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When do you decline mowing..?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Turf Commando, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,181

    With a 48''walk-behind, how many acres does it take before you say wait, I'm not prepared for this size scale lawn...?
    What measures would you take, if you really wanted this property....?..Joe
     
  2. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,210

    lol, hard question and im sure it varys greatly.

    A 48" walk behind is descent i guess. I personally wont buy anything else walk behind because the options to "ride on" that are available just outweigh me every having to walk while mowing again.

    My only walk behind is a 34" simplicity hydro, its ok, does 5mph, not too fast at all. If i ever buy any smaller machines, they'll be gravely FX standups, 34-48", 10mph speeds, 19-27hp, but youll pay a premium to not have to walk.

    Most guys buy walk behinds, belt drives because theyre cheap, 3k or less and they have a descent width mower. Even the gravely 34"/19hp standup is $4400 i think.

    i have "push mowed" 1.5 acre properties before, it was a propelled troy built i hardly ever touch now but i pushed it because i could get done faster than letting it go at .000000234 mph lol. And faster meaning, within 3hrs hAHA!

    Even if i only had my 48" ferris zero turn, i wouldnt turn down anything thinking its too big unless it was like 10+ acres or something that would take me over 4+ hrs, even at that, if you can profit, why not do it?

    I made money push mowing the 1.5 acre lawn, but i was so damn tired on a hot day, refueling, etc, and it didnt look great, but was a new/crappy lawn that was dry anyway.

    Maybe think about a cheaper 30-40" walk behind for your yards you NEED it for, and use a 48-61" zero turn for everything else then dont worrya bout size anymore :) A 5ft deck can eatup a lot of lawns,

    My 61" eats up so much more than the 48" that im getting a 72" just because im anticipating it doing that much more than the 61".
     
  3. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,434

    its too big when you bid on it and get smoked by someone who can do the job with a WAM.
     
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    hi JOE:

    I have been turning down customers left and right here lately.

    not so much due to size more of JUNK lawns.

    you have to ask yourself the question.

    is it really worth it to me.....?
     
  5. capelawncare.com

    capelawncare.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    I dont have a WB, But i have been declining plenty lately. Generally, the grass is well over a ft high, with a for sale sign that says short sale on it.

    The customer usually wants to work out some kind of billing arrangement too.
     
  6. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    from OH
    Posts: 2,325

    i never turn down lawns, just charge accordingly. i make sure if they do want me to do it, then it is well worth my time, but it is usually them turning down the price when there grass is a foot tall
     
  7. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,181

    Thanks for the advice bohiaa ...
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    As for turning a lawn down there exist too many reasons to list, but size specifically?

    Speaking from personal experience I find the 48" does best in yards 1/4 to a full acre in size. It really stands out inside those size yards, much smaller than a 1/4 and it feels like I'm using an 18-wheeler to move an office chair... And on the other end sure enough right around the one acre mark the 48" starts to drag, I can just start to feel that 'this is taking forever' thing.

    But I've done 1.5 before with the 48", the trick is to section it out into 4-6 sections then tackle it one sector at a time, knock it out in pieces. 30-45 minutes on the 48" is a good little stretch, but much past 1-2 hours it begins to suck.

    A velke helps tons, I wouldn't dare get into even an acre without, thou I've done it once or twice before.

    So you can go past an acre without too much trouble, but to a point, 1.6 and probably 1.7-1.9 even.
    Not sure if I'd want to do much past two, it just gets to that point when it drags beyond tolerance...
    As was said, a 60" Ztr is better cut out for much past an acre, then beyond that you'd want even bigger.
     
  9. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,181

    I will keep this information for future references since, there's limitations to the walk-behind thanks....Joe
     
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Yes, so mind if I tell you there's limitations to the Ztr as well :laugh:

    Here's what I found:
    My 60" Z is not efficient in lots under 3/4's of an acre, it eats too much fuel and takes too long to maneuver around, by the time I'm done with a 1/2 acre I could've done it as fast if not faster with a smaller machine...
    Hence the 48" really does stand out in smaller lots.

    The Ztr does best in wide open spaces, the further a Z can run straight out, the better. That's because the Z pretty much has to stop to turn, and then it usually takes a 3-point turn to keep from tearing turf... A smaller Wb in that same time done turned around and is a 1/4 way down the turf, time the Z catches up the 48" is easing into the next turn, and so on.

    What I also found is sitting down on a Z is not more comfortable than riding a velke. It looks like it would be, but with all the bumps and ruts and branches in the face it's actually about the same level of comfort, as in, it's still work. Doesn't even save time until we get into acre and larger lots, meanwhile it weighs a lot more so it makes the truck more fun to drive (at least I have to drive slower with the Z in back than the 48").

    Very interesting stuff, had I known this I would've waited another year or three before I bought the Z... As things stand I used the 48" for my first 5 years exclusively and still use it today most of the time. The Z is nice, but for myself it's as much a status symbol than a lawn mower, oh and I'm still paying for it the dang thing cost more than any car I've ever owned.

    You'll be fine with the 48", as likely you can finish lawns under an acre in as little or less time than guys doing the one across the street on a Ztr, don't let it fool you those 48's kick tail! I would say if you ever think you can get around a dozen acre+ lots on your schedule or you have at least 6 that are an acre, then you might start thinking about a Z.
     

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