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Question ZTR or WALKER

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by zima, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. zima

    zima LawnSite Member
    Posts: 192

    I have been doing this for 3 years now as a part time,next year i am going full time,can't decide for a Ztr. or a Walker 26 hp i am a solo operator have 25 residencials,i have turn down jobs reason no time at all,i do 1 or 2 yards after work during the week rest on fri and sat, wife help me sometimes i also do irrigation repair work, done installs 5 years,so my question is what do you guys think be the best bet.This is my current equipment:

    94 gmc truck redmax edger
    6x12 open trailer 2 ebz8000 blowers
    Bob cat 48 wb 1 ebz 4800 blower
    Snapper 36 wb etc,etc,.
    Troy built 33 mulcher
    Toro 21 comercial 5.5 hp
    sthil weedeater fs 130 THANKS FOR INPUT.
  2. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,028

    Depends on your budget i suppose. A walker brand mower is very expensive and you might need a few "big time" accounts to justify the expense. I have a 50" Dixie Chopper for big lawns. Around here most of the lawn crews use only 21" toro's, but may have a crew of 4 men on a single lawn at once. In fact, we do around 160 lawns a week in the peak season and only use the Dixie on a few lawns.

    But if your solo, you might get sick of a small mower all day every day. Maybe look for a walk behind around a 36" or 48". I like Toro, but there are lots to choose from.

    Good luck
  3. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    wow, you have just opened up pandora's box......

    I have used walkers, Exmarks, and scags.... I like Exmark more than scag, but both cut very good. the walker, albiet slower has its advantige of built-in vaccum system. but is long length takes up a fair amounts of space on the trailer....but it cuts very well.

    Changing blades on the walker withthe flip up deck is easy, but engine maintenance is not the easiest, but your ZTRs its just the opposite, blade changes are more difficult and engine maintenace is easy.

    I used walkers then went to exmark. I could go either way...on smaller residential, but on full on comercial Id go with ZTR...
  4. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,940


    One question.....

    Do you currently BAG all your accounts?
  5. Future LCO

    Future LCO LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    Two things need to be looked at here. How you care for the lawns and The design of the lawns. First off, As mentioned before do you bag the lawns or side discharge? And if you side discharge do you ever need to bag them?
    If you side discharge this doesn't neccesarily count the walker. When most people think of a Walker they thing of bagger. Their 48" side discharge decks are very good and you can get Walkers without the bagger on top of it. There is also the option of getting a bagger walker with the bagging deck but also having the side discharge deck for slow growing months or times when you dont need to bag. Now, if the yards are all wide open or are fenced with double gates to get in then you can go either way. Most people would assume to put hte biggest mower on a property that you can but you have to look at the average of your lawns. If you mow 20 yards a week and say 5 or 8 of them have a smaller gate that only a 48" deck or so will get into then it may be worth it to go for the walker.

    Dont forget that you can get ZTR's that have smaller decks around 48" or 52" as well for lawns if you have gates to go through.

    Another thing about the Walker is that they really aren't all that much longer than a ZTR only a foot or so. Now that can count a lot of trailer space but if you flip up the deck on the trailer and they're instantly smaller and more compact then a ZTR. All i have used with walkers are the 20hp models and i can vouch that 20hp is all the power you need on walkers. If you get into heavy thick grass that cutting hp is a problem you shouldnt be mowing it with a walker anyway because the decks clog more easily in thick, tall grass.

    The way i look at it is if i mow a lawn that the people like the look of a bagged yard then i'll just mow it with a side discharge as long as it doesn't look like it did not bag it. Now if they want it bagged i can always pull out my push mower and charge extra.

    My solution to your problem if it were my own were to get a 36-42" Walk-behind to fit in the gated back yards if necessary. and then get a 54-60" ZTR for larger lawns that can take the extra weight.

    Sorry about the length but like it was said, you opened up the box.
  6. zima

    zima LawnSite Member
    Posts: 192

    First thank you guys for input, it really will help me, yes there is to many factors to take in consideration, i will study my current clients propetys one by one, also i will explore the market areas i want to expand my bus considering time,type of lawns that are there on each route of the wk, so that i can save $. All this replys help to open mi mind an consider some points of view of others, thank you so much .
  7. crzymow

    crzymow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 378

    I am in the proccess of deciding if i want a walker mower or not. I have about 8 lawns that range from 12,000-30,000 sq ft and certain times of the year definitly need bagged. right now i have a couple 36" walk behinds that we use on our smaller lawns up to the bigger ones, but that a lot of walkin and dumping of grass. I also have a 60" Dixie Chopper that we use on a very large comercial account and one of our large residential lawns, works great, but like i said some of them need bagged. I'm pretty mechanical, so i am looking for a used walker mower for next season

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