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View Full Version : Mower Productivity Advice Needed


GrassRoots Lawn Care
05-30-2000, 09:58 PM
I currently own a 32&quot; Encore for most accounts and a 21&quot; Toro for smaller jobs. I am looking to purchase a new frontline mower. We have $2700 budgeted. The three mowers I'm considering are a 48&quot; belt drive Encore (14hp Kawasaki) $2600, Scag belt drive 48&quot; (17hp Kawasaki)for $2900 or a Scag 36&quot; belt drive (14hp Kawasai) for $2440. <p>We have mostly residential accounts and could only use the 48&quot; on 40% of them. Will the 48&quot; increase my productivity significantly? Or should I go for a 36&quot; for a little less? Is the 25% larger cutting path that much more productive vs. a 36&quot; mower's manuavability and increased access through gates? Or am I being just a little too anal retentive? :-) All replies will be appreciated. Thanks.<p>----------<br>Mike Reynolds,<br>GrassRoots Lawn Care, Florida

columbiaplower
05-30-2000, 10:07 PM
get a exmark metro 48in with a 16hp(or somthing) because you can use the 32 for all the small jobs. how many lawns do u mow

Jim White
05-30-2000, 10:42 PM
Buy Large and stay in charge. The best thing I ever did was go from a 48&quot; walk behind to a 61&quot; zero turn rider. I lowered my time spent at my present accounts and picked up enough new ones to pay the machine and increase my take home $$$$$$$. Always put the largest machine on an account that you can.<br><p>----------<br>Jim White<br>

columbiaplower
05-30-2000, 10:46 PM
i got an idea buy a 48in rider!

bdemir
05-30-2000, 11:10 PM
I disagree with largest machine as possible on a lawn. One because it scalps the hell out of everything being that you are using a 36&quot; and your lawns are not very big. <br> and the other is you just cant make it look good when you only have three stripes because your mower is too wide. <br>The extra 10&quot; is great but if you want to make the job look good use the smallest possible without sacrificing time or productivity. i would go with a 48&quot; because it is a great univeral size that will work for all jobs big or small. It all depends on the size of your jobs.I cut many small jobs and my60&quot; tears up the burms the ditches and the hills all because of the width. If you have nice small lawns dont put a 60&quot; or a 72&quot; you will be sorry later but if you have a good mix of big commercial work then its not a bad idea to try a 52&quot; rider or even a 60&quot;. Try out a 48&quot;,52&quot; and see first and then you can know for sure. Good luck.<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: bdemir

Jim White
05-30-2000, 11:46 PM
bdmir, you missed my point. I wasn't implying that everyone should buy a 60&quot;+ machine. What I said is you should put the largest machine on a property that it will handle. If GRASSROOTS accounts will only handle a 36&quot;or 48 becuause of size limitations, then he should get the largest one that works best. <p>----------<br>Jim White<br>

GrassRoots Lawn Care
05-31-2000, 12:14 AM
A rider would be great to sit on but where I live (Central Fla) the ground gets to wet and soggy in the summers to handle that kind of weight. Also, I stated my budget of $2900, not too many riders I can pick up for that cash. <p>----------<br>Mike Reynolds,<br>GrassRoots Lawn Care, Florida

GrassRoots Lawn Care
05-31-2000, 12:16 AM
ColumbiaPower, why do you suggest an Exmark, locally they are priced about or sometimes less than Scag's. $2400 for a belt drive 36&quot;. What has been your experience with Exmark. It doesn't look as well built as the Scags, but I've heard they give a nice cut.<p>----------<br>Mike Reynolds,<br>GrassRoots Lawn Care, Florida

Nilsson Associates
05-31-2000, 05:12 AM
Jim White ... <br>buy large and stay in charge<br>sales lost to smaller mower<br>labor costs lost to a smaller mower<br>labor costs higher than machine costs hour<p>A-1<br>

columbiaplower
05-31-2000, 07:28 AM
i run all exmark. allways have always will. I like them because thier cut quality is great. And they are as well built as a scag and they have more options. Save some money get a exmark<br>-nick <br><p><font size="1">Edited by: columbiaplower

grasscapeinc
05-31-2000, 07:39 AM
go for the scag 17 kaw

geogunn
05-31-2000, 07:47 AM
grassroots--that cash you have on hand would spend nicely down at your lesco store. you could walk away with a new 48 belt, 14 kawasaki. a really nice machine for the money, and probably a trimmer or two.<p>check it out!<p>GEO

