You will probably make more money at the volks plant, but I understand the quality of life issue. I have found I work more hours at lawn care than I ever did at a job, but I am happier working for myself.
I use Scag and have very good luck with it. Toro has raised their prices so much the Scag is no more expensive. Scag is built like a tank. Scag will not clump is damp or tall grass, but Toro gives a better cut under ideal conditions. Redmax is supposed to be good, but I have had great luck with Stihl.
Good luck. You will be successful if you work hard. Very hard and long hours.