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View Full Version : Is "Walker" the way?


dlomb72
10-17-2002, 09:13 AM
I am a growing business and I need some advice from people that run the machines. It seems like every landscaper in my area is running a Walker GHS mower. Are they really as good as they seem or is it just a trend? I have also been looking at Ferris Hydro walk behinds and other various sit down mowers (Encore, Lesco, Ferris) Please let me know if you have any advice or stories that will assist me in my decision. Also, what is the advantage and disadvantge of the seat position on the walker as opposed to the mid mount seat position on most of the other sit downs.

MOW ED
10-17-2002, 09:25 AM
Huge question but the answer for my business is YES absolutely.

I will elaborate more later but now I have to go and use that Walker to do final cuts and then pick up leaves.

You have to judge it on a personal basis. No one mower does everything. There are some excellent ztrs out there and they do a great job cutting fast. They are limited in some respects too.

Walker is the best if you have high profile lawns or small to midsize lawns that need custom cutting. All out area mowing is possible but not as practical as a Z.
I will always have a Walker.

Green Pastures
10-17-2002, 10:49 AM
It depends on what you're mowing. If you do alot of high end residential mowing I would say yes. I have yet to use a mower that leaves a better groomed look to a lawn. But you have to contend with clippings, and that's a big but to some people. I have Toro w/b's and z's and I just got a 2002 26 hp EFI 48" GHS deck Walker last week, I'm telling you I couldn't be happier. My residential lawns look better than ever. Great job of clean up as well. This thing will pick up pine straw off a concrete driveway and leave it clean as a whistle. I'm finding that I have to blow down less, it just doesn't leave anything behind. Get the 26hp EFI, you wont be sorry.

Scott

Gravely_Man
10-17-2002, 11:10 AM
I have no experience with this mower but demo whatever you are interested in getting before you buy. Run the equipment on the accounts you will be using it if you purchase. Personal knowledge and experience with the mower before the sale is key.


Gravely_Man

Green Pastures
10-17-2002, 12:39 PM
I have to agree with Gravley Man, Demo everything you can get your hands on, on the actual properties that you will be cutting.

I recently had a dealer that would only let me demo in the parking lot of his store. I told him that that was not a demo, I needed to SEE how it cut the grass. When he said that was not possible I told him it was not possible for me to purchase something from him.

If the dealer will not let you take a mower out for a spin, leave immediately.

Scott

LB Landscaping
10-17-2002, 12:59 PM
I agree you need to evaluate what your needs are. Walker is a great machine. I wouldn't own any other ZTR. If most of your customers want clippings mulched you will have to buy a different deck to do so with the Walker. The Walker has one of the nicest cuts out there, I get nothing but compliments from the customers I use it on. It shines on small residentials as well as larger lawns. Clean-ups are a breeze. Good Luck!!!

Brickman
10-17-2002, 01:29 PM
The high points of a Walker include the best grass bagging set up bar none. My opinion. And second they are very manuverable because of the compact size.

A small draw back is the forward speed is slow, that is helped by adding a $25 pulley to it.

I would agree with the others, Demo. I had two Walkers and loved em for what they did for my biz. There are also some fine mowers besides a Walker, demo is the way to find one that works for you.

kjfaulk
10-17-2002, 08:39 PM
I bought a Walker 1 week ago and, WOW, WOW, they are a awesome machine if your looking for a groomed finish and a manuverable machine. The vacum will suck the roots off the grass. OK, its not that strong, but it really is well worth the money. But you really do need to check other mowers to see what will best suit your circumstances. We have the Walker and two Mid mounts for our wide open bigger properties. That way we have mowers to suit all kinds of properties.Good luck

ilovethisgame
10-17-2002, 08:42 PM
Most big companys here use large walkbehinds, l myself being solo and runing a full service company (hedges, weeds, sprinkler checks... I had to find a way to mow fast so I had time for the other stuff. I bought a Walker and couldn't be happier. Fair warning, if you demo you will buy.

