I need to purchase a mower to fit my needs?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by TBelt024, May 13, 2013.

  1. TBelt024

    TBelt024 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I am currently looking to start my own small lawn service here and I want to keep it small. I work full time at a local Fire Department and I will be doing lawns as a side job. I have about 10 commited clients which are mostly family and freinds. Some have fences and some dont. I am looking to establish no more than 20 accounts because I want to keep this residental and part time. I know I need to buy commercial reputable trimmer, hedger, blower, and edger products. What I dont know is what size of a mower should I purchase. Since I want to keep this just for me should I purchase something on the small side 32-36 so I can fit through the gates or should I purchase sometihng bigger 48-60 and then push mow the back yards? I am not looking for what brand is better than the other because I know everyone has a personal preference but what I am looking for is what size will suit my needs for efficiency.
     
  2. Paul's Green Thumb

    Paul's Green Thumb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 130

    I just started out as a part-time service this year, and have targeted residential as well. I bought a 36" Scag V-Ride, and couldn't be happier with it. I have gotten great results on several residential lawns, some gated, and have even used it to service a 1-acre property where the first mow was 6"-8" tall ...and it ate it right up. Tons of power, compact, great cut and striping. Expensive, tho- and hills do take practice but are quite doable once you get the hang.

    Depends on your budget, but I do love my V-Ride :)


    Here's some small stripes in my own back yard. Yesterday was a good day for a fire!


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  3. johnjw77

    johnjw77 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I just started part time as well and I bought a 36" walk behind used with a sulky for $800. Most will tell you it depends on the size of these accounts you will have. Most of the yards around me are 1/8-1/2 acre and honestly the 36" whips through them pretty fast. I only have one account at the moment but do my families yards for practice. I would love to have a 48"-52" ztr or stander but I honestly don't think I NEED one.

    I will say buy a hydro if you have the coin. I opted for the belt because it saved me about $1600 from the closest used hydro I was looking at, but man this thing wears me out after a long hard day.
     
  4. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    There is no best size mower. If there was then only one size mower would be made.

    21" SP for the tight spots. Not worth trying to use a line trimmer and scalping the customer's lawn. Tiny gates and tiny back yards.

    36" WP for the small gates. A WB also for the hills. Do not want to be sitting or standing on a slope when the mower wants to roll over onto you. WB wants to roll let go of the handles.

    48" Because it will fit most places on .25 and .5 acre lawns, get through the newer larger gates and not ideal but you can do a few of the 1 + acre lawns in a reasonable time. Also when starting out it lowers start up costs by not buying a 60".
     
  5. posty2100

    posty2100 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 11

    You are really the only one that can determine which size will work best for you. It depends on how many gates you have to go through. Out of the 10 clients you have, if only 1 or 2 yards have gates then buy a 48" mower and 21" push mower for gated back yards. If you have 6-8 yards with gates your better off with a 36" mower as your primary mower.

    I would say start with a 48" Walk Behind and a 21" push mower if you can. With that setup you could do any lawn 1 acre and under efficiently. If your looking to spend more money buy a 48" zero turn or stander instead of the walk behind.
     
  6. TBelt024

    TBelt024 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Well the I have with out a doubt 7 yards now and 6 have gates. I live in the Orlando area in a middle class area and all of the yards are 1/4-1/2 acre tops and flat as flat can be. Hills and muddy yards pretty much dont exist around here. Hell some people park in their yards on their lawns. Its all pretty much sand and st.augustine. I have narrowed it down to the small Gravely 36" and the SnapperPro 36" both ztr's. Any thoughts on those two.
     
  7. Nate'sLawnCare

    Nate'sLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,001

    If a 36 walk behind or ztr will fit through all the gates on your accounts, then that would be your best bet. Using a 21 in even smaller back yards is way less efficient than the 36, and the 36 can also do larger properties if you need to in a pinch. I'm not familiar with the Gravely 36, but I know the Snapper Pro models are a lot of bang for your buck. Do you know how they compare in price?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  8. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 732

    I've never found a gate yet that my 32" won't fit through with room to spare. And if you don't plan on mowing more than 20 residential lots that should work fine for you. If you get a 36" it should work for most and you can use your smaller push mower for the rest. Good luck!
     
  9. TBelt024

    TBelt024 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Alright folks I have officially narrowed it down to these two mowers. The 36" Hustler Fastrak ZTR or the 36" Wright Velke GD WB. There is a 2k difference. I dont ever plan to run commerical accts and all of the residential homes here in FL have pretty small yards. My concerns are that there are some decent hills in my area 25% grades or less, will the Wright WB be able to handle towing my big A$$ around up and down in wet dewy grass? I weigh about 230lbs. I feel like if I purchase the WB I will eventually want a rider cause it is hot as hell in FL. My other concern is that I dont want to spend the extra cash on a ZTR if its not really needed to mow mostly level small yards and only take in 15 to 20 residential accts wkly. I have chosen these two mowers because they are both sold at the same dealership and I got a good vibe from the dude that works there and his prices beat everyone else around here. I checked about 5 dealerships in my area.
     
  10. SSLCLLC

    SSLCLLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    I would go with a 36" stander (way more efficient than a WB) and a 21" if I was you. You would not be disappointed.
     

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