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Jhartman
01-27-2012, 05:49 PM
Hi everybody,

I'm looking to get a lawncare business off the ground this year. I've got all my equipment in order except for a zero turn. There are so many brands and choices I'm not sure which to go with.

The local shops around me are Kubota, John Deere, Toro, Gravely, Bad Boy, and Exmark. If you had to have one mower from any of these which would it be? I'm looking for the best mower as far as longevity. I'm partial to John Deere, But they seem much higher than other brands opionions on that? I'll be running one mower, is a 60" where I should start? I feel that is the most common, and is a good starting point. Any opinions appreciated.

Thank you

Hughes Landscaping
01-27-2012, 05:59 PM
If you are looking for peoples opinions on ZTR's, I will give you mine. My first ZTR was a John Deere and I really think they are lower quality compared to Exmark and Scag. I think you are just paying a premium for the Deere name, but the quality and performance is not there. I have also owned Scag (currently have a 48" Tiger Cub) and Exmarks (currently have a 42" Navigator and Turf Tracer) and I personally believe that either of those are much better than Deere mowers.

Like I said above, this is just my opinion, but it is based on owning and operating all 3 described above. I am sure that the Deere guys will praise their brand, but they are not for me.

Jhartman
01-27-2012, 06:09 PM
I notice that you are running "smaller" decks than a lot of people. Is there a reason for the smaller size ( Ex. Fence entrances ) Or do you find that size works better for you?

jsslawncare
01-27-2012, 06:10 PM
Exmark Lazer Z for me. DON"T I repeat, DON'T go over 48" deck size. If you are cutting 90% of your properties with this mower and they aren't really big, you'll be happier with the 48" deck. If you're cutting football fields then forget what I said about the deck size.

Hughes Landscaping
01-27-2012, 06:21 PM
I agree with JSS. Exmark Lazer 48" is a sweet mower. I am looking at picking up a Demo X-series from my dealer. I agree also that buying anything over 48" is too big.

Ridin' Green
01-27-2012, 06:23 PM
Well, I am partial to Deere, but they aren't the only game in town either. Around me, Scag, Exmark, and Hustler are more money than an equal machine from Deere. Maybe the first poster had bad luck with his Deere, but I am betting that it was one of the earlier machines like a 757, 777 etc. The new Z700 & Z900 series machines from Deere are first rate, and cut as good, or better than any Exmark made right now, and do it under more types of conditions to boot, especially wet grass. I cut right next to several Exmarks on one property every week, and my 7 Iron lays down a better cut every time, but that's not to say that an Exmark doesn't do a good job, because they certainly do. But, around me, you pay for the Exmark name, and I mean pay!

I would look at a 54" deck for come what may mowing, and go to the 60" if you will be doing more larger and wide open properties. I would only consider a 48" if I were limited on trailer/storage space/gates etc.

Scag makes excellent machines too, and their Velocity deck is second to none for QOC. Snapper Pro's are also great, as are Gravely's.
It comes down to what you like the best, what feels the best, and has all the features you want in a mower.

Hughes Landscaping
01-27-2012, 06:25 PM
I notice that you are running "smaller" decks than a lot of people. Is there a reason for the smaller size ( Ex. Fence entrances ) Or do you find that size works better for you?

My first mower was a 60" then quickly realized that it was just too big to manuever around the yards I was maintaining. Most of my yards are under 1/4 acre and the 36" TT and my 2 other ZTR's are the perfect size

ringahding
01-27-2012, 06:25 PM
Scag & Exmark are some great mowers. We run a 60" Toro Zmaster and it basically is mowing the lawn itself. We also have Lesco Ztwos, which we will run til they die and purchase more Toro's.

Ridin' Green
01-27-2012, 06:27 PM
My first mower was a 60" then quickly realized that it was just too big to manuever around the yards I was maintaining. Most of my yards are under 1/4 acre and the 36" TT and my 2 other ZTR's are the perfect size

I agree with a smaller deck for yards like this if they're the vast majority of your business, or even a good WB in the 36"-48" range.

Jhartman
01-27-2012, 06:49 PM
Thank you for that great information! I just assumed 60" was the way to go. But thinking about it a little more now I'm wondering if a 60" would be a wise choice. It will be my one and only mower for the business and needs to be able to suit all of my needs.

Keep the information coming!!!

