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View Full Version : Need help- buying a zero turn mower on Monday! Bad choice?


AmazingLawns
03-04-2012, 01:46 AM
We are starting up a new lawn care business and was going to be buying the Scag Freedom Z 36 inch (most people around here have the wood fences and I need to be able to get in the narrow gate openings.) I plan on getting a bigger one later on if business picks up, but I don't want to get in over my head right at the start, so I'm sticking with one main mower for now. However, after reading some threads on here, I am now unsure about my decision. I was under the impression that the Freedom Z was a professional mower, but reading threads, it seems a lot of people see it as more of a residential mower. Which one is it? I have 13 accounts so far and have an advertisement coming out next month in a local coupon magazine that goes to 50,000 homes, plus have a couple thousand more door hangers to pass out, so I hope to get a lot more. I don't have to have the best thing out there and can't afford the best thing out there right now, but I do want something that is not going to quit on me after a year of heavy use. If the Freedom Z is really more of a residential mower, then is there any point in buying it over a residential mower at Lowes or Home Depot at half the price? I need something that is not over 6K. Do I have any other options for a professional zero turn mower or would I have to cough up a lot more than that? Any suggestions? I was planning on buying one on Monday, so please- any help would be appreciated!!!

GMLC
03-04-2012, 07:05 AM
Actually I have heard a lot of good things about the freedom z being used commercially. It's hard to beat the price. I believe they are on sale now for under $5000!
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mikeclfc
03-04-2012, 07:17 AM
i was in a similar situation to you, i was looking round at different z turns, i already had a semi commercial z turn which got me started and is still runing good, but i want to make the step up as i had a great first year. i looked at the freedom z, then the hustler super duty, then i found the toro titan mx, which are all kind of similar specs, then i went back to my toro dealer and looked at a g3 full commericial unit, and the difference is unbelievable yes it is more money, but the deal you can get on these things are great, is what sold it for me over the scags and the hustlers was the warrenty, the toro g3 comes with a 1200 hr warrenty compared to the 800hr of hustler. and also my toro dealer is about 10mins away incase i do have any problems. I would sy if you can afford 6k to try to make it to 6500 or even 7 and you will get you so much more in terms of a quality machine that will last you a long time rather than spending nearly as much on a semi commercial.

brianslawncare
03-04-2012, 07:18 AM
im not sure about the freedom. what engine is in it? if its a home owner it might not last using it every day. if u have 6k to spend why wouldnt u look for something used? you might find two mowers for that price. look on ebay u could find a exmark 36 walkbehind for 2500 to 3000. or you might look at a 36 and a 60 walkbehind for 6k and just buy a sulky for them. these commercial mowers are built for every day use. i started out with those home owners specials and they dont last. lowes and home depot are junk stay away. look on craigslist. good luck

brianslawncare
03-04-2012, 07:33 AM
someone on here is selling two scag walkbehinds 48 inch deck 17 kawi for 2600 each. also they have a scag walkbehind 36 for 1600.

GMLC
03-04-2012, 08:59 AM
I think the freedom z comes with the Kawi FS or B&S's professional series engines.
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orangemower
03-04-2012, 09:05 AM
I would not buy a mower that small just because of gated backyards. At least not a ztr. Get at least a 52 and then go with a 36 walk behind. You will not be productive and will also limit the size properties you can service and make money. You can't efficiently run a lawn service with one mower. As for the freedom z, you can not compare them to a Lowes cheap residential mower. They're not even close to a box store mower. If I was you, I'd go with a larger cut freedom z and find a good used walk behind 36.
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aroddy
03-04-2012, 09:23 AM
If you have a Snapper Pro Dealer anywhere near you- Go look at the Snapper Pro S50X 36'' mower. Its built like a tank and I sell at least 15 anually to my pro landscapers who have small residential back yards and small gates to get through. We have really good luck out of them- They come with a 20hp KawasakiFX

orangemower
03-04-2012, 09:31 AM
You say you have 13 customers now. If you plan on making money in this business you better get the largest cut you can fit on the properties you already have. You never mentioned if you're cutting postage stamp lawns or 1-2 acre lawns. You really need to have a mower for all aspects of cutting grass if you want to be efficient and make a profit.
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TLS
03-04-2012, 09:34 AM
I would buy a used 36" belt drive WB

