 23 Kawasaki or 23 Kohler . . I just bought a Turf Tiger for a 19,000 sq. ft. home use . . . Just a few dollars extra cost divided over the years it will last it in nothing . . .

mbricker
07-06-2006, 02:41 AM
Just to be a little bit mean, you haven't figured out why the contractor is giving your neighbors service that he won't give you? Really?

Just guessing of course, but it is probably cause he has learned you are either cheap or difficult to work for. None of us turn down profitable work for reasonable people unless we are flat covered up, and generally if we are already servicing a neighborhood, we are going to stretch ourselves and our crews to get all the business in a neighborhood we can.

Yeah, I think it would be a good idea if you buy yourself a mower. and trimmer. and edger. and blower. and smaller trim mower. and sprayers. and bone up on herbicide/pesticide application. and assorted rakes, shovels, pruners, whatever. and sooner or later you will either get good at maintaining your lawn, or learn the true value of a pro who has the skills and equipment to do it for you.

nmurph
07-06-2006, 09:10 AM
Just to be a little bit mean, you haven't figured out why the contractor is giving your neighbors service that he won't give you? Really?

Just guessing of course, but it is probably cause he has learned you are either cheap or difficult to work for. None of us turn down profitable work for reasonable people unless we are flat covered up, and generally if we are already servicing a neighborhood, we are going to stretch ourselves and our crews to get all the business in a neighborhood we can.

Yeah, I think it would be a good idea if you buy yourself a mower. and trimmer. and edger. and blower. and smaller trim mower. and sprayers. and bone up on herbicide/pesticide application. and assorted rakes, shovels, pruners, whatever. and sooner or later you will either get good at maintaining your lawn, or learn the true value of a pro who has the skills and equipment to do it for you.

so why if he is so hard to deal with does the lco continue to mow? maybe they just want to skim the cream. dump the service, spend the money on something tangible. for what a service will cost you in a year or two, you could have a nice machine that will serve you for many years. learning to do you own work will give you a sense of pride and satisfaction in itself. it's really not rocket science (no offense to those of you here that are open-minded students of the lc business). yes, there are some complicated issues in the yard, but there is a wealth of information here, and on the web in general.
as to a mower, stay away from the big box machines. for the homeowner i feel that hustler offers several machines that will serve you well. i am a hustler fanatic. their machines are great and their warranty and factory support are second to none. go the the hustler forum and read.
for your yard either the mini z 19/42 or the fasttrak 20/52 will more than cover your needs. the mini is a little more heavily built, but it will cost you a little more and comes with a smaller deck. for weekly use the fasttrak will last you for years. if you will post on the hustler forum, pj will gladly arrange for a demo and then you can decide for yourself.

Steelratt
07-06-2006, 09:27 AM
Just to be a little bit mean, you haven't figured out why the contractor is giving your neighbors service that he won't give you? Really?

Just guessing of course, but it is probably cause he has learned you are either cheap or difficult to work for. None of us turn down profitable work for reasonable people unless we are flat covered up, and generally if we are already servicing a neighborhood, we are going to stretch ourselves and our crews to get all the business in a neighborhood we can.

Yeah, I think it would be a good idea if you buy yourself a mower. and trimmer. and edger. and blower. and smaller trim mower. and sprayers. and bone up on herbicide/pesticide application. and assorted rakes, shovels, pruners, whatever. and sooner or later you will either get good at maintaining your lawn, or learn the true value of a pro who has the skills and equipment to do it for you.

Thats a hell of an assumption to make. I have NEVER complained to the contractor, not once, about any of his service. I accepted his initial offer on mowing without any haggling, and pay my bills immediately. I talked with one of my neighbors yesterday, and she said that his service has really sucked this year. Upoin closer inspection, her lawn had a good number of weeds, as mine does. The problem with my yards as compared to the other ones is that the contractor scalped mine badly, and now I have a lot of brown spots. I think he scalped the neighbors too, but they have better shade on their lawns.

I don't care about buying rakes and shovels because I literally cannot get a bid from the guy to do the work. He called my up yesterday apologizing profusely, claiming personal issues, and said he would send an offer out, but I told him not to, as I already started the trimming and mulching myself. It makes it tough to believe him when my 4 neighbors all had their work done already, and I can't even get a written estimate. I couldn't even get him to turn on the sprinkler this year. Again, keep in mind that I used the guy for 2 years for landscaping and snow plowing, and NEVER argued a charge with him, or haggled on a bill. NEVER.

I'm not going to let contractors hold me hostage because they have more equipment than I do. If I buy the right equiment, I can make up the initial outlay in a few years of doing it myself. Sure, I lose the time it takes to do it, but it will at least get done.