Quix
01-27-2012, 07:07 PM
What is the terrain that you will be mowing like? If this will be your ONLY mower get a feel for what would work best for all of them. I have used a 52" Turf Tracer for 13 years. Last May I splurged and bought a 52" Lazer X series, kept my TT. Where I live, central Mo, if I could only have one mower it would be the walk behind. Put a sulkey on it and there you go. That way I wouldn't be limiting my client base to just those that don't have steep hills. BTW that are lil cheaper. Exmark for me.

weeze
01-27-2012, 07:09 PM
well there is no such thing as a best company. every mower company has things about it that are better than all the others so it's a wash. you have to first decide what size mower you want and then look at everything in that size/price range. pay attention to things like how fast it goes, how big the pumps are, how much gas it holds in the tank, what size engine, etc. when i was shopping for mine i looked at the hustlers and scags and exmarks as well as deere. in the size/price range i was looking deere had the cheapest price yet the best features so it was a win win situation for me and an easy choice. now if i was gonna get a 60" mower i would get a scag cheetah. it's in the same price range as a deere but top speed on the deere is 12mph and it holds 11.5gallons of gas. top speed on the scag is 16mph and it holds 15gallons of gas and also it has suspension on it. so it's a no brainer. compare all the options and make the best choice.

andersman02
01-27-2012, 07:53 PM
ive used scag a old scag 48" walk behind 48 and 52 rider
We now own a 48, and 52" gravely walk behind along with a 60" gravely pro commercial
i personally LOVE the gravelys, they are trully a heavy duty machine, with that said it seems the 52'' cuts better then the 48", we just got the 60" so havent been able to use it yet.

The 52" scag cut great but the 48" rider not so much, missed a bit....

overall im very happy we went with gravely, very reliable and will cut anything

ScaggyGrass
01-27-2012, 07:58 PM
I like the Bad Boys.. for the price and tough quality

StanWilhite
01-27-2012, 08:20 PM
Hi everybody,

I'm looking to get a lawncare business off the ground this year. I've got all my equipment in order except for a zero turn. There are so many brands and choices I'm not sure which to go with.

The local shops around me are Kubota, John Deere, Toro, Gravely, Bad Boy, and Exmark. If you had to have one mower from any of these which would it be? I'm looking for the best mower as far as longevity. I'm partial to John Deere, But they seem much higher than other brands opionions on that? I'll be running one mower, is a 60" where I should start? I feel that is the most common, and is a good starting point. Any opinions appreciated.

Thank you

I'll say what a lot of people are thinking. Buying a brand new "top of the line" mower before you have a business established might not be the best way to go....just a thought.

If the business fails and you have to sell your mower, you'll lose a LOT more on a mower you bought new, than a used one that you bought at a good price....the difference could be several thousand bucks.

Good luck!
Stan

Jhartman
01-28-2012, 01:30 AM
I'll say what a lot of people are thinking. Buying a brand new "top of the line" mower before you have a business established might not be the best way to go....just a thought.

If the business fails and you have to sell your mower, you'll lose a LOT more on a mower you bought new, than a used one that you bought at a good price....the difference could be several thousand bucks.

Good luck!
Stan

Well i mow my yard ( 3 acres ) and my dads ( 8 acres ) so an investment in a mower is something i'll need either way.

dwlah
01-28-2012, 03:07 PM
Mower size vs clients yard
Its a chicken and egg thing do you get the mower then go after the yards that fit the mower or get the yards lined up and get a mower to fit them

I tend to migrate to larger properties so larger equipment works for me
I know a guy that all he does are garden homes he has a couple of push mowers and makes a living just doing garden homes

StanWilhite
01-28-2012, 06:09 PM
Well i mow my yard ( 3 acres ) and my dads ( 8 acres ) so an investment in a mower is something i'll need either way.

Oh, ok, you didn't mention that...just that you were looking to start up a lawn care business.
Good luck anyway. :)

lawn care St. Cloud, MN
01-28-2012, 07:07 PM
A 60Inch deck is nice for wide open yards such as on commercial townhomes/apartments. When you get into residential where you have to go between flower beds and swing sets a 52 inch would be the way to go. We run 2 60 inch decks and a 52 inch for the smaller properties.

LawnXperts (http://www.saintcloudlawncare.com) lawn care St. Cloud, MN

justanotherlawnguy
01-28-2012, 08:00 PM
60" is the way to go. My first z was a 48 lazer hp and it was great and didn't have any issues with fitting on any of my properties. Then I got a 60", talk about an increase in productivity. At first I thought it was gonna be too big, but there was no where I couldn't take it.

