Commercial 30 or 36 Walk-Behind

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by JonesLawnCareWV, May 9, 2014.

  1. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,761

    Belt drives have their place, but the beauty of being able to back up a hill and not have to see a doctor for a hernia afterward is very, very nice.

    I would be interested in a 30" push mower. We actually have a few yards that the customer demands they be push mowed. All of them are less than 1/4 acre, so it's not bad, however it is still time consuming. Their saving grace is that they are all clumped in with adjoining properties that we service, so one guy is push mowing and one guy in on the ZTR/WB and one is trimming.
  2. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 731

    Ok, First to Jim.... I totally agree with you Jim. A 36 is a more productive mower overall then the 30, but for the lawns I have, the exmark 30 has worked out great. I'm building my business slowly, and didn't want the higher debt of a 48 inch turf tracer YET....that's what I have my eye on next.

    To TPen...
    I have more then three gates to tend with, most properties here have fences and back yards. i have three gates in which the 30 is the biggest mower that will fit through them and there is more to mow in the back yard then the front.

    Funny you should mention how much income I get from one of those three gated yards. Its true that a few of the "other guys" didn't want that lawn. BUT...because I took that yard, I was referred to two other properties. ONE of those properties netted me 600 bucks a month. So, sometimes taking on the jobs that others don't want to do because its a little more (DARE I SAY IT..) WORK...doors will open.

    Regarding switching heights, well....there certainly ARE reasons to switch heights. I have to cut some yards that are Bermuda, and others that are St. Augustine. The St Augustine requires a much higher mowing height then the Bermuda, so its not something "I can stop doing" as you say. A few mentioned that the floating decks can be switched quickly, and no argument there.

    I have a full time job in addition to the lawn care business, so yes, I do take clients that others pass on. I would love to be able to pick and choose the easiest lawns to mow and make the most money per hour possible, but you gotta start somewhere. I rely on word of mouth primarily for advertising, and have concentrated on dong good work on every lawn.

    I totally agree that a 36 CAN be more efficient than an exmark 30. But, for my situation currently, the exmark 30 was a better fit (last year when I bought it). I definitely want to add a 48" turf tracer to the arsenal, and that may very well be my next mower purchase. Ill build the cash with my exmark 30 until it becomes affordable to get the Turf Tracer.

    The true walk behinds will run circles around an exmark 30 in open ground, or heavy spring growth, no doubt about it, and Id love to have one. Just not in the cards yet.

    Here in west texas, there has been severe drought, so heavy spring growth really hasn't been an issue for very long...LOL, but Ill keep my fingers crossed.

    To summarize for the original OP, and add to what I've said in my previous posts, you need to sit down and consider what size and shape the majority of your yards are first. Then decide how much you can afford to spend, or are willing to finance. From there, think about how the mower of choice will fit on your trailer, and will you still have room for your other equipment. No mower will be perfect in every situation. Take everyone's inputs on here, because they all have merit, and ultimately you will decide on a mower. From there, use the hell out of it, maintain it, and start bringing in the $$$...LOL...good luck. :walking:
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,116

    Tunnel vision yet again.

    "MY way works the best because it's my way." That's the problem...

    THREE gates that only the 30 can fit in…who cares about the other gates if a 36 fits in, we've been talking about that all thread long.

    One property that brings you 600 a month, you would see more than that earned by having a 36 on ALL the other lawns you cut (which is WHY the other guys passed them up)

    Switch heights.

    Don't cut St Aug on the same Day you Cut Bermuda. It doesn't matter if they are next door to each other…. That's a tunnel vision problem, rather than an operations solution.
    BIG picture…. not what's right in front of you, at the moment.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,116

    Backing up a hill…. REally?

    When did the 30" get a reverse installed on it?

    How many hills are you backing up with this 30"

    You do know that the R on the gear shift is for reverse, right?
    You do know it works FINE for backing up hills, that's essentially why it's even there.
    IT works like Shite for quick in and out back up, because you have to shift it and it takes a bit to engage.

    You don't have to pull it backwards up a hill. The pulling part is for the quick in an out steering in tight areas on flat ground, which is much easier than on a 30" because of larger inflated tires and better ergonomics.

    There is nothing a 36" can do that a 30" can do better, or even compare to…with the exception of bagging grass walk ways in an english garden and getting through 31" gates.
  5. JonesLawnCareWV

    JonesLawnCareWV LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Just got back from putting a down payment on the Commercial 30 at my local Exmark dealer. Took my trailer with me and asked them if I could load a 36" Viking to check the fit before I decided which one I want. Viking leaves me with less than a foot of open space at the rear of the trailer. Really no way I could make it work, not to mention it was outside my budget, and 3x the cost of the Commercial 30 (36" 2014 Viking: $5700). They didn't have any of the Snapper Pro SW20's (the 36 hydro) in stock so I couldn't check the fit of it. They had a slightly better deal on it compared to the Viking, but dimension specs would have had me with about the same amount of open space in the trailer as the Viking did. As much as I would love to have the power and efficiency of a Walk Behind, it just isn't in the cards right now.

    Thanks to everyone for their input and comments in order to help me make my decision. Once I have it, I will make sure to give my review and updates about the machine within rbljack's "Pulled the Trigger, New Exmark 30 for me"/Exmark review thread as the other Commercial 30 owners have done.
  6. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I thought of this thread this morning as my 36" Ferris sat on the trailer while I cut the lawn with my 21" mower instead. I had no choice - there was 8" of growth since last week (friggin' fertilizing company) and it was raining lightly. The Ferris with the mulch kit was useless in those conditions - I had to bag it with the Toro.

    To say that one machine is THE answer is almost laughable. I was WISHING I had a 30" Toro on the trailer today with the Ferris - sure would have made that job go a lot faster.
    It's always good to have options.
  7. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Exact reason not to install a permanent mulching system on a WB, or any machine IMO. Around here where its wet every morning, most LCO's have an OCDC which allows them to mulch, side discharge, or bag depending on conditions. We would all love to own every size mower made but you need to spend money wisely. Why not have a machine that can mow both tiny and mid sized lawns??
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    I just went to the Snapper Pro website. They now offer a 32" WB. It's belt drive. If other companies follow suit the 30" will be history.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    Exactly...and I couldnt imagine using a 21 with a 36 on the trailer that can rasily be setup to be converted for all 3 mowing options in seconds. Working smarter not harder is way more productive.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    Yup. I'm considering switching it out. Just not sure how well it will actually "mulch" with an OCDC since that isn't the intended purpose of such a device and the mulch baffles would not be in place.

    I need to mulch more than I need to discharge. (I won't bag with it) I considered both initially and figured I'd try a mulch kit first.

    Heh. I should start a thread on the OCDC I "made" for my 21" Toro.
    It worked great today.

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