A couple mower questions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GSPHUNTER, Feb 25, 2007.


    GSPHUNTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    This site is great, and all last year I was wishing I had a resource like this.

    I am in the market for a new mower. I went to a home/garden show in St. Louis and a Toro rep said that a floating deck is not that big of a deal on a
    36" walk behind because it doesn't cover that much ground. Would you guys agree or would you still spend the extra cash and get the floater?

    Also, all my accounts are residential right now and for the most part smaller lots. Would a ztr be just as maneuverable as a wb? They just seem to have much more bulk to them. I'm leaning towards a 36" or 40" Ferris hydro w/ a floating deck, but a few reps were telling me that a ztr would be a much better piece of equipment. I was just wondering if they would be too big for alot of the tight stuff encountered in residential stuff.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    WALKER LANDSCAPE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

    My opinion get a WB first for those size lots you will be better off just getting started. If your biz does good then you will allready have one of the most important pieces of your equipment you will need down the road. A big Z is great down the road when you have maybe someone helping you and you are into bigger lots. A WB takes up less on a trailer and will fit in the back of your truck too.
    As for the floating deck personally I would take what ever you can afford with the most options. My .02 worth Sorry so long
  3. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,131

    What kind of mower do you already have? This will give others a better understanding of your situation so they can make you a recommendation.

    GSPHUNTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Embarissingly enough, I cut last year with a JD 38" tractor, but I guess eveyone has to start somewhere. I really have enjoyed cutting for a while now and really in the last year it became a little more serious and something I would like to pursue. I started the season just doing a few personal friends and kept getting referals and people stopping me to do theirs.

    Also, I already have 16' utility trailer as well as an 18' I can use if necessary, so trailer space is not a big issue.

  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    What you were told about the floating deck not being that significant on a mower that size is exactly right. Once in awhile, you will hear something from these sales reps that IS true - once in awhile....
    Anyway, with a cut that small, since the mower sis on a quadrant base anyway, the float is not all that big of a deal. You are on the right track with your thinking with looking into a commercial unit - even for a smaller one. A 36" commercial unit will cut alot more grass in the long run than a 48 of a homeowner or look-alike model.
  6. PORTER 05

    PORTER 05 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 642

    just get a W/B, i have a 48" Exmark belt-drive with a fixed deck, i get along JUST FINE!.....if you get alot of accounts later then purchase a zero-turn, but i wouldnt buy one 1st....but like "runner" said ANYTHING you buy for landscapeing, make sure its COMMERCIAL GRADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    I also would agree with the salesman. I have a 36" Exmark Viking, fixed deck mower. I too was concerned about the width being a problem. I quickly learned that the width isn't the issue, rather the length. The distance between the front casters and the drive wheels is a more critical distance to have concern. When I first started I scalped much more often front to back, not side to side.

    To answer the second question about ZTR size, I can share my experiences. My w/b was used for a full eight seasons, run pretty hard (more than 600 hours per season). Part way through last season, I bought a 48" John Deere 717A, a ZTR. Yes, it is "much more machine." Initially, it felt like a large truck, compared to a small pickup (w/b). It is clearly not as flexible, not as nimble, as the 36" w/b. As the season wore on, I gained experience with the ZTR and handling improved. But, it is still more to handle than the w/b. The ZTR will not go places the w/b will go (sloping terrain). The productivity for servicing a lawn, end-to-end (trim, cut, blow) for the 48" was not very much for most of my properties (0.5 A). The ZTR did better on properties over 1 A, but the increase in productivity is very far from an economic justification. I probably added about two extra properties per week after I added the ZTR. In hindsight, I would have been better served to add a 52" w/b with sulky. IMO, ZTRs have more hype than productivity. I know many will not agree, but I only share my experiences and observations.
  8. biggin69

    biggin69 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    I would recommend staying away from a "Big Z" for small reidential accounts. The problem that I have with them in my area is that if the lawn is the least bit damp, the ztr will destroy the turf when turning unless you are very carefull. This takes more time & time is $$$. Just my opinion.

    GSPHUNTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    You guys have been great! Thanks alot for the responses as well as the info in all the other threads on this site.

    I know this could be a Chevy/Ford/Dodge type question, but I want some opinions on brands. I've got my eyes on a Ferris, Walker, Toro, or Scag. Aside from price, does anyone have any pros/cons on these brands. I don't mind paying for a little more for better quality, but I don't want to just pay for a name/color.

    WALKER LANDSCAPE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

    Everybody has their own mine would be toro then Scag

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