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WB or rider?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lost mountain, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. lost mountain

    lost mountain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    I have searched past threads on mower preferences and after reading a lot I still want to get advice.

    Some background 1st : For our first 2 years we've done about 70% installation work but our maintenance business is growing albeit slowly. We should be at 50 accounts by early next summer and this may sound low but these are full maintenance residential accounts (+2 commercial) that I try to chose carefully (clients interested in pro quality, extras and a longterm relationship). We have been using 2 older 36" mowers (Exmark and Ransomes). Turf = 90% Bermuda, 4% Zoysia (Meyer and Emerald) and 6% Fescue. Accounts are up to 20k sq. ft. We run a 3 man maintenance crew. Now the question: If I spend around $10,000 this winter on mower(s) what would YOU buy for our situation? I'm currently debating between 1 Walker 48" or two 48" walkbehinds (Exmark) with velke's. The quality of cut is very important. Any advice is much appreciated!
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Both brand are noted for their cut quality. So I think you have the brands nailed down pretty well. But if I were in your shoes I would have to ask myself a few questions....

    1 - Do I want to sit or stand?
    2 - Will I be collecting/catching alot?
    3 - If I want to sit would I rather sit on an Exmark sulky or a rider?
    4 - Sitting or catching would I rather have the productivity of a mid-mount Z over Walker?

    After thinking of those 4 things you should also think about how much more productivity you can get out of 2 Exmark WB's v/s 1 walker or 1 Lazer Z for the money.

    If you can ride the Exmark sulky or a stand up like the bullrider and you don't collect much, go for the 2 Exmark WB's.
  3. lost mountain

    lost mountain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Thanks ELS...you remind me that there are 2 things I left out above: 1) we do need to mulch and 2) a sulky seems a bit cumbersome on these types of accounts - 1/2 acre and 3/4 acre properties or maybe not? A Velke I can see (even though we do have to stand up) and that may not be used all of the time

    Also, I have gathered that midmounts do not offer the cut quality that we need for well manicured lawns. Otherwise the pricing is great on those.
  4. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,381

    Also keep in mind the terrain that you will be mowing. If you have a lot of steep slopes to mow you will want a good walk behind since they handle slopes very well where a Z is limited to about 15 degrees of slope before becoming dangerous. A good hydro walk behind in the arsenal is priceless.
  5. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Just a thought...
    New eXmark TTHP hydro 48" 17hp w/b with Micro Mulch kit and ProSlide retracting, sliding sulky (walk when needed just step off) AND a USED Walker... then you have the best of both worlds... just a thought.
  6. lost mountain

    lost mountain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Re: the used Walker:

    One thing to consider here is the tax exemption offered (since 9/11) on new equipment purchases. I'm not an accountant but I believe it is 100% deductable IF it's a brand new equipment.
  7. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    well I was trying to get both toys into one budget ;)
  8. lawn perfection

    lawn perfection LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    If all the properties are 1/2 or less I would go with 2 exmark wb. Then move up to a z after a year or so. The wb are more versital.
  9. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,280

    Lostmountain, you need a ZTR. period, if you will be handling about 50 accounts by next summer! As you mentioned that you 've got an 36' older eXmark then the WB department is done cause only hill-mowing that WB has its advantage but in the open and small slope the Ztr especially 48" or 52" will be more productive than any of WB and you will never regret buying a Z.
    You were worried about the cut? try a Lazer and you will be put to rested.

  10. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    I prefer walkbehinds with sulkies. I like that the deck is out in front of me and I an see where the deck is and where I'm going at the same time. I can reach under low tree limbs with the deck.
    I am the very back of the machine and I don't have to worry about any part of the machine behind me rinning into anything when turning.
    I bag about half the time. I prefer to simply side discharge but when that is going to blow grass where I don't want it or is going to leave to many clippings on top or clumps then It only takes a few seconds to hang the grass catcher on the side.
    I perfer to stand than sit. I can't sit for very long or my back starts to really ache.
    And now that I have a hustler Super walkbehind with a bull rider, I will put it up against any similar size rider in speed handling and cut quality.
    I need one machine that can do it all. Alot of this is just my personal preference but it works for me.

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