consumer question on commercial uquipment

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mike mc, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. mike mc

    mike mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    i am a homeowner considering taking over responsibility for my lawn care. i currently use a contractor who does a good job but is extremely expensive. i can save some money and do some outdoor work that i'm looking forward to doing again after several years of using a service.
    i have about 10,000 square feet to mow and have many trees (walnuts, dogwoods, oaks) so leaf collection is an issue.
    i don't want to do this with a consumer machine because 21" will take too long and the consumers won't handle the leaves in my opinion.
    i've looked at scag and exmark walk behinds but i don't think they have the collection capacity for the leaves and walnuts. my landscaper uses a walker gcs and it does the job. iv'e looked at consumer and commercial equipment at half a dozen dealers over the last 2 months and the walker seems to be the best machine for the job, and i guess that's why my service uses it.
    my questiona are:
    am i missing something in the equipment that will do this job?
    what should i expect to pay for a model c walker with a 42" deck?
    i know this is very expensive for a homeowner but i just don't see anything else that will do the job as quickly, easily and as well. any comments would be appreciated.
  2. BigDave

    BigDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    I can't help you at all with the Walker ... but, have you considered a 44" Exmark Lazer HP + UltraVac? Should be in the $7000 range.

    BTW, my Dad has an Ariens commercial 21" for his 1/4 acre summer home. When the summer's over, he has *lots* of leaves, and the Ariens does a great job with them, though of course he has to empty the bag several times during a mowing. He paid $600 for it, and I believe this is the model he has:

    Best of luck,
  3. mike mc

    mike mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Thanks Dave! I don't know about the bagging capacity or suction of the homeowner models. But i have looked at commercial walkbehinds. Question for anyone on a 36" walkbehind- for that deck size is there any advantage to a floating deck? I've read that a 36 generally doesn't scalp so the fixed deck would be ok but it seems that the ability to adjust cutting height on the fly would be nice. Particularly if i get rained out one week and the grass is high enough that i have to cut twice. Anyone know of a commercial walkbehind between 32-36 with a floating deck? Gear or hydro would be ok.
  4. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    The mower he is suggesting is the eXmark Lazer HP. Rider with ultra vac. It will be cheaper than a Walker, cut and move faster, yet still have a good bagging system for leaf season. I have the HP with 52" deck and run the ultra vac as my leaf system for lots of customers.
  5. mike mc

    mike mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I considered that but i didn't mention one constraint i have- 55" clearance between my front and back yards. the lazer hp with the bagger is 4 " too wide to allow me to fit from front to back. Looks like a great machine though.
  6. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    So what is the problem. The mower is 44" or they have 48" & 52". The vac unit comes off in seconds with no tools. Take just the vac part at the deck off, drive thru gate, put it back on. Tops your out 1 minute.
  7. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    The part of the vac on the side that says ultravac comes off in seconds without tools.

    leaves 041.jpg
  8. mike mc

    mike mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    cool! thanks for the info!
  9. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    10K sq.ft really isn't all that big. The Lazer and the Walker both sound like a lot of money for a homeowner to spend on a mower.

    I have a question, are you bagging your grass too, or just want a collection system for the fall leaves?

    If it's just for the fall leaves, I'd suggest a nice medium sized hydro walk behind with a Bull Rider sulky to ride on, and an Accelerator bagger with optional leaf extension for fall leaves.

    If you continue to cut weekly during fall and collecting leaves each week, the large Accelerator bagger shouldn't need emptying
    very often. Maybe even mulch them in until they really come down, then bag them.

    Since you have a gate limitation of 55", you could go with a 48" deck WB or smaller. Get the biggest engine option available to help with the pulling the sulky.

    You should be able to get all this for a good bit less then a ZTR with collection system. Which leaves you more money to spend on other stuff for your lawn (which you'll likely need if you're giving up your current service).

    Just another option. It comes down to what you want to spend I guess.

    Good luck.
  10. mike mc

    mike mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    i agree that both an exmark and walker are alot to spend for a consumer. i do bag all summer and use a lawn treatment service that i'll continue to use, that's over and above what i pay for cuts and cleanup. basically, i think i can cover this with some type of mower, a string trimmer, and a backpack blower. i'm looking at the 32" ferris hydrocut since it is relatively light weight, has an easily adjustable deck height, can bag and has a 13hp vtwin kawi engine. my only reservation is the bagging capacity and whether a walk behind will pick up the walnuts. i know the walker will suck them up, but i would be paying alot when i could just rake them out first and them mulch/bag the leaves remaining. and i would cut weekly in the fall to keep up with the leaves. but with a rider i can carry mulch bags to distribute around my beds to make mulching much easier. i do have to admit while 10 k is not alot to cut, the idea of riding vs. walking is attractive since i get my exercise other ways and i think riding would be more fun. the rider would probably take slightly longer than a walkbehind for this size lot i'm guessing, except for spring/fall cleanup.
    hard to decide (lots of tradeoffs) and my wife is opposed since she thinks i don't have time to take this on. anyway, thanks for the great input.

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