GrassRoots Lawn Care
05-31-2000, 09:34 AM
Geogunn, I have never heard of Lesco before coming to this site. I assume it is a mower retail store in another part of the country. No Lescos down in Florida. Not that I know of.<p>----------<br>Mike Reynolds,<br>GrassRoots Lawn Care, Florida

Nilsson Associates
05-31-2000, 09:59 AM
big lineup equipment at<br>www.lawnservicing.com <p>A-1

scott korczynski
05-31-2000, 10:04 AM
I picked up a 44'' floating deck Toro belt drive with the 12.5 hp kawasaki for $2,650. I put the oil filter assymbly for another $50. I love this machine! At first I thought that the 12.5 kawi wouldn't have enough power for that deck, but I have not one complaint about it.

GrassRoots Lawn Care
05-31-2000, 03:01 PM
Lots of people here and elsewhere telling me that large mowers tend to scalp more easily that 36&quot; mowers. I've used a 48&quot; years ago working for &quot;the man&quot; and it seemed to do well. Do the 48&quot; mowers scalp badly or are people referring to larger mowers like 52&quot; and 60&quot;?<p>----------<br>Mike Reynolds,<br>GrassRoots Lawn Care, Florida

Charles
05-31-2000, 04:18 PM
Exmark lasers 60&quot; decks DONT SCALP for the last time lol

columbiaplower
05-31-2000, 04:55 PM
Charles- i think they are talking walk behinds

Jim White
05-31-2000, 05:19 PM
Here we go again. Another discussion turning into an EXMARK advertisement. Does Exmark give out this site when someone buys one of their mowers or what? There are a number of excellent quality mowers out there, Dixie Chopper, Bobcat, Walker, Toro, Snapper,Encore, Lesco, Ferris and the list goes on. and on and on. If you don't use them right they will all scalp at one time or another, EXMARK is no exception!!!!

Administrator
05-31-2000, 05:29 PM
FYI... LawnSite.com is not sponsored or endorsed by any company.<p>I have learned by experience that when a company such as eXmark, Toro, or whatever sells a product to a loyal customer that customer remains loyal until the unit fails or he realizes a better piece of equipment is out there.<p>Thats a weird thing about men and lawn mowers. Our equipment speaks for our companies ( and ego ) and livelyhood so the equipment &lt;i&gt;we&lt;/i&gt; use is always the best and there is no better.

Acute Cut
05-31-2000, 05:43 PM
ColumbiaPlower:<br>I am with you 100%. Although i have had some trouble with my belt drive 36&quot; walkbehind (slipping in the wet) i would still use exmark over scag any day. They have less hoses and wires built into them and are more simple. I have NEVER had any problems with my 52&quot; hydro walkbehind. It is the &quot;little tank&quot; as we affectionately call it. I love it to bits. I used to run scag, 60 and 72&quot; and they were more in the shop than on the job. I HATED them. They look nice and thats it. Look at all the extra hoses and wires. Too many things to go wrong with them. Go exmark and never go back. They are alot cheaper than scag and work great. Get the floating deck and eliminate the scalping problem by quite a bit.<p><br>But, that is just my opinion and i could be wrong. But i will swear by them. <p><br>As for exmark endorsing this site, NO, but they do have a link to here on thier webpage. That is how i found this site myself.<p><br>Have a good day ya'll.

columbiaplower
05-31-2000, 05:44 PM
took the words right out of my mouth, Admin. i have used exmark since i started. Infact i still have a exmark that i bought use when i started 5 years ago (its a 1991) In my mind there is no other product as good as exmark. Others may feel differntly. What mowers do you run Jim?<br>-Nick <p>PS oh yeah Jim, my exmark lazer hp hasent scalped yet. <br><p><font size="1">Edited by: columbiaplower

