View Full Version : gettin ready to purchase a 61"DChopper, BUT!

Kevin Graham (KG)
08-26-2000, 10:53 PM
1. buy a ztr for $10k- ---i want a DC, what would you buy?
2. buy a 36" walkbehind for $3k-----maybe a scag?
3. buy a 48" walkbehind for $3k+----scag?
4. buy 2 weed eaters for $500----?
5. buy 2 blowers for $400----?
6. buy a trailer------$3k <-not sure of price!
7. Bank the rest ($8k-$10k) for break downs.
*note: i have a truck

I'm in the military and getting ready to RET. I've been cuttin medium size yards (part time), and i have come to realize that there is some money to be made in this bizz if you are a hard-charger.

Hey, i know $30k is not alot of money when you are just starting out, which is why i won't to make sure i spend it wisely. So, for just starting out does this sound like an over-kill or is it fairly accurate? How would you invest it towards commercial Lawn equipment?

I know i don't no all i need to know about this Bizz yet but this site has so much information...i feel like i'm cheating the system!
Thanks guys,

[Edited by Kevin Graham (KG) on 08-27-2000 at 03:50 AM]

Eric ELM
08-26-2000, 11:31 PM
Good choice on the DC. I have had 4 of them and they have all been great. All of mine have been 60" Choppers and we have only used a 21" trim mower along with the Choppers. It will depend on what size lawns you have to what W/B you will need. You will probably only need a W/B to do fenced in back yards, so a 36" will get through about any gate. We stay away from fenced in back yards so we don't need a W/B at all. We only take the 21" push mower 1 day a week to mow around swimming pools. Which 60" DC are you getting? I got a XWD2600 in June and like the economy of the diesel. Also which motor are you getting on it? I see your new here, so if you would like to see some lawns mowed with a 60" DC, click on my signiture and take a look at my lawns.

Kevin Graham (KG)
08-27-2000, 02:22 AM
Yo Eric,
Thanks for the quick respons, it was dagg-near faster than a Dixie!:) So, you mean to tell me all you use w/your Dixie is a 21" push mower? ....ok, i see, you don't do fenced yards...uum! can't wait til i can afford to turn down a fenced yard. :)
Eric, i've read a few threads of people saying that the DCs are not this and not that but i'm here to tell them---i'm in the military and i live on base and on base is were i saw the Dixie Choppers in action for the 1st time...those babies are the REAL-DEAL, period! I've seen these machines go cross terrain that i wouldnt take my military Humvee, im serious! The guys that operates them appears to be in Hog-Heaven as they cruise along at the speed that only the Dixie can produce. Anyway, i been watching the DC for about a year now and compared it to the rest, not just Toro, Scag, Danes, but E V E R Y T H I N G out there! I know the Dixies cost a little bit more, and that is why was lookin around and comparing as hard as i did--because i did not want to pay that kind of money!(lol, just keepin it real) But know matter how hard i looked and know matter how much i compared, the Dixies are simply the best, enuff said!

Yard size: medium size stuff for starters, but i want to get as big as i can, just watch me grOW!

Diesel or gas, uum! i'm not sure yet, but i may just go w/gas for my first one.

Engine size: i would love to have the Flatlander's Twin monster 40hp, but i guess i will get a 25hp for now.
COOOOOL site bro, those stripes are killer! Hey, sub me some of them $Nice$Big$Yards$ you got! Man, If i had your money i would throw mine away!!! lol...Peace Eric,

[Edited by Kevin Graham (KG) on 08-27-2000 at 05:42 AM]

Eric ELM
08-27-2000, 02:37 AM
I see you edited your first post and added some things. First question, I would get a Dixie Chopper, because I feel they are the most dependable mower out on the market. At least mine have been. 3,048 hours on the one with very little expense on it isn't too bad. BTW, the Flatlander is not the one with Twin Engines. That is the Suburban Turban, 40 HP, two 20 HP Kohlers. ARRR ARRR as Tim would say.

W/B Mower, you will have to talk to others that use them.

Weed eaters, I like Shindaiwa trimmers.

Blower, we use Red Max, one should be enough to start.

Trailer, You can get a nice one for half that amount, so spend the extra $'s on good trimmers and a blower.

Make sure you get good insurance.

