Thinking of getting away from our Walkers?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MnLefty, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. MnLefty

    MnLefty LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 367

    Ok guys here's the scoop. I took over a business this year and am in the process of evaluating all methods and equipment. I'm thinking about changing things up a bit on our cleanups.

    We have 3 Walkers in the fleet that are our primary machines for cleanups. We're running Wright Standers and Toro Grandstands as our daily production mowers. We run the Walkers on a few properties that request bagging, but we could easily get by without them through the regular mowing season.

    Fall cleanups are around the corner and the previous owner's method was 1-2x mow/mulch with the standers to reduce leaf volume, then final cleanup with the Walker.

    He was in love with the Walkers, I'm not. I will concede that their bagging seems to be superior, but the machines are quite delicate. We've experienced a number of electrical issues among other things this season.

    I'm starting to think there must be a better alternative. There's a lot of $$$ invested in machines and maintenance that are basically for cleanup only. Selling at least one if not two of the Walkers would provide $$$ that could be better spent on more productive machines for our operation, along with fitting alternative bagging methods onto the stand-ons. I'm curious to hear from others on their bagging methods... I"m wondering how much difference there is between the Walkers, vs. a Trac-Vac, vs. an Accelerator type catcher?

    Would love to hear from others who have experience with multiple methods of bagging!
  2. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Posts: 2,869

    I got away from bagging and sold both Walkers. I went with a couple different accelerator types for bagging. I mulch everything down and just pick up the excess clippings or leaves. The Accelerator are a lot more work if you are picking up much. They fill up faster probably 3 to 1 maybe 4 to 1 difference. I would sell off 2 of the Walkers and keep 1 until you figure out what is best for your operation. I'm thinking about buying a bagging system for 1 of my Exmarks I think they look pretty easy to use. I'm anxious to hear what others are using the most for cleanups too.
  3. MnLefty

    MnLefty LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 367

    This is exactly what I've been thinking. I was just at a dealer open house today and saw an LCO developed collection system that mounts on the back of the Stander. It was a really impressive design. Selling one of my Walkers could pay for two of the systems, and probably a couple accelerator type bags for bagging the handful of properties that we bag year round. The other could pay for another production unit... maybe a 36" stander or grandstand for the handful of properties where the Walker fits in the gate but the 52"s don't.
  4. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,464

    i agree while the walkers are nice as bagging machines they could go.....

    here is what i do for fall clean ups. i come on a weekly basis. first i blow the hardscapes clean and the mulch beds clean into the turf. then i throw the bagger on my toro grandstand and make one pass over all the turfed areas. once the bagger is full it mulches the leaves a little bit. then i empty and make a second pass bagging everything up. depending on how large the property is and how many leaves are actually down on the second pass i may or may not have to empty the bagger. if i do its no more than i would have to in the spring and summer if i were just bagging grass.

    then if anything needs trimmed which it usually doens't in the fall i trim and run the blower one more time and i'm gone.

    i also have my 36" metor fitted with a trac vac system for really heavy stuff. i'll either have a helper run that in the back while i'm in the front or i'll run over everything once with the grandstand like i said above then go back over it with the trac vac.
  5. jeffscap

    jeffscap LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    I guess it's what kind of application your doing. I've been in business for 35yrs running just about all the latest machines. Were into pretty much grooming a lawn, thats why we like the walkers, again they are not fast but they are efficient mowers for residential turf. The mow and go guys like the speed, and big bags with tubes, that plug when wet. If your charging a little, you got to go fast. If your moderate, it seems that you retain your customer base at a reasonable price.
  6. oldclawn

    oldclawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    You either like Walkers or you don't! Period.
    We've used them since '95 and can't imagine not having a couple, but they are not our main machines. We bleed Scag gold but Walkers have served us well and basically have never given us any problems and well worth the money they cost IF you have the proper work for them and the right expectations. Like the torque wrench in your tool box--it's a specialty item--treat it that way and it's well worth it.
  7. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,510

    i'll buy your walkers
  8. MnLefty

    MnLefty LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 367

    How true it is... the guy I bought the business from loved them... I don't. I look at them sitting most of the summer and think that it is a lot of $$$ not being utilized, that could be better spent. For me they are just to expensive to be a specialty item.

    We do need to find the right collection system(s) first, but I will keep you informed when the time comes.
  9. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734


  10. Southern Pride

    Southern Pride LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Memphis
    Posts: 1,382

    The "Walker" style mower is the best bagging system engineered yet. You are sick of the rediculous maintenance ($/time) spent on the yellow machines. If you get time go to the eXmark dealer and take a look at their "Navigator"...Basically exmark took the primal walker design that makes it so good for bagging and improved everything. There is a video on youtube with comparisons of both. Highly suggest you check it out. Maybe sell all 3 walkers, and get a Navigator or two. I'm highly experienced with the Navigator. I can't say enough about it. We used it as a primary mower (backup was a push mower lol) on 75 accounts last season. Never had a problem. Gas, oil, grease typical maintenance. Nothing major. The walker was created centurys ago so most guys are used to them and just stick with them but I swear the Navi is Cadillac, Walker is buick.

    As far as replacing the Walker with anything else than Navigator I would not expect very good vacuum, cut and bag quality.

    Get on youtube, the video was Walker vs. Navigator or something

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