Full size z is the way to go, eXmark all the way!!!
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Razorblades
01-28-2012, 11:37 PM
Well i mow my yard ( 3 acres ) and my dads ( 8 acres ) so an investment in a mower is something i'll need either way.

With around 11 acres to mow regularly, without adding all of your mowing business to the time it will take to get it all done, that is enough of a reason alone, to go with a 60" mower.

It will take alot longer to mow those 11 acres with a 48 or 52" mower than a 60" mower. Unless you are going to be mowing mainly postage stamp type lawns for your business, you will find that there aren't that many places that you can't fit the 60" mower. If you have a few, then get you a 42-48 inch rider or cheap 2nd mower for those tight spots or use a push mower on them. That way you will still get the extra productivity of the 60" deck mower for the majority of the time that you are going to be cutting.

Jhartman
01-29-2012, 05:38 AM
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Jhartman
01-29-2012, 05:42 AM
I went to my local dealers and checked out most of the mowers in my area. I like john deere and kubota the best. Im decided on the john deere due to the lower cost and the lower center of gravity. Also I picked up 7 yards of my friends while spreading the news of starting my business.
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Jhartman
01-29-2012, 05:45 AM
Stealership wants 8700 for the 925a in 60" with a 27hp air cooled kawasaki. How do you all feel about that price for that particular mower?
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jackal
01-29-2012, 08:40 AM
That sounds about right. I gave a little more for a 930a, 60" with a supension seat and mod. I like the way it feels but only used it about a month. I've been using 757's since 03 and have had good luck with them.

MOturkey
01-29-2012, 12:45 PM
Definetely consider Gravely. I've had few problems with any of mine, and I believe you will find them to be less slightly less expensive. My Gravely dealer is also enrolled in a program where they keep new mowers in stock as loaners in case you have a breakdown. After 200 hours, they can sell the machines at a discounted price.

OneLineAtATime
01-29-2012, 12:54 PM
I have been rolling exmarks for 15 years, i love them, have seen them with 3000 hrs. I had a deer 60" 777 hated and gave it back. It comes down to what is in your area, for parts etc. I like the Toro's, i own a toro dingo and love can't wait to buy another.

Start with walkbehind for houses, customers hate seeing you riping it up on a rider. On commercial props a rider is the only way to go

dwlah
01-29-2012, 06:27 PM
Spring for the suspension seat
Well worth the cost

Richard Martin
01-29-2012, 08:55 PM
If at some point you can pick up a 36" to do the pain in the butt stuff then you won't regret buying a 60" mower. I put my Dixie on any and every yard that I can. I don't care how small the yard is, if the Dixie will cut it then that's what I use.

Jhartman
01-30-2012, 07:35 PM
I'm liking the john deere mower, the 925a, any opionions on the EFI version though? I wanted to try the EFI, But can't seem to find any information on them.

Jhartman
01-30-2012, 07:36 PM
If at some point you can pick up a 36" to do the pain in the butt stuff then you won't regret buying a 60" mower. I put my Dixie on any and every yard that I can. I don't care how small the yard is, if the Dixie will cut it then that's what I use.

That's what i was thinking, i'd just pick up a walk behind as needed.

Ridin' Green
01-30-2012, 07:44 PM
I use my 60" on everything I can as well. Unless the ground is so uneven that scalping/dip gouging is a concern, the 60" does an excellent job, and saves time.

If you can afford the new EFI version of the 925, go with it. The new closed loop fuel injection system will save you on fuel, and should provide a much more efficient use of the engine HP under all circumstances.

retrodog
01-31-2012, 11:17 AM
Hey, check out the Outlaw XP 61" 31hp kawasaki with grammer seat is $8999. It has rubber compression shocks on all 4, flex rear end, balloon rear tires, and paired up with the grammer seat upgrade its a killer ride for a mower. Add in the SteerTek drive system (smoothest drive I have used yet), the new ArmorTek5 mower deck, its a homerun all the way around, definately worth checking out anywayz.... You can save $300 and go with the 36 Vanguard as an option too, have had nothing but good luck out of that motor....
Doing side by side demoes against Deere, I have not lost a sale in the 5 years I have been a dealer for BB, you can also get a pretty cool t-shirt that says "Don't let your friends drive green mowers" with the bb logo on the back....I am wearing one today...lol

Jhartman
01-31-2012, 08:47 PM
I have a friend around here that mows with bad boy, he can't say enough bad about them. won't stick to hills, poor cut quality, too heavy, etc. etc. Think they have imporved since 2-3 years ago?

weaver
01-31-2012, 09:13 PM
I know there are alot out there but i would go with a quality unit. EXMARK!!!!

