Buying a walk Behind...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SomervilleLawncare, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. SomervilleLawncare

    SomervilleLawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    Alright, after months of searching for a nice used walk behind I think I'm just going to buy a year end model from a dealer. I'm looking at toro since we have a dealer close to my home that has a repuatation for great service. They are also running great deals with 0% interest for a year. Does anybody have any recommendations on which model to buy? They have 36",40", and 48" with ethier pistol grip or t-bar? This will be my first commercial mower, but I'm torn on which size to get. Any ideas?
  2. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    Your decision needs to depend on what size properties you are servicing. If you are doing alot of small properties with fences and gates, you may need to get a 36". If you mow more open lawns, I would recommend a 48". The t bar is supposedly one of the easiest controls to operate, but pistol grips shouldn't give you any trouble, it is just a matter of personal preference.
  3. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    I bought my first walk behind this spring, most of my 34 yards are under 10k, a few are larger, one is almost half an acre.

    This is what I discovered when I bought my 36" Toro T-bar and used it this year.

    -it's hard to use on small properties but on larger properties, especially when they have no gate, it's just great. A great time saver.

    -My half acre prop., I couldn't do that and make money if it wasn't for the 36" I charge $55 and it takes me 55 minutes :)

    -I wish I had bought a 48" rider instead of this 36" wb. The reason being almost anywhere I can use the 36 I can also used the 48 and I could ride instead of walking. Where I can't use the 36 (Small gates and even smaller yards where it's too awkward and hard on the grass to maneuver a 36" mower) I use the 21".

    -I discovered that people that don't use 21's are crazy (imo) :) You need them if you are going to be doing small residential yards.

    -I also HAD to buy a trailer. You see I thought I could go up a ramp like my snow blower but the toro 36" was WAY to heavy for that, and dangerous to. In fact I think I bought the 36 so it would fit in my truck..

    So I had to buy a trailer... so next year I'll buy a john deere rider or something and use the 36 as a back up for it but over all I wish I would have bought a 48" to save even more time.

    I also bought the mulch kit for toro and it is Fantastic.

    Edit: T-bar is fantastic, it's like personal pace. I set in gear 3 and can go as slow as I want and as fast as I can walk and thread a needle. But it's still awkward turning and trynig to make nice stripes in a small yard so I use 21" for those.

    I heard pistol grips can cause broken fingers because your hands are in a vulnerable spot if you get to close to a fence. With t bar your hands are on top and you can even move forward with just one hand, and use your other to raise branches so you can get by.
  4. TurfGuysInc.

    TurfGuysInc. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    You can't go wrong with toro but I personal hate belt/gear driven mowers. They are a pain to operate, especially on smaller yards. If I was in your position I would go with a Scag or Exmark 36", if you go with a 48" you will have problems on gated properties and you will end up having to mow w/ the 21".
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Buy a $2-$300 velke and you can ride as well, I finish my acre lot with my 48" in under an hour, that extra foot of deck makes a world of a difference, I only walk the toro when I'm in a weird mood to get exercise OR when the velke breaks (and even then I'm just as fast to run home and grab the spare lol thou usually I will finish the yard I'm on if I have to walk it).

    If you get a Z you can forget the days of cutting 8-10 lawns on 4 gallons of gas, if your 36" is that efficient (my 48 is), my 60" hog swallows two gallons / hour, I can still cut all day but instead of filling up one 5 gallon tank I get to deal with two 6 gallon ones, I've dropped 30 bucks in fuel before. Oh yeah, it reduces my trucks fuel mileage by a good 10% as well, but it is nice... Comfort-wise thou, it's still a rough ride, I don't find it that much more comfy than the velke.

    btw you can't do every yard with a Z
    It's a 6-8 thousand dollar machine that if something goes wrong can kill you.
    I'm in no mood to find out if it will slip off some steep incline, I take it where I know it will go but I take NO chances.
    Nevermind getting stuck, you don't want to DREAM about getting the Z stuck, it takes hours if you do LOL!
    The Wb, that I'll play with, it might weigh more than I do but I can still push it around some, 20 minutes max downtime when stuck.

    Your choice, but in my 6th year I can feel those $230 a month payments, they're not killing me but I can't wait to get out from under it.... and uhm, I got like 2 whole years to go :cry:

    And no, if my 48" don't fit through the gate, I can't service that yard.
    Why don't fence makers get it through their heads that a 4-foot gate ought to be standard?
    Even riding mowers would have a better time, same with core aeration machines, wth a 3 foot gate is just dumb :laugh:

    You'll have to do the math, but if you only have a few 3-foot gates a 48" might yet be worth the tradeoff having to do a few with the 21"
  6. fitzg2md

    fitzg2md LawnSite Member
    Messages: 156

    geez...topsites, 2 gallons an hour?! Thats alot. Mines sucks down less than a gallon an hour...60inch Exmark Lazer Z...its got a 23 horse engine though, so that may account for the difference, but geez, what a difference!
  7. fergman

    fergman LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 286

    thats right. its definately more likely to happen with pistol grips
  8. DillonsLawnCare

    DillonsLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,100

    ive got a tbar. its just fine. people say the belt driven mowers slip on hills and say they suck, theyre not the best but they get the job done. it depends on the cash you got. if your willing to spend a little more, get the hydro with the new t-2 paddle controls they got on the walkbehinds. toros are good mowers. the only thing i dont like about the tbar, is that its not the true zero turning radius like the pistol grips or the ecs or the t-2 paddle. test drive the mower before you buy it. get the better bigger engine. it will give you that extra torque that you might need.
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    Try to demo the Toro 40" T2 I think you will like it alot. This mower with a Tru-Trac is wonderful. If you decide on this mower, go ahead and get the Tru-Trac at the time of purchase along with 3 extra weights for the front as you will need them with the added weight. This mower has plenty of power, its fast and built like a tank (It weights in at 667 lbs without Tru-Trac). If you need a 36" they also make one in that size.

    Topsites mentioned fuel economy, my Toro gets about 1 hour per gallon run hard. Its actually probably less than this.

    Below is a few pics of my setup:

  10. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    Hey Cg, is that bag there for garbage and crap on the lawn? I'm always thinking of doing that myself but I never seem to.

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