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What classifies as a commercial zero turn?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Steve's Mow & Trim, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Steve's Mow & Trim

    Steve's Mow & Trim LawnSite Member
    Posts: 132

    Ok I have been running a lawn care service in my town for the last 2 years, I am 18 and a freshmen in college. My first 2 years I mowed about 10 lawns and made around 2400 a month gross. I just had 5000 flyers made and plan on upping my accounts to about 35-40. I have been using my 2003 John Deere L-110 (reg rider with 17.5hp kohler). The bulk of my lawns are regular walk behind and no rider, I think out of my pervious 10 I had 4 that I used my rider on. I mow an 8 acre church where they provide the mower (woods mowin machine zero turn 18hp). Now the question is what makes a riding mower a commercial riding mower? The Woods mower is a commercial mower and it has a 18hp, but my tractor is not and it has a 17.5hp engine. What should I consider when looking for a good zero turn? I am looking to sell my john deere and buy a zero turn. I have seen a 22hp kawasaki Cub Cadet witha 50 inch deck. To me this seems like plenty of HP, what do you guys think? I don't really wan't to go all out and spend 5-7grand. This mower is $3,000 and it says its rated for 2-3+ acres. Just need some info
  2. LushGreenLawn

    LushGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,121


    The cub cadet is very far from a commercial machine. Engine HP is the last thing I would look at. That mower is rated for a couple of acres a week, twentysomething times per year. Definatly not for everyday mowing.

    The deck is very thin, and will wear through. Also, the pumps that make the wheels turn are very light duty, and will wear out quickly. Thinks like pulleys, hose connections, ect are not very strong.

    I would suggest a used commercial zero turn. Much better quality of cut and will last much longer than a brand new residential zeroturn.

    My deal is not the norm, but I was able to get a John Deere 717A, with a 48" deck with 60 hours on it for $4000

    I would stay away from residential zero turn, also stay away from home depot and lowes in general. with 30 lawns, you will be lucky if it lasts the season.

    I started out with a lawn tractor like yours, and cutting 15 lawns per week pretty much did it in. I spent more time replacing pulleys, ball joints, dealing with breaking belts than you can imagine, and not it burns a ton of oil.
  3. Matts lawn care

    Matts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    from MD
    Posts: 829

    i have what your talking about. yes it is only 3k but it is not fast, at 5mph. go for a walk behind or a stander. if you don't need the mower for long get it but i have had too many problems with mine. with 23hrs the right hydro went. at 40hrs. the left spindle went. they ended up getting me a new one and its been better now.
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    you will be disapointer, you get what you pay for..

    first off, a residential machine doesnt have the blade tip speed of a commercial unit, big difference in quality of cut and speed

    Second, the hydros are cheap

    Third, the casters are small and cheap,

    Forth, the deck is thin stamped, not 7 gauge fabricated steel.....

    The warrenty for commercial use isnt there..... who is going to repair it, lowes....

    get a used commercial or a good commercial walk behid, or bite the bullet and buy what you really need...
  5. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    If your close to this guy then this may be a steal for you
    If you absorb the price and can fit it on you lawns then you will be hitting a home run. It's a little more but it will last you 8-10 more years before you have to sink some more money into it. If you get out of mowing when you graduate then it will still have a decent resale value.
    Or you can get a real nice 36" with velky or even a belt drive 48" wb
  6. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    For the $3000.00 your going to spend on a residential mower you could spend the same and get a commercial Toro Proline 48" T-Bar 15hp that will last alot longer. You could also pick up a good commercial ztr for around $4000.00 depending on size and year.
  7. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    Well the 5-7K to spend "going all out" you are speaking of is the bare minimum you're going to spend on a good 48-60 inch deck ZTR with a suitable powerplant.

    I believe the Lesco Z-Two and Cub Tank series of commercial mowers start around 6K, but other brands(hustler, scag, exmark, toro) only go up from there.

    Now of course I'm talking new. If you search, you can probably find a used mower with low hours for a good price.
  8. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

    I second fiveoboy01 said !!
  9. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    Im not to sure if you have a hustler dealer near you, but we took one for a day to demo this past summer.It had a 42" deck with a 17 hp engine(i think).Tat mower did a pretty good job and was priced around 4200.00. They also had a 36" for 3600.00. Im sure if you looked around a bit you would be able to find the same deal. If not i would go with a walkbehind, much easier on the finances and you will get better results than the cub cadet as well as a much longer life. (Just my 2 cents.:)

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