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  #1  
Old 12-23-2011, 08:49 PM
lion738 lion738 is offline
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Location: Minnesota
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Buying 1st Mower?

I am buying my 1st commercial mower do to business expanding. I have mainly reisdental yards and a few commercial so I think I am going to go with a smaller cut like around 46inches.

My problem is should I get a walk behind or a zero turn... looking to give the best cut with least amount of time spent, like all of us are doing.
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  #2  
Old 12-23-2011, 08:50 PM
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Florida Gardener Florida Gardener is offline
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What is your average size property?
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2011, 10:54 PM
lsylvain lsylvain is offline
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The big question is not about the size of your properties. The big question is money and your drive to generate business. My advice is if you have the money/credit now, get the biggest best mower you can afford now. Then get the smaller mower later. I did the opposite. I got a 48" used machine to start off $2000, I out grew that in 4 months and had to turn around and get another machine and spent another $2000 on a used 52" In another 6 months I had to turn around and get another mower, since I had $4000 already tied up in mowers, I didn't have the cash to get a new one and at the time didn't want to finance one I got another used 52" for $4000. So I had $8000 tied up in machines in the first year. I should have just bought the brand new 60" I looked at for $6000. and then a used 48"/52" for my employee when/if I needed it. Because I had bought the smaller machines I was cranking the hour meters on them and by year 3 my $4000 52" had over 4000 hours on it and the $2000 52 had god knows on it. So I had to turn around and buy another one at the end of year 3 I learned my lesson and got a 61" brand new Which as it turns out could do the work of the 2 old 52's by itself since it was about 2 mph faster coupled with the larger deck size. I have about 80 lawns on contract and only 4 have places I can't run the 61" simply because of gates. 2 of the 4 are small enough to just do with the trimmer without a thought the other 2 can be done with the trimmer, but you don't really want too so I can get buy with only the 1 more if I had too.

However my story is probably different than most. This was my second lawn business and I was on a mission from day one to get 100 customers in my first year. I think I got to 120 or so I can't remember exactly I think I peaked in the low 130's just before the housing bust and I lost a ton to foreclosures.

Do I regret the way I went cheap? Not really, I still think it was a wise move, even though in the long run I paid a lot more, if I had not met my goal or only got a hand full of customers I only had the $2000 investment in that first machine.

As far as walkbehind or rider. I am a strong believer in the walkbehind. Hydro walk behinds are zero turns they may run a few MPH slower than the riders on paper but at least from my experience the overall time is roughly the same. The walk behinds have a few benifits that the mid mound riders and standers don't, first the out front deck allows you to get under and around things that the others can't and when going under trees with low limbs you can squat down behind the handlebars and not get smacked in the face. When dealing with hills, ditches, and ponds the walk behind cannot be beat the lower center of gravity allows you to mow just about any slope with out fear of rollover and even if it does roll over your feet are firmly on the ground as you watch the machine tumble down the hill instead of being crushed under it. 3rdly it is darn near impossible to get a walk behind stuck and if you do, it is light enough to get unstuck pretty easily. If you do your own repair work they are far cheaper to work on and the engines are usually cheaper as well since they can run a lower HP than the riders.

The down side. Tired legs but you get some great calf definition. lol
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  #4  
Old 12-24-2011, 12:04 PM
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gusbuster gusbuster is offline
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Buy what your business can afford.

its better to have extra money to spend than spend all your money and not have it when you need it.

The only thing that I dis-agree with the previous poster is sometimes you have to finance. The trick is not to get something just because you think you need it, but you have a real use for it. Then the goal is to pay it off before it is due if possible without killing the bank so to speak.

For example,you have 6 clients. if you if a 2 clients with wide open places where you would get by with a 52 mower but won't be able to use on the 4 other but you could spend a little more on a hoyty poyty 48 mower where you can use them on all clients, be faster than the 52, and in the long run make out better.

but here's where financing makes since. You land another 3 contracts and you already see the potential for the 52 to be a better deal since this way you can do all 9 clients in one long day. I don't have the money up front but, I do have decent credit where I can put down a 25% down and pay it off in 24 months. By 4th month I have enough money to pay off the loan and I do. Now except for any mechanical problems, machine is pure profit.
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  #5  
Old 12-24-2011, 02:12 PM
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bobcat48 bobcat48 is online now
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Agree 21'' mower then get a 36'' or 48'' walk behind or both scag and or encore,bobcat are all good then maybe u can go from there then with like a 52'' ztr or something of that like z master or chariot.
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  #6  
Old 12-24-2011, 02:18 PM
TJC Lawn-Care TJC Lawn-Care is offline
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i would suggest a ferris walk behind, if you get a walk behind, make sure it is a hydro, or get a ferris or grasshopper zero turn, with a small cut with residental yards.
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2011, 02:25 PM
ralph02813 ralph02813 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondlandscaping View Post
What is your average size property?
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This should be the first consideration - size does matter!

On a lot of smaller yards ridem's are just to awkward!

But the rest of what Islyvain said is on the money : As far as walkbehind or rider. I am a strong believer in the walkbehind. Hydro walk behinds are zero turns they may run a few MPH slower than the riders on paper but at least from my experience the overall time is roughly the same. The walk behinds have a few benifits that the mid mound riders and standers don't, first the out front deck allows you to get under and around things that the others can't and when going under trees with low limbs you can squat down behind the handlebars and not get smacked in the face. When dealing with hills, ditches, and ponds the walk behind cannot be beat the lower center of gravity allows you to mow just about any slope with out fear of rollover and even if it does roll over your feet are firmly on the ground as you watch the machine tumble down the hill instead of being crushed under it. 3rdly it is darn near impossible to get a walk behind stuck and if you do, it is light enough to get unstuck pretty easily. If you do your own repair work they are far cheaper to work on and the engines are usually cheaper as well since they can run a lower HP than the riders.

The down side. Tired legs but you get some great calf definition. lol

I'll take the tired legs over a broken back any day!
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  #8  
Old 12-27-2011, 09:45 PM
lion738 lion738 is offline
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Thanks a lot for all you guys offering input. It means alot. I feel a lot more confident in my decision of purchasing a walk behind 48inch cut.

Thanks
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