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View Full Version : Which WB is the "bang for the buck"?


dlomb72
10-20-2002, 08:51 PM
I am concerned about making the wrong decision on what I should buy for a 48" machine. My company is small but growing and I definitely want a hydro. A Walker is my dream but I do not generate the type of revenue to justify spending 10-12K on a machine. I am skeptical about buying a used one and therefore I am leaning towards a walk behind w/ sulky or a Great Dane super surfer. The only problem w/ purchasing a Great Dane is that the nearest dealer is out of the way in case of emergency. My options for a WB are Ferris, Lesco, Scag, Gravely, and Encore. Please express opinions about the used walker situation and "red flags" to look for when examining these machines.

Thanks for the help!

Green Pastures
10-20-2002, 09:12 PM
Hey, stop for just a minute.

Think about this, you said your company is small BUT growing.

The Walker may be alot of an investment for you right now, but here it is late October. It's the perfect time for leaf cleanup. The Walker will make that a snap, and it does a better job at it than any W/B with bagger or vac. system I've used.

Customers will see the difference in the quality of cut and the groomed finish the Walker leaves behind. You will get more work JUST because you run a Walker, I know I have.

Get ahead of the curve, sacrafice a little now and get the Walker. What better way to grow a company, than on satisfied customers talking to neighbors and friends about the quality job you do.

Check out the other "Walker" posts here on this site. Just this week, the neighbor of a couple I have been mowing with Toro products (and they do a great job BTW, nobody was unhappy with the job Toro was doing) anyway, this lady comes out, flags me down and asks me the price to do her lawn with the Walker. I gave her a high price and she hired me on the spot. She specifically said she noticed the difference from the red mowers to the "little yellow mower". You cant beat people chasing you down to hire you. :D

Scott

BOTURF
10-20-2002, 09:13 PM
imho Scag or ferris is the way to go, i dont have a clue about lesco or gravely as no one around here runs them , we all run scag or ferris with a few exmarks mixed in , exmark dealer around here is terrible . Scag dealer here is far away better for example more than once has fixed my mower right on trailer while i wait . Dealer support is very important also so take that in to consideration just my 2 cents

MacLawnCo
10-20-2002, 09:51 PM
Ill second the vote for the walker. Get new if you can. I believe that if you mow the hoods that demand a great finish, you need a walker. Not to mention the attachments. Aerator, bed shaper, dethatcher, etc. Dont screw yourself because you buy the wrong machine now and end up outgrowing it down the road.

greenman
10-21-2002, 12:16 AM
I'd say consider the Walker, it will really make your company grow. People will be flagging you down wanting your biz because you have the Walker.

Is there no Exmark dealer in your area?:D
I know for a fact that Gravely is a good mower and leaves a quality cut.

rross
10-21-2002, 04:00 AM
I'm unfamiliar with the walkers, I understand they bag with the GHS deck but where to dump when the walkers back end is full??? or will it bag it up for you,, that would be nice???

MOW ED
10-21-2002, 10:01 AM
dlomb72
really consider the Walker now. I started real small and was using a garden tractor for 10 customers. After I smoked the hydro on the tractor, I demo'ed a Walker.
Traded the tractor on a Walker in the fall/winter of 98. In 99 spring, I just about paid for the Walker with spring clean/dethatching customers. I doubled my customer base that year and completed the 16 jobs in the time it took me to do 8 with a tractor.
Fall cleans are actually fun to do with the machine. The versatility of the interchangable decks are a great moneymaker. I use a 52SD in the cutting season and a 42GHS in the spring and fall.