That's just my opinion..

watsmi57
01-31-2012, 09:22 PM
you want the most commercial mower for your money out of the brands you listed?

Gravely...hands down...

I bought last season and did LOTS of comparison shopping. Gravely just offered more mower for the money than all the rest. comparable machines to my 252 were typically 2000 more. Those green and yellow mowers are nice but they think A LOT of them ;)

The only thing I miss on my 52 is the trim capability on the left side that a 60 would have. but it does go lotsa places in my client's yards that a 60 wouldn't go.

my dealer actually sells Gravely and Exmark and he recommends(and sells more) Gravely over Exmark.

good luck..drive em if u can

retrodog
01-31-2012, 09:53 PM
I have a friend around here that mows with bad boy, he can't say enough bad about them. won't stick to hills, poor cut quality, too heavy, etc. etc. Think they have imporved since 2-3 years ago?

For sure, the outlaw cuts better than nearly anything out, holds hills better than most, and weighs a wapping 1200lbs...
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Pennington Lawncare
02-01-2012, 01:41 AM
I live right down the road from you and that Kubota 0% interest for 5 years or what ever is very appealing. Scag is a top of the line mower too. You just have to be careful which model you for any given brand. Kubota makes a quality mower no doubt and truthfully they make all of the other brands look like they were made in someone's garage by comparison. Kubota has some very deep decks and look super stout but, typically they do not have as good of a cut as Scag, Exmark, or John Deere. Most customers around here do not care about quality of cut or striping. They just want their tall grass cut shorter and that's it. Heck, I've even had some people complain about the nice looking stripes that I left in their yard.

scotts lawn care
02-01-2012, 07:44 AM
My first year in business - 1999, i ran a 48" walk behind. Ever since i have ran john deere z traks, and the john deere deisel front mounts. I feel the 7iron deck is top notch in the cut department. The 60" z's are a little tricky on small properties, but great for medium-large properties. My 757 z has 2600 hours and running great with only having engine work done once at 1200 hours. My 930a z is great with some nice improvements. John deere is pricey, but so are the other top commercial brands, you get what you pay for in my experience buying equipment. :)

retrodog
02-01-2012, 10:24 AM
I live right down the road from you and that Kubota 0% interest for 5 years or what ever is very appealing. Scag is a top of the line mower too. You just have to be careful which model you for any given brand. Kubota makes a quality mower no doubt and truthfully they make all of the other brands look like they were made in someone's garage by comparison. Kubota has some very deep decks and look super stout but, typically they do not have as good of a cut as Scag, Exmark, or John Deere. Most customers around here do not care about quality of cut or striping. They just want their tall grass cut shorter and that's it. Heck, I've even had some people complain about the nice looking stripes that I left in their yard.

You guys be careful with the 0% deals, they all cost you... For the Kubota, it actually costs the dealer $1000, so you can get $1000 off if you don't take the 0%, and with good credit I have seen guys get 4.5% for 36 months at their local banks around here for their equipment. I just bought a little 35hp bota tractor and was floored when asking for a better deal that it costs them $1000 for only an $11000 piece of machinery, so its nearly 10% of the mower or tractor upfront to do it, no telling on the $40000 tractor.... We have 0% for 36 months, but it costs 7% for a buy down upfront, I talk people into 5.9% for 60 months, 3.9% for 48, or 1.9% for 36. Very little fee upfront, so most dealers eat the buy down... Also interest is a 100% write off on your biz, I usually finance stuff every year for write offs, and I take the highest fee at the bank with the least loan fee which is 7.39% with a $30 doc fee, its 100% tax deductable that way, the 0% hurts you guys in more ways than one....

watsmi57
02-01-2012, 11:27 AM
I got 20% off the list price with the Gravely Fleet program then I financed my Gravely's at 0% for 5 years.

think this year it's 3% for 60 months or 0 for 48

HustleMower
02-01-2012, 02:24 PM
My only experience has been with Hustler's and Walker's. Both of which are much more expensive than all those being discussed. From my experience though, I prefer the diesel mowers, the motors have a lot more life in them.

