How many only use walkbehinds

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by curry, Sep 21, 2001.

  1. curry

    curry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    I have a homeowner version ztr and realize that it doesnt work good commercially. I have about 25 customers and the yards range from 5000 square feet to 3 acres. I am considering buying a 48" Toro walkbehind and trading in my ztr. I can only buy one mower and really dont want another rider until I can afford a really good one. Im wondering if a 48" will do me as an all around mower until I can get another ZTR. For those large yards I will get a sulky. Most of the LCOs I see around here only use walkbehinds. What do you guys think that only use walkbehinds. I like the look that the walkbehinds leave and very little tracks.
  2. mowahman

    mowahman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 86

    That's all we use, four 48" JD & Exmark, one 36" JD. We also have one Toro Grooundsmaster 72 that gets out of the barn on special occassions. If it can't be done with a WB, we don't do it. We currently maintain 35 residential lawns, (1.5-5.5 ac.), 7 cemeteries, (2.5-25 ac.) a school, an insurance agent's office, and a Hallmark office. Tried the ztr thing, but couldn't get it to be productive enough around/through the cemeteries to make sense buying one. We use the Toro in an expansion area of one cemetery only. Got a great deal on it, came with a 6' mower, cab with heat, lights, wipers, and a 4' snowblower...for 2K. All the WB's are belt drive, 5 speed transmissions. 2 have floating decks and the rest are fixed decks. We also use 1 wheeled sulkies on ALL of them and to this date, no one has complained about the 3rd wheel track. The sulky increased our productivity 50 % compared to walking, not to mention less fatigue and greater morale of the crews.
  3. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,516

    For my first 4 years in business I used a 48 inch walkbehind. The productivity really was made better when I got the sulky for it. I used this on all lawns from 1/2- 2 acre jobs. Last year I purchased a lazer z hp 52 in. You wouldn`t even believe how much more productive and less beat and tired I am with the ztr. Your best bet would be to dump the homeowner ztr and demo the hydro walk behinds and find the one you like best, and get a sulky for it, and see your productivity increase over the ztr that you have now.. Use this until the time that you are ready to move up to a commerecial ztr, and watch the productivity really increase.:D
    I still usethe walkbehind on most jobs, if it is really wet, or this summer, when it was really dry, because of the stress it would have put on the lawns.
  4. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    I have a 48" hydro and a 36" hydro w/b. Both are Exmarks. The 36" is only used as a backup. I have an Exmark sulky on the 48". It works very well. The biggest yard I've ever cut is a little over an acre. I have looked at a new Lazer, but at this time, I can't justify the $8500.00. I had a belt drive w/b at one time, some seem to prefer them but me personally, I would go with a hydro, it's worth the extra money. I am not knocking ztrs, just giving my .02 cents. Probally the best setup would be a ztr and hydro w/b, the best of both worlds. Good luck.
  5. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    I would recommend that you purchase a hydrosytatic unit if its in your budget. If not I would make sure that you obtain a reliable belt drive unit.

    48" units are nice but if you can get your hands on a 52" deck you will be better suited. The extra 4" of cutting width does make a difference in overall production, AND if you buy a 36" later as a secondary unit the blades are interchangable which helps on stocking parts too.

    I prefer NOT to use Zs on my properties and have built my clientele based on this factor. It also helps to get people to part with their wallets a little more because they know that you are not gouging them for a 10 minute job that used to take you 20-25.

    Hope this helps.
  6. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    48" WB only here also. My props are mainly smaller (half acre) so I also cant justify a ZTR's price. I have a couple larger props that I could use a ZTR.

    The advice above is good, demo some wb's, but prepare for another upgrade if needed.
  7. summitgroundskeeping

    summitgroundskeeping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 410

    We only use w/b mowers. I personally love the w/bs more than anything else, just must be weird i guess. Actually might buy another 36" w/b soon or a super sufer. I like your w/b idea, but wouldn't get a toro. I have heard bad things about them from other LCO's and my dealer. Try a Great Dane Scamper (the very best w/bs ever made), scag, or gravely. We run 48" and that seems to be the best width for most medium to larger lawns.

    XOFMOT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    WB's here as well! My customers lawns range from 2000 to 51,000 square feet. I use a 48" fixed deck WB w/velke (single wheel) and some LB's as well. The addition of the VELKE has been unsurpassed! I average a 30% time savings on all my customers properties that I use it on. Looking to pick up a 52" WB this winter as well! I am still tired at the end of the day, but if I wanted to sit down all day, I would have stayed at my desk job! Good luck!
  9. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    A-Mutha-****ing-Men!! :angel:
  10. Esby

    Esby LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 662

    I thought they were the greatest mowers in the world. Well, I was about to buy another Exmark walkbehind this fall, but my dealer got me to try out a Lazer Z. I really didn't want to waste my time with it, but I thought I would try it out anyways (so he'd stop bugging me about it). At the time I wasn't in the mood to spend that kind of $$ either. Lets just say after 4 hours on the machine, I was a "changed man", in terms of mowers anyways. I ended up not getting another walkbehind and got the Lazer Z. Sure it was more than double that of a belt drive, but it was worth it in terms of productivity and comfort. Both types of machines have their place in this field, and everyone has their own opinions on this subject. Lets just say my favorite mower these days isn't the walkbehind, its my new Exmark Lazer Z.:D

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