Conventional Mowers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nika_darb, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. nika_darb

    nika_darb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Does anyone use typical home owner type mowers (Craftsman, MTD, Snapper, etc) on a regular basis?

    I'm not talking about those who cut 50 yards a week but rather those of you who do 10-15 or so.

    I was checking on the ground speed of a few walk behinds and they are very comparible in speed to home owner type mowers.

    I know they're not going to last as long as commercial equipment but it is very hard to justify a $6000 mower for a minimum # of yards and I have had a walk behind and quite honestly do not care for them.

    Also do you feel it presents a less than professional image to use home owner type equipment?

    I personally don't see a problem for two reasons:

    1. Many clients don't regard lco's as professionals anyway

    2. The reason you are there cutting is because they don't want to do it themselves, many wouldn't care if you cut their lawn with scissors as long as it looks good when done

  2. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    For 10 - 15 small residential lawns, I'd recommend a hydro 32". This way you can be assured that you only HAVE to have one mower because there's nowhere a 21" will fit that a 32" won't (from my experience). Whether you can justify the $$ depends on whether you are in it for the long haul or just a Jo tryin' to make a few extra bucks. You mentioned that you don't care for wb's and that the ground speed is similar. I don't know where you're getting your information, and I'm not saying its wrong, but from my experience there is no comparison between a homeowner push mower vs. a wb when it comes to productivity.

    For the record, I'm basing my comparisons on a 1995 Toro Proline 32" belt driven, single blade (bulky), outdated unit with a broken reverse and it still kills any 21" in productivity. PLUS, you can put a Velke on a wb and ride!

    If you still can't justify it, the good thing about push mowers is that they generally leave a good quality cut as compared to a residential riding lawn tractor that don't.

    Hope it helps.

    PS If you're gonna spend it, SPEND IT ON SOMETHING THAT'LL LAST. I promise it is better in the long run!
  3. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    Peccker ( have to intentially mispell his name to get it to show up) is dead on. Try and not go for just the 21" but get something that can grow with you and be used on more then a few yards. Trying to cut expenses and get the most out of the tools we have a very good thing to help the bottom line.

  4. nika_darb

    nika_darb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I didn't make my post clear enough on the mowers I was talking about.

    I was referring to riders. As a matter of fact I didn't/wouldn't even carry a push mower.
  5. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    IF that is what i was going to do and use a lawn tractor then I wouldn't use a MTD or Sears, etc. I would at least get a "commerical" type grade of John Deere or Simplicity, but that will cost you $3-4K to do so you could get a good Wb for that.

    JPLAWNSERVICE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    The thing about most riders is that yes, they may go 5-6 mph, but that doesn't mean that they will cut grass very good at that speed so they generally are no where as efficient as a good walk behind or z. Also the blade speed is usually slower so they don't process grass as well as the commercial decks do so that slows you down also. Very few of your homeowner mowers can cut through thick spring growth without clumping and leaving the yard in a mess. Like mmlawn said, at least get a good quality rider, that will at least last a while and be dependable if you want to go this route.
  7. jlewis

    jlewis LawnSite Member
    Posts: 140

    I agree with JP. I am (now) a homeowner and I ditched my MTD 42" rider for a JD GS45. Why?? Because I can get a better cut faster! That's right, faster. I can cut my 1 acre with little to no edging in half the time walking in 2nd gear than I could riding. Riders no longer make sense to me. You lose way too much time on turns. Did it sting spending 2300 on a mower you bet. Would I do it again? No, I would spend 4000 and get a hydro, ECS or a t-bar and do away with pistol grips!!
  8. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,223

    I use a 1999 John Deere GT-235 with a 54" deck. It leaves a pretty good cut, and has been pretty reliable, recently though, I had to put a new carb on it, because the original got some trash in the body, my dad uses it when I'm in college, it ran fine when I used it.

    I am doing my research now for the late spring and summer mowing season, I want to get another mower (so I don't wear the 235 out), and I'm gonna have to get a beefier trailer, my 5'x8' ain't gonna cut it. I'm strongly considering a Simplicity Legacy XL/54" tractor style, because even though I prefer John Deere, the Simplicites have a good reputation, (I used to have a 1983 Simplicity 4211H Regent), and they are less $$$. I like the tractor style because they are so versatile, I will be offering many services, including mowing, mulching, garden prep, driveway leveling (already have a small box blade for that), storm clean up, and other related services.

    The church I go to was given a Snapper 36" walk behind/12hp Kawasaki, they let it sit in a shed for 5 or 6 years, and I've asked about it, so I believe I'm gonna get that this weekend (church cleanup/cleanout). I'm gonna get it going, use it for a while, sell it to put a good down payment on the Legacy, and start using it. I already have a small pushmower (MTD self propelled 4hp Briggs), and a good trimmer (2 mo. old Stihl FS-80R)

    The quality of cut done by tractor style compared to zero-turn is arguable. Some people swear by tractor style (I'm one of them) , and others swear by the 0-turn.
  9. eshreve1234

    eshreve1234 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 184

    I use the same GT 235 as Smalltimer. Its nice to have cause I can drop it and the wife off at one property while I take the Deere HD 75 to another. Both have there pros and cons. The HD 75 looks more professional in my mind, turns faster, and has killer stirpes. The GT 235 is the utility player, and easier to operate. The aertions I have done with it and a tow behind aerator have paid for the machine, and I also have a tow behind spreader which I don't know how I lived without. One thing that sets the Deere's off a bit from the rest is the strength of the deck and the axles, espically compared to what Lowe's carries. And your Deere dealer can have any part you need in 24 hrs and fix on site, unlike other places. As for 21" I just use a Craftsman, I put maybe 1 hr a week on it and 149 vs 799 just makes sense for that.

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