Jim White
05-31-2000, 06:32 PM
Boy are you guys jumpy and defensive. I run with an EXMARK 48&quot; Hydro Floating deck (3 years), and a Bobcat ZTR (2 years). My back-up machine is the first one I bought 7 years ago and thats a Snapper Pro48 belt drive. All of these machines have impecable records with me and I would buy each one over again if I had too. I have several good friends in this biz and they run with Exmark, Dixie and Scag. The best advice I or anyone could give to someone contemplating a purchase is the service after the sale. I mean to tell a guy to buy and Exmark when he/she has to drive 200 miles to the nearest dealer, when theres a Dixie rep or a scag dealer 20 miles away. Come on Now <p>Oh buy the way I liked the little green guy you use to have operating the mower When you opened up this web site, What happened to him? did he get run over by the Exmark Lazer thats in there now. <p>----------<br>Jim White<br>

Eric ELM
05-31-2000, 06:58 PM
The little green guy was driving a truck. Chuck thought that the mower might be more appropriate. I told him it was just the wrong brand, but there isn't enough room to put up everyones favorite. <br>BTW, my favorite mower is one that is paid for, has close to 3,000 hours on it and has had next to $0 in repair, and has made me lots of money. So far I have only found one brand that will do that, but I am open minded about looking at others. For the past 7 years, I've thought this year my luck will run out and I'll have a breakdown. I have checked out several brands, but I haven't found anything I like better than what I have. I think I'll get a new one in June. :)<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>

Charles
05-31-2000, 08:27 PM
Well Jim White you are a little paranoid thinking this site has been taken over by exmark lol. My Exmark has never scalped on any yard. That sheet metal in the center and the floating deck and all the wheels in the right places keeps it from doing so

Keith
05-31-2000, 09:18 PM
I like the Exmarks too. But I won't bad mouth other brands too much. You like what you like, simple. Use whatever you can to see what works best for you. One note though, I had three Scag 48's, one new(piece of s, one hydro 48&quot; demo (temp replacement for the piece), and a new 48&quot; Florida model (anybody remeber those? It was only slightly better than the first) None were worth a crap on my lawns, especially the bahia. I have a few theories on 48&quot; walk behinds and why 52-54&quot; cut Florida grasses better, but I won't get into that here.

little green guy
05-31-2000, 09:32 PM
back to the original question i think one time saver with a 48&quot; over a 36&quot; not only is that it cuts more grass but you can trimm around stuff much better thus saving time in weedwacking. I would go with the 48&quot; scag belt drive or save a little more money and buy a scag hydro.

Toroguy
05-31-2000, 09:42 PM
My 48&quot; WB (exmark) has scalped on hills, I will adjust the rollers higher to eliminate problem.<p>I have an exmark clock...thinking about a hat..or a tatoo:)<p>As to the main question, Slowly replace small yards with more profitable larger yards that can be quickly completed with a 48&quot; or so. Brand is up to you, I like your cash situation.

Jim White
05-31-2000, 10:01 PM
Charles, the only ones paranoid are the one defending the machines they own, for fear they made a bad choice. Could that be you? I own an Exmark, IT IS A VERY GOOD MACHINE, as far as scalping is concerned let me ask you this. Are the only one that runs your Exmark? if so put some scrub on it. I'll bet they will find a way to make it scalp dispite the rollers and the baffles, of which do most other machines mentioned have also in the right places. <p>All this because Grass Roots wanted a little advise about what machine to buy. Advise is general backed up with personal stories like telling someone to be careful about a certain mower because the deck cracked or something of that nature. But saying your Scag was a piece of s#%^ only says hey I'm human I'll buy the other scag model maybe that will be better for me. Any reputable dealer will let you test the machine before you buy it, and I don't mean in the parking lot. If not what is he hinding. The bests dealers will supply you with your various choices and let you cut for a day or two with each of them. And like buying a car theres always a lemon even with the ones rated &quot;THE BEST&quot;.<p> <p>And buy the way <p>----------<br>Jim White<br>

little green guy
05-31-2000, 10:01 PM
toro guy with an exmark tatoo... interesting, u might have to change you name to exmarkguy haha

columbiaplower
05-31-2000, 10:12 PM
lets get 1 thing stright i dont think i made a bad choice i just want to tell him what i think of exmark. dont put words in my mouth or imply anything. OK?