I've used several different Hustler's and their quality is great and they really leave a nice cut. The walkers are slower but but probably leave a better cut by a small margin than the Hustler. I went through five seasons with the Hustler Super Z and couldn't be happier. Tested a prototype Walker Super Bee Diesel for discount and option at a refund too. It had a lot of quirks that I hated but it cut nicer than any mower I've ever seen.

As far as deck size is concerned we used 42', 60', and 72' with 60' being the most used.

Ridin' Green
02-01-2012, 05:09 PM
You guys be careful with the 0% deals, they all cost you... For the Kubota, it actually costs the dealer $1000, so you can get $1000 off if you don't take the 0%, and with good credit I have seen guys get 4.5% for 36 months at their local banks around here for their equipment. I just bought a little 35hp bota tractor and was floored when asking for a better deal that it costs them $1000 for only an $11000 piece of machinery, so its nearly 10% of the mower or tractor upfront to do it, no telling on the $40000 tractor.... We have 0% for 36 months, but it costs 7% for a buy down upfront, I talk people into 5.9% for 60 months, 3.9% for 48, or 1.9% for 36. Very little fee upfront, so most dealers eat the buy down... Also interest is a 100% write off on your biz, I usually finance stuff every year for write offs, and I take the highest fee at the bank with the least loan fee which is 7.39% with a $30 doc fee, its 100% tax deductable that way, the 0% hurts you guys in more ways than one....

I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding your post or not, but it sounds like you are saying that by buying at 0%, you are still paying more than you believe because the dealer has to pick up the grand, and so he passes that on to you by selling the machine at a grand higher than he would have otherwise if financed?

If that was your point, I can promise you that it doesn't always work that way. I know for instance, that last year Deere had some deals for 0%/24 mo's financing, and you didn't have to pay anything extra for it (other than having excellent credit). You had a choice of that, or something like 3.9% for 48-60 months. I know what the machines sell for there normally, and know they weren't jacking the price up to keep the dealership from eating the grand. It was simply either 0%, or the other deal for the regular daily selling price.

Now if a dealer offers you either 0% financing, or a grand off the price and a low rate, then, yes, that's is true, and is what happens quite often.

Jhartman
02-01-2012, 05:59 PM
Well, i got turned on to the toro z master today. i like the seat setup with the rubber mounts and the mulch baffles in the deck. I also like the deck being offset to the leftside to help out with trimming. It was however about 10k, a grand more than the john deere 925a, which surprised me, because I told the dealer I was looking at it, and he says "You're just paying for green paint." well, looks to me like red is more expensive. But i did like the features of the toro, I'm not trying to get the "best" mower, I'm just wanting the best mower for the money that suits my needs. So far it is still looking like the deere 925a. What do ya'll think?

Jhartman
02-01-2012, 06:05 PM
I'm not sure if I'm misunderstanding your post or not, but it sounds like you are saying that by buying at 0%, you are still paying more than you believe because the dealer has to pick up the grand, and so he passes that on to you by selling the machine at a grand higher than he would have otherwise if financed?

If that was your point, I can promise you that it doesn't always work that way. I know for instance, that last year Deere had some deals for 0%/24 mo's financing, and you didn't have to pay anything extra for it (other than having excellent credit). You had a choice of that, or something like 3.9% for 48-60 months. I know what the machines sell for there normally, and know they weren't jacking the price up to keep the dealership from eating the grand. It was simply either 0%, or the other deal for the regular daily selling price.

Now if a dealer offers you either 0% financing, or a grand off the price and a low rate, then, yes, that's is true, and is what happens quite often.

Yes, so far I have found some truth to both of these statements. I like that john deere's financing isn't a fee tacked onto the mower up front. And it shows, the price of the Deere thus far has been the CHEAPEST in my area.

watsmi57
02-01-2012, 07:07 PM
the price of the Deere thus far has been the CHEAPEST in my area.

