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How big is too big?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by liquidforcedude7, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. liquidforcedude7

    liquidforcedude7 LawnSite Senior Member
    from america
    Posts: 285

    Hey guys I was starting to think the other day as I started to look at ztrs, How big is too big or too overkill. Like my neighboor cuts his 2.5 acre yard with a push mower because he like the way it looks. It takes him several hours but he says he doesnt like it when LOCs "come in with their big equipment and are gone in a half an hour." Theres like a 30% that I might be picking up a 12-14 acre account next summer and if next summer like 80% chance the next, but its not all just wide open mowing like 40% of it is somewhat tightand would be dificult on a big ztr. It will pay enough that I can afford to buy a big ZTR and leave it down there and only use it at that account, and I could stil make decent money after the purchase. But Ive got 2 commercials as of now, One is soo tight I have to use a 21 on the whole thing but it doesnt take too long so idc. And the other is like 2.5 acres and could use a decent sized ztr. I have Like 5 residentials but have spoken to several more that have somewhat comited to me for next year. These yards arent that big, I could maybe get 3 passes in with a 60", But would yall get a big mower and use it on small yards even though that would be bulky and over kill or do you buy all sized mowers to fit the yards.
  2. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    It's all what you can use in your area... ANd how much money you can invest in equipment... It's much more practical to have ONE machine that's "in the middle" than to have to own one small, one medium and one large (say a 36" a 52" and a 72"+) Suuuuuuure it's MORE FUN to have more equipment but is it practial? Remember too that 52" machines weigh around 1,200 pounds, 60" machines are around 1,800! That's a whole lotta weight! On large acreages it's not noticable, but squeeze that on a smaller lawn for a few weeks and that weight of the larger can really wear the turf (turning ect.)

    Me, for instance... I use a 50" ZTR 90% of the time. I can get it on just about every property, large and small. Sure the big ones it would be "cool" to have a 60" machine with more Hp. and a larger catcher, but it would have to sit on the trailer collecting dust when I couldn't use it. Iv'e tried the smaller and more compact Walker. 48" cut, pretty close to what I had, did a nice job for my smaller props. but when it came to anything over 5K or so I was spending waaaay too much time to do the same job I was doing before with my 50" and it looked fine both ways. I switched back to the 50" and sold the Walker...

    Using ONE mower to do an entire property from start to finish is where it's at if you are SOLO. It just takes longer to go back and forth switching from a small Z to the large one, since the large one can't do the tight stuff and the small one takes too long to do the big stuff... Jockying them around on the trailer, and so on...

    All this being said... I am kicking myslef for selling the Walker... Now I want another one, but with a 42" deck. I know a guy that has one and a 21" and rarely even has to use the 21" because he can squeeze about anywhere. For the 2 thousand dollar BEATING I took to sell it I could have bought the 42" deck easily, sold the 48" and even bought another deck (like a 52" or a 42" mulcher) and came out even.... grrrrrrrrrr! Ok, just venting... lol.
  3. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    I sold my 717 with the 48" deck and I wish everyday I had kept it over my 60 The 48 would cut anything I had from 4 acres to 1/10 of an acre and fit anywhere. The 60 has actually taken me longer on several yards. Big is not always better. Now if you are cutting all wide open properties then a 60 or 72 is fine. Like the above poster said, an "in between" is the best bet.
  4. Cooper725

    Cooper725 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    With the accounts that I have (a mixture of medium residental 1.5 acres to commercial 8.5 acres) I have a 61' ferris ztr and a 54' simplicity, I love using the ZTR but I cant use it on all my lawns while I can with the 54'. If I were you I would go for something in the range of a 50' or a 54', not to big and not to small. $$ comes into play too, my 54' was about $4,800 and The Ferris was about $8,000, so like the pros said above, bigger isnt always better.
  5. liquidforcedude7

    liquidforcedude7 LawnSite Senior Member
    from america
    Posts: 285

    Yeah I dont want to get a 52" and then be cutting wide open for hours on end but I dont want anything bigger that Ill need another for my residentials. I think im underestimating 52"s though, I have to keep reminding myself that its a whole foot wider than my tractor. I know dealer Location is a huge part of what mower you buy But would yall go across town to another dealer of the same brand just so you didnt have to deal witht the one 2 minutes from your house ??? srry double question. Ive got a toro dealer like walking distance from my house but the guy is and ass hole to you if you dont show up in an f-350 with a huge enclosed trailer. How long are you usually in contact with your dealers is it just a come in and buy thing and thats that or do u have to take it to them to get it serviced and everything?
  6. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    My JD dealer is 38 miles away. We also have a toro dealer that is a first class SOB. I would not buy a toro from him if he was a grand cheaper than anyone else in my area and I like toro,s. SO yes I would drive across town to get friendly, good service. Also I think you would be pleased with a 52", should fit MOST places, or would for me.
  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    this is exactly why i got the 48 inch toro 450 z, its small framed, but fast and leaves a great cut. Lots of old people in this area complain about the big commercial units on there lawns, i got a few accouts because i started with a lawn tractor and they where more comfortable with it, the guy with the z tore up the ground around all the mature trees, all over town... operator erroer....i still do some of there lawns with the lawn tractor, and do the rest with the toro z, , keeps the referals coming in....
  8. logan

    logan LawnSite Senior Member
    from FL
    Posts: 315

    In my area, most companies use a 52 on residentials. Some use a 60 inch without much problem. We are flatlanders though and don't have many hills on obstacles that are going to be too much for a 60 inch. That's why I just got one.
  9. ToroLandscaper

    ToroLandscaper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177

    I personally think 52" is just about the best......great for tighter areas and quite good for wide open areas...What brand of mowers are you lookin into......one more thing go with the BIGGEST ENGINE OPTION......For enstance if you get a 52" from toro go with the 27 Hp they also came out with a diesel 23Hp but i would almost rather have a 27Hp and especially for the price diffenence
  10. liquidforcedude7

    liquidforcedude7 LawnSite Senior Member
    from america
    Posts: 285

    Were looking at Hustlers mini z 52" and Toros 450 and 500.

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