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1 acre School Yard...... What type of mower?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by doitforjohnny, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. doitforjohnny

    doitforjohnny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70


    I need to get your advice on what mower would be the best choice for a 1 acre school yard. I did the clean up and recently seeded it. It's already starting to grow and all I have is a 21 inch walk behind!

    My budget is 3,000 dollars. I don't want to get homeowner equipment and have been looking around at local dealers. The best deals on ZTR's so far have been homeowner equipment.

    Would I be better off with a larger commercial walk behind than an expensive ZTR? Or should I just bite the bullet and go with homeowner stuff?

    Has anyone mowed a 1 acre lot with a walk behind?

  2. stuffdeer

    stuffdeer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,617

    I've mowed 6 acres with a 36" Walk Behind. I wouldnt do it agian. If I was you, Id get a used 48" WB with a Sulke.
  3. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,578

    I've done almost 3 acres before with a 21" cuz all the other mowers were in the shop. NO way would I do it again, ever. Wore the h$ll out of me. I would be cautious before throwing out a lot of money on a mower for one property. Are you on contract with this school? Look for a good used commercial wb
    36-48" cut with sulky
  4. doitforjohnny

    doitforjohnny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    I have thought of used but dealers here don't sell 'em and I can't find anywhere else. Craiglist don't have any either. But your right a WB with a Sulky would be an option. Thanks.

  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh yeah, a Wb is gtg up to 1 acre, it drags a bit on the larger lots but you still get it done in real good time, takes me 45-48 minutes flat out with my 48" Toro w/ a velke for 1 acre, might take an hour to 1.5 if it's rough or tall, but it's not that much slower than a Z.

    I would wait on the Z, I used Wb's for close to 5 years exclusively and cut more than a few large lots with it, some way past an acre but not too much past 2, I think once you get towards 3-4 you'll start re-thinking your strategy but up to that point and if all you got is a 21", you should experience no problems with a commercial walk behind for many years yet.

    You might check into a used Wb they usually run 1-2 grand depending on condition.
    You want at least a 36" but I might opt for a 44-48" deck and use the 21" where it don't fit for now, also make sure you get a float deck, fixed decks are a bit of a pita to learn on.

    DO get the velke, save your tail in the heat, it's almost as comfortable as a Z, for real.
  6. doitforjohnny

    doitforjohnny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    Yeah I don't want to buy something just for this job. I'm thinking that the smart thing to do is buy something that would be useful on other jobs. That said, my other focus is on upper scale residential and a ZTR might not be useful on those, but a W/B would.

    Yes I am on contract. I am just starting out and the money is good on this one. I need the cushion right now!

  7. doitforjohnny

    doitforjohnny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    Your right, I really don't think I need a Z right now. I wanted to see if it was smart and physically possible to do an acre with a w/b. From the replies I see it is.

    What brand of w/b's do you reccomend?
  8. joshco84

    joshco84 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 411

    try to get a floating deck hydro w/b. exmark and snapper pro are what i have used and like both a lot. i personally would stay away from deere, but i think most w/b's are pretty good in all brands. you might even check out a quick 36, you get a sort of hydro machine at a gear drive price.

  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I always was a Toro fanatic because I HATE pistol grips, but it appears the consensus on this web site is either a Toro gear drive (belt drive) with T-bar OR a different brand hydraulic drive with ECS, and I would have to agree that out of all the systems those are likely to be the most comfortable.

    Toros are a bit proprietary, how do I say it, it's not THAT much better but they sure act like it, maybe slightly overrated, but they are good machines, if you can get one you'll likely not regret it, it's all I've ever owned but I won't force it because many Lco's do well with other brands so Toro can't be all there is, just me.

    I don't think it's the cut or the way it handles or anything at all except the controls, it really boils down to how bad it wears you to manhandle that beast, if the controls are not comfortable you will wear out fast.
    So whatever you do, don't get a gear-drive belt driven beast with pistol grips, they suxors.
    So toro or one of the other brands with hydro ECS, I'd say 44-48" but...
    Your choice, definitely a floating deck, they're far easier to handle.
  10. joshco84

    joshco84 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 411

    i think the t-bar vs. loops (or ecs on the exmark) is you are going to like whatever you start out using better. i have always used loops or ecs and when i tried the tbar i didnt like it. but my brother in law loves tbars and hates loops or ecs. just personall preference.

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