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zinkjo
12-30-2004, 12:06 AM
Starting up our business in the spring. Anticipating 15-20 residential clients year 1 and then doubling every year after.

I've been looking into equipment and with all the choices not sure what to go with. I think I've narrowed the search down to Gravely and Toro. I have a few questions:
1) Any preferences between Gravely and Toro?
2) Is it worth going with the hydrostatic?
3) Is it worth going with a floating deck?

As I already have a full-time job money is not a huge issue. I'll be using my full-time job to support the new landscaping business for the first couple of years.

thanks for your time and help

geogunn
12-30-2004, 12:13 AM
the answer to your questions in your situation as I see it are as follows:

1)--NO

2)--NO

3)--NO

TO SUM IT UP FOR YOU.......NO! as a new operation, it makes no difference if you choose toro or gravely. nor does your other choices matter.

what matters is that you work hard and be genuine to your new endeavor.

good luck to you amigo and I'll bet you do OK.

GEO

TClawn
12-30-2004, 12:24 AM
1.I personally prefer gavely because I think that they are built sturdier than the toro's.

2. it depends on the size lawns your doing. if you only have little postage stamp lots then a hydro is definatly worth it. on the other hand if your doing large acreages were you not turning to much than you should be fine with a belt drive.

3. yes. a floating deck will leave a much better finish to your lawns than a fixed deck.

geogunn
12-30-2004, 12:27 AM
TCLAWN--with all that fact of the matter advice, are you really just FIFTEEN YEARS OLD???

GEO :dizzy:

TClawn
12-30-2004, 01:03 AM
geo, yes I am. I have some friends in the lawn business and am very observant or so people say. I try to learn as much as I can by watching other people. I look at a lawn that has been cut with a fixed deck and a lawn that has been cut with a floater. I can tell the differance imediatly. it is common sense that a hydro will be better for small areas with it's zero turning ability. it also makes sense to be economical with a belt drive when you really aren't turning that much on huge properties.

I have seen the gravely's and it's just my personal opinion.

it is amazing how much you can learn by listening to the people on this site and friends that know much more than you do.

lawnprosteveo
12-30-2004, 07:40 AM
I prefer Toro because of the t-bar controls. Leaves you less tired at the end of the day.
A hydro will give you better maneuverability...but if you want to hold cost down, then just stick with gear drive.
As for floating deck, my Toro 36 has the floating deck so I can adjust cutting heighth by pulling and reinserting a pin. Much easier than a fixed deck.

stevesmowing
12-30-2004, 07:52 AM
My first commercial mower was an encore 48" belt drive with a 12.5 hp Kawasaki. It was a good mower. I didn't like that if the belts got wet they would slip. Either in the rain or if you are going though wet spots in the spring. I would get a hydro with a floating deck. Have you looked into the exmark turf tracer or the hustler w/bs? This machine could last you a long time.

zinkjo
12-30-2004, 08:16 AM
I just started shopping last week and I don't have a good feel for the prices just yet. I've compared features of the following:
Toro, Gravely, ExMark, Scag and BobCat.

What is the ranking in terms of price?
What is the ranking in terms of quality?

I have the following in terms of perceived quality:
1) Gravely
2) Toro
3) ExMark
4) BobCat
5) Scag

geogunn
12-30-2004, 08:22 AM
geo, yes I am. I have some friends in the lawn business and am very observant or so people say. I try to learn as much as I can by watching other people. I look at a lawn that has been cut with a fixed deck and a lawn that has been cut with a floater. I can tell the difference medically. it is common sense that a hydro will be better for small areas with it's zero turning ability. it also makes sense to be economical with a belt drive when you really aren't turning that much on huge properties.

I have seen the gravely's and it's just my personal opinion.

it is amazing how much you can learn by listening to the people on this site and friends that know much more than you do.

TCL--I don't have a problem at all with you voicing your opinions and you have stated how you have come to those conclusions.........which is by-in-large from observation and association with others...more learned than yourself.

but you simply don't need a hydro floating deck to get started in this business. and either gravely or toro is a good choice.

as for the floating deck giving a better cut, unless you can explain that to me......you are simply wrong. perhaps there isn't a smooth lawn in hawaii and the floaters are required, I dunno. but for CONUS, scalping is operator error.

GEO :)

J.Gordon
12-30-2004, 08:32 AM
Since you said money isnít an issue, I would go with a floating deck Hydro. I donít know that much about the Toroís and Gravelyís but I like the T-bar Toro has. If you have a Hustler dealer around you should demo a super walk-behind, you wont find a walk-behind that is easier to operate than the Hustler H-bar with a BullRider.
http://www.hustlerturfequipment.com/products/superwb.html

rodfather
12-30-2004, 09:00 AM
Personally, I would go hydro if you don't mind spending the extra money. You don't need a floating deck. I've probably had a dozen or so Ferris fixed WB decks (52's and 61's) over the last 10 years and never had any problems with scalping.

all degree
12-30-2004, 09:21 AM
I have some questions for you...

Why do you need two commercial mowers for 15-20 lawns. One 52 inch should be more than enough for lawns in Middletown.

Gravely is not big in this area. I would also say that you underestimate Scag. I have a toro but would easily go Scag or even Exmark. Find the best dealer in your area and buy whatever brand he sells.

