great walk behinds....

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by bigC, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. bigC

    bigC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Hey gang, first time poster here and am new to the business as well. I have a few small properties that I take care of now with just a small 21" mower. However, next year I have a relative and a few friends from work that want me to take care of their lawns after they get out of their contracts this year. The problem is their lawns average from 4 to 5 acres each. I have about 2k I can put down on a walk behind but there are hundreds to choose from! I'm really concerned with a quality cut from a mower that produces more than 2 plus acres an hour. From your equipment experience is 2k enough for a new mower to do what I want or should I start looking at used equipment?

    My concern is if I need to go used, what brands can I rely on that will be reliable with 1000 or more hours on it. I've spoken with a few estate home owners that mow their own lawns and they suggest the following

    Lazer Z (Exmark)
    Dixie Chopper

    Honestly these guys don't have the walk behinds though, but the zero turn riders, so I'm not sure that these companies also make good walk behinds.
    My biggest concern is just getting a mower that is dependable and cuts a great lawn--name brands don't mean too much to me yet.---I'd prefer to not even spend 2k as long as I thought I could get a good peice of equipment. I'm in no rush to buy but I really want to start keeping an eye out for a great deal if it comes along before next year.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts/suggestions.

    Brow-beating is accepted as long as it's constructive brow-beating :)

  2. 6'7 330

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

    I'm not aware of Kubota or Dixie Chopper manufacturing or distributing a walk behind. The Exmark is a first rate walk behind, excellent cut, and you can get longevity in excess of a 1000 hours.
  3. PerennialSuccess

    PerennialSuccess LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    So far I have really enjoyed my Bunton. It appears that most the people that have one here like their's as well.
  4. stroker51

    stroker51 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 819

    I have 2 John Deere's, love the cut quality, absolutely HATE the pistol grips. My next set, 1 48" and 1 36", are gonna be either Toro, good cut, easy to use t-bar hydro, or hustler, great cut, i guess you could compare their controls to a motorcyle would be the closest thing.
  5. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    Hustler makes the easiest handling walk behind but they stopped making the big ones and for 4-5 acres your going to want something big .like a 60inch or bigger depending on the terrain.
  6. Frosty03

    Frosty03 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    Look at the Exmark Turf Tracer HP line. You can get up to a 52" deck. If you need larger, look at their top of the line Turf Tracer with decks up to 60".

    There are none that leave a better quality of cut. Hydro drive, easy controls, Kawasaki engines, and dependable.
  7. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    For that large of an area you problably want a ZTR.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    On first note in business, don't work for friends, family, or neighbors.

    Yes, I hear say the Hustler's H-bar (or is it Z-bar) is comparable in comfort to the T-bar, so either get a Hustler or a Toro.

    Do NOT BUY A PISTOL GRIP MACHINE!!! All these folks buying the Exmarks and other pistol grip crap have employees and it is their employees who will end up using it so they don't really care if it's comfortable.

    Now, since all you got is 2k, look around for a used mower but keep in mind you want at least a 48" deck and you'll be hard pressed to find a 60" because they apparently stopped making them but if you do find one then by all means get it! I dare say the 60" might get 2 acres / hour, the 48" takes 45-55 minutes depending how old the machine is.
  9. TriCountyLawn

    TriCountyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,517

    Ok, your 2000.00 is a good start but I would keep saving or use that as a down payment on a small personal loan. In terms of what walkbehinds are you going to what, you have a few options.

    Hustler - We use Hustler equipment exclusivley and they make a top of the line machine. For what you have discribed I would recomend a 54" Super Walkbehind. Granted they have just discontinued this mower but its one awsome machine and there still quite available.

    Dixie Chopper makes a "run behind" unit that is the most powerful walkbehind on the market and with the stand on platform it is a VERY comfortable machine to run. They run around 5k new and are very powerfull nice machines. A little on the ugly side but its made to cut grass not look pretty.

    Toro- Toro's T-bar controlls are excilent and you can probaly find a belt drive proline with a 52" deck pretty cheap. Now IMO these walkbehinds scalp real easy with the 52" deck so theres something to think about.

    All the other brands make a decent walkbehind however its there controlls that prevent them from making my list. Pistol grip controlls IMO are outdated and have always killed my hands. The Exmark ESC controlls are in that same catagory we had one and while the cut was great more accidents happend with that mower then anything else. Any walkbeind that you cant run one handed if needed IMO is not safe. Keep that in mind and good luck.
  10. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,196

    dixie used(?) to make one, never saw it in person, but the pics i saw made it look really ungainly, almost like a refrigerator laid on its side. i don't own one, but my uncle raves about his exmark tthp.

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