"Settled" in on the Kubota ZD323 w/60" Deck
After a fast and furious 2 weeks of being introduced to the world of zero turn mowers, I purchased a new Kubota ZD323 with the 60" Pro Deck. Last year I moved next door to my elderly parents to help them out and there is alot more lawn here to mow than I have been responsible for in the past. My Cub Cadet garden tractor with a 48" deck got the job done, but just barely. I found myself hurrying to get done and not doing a very good job of it. So over the winter I was determined to find a clean used zero turn, not realizing that the commercial ones were like a one ton truck, hard to find and pretty much used up. So two weeks ago I decided to make the move and buy a new one. I needed financing to start off with and found that most commercial dealers have several options around that. The search was quickly narrowed down to the availability of commercial zero turn dealers to me. I found three dealers, one Ferris, one Scag and a Kubota dealer. There were several other Kubota dealers within acceptable range, but I knew the one I chose from dealing with them in the past. I talked to the Scag dealer(furthest away from me) on the phone and liked what he was saying other than the price tag on the 60" higher horsepower gas model, sticker shock sat in hard. I then rode over to the Ferris dealer and quickly found him to be a tad pushy. He had a demo Z3000 unit with 282 hours on it. It was outside under a canopy and was obviously not taken very good care of, but I tried it out and was pretty impressed with it. He wanted $8,400. for it and said Ferris wouldn't let it go for less than that. My thoughts were that if I was going to pony up thousands of dollars for a personal use mower I'd like one in better shape than his. The only new model he had on the floor was the Z1500 and that clearly wasn't the size I was looking for. So the road then led me to the Kubota dealer, they promptly let me try both the 200 series and and the 300 series. The first was the ZD221 and the second was the ZD331. I could clearly see that the ZD221 would be a perfect fit for the wife, but my masculine side loved the ZD331. Now the interesting challange of picking a model without being drawn into the upgrade syndrome where you try to justify going bigger and bigger and bigger until you have talked yourself into the most expensive model they have on the floor. I know the service manager from years of working with him at a previous job and I asked him if the diesel was worth the extra cash over the gas model and he said he thought is was for various reasons. So after crunching some numbers with the salesman I thought the ZD326 might be a perfect middle ground for me with the lawns that I have to manage. Well, they didn't have one in stock and the salesman replied that if another local dealer didn't have one it'd be a month if it had to be ordered from the factory........here in Maine we are entering the fastest growing season on lawns and I didn't want to wait for a month. The ZD331 they had there was $14,850 and the ZD323 was $12,785. I chose the ZD323 and after an extended haggling session I got it for $12,200. plus tax. The Kubota 0% financing deal played heavily into this process for me, the other two dealers didn't have anything that attractive.
I've scanned the internet and this site after the fact and the model I chose seems to be a wise choice other than the fact that it might be a little underpowered compared to the several larger ZD 300 models, but I am quite convinced that this will be the last mower I will ever need to buy as I'm 51 years old.
Here at the farm I have 5-10 acres that can be used as lawn, it just depends on how agressive I want to get. I might take on one or two lawns on the side to cover the payments, but I'm not 100% sure that's necessary. I probably could have easily gotten by with a lesser unit, but being comfortable and getting the job done in a reasonable amount of time is obviously worth alot to this aging soul.