When is it time to buy a ZTR?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bommaritro, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. bommaritro

    bommaritro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 151

    I have spoken with a few LCO's in my area most of them have quite a few jobs and crews working for them so in my eyes as a startup they have a fair sized business. As I was talking to them the conversations switched to larger mowers. When I mentioned something about ZTR's they looked at me as if I had 10 heads. They said that they cost to much and aren't worth the investment. So I quickly asked what they use instead they all rattled off Stieners and John Deere. They all appeared to be older guys so maybe they were set in their ways. The one thing that they kept saying is for the cost of the ZTR they could buy 2 walk behinds and hire another crew.

    Now after going through this board I have seen that many of you run ZTR's. So here is my question at what point in your business (I am a solo operator now and plan on being one far at least 2 more years) would you think it would be a good idea to upgrade form a walk behinds to a ZTR?

    Ron
     
  2. rross

    rross LawnSite Member
    Posts: 52

    The ZTR will undoubtedly decrease teh time it takes you to do your jobs. Yes,in most cases they are relatively expensive, but the time you save is completely worth it. When I started it was just regular lawn tractors and push mowers, then acouple of additions to properties came, money increased to over 1500 a week, and we decided that it was time to purchase our first ZTR. It has saved a ton of time, and really increased our productivity. It depends on how busy you are now? Money income from your business? You have to also consider the space of the properties you wil be cutting. 1/4 acre customers don't always like having a 1/2 ton machine in there small yards, they think its over kill. I use mine in large properties, I have no complaints, but next year I am starting on the residential side as well, and have to invest in a walk behind too. :blob2:
     
  3. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,042

    I agree with rross

    Maybe you could buy two walk behind but not enough to pay another crew, I think it's the other way around, for the money that you pay one guy you can buy 2 ztr, or maybe 3.

    If you can afford one now buy it because that would be the best investment in this kind of business, but you have to have a walk behind too, probably star wit a walk behind and then buy a ztr.
     
  4. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    from their point of view, buying a WB may be ok as they aren't the ones sweating behind it. hire someone, let him do the walking and pocket the the diff in MSRP.

    but even that theory is weak. it's all about productivity. Z cut more grass. if you can fit it use it.

    if i were solo i would be on a Z. make your days easier. get more done without hiring. looks like you have an opportunity to be a trailblazer in your market, if your lawns permit.
     
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    I am a solo now. I can't tell you when to buy a ZTR but I can tell you what happened when I bought mine.

    Before the ZTR I was working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with a helper on Fridays.

    After I bought the ZTR I am working 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, got rid of the helper and my revenues have increased 30%.

    Most of my lawns are 1/4 to 1/2 acre with a few 1 and 2 acre jobs thrown in.
     
  6. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,309

    Ditto to what Richard Martin said. I am a small one man operation with 40 lawns. I have 5 thart are pretty big , the rest are any where from a quarter acre to a full acre. I bought a ZTR half way through the season and it was the best theing I have done. Not only am I a lot more productive but I'm not as physically tired when I get home.
     
  7. wmsland

    wmsland LawnSite Member
    from NE OHIO
    Posts: 127

    I have a ZTR but mine is a walk behind. You should probably by a rider when you can justify the expense and it will earn its keep. If it can't earn its keep than its nothing more than a waste of hard earned money. Personally I like the excersize.
     
  8. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    Once again, I'm the oddball. I had a Z and a w/b, now I have two w/b's. The Z was nice, don't get me wrong, but for MY paticular situation I find I'm better off the way I am now. I never realized how much I depended on my w/b until I bought a Z. When my w/b had to go into the shop for coils I had to borrow a w/b because I had alot of areas where I couldn't use a Z or didn't feel comfortable using it. Now with two w/b's if one goes down, no problem. Both are setup to run my Exmark sitdown steerable sulky. I am in no way saying that a Z is a waste of money but for MY paticular situation two w/b's are just more productive. I will be very supprised if I don't catch flack for my post.
     
  9. Buy the blet drive you don't need anymore than that.

    Heck buy a Craftsmen, they all cut grass.
     
  10. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    It will be more reliable than any employee. Forget what those old farts are saying about buying two walk behinds and hiring help. Jibberish.
     

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