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Buy or rent ZTR for ocassional jobs?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jcoat, Jan 1, 2001.

  1. jcoat

    jcoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    I could not find this under the search function, so here goes: My lmo will be starting this spring and I work a 40+hr/wk job that will only allow me to do the lmo part-time (afternoons and Saturdays: 10-20 upscale, small, gated lawns which will be w/ a (2) commercial 21" mowers).
    My primary question regards an opportunity to cut my homeowner's association park. It is a large area (3+ acres, undulating, a lot of trees, no chemical applications) and w/ my concentration of small lawns, should I break down and buy a ZTR (which will be part-time) or rent a ZTR?
    I want to find out how many guys do this and which is more beneficial. To buy or to rent!
    Note: My goal is to be full-time lmo (read: quit the full-time corporate job once my lmo takes-off) within 2 years while weeding out my no pays and keeping longhaul customers. Also, I will be picking up larger accounts and need to know if this is a cost I should allow for now. I'd rather not have to laydown the cash if the ZTR won't be paying for itself. I need some opinions.
  2. trimmer

    trimmer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 293

    I would not reccomend doing it if you don't have the equipment give yourself some time to grow. Don't jump in over your head because you might get overwhelmed. The other option is to pick up a used belt drive walk behind with a sulky, I would reccomend a 36" scince you are doing smaller yards to mid size yards to get started and you can use it on the bigger account. I picked one up for around 600 dollars and I used it for two years and it is still in running condition.
  3. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    Payments on a new ZTR could likely be under $250/month. Rentals in this area run about $85/day for a walkbehind, not a hard decision for me. We had a mower go down a few years back, we had to rent a mower for 5 days....In one day a month's worth of payment on a 36" walk were eaten up to rent someone else's junk.

    BTW, I don't care for HOA work. I turned down three this year.
  4. Scape Sculptor

    Scape Sculptor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    Jcoat, if there are alot of trees you may be better off with a 48" WB to start, you can get a belt drive for less than $3000, a ZTR is an easy 2.5-3 times the $$$ at least. It will make you more efficient on your 10-20 other lawns over the 21" and your debt to income ratio will be low. More profit for you per dollar invested. Upgrade your equipment as you grow. Just curious, what could you rent the ZTR for? Good Luck to ya.
  5. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,260

    I wouldn't rent a ZTR. If you could find one at a rental agency it's probably beat to death! What happens if its rented out when you need it? If you don't want to spend big dollars on a ZTR, get a walkbehind with a sulkey(2 wheeled). Keith, I have 6 HOA's that I deal with and it's been a pretty profitable for me.
  6. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    Hmmm. The one's I have dealt with have been anything but good. Must be the area.
  7. DMC300

    DMC300 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    Sounds like you need to check the "used equip. forum"for a walk-behind or maybe a dane etc..
  8. rdh

    rdh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Toro 60 inch ztr rents for around 150.00 per day
    here in CINN OHIO. Kind of expensive.
  9. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    Just keep your eyes and ears open.I found a
    Lazerz 52 inch and new 6 by 12 trailor for
    3000.Except for having to paint it Ireally
    couldnt have maintained it better myself.
    Point is nows a good time to watch for
    those who are getting out and may let it go
    reasonable. Good luck TM
  10. jcoat

    jcoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    Thanks for the replies...
    Sculptor, I haven't checked the rental rates, but I bet they're not too far off the $85/day mark.
    awm, I've been watching the Bargain Posts and papers for some deals... hopefully one will fall in my lap with some luck.
    Again, thank you for the replies.

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