Cost of running a ZTR

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tacoma200, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    I have read some studies that tried to determine how much it cost to run a typical ZTR per HR. What have you found are your direct cost to run a ZTR and further have you figured indirect cost such as transportation, insurance, advertising, interest, labor.

    Example of direct cost just to get the ball rolling:

    Typical ZTR $7,500 typical lifespan 2,500 hrs. Fuel 2 gallon hr @$3.50
    Just an example I know there are large differences in machines.

    Cost of machine $3.00 pr hr
    Cost of fuel $7.00pr hr
    Maintenance ?
    Repair ?
    Labor ?

    As you can see we are up to $10,00 per hr before we even figure in maintenance or repair. I read about a LCO than ran a Walker fleet and he ended up calculating direct cost of about $12.00 per hr. What are your views and have you ever taken the time to figure out how much just this one aspect of your business cost. I am guessing my cost are closer to $15.00 per hour (direct cost) with larger machines but I may be way off. I'm just kind of doing all this in my head so if I got something wrong I appoligize.
  2. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    I have everything broken down for my business. Mowers (with and without vac), trimmer, blower, edger, truck. Then I've also done all the indirects, advertising, insurances, invoices, office supplies, maintenance items (as best I can).

    Direct cost of my z without the vac is right under 7.70 an hour. Fuel useage is great on mine, so that really helps, it will use anywhere from .6-.9 gallons per hour. .6 was in the fall when there was alot of idle time dumping bags, but worst Ive ever gotten was .9. But that includes, all maintenance items, plus a % that I determined and increase every year for "unscheduled maintenance", AKA break downs. The other thing I did different was figured the mower life at 3,000 hours. I also figured that the trade in value will cover if the unscheduled maintenance % is too low over the life of the mower. In other words, if my predicted maintenance cost is $3000 for the life of the mower, and it really turns out to be $5000, when I trade the mower in, the $2000 will be made back on the sale. Hopefully that makes sense?

    My blower costs under $3 an hour to run and the trimmer is right around $2. I'm working on updating the truck cost and general labor cost. I need to get a better estimate on fuel useage for the truck, I have it close but I want it as close as possible. As for the labor rate (this is just to be out working, no tools involved) I have to add a few things, but right now it's only $3 something an hour, I think it will jump to close to $5 after I add some things and update some costs. But, that labor rate is in a perfect world of 50hour work weeks, 35 weeks of the year, and being that I don't have that much work, that means its higher. Trying to figure a better way of that out too.
  3. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 613

    Kurt do you have spreadsheets of these costs that you use. I am going to work really hard on establishing this type of spreadsheet for my equipment. Of course its nearly impossible ot keep track of the little stuff like trimmers, hedgetrimmers, backpack blowers, mostly because thye have no hour meters and its nearly impossible to guess how much those are used each year, and each year is different.

    I am thinking about having a per person fee, plus per piece of equipment price added together for each job.

    Id be very interested in seeing this stuff on paper for comparison, let me know if I could get your #'s on paper.
  4. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    To be honest, I just used microsoft word and made "tables" ( I love making spreadsheet tables on word). After I finish re-doing them I can email you them.

    As for small equipment, just time it. A great time to time yourself with the blower is in the fall. Odds are your running full throttle nonstop. Thats what I did, did it at a few different jobs, just timed how long it took to run the tank dry (sadly it didnt take long for my echo's). Then I figured how much it takes to fill a 2.5 gallon fuel can (don't forget mix oil per can), then split it up to how many hours that will last.

    I roughed it with the trimmer, timed myself for trimming a whole day at different accounts and saw how long it took to go empty. I figured it's pretty close to how much per hour it uses even though it wasn't straight WOT the whole time.
  5. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    Very informative, I forgot to consider the trade in value and your fuel efficiency is remarkable .:)
  6. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Gotta love the EFI.

    Since we're on the subject, and hopefully you don't mind tacoma, but does anyone know of a good way to figure out fuel consumption of a truck in a hourly rate? I was going to make a post about it the other day but hey we're talkin about this stuff now.

    Tacoma, didn't you have a hustler? Did you get rid of it?
  7. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    If you want to figure out the fuel consumption of a truck go and fill up your tank to the top. Drive your truck around for an hour making sure to drive in similar areas to where you would be working (mostly city type driving with some high-way type). Then about the time the hour is up go back to the gas station and fill up your truck again. The amount of fuel you put in is the amount of fuel you use in 1 hour. Thats the only way to do it really without having any expensive systems.
  8. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    Yes I had a Super Z for a few month's. Loved the ride, handling, customer support. It was when they first came out with the XR7 deck. This deck was kind of radical compared to other decks with a more open design and they removed the triangle's as they were called to keep grass from building up. It was fast and it done well on some lawns but I had a lot of stragglers I call them compared to my Lazer. The higher I cut the more I had. About that time we had a crabgrass outbreak and the Hustler just didn't have the lift to cut the difficult turf while the Exmark never had the problem. The company was great working with me and others with similar problems. They provides kits to put the triangles back and air mailed me a lift kit to help with the lift problems I was having. Every fix seemed to cause more problems and I finally gave up. They bought the Super Z back at full price. The XR7 just wasn't a good match for our turf. To be fair Exmark's new Triton deck which came out about the same time had issues of it's own. I had a chance to study the Hustler side by side with the Emark for some time, took pictures of the cut on the same lot's at the same time so it was a learning experience. I've had the privilege of owning several brands and keep a close eye on other LCO's so I have a good feel of which brands will preform in certain conditions. I believe the feedback from many of the members of lawnsite were very helpful for Exmark and Hustler when they introduced the new decks and I was able to speak with several representatives of the company's over the phone and at the expo's that explained many issues of the decks and how they planned on resolving the problems.
  9. doubleedge

    doubleedge LawnSite Senior Member
    from ND
    Posts: 912

    To find your hourly gas useage:

    1. Fill your tank.
    2. When you start your engine, turn on a stop-watch. Make sure to do this every time you turn on our engine and stop every time you shut it off.
    3. Fill your tank. Take note of how much gas is used.
    4. Divide the gallons by the time.

    Proportion Used:
  10. doubleedge

    doubleedge LawnSite Senior Member
    from ND
    Posts: 912

    Dont have to waste gas my way and it is more accurate. \:weightlifter:

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