View Full Version : Which Mower should I buy?

03-05-2003, 01:32 PM
Okay.....I have a decision to make and I need input to measure just how reasonable I am. Some of you may already know that I am starting fresh and new so here's the question. I am buying an Exmark mower..........should it be the 44 inch ZTR or the 36 WB with a sulky?

03-05-2003, 01:55 PM
What kind of properties do you have?

03-05-2003, 02:18 PM
........are currently none. I am fresh off the turnip truck. Here is what I know. I know that I can't be as productive with my time (whether it's commercial or residential) with a 36WB as I can with a 44ZTR. Time is everything in this business and I WILL grow my business to something between 40 and 50 accounts. How fast I can do that is something that remains to be seen. Hope that helps...:-)

03-05-2003, 02:28 PM
If you are a solo op. I would buy the w/b and use the money left over to buy other equipment you may need. What is your spending budget ?

03-05-2003, 04:14 PM
Overall, I would say buy the walk behind and a good sulky. If you want more comfort and productivity out of it buy the Turf Tracer HP hydro version. It's a compromise between the rider and a belt drive. Why the walk behind?

1. Most people need a walk behind from time to time anyway as they take on accounts that require them. You're not in a position early on to be turning down accounts because you don't have a mower that will fit on them or that the customer will let you put on them. You may also have to turn down a few huge properties, but you can mow most residential properties with a 36".

2. It costs less initially.

3. You will have plenty of spare time your first year unless you are really good at marketing your assumedly inexperienced self as the best thing since sliced bread. So if you're less productive on larger properties you can deal with it for now.

4. Once you've put in a season or even two and are sure you're sticking with the business, you can buy a ZTR then for larger properties and use the 36" wb for gated areas, small lawns, and as a backup.

5. Not sure if you have experience, but a wb is less likely to damage a lawn with an inexperienced operator.

03-05-2003, 04:49 PM
I have no experience whatsoever (unless you count my yard). I am business analyst for a dot com that's re-locating. I am solo and yes the gate issue is on my mind......my problem is that I am NUMBERICALLY aware of the added productivity of the ZTR. Couple that with my intention to work 40 - 45 residentials per week where the average lot size is 10k minus the house and........

I have already budgeted for the accessories and such....It's down to the mower.

Thanks for the help guys!

03-05-2003, 05:07 PM
Sniggly when I started out at age 15 I started with murray 22's and believe it or not 200 foot of electrical cord and 1 electric weed wacker and 1 electric blower. As I worked my way up I came across a killer deal some years later on a pair of walk behinds, one was a 36 and the other a 48. Even though these old antiques did not have the beans to pull even the litest of us on here I did find that the 36 over all was the most productive. Simply the 48 would not make it into back yards. If I were in your situation and of average weight I would go with a belt drive 36. Back in the day we did not use velkies we were Flintstone'ing it:D
So I imagine a new 36 with one of those gizmoes would work out fine. Starting with the belt drive you will not go over budget and you will have some money left over. Build up your client base and when you see that it would be profitable to have a ZTR take your left over money and put it down on the mower of your choice and pay a low monthly note on the balance. At that time you will have all you need for a solo operation. Hope this helps.

03-05-2003, 06:58 PM
Sounds like you have things well planned out.Exmark is a great mower.So much depends on what type of accounts you are going after.If it is business maybe the ztr.But if you target homes maybe a wb.I always prefer to sit than walk but I also realize there are some places you have to use a wb.Best of luck and have a great year

Turf Technologies
03-05-2003, 09:09 PM
Why waste the money on a 44ztr. In a few years youll just upgrade to a bigger deck.Now you have two ZTRs and no WB.

03-05-2003, 09:44 PM
Buy the 36", it'll cost less now and will probably be more productive in this point in your business. Simply put, a 44" ZTR isn't going to be much more productive than a 36" because it will not be able to do the smaller backyards as easy, it will cost more, and it just isn't that much bigger, deck size I mean. Go for the W/B.

03-05-2003, 10:59 PM
Get the 36 and a set of Jungle Wheels, then you'll be ready to roll.

03-05-2003, 11:04 PM
Thanks to all that posted..........looks like I am buying the 36WB. I am lucky because I have a Scag/Redmax dealer less than 1 mile from the house. I'll be writing him a check shortly.

03-07-2003, 01:36 AM
go with the walk-behind. it is a good idea to start with the 36" like you said. it will be more productive and cost a lot less.

03-11-2003, 01:38 PM
get the 36" you get through all the gates on teh properties...once you build up and start taking larger accounts then id go for a 52" ztr...i love the exmark lazer hp..


03-11-2003, 02:13 PM
Go with the 36 You'll be happier in the long run, and be able to get through gates. I'd like to know how your going to get 40-50 accounts right out of the box the first year? Sounds pretty ambitious. I hope it works for you. :D

03-11-2003, 08:43 PM
I can guarantee I won't get 40 or 50 accounts right out of the gate....but I am damn sure gonna try....:-) My goal is to get atleast 16 accounts the first season...........my business plan is set up for that.

03-12-2003, 01:45 PM
I was in the same boat last year, I started the season fresh and did my 12 accounts with a 21" push. I saved all my earnings a with a small investment bought a 48" ztr. The main reason I bucked the advice that most of these guys is my wife is the operator of the ztr and I do the trimming and edging. Went from 45min-1hr per yard to 20-25 min. This will allow for many more accounts this season. The downside is I still push 3 of my gated properties. However I am in the market for a 32" w/b for gated properties and a back-up mower for when the ztr goes down. I would look at what properties you get first, decide on future personell and most importantly capital. IMy policy is to pay cash or wait untill I can. Just starting you want to be like the seasoned
vats, but I can't untill you have the accounts to justify the cost.
That being said if you're solo I would start with the 36" and work my way up. Also don't be afraid of buyins good used equipment. Check the local classifieds and ebay.

03-12-2003, 05:25 PM
Thanks gamoose....Fortunately I have a 21" already....and I have several good dealers in my county that provide good makes. I am choosing between exmark and scag.....but it looks like the scag is going to get the vote becuase he is closer to my house.....plus he carries all redmax stuff which I like. Check out my budget post on the business elements side of the forum and see what you think.

Doc Pete
03-12-2003, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by Scag48
Buy the 36", it'll cost less now and will probably be more productive in this point in your business. Simply put, a 44" ZTR isn't going to be much more productive than a 36" because it will not be able to do the smaller backyards as easy, it will cost more, and it just isn't that much bigger, deck size I mean. Go for the W/B.
Also, without the advantage of larger lawns (only 10,000sq.) a WB may faster. Also, with smaller lawns, unless you can find a place to turn (the driveway, sidewalk) the ZTR (and not beat up the grass) takes more time than a WB. Plus on smaller lawns, many times you are forced mow in only one direction to cut it the fastest and again the ZTR will be slower and start to leave ruts. If you were mowing bigger lawns the ZTR would be fine. Understancd, I'm a small lawn only guy............Like you will be.........

02-18-2006, 12:35 AM
Get a 32" Wright Stander. You can't go wrong with it!

02-18-2006, 07:10 PM
You know this post was 3 years ago right?