Deere might be your cheapest bet since they make their commercial mowers next door to you in NC.

you should get a price on a Gravely 260 just to see. i just compared one to your 925. let me show u the differences:

260 has a bigger better clutch 250lb vs. 350lb
260 weighs less
cast iron spindle housing on the 260. aluminum on the 925
260 has bigger fuel tanks
260 has .25 inch reinforced spindles
260 has Limited Lifetime Deck Shell & Frame warranty and 3 yr spindle warranty
260 has a transaxle versus the 925a's seperate pump and wheel motors


everything else is pretty much identical

see for yourself http://www.gravely.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/SellSheets/Zero%20Turn/SellSheet_ProTurn200.pdf

that stamped deck is neat but i never have anything stick under my welded deck either

If you do get a Deere I think you would be crazy not to get the MOD. I think that is their best feature.

Ridin' Green
02-01-2012, 11:43 PM
Deere might be your cheapest bet since they make their commercial mowers next door to you in NC.

you should get a price on a Gravely 260 just to see. i just compared one to your 925. let me show u the differences:

260 has a bigger better clutch 250lb vs. 350lb
260 weighs less
cast iron spindle housing on the 260. aluminum on the 925260 has bigger fuel tanks
260 has .25 inch reinforced spindles
260 has Limited Lifetime Deck Shell & Frame warranty and 3 yr spindle warranty
260 has a transaxle versus the 925a's seperate pump and wheel motorseverything else is pretty much identical

see for yourself http://www.gravely.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/SellSheets/Zero%20Turn/SellSheet_ProTurn200.pdf

that stamped deck is neat but i never have anything stick under my welded deck either

If you do get a Deere I think you would be crazy not to get the MOD. I think that is their best feature.

Couple quick points-
The aluminum is aircraft grade aluminum, and is extremely strong, lighter by far that cast, and dissipates heat much better, which as we all know, is a killer on bearings.

The Deere doesn't have seperate pumps and wheel motors. They're unitized units, with the pump and motor both enclosed in a single housing, with a fan mounted on top of each housing, and the Deere also has cross porting for the hydro fluid which is a big plus for hillside mowing where the downhill pump works much harder than the uphill pump.

I do however, like the Gravelys very much. They are excellent machines.

weeze
02-02-2012, 12:15 AM
just to add something. you can get the z920a for about $800-$1000 cheaper than the z925a. the z920 top speed is 10.5mph where as the z925 top speed is 12mph. you just gotta decide if 1 more hp and 1 1/2 more mph is worth the extra money or not. to me it wasn't.

watsmi57
02-02-2012, 08:24 AM
Couple quick points-
The aluminum is aircraft grade aluminum, and is extremely strong, lighter by far that cast, and dissipates heat much better, which as we all know, is a killer on bearings.

The Deere doesn't have seperate pumps and wheel motors. They're unitized units, with the pump and motor both enclosed in a single housing, with a fan mounted on top of each housing, and the Deere also has cross porting for the hydro fluid which is a big plus for hillside mowing where the downhill pump works much harder than the uphill pump.

I do however, like the Gravelys very much. They are excellent machines.

i know aluminum comes in all different grades but throw a piece of cast iron and a piece of aluminum(any grade) in a fire and watch what happens. it may dissipate heat better but it is not stronger. aluminum has a low melting point

you are right about the tranny. just one more similiarity then to the 260. it has the same thing. unitized pumps and motors. BUT

260:
The ZT-5400 Powertrain transaxle features a hefty 16cc variable displacement seven piston pump and a 21cc variable displacement seven piston motor capable of delivering up to 325 ft-lbs. of continuous torque.

925a:
The hydrostatic drive features two 13-cc unitized hydraulic pumps combined with commercial-grade, heavy-duty 13-cc wheel motors into a single unit, integrating cross-porting for better cooling in high load conditions

hydros on the 260 are bigger and stronger.

the 260 also has maintainance free spindles

I like deere too. I LOVE the MOD system. Around here they are a lot more than Gravely tho and I can't justify the extra $$$ for green and yellow paint. I got my 252 tax and all out the door for under $8k

Ijustwantausername
02-02-2012, 08:42 AM
I have had a John Deere 54" Zero for a while. If I had to do it again, which I will in the next year or so, I'm going to spend the money and get a Scag or an Exmark.

Jhartman
02-02-2012, 02:00 PM
Im thinking seriously about the scag cheetah. I like the coil suspension system. They are just ugly color. Lol
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Ridin' Green
02-02-2012, 02:12 PM
i know aluminum comes in all different grades but throw a piece of cast iron and a piece of aluminum(any grade) in a fire and watch what happens. it may dissipate heat better but it is not stronger. aluminum has a low melting point

you are right about the tranny. just one more similiarity then to the 260. it has the same thing. unitized pumps and motors. BUT

260:
The ZT-5400 Powertrain transaxle features a hefty 16cc variable displacement seven piston pump and a 21cc variable displacement seven piston motor capable of delivering up to 325 ft-lbs. of continuous torque.