And lots of work for the New Chopper :)

08-27-2000, 10:17 AM
You can easily cut 40 Lawns a week with a $3000.00 walk behind mower. All the equipment you are talking about you can purchase for 1/2 the price of that chopper. If you are cutting more lawns than that, great. If not grow into the buisness and see what works best.
We Prune, Mulch, Fertilize and seed about as much as we do cutting. The return on the cost of that equipment, is much better then cutting. In North Carolina it seems everyone wants to ride around on a ztr But they do not want to edge beds, prune or cut up some trees after a storm.

Good luck
Save your money from equipment dealers

08-27-2000, 10:39 AM
YOu are going in the right direction. Can't go wrong with DCs or Exmark lazers. Echo blowers I have found to be solid. I don't push any lawns. Would be good for you to go into landscaping instead of cutting grass. This would require you to go to school. LS is a much more profitable type of business. From alot of out post you can see that alot of markets are saturated with lawn services. Alot of customers are penny pinchers. People seem willing to pay good money for landscaping and it requires more skill.

John DiMartino
08-27-2000, 01:23 PM
I think if you want to ride,get the DC.I have a 2000 xw2500 and it really kicks grass.Ive had a few small things go wacky with it,but i still feel its the best mower out there,I looked long and hard before i bought it and drove quite a few different machines.I have noticed that in my area,if you want to buy a used machine-you can find every brand but DC for sale,if there is one for sale it is sold quickly and for top dollar.I tried to buy a used one first and i was better off buying new because they had such a high resale value.I just sold my backup DC this week,a friend seen it and offered top dollar for it.I think you should get one BP blower,a redmax 6200,and i like the little wonder HO 8hp i have,its great for big sites and i use it more than my BP mostly because i do big lawns only.If you're back is still strong and you are in good health,landscaping and tree work is great money and an excellent way to fill in the slow times.It is my most profitable work also,along with plowing.Good luck in your retirement business.

Acute Cut
08-27-2000, 02:36 PM
I know i am the odd guy out here but i do not agree with the above posts which are PRO Dixie. I have talked with many Dixie Chopper owners and like them all. Eric and everyone else is absolutly awesome and are great people. This is in NO WAY a personal attack on any of them so please dont take it that way all you Dixie owners.

I recently saw the Dixie in action here in my area. My first one i have ever seen. I spent about 10 minutes looking up close at the machine. I can honestly say that i am not impressed as much as i was when i was only talking to Dixie owners.

The machine i was looking at (not sure of make or anything) seemed to me to be overly simplified and kinda cheaply made. It appeared that they were trying to cut down cost by not makeing anything to fancy or complicated. The whole mower is as basic as you can get in my opinion. But, in doing so i think that they gave up some things that seem to me to be important.

1: The deck. Look at the deck of the Dixie vs the Exmark. It resembles a Crapsman in my opinion. I like the Exmark decks. They appear stronger and sturdier. I will admit that my concern is that of hitting things. Even my dealer says that i hit more things than any other person he has ever known. I think that i would torch the deck of the Dixie in less than two weeks. It seems thin and the discharge resembles that of a rider craftsman mower. NOT what i am looking for personally.

2: Directional controls. Simple to the core. Two bars. I personally like the Exmark which has a preformatted slot that the bars move in. You can look at where your bars are at in the slide and know exactly where you are at at all times. PLUS: The exmark has slots that they mower fits into for neutral operation. I like this for safety reasons. I can look at it and know exactly when i am in the neutral position.

There are other things that i like about the exmark but i know those reasons are strictly opinion related. Such as look and so forth. I also own mostly exmark equip now and i know thier support that they give. I love it. They are superb in thier support and have backed me up many times. I am not speaking against Dixie in this area because i dont know, but i do know what i have now is awesome.

SCAG: I would absolutly NOT but a scag. They are more expensive and break down WAY MORE OFTEN! I worked for 3 years for another company who only ran scags. Thier machines were in the shop more than they were on the lawns. The machines are more expensive than any others and break down way more often. Look at thier machines. They have way more wires and hoses than any other commercial machine. They are the polar opposites of Dixie i believe. More wires and hoses and so forth means more chance of things to go wrong in my opinion.

