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View Full Version : When to buy a ZTR


Big C
11-24-2007, 11:32 AM
I plan on starting my lawn business this coming spring. My original plan was to buy a new ZTR, and trimmer (all commmercial) using my own cash. Is this a wise choice or do I start with the equipment I currently have (30" Snapper rear engine, toro res. blower and HusQ Res. trimmer and 6 X 12 trailer) I will be starting out part time mainly specailizing on small to medium size lots. What do you guys think would be the smart move here?

Rhett
11-24-2007, 12:56 PM
Start with what you have if you are comfortable with it. Get a grasp on what you need and fill the trailer with commercial equipment when you have the business to justify it. Might want to throw in an edger.

swim
11-24-2007, 01:07 PM
Yes I agree. You may find out that the equipment you have bought may not fit your needs.

When accounts start building up compare them to the equipment available then buy what will do the best job on them as well as be the most productive.

Down2EarthLawns
11-24-2007, 09:42 PM
If you have the $ now.....stay with what you have and use some of the part time $ to finance aquiring commercial grade equipment because you will wear that stuff out rather quickly. Follow Rhett's advise...you'll figure out what new equipment may increase your own efficiency through servicing clients.

mowing grass 1111
11-24-2007, 10:42 PM
how reliable is the mower you have now ? will it hold up to a season of mowing numerous lawns? how fast can you get parts/ repair work for it if it breaks? myself i would go ahead and buy the new ztr . and keep the snapper for the smaller lawns. very rarly will i look at a job where i cant use my 60 inch lazerz mowers

93Chevy
11-24-2007, 11:14 PM
Save up your money and work with what you have for now. It might be a good idea, depending on the lawns, to get a top-quality 21" WB. Snapper, as I'm sure you're aware, has very light and dependable 21."

Just my .02.

DillonsLawnCare
11-25-2007, 10:38 AM
you have a little while to think about your decision. if i were you, i would definately get the commercial handhelds first thing. i remember when i first started, i had a 42" troybuilt tractor,small residential weed-eater, and a small handheld blower. my first lawn was about an acre and a half. took me six hours to mow blow and weedeat. my trimmer failed on me and got overheated. mower did fine and so did blower. so i had to go back out and get a nice trimmer. since its winter time, there are some great deals on mower/handhelds. in dealers and just some folks lookin to sell. keep your eyes open. i thin your mower will do fine for starting out, but get better handhelds. just my opinion. your business. do what u want.

topsites
11-25-2007, 01:55 PM
When you have the whole cash amount plus next winter's money saved, in the bank, that is the best time to buy a Z.
Likely you'll want to start now so in 4-8 years you should have 15-20g in the bank and that ought to be enough to cover your arse.

Do what you gotta do and start at the bottom, Z's are mostly a status symbol, I didn't get mine until late my 5th year.
You can try and spend more than you need to but I don't advise it, not until you can well afford it.
The Wb is as if not more effective than the Z in terms of cost and efficiency.
The payments will eat you, as will the fuel, so save your money.

Even my truck suffers, it drains yet another mile off mpg and it is slower driving when I got 4.5 tons riding on 6 tires.
And 8 tires I am sure isn't but so much better, that would just take it over 5 tons first.

The easiest way is, unfortunately, still the hard way.
Do it the hard way and do it right, then you can not go wrong (well, hopefully not, far less chance).

Big C
11-26-2007, 12:10 AM
I am worried that my Snapper is a littile too slow and thus could reduce my productivity. I am thinking about keeping it as a second mower. I am looking at the Hustler Fast Track, is this a good choice for a beginner doing medium to small lots???

GreenT
11-26-2007, 07:50 PM
I am worried that my Snapper is a littile too slow and thus could reduce my productivity. I am thinking about keeping it as a second mower. I am looking at the Hustler Fast Track, is this a good choice for a beginner doing medium to small lots???


Forget the equipment. You haven't said if you have any customers.

Big C
11-27-2007, 06:28 PM
No customer yet...but I want to start with a professional looking mower...don't want to look like a fly-by-night operation to my customers.

Down2EarthLawns
11-28-2007, 06:29 PM
No customer yet...but I want to start with a professional looking mower...don't want to look like a fly-by-night operation to my customers.