-Dave

walker-talker
10-17-2002, 09:15 PM
Originally posted by ilovethisgame
Most big companys here use large walkbehinds, l myself being solo and runing a full service company (hedges, weeds, sprinkler checks... I had to find a way to mow fast so I had time for the other stuff. I bought a Walker and couldn't be happier. Fair warning, if you demo you will buy.

-Dave

Exactly, large companies use large walk behinds because the owners that are buying the machines are not doing the walking behind them....which makes perfect sense to me. Walkers, being a front deck mower, will save you time....saved me 33% in most cases. I use the mulching deck most of the time, but have a market for GHS.

MATT

ksland
10-17-2002, 09:26 PM
I find myself loving mine more and more everyday. Just today it amazed me on how spotless it left lawns that had twigs and leaves from a storm the we just had. When I first got it I was unsure if it would live up to the high expectations from people saying good things. Each day the more you use it and become comfortable with it you find its an amazing tool.

greenman
10-17-2002, 11:25 PM
Originally posted by dlomb72
It seems like every landscaper in my area is running a Walker GHS mower. Are they really as good as they seem or is it just a trend?

They are better than what they seem. If your detail oriented, the Walker is the way to go. Its a cadillac.

cantoo
10-18-2002, 12:31 AM
If you can't demo one then rent one for a week. There is a drawback to this though. After you cut the lawns with the Walker it will be difficult to get your customers to settle for your old mower cut. I have a Walker for 2 years and last Spring bought a MTD Pro Z midmount. On some of our poorer paying lawns ( the ones would won't pay any more) we decided to only use the midmount on them to save time and make them into more profitable lawns. Of course the customers started to complain saying that we used to collect the grass and did a better job. We had to explain to them that they had a choice they could let us raise the price or we would leave it the same price and use the midmount. Only one cancelled and she has since called us back but we use the midmount on her lawn. If the customer lets us know they are having a party or something we will use the Walker at the regular price. This has cut down the hours on the Walker and incresed our bottom line.

Green Pastures
10-18-2002, 09:40 AM
I have to agree with Greenman, My Walker is better than I was told it would be. I guess the guys ranting about them are really not ranting enough.

For high end residential medium to medium large size lawns, ther simply is no better mower. It will leave you with the most beautifully finished, groomed look. FANTASTIC.

I saw 4 Walkers mowing a VERY large residential subdivisions common grounds the other day. I had often wondered why that place looked so good. They were mowing in tandem like the combines harvest the fields, you know staggered behind and to the right of each other. It was cool to watch.

I paid $11,441.71 for a 2002 26hp EFI 48" GHS deck with the HD gearbox and the light kit. Will probably invest in the speed up kit in the spring. It's a little slow when there's nothing to clean up and the grass is short. Good speed though for tall and leafy grass.

I love it.

Scott

cantoo
10-18-2002, 11:14 PM
Green Pastures, the speed up kit is a pulley about $25 get it now and save some time.

Currier
10-19-2002, 12:46 AM
I had used just push mowers for the first year, then bought an mtd 38" cut and thought I was big time :)

Finally I broke down and bought a 15 year old model c Walker. It was an amazing change. I ran that machine hard (4 years) and eventually it began to break down as it was maxed out all the time.

I finally bought new (26efi 48") and I have never regretted it. I financed it thru jd credit for something like 185 per month. I paid it off within the first year.

Today was about the 100th time I have just slammed into piles of leaves and left the yard spotless. Tomorrow I'll use that machine to wrap up my best season yet. I'd buy another one tomorrow if the need arose.

dukester
10-19-2002, 09:26 PM
Fair Warning, Everybody will notice every lawn you do with a Walker. The customer, people next door, accross the street, other LCC. My Walker has gotten us more new jobs than our $60.00 ad in the newspaper. It only drawback is clippings. But you can't find another mower that cuts like it. I wouldn't use anything else.

