Pros and Cons of ZTR's

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Poor College Kid Mowing, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. Poor College Kid Mowing

    Poor College Kid Mowing LawnSite Member
    from NE
    Posts: 6

    Hey, I know you guys prefer professionals, but I run a little deal of some us college kids that mow to help pay for school. I plan on running this for many years and building it up since it has worked well for me. My question is I'm we're looking at getting a ZTR and I was wondering what some of the pros and cons are of the units out there. Most brands are available in my area and I'm just wondering what things are good to look for and what items don't seem to work so well. (i.e. areas brands excell at and areas they need a lot of help). Thanks Guys apperciate the advice.
     
  2. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,000

    I went from a 48" walk behind to a 60" Cub Tank... Doubled my productivity on every yard. I suggest getting a ZTR.
     
  3. Mr Priceless

    Mr Priceless LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 412

    Well, I'm not too big on detailed comparisions/pros/cons of ZTRS, but in a nutshell:

    Brands to Look For:
    Exmark
    Scag
    Ferris
    Toro
    Everride
    Hustler
    John Deere
    Gravely
    Walker
    Great Dane
    (I'm sure I'm forgetting a few other exceptional Brand Names)

    If you mow postage stamp-sized to 1/2 acre lots for the majority, get a compact ZTR (48" and below) with short wheel base. If the majority of your yards are above 1/2 acreage, go for options with 52" decks and wider.

    Hmm...there are a LOT of factors to consider when you're purchasing a ztr...
    like how much power you're looking for, gasoline efficiency, cut quality, dependability, price of replacement parts on said brand name, ease of maintenence, price, etc, etc.

    Just take all things into consideration, do a seach on all brand names mentioned in this thread and other posts around the site to form a conclusion as to what you want to look for when you purchase that ztr.

    Just a few people you might want to discuss with on this is Envy, Restrob, Puppypaws, and a few others with technical knowledge on this subject.
     
  4. Mr Priceless

    Mr Priceless LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 412

    ...oh, and of course whatever you will get the best Dealer service/support on when you buy that brand. Make sure your dealer keeps parts stocked on the brand you buy.
     
  5. Quiky One

    Quiky One LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    I run a Hustler Fastrak and love it. I have the Honda powered version and it never bogs down cutting well manicured lawns. I have never cut 10" tall with it yet though. I recommend going to the different dealers and looking at them all. The more you look at, the better idea you will get of quality and options you will like/need.
     
  6. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,930

    If trailer space is an issue...a "stander" style ztr is nice.. Also they are great on hills and on small qtr acre yards.
     
  7. MTR999

    MTR999 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 145

    48", 52" and 60" are the most popular deck if you want Z. They knock down lawns like no sweat, try doing those with wb and you will see the HUGE diff.
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Pros:
    - They're a lot of fun to ride and they do knock down acreage in short order.
    - Tall grass is no problem, most have on-the-fly deck height adjustment.
    - Considerably less maintenance than a Wb, the intervals are spaced further apart, sealed bearings, etc...
    - Tons of power, enough to move (tow or pull) cars.
    - Great straight-line speed.
    - 10-12 gallon fuel tanks ensure you mow all day without refueling.
    - Great status symbol, looks nice sitting around doing nothing, which is what it does most of the time.

    The cons:
    - You NEED acre+ lots to justify the purchase!!! READ: BIG LOTS, a lot of them!
    > If you do not have a good dozen acre+ lots on the schedule, your finances will suffer!
    - They eat a ton of fuel (2 gallons / hour) and cost at least 2x more / hour than a Wb, loaded on the trailer they eat truck mpg as well.
    > Are ineffective, cost-wise, on lots smaller than an acre.
    - They're too heavy to push by yourself, if you get stuck, you're ...'d
    - Parts are expensive, one rear tire for mine is $80 + labor.
    - If you 'touch' something with it, it's damaged (whatever it is, whether it's the side of a house or a a/c unit, you touch it = you fix it).
    - Can't be taken on really steep hills, if it flips, you die.
    - They're no good in the turns, small lots eat up time turning the machine.

    Why don't you consider a Toro 44" Wb with a velke?
    Lots cheaper, same amount of work.
     
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,783

    Cons:
    -Weight 1200 pounds or more
    -Fuel consumption
    -I have never used a ZTR but I can promise I can get closer to houses and in tighter spaces with my walk-behind...and at 40" I can fit through most gates.
    -Bagging system is very expensive.
    -Some tend to be underpowered for the size of the machine and the weight they have to carry.
    -Hard to pickup garbage or rocks...have to get off machine.

    Pros:
    Large areas can be cut fast
    No walking



    My neighbor (Part time lawn care) does some lawn service and he uses a 60" Toro ZTR and I am yet to be impressed with the cut it makes...he also has customers that tell him they don't want that heavy machine on his lawn. He has a lot of smaller properties and I really don't see why he purchased it other then he doesn't feel like walking. He also has a few houses that his unit will not fit through gates. My neighbor also had to go out and buy a medium sized mower so that he could get through gates and use on lawns in which customer didnt want a ZTR on. So essentually I can do the same amout of work at a better quality and I have one 40" WB, a 26" WB, and a 21" WB. I also do not have the large payments on equipment as he does.

    I got laughed at because I spent $5800 on my Toro walk behind because I could have gotten a ZTR for less...and now that I have learned how to cut with it I cannot say anything bad about the cut...in fact my neighbor and my father said it makes the lawn look the best it has all year.

    People ask me why would you walk if you didn't have too...one reason is that I am young (33) I have a bit of a gut and I need to get rid of it. Would I want to walk all day everyday...probably not...for those days I have my Velke Sulky.

    My deciding factor on ZTR/Walk-Behind was quality of cut and ease of maneuverability.
     
  10. SimonCX

    SimonCX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 731

    The cons:
    - You NEED acre+ lots to justify the purchase!!! READ: BIG LOTS, a lot of them!

    Not true I take my 52" on 50X100 lots as long as it fit through a gate it goes in.

    > If you do not have a good dozen acre+ lots on the schedule, your finances will suffer!

    Also not true one 4 acre jobs will make enough to pay the payments.

    - They eat a ton of fuel (2 gallons / hour) and cost at least 2x more / hour than a Wb, loaded on the trailer they eat truck mpg as well.

    Maybe the truck will suffer if your using an s-10 or ranger, a full size truck won't feel the difference


    > Are ineffective, cost-wise, on lots smaller than an acre.

    Definitly not true.


    - Parts are expensive, one rear tire for mine is $80 + labor.

    Parts for a hydro wb are about the same.

    - If you 'touch' something with it, it's damaged (whatever it is, whether it's the side of a house or a a/c unit, you touch it = you fix it).

    So don't hit a/c units, if you know how to use it you don't have to worry about it.



    - They're no good in the turns, small lots eat up time turning the machine.

    Also not true



    Why don't you consider a Toro 44" Wb with a velke?
    Lots cheaper, same amount of work.[/QUOTE]


    Have you ever used a rider, because it sounds like you haven't. A toro 48" rider will get jobs done faster then a 48' wb anyday. It's faster in almost anything and you don't get as beat up. I thought the same way when I started now I use my riders on about 80% of my properties and about 30% more work can be done in a day. Personally I don't know how some guys only use wb's, maybe if you only have tiny lots. If a 48" will fit then almost 100% of time a 48" or 52" rider will fit and get the job done as fast or faster.
     

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