Steelratt
07-06-2006, 09:27 AM
Double post.

mbricker
07-06-2006, 04:40 PM
Just out of curiousity, have you tried to get bids from some of your lco's compeition? Surely he is not the only one who is available in your area.

The guy may well be a flake--a lot of us are. I have had customers who were convinced I was the biggest jerk around even as their neighbors were all singing my praises. Sometimes it just boils down to a personality difference.

But if the guy is performing services for your neighbors that he won't even bid for you, perhaps it is because he has worked for them longer, but in the time before he started doing your work, he decided he would not take any additional landscape customers. After I was in business about 4 years, I realized that in this area, I could make a better living focusing on mowing, and started turning down most landscape maintenance. The reason being that mowing can gross $40 a man-hour here, but landscape maint often gets bid by my competitors at $15 per man-hour or less. Sorry, but since mower payments continue whether the mower is being used or on the trailer, I will be on the mower instead of on my hands and knees putting down mulch, installing edging, or weeding perennials.

So perhaps I was hasty to suggest that if the guy treats you bad it is your fault. There IS a reason, but I'm sorry I said the reason is you.

Steelratt
07-06-2006, 05:05 PM
Just out of curiousity, have you tried to get bids from some of your lco's compeition? Surely he is not the only one who is available in your area.

The guy may well be a flake--a lot of us are. I have had customers who were convinced I was the biggest jerk around even as their neighbors were all singing my praises. Sometimes it just boils down to a personality difference.

But if the guy is performing services for your neighbors that he won't even bid for you, perhaps it is because he has worked for them longer, but in the time before he started doing your work, he decided he would not take any additional landscape customers. After I was in business about 4 years, I realized that in this area, I could make a better living focusing on mowing, and started turning down most landscape maintenance. The reason being that mowing can gross $40 a man-hour here, but landscape maint often gets bid by my competitors at $15 per man-hour or less. Sorry, but since mower payments continue whether the mower is being used or on the trailer, I will be on the mower instead of on my hands and knees putting down mulch, installing edging, or weeding perennials.

So perhaps I was hasty to suggest that if the guy treats you bad it is your fault. There IS a reason, but I'm sorry I said the reason is you.

Honestly, if he had said "I can't do it, I'm too busy" then I would have been perfectly fine with it, and moved on. Last season he strung me along for the whole season with promises that he would send a bid, and never did. This season, before he even sent a contract out, he told me that he would send me a bid. I left a message on his phone mail several times asking for the bid, and even sent notes attached to my payments. Meanwhile, I watched as his trucks and crews did the landscaping for all 4 of the other people in the neighborhood who use him. If he couldn't do it, he just needed to tell me.

The other factor in my decision is that his lawn care has really gone downhill. He is late on his fert application, and our lawns are all suffering from weeds. Plus, his crew scalped mine pretty badly, and I have a lot of brown spots now. It's a sad day when I look at the acre my neighbor mows himself with a 21" push mower, and it looks much better than mine.

I'd look into other LCOs, but from what I've seen and heard, the ones with good reputations are just too busy to take on additional work. Plus, I have to admit, I love the big power equipment, and always enjoyed doing my lawn work. Sure, it'll take me years to break even on it, but at least it gives me a few hours of time to myself every week :cool2:

TriCountyLawn
07-06-2006, 06:07 PM
Scag makes good quipment but IMO Hustler makes better quipment. Demo them both and look at your dealer support. Maybe look into a walkbehind for just home use. Good Luck

Steelratt
07-06-2006, 06:50 PM
I looked at the WBs, but the prices were essentially the same as the ZTRs. Still looking though.

Checked out the ferris, exmark, and toro today, and really liked the ferris 1500 with a 21 hp kawasaki, and a 48" deck. I was told the cut quality wasn't the best though.

mbricker
07-07-2006, 03:20 AM
: Plus, I have to admit, I love the big power equipment, and always enjoyed doing my lawn work. Sure, it'll take me years to break even on it, but at least it gives me a few hours of time to myself every week :cool2:

If you enjoy the lawn work, then go for it. I do too. There is no way anyone else is doing my lawn until I am too old to follow a walk-behind. To me it's not really a chore, it's a hobby. (my own lawn that is. other people's lawns can get to be a real drag sometimes.)

steve45
07-09-2006, 12:33 AM
I bought a used Tiger Cub 48/21 last year for my 1.3 acre lawn. I like it except I'm not too crazy about the blower on the grass catcher. Blows dust everywhere, and the bearing failed with less than 20 hours.

You can save a lot of money buying a use mower. It will last you a long time.