Don't let the cost of the machine scare you. You will make the money to pay for it and you also have to remember that you are a business so a portion of the cost is a write off. There is a great resale value for the machine also.
I upgraded to a 26EFI in 2000 its paid for also. Take the money that you would spend for a walkbehind and then finance the rest for a Walker if you can't swing it all at once. You won't be sorry and your ability to grow and expand will only be limited by you getting customers. Good Luck.

walker-talker
10-21-2002, 10:27 AM
If you scalp during the spring, bag during the summer, or do leaf clean-up in the fall, I would definetely consider the Walker. I bought mine at the end of my first year because I knew I was going to be in this for awhile. Buy the best equipment and make NO short cuts. You might not have the money now, but there are a lot of financing options out there. Exmarks has one going on now. Take a new mower home now and don't make payments until April (when the machine is making you money). Interest doesn't start accumulating until March. I have heard good things about all those models you mentioned, except for Encore (but I have no opinion of my own).

Good luck

gravedigger5
10-21-2002, 10:34 AM
I agree with these guys about the walker. I don't have one, I've got one of those "red" mowers. But I was in your shoes struggling with justifying the cost of a bigger faster machine. Bigger, faster, better cut = more time for more cutomers = MORE MONEY:D payup :D If you think you can swing it, you won't be disapointed. These guys on here aren't pulling your leg. And as far as a WB, as long as it is a good commercial, its 80% dealer and just demo demo demo. :) Goodluck Marc

geogunn
10-21-2002, 11:21 AM
your question was about a hydro WB.

let me suggest that you consider the lesco 52 hydro with the 17 kaw for under $3500. the 19 hp kaw is about $3900.

GEO

HarryD
10-21-2002, 12:23 PM
Exmark all the way . get a 52" hydro with the 23hp kaw you will not regret it . i just got one and have cut about 15 minutes off by large lawns do to the fact it cuts so nice and i have the mulch kit on it looks like i bagged my lawns

rodfather
10-21-2002, 06:26 PM
For 8 years running, we have been using Ferris 48, 52, and 61 inch Dual Drive hydros. They are sweet and extremely reliable.

I can't say a bad thing bout 'em...hands down. It would take an awful lot for me to change from them...like something else for 1/2 the price and twice the speed.

Even then I'd have to think about it real hard.

kenneth parsons
10-21-2002, 10:00 PM
Shop for dealer support 1st! If you are sure you want a WB...I recommend Ferris or Scag provided dealer support currently exists and you feel it's likely to exist in the forseeable future. I own a 23/60 Exmark ZTR, 36 BD Ferris, 48 BD Lesco and a 52 Hydro, also Lesco. Let me tell you what can happen...I came to the town I reside in 3 years ago and there was no dealer support for Ferris. After about a year, a Ferris dealership opened...I had been noticing a significant decrease in power in the 12.5 KAW on my Ferris that worked so hard for 9 years and decided to have them take a look at it. BTW, the guy was supposed to be the best "mechanic" in town. 6 weeks after ordering numerous parts, I became suspect of this guy because it was the dead of winter and I expected a short turn around on the repair. I had heard he was a dope head, was about to loose his marriage, that the distributor had shut him off and was coming to remove their equipment and that the landlord was locking him out. I arrived to secure my property and he tried to charge me a tear down and inspection fee which I refused and offered him some whoopass instead. I walked out with my property and sure enough, he was forced to the street. Dealer support in "your town" is more important than a brand name. You're gonna have some trouble eventually regardless of what you buy so make darn sure you get support.

Happy Shopping!

Flex-Deck
10-21-2002, 10:25 PM
Probably any of the WB's are a bang for the buck as there are a lot of good ones out there - I think the Flex-Deck makes them even a bigger bang - They mow a lot - cost less - and can handle the steep hillsides better than any setup on the market - (Including my JD Tractors - 455's)

Thanks, Bradhttp://36X

greenman
10-21-2002, 10:58 PM
Originally posted by rross
I'm unfamiliar with the walkers, I understand they bag with the GHS deck but where to dump when the walkers back end is full??? or will it bag it up for you,, that would be nice???

:confused:

Walkers also mulch very well and discharge. Walker is also producing the wb.

