What makes one mower worth more than another?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brucec32, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Has anyone actually added up the price difference in something like a hydro wb of 48" or 52" vs. a high end ZTR (27hp plus, or fuel injected, big deck, etc) and wondered what the extra money went into? Some of them are way up there, around double the price.

    NOT saying they're not worth it, but I wonder sometimes how much of it is actual costs being passed on vs. the fact that the market will bear it because they know those who need them will pay for the productivity.

    The factory overhead, assembly labor, advertising, shipping, marketing costs and such are all basically the same per unit. And they're not small costs I'm sure.

    The engine of course costs more on the expensive ZTR.
    The hydros are probably bigger and more expensive, but how much?
    More steel work involved, but again, going up a deck size is usually about $300, isnt' it? The frame is additonal, but how much?
    A seat
    Perhaps an hour meter
    Bigger tires, and other small change items.
    somewhat more complex steering on some models

    What I was wondering is how does a $4500 hydro wb become a $8000 big motha ZTR? Seems to me like the additional parts costs don't add up to the price difference. Or do they?

    I also wonder just how many of these big brutes being bought are paying for themselves in actual productivity, or are many of them being bought for ego or "bigger is better" reasons? I can't imagine what some of these 1700 lb mowers (w/ operator) would do on delicate turf situations.

    Finally, I have noticed that what seems to be an inordinate number of low hour large (60" plus deck) ztrs are for sale. Perhaps some buyers are realizing they overbought?
     
  2. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    Bruce,
    As far as cost, some of it is price and demand, while the rest is the big 27hp motor compared to a 15hp motor and the size of the hydro pump/motor combo. In the case of Hustler, the H bar WB setup requires a lot of small parts and frame welding.
    As far as the sale of riders, I'm getting customers because they don't want the big riders making tracks on the their lawn.

    Along these lines, people think that "all" riders wreck a lawn because of the cheap illegal workers driving them. Actually, I love it. People are finally getting tired of paying high prices for lawns cut by the hired illegals who beat the heck out of the grass, besides they can't communicate with them.
    DP
     
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Shortly before I left Atlanta, I watched a crew of 3 Hispanic workers get dropped off by their "bossman" and do the lawn of a coincidentally Hispanic lady who had asked me to do it one time for her just the week before. But I don't do one-offs. They arrived, went right to work, and were done fairly quickly, then again there were 3 of them. Walk behind belt drive Toros, no sulkies, with no mulch kit or baggers. Discharged it all. This was heavy Bermudagrass on a lot with lots of planting beds and no open areas more than 20' accross. Of course the beds were coated with clippings. They got their money and left, though. Checked it later more closely. shrubs coated with clippings in spots. Drive and walks edged but not the bed borders, and they blew the clippings off the curb and into the street. You could see the lady and her kids later out there looking it over with open mouths and the shocked look of terrorism victims.

    Now not all hispanic workers do work like this, but it's an indication that they're not all master gardeners either. They may show up more regularly than American workers, but they have their own problems with quality.

    I've never been worried about this sort of competition directly, and the above example shows why. What bugs me about it is that it also has the effect of running better people out of the business since it lowers wages below what they need to live on.
     
  4. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    And, I'm not saying it's the hispanices fault, either. lots of times it's the LCO owners that doesn't show them how to mow correctly. Also, the LCO owners may want the fast job, and don't care how it looks.
    DP
     
  5. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,401

    It has a lot to do with speed hydro WBs are not as fast. This will open a whole debate of course and I am buying a 20 hp 52-inch exmark turf tracer with the piston grips in about 4-5 weeks. [ I learned to hate ecs ] That said I also am buying another ZTR at the beginning of May and 2 more in June when I have enough money for them.

    Personal I find the riders more maneuverable especially with backing up I can dance with one. That said I have 2000-3000 hours on WBs as well. The speed difference is the issue the turf tracer hydro WB has a top speed of 6.75 miles and hour you would have a hard time cutting at that speed on a velky. So you may be settling for 5 miles an hour the ZTR such as the lazers are typically 10 miles and hour and the 2004 diesels, which I do plan on buying one, can go 12 miles and hour. I cut at full speed all the time on the ZTR my current one does 10 so it is more then double the production for me. Again this will upset people like Rod but this is my results so for me it may be double the price an in the case of the Lazer xp were talking 12 k with out a bagger. But with a 72-inch deck at 100 % efficiency it can hit 9 acres an hour so I know 6 an hour is not out of the question. The hydro WB may yield 2 an hour. So I pay for it on the machine but I make up for it with fewer labor hours.
     
  6. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    Now that's just untrue. You need to do your homework.:eek: Hustler's SWB's are good for 10 mph, which is right in keeping with many other Riders.....
    DP
     
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,401

    Got me there Pete I don't know every make or spec on all WBs and I did not name hustler. That said I do find it hard to believe you could cut with a WB at that speed and have much control but this is the same company that claims 15 miles an hour on there ZTR. I have yet to ever even see a hustler anything in person there just not that big over here.
     
  8. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    Well, look at this way, the Hustler has the same tires, front and rear as a stander. It's longer than the stander, so it tracks better. So, as far as control and handling, it's at least as good as a stander. As far as cutting at 10 mph, we all know most of can't really cut that fast, which goes even further to suggest many of the newer WB's can "CUT" as the same speed as a rider. Frankly, everyone know just how slow a walker is and that's a very popular rider.
    So, in the real world of 5 to 8 mph mowing with a rider, the Hustler has no problem with that. And, actually, you did say "Wb's" are slower. Now.... if you said "some WB's" are slower that's fine. However, you made a blanket statment the "Wb's are slower. Not to nit pick, but speed for the "newer Wbs" is just is just not an issue any longer.........
    DP
     
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,401

    Whelp just looked up hustler and checked out all the models they had listed including something they call a super walk behind. None go 10 miles an hour. The site lists them at 8 for riding not that it matters as thats still a bit fast for standing while mowing but it means I was off by 1.25 miles an hour not 3. So please find me a link or something that says they go 10 other wise I have to believe I was correct in my statement.
     
  10. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    Back to the question at hand. A chevy 1/2 ton base pickup compared to a 3500 hd 4wheel drive silverado. Same as your comparison Bruce32.
     

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