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Which mower for this situation....newbie

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Liendeni, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Liendeni

    Liendeni LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    Like most newbies, I am going to try my best to start my own lawn service business. My goal is not to be huge...but just be productive with a one man show, and therefore....my question is this:

    I live in south Florida where land is expensive and lots are very small, even for very expensive homes. It is also very hot, as you know. What should my first mower be? A walk behind (36, 48?) or a ZTR 60 or 52. I could actually pull the cash out of my ass to buy a new one of either to a certain degree but I am afraid that if I am on a walk behind, even with a sulky....I am going to get more tired faster out here in this heat. BUT....is a 60 ZTR sit on top going to be to big for these small little yards.

    I'd have to say that most yards are going to be under 1/4 of an acre....if even that. Largest subdivision around my area has 1/2 lots and that is it.

    Any suggestions? Appreciate the help with this one. I just don't know enough to make an educated decision on this one. Ohhh...and not many gates to go through either.
  2. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,517

    A small ZTR would work well.
  3. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    1/4 acre lots... 36-48 inch wb
    you can get a sulky and it won't be that bad

    1/2 acre lots alot of buisness a small ztr may be the way to go... there are plently of gate freindly ztrs out there..

    just starting i always say wb... the cash outlay for not having the work allready lined up just seems like too big a risk

    Good luck and search the threads there is thousands of responses to this

  4. jiggz

    jiggz LawnSite Senior Member
    from jerz
    Posts: 646

    48 w/b, no need to drop 5-6 grand on a ztr yet..some people complain but I walked all last year and it was a hot soupie summer.. Its dosnt reallly bother me.. under 1/4 acre youll be fine
  5. cwmiller928

    cwmiller928 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 109

    if your worried about heat your in the wrong business! For someone like you i would start with a walk behind. See how it goes then upgrade as needed
  6. DK lawn care

    DK lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 763

    if u get a walk behind get a sulky for the WB so u dont have to walk
  7. RGM

    RGM LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Baltimore Md
    Posts: 977

    Get a 48'' walk behind and a good push mower thats all you need to start and even if you get big you will need the 48'
  8. capelawncare.com

    capelawncare.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    Get a smaller Z, or a stander. They do well on smaller lots. The heat is just unbearable down here with a WB. trust me its money well spent.
  9. Liendeni

    Liendeni LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    I appreciate the comment and the recommendation but you've never lived in Florida...have you? There is a very good reason why you never see anybody jogging at noon during the summertime in Florida. Not saying the heat will keep you from riding on a lawnmower but it sure the hell will take a toll on your energy level, and is exactly why I tried to ask some of the salty dogs for there recommendations.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I see what you're saying but here in VA come Jul-Aug it gets to be 98-104 and even as high as 108 heat index with the humidity we're just south of the Mason Dixon line and it ain't but so much cooler. Around here once we get into June and the temps soar to 90 yes it will slow you down, but it also slows down the growth of the lawns so I don't have as much work to do, play it like that, what I do.

    I have two 48" Wb's that I use almost exclusively, I do have a 60" Ztr but they're not much cooler or better, get a velke for the Wb and you save yourself a few thousand off the bat and they're way better on fuel too! Once I hop on that velke it's not bad, not at all, I can cut grass in the worst of heat it's not the mower unless you have to walk it, so get a velke.

    What kills me is the trimming, OMG that is the absolute worst thing to do in the heat is line trimming because I'm hardly moving and it's hard work and the sun just pounding and no breeze, well, you get the idea... It's the trimming that kills, for me it is.

    What I do is this:
    Once it gets hot I NEVER work between 11a - 2pm!
    Either start early in the morning and find my butt inside around 11 and rest up for a bit then head back out... Or, sleep in until about the crack of noon then get up and mosey on around so as to head out of my driveway by 2p. Just do like Mexicans, I am a firm believer they invented the siesta not out of laziness but because of the heat!

    The worst heat of the day is from 11a-2p, always.
    By the time I get to my first lawn after 2 it is 2:30, 2:45 boom it is 3pm and the edge is off by then, come 4 o'clock it ain't bad so it's really just that first hour is a bit rough but I'm usually fresh then and as I wear down so do the temps. Work until dark is 8p so 2-8 is still 6 hours I can get done, just skip the maintenance for morning then the plan all works out. Yup, get up around 8 or 9 and do an hour or so maintenance then watch TV or play on the PC then come 2p head out because 6 hours lawn work is still plenty work for this business.

    The other thing to watch out for is Heat Index, forget the temperature but watch that HI: 98+ is caution, 104 is warning and 108 is DANGER... I will not work if the HI is 108 or higher, at 104 I think about it a lot first and even 98+ it's like hmmm well all right...
    I think the colors on a HI map are yellow caution, orange warning, red danger (there's also purple but that's extreme).

    But it ain't bad, the grass slows way down once the worst of spring is over.
    I'd get a 44-48" Toro with a velke, make it a floating deck for starters.

    btw I been doing this for 6 years, just my take on things.

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