You wont need two mowers until you hit 35+ lawns if you get a 53

KathysLGC
12-30-2004, 09:53 AM
I would say look for the three closest dealers near you and see what they sell. If your going into this alone and the lots are small go with a 48". I see no difference in cut between a fixed deck / floating deck on smooth turf. You can also get something used at a decent price since your just starting out in case you decide you don't want to continue you won't have a lot of overhead. I started with a used belt drive 48" then after doing lawns part time i got a newer used Ferris hydro and other stuff for the business. Recently i got a 2004 Exmark used (35 hours) at an outstanding price. There are good deals out there if you look around. My Exmark's warranty is transferable so it's still covered.

zinkjo
12-30-2004, 12:53 PM
I realize that we could maybe get by with a fixed deck, but we live in an area where landscaping is a very competitive business. Any advantage I can find might be worthwhile.

Does a floating deck give a superior cut?

Thanks for all your replies. I'm getting a real education.

geogunn
12-30-2004, 01:03 PM
I realize that we could maybe get by with a fixed deck.... Any advantage I can find might be worthwhile.

Does a floating deck give a superior cut?

Thanks for all your replies. I'm getting a real education.

a floating deck only gives the advantage of not scalping under certain conditions.

but the operator of the mower is in control of those conditions therefore, scalping with a fixed deck is operator error when it happens!

the floating decks DO seem to have a wider range of height adjustment but the less you jack with raising and lowering the deck, the happier you are going to be.

as for the look of the grass after being cut with a floating deck or a fixed deck, there is no difference whatsoever (excluding operator error scalping).

GEO :)

TClawn
12-30-2004, 01:13 PM
geo, every body in hawaii likes there lawns cut LOW. nothing above 1.5in. at that height you can definatly tell the differance. yes the lawns in hawaii are bumpy. on some by the end my arms are numb because it rattles around so much.

the guy said that money was not an issue. that is why I recomended the hydro drive. to some people it may not be worth it to them, but to me (with lots of postage size lots to do) it is.

I can only comment on the things that I have observed in my area. it may be different on the mainland.

Flex-Deck
12-30-2004, 06:49 PM
I would worry about getting the customers first - Then get the mowers you need. If your area is like our area, it is cut throat.

I had to bid low last year, but did a superb job, and now, I can sell quality - I do not have to be the low bidder anymore. But it takes a year to just break even to get your company in front of people and your philosophy in front of people, and your ability to consistantly do a good job in front of people.

Fareway Lawncare
12-30-2004, 06:53 PM
Stay Far Away from Toro Walks....Bad Deck Design & the T-Bar is Horrible on the Hydros....OK on Belts...Also been some Serious Issues w/Carrier Frames Since they Screwed up the Classics w/eXmark Parts that didn't fit the SFS deck Properly.

eXmark Knows Walks.

TGIB
01-02-2005, 01:50 AM
I would agree with you, that Gravely probably has one of the best walk behinds out there - and their pricing is really good, especially considering how well built they are.

PMLAWN
01-02-2005, 03:07 AM
As far as brand DEMO DEMO.
A hydro will be more productive and easier on you to work with. Smaller lots will go faster with the hydro. Hills will be easier.
As far as fixed deck, we will go to 36" fixed and flote after that. We have a lot of hills and therefore the flote works better to avoid scalping with the wider mowers. This will depend on you properties.
A belt will work fine for you. A hydro will just be more productive.
A fixed deck will still cut fine.
If you are starting out than the "price" of a mower will be a concern. After you start to fill your days with jobs the "cost" of a mower will be more important.
Price is the dollar amout that you pay for the equipment.
Cost is what that equipment brings in compared to what you pay. For us a hydro costs far less.

jeffex
01-02-2005, 08:17 AM
I have a 1996 toro 48" fixed deck that still cuts great. There is a slight learning curve to the fixed deck toro [ actually it has a exmark metro deck] . Learning not to scalp just takes a little more concentration. My 36" fixed deck is nearly impossible to scalp. I like the t-bar design for the gear drive. You can operate it with one hand and walk next to it cutting under trees and shrubs. Reverse is weak but I rarely use it anyway. Most of my customers have 1/4 acre lawns and this has been a profitable setup for me. The parts are interchangable so if you get a flat while working or something breaks usually you can keep the needed mower making money. My business plan was to crawl, walk , then run. I couldn't afford to buy hydros when I started but now that I can I still run the belt drives because I can service them myself . If you can afford the hydros get it. If you get a w/b larger than 48" get a floater. Hell if money is no object then get a 36" belt drive [$2300] and a 60" ztr{$8000?] and never look back!! My advice is to let your equipment fit your customers lawns. Get the customers first. A good 36" w/b will just about go anywhere!

mkwl
01-02-2005, 09:12 PM
Get a Bob-Cat mower!!! I have a 48", 15 HP belt drive Bob-Cat mower and I love it!!! It has a quality of cut and stripe that are far superior to all other brands, and it is built like a tank!!!! Mine is a fixed deck and I have never had any problems with scalping at all!! As for a hydro or not, I will stick with a belt drive, thank you very much! The hydro pump can break and it will cost a lot to repair. With a belt drive, if the belt breaks, just get a new one and you are back in buisness. I have found my Bob-Cat to be very easy to mantain and I have had absolutely no problems with it at all!!!! Get a Bob-Cat mower and you will not be dissappointed!!!