925a:
The hydrostatic drive features two 13-cc unitized hydraulic pumps combined with commercial-grade, heavy-duty 13-cc wheel motors into a single unit, integrating cross-porting for better cooling in high load conditions

hydros on the 260 are bigger and stronger.

the 260 also has maintainance free spindles

I like deere too. I LOVE the MOD system. Around here they are a lot more than Gravely tho and I can't justify the extra $$$ for green and yellow paint. I got my 252 tax and all out the door for under $8k

Not to keep beating the tar out of this issue, but the larger the CC's in the pumps/motors, the more HP required to run them at the same level as a unit with smaller pumps/motors. The trade off is in getting a smoother system with larger units. In other words, the Deere could do anything, anywhere that they Gravely can, but do it with a smaller engine, and the Deere is plenty smooth enough for anyone to be happy.

Yes cast iron is stronger, but there are (just for the record) several grades of aluminum that are, pound for pound, as strong, or stronger than cast iron. Having a strong spindle housing is important, especialy on a ZTR, but having spindle housings that dissipate heat better are more so IMO, since it saves on bearing wear/replacement costs etc, and the hosuings in the Deere 7 Iron are plenty strong.


Like I said, I like Gravely's and would be very happy with one, but around me, I'd have to drive for an hour to get to the dealer if I ever needed to, whereas, I can drive for 15 minutes to get to the two closest dealers, and the last time I did call the Gravely dealer here, he waas a little bit more expensive than my Deere dealers are when comparing comparable machines. I'm guessing that is due to the fact that he is the only Gravely dealer anywhere near me, and doesn't do near the volume of business that Deere and Exmark do here.

orangemower
02-02-2012, 02:19 PM
Im thinking seriously about the scag cheetah. I like the coil suspension system. They are just ugly color. Lol
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Hey, easy now. I have one of those orange mowers. LOL Cats Eye Gold is a hot color. :)

Jhartman
02-02-2012, 09:29 PM
11k for turf tiger 61" with 29 kawasaki. . . Hmm. ThaT seem a little high?
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Jhartman
02-05-2012, 01:38 PM
ok everbody, this might be a complete 180, BUT i decided on my mower. I ended up with a New lesco hydro walk behind in 48", I got it for about 2200 from my local dealer. No debt to buy it, and i felt i could use it in all mowing situations, or more situations than a 60" ZT anyway. I felt that going into debt for the big boy wasn't a good move at this early point of my business. And versatility would be key because this is my only mower for my business so far.

In short, i can still start my business, but i didn't go into debt to do it. How do ya'll think I did?

mtmower
02-05-2012, 03:17 PM
60" is the way to go. My first z was a 48 lazer hp and it was great and didn't have any issues with fitting on any of my properties. Then I got a 60", talk about an increase in productivity. At first I thought it was gonna be too big, but there was no where I couldn't take it.

Full size z is the way to go, eXmark all the way!!!
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x2. I agree the 60 is the way to go. The little you can't get, the line trimmer can. If you still have a odd spot, by a cheap push mower to throw on the trailer. As you build your business pick your yards and go door to door to advertize rather than general advertising. You'll be more efficient, spend less money on fuel and drive time, and happier meeting your client face to face and weeding out some of the not-so-desirable ones from the get go. Good luck.

mtmower
02-05-2012, 03:35 PM
All the brands listed here are good mowers. I've used Scagg, Exmark, Encore, and Hustler. Some were old, earlier models. I would recommend checking out Hustler. Fast, well built, heaviest duty pumps and wheel motors of any brand (separate units and huge cooling system as well), best warranty, low center of gravity, good factory support. The "if" will be how great the new vx4 deck is. Good luck.

vw_driver8542
02-08-2012, 11:54 PM
I just recently purchased one of the Rich Convertible mowers from Landscaper Pro. This thing is amazing. Anyone who reads this must check them out. Search for "Bank Mowers" on YouTube. I was gonna go for a "Z" mower and a walk behind so I could ride most of what I mow and use the WB for the larger areas I couldn't ride(that's what the other pro guys in my area do) but the Convertible mower took care of all that with one machine. Very heavy built also.