The company i used to work for actually went out of business sadly because they lost most of their big accounts because they were unreliable. But, it was because of thier machines always being broke. We took good care of the machines, but lemons are lemons. At the time (and maybe it was just the dealer) I was absolutly NOT impressed with the support given. Maybe it was the dealer, maybe it was the company. I dont know. But support was horrible.

As pertaining to the original question: Why are you buying double everything? You yourself said that you only have a few lawns basically. I do over 90 a week with one helper and am still off early in the day. I only own a 52 and 36 WB. I somewhat agree with the no 36 opinion though and then i kinda dont. I have a belt drive 36 and hate it. It does not corner fast or tight and the machine is a pain in the you know what. If you went with a hYDRO 36 then i would say go for it. I demoed one and it cut a full 30% off my back yard time vs the belt drive. You can also discharge easier with the 36 than you can with the push and make it look like you bagged vs a 21 where you will have a harder time discharging and hiding the clippings. Also, with the WB you can double up your blades as Eric has convinced most of us to do. (BTW ERIC: THANKS--> It works great!)

WHy do you need two of everything? Perhaps two trimmers if you have a helper. I sometimes am done mowing way before my helper is done trimming, so i grab a trimmer and work backwards till i meet up with him. THat i could see. But why two blowers? One backpack can blow down qutite a big area pretty fast. And that time your employee (if you have one) can fill up machines with gas or empty bags if nothing else.

TRAILERS: Look before you buy. I have had 3 trailers now and am always upgrading. I am looking for the "right" one to stay with. There is another post on this recently that you should check out before you buy. I am planning on buying an enclosed trailer next year after seeing Kirbys. (GREAT TRAILER) It also solves the problem of secureing your equip and keeping it out of the wheather. BUt that is all up to you i suppose.

Once again yall, this is not a personally attack on any people here. This is only equip related as via my OPINION.
GOod luck on your purchases. I am curious what you finally decide. Let us know.

Acute Cut

Eric ELM
08-27-2000, 05:28 PM
I think you must have seen an old 15 to 20 year old Dixie Chopper, which is very possible, becuase a lot of them are still being used on a daily basis. The decks on the ones I've had from 1993 to 2001 are all very solidly built. I have hit tree stumps and stopped the Chopper, but didn't hurt the deck. I have bumped a stump at the side of the deck and it just slid the whole machine over. I have over 3,000 hours on the old Chopper with out any dents in the deck. They are not a stamped deck like a Sears. They are fabricated from heavy metal and then have about a 3/8 by 1 inch piece of flat metal bent around the deck and welded to re-enforce them. Out of all the Choppers I've owned, I've never had a deck crack, bend, or dent.

The DC's do have a slot in the center to lock them in neutral. I have looked at the Exmark deck and I feel the Dixie Chopper deck is made much better. My DC dealer sells Exmarks too and has a huge lawn mowing service, but only uses Dixie Choppers to mow with. The reason I said it could be an old Chopper is that he has some that he bought 18 years ago for his lawn service and still uses some of them, some had over 15,000 hours on them 4 years ago.

The Dixie Chopper you saw, did it have stainless steel parts on it? Or was it green? Did it have Chain Drive? Or did it have hydraulic wheel motors? If you can answer some of these questions, I could tell you about how old it was.
If you had the serial number off of it, I can tell you when it was built. I still feel you had to have seen one of the first ones built, or it had to be at least 12 to 15 years old. Please let me know.

Kent Lawns
08-27-2000, 05:33 PM
The old 50" decks were stamped.

DC's are simple, that's what makes them easy to wrench on, and gives them their longevity.

Better than a Lazer?? Hmmm, kinda like comparing the Cobra to a Viper.