Honestly, it sounds like you already know what you want to do by making that statement. I belive professionalism is all in the way that you conduct yourself and handle your business. I understand where you are coming from with appearance. Image is very important to me as well. If you want to save your $ now, you have that option apparently. Don't second guess yourself too much. Go with what you feel will make you the most $. My Z's have enabled our efficiency to increase substantially. But you should get a client list to help you determine the right size mower to chose. If you already know the customer type you will be targeting, pick a size that will work. Just don't go too small. I made that mistake at first.

americanlawn
11-28-2007, 06:34 PM
Ebay prices for used commercial mowers tend to be highest in late winter/early spring.

lifetree
11-28-2007, 07:19 PM
Start with what you have if you are comfortable with it. Get a grasp on what you need and fill the trailer with commercial equipment when you have the business to justify it. Might want to throw in an edger.

I agree ... this is your best approach !!

lawnprosteveo
11-28-2007, 09:29 PM
When I was starting, I set a number of accounts goal and would buy equipment based on how much biz I got. At 10 accounts, I bought a commercial 21. At 20 accounts, a Toro 36" wb. At 30 accounts, a helper and another wb. When I got to 40, I ditched the helper and got a Z. I can do as many alone with a Z as with a wb and a helper.

Big C
11-29-2007, 01:24 AM
Went and talked to the local Hustler Dealer, I spoke to the owner who has been in the lawn business for many years prior the selling mowers. He gave me great info on minimums for startup. He told me that my 30" rear engine Snapper that is 2 yrs old would be pushed to limit with a 10-15 account startup (which he said would be very easy to acheive in my area), as well as limit the size of jobs I could take. He also said that I should use the Snapper as a back-up to a WB or he even said I could use the Hustler Fasttrack as a good startup ztr. He did not recommend I go too deep in start-up expenses, but also made me realize that a good mower is the foundation of my business. Do you guys agree??

SPENCER HUNTER
11-29-2007, 09:05 AM
after i got 6 accounts,, then i looked for low hr ztr,,that was well taken cared for,, then i got up to 11 accounts i had a scag cub with 400hr 2 yr old,, one of my coworker wanted to purchase it,it had almost 700 hr,,before i sold it i went the extra mile got me a HUSTLER Mini-Z 42 inch 80% of my accounts have 1/2 to 1 acre accounts with a 46 inch entrance gates in to there back yards,,let me tell u that 22 inch push mower got old real quick,, quicker is better,, i can cut 1 acre in 30mins edge,trim blow in 10mins to 15 mins,,i can cut up to 2acre a hr,, with the new Mini-Z,,,can't complain one bit,, great machine,,less greasing zerks,, less maintance,, just mainly clean-up deck,,check oil, air pressure,, on tires,, sharpen blades every 30 to 40 hr's,,change oil/filter at 75 hrs,, now Hustler is offering a superduty-fast-trac,,,48 and 54 inch 2 yr commercial warrenty on this machine,,, but a lot of people have gotten the Fast Trac for commercial use,,one of my best friends use's it for 15 accounts 52inch 20hp honda ,, and has real good results,,no problems just regular maintence,, he has had this machine for 3yr's still going strong,, good luck on what u decide on,,,,,

S.I.
11-29-2007, 12:22 PM
My suggestion would be to figure out what all of your start-up cost will be first........ i.e. insurance, licensing, projected maint. cost, projected taxes, etc. See how much $$ is left after you have these paid.
Second, check out the truck and trailer you do/do not have and be sure that it is servicable, and will suit your needs.
Then I would look into commercial handhelds.....prices on these may surprise you, but they are some of the best (or worst) investments you will make.
Next I think I would look to start with a couple walk behinds vs. jumping into a Z. You may find that starting with too big of a machine will be more trouble than starting with something a little smaller. There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to wb's, and in most cases you can pick up a very good 36" and a 52" wb for around the same $$$ as a good Z. A good Z can save you time, as they usually have a little faster ground speed, but can cost you if it doesn't fit through gates, and they take more of that valued real estate on the trailer.
Not trying to tell you how to do things, or what will be better for you, but my experience tells me that you should 1. Know your costs 2. Get some customers 3. Make educated decisions on equipment purchases (what will best suit the jobs you have now, and ones you are targeting in the future) 4. Keep it legal (have up to date insurance, licenses, and pay your taxes) 5. Do quality work at fair/reasonable prices