http://youtu.be/mIrIMMHDfqQ

Ridin' Green
02-09-2012, 12:09 AM
I just recently purchased one of the Rich Convertible mowers from Landscaper Pro. This thing is amazing. Anyone who reads this must check them out. Search for "Bank Mowers" on YouTube. I was gonna go for a "Z" mower and a walk behind so I could ride most of what I mow and use the WB for the larger areas I couldn't ride(that's what the other pro guys in my area do) but the Convertible mower took care of all that with one machine. Very heavy built also.

http://youtu.be/mIrIMMHDfqQ

Interesting concept, but..... the decks are nowhere near deep enough for most LCO's needs. They both clumped way too much for my use/needs, tall grass or not. The rider even clumped in fairly low grass along one of the medians.

weaver
02-09-2012, 12:12 AM
Interesting concept, but..... the decks are nowhere near deep enough for most LCO's needs. They both clumped way too much for my use/needs, tall grass or not. The rider even clumped in fairly low grass along one of the medians.
A simple blade change could easily cure that! Run gator blades perhaps!
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Ridin' Green
02-09-2012, 12:24 AM
A simple blade change could easily cure that! Run gator blades perhaps!
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Maybe, but I run the G6's and I don't believe even they could cure all of that. There just isn't enough depth to the deck to allow for that much material to be processed quickly enough. That thing would be sweet on hilly turf that is well maintained though (as in not having to take off more than 2 or so inches at a time).

weaver
02-09-2012, 12:27 AM
Maybe, but I run the G6's and I don't believe even they could cure all of that. There just isn't enough depth to the deck to allow for that much material to be processed quickly enough. That thing would be sweet on hilly turf that is well maintained though (as in not having to take off more than 2 or so inches at a time).

Ur probably right that deck doesn't look tall at all!
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vw_driver8542
02-09-2012, 01:09 AM
Its was the deck he chose to use. It is a rear discharge(optional). The side discharge does not clump that way. Not sure why you would want rear discharge? That was the best put together vid showing the usefulness of the mower though. Also the first mower that converts to walk behind is the one I am referring to. I don't know what the second(yellow) mower is but it looks interesting.

vw_driver8542
02-09-2012, 01:17 AM
What would an acceptable depth be for the deck be? I hadn't considered this. My deck on my gravely isn't very deep but I never had a problem. The deck on my Convertible mower looks deeper then the one in the vid but I'm not sure.

weaver
02-09-2012, 01:22 AM
What would an acceptable depth be for the deck be? I hadn't considered this. My deck on my gravely isn't very deep but I never had a problem. The deck on my Convertible mower looks deeper then the one in the vid but I'm not sure.

Never gave it much thought myself either! But my Exmark is 5.5 in deep and with the side chute closed it doesn't clump like the mower in the video!
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Ridin' Green
02-09-2012, 01:25 AM
What would an acceptable depth be for the deck be? I hadn't considered this. My deck on my gravely isn't very deep but I never had a problem. The deck on my Convertible mower looks deeper then the one in the vid but I'm not sure.

First, a side discharge deck is useful when cutting near cars, school buildings etc where there may be bystanders and rocks or debris may be thrown, since the cut debris goes straight out the rear, for cutting along sidewalks etc., and for rough cutting fields.

As for deck depth, most commercial mowers range from 5" to 6.5" in depth with 5.5" to 6" being the most common. That much room inside the deck shell allows for a lot of material to be processed very quickly, which results in better dispersion of the clippings, and far less clumping while mowing at anything like the common and acceptable speeds used in commercial applications.

vw_driver8542
02-09-2012, 11:10 AM
I measured my deck. It is 4.5" deep. I sure wish I had 6," but I can get the job done with 4.5." I never knew size mattered so much.

On a more serious note, I will try to shoot a video the cut quality of my Convertible mower when the season starts. With the weather we have had in eastern Kentucky lately it won't be long.
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integrityman
02-09-2012, 02:36 PM
Some food for thought for the OP.
1. There are a buzillion threads on LS about the best ZTR or a variant thereof. That said....do yourself a favor and research by way of using the search or advanced search tool. I havent read all the posts under this tread, so if I have repeated something already written, I aplogize.

2. As you mentioned, you are just staring out & you have all your equipment etc.

Do you have insurance? A business or vendors license? Software or an accountant to help you with your taxes?