Adding first mower to existing biz advice

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Scapegoat, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. Scapegoat

    Scapegoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    A little background:

    I have a small landscape design / installation biz. It's small time, just a solo biz with occasional part time help as needed. Not making a fortune by any means, but I do ok for what I need.

    I have never cut lawns. Outside of design and install, I also maintain landscape beds, do hedge trimming and pruning, put down mulch, etc, but have never touched the lawn (other than my own of course).

    I have decided to add mowing to my biz (I already do alot of edging and trimming work during my installs.) Reason being is that I've had so many request from my existing customers that at this point, it's nuts not too, and I like the idea of maintaining the entire landscape for a customer, so the whole thing is done my way. I will have around 15 - 20 weekly accounts already lined up and that's about all I'm interesting in mowing, at least at this point.

    Finally the question: What is the best type of mower for a guy looking to mow around 20 lawns a week max figuring the vast majority of lawns being these .25 acre cookie cutter lawns that are close enough together to spit. A few more at 1/2 acre maybe. Alot of these lawns have small areas. Would I be served best to have a say, 44" W/B and a 21 trim mower? or maybe a 36" W/B mower for these small lots? I'm quite sure a riding ztr would be overkill. Keep in mind I'm in Florida and most these lawns are flat as flat gets, but some are kinda soft and mushy during the rainy season.

    I expect to ask alot of ignorant mowing questions in the future, so bear with me. Thanks.
  2. gunner27

    gunner27 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 243

    For what you described, I would go with a Wright stander 32 inch.
  3. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 952

    A Toro 20038 would be the best model for you. 21" can mow even when it is mushy and you can purchase it for under 600.00 bucks, it leaves a nice cut and then if you wanted a 36" later that would best serve you.

    Good luck
  4. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    I'd look at a 36" Hydro .... with a mulching deck & one that has an easy adjustable deck height which can cut up to 4.5-5" in height

    Get one with a T bar or such ... avoid the pistol grips .... Snapper or Toro is a good start

    Good Luck
  5. Scapegoat

    Scapegoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    Thank you everyone.

    Steve made a great point. A true mulching deck is a must!
  6. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    I would say a Wright stander 32", 36" or 42" would be great choices. Won't break the bank or your back.
  7. Scapegoat

    Scapegoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    I like what I've seen of the Wright Stander series. I plan to swing by the dealer this weekend.

    As far as other W/B units go, one concern I had about the W/B with the sulky is that it might leave ruts when the ground was soft.

    However, as I look thru the Toro website, I see they have their TRU TRAK sulky and it's quite wide and looks as though it would spread the riders weight out well and perhaps rutting would be less of a concern.

    Anyone ever used the TRU TRAK sulky?

    Also, is fixed deck or floating the way to go? The ground is pretty darn flat around here.
  8. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    floating is nice, but if your lawns are pretty flat no need then.

    I prefer exmark, bob cat, and gravely walkbehinds. Go hydro if you can it will be alot easier on you and if your worried about ruts look into proslides. Dealers around here are dropping wright like crazy. I'm friends with 6 people that are techs at 2 wright dealers and they all adviced me not to go with them (I know theirs tons of people that love them), they all said they see too many things go wrong with them so I'll stay away.
  9. A+ Lawncare

    A+ Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    with the above description you gave use of cutting .25 acre lawns to .50 acre lawns and havin 15-20 of these customers i'de say your making about $650 a week...

    fla. has 1 of the longest grass cutting seasons, so i'm sure you cut at least 28 cuts a season, thats only 7 months..... so 28 weeks X $650= $18,200.... what i'm getting by all of this is you should be able to afford a 48'' tthp or at least 48'' metro.... the tthp sells for about $4,500-$5,200 while the metro is priced at about $3,200...

    btw, both models are made by Emark and the tthp is a floatin/hydro mower, while the metro is fixed deck & gear drived.. i recomend at least the exmark viking mower (sells for about $3,800), hydro drive & fixed deck....

    hydro drive will allow you to go in reverse, while the belt won't allow you to go in reverse.... plus the hydro is alot more user friendly, perfect for newbies...
  10. A+ Lawncare

    A+ Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    why limit urself to a small w/b like the 36'' mower? sure u can pick up a decent basic 36'' mower for about $2,800 and save about $500 or more... but think of it like this

    from above you are mowing 8 acres a week. Average productivity per hour with a 36in. is 0.87 acres/hr (3.0 mph at 80% efficency). With a 48in. you are stepping up to 1.16 acres/hr (3.0 mph at 80% efficency). You would save 2.30 hrs a week with the larger deck. With the 36'' deck its gonna take you about 9.20 hrs a week to cut 8 acres while it will only take 6.89 hrs to cut w/the 48'' deck

    So over the course of a month you will save 9.2 hrs. Over a mowing season (7 month) 64.4 hrs. It's up to you. I would base it on convenience and cost.

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