John DiMartino
08-27-2000, 06:27 PM
Acute Cut,Ihave a new DC,and a 1991 for a little bit.To compare my DC to a craftsman,you must be in the sun to much.I'll put my deck up against yours any time buddy,in the areas of cut quality,build quality,strenth and disharging capabilitys.I Demo'd an Exmark before I bought my DC,it was nice,but slid down hills that the DC didnt even get loose on.I have many friends who are commercial cutters,and not one has had any problems with the deck strenth on their DC's.Between toro and Exmark there have been plenty of weak decks and poorly designed spindles on the ZTR's.I do like the clean looks of the Exmark,but im not worried about the style or looks to much.I love the simple design of the DC,it eases maintance and makes working on it a pleasure.I like the fuel capacity and Mobil1 oil in the exmark,but on that machine it takes longer to do the same job,a noticable difference,and my time is very valuable,and time is money.I see Exmarks for sale used a dime a dozen,most guys sell them in a few years.A used DC is a rarity,most guys run them hard for 10+yrs and if they are for sale thewy sell very quickly,and for good money.I feel the reputation is so good and it affects the demand/resale a lot.I know I couldnt find one used,but ifound at least 5 late model exmarks for sale easily.In my area the Ransomes Bobcat is the most popular ZTR by a big margin,the DC is gaining fast and the Exmark is a distant 3rd with the new grasshopper ZTR already outselling it at the local dealer.

08-27-2000, 08:38 PM

I HAVE JUST BOUGHT A 00 LAZER 26HP/72" its also a good unit
butits size has its drawbacks.

the dealers location service and loaners is first and foremost to me. lol raymow.

Kevin Graham (KG)
08-28-2000, 01:50 PM
i don't think you are the odd guy out, but rather the odd guy in...in other words, i really value your opinion. i mean when a person is about to spend thousands of $$ for a mower it is wise to hear about the machine from every angle but, comparing a DC to a crafsman is a bit much, don't you think? (lol). John DiMartino's thread mention a good point **you seldom ever see a DC on the 4 sale block and if you do they go for top dollar**...facts are facts. I like alot of the mowers that are avalible Exmark, Scags, Danes...you name it, i mean there's really no Baaad mower, but the DC, in my opion, is better. I like the simple design of the machine, lots of advantages and easier to work on when need be. It might not be as fancy as the candy apple red Exmark, or have the tiger strips of a Scag, but the cuttin ability that this machine posses, in my opinion, is TOPS!

Why two of everything?: well, i thought it would be a good ideal to be able to rotate the equipment and not pounding on just one day-in & day-out. Also for backup reasons. But, as you sort of mention, it may be best to just try to build up to that point vice to buying it all at once...uum, think thats what i'll do, thanks!

Trailers: always upgrading,uuh? i'm glad you mention that because thats something that i want to avoid as much as possible. The En-closed trl sounds like a good ideal, whats the price range for one?

Thanks Acute,<----(the odd guy..IN!)


Acute Cut
08-28-2000, 09:22 PM
I actually went and looked at those trailers i was talkin about. They LOOK to be a great idea. (Thanks for the idea Kirby) I looked at a 7X14 and the sticker price was 5109$. The dealer said that he would not make me pay that and would make me a "great deal". WOnder if it was me talkin about buyin 2 or 3 during the season next year depending on business.....hmmmmmm.......

Thanks for makin me feel better kevin. I was feeling kinda FLAMED by everyone here. I am keeping an eye out for the local DC for Eric. The deck that was on THAT machine was not a good design. It may have perhaps been an older model and not as good as Eric said. I dont know. I would NEVER compare the whole machine to a crapsman of course. I agree that it is probably a good machine, but i think that i will go with Exmark. There were some good points about resale, but i am also stuck via dealers up here. THe nearest one is over 500 miles away. I need someone close and helpful. You could easily fit all of my mechanical knowlege into a small thimble. So, ease of fixing a machine is not really my concern as it is with so many others. I rely on my dealer totally for any and everything that goes wrong. ANd in all honesty, i dont want to even attempt to change it. My machine does not really break down very much at all. Mostly it is just damage that is caused by operators going to fast and not paying attention to the lawn. (That would be me if yall are curious)

My dealer (and friend as it is happening to be turning out) is and always has been totally by my side with support. They jump at any thing that i ask. I tell them not to, but they do it anyways. I can honestly say i never want to work on my machines for hours on end, when i can go to the shop and have them fix it in 10 minutes and i get to chit chat with friends the whole time.

Kevin: If you read the thread "where do you keep your equipment" (or something like that) you can see Kirbys rig. It is a real beaut. I am excite to get one next spring. I think my New Lazer (hope) and 36 hydro will fit in there nicely. Everything will stay dry and you never have to worry about your epuip being stolen out of the back of your truck while working away from it.

Good luck with your DC. Let me know how ya like it.

Acute Cut