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View Full Version : Educate me on ZTR's and WB's


LSUstang05
07-30-2008, 09:40 PM
Thinking about getting into the business here in Baton Rouge, Hammond, or Covington (I have a place I can stay at either city so gas wont be an issue) mowing/edging/blowing residential. Nothing over 1/2 acre or so most likely. I will be starting next season even though we have probably another good 2-3 months of work here. I need some educating on ZTR's and WB's though and that's why I'm here.

I was thinking about getting a 48" or so WB w/ sulky for the front lawns and then getting a smaller ZTR for back yards. I might do the opposite also. Kind of depends on the cost of the package.

WB's:
What is the difference between the gear driven and hydrostatic? Is it a huge difference in speed or is it just in feel? Or is it something completely different? It seems to me that a WB would be very inefficient as a mower to get in and out quick unless you had a sulky of some sort. Opinions on sulky's to get?

Any other tips on WB's?

ZTR's:
What should I look out for? I have heard horrible things about Briggs and Stratton motors for my entire life. Every one that my dad and step dad have owned have taken a massive dump on us within 2 years or so even with maintenance. I was looking at Hustler, eXmark, graveley, and dixie chopper ($$$$$ but pretty quick).

What would y'all suggest in the ZTR's?

Any other tips you guys would have for me on equipment to buy and what is good to buy or what is something I need to watch out for would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance! :drinkup:

C4chris70
07-30-2008, 10:02 PM
Other than speed, you have no belt slippage with a hydro walk behind. That is a big deal in wet conditions. It is also much easier to back up with a hydro in tight quarters.

As far as a ztr, I would look for a brand that has good dealer support. I prefer Scag myself, but all the brands you mentioned are quality machines in my opinion.

Rather than buying 2 seperate machines right off the bat, have you considered something like a 36 Wright Sentar? Faster than a walk behind and will fit into most back yards. Just a thought.

STIHL GUY
07-30-2008, 10:28 PM
hydros have reverse while belt drives have reverse assist. Hydro mowers will not tire you out as much and are easier to turn. but hydros are also more expensive

mowerbrad
07-30-2008, 11:05 PM
I am really curious as to why you would want two mowers to start with. Especially with the size lawns you are looking at doing (1/2 acre and less) 1 smaller wb (36") and a 21" mower should do you just fine for a while. With a 36" walk behind you will be able to up to 1.75 acres/hour (at a top speed of 6 mph). Really a 36" wb would be the most versitile and productive for you and the properties you will be mowing. You would be able to get the 1/2 acre lawns mowed in about 20 minutes.

TomberLawn
07-30-2008, 11:11 PM
The cheap Briggs engines are still not much, but the Vanguard series engines are great. The Big Blocks have gobs of torque and, from what I hear, are decent on fuel use.

For starting out, mowerbrad has it about right. 1/2 acre isn't too big to mow with a 36 to start with. As you make more money and get more accounts, you'll want a ZTR to do bigger yards quicker, but the 36" will still be good for tiny yards and gated areas.

LSUstang05
07-30-2008, 11:45 PM
Rather than buying 2 seperate machines right off the bat, have you considered something like a 36 Wright Sentar? Faster than a walk behind and will fit into most back yards. Just a thought.
Is that a stander? I saw those but had no idea how popular they were or how well they cut or even how well they handled. I would like some feed-back on people who have used them or own them on that.

I've measured a few gates around here (Covington area) and they are all right around 48" wide.

From what I seem to be gathering from y'all is that a WB would probably be best to start off with than a ZTR. I'm assuming mainly because of cost reasons? I would want to get a sulky w/ the WB or something so I could be a little bit quicker than just walking. Suggestions on a good sulky or just get one that the manufacturer would sell?

For handhelds my local dealer is an Echo dealer. Is there a difference between Echo/Stihl and a few of the others? From what I've read, they all seem to be pretty decent for the most part (minus home depot/lowes brands)

thartz
07-30-2008, 11:46 PM
I would buy a 48" walkbehind to start . You can grow with this mower . You can use it for small lawns but still take on bigger projects . find a good used one to start and go from there . Buy a brand that has a dealer close to you .

S man
07-31-2008, 12:10 AM
If you get a fixed deck w/b, changing the deck will be a pita!!! Also it will wear you down faster sulky or no sulky. Try to find a used ztr like emxark gravely. It will save your feet and hands and will be more productive over any w/b.

C4chris70
07-31-2008, 12:18 AM
Is that a stander? I saw those but had no idea how popular they were or how well they cut or even how well they handled. I would like some feed-back on people who have used them or own them on that.

I've measured a few gates around here (Covington area) and they are all right around 48" wide.

From what I seem to be gathering from y'all is that a WB would probably be best to start off with than a ZTR. I'm assuming mainly because of cost reasons? I would want to get a sulky w/ the WB or something so I could be a little bit quicker than just walking. Suggestions on a good sulky or just get one that the manufacturer would sell?

For handhelds my local dealer is an Echo dealer. Is there a difference between Echo/Stihl and a few of the others? From what I've read, they all seem to be pretty decent for the most part (minus home depot/lowes brands)

The sentar is basically a stander with a seat

white1
07-31-2008, 10:52 AM
Noticed your sig. I got a Z71 that was running 12.8x's in the 1/4. You frequent No Problem?

I just got started a few months ago and splurged on a Hustler 48" ZTR, Shindiawa weedeaters and blower. IMO I should have started with some used stuff, probably a walk behind would have been all I needed. I love having the Z, but its more than what I need.

As far as dealers, if youre in the BR area, they have a few dealers that handle SCAG, Hustler, Dixie Chopper etc.

lawnprosteveo
07-31-2008, 11:26 PM
I agree that one good mower to handle it all is better than two. I hate having to swap mowers because of gates. My next mower will be a 36" that I can mow it all with.
Also consider dealer support. What do the dealers sell around there. Nothing worse than having a mower that has no dealer support.
You can do alot with a walkbehind and sulky. Especially on yards that small. Cheap price but less effecient.
A stander would work best on that size yard. Wright, Deere, Gravely, Toro, Great Dane are all brands that make stander style mowers. Much more effecient than the walkbehind but at a higher cost.

Grass Happens
07-31-2008, 11:33 PM
my setup is a 36 and a 21. I have a 48 but shes down due to a mystery issue that i dont have time to play with. I like the 36 because it can get everywhere, the 48 could not, and as most of my lawns our small, the 1 foot difference didn't make much of a difference. I do agree if you have the cash, go for a sentar, that is machine that will last you as your business grows...
Why does everyone worry about changing height? is it a regional thing where you have different types of turf to worry about? Up here, most of the ZT's i see have the height pin rusted in place due to the fact no-one changes it. I leave mine set at just under 3.5" all year.

Hawg City Lawns
08-02-2008, 12:49 AM
well around here we have this thing called turf grass and then there is junk grass, turf grass we have anything from bermuda to zoysia and height of cut is major on those types of grass as for the junk grass some people like it tall some people like it short but trust me on any grass an easy deck height adjustment comes in VERY handy

lawnprosteveo
08-02-2008, 11:53 AM
well around here we have this thing called turf grass and then there is junk grass, turf grass we have anything from bermuda to zoysia and height of cut is major on those types of grass as for the junk grass some people like it tall some people like it short but trust me on any grass an easy deck height adjustment comes in VERY handyDitto for my town. Have to change height too often....need it to be as easy as possible.