AmazingLawns
03-04-2012, 10:47 AM
You say you have 13 customers now. If you plan on making money in this business you better get the largest cut you can fit on the properties you already have. You never mentioned if you're cutting postage stamp lawns or 1-2 acre lawns. You really need to have a mower for all aspects of cutting grass if you want to be efficient and make a profit.
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Yes, I did forget to mention the size of the lawns. Obviously, that does make a difference too. The area that I'm starting out with are very tiny lawns. Anywhere from hardly any lawn to speak of to slightly over half an acre being the largest. The houses are nice, but they are very close together and most homes have small yards with gated wood fences- thus the issue I have with trying to find something that will fit through all gates and I am on a limited budget. I was originally going to go with the 48" deck, but that won't fit through some of the gates. Since 75% or more of the homes in my area have gates I will need to get through, this is a big issue for me. I do plan to eventually expand my area and when I do, I will be heading to some neighborhoods that have mostly half an acre to slightly over an acre lawns. It may be next summer before I start on that area, though, so I'm mostly focusing on the areas around me that have the smaller yards. That being said, I am a little nervous about the 36" size, but trying to figure out what will be the best option for my particular situation with the small yards/gated fences.

AmazingLawns
03-04-2012, 10:52 AM
I would not buy a mower that small just because of gated backyards. At least not a ztr. Get at least a 52 and then go with a 36 walk behind. You will not be productive and will also limit the size properties you can service and make money. You can't efficiently run a lawn service with one mower. As for the freedom z, you can not compare them to a Lowes cheap residential mower. They're not even close to a box store mower. If I was you, I'd go with a larger cut freedom z and find a good used walk behind 36.
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Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't considered that. That might be a good option for us. I'm going to check out Craigslist to see if there are any good used walk behinds in my area. How many hours should I try and stay under when buying used?

f50lvr2
03-04-2012, 11:35 AM
In my opinion it is always worth it to get a good truly commercial quality machine. From my experience, previously a 34" gravely pm34z, I much prefer running a 36" hydro walk behind. It has been more productive for me mainly because it gets in and out of more spots more quickly has roughly the same ground speed, better cut quality (can't speak for the scag), and doesn't rut nearly as much.

orangemower
03-04-2012, 11:48 AM
Hrs are not as important as over all condition. I think a 48 walk behind and a 36 would fit well. 36 is just too small if you're cutting anything more then a postage stamp lot. The 48 will get more done and if some of the properties don't have a fence then its that much better. I have a 61in deck that goes on all of my accounts. My 36 only gets used on two backyards. I could cut the fronts with it too but I'd lose a bunch of time.
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AMBoss
03-14-2012, 12:31 PM
AMAZING:
You might, if you have not already made your purchase, reduce the size of your mower to a 32" as many of the 36" gates are less than 36" wide opening and you can cut nearly as much and just as fast with a 32" as with a 36."

exmarkman11
03-15-2012, 09:58 PM
You should should stay with your gut and get the 36 freedom z. The people who keep telling you to get a bigger mower seem to miss that you are mowing small lawns(most with small wooden fences). It wouldnt make much sense .to put a huge mower on very small lawns. The Freedom z is a cross between commercial and residential. It is way better than anything at homedepot. By far. And scag is a great brand

Agawam Evergreen
03-15-2012, 11:01 PM
Ya man don't base your ZTR purchase on the lawns you have that have gated back yards. You just cant make it with only a 36 inch mower. You will be so limited on the size of accounts you can productivly cut. It will take you to long with only a 36. Get yourself a nice 52 and maybe a decent used walkbehind 36. you will do much better with that.