Big mower vs Small mower

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coonman, May 24, 2002.

  1. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    Just wanting some feedback here. I have been thinking about purchasing a 33-36 inch walk behind, but am just wondering if it would really be worth it in my situation. I have around 25 residential accounts, most smaller lots such as older wood floor houses with small lots (victorian style houses). I can mow, edge and trim and be back in the truck in 30 min or so. I get 25-30 dollars for these lawns. I use a Toro proline 21inch. I fit all my equipment in the truck and do not need a trailer. I have a couple of large accounts that I ride but besides those the rest are 45 min or less. Would the larger mower really buy me much here. I am constantly adding more and more of the these lawns. Two grand for the mower and 500 or so for a trailer, unless I get much larger accounts will it be worth it.

  2. musselman

    musselman LawnSite Senior Member
    from utah
    Posts: 301

    If you keep adding lawns you need the bigger mower...I was at this point once, bought a 32" exmark and cut my time in half and my lawns looked better so I picked up more work...that mower paid for it self in a couple months and I dint have to work any harder...that was about 8 years ago and the mower still runs great and made me lots of money. Ive upgraded to a rider now (walker) but the exmark still gets a regular workout...I own a 21" snapper, but Im not sure why lol. If you plan on being in this buisness for long get a w/b and I rrecommend a Exmark.
  3. ScotLawn

    ScotLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 309

    it all depends on if these lawns have alot of landscaping that you have to go around. sometimes with a 36" it is harder to go around but you are able to go faster and cut a wider path than with a 21". As far as cost effective. 90% of the time i'd say yes a 36" is. now if you do get a 36" do get a sulky to stand on. that will help prod alot on larger yards and even the smaller ones. i am able to do two to three small patio home size lots by my self in one hour with my 48", with two people we can do 4-5 in an hour.

    a walkbehind 36" should be worth it. Just stick with a belt drive at first. I prefer EXMARK.:D
  4. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    It depends on the size of the lawns you cut, the size of the gates on these yards, and the amount of sharp corners and interference. I bought a 36" Exmark to upgrade from my 21" Toro Prolines and found I saved no time on most of my accounts. In fact, after two years of testing both machines (on properties 3000 square foot and less, which is just about all of 'em out here) I can tell you that I can cut most of my accounts quicker with my 21s than with my 36.

    At first, I thought it was a fluke and that I just hadn't gotten my 36" mower down yet, but time corrected that theory. I'm an old pro at the Exmark now, but on most lawns I can still get in and out quicker and more efficiently with my lil' 21" Toro walkbehind (why do y'all insist on calling it a "push mower". I never push it! :D ).

    Again, this comes down to many factors, mostly how big the properties are that you work on. Trust me, measure everything: yards, gates, etc. If it turns out you'll be better off with a big machine, get it. But it just might turn out that there are better ways to increase production...
  5. turfman33

    turfman33 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 226

    I started out with a 21" Craftsman...not even self propelled. Worked out of the van.....I now have a 36" John Deere with the Sulky. I prefur the single wheel Sulky...I feel you get a better turn ratio then the double. Mind you I just see in Turf Mag. that there is a double wheel that are on casters. Anyway, 36" is awesome. I wouldn't do without the 21". In fact I just got a new Hydrowstatic Honda...nice mower. I have some accounts that I cut by hand still, by hand, I mean with the 21".

    Good luck

  6. AielLandscaping

    AielLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 302

    TGCummings what type of exmark did you buy? since i'm in the same boat as you i'm curious. i was debating between a walkbehind and a stander, i tested both and found the stander to be far superior and can't see why anyone would use such a long machine on such tiny lawns... oh by the way the machines i tested was a 36" tthp vs a 36" wright stander ... just seems that the stander is more manuverable to me..and i hope it's enough to make it profitable
  7. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 773

    I have the 36" Exmark TTHP. A great machine (unless you want to start it on a cold morning...) and I love it on larger properties. I've never run a stander...
  8. deason

    deason LawnSite Member
    Posts: 236

    I think that in your situation that a bigger mower purchase would be wise. Here's why-

    Quality - the cut quality a bigger (36" + ) will be noticable. Your grass will be cut to a more uniform height. Also since the blade tip speed is faster on bigger commercial units, the clippings that you disperse will be finer and more un-noticable.

    Productivity - with 25 residentials, you will easily have room in your schedule to take on more work.

    Cost Effective - even though you may spend a little more money on a bigger unit an have to buy a trailer, you will have the available resources to expand without any additional expences. Also with a bigger and faster mower, your operating costs will actually go down due to the fact you are making more money every hour you operate.

    When you make your purchase, think ahead. How much do you want to expand? What type of (new) accounts will you be taking on? Purchase a machine that will fit into your plan. You dont want to have to buy a new machine next year because the one you buy this year you will have quickly outgrown.
  9. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Yep, what he said!!!:)
  10. Mowman

    Mowman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    I myself would go with an Exmark 36" WB. The choice is up to you wheather you chose a Gear-Drive or a Hydro Model. If you are in this for the LONG HAUL and the $$$$$'s are there I'd suggest a Hydro. In the long run I think you will be better off. I think you could get a 36" TTHP for under $4000.00. Then as your business grows you could up grade to a ZTR. Good luck.


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