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an observation on equipment

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by awm, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    theres a lot of debate about what equipment works best .
    in driving thru charlotte ,today,i realized the equipment best suited would vary a great deal,according to where u are working.
    i can use my ztr for all my accts. in rural areas. but it was easy to see that it wouldnt work very well, for congested urban areas.
  2. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    I remember someone defending the fact they only use 21" mowers, basically because that is only what worked on their small yards. And that is just the mowers.

    This industry can be quite specialized.
  3. Organic-man

    Organic-man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    The best equipment is that which does the most work in the least amount of time while having the most efficient size for the job. It is also that which works the longest without necessary repairs or downtime.
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Good point. I could easily use 4 or 5 or 6 mowers on the trailer to do the best job on varying properties.

    1. Wide area large flat lots - 60" + ZTR
    2. Medium sized flat lots with modest hills - 48" compact ZTR
    3. Medium sized lots w/rolling terrain and hills/wet weather - 48" hydro wb.
    4. Small rolling terrain, gated areas - 32" wb
    5. very small rolling terrain,tight areas, bermudagrass - 21" mower
    6. Reel mower for low mowed turf.

    I use #2, #4, and #5 as a compromise to trailer limitations, but if I was willing to use the 21" mower on more stuff I would go with #3 instead of the 32" deck wb. I still may switch if the 32" doesn't handle mowing low stuff well enough to justify the drawbacks it has (skinny tires, single belt, narrow cut, fixed deck)

    Last year I mowed everything with the ZTR and the 21" and did fine. But unless I want to pass up on 75% of the calls I get (mostly new houses on dog lots with lots of steep banks, tight sodded areas, etc) , I have to use another mower to do them profitably.
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Well after 9 years, I think we have just about all that we need...21, 48, 52, and 61 inch WB's, 61" Z's, 72" Toro Groundsmasters for all our mowing. All mowers have their own vac system too.

    Trucks are all diesel and trailers are 3 years old or less.

    Got plenty of trimmers, hedge clippers, hand tools, leaf blowers, back packs, aerators, dethatchers, sod cutter, edgers, power brooms, etc.

    I just hope that the 2003 season goes well:D
  6. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Very good post. I have seen skilled people use sub-par equipment and do an amazing job... I have also seen top-of-the-line equipment being used by people who don't know what to do with it.

    Ultimately if you do a good job, your equipment gets the job done, and you are profiting, you are ahead of the game.

    The real trick is getting skilled people, on excellent equipment, working efficiently, making a considerable profit.

    Easier said than done I guess.... but lots are making it happen!
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,937


    I agree in principle with you. My assessment over the past few years:

    Poor equipment in the hands of a poor operator > poor results
    Good equipment in the hands of a poor operator > marginal result
    Poor equipment in the hands of a good operator > better result
    Good equipment in the hands of a good operatior > best result

    Obviously, the range of result is huge. It is regretable that many homeowners are unable to see the difference.
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    I got a thought while reading this thread, I wonder if anyone just has one or two machines and only takes lawns that these machines are MOST effecient on. Seems most people carry a few mowers and will take any job even if it means being ineffecient on the job but I beleive you could get your business to a point where you could only have to have for instance a 21" and a 52" w/b and sulky on the trailer and only take jobs that that combination would be very effecient and profitable on. Do not take anything over 1/2 acre (where most guys take anything they can get and maybe later upgrade equipment?)
    Does any of this make sense? I had a hard time wording it.....

  9. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    I use a 21" and a 48" Wb only. I hope to replace the 21 with a 32 or 36 to allow me better gate access. This will open the door to more potential customers with less physical labor.

    I bid what I can handle with this equipment only...1 acre or less.
  10. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,937


    "Yes" is the answer to your question about taking jobs that fit my equipment. I'm primarily solo, with help sometimes. I have a 36" w/b, 21" Toro Comm. (primary), 21" LB Comm. (secondary). When given an opportunity to take a new job, or bid a new one, I give high consideration to whether or not I can keep two mowers working. My intent is to keep the 36" w/b working, along with the Toro. I have a few that both 21" mowers can work at the same time.

    I turned away a job this week where the lawn could only use a 21" hand mower. I do the trimming, but would finish long before the mowing work, leaving my partner sitting while I finish the mowing.

    If given a larger job, 1.0 to 1.5 acre, where the work is only done by the w/b, I will consider it seriously. On that job, I can work myself and make best use of my equipment, the 36" mower.

    I would like to have a wider w/b, but simply can't justify the cost for the added jobs. The economics of adding a few lawns each week cannot begin to pay for a new 48 or 52" mower. The only reason to consider such a purchase is being able to ride or stand, saving my 62 year old legs from walking! If somebody can explain the economic reason for a change, I would like to hear it.

    Just for perspective, I have so many more offers to mow than time to do so, I am able to be selective. I dropped several customers from last year's list (for various reasons - primary of which was efficiency and difficulty in navigating terrain), but have filled those back in with better customers, and have turned away many others.

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