Keith
05-31-2000, 10:36 PM
OK Jim, I have posted about my Scag experience before, in depth, but I will do it again so it doesn't appear I am just making up ****.<p>Story starts in August 1993, after hearing all the hype about Scag's being the greatest mower on turf, I decided to buy a new one. I pay top dollar for it and finance it. I get the mower to the first lawn and it is vibrating like no mower I have used (nice St Augustine) The cut appears ragged, I take off my 4 year old 54&quot; Bobcat (with week old blades) to clean up the mess the Scag left. <p>To try to shorten this story a little, this became common on all lawns it cut. It would leave &quot;steps&quot; in the lawn from one pass to the next. It would stand straight up going up a hill. And it would not cut bahia period!<p>After different blade, spacer configurations for a month I gave up. I took it to the dealer and he agreed it had a problem. The mower was sent to the distributor and a new deck was installed....same problems. They knew it and didn't even give it back. They gave me a 48 hydro to use, as I siad it wasn't much better, until they could figure out what to do.<p>At the end of December 1993 I received my new 1994 Scag Florida Model. It had modified baffling ( better cut, perhaps?) weights welded to the front of the mower deck (to keep it from standing on it's ass maybe?) It still did not cut as well as my 54&quot; Bobcat...not even close.<p>I sold it for about $2000 w/catcher. It only had 60 some hours on it. I paid over $3300. Does that sound like me just ragging on Scag for no apparent reason? Scag has obviously had continued deck problems, even coming out with a bahia deck....who else has a deck for bahia?<p>For those who have heard this before, I apologize.

Jim White
05-31-2000, 10:56 PM
Thank you Keith for shareing your story with us again. I did catch it when you posted it the first time. This is the kind of advise we all need to share the REAL EXPERIENCE.

HOMER
06-01-2000, 12:00 AM
I just felt like jumpin' in here and giving my opinion, like it or not!<p>Buy whatever appeals to you, and for your situation. You have cash money so learn to &quot;make&quot; the deal, haggle with these people, walk away if they don't deal your way.<p>As for scalping, any mower will scalp if the operator isn't capable of operating it. I own 4 mowers and I can force each one of them to scalp certain areas if I try hard enough. Thats what makes those in the mowing &quot;profession&quot; better than your typical scrub who claims he can cut grass..........anybody can cut grass, my 8 year old can do that! You have to get accustomed to the machine you buy, I used to think, because I heard it from others, that Dixie Choppers were bad about scalping, it just ain't so, unless you don't know how to operate a mower. I have a 72&quot; that I cna make scalp or I can approach areas prone to scalping at a different angle to simply avoid it. I can also run my trailer over every curb in town if I so choose to, but I have also overcome that, for the most part.<p>A machines reputation is at the mercy of the operator, it cannot think, it cannot reason, neither can some operators, thus giving the machine a bad name. <p>Nuff said, <p>Homer

columbiaplower
06-01-2000, 04:01 PM
well said homer. I guess some of us are just better operators then others.

LiVe2
06-01-2000, 04:56 PM
I would go with the Scag 48 there great on any size yard and the last forever, I have had mine for over 6 years and its still mowing<br>LiVe<br>Gainesville Fl

Richard Martin
06-01-2000, 08:01 PM
Grassroots Lawn Care asked:<p>{Will the 48&quot; increase my productivity significantly?}<p>Yes, a 48&quot; will cut considerably more grass than a 36&quot;. At 80% effeciency a 48&quot; mower will cut 77&quot; of grass with 2 passes. A 36&quot; will cut 86&quot; of grass with 3 passes or roughly for every 3 passes you make with the 36 the 48 only needs to make 2.

