21" vs Big mowers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by economiclawncare, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. economiclawncare

    economiclawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 143

    I am thinking of switching to 21" mowers like Justmowit. It seems to have alot of advantages. For example: No Flat Tires, One Blade per Mower to Sharpen, Cheap, Does not mess up Turf, Can cut in rain, Mulch sidedischarge or bag all with one mower, Can use a small truck with no trailers, customers hate big mowers and many more.

    Disadvantages: take longer to cut cant cut as many in one day.

    But if i do like Justmowit i could run 3 man crews charge less because have smaller trucks which will save me on gas and truck payments $300 dollar mowers compared to $6000 mowers and can have more back up mowers since they are so much cheaper if i got a $3000 mower i could proably only have two mowers.

    What do you all think about this.
  2. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    This is all fine and dandy until you have large properties to take care of. Sure, you can mow large properties with 21's but WOW, a lot of work involved, not to mention the walking. Your crews will be exhausted half way through the day and production will begin to decline. Not to mention the monotony of the day continuously walking back and forth, back and forth. You've just taken a crappy job and made it worse.

    Smaller trucks are cool but now instead of one truck to take care of, you have two which are doing the same amount of work as the one. Two trucks on the road will use less gas per truck but combined, they will probably use about the same as one larger truck.

    Larger, more productive mowers are more expensive but see how long that $300 21" will last asking it to mow as much as you will need them to mow. Sure you can buy ten $300 mowers for the price of one $3000 mower but it's a wash in the end. Plus, the increased production of the $3000 mower will make you more money.

    I believe in using the right tool for the right job. I have three 21's, one 36 w/b and a 42" Walker. This allows me to cover all the bases. There are few lawns in this area that I can't tackle efficiently with one of those mowers. And some of my mowers are better suited to particular accounts than others. Having a variety allows me to balance production, combat operator fatigue and match the right mower to the right job.
  3. Turf Dancer

    Turf Dancer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    In my opinion going back to 21" mowers is like going in reverse
  4. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    The selection of a mower depends on the size of property you are maintaining. If the turf is small and tightly landscaped, a 21" mower may be more productive but on larger properties, a large walk behind or rider will be vastly superior. True, large walk behinds and riders have a significantly higher up front cost. Yet, the productivity gains associated with time along with allowing you to be more price competitive will outweigh the increased initial cost. For example, if you take a 10 000 square foot lawn it might take 1/2 hour for two people to do it using a 21 inch mower and perhaps a 1/2 hour for one person to do it with a 36 inch mower. So, you also have to take into account the extra labour cost associated with 21 inch mowers.
  5. CJ GreenScapes

    CJ GreenScapes LawnSite Member
    from AL
    Messages: 249

    I am considering something similiar myself, but instead of selling my current equipment, I am thinking of adding a second crew with just 21's. Maybe me and a helper on the larger accounts and a 2-man 21" crew on the smaller. Ofcourse I will have to add alot of accounts this spring, but at the price I could be at, I don't think it will be a problem. This way I will have 2 crews that specialize in different types of properties.

    I'm still running the numbers and kicking it around, but so far it looks good.
  6. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    i've used only 21's for 6 years now, just recently bought a used 48" for a few properties, but could live without it if i needed to. Here there are very few properties that call for big machines, but that's my situation. I've cut some tremendous properties with 21's in my day, and they looked excellent, but some of the pics of properties i've seen on this site, i could never use 21's on.
    you're right though about the trucks, i've worked for 6 years without a trailer. out of a pick up, and out of a dump truck, which is also very common here...... nice dump with equipment in the back. hope it works out for you.
  7. A.J.'s Lawn Service

    A.J.'s Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Ill never go back you cant make me!!!
    Kelly's Landscaping likes this.
  8. If your props are like city of chicago postage stamp lawns 21's are actually more productive.
    In the city thats all we use 21's and one 36 goes on the trailer.
    Down in the south surburbs we have a lot of 1/2 acre 3/4 ace and quite a few bigger ..21 just wont work on those .Even with three guys on a lot a 21 just cant make up for the production of the bigger machine's.
  9. beransfixitinc

    beransfixitinc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    I'm sure you could have a "small lot" crew, like others have suggested. I'd still look at one of the commercial grade 21"ers though.. unless you don't mind your small lot crew looking "that" way.
  10. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    sound so similar to me. if i could get my 32 running, i'd be set. the 48" is nice when it fits through gates and actually cuts the WHOLE property.

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