from belt drive to hydro

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by John at JDH Select, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. John at JDH Select

    John at JDH Select LawnSite Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 66

    after using gear drive wb's and ZTR's for years, I finally purchased a hydro WB for this season. I needed something to lay down a good stripe, yet, lighter in weight than a ZTR and faster than a gear drive. I selected a Gravely Pro H, Pro-steer. Things were a bit tough for the first few weeks, but I have finally mastered the controls. This thing has a 17 hp Kaw and a 52" deck. It pulls me around on a sulky (when needed) without hesitation. Keep in mind...I weigh 260. I'm very happy with the hydro route I have taken and watch my two remaining gear drives sit idle.
     
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    when I switched from belt over to hydro (which I do still use belt once in a while) I could not believe the difference as well. Increased productivity, decreased time on properties, lower maintenance, can handle wet and hilly conditions, and could pull my fat bum around easy as well.

    You made a good choice
     
  3. Eric 1

    Eric 1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,220

    You want to sell me your old belt drive.
     
  4. metro-hp_48

    metro-hp_48 LawnSite Senior Member
    from TN
    Posts: 874

    Mine is fixing to be on the "auction block" (After I get it running @ 100%) But already have two buyers lined up. Hydro,.... the only way for me to go.
     
  5. SIRCAESAR

    SIRCAESAR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    Hey guys, when I bought my gear-drive exmark last month i was seriously considering the hydro, but the extra 1,500.00 a month was out of my price range, i kept asking the guys on lawnsite, was it worth it to save up the extra $1500 some said yes some said no, I guess my 2nd mower will be a hydro, I do have to admit I am having fun with the gear drive, but it does scalp the lawn from time to time.. and from what you guys are saying about the hydro, it seems to be worth the price hike..my next questions to you, is i mise well get a small 48" ztr, for that price, whats the real difference between a hydro 48" and a small 48" ZTR?
     
  6. Norm Al

    Norm Al LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,227

    do customers actually care how their lawn is,,,,STRIPED?


    in florida after 23 years of mowing i have never been asked to stripe a lawn!
     
  7. lawnmedic1

    lawnmedic1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    I have never had a customer ask to have their lawns striped, but I have picked up tons of jobs over the years with the customer stating that they love having their yards looking like a ball diamond...Chuck
     
  8. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 976

    One of my customers from last year decided to let another LCO take over his lawn when he couldn't get in touch with me. Unfortunately when he called I was out of town. Now he wants me back because the new guy doesn't stripe. I told him that my prices went up $5/wk, but he thinks it's money well spent and still hired me back. Just because they don't ask for you to stripe their lawn doesn't mean they don't want it done.
     
  9. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Up North where the grass shows the stripes better striping is probably more in demand. I can make a few faint stripes in the St. Augustine here, but all the local LCO's I see are just racing around on Dixie Choppers at 20mph tearing up the scrubby Bahia lawns and nobody seems to care. I see a few St. Aug lawns that look striped, but most don't and still look good. So if they tolerate the high speed mowing I'm watching, discharged clippings, and dust billowing up all over their cars and homes, I doubt they'd care about stripes, either, even if you could put them down here. (not that they're all like that, but I see that happening on some pretty pricey homes)

    I still think pushing stripes as a sales tool is a double edged sword. If you train people to expect it you'd better be prepared to deliver it consistently. Want to expand? Good luck getting your employees to stripe as well as you did. Miss a spot? Oops, gotta go recut the WHOLE stripe. It's hard to explain, but if you've mowed a lot you know what I mean. You have to think mowing patterns through a little more. You sometimes get off line, everybody gets tired or makes a mistake. So then you have to restart a section to get the look right. You sometimes have to double back to catch an odd area you missed on a strange lot, etc. The more pronounced the stripes, the less room for error. And despite the claims of some here, THAT DEGREE OF CARE AND PRECISION TAKES TIME. Stripes? Sure. Super-perfect artifically roller-enhanced ones emphasized to customers as the reason to hire you over others? Not so sure.
     
  10. lawnmedic1

    lawnmedic1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    There are scrubs in my area that just fly around tearing up turf, but I charge double their hourly rate and have plenty of business.
    As far as striping ability, my crews due a better job than me, and my 12 year old daughter picked it up her first first time mowing with the Z....Chuck
     

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