I will be honest here. We have never spent over 6500 on a mower. Our $6500 160Z is just as productive and make us just as much money as a 460 will at almost double the price. We have always been ones to go for the lower models because when it comes right down to it the lower models typically
1. Are just as productive
2. Save a lot of money
3. built more than heavy enough to handle commercial residential cutting
4. Have the same decks as the pricier models
5. Tend to be lighter in weight
6. Have less stuff in the way and are easier to service
Our 160Z comes in at less than 1000 pounds and is very easy to work on and has the same deck as the 260 and 460 and has tons of power. Current prices on the 160 is about $7300. So for another $3000 what am I gaining with the 460? The machine is heavier and has a super sweet seat. Realistically that is about what it boils down to so I am having a real hard time trying to convince myself to buy a top dollar machine. Actually I think we are going to end up with a new JD Z720 at $7400. Same thing applies to the JD mowers. The 700 series is the same as the 900 series. even has the same frame. Just has smaller tires, 10cc hydros (which use less engine power and make more torque than larger hydros), standard seat and holds a couple less gallons of fuel. Same frame and same deck and same performance at a considerably cheaper price.
For us it has always been about being productive, doing a good quality job while keeping our overhead as low as possible. We paid $17800 for our 2500HD brand new. We have the pleasure of not having to rent a place to keep the equipment and I am mechanically inclined and do most of the work on the machines myself. Our operating costs are very very minimal compared to most operations. I would love just just pony up and plop down 10K for a mower but for gods sake you can buy a small much more sophisticated car for almost that much. These manufacturers are bending people over if you catch my drift.