Again, as far as the wb, is there not an Exmark dealer around you?:D

MOW ED
10-22-2002, 07:51 AM
Hey Brad are you paying royalties to the Siefkens?
:D

chariot
10-22-2002, 10:25 AM
Hey Brad, it looks like if you did not have the flex-deck on you could have went right through those stones from the side!?

Green Pastures
10-22-2002, 10:51 AM
I was thinking the same thing :laugh:!

Scott

Doc Pete
10-22-2002, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by Flex-Deck
Probably any of the WB's are a bang for the buck as there are a lot of good ones out there - I think the Flex-Deck makes them even a bigger bang - http://36X

What you intend to mow can change what type of machine you buy. If you are mowing large areas, you'd want a fast machine. However, if you mow small areas, IMO, a WB with a sulky gives you many more options and better overall performance.
A good WB with a good Sulky can "mow" at the same "fesable" speed as a good rider. And, you always have the option to use the WB without the sulky for those smaller lawns. Finally, with most of us using doubles on our machines, bagging is not usually needed. Hope this helps...........
Pete

Doc Pete
10-22-2002, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by Green Pastures
Hey, stop for just a minute.

Think about this, you said your company is small BUT growing.



Yeah think about it. If you have 10k invested in walker, you might be charging $50/65 per hour for one man. However, for that same 10k you can buy two (current quality) WB's, make $60/hour for yourself, hire a helper, pay him $12/hour (good pay), charge the customer $60/hour for him, and pocket the profit you make off your helper. That's how to make money. It's well worth hiring a good helper. Hey, you can get sick, have a bad day, hurt your back, and your helper is your backup. Finally, with two mowers, if one breaks, you still can mow, while the other guy blows and weedwhacks. With just the walker (or one machine), you're out of business until it's fixed.
Pete

bubble boy
10-22-2002, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by Switchless@aol.com
buy two (current quality) WB's, make $60/hour for yourself, hire a helper, pay him $12/hour (good pay), charge the customer $60/hour for him, and pocket the profit you make off your helper.

yeah, but you can flip that arguement.

the walker won't show up late, burn the clutch on your trimmer, or cut slower after lunch.

or he could get the walker and still hire.

or get a super and fly.

each situation different, best person to answer dlomb's question is dlomb. as usual, we have yet to get more info regarding a poster's prob after the original post.

more info would narrow the sol'n down

mklawnman
10-22-2002, 01:38 PM
Take a good look at Scag WB, they've been around for along time now and have proven that they are a good company when it comes to WB's We bought a 52inch Hydro with velkie for $5200 this past spring and no problems what so ever, stripes well and is built like a tank just like their ZTR's. My dealar has great support if anything should go wrong, considering they are about an 1hr and ahalf away from the Mayville plant. My guess is you would be paying like $4800 for a 48inch 17Kaw with velkie, plus tax of course.
Matt

Doc Pete
10-22-2002, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by bubble boy
yeah, but you can flip that arguement.

the walker won't show up late, burn the clutch on your trimmer, or cut slower after lunch.

or he could get the walker and still hire.




That's why you're paying the helper $12 instead of $7/8 per hour.

LAWNGODFATHER
10-22-2002, 11:44 PM
Originally posted by MOW ED

Don't let the cost of the machine scare you. You will make the money to pay for it and you also have to remember that you are a business so a portion of the cost is a write off. There is a great resale value for the machine also.


I am not sure if it is $27,000 or $28,000 but you can write that straight off your taxes without depresiaiton in 1 year. (Vehicals are exempt from this)

mowngrow
10-23-2002, 12:04 AM
so far every one of these are great posts. the first thing to do is look at dealer support. because if you use it enough something will break, whether it be a shear pin or a bent blade. dealer support is a must. that is why i went with the walker. my dealer is unbeatable. look a your biz real good and see what will work for you. if you want your biz to grow then make an investment in your and families future. spend the 10k-12k for the walker. with all the attachments it can be used all year long

brucec32
02-04-2003, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by Switchless@aol.com
Yeah think about it. If you have 10k invested in walker, you might be charging $50/65 per hour for one man. However, for that same 10k you can buy two (current quality) WB's, make $60/hour for yourself, hire a helper, pay him $12/hour (good pay), charge the customer $60/hour for him, and pocket the profit you make off your helper. That's how to make money. It's well worth hiring a good helper. Hey, you can get sick, have a bad day, hurt your back, and your helper is your backup. Finally, with two mowers, if one breaks, you still can mow, while the other guy blows and weedwhacks. With just the walker (or one machine), you're out of business until it's fixed.
Pete