BRET
06-02-2000, 09:15 PM
HEY GRASSROOTS WHERE IN CENTRAL FLORIDA DO YOU LIVE? WE ARE IN SANFORD FLORIDA. LESCO IS A LARGE LAWN AND GOLF COURSE SUPPLY OUTFIT. THEY HAVE A COUPLE OF STORES IN THE ORLANDO AREA. I CAN TELL YOU THAT AS A COMPANY WE GO BACK AND FORTH ON THE MOWER ISSUE. PRICE BEING THE ISSUE I THINK THAT ALL YOUR 48 MOWERS ARE ALMOST THE SAME. WE RECENTLY BOUGHT A TORO 48 WB. WE BOUGHT IT SIMPLY BECAUSE IT HAS A NON PISTOL GRIP DRIVE SYSTEM. WE ALSO HAVE A 52 GREAT DANE SURFER WHICH IN 13 YEARS COMMERCIAL EXP IS ONE OF THE BEST MOWERS FOR THE PRICE. BETWEEN A SIT DOWN AND A WB. BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. THE SPEED AND CUT ABILITY IN A 36 STAND UP IN A HYDRO UNIT IS A WRIGHT STANDER BUT YOPU WOULD BLOW YOUR BUDGET BY HALF. LOOKING BACK I SHOULD HAVE SPEND THE MONEY AND BOUGHT ANOTHER HYDRO. MOWED 20 WET ACRES THIS MORNING WITH NO BELT SLIPPING.

TurfMan
06-02-2000, 10:16 PM
Hey Brett,<br>Your right about Lesco, But I wouldn't own one. We are located in Brevard on Merritt Island. there is a Lesco Dealer in Rockledge.<br>And as far as the Great Danes go, We just bought a Super Surfer at the first of the week. (Floating Deck) IT is a fantastic cutting Machine. go Check them out, the floating deck makes a great improvement to a already nice cutting Machine.<p>----------<br>Dave<br>3B's Lawn Care Service

GrassRoots Lawn Care
06-03-2000, 10:04 AM
Bret, I am located in New Smyrna Beach. We are about 20 miles west of Sanford. Thanks for the info on the local Lescos. <p>----------<br>Mike Reynolds,<br>GrassRoots Lawn Care, Florida

BRET
06-03-2000, 05:43 PM
WOW THIS POSTING THING REALLY DOES WORK. WE DO A COUPLE OF YARDS IN MERRIT ISLAND AND NEW SMYRNA BEACH FOR THE REALTORS. THAT IS A GREAT AVENUE. WE MAINTAIN ABOUT 50 HOUSES THAT ARE NOT LIVED IN . NO CUSTOMERS TO PLEASE. WE BUY OUR CHEMICAL AND FERTILIZER PRODUCT FROM LESCO. WONT SWITCH FROM ECHO SINCE WE HAVE OVER 50 PIECES OF 2 STROKE. <p>TURFMAN WHERE DID YOU BUY YOUR DANE AT BECAUSE I CANT FIND ONE IN ORLANDO AREA. WE HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING PARTS FOR OUR SURFER. HAVE ONLY HAD MINOR REPAIRS IN TWO YEARS. WHAT DECK AND ENGINE AND COST ? WILL BE BUYING TWO SURFERS 52&quot;S AND TWO 36&quot;S FROM WRIGHT STANDER BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE SMALLER FRAMES

TurfMan
06-04-2000, 09:42 PM
Brett<br>I go to Bruces, They are on the Island just south of 520 on Courtenay. They are less than a 1/2 south of 520. Don't do the standers. We have one of those and its a 36&quot;. HATE IT. The new dane surfers come with a floating 36&quot; deck now. Much better than the Wright Standers. If you want to try my stander when your on the Island Gimmie a buzz, Email me and i'll give you my Number. We cut on the Island on Wend, thur, And Fri. Mon and Tues we cut in Port St John. I look forward to hearing from you. Ps Bruces Number is 453-2840

bill phagan
06-05-2000, 10:18 AM
If you REALLY want to know which mower is the best, check my website www.greenindconsulting.com. Look under recent articles.