Commercial vs residential ZTR's

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, May 21, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    THis is my first year and I have very limited financial resources left as I've now got a truck payment, insurance, lowes account, and all my other bills. I only have a 21" now, but would love to have a ztr for my larger home without gates and so forth. I would also like to have one to allow me to get into larger yards that I wouldn't consider with the small 21. How long ( if maintained well ) should I expect a residential ztr to last vs a commercial? I figure if I at least get 2-3 years out of one, that would be more than enough, to allow me the time to afford a better unit. Any of u guys start off with home owner units?
     
  2. Military Lawns

    Military Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 321

    If you are going commercial, use commercial equipment. Taking short cuts will cost you in the short run. Now, you can always source some very good used equipment. There are a lot of good used walk-behinds that are just as capable as ZTR's.

    MLL-
     
  3. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    Where would I find a good used wb? Most of the dealers I've called don't have any. They only have new ones and most are $2,500+. I'm looking for something used for under $1,500.
     
  4. LAZERLAWS

    LAZERLAWS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Try EquipmentTrader.Com
     
  5. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    THere's not many mowers on there and the ones I've seen are in other states. A guy has a late 80's and '93 models of Dixon 42" Z's for $650 and $750. He's done lotta work on them himself over the years and says they should last me 5 years or more. ANd that they have cone engines or something which are easier to work on than the newer hydrostatic drives. He lives about an hour away. Is it worth driving up there to see them? They are homeowner units though and not commercial. He said that to get something like one of those new would be $2500-3000. But that is awful old isn't it? I know virtually nothing about engines/repair. All I know is how to do basic maintanence on a mower. But engine work I'm dumb about.
     
  6. Military Lawns

    Military Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 321

    Try your local mower dealers first. Then perhaps eBay, the PennySaver, local newspaper, friends, relatives, etc. It takes a little patience. So far as the gentleman with the 80's and 90's mowers, stay away from them period. Too old...the guy who wants to sell them probably knows every nook and crack about them, you do not.

    Hope this helps!

    MLL-:usflag:
     
  7. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    Thanks for the advice! I was considering driving like an hour away. I'm glad I didn't waste my time. Yeah, he went on and on talking about all these mechanical parts that he's changed on this one and that one and how it's easier to him to work on them hisself rather than take them in. I listened to him for 45m! I picked his brain a bit since he's been in the biz for years, so it was interesting, but all that mechanical talk was like foreign lang. to me..lol
    So how old should I go back when looking for a ztr or large wb? 1998, 2002?
    Would it be better to buy a 5 year old commercial unit or a brand new homeowner unit for the same price?
     
  8. Military Lawns

    Military Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 321

    Again, if you are going to do commercial, use commerical equipment period. Now, I do have two Ryobi residental straight shaft srting trimmers and I use them both daily. I believe they are the exception to commerical grade equipment, because I have been using them for better than three (3) years. The worst that ever happend, was the cord came out and would not retract. However, I take no exception to the mowers, commerical all the way.

    It is hard to say how far you can go back. I guess it depends on the equipment, your budget and how much you intend on using it. When I decided to get into the business. I did the opposite of what even I would recommend, unless you have a lot of time on your hand.

    Anyhow, back to you. I would recommend talking to some mower dealers as I said before, because they often take trade-ins and have dealt with the LCO before. That way, they can offer some history on the mower and the owner. Gives you the buyer some bonafide information to make what I would call an informed decision.

    MLL-
     
  9. Herrick

    Herrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 506

    Depends on how you treat your equipment and how you maintain it. Homeowner ZTR may last 200-300 hours, or 1000 hours... Commercial.. 2000+
     
  10. bigbone

    bigbone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    If you decide to use residential then all that means is that parts will wear down faster. If a part breaks, get a new one. The mower will last many years you will just need to do more repairs vs a commercial.
     

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