Buying First Commercial Mower-Rider or WB

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by FiremanDud, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. FiremanDud

    FiremanDud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Whuts up guys, my question is I’m about to start my own Lawn Care Business and was wondering if it would by a good idea to purchase a Gravely PM34Z zero turn rider or a Scag Z-Cat 36 Zero turn rider. I know just from reading thought these threads that most of you recommend 36inch WB. But if you can buy one of these small compact riders that can easily get though standard fences why would you not invest in one to start out. It makes sense to me to by a rider because you can breeze threw yards without the cost of walking yards. Not to say I’m lazy buts just have not seen any post about this subject. Is there something I don't know about that it doesn't make sense? Please give me your opinion on this subject it would really help my decision in my purchase. Thank You FiremanDud
  2. DaveRave07

    DaveRave07 LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Messages: 69

    I think the biggest reason that people buy a WB (and in my case a used WB) instead of the ZTR is because it is much cheaper. And if it is your first mower chances are you are just starting out and do not have a lot of accounts. If you do, then by all means go ahead and make the larger investment but my thinking was to keep my costs as low as possible to start out and when my used eXmark 48" begins to turn a profit for me (it wont take long) then I can expand into some better equipment.

    My two cents would be if you've got the accounts and $ for a ZTR then do it but if not you should think about how much money it is going to save you if you went with something else.
  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Let me start by saying everyone's situation is different so everyone's advice will be different.

    We started out with a 48" hydro WB about 6 years ago. Purchased a 2nd one our second year in the biz. Just this year we purchased a 61" ZTR. However, we still kept BOTH the WB's cause there are still hills that the WB's can handle but the ZTR cannot.

    I guess my point is, for a first mower, I would consider the versatility in a WB. IMHO, it can do everything a ZTR can and more. Obviously, the ZTR will excel in certain areas but overall the WB can do everything the ZTR can.
  4. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    Whenever a I talk to a person wanting to get into the biz I almost always recommend a WB.

    Walk behinds are very versatile. They can go anywhere.

    They are cheaper.

    IMO They are easier to work on.

    And, whether you want to hear this or not, MOST (probably 90% or more) people don't last in the biz more than 18 months. It is a fact. It is great owning your own biz and being the boss, and being out in nature, BUT it all becomes old and routine after a while. The summer heat beats you down and dealing with customers can be very trying.

    The average person cannot handle all of these things and they end up going back into the workforce as an employee.

    So it is best to keep your investments small the first year. You can always get more equipment later. Don't rush things.
  5. FiremanDud

    FiremanDud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Thanks for all your info so far. I see your point on sticking to a low cost budget from the start. I have a budget of 5k to 6k, so I think it's enough to get the 34Z Gravely and small 2cylce machines. I live in a good area of town so I thinks my chance are exellent for a buisness. When I call dealers they all steer me away from belt drive WB, they say you'll regret it in the end. If thats the case most WB hydros start of just as much as a rider if not a little less. I think I'm going down to look at them to get a chance to see for myself but thanks for your thoughts. I'll keep you updated. FiremanDud
  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Look at the gravely 34 rider. Do a search on it. If im correct there are no hills in Florida. You can pull things with a rider and alot more. I think they go for 4500.

  7. FiremanDud

    FiremanDud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Yeah I'm going to look at them soon. I think it would be a wise choice on my part to get it. I already have 4 to 6 accounts lined up when I start in a few months.
  8. stevesmowing

    stevesmowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 847

    i'd look at something a little bigger than 34 or 36" if your accounts are .5 acre or more. I think I can cut faster with my 48" belt drive w/b than I could with a 34" ztr. You might want to look at used too, or dealers this time of year have lots of demo units they are selling this time of year.
  9. Cutter LLC

    Cutter LLC LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 100

    lesco widetrack only 5400 dollars 60" 28hp generac and can't even touch that price with any other mower.
  10. FiremanDud

    FiremanDud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Thanks stevesmowing for the insight but my problem is money. I only have 6k max to spend on everything from mower to 2 cycle equip. I do have a trailer but it's only 5 by 10. So I can only put limited equipment on it. The reason I'm so hooked on the 34Z is for one it's a rider and for two it's small enough to get through most gates. I live in florida so there's no slopes or hills. I think this would be a good first mower to start of with and if I start picking up accounts then I would get the big momma's. I'm getting estimate's for everything around 5.5K to 6K including hedge trimmers. What do you think? FiremanDud

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