A growing business needs some help !

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JEF_HEB, Sep 28, 2001.

  1. JEF_HEB

    JEF_HEB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    To all of you guys out there who've "been there and done that",

    I'm looking for a consensus.

    My business is small growing, so it's time to purchase more lawn equiment. So I figured where better to go to get some real diverse advice than at lawnsite.com .

    This website is new to me, so I'm sure that I'll open a can of worms here. I really value the experience out there so please be objective. I don't mean to be too technical, so here's my scenario and bear with me.

    Currently I'm split at 70% residential and 30% small commercial and I'd like to reverse that ratio. I own two Exmark 36" / 13hp Kohler Command (belt-drive) Metros with velkes. They are both good mowers and the main reason that I have them is because I bought them slightly used (four months old) and got a really good deal (60% of retail), so I couldn't pass them up.

    Being an engineer by trade, my purchase evaluations tend to be based on technical aspects, but common sense usually rules.

    Here in Baton Rouge Louisiana my observations are as follows:

    SCAG seems to be the primary choice of most professionals.

    Exmark appears to run a close second.

    The Dixie Choppers and the John Deere products come in evenly at third.

    These particular brands are virtually my only choices, because of local dealerships and service reputations.

    I don't believe I need a ZTR that travels at 15 mph, so I have concentrated my research on the 48" & 52" walk-behind models.
    For various reasons, I've been told "GO HYDRO" and forget about the belt drive models. I have not ruled out purchasing a ZTR rider though.

    I hear that the most prefer the Kawasaki engines. They say the Kohler's are fine, but the Kawasakis runs smoother, more quietly, and more economically.

    I've seen pricing information shared over the internet, so for anyone's information, local asking prices of the models that I'm considering are as follows:

    John Deere GS45 (14hp kawasaki / belt-drive / 48" deck) $3,499

    John Deere HD45 (14hp kawasaki / hydro-drive / 48" deck) $4,200

    Scag SW48A (17hp kawasaki / belt drive / 48" Advantage deck) $2,650

    Scag SWZ48A (17hp kawasaki / hydro-drive / 48" Advantage deck) $3,700

    Scag STT52A-23CH (Turf Tiger / 23hp Kohler Command / 52" advantage deck) $7,300

    Dixie Chopper XF2200-50 Flatlander ( 23 cyl. 23hp / 50" deck) $8,500

    Exmark METRO M36 (13hp Kohler Command / belt drive / 36" deck) $1,999

    Exmark Metro M48 (15hp Kohler Command / belt drive / 48" deck) $2,479


    The Scag models seem to be "the most bang for the buck" , and they typically offer more horspower than comparable models. Scag users say "get the ADVANTAGE deck because it performs a much better cut." The John Deere reputation is impeccable but their pricing seems to be somewhat disproportional. I've had no problems with my Exmarks, but there are some noticeable differences in quality.

    I'm surely aware of the fact that everyone here at lawnsite has their own story, I just need a few pointers that will help me determine whether to stick with walk behinds, go ZTR rider, and then to finally narrow down the choices. Price is not my main concern. I just want to make a smart choice.........

    I appreciate any thing that anyone here can share.
    You can post here at lawnsite.com or My email address is JEF_HEB@HOTMAIL.COM

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I think if you go through the search feature and check around, you'll find that the Exmark is the most popular choice throughout. (hence, the fastest growing) If you are looking into ZTRs, the Skag is a well built heavy duty machine, however, as you'll find through the search feature, there is alot of trouble with the hydro motors. There are some threads on here that talk about a disappointing cut quality as well. As far as the Dixie Choppers go, there is much said on the quality of these machines. There is a member who is also a moderator here on Lawnsite, who is very knowledgable and can answer about any question you'd ever want to ask about DCs, his name is Eric (Eric ELM), and you'll get to know him as you spend time here. (He's got a great website of his own you can get to by clicking on his name. Alot of good info!)One main thing to consider wgen making a purchase is dealer support and availability. How is your Exmark dealer? If you've had good service and support from them, well, then you KNOW what the Exmark QUALity is all about. I think I would go with the odds. Try a Lazer for a day, and see what you think. Chances are, this will be the direction you turn. After all, why try to re-invent the wheel? Good luck with it, and welcome to LS.:)
     
  3. HOWARD JONES

    HOWARD JONES LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    "Commercial" to me = big lots (not always true). You already have some good walk-behind units; if you are serious about going for 70% commercial, I think you should add a ZTR - either 52" or 60", depending on the size of commercial properties. At the risk of starting a rumble, I will say you or your employees will not walk as fast as a ZTR all day. Do yourself a favor and at least demo a ZTR - you engineers always like to test things!
     
  4. WOW! it looks as though I am gonna be goin south this winter break! I wish I could get prices like that on mowers up by where I operate. I believe the belt drive scag is somewhere around 3,200 by me, and the other stuff too is lower down there by several hundreds of dollars.
     
  5. captdevo

    captdevo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 932

    Jeff,

    Walker Mowers

    look around, there are alot of Walker Mowers manicuring "Red Stick" too!!!

    I left there with mine 6 years ago, sure do miss the "Sportsmans Paradise"

    "laissez les bon temps rouler"


    Dave

    BTW if you're gonna stick with a w/b, go with a hydro, you'll never be sorry.
     
  6. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    JEF_HEB
    Welcome to Lawnsite.com
    If you go to my website by clicking on the www button below or the animated gif, you will see a link called Lawnsite Links. This is a page of 76 topics that will take you to thousands of posts on these mowers.

    Demoing all of these mowers on your properties, is the best way to figure out what's best for you. What is good for one person might not be good for another, especially in completely different areas of the USA.
     
  7. summitgroundskeeping

    summitgroundskeeping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 410

    Don't rule out Great Dane. If your an engineer like my brother, you'll appreciate them from a mechanical stand point. Their w/b have fixed decks, but I have never had a problem scalping and cut amazing. They are hydro's only. Even if you try to do a 360 at full speed, it's hard to tear up the turf.
    Their Super Sufer is a w/b w/a floating deck and reversed handle bars.
    I run their Scamper w/ the D bar handles like on the Super Sufer and Wright Stander.

    Seriously, check out Great Dane, everyone should, best mowers I ever used.
     
  8. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Demo the Z. Our bodies wear out. Why make yourself older and put more miles on your body than you have to. Not only this, but you will be faster, save on labor, have more fun, and you have the ability to get out after bigger properties.
     

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