Green Pastures
10-20-2002, 12:36 AM
I already got the neighbor of one of the houses I do. I haven't had that Walker for two full weeks, and I've already got more business DIRECTLY because of the Walker.

The lady came out and flagged me down, and said she thought I did a good job before but she NOTICED the difference with my new "yellow" mower. Hired me on the spot. I charge the premium prices for using the Walker too. It was $4000.00 more than my Z-master, you bet I'm gonna charge more to use it on your property.

I'm sold! I love it.

Scott

Pacific Nursery
10-25-2002, 12:06 PM
I've tried toro z and GD SS 52" & 61" and various WB. I'm tired of poor cuts, breakdowns, damaged turf, etc. I demo'd a Walker 42" GHS with turf tires on some high end residential. Ground was wet to soaking. Great quality of cut, but when 'box' starts filling up handling and hill hugging are compromised. It took me 3x as long to do this job solo that 3 guys normally do. The 48" deck, bigger 'box', and a speed up kit should improve this, yes?
A buddy of mine is sold on exmarks. I've seen his lazer in action and like it's cut, etc.
I'm looking for guys who have been there with both and have opinions.

MacLawnCo
10-25-2002, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by Pacific Nursery
It took me 3x as long to do this job solo that 3 guys normally do.

Explain to me why you are confused. Why are you complaining about a lawn taking 3 times as long when you only used 1/3 the labor? Same hourly rate.

walker-talker
10-25-2002, 07:33 PM
Thanks Mac.....I was thinking the exact same thing. Taking you 3X as long makes sense to me....seems like it's just even out.

MATT

Shawn Burns
10-25-2002, 10:06 PM
I too, am looking at making the walker change. The z i am running now, and the one before just will not give me the quality of cut that i am after. I am willing to slow down speed some to improve cut.
The question that i have is, are the Walkers really that much more maintenance? Seems like every time i mention the Walker name around here everybody grimaces and runs away. They tell me that if i buy a walker it will become"that dang Walker" before long.
Also, where do you dump your clippings? That would be my next hurdle. Any suggestions?

Pacific Nursery
10-25-2002, 10:20 PM
I guess you two missed the point of my post. I'm asking for lco's who have had experience with both types, out front specifically Walker and mid mount, to compare their experiences with me.
Good point on the trade off of time vs man hrs. I guess I feel that I, with a bigger/faster mower could have done the job faster.
Again, this is not the point of my post, the comparison is.

landscaper3
10-25-2002, 10:23 PM
We operate a grounds maintenance company and would have to say our Walkers are one of our best investments. We have other brand mowers but use the Walkers 80% of the time. They are time savers on small properties!

Brickman
10-26-2002, 12:41 AM
Shawn I hope this answers some of your questions. I had two Walkers. My first one I soon out grew. The second one I bought new and put over 1000 hours on it with no problems.
As for the maint. you need to do your regular maint, making absolutely certain that dirt does not get into the hydros. The thing there is if you ever need to add oil to the res on them make very certain that the dirt is gone. My dealer STRONGLY recommends blowing off with compressed air each and every night. And then in the winter having the engine taken out and all the dirt cleaned out of the cooling fins. At this time you can check things over good, clean and lube the starter, etc.

As for clippings you can get a mulch deck or side discharge. You are not bound by bagging only. Look into mulching them off site, feeding a neighbors cows. Or the land fill.

Shawn Burns
10-26-2002, 07:49 AM
Brickman,
Maintenance shoulden't be a big problem, i try to take good care of mt stuff as it is.
As far as the decks, i would like to have the ghs deck, and side discharge. I could take clippings to land fill, but hate the time and expense of the added trip every day. Still trying to think of some better ideas on that one.
The other problem, is the dealer is about an hour away, so takink it there for any service would be added time also. Just trying to decide if it's all worth a better cut. I'm leaning towards the "yes", the dealer that i use now says i'm just too "picky".
Thanks for the help.

Brickman
10-26-2002, 10:49 AM
Do a search on Ebay for "Walker Mower". Some times there are good deals on there.