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For the justmowit style companies

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by kc2006, Jan 30, 2006.

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  1. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    For the Justmowit style companies (DFW, PTP, whoever else) have you guys ever considered using mowers like the quick 36 or the 33" billy goat mower? I looked at a billy goat last year and I think it was 1800? Somewhere around there. A commercial 21" is how much 800?

    Have you considered using the little bit larger mowers for more effeciency? Whats keeping you back from using them?
     
  2. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I am selling my Ferris 32 Hydro.

    Large mowers just aren't working out for me. They just weigh too much and they're too powerful.

    In a nutshell:

    With heavier mowers, you end up with more complaints because of ruts, which are actually just crushed stems that won't stand back up.

    You can do a lot more damage with a large walk behind mower than you can with a 21" mower, especially to gas meters and gates.

    A 32" Ferris Hydro costs $2300. The mulching blades are another $150. The foam front tires that won't ever go flat are $100. You also have to put green slime in the back tires. All told, you are close to $2,600 for a single mower. A 21" Honda has everything you need for $999. I assume both will last about the same amount of time if used equally. I'd rather have to replace a $999 mower than $2,600 mower.

    I am not convinced the larger mower saved any time because flipping a U turn at the end of the stripe can't be done nearly as fast as it can with a 21".

    Lastly, a guy is far more likely to come down with a back injury working with a 32" walk behind mower than with a 21". Getting over curbs and things like that, combined with inexperience, can easily result in a guy doing some improper lifting. That is what I did and I had back surgery a little over a year ago. Not saying that caused it, but it probably didn't help matters any.

    If you are running heavier walk behinds, suddenly replacing a worker is a much bigger ordeal than it is if you are running 21" mowers.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  3. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    I think there are benifets to both kinds of mowers: W/B's cover more area in a shorter amount of time. IMO they leave a more professional finish (if ya know how to use them). More durable than any 21"er. Pro's of a 21"er- less $$$, easier to use and thats about all I can think of.:p But whatever gets the job done I guess.
     
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Larger mowers take more expertise, the wider the deck, the more you really have to know what you are doing, even more so if your deck is at least a 4-foot wide, fixed deck.

    On the other hand, I love the power and speed of the 48" fixed deck... The 6-7 mph speed on the straights is aiiiight, but in the turns it will lean on two wheels (and I would guess even flip) if I'm not careful - You just have to watch it, slow down a little into the turns just like racing, you don't go from the straight-away into the turn at full speed, either. For this you need experience because if I hit anything at that speed I am are done for the day, if it doesn't land me in the hospital.

    But that's with the '05, none of my older machines do this, and I learned large deck operation with older machines first, because you hit an obstacle with the '05, and it's all over but for the crying. In a season's use, I hardly got a scratch on the '05, while the older machines are considerably more beat up from my going through the learning curve. I started with 8-year old 52" floating decks incapable of moving much faster than 3-4 mph, even then I was outrunning homeowners but 6-7 mph took time learning, before I got into that kind of speed I upgraded to a 5-year old model capable of 4-5 mph which also had a fixed deck (this involves a considerable learning curve, I would not attempt a fixed deck without the benefit of experience gained from using a float, first).

    This is one reason I keep telling guys to buy a Used Wb, but do they listen? Well, some do... The older machines are slower and far less power is gained from them, this stuff really isn't as easy as it looks. I'm closing in on 3 thousand yards at a rate of 700 yards / year, you really need at least a thousand yards under your belt before I would even consider letting you use my '05 proline, and I'd prefer 2 thousand... If an employee has less than that in experience (and even if they claim to or actually have the experience) they will be using the 8-year old '98 model until I feel they can handle my prized possession. If you have enough machines, you pick and chose who uses what, and only you use the best mower, that is your machine and everyone understands: No sir you don't use that, that is the owner's mower (and of course it's the shiniest toughest looking one makes everyone cream their pants in anticipation of the day when you might lose your mind and let someone else actually run it lol).

    That's how it works, upgrade and update... Don't buy the latest and greatest when you can not use it anyway. If you were to get into racing, would you buy the latest F-1 McLaren or would you settle for a bit of a beater, knowing you won't get first place but also knowing you'll at least finish the race alive.

    Some possibly take my signature a step too far, profit is not just how much money I earn today and by the hour, it is how much money I turn when compared to expenses, and in that sense if I have little to no experience doing something, less initial expense means greater profits in the end as I learn with beaters before I spend the big bucks to buy the ultimate yard machine.
     
  5. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Thanks for the info DFW.

    I was just thinking today about it and the billy goat was extremely easy to use for me, so I thought hmmm a cheapie 33" would have to be more effecient then a 21". I compaired that small mower instead of a 48" mower for the fact that your a high quantity bang em out service and a 48" mower would probably slow you down.
     
  6. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Personally I'd be looking into a 32" or 36" BELT DRIVE. They cost half of what a hydro does, weight about 300lbs less, and you'll still have the benefits of the w/b. I just can't see aguy or myself pushing a 21" lawn mower for 8-10 hours a day when it's 90+ degrees out side.
     
  7. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Thats why you do it the justmowit style and have 15 crews doing it while you sit back and payup
     
  8. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 989

    Specific sites require specific equipment and specific maintenance. Not all turf sites are the same, be it from yard to yard or commercial site to commercial site.
    To address this the company I own/operate has eleven different mowers encompassing the three types of mowers - rotary, reel and flail.
    While evaluating a site for the machine, there are considerations as to which machine, however one aspect that isn't is the potential for operator fatigue.
    I have five full time employees not counting myself and my wife, all are competently trained, and none have been injured while operating.
    Situations as turf compaction, rutting, tire tracking are not problems per Se yet an unrealized opportunity to address what is patently a turf site requiring professional attention. Verticutting, aerification, proper frequency/efficacy of irrigation, topdressing, correct fertilization and so forth will all correct those customer complaints.
    The most cost effective machine on the market for walk behinds are the 36" belt drives. I do not advocate utilizing sulkies do to the potential for accelerated wear to the transmission/belt mechanism.
    Addressing speed vs quality of cut - there is no contest - on a equally accessible terrain, the 36" will out perform the 21" every-time.
    Factors such as blade tip speed, air displacement capacity, area cut, discharge or collection capacity all combine to ensure the professional grade walk behind will out perform the professional grade 21".
    The item you need to monitor is your return on investment vs. the two machines. Existing/forecast capitalization budget will determine which machine will perform better for you.
     
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    On small lawns, averaging 4,000 sq ft of grass, I am not convinced a larger deck size saves any time at all.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  10. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,823

    On 500 to a thousand square foot chicago stamps, a 21- inch mower is just more productive.

    And they are self propelled lol.
     
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