What is the best mower to purchase? Zero or walk behind

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BetterLawns&Gardens, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    I am at a complete loss, as to which mower to purchase. The more I look, click, read, watch, the more i get stressed out! There are so many options and choices out there. I just started this year and finished the year with 10 customers deliberately so i could test the waters. I want to grow even bigger with approximately 30+ customers but I can't seem to figure out which mower would be the best for me. Ideally I would like to have a zero turn and a walk behind but that option is not in the budget. I will have approximately 3-4000 to work with. I need to get at the least before the next season a mower and an aerator. Most of the lawns that we have in our area have inclines at the front of the property adjacent to the sidewalk. Some are quite large inclines, and while doing the research I don't believe that a zero turn is the best option? Is this true? PLEASE help! I know I am going to have to purchase used, I don't have the credit to do a loan even if i wanted to. Also any pointers on what to watch out for when looking for the mower?

    I haven't even started my search for an aerator yet, so a heads up on those would be nice too thanks in advance!
     
  2. iforgotmybackpack

    iforgotmybackpack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    Get a walk behind for your first mower. You can do any terrain with a walk behind. You're limited on the hills and tight areas with a zero turn. Once the budget allows, or get some larger, open lawns then go the ride on route. With a walk behind, bagging eats up a lot of time because of how small the side baggers are. Try to sell the accounts as mulching lawns until you get a rider with 3 large bags.
     
  3. iforgotmybackpack

    iforgotmybackpack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    invest in a sulky too. On the open part of the lawns it will double your production time. When you cant use it on the smaller yards just clip it up out of the way
     
  4. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    What model/size do you suggest? There are so many? Purchasing my push mower was easy. We had one as a kid and I just bought the same one. These I know nothing about. Honestly I prefer doing all lawns with a mulch it looks better less mess after and less work cleaning up the clippings. Again something I have always known to do. And what is a sulky.
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  5. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    And the skuly may be what your talking about but what is the difference between a walk behind and a stand on? Is a stand on an attachment used on a walk behind, or is it an entirely different machine? Is it a good idea to use either of those (walk with attachment or stand on) on those inclines? Is it safe and I hear people talking about skid marks with the zero is there chances of getting those with the walk? If so what do u suggest as a quick fix for those?
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  6. iforgotmybackpack

    iforgotmybackpack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    walk behind and stand on units are totally different. The sulky is an attachment that bolts onto a walk behind mower in which you ride. A stand on mower has the platform attached to the mower and doesn't swivel like sulkys do. Stand on machines are getting much more popular but if i could only have one mower it would be a 52 inch walk behind. I have a nice mix of big and small lawns though. If you have more small lawns around 4-8k than a 42 or 48 deck might be better. I've seen people put a walk behind and ride the sulky on some pretty steep hills but the beauty of that set up is if there is a few passes you need to walk instead of ride, just fasten up the sulky to the mower. The stand on unit you can walk behind too but the stand on units rely on operator weight to keep more traction on the drive tires so if you walk behind it you could lose traction. Any hydro drive mower can tear up turf if your not careful. If you do get a sulky, get one with two wheels. They will follow the tires of the mower but the single wheeled ones leave an ugly center line through your path. Patrol the forums alot too. Most questions you will have there is already a post of.
     
  7. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    I'm really glad you clarified that because after my post I ended up googling it and figured that is what it was and the one I was looking at was a single wheel which seemed at the moment like a good idea but after what u said I definately don't want the lines there the wheels are enough lines... most of the lawns I have and will get are more in the 2000 mark just barely more than that. I do have one that is just under 4 don't suspect that I will get much of those. And I searched the forums for 2 days and none of that compared to what you had just provided for me. So many many thanks for this info! I'm glad you answered my questions throughly, I was honestly was confused at all of it. So thanks again!
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  8. iforgotmybackpack

    iforgotmybackpack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I found the double wheels more stable too. I meant 4000-8000 sq ft just to clarify
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  9. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    I knew that is what you meant the yards here are kind of on the small side in town which is where most of the work is. The one customer I have she lives on the outskirts of town and has a double it is quite large and measured just under 4000 sq ft. The rest just barely trickle over 2000
     
  10. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    oh wow i was waaaaaaay off! i thought it was kind of odd that i answered the way i did and you came back to clarify so i took a look at the notes and wow was i off I don't know why i said 2k they are 5k and the large one i was refering to was 11k!! oh wow was i off! lol i guess it helps to look back at paper work from time to time! im gonna laugh about that one for a while as i am sure you were for a minute
     

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