Whoa there. Sounds like that one came from the world of wishfull thinking Business School.

1. How can you charge the same or better hourly rate for work done with a wb as with a Walker? I use an Exmark ZTR, but it's still more productive than my wb's on all but the smallest properties.

2. How can you get $60/hour worth of production out of a helper? Do you have their mothers held hostage somewhere?

3. A $12/hour employee has a true labor burden of about $15 when you factor in workers comp, unemployment insurance, payroll taxes, etc. etc. Still profitable, but you'd have to find some pretty gullible customers to pay $60 for the amount of work a helper w/ a walk behind can do.

4. Getting sick or hurt works both ways. If your HELPER is a no-show or gets hurt or sick or just quits, you now have twice the work to do and no time to find more help since you're too busy mowing all those lawns. And since you're using a wb, you're too TIRED to do much more than you already are. And with the quality of the current labor pool, don't expect any employees to retire with a gold watch after 20 years (be prepared for lotsa turnover). Meanwhile, all your hard-earned accounts sour on you as their grass goes uncut until you can catch up. Besides, if you have an employee as "a backup", just what is he doing when you're not hurt or sick? To be efficient his time should already be pretty booked up if you're talking about maintenance.

5. A $1,000 used belt drive wb makes an adequate backup if you can't afford better. But if you maintain a new Walker well and have some luck, you shouldn't have many breakdowns in the field requiring a dealer's time. (engine internals, hydros, electrical)

In other words, it ain't all a bed of roses. We've all made millions already on paper. The real world isn't always such smooth sailing. I had 40 employees in 1987, when it was easy to find lots of motivated college kids who would work. Today I work alone, that's how different the labor market is around here.

IBGreen
02-04-2003, 10:45 PM
Get a Walker, you can prop the back open and it will stay that way. Then you don't have to bag, it will just blow out the back.

lawncare3
02-05-2003, 09:53 PM
HE SAID A WALK BEHIND.

I say go with a scag or exmark, they will be the best investment you have ever made.

thebeasleycompany
02-05-2003, 10:01 PM
i would go with an exmark but since you do not have that in you topic i would then go with a ferris.

PaulJ
02-06-2003, 12:42 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

For the most "bang for your buck" in Walkbehind mowers go Lesco.

They are about if not THE lowest priced WB out there right now. They are built tough, simple. There may be better mowers out there that give better finishes or go through thicker grass, but they are much more $$$$ also.

Check out you local Lesco dealer and see for yourelf.

PaulJ
02-06-2003, 12:44 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

For the most "bang for your buck" in Walkbehind mowers go Lesco.

They are about if not THE lowest priced WB out there right now. They are built tough, simple. There may be better mowers out there that give better finishes or go through thicker grass, but they are much more $$$$ also.

Check out you local Lesco dealer and see for yourself.

FrankenScagMachines
02-06-2003, 08:52 AM
Originally posted by PaulJ
I've said it before and I'll say it again.


You already did haha double post!

bubble boy
02-06-2003, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by PaulJ
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

For the most "bang for your buck" in Walkbehind mowers go Lesco.


i believe he did go with a lesco ... old thread.

PaulJ
02-06-2003, 12:49 PM
Sorry about the double post.

I didn't realize it was an old thread.

These old threads popping up are confusing a bit because I usually just go to the last unread post.

Again Sorry about the double. It was not intensional, but it did make my point:)