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Big site mowing

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Gr8WhiteNorth, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Gr8WhiteNorth

    Gr8WhiteNorth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    I'm debating a fleet purchase for this coming spring and want a few opinions from the pros with experience.

    I have a large contract to fill with about 180 acres to cut in a section of our city. The terrain will be very flat, sandy soil, and sparse growing grass. There will be curbs to climb along all of the boulevards. The growing season is only 4 months at best.

    What do you think the best output per dollar is from machine to machine?

    All I have experience with is zero turn 72" exmark lazers and 72" ferris with suspension. Hp ranges from 27-34 that I have used.

    I've seen a few toro grounds masters for sale and I'm curious if the wider cut justifies the purchase price in such a limited growing season?
  2. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    Did you sign the contract without the equipment? I know it doesn't apply to your question, just wondering. How many people do you have and what do you operate currently
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  3. Gr8WhiteNorth

    Gr8WhiteNorth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    25-35 staff that varies seasonally. Yes, signed contract without equipment. I priced buying new and salvaging at the end of the term. multi year contract. Its not really feasible for us to have that kind of equipment sitting around and contracts of this nature are not common in my area.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Regardless of the larger equipment you buy, I'd make sure to have some 72" Dixie Choppers in there with the springer front forks. Maybe even step up to the twin gas motor option or the Yanmar diesel.

  5. PK Mows

    PK Mows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    How nice a cut does it have to be? Is this maintained as turf or does it just need to be knocked down? Can you use a growth regulator?

    If you just need to get started at it on the cheap, you can use a stand-off tow behind mower like a Swisher, I have a buddy who tows two, I think 72" cut, behind an old Dixie Chopper. That works pretty well on long, wide areas. You could also use something along the lines of a small Kubota with a belly mower and pull a couple Swishers. Then your other riders/walk-behinds for the smaller areas.

    I know those aren't elegant solutions, but maybe it's something you could work with.

    If it's big and rough-cut, can't beat a tractor with a bat wing.

    If you can use a PGR, then you can save yourself a lot of money. But you need to be sure the agreement is to maintain at a certain height and not to cut at specified intervals.

    Back in the day, I ran Cushmans and Groundsmasters, love the things. But, do you want to sink a ton of money into a contract like this? For ten thousand or so you can pick up a used Groundsmaster with 10-12 feet of cut. But they can be very tempermental so be careful buying used. Many of these come off golf courses and from municipalities and have been beat to death. I've seen several on eBay that looked like pretty good deals, just get them checked out first, especially the hydraulics. They're the fastest machines I've ever used to cut large turf areas and certainly worth the money if you can keep them in use.
  6. scotts lawn care

    scotts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    The John Deere 997 diesel z is a nice machine for open areas. 31 hp yanmar diesel, 60" or 72" deck, hydro deck lift, suspension seat. I have the same motor in my 1445 and it uses half the fuel of my gas z. Or how about a front mount diesel mower with a 72" deck?
  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I passed on a bid for much less turf than that last year but was getting ready to buy a 455-d or a 580-d. I was looking used because of price. I wouldn't consider a zero turn unless you put a fleet of them out there but then you are talking bucks to buy a bunch of Z's.
  8. Gr8WhiteNorth

    Gr8WhiteNorth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    I can buy 6 z's for the price of 1 grounds master 5900
  9. Fred B

    Fred B LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    I would take a serious look at a groundsmaster 4000D. Full time 4x4 rear discharge and still manoverable. It is also two thousand pounds lighter than a Toro 580/5900. You maybe able to buy alot of smaller ZTR but then you have to pay employees to run them. I wouls also buy a Walker Super B to be your trim mower behind the Toro. We are mowing 500 acres a week and this combo has saved us alot of money in the long run.
  10. scotts lawn care

    scotts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    Yeah and the z's will be nice on small and medium size properties as well.

    Only thing is you need the man power to run that many machines.

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