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does a Z mower really make the difference

FineScapes

LawnSite Member
Location
Nashville, TN
Currently have a exmark 52' turf tracer and love it but at times i wish i had a Z i mainly have properties that are 1-3 acres no big giant yards but am going to advertise and am just wanting your opinion on when should I step up to a Z and when did u?time?it cost much more!im a one man crew am i kiddin myself with wanting a Z let me have it what do ya think step up to a Z or stay with the wb?
 

Kelly's Landscaping

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Milford CT
If you can afford it then go for it lawn size really doesn’t matter and yours are plenty large enough I use my 60 lazer even on single strips like on gas stations.

It sounds like you have no ZTR experience so unfortunately you get to learn on your dime not someone else’s. Once you try one though it’s hard to even think of going back. Make sure it has a foot pedal to raise the deck over high spots or on incline turns and don’t think because it can do zero turns you should the tires are a foot wide and will rip easily if you take the turns to fast. Its better to do a multi point turn. I like to veer to my left on the last few feet on the row then back up curving to my right side and then I'm lined up for my next pass and its maybe 2 seconds longer and I don’t rip the lawn up.

When did I buy my first Z before I even had my first lawn contract I used them for 3 years at my former employers and there is no comparison. If you really want it then I say get it they become the center of your lawn business. The bagging system is great and in fall the leaf plow shaves tons of hours off the fall clean ups the 27 hp lazer I got easily pushes 1000 pounds of leaves at a clip try that with a tarp by your self. I had a 2 week period this year when my z was down it wasn’t but the bagger was and they had my z none the less my lawn lists time doubled I was beyond livid.
 

metro-hp_48

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
TN
I would deff. get a Z. No comparison between setting and standing. Standing can be bad on the knees! (not that I have a Z, and if you want to get rid of your TT, to re-up let me know)
Need to "upgrade myself".
 

Richard Martin

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Greenville, NC
I went from a 50" Gravely walkbehind to a 60" Dixie Chopper ZTR and there is no comparision. With the Gravely I was using a part time man on Fridays. When I got the Dixie I dumped the part time man and increased the amount of work I could do by 33%. I use the Dixie on lawns from 1/5 acre up to 2-1/2 acres.
 

fcl01

LawnSite Member
Location
OHIO
God gave me an a*# for a reason!! And I will use it whenever I can. Sell your 52" WB. Buy a 36" WB and a 60" Z. Then you can do any yard with ease. I know it sounds like a big investment but i think you'll like the outcome.
 

Randy Scott

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Wisconsin
Originally posted by FineScapes
Currently have a exmark 52' turf tracer and love it but at times i wish i had a Z i mainly have properties that are 1-3 acres no big giant yards
Do you mean a 1/3 of an acre or 1 to 3 acres? If you mean 1 to 3 you're a fool not to have a Z (no offense). That is alot of turf to walk. I'm surprised you can even compete with prices walking 3 acres, if that is the case. You have to decide if your properties warrant a Z or not. I know we couldn't do without them. We really only have a couple properties we use our 48" walkbehind for. The rest is all Z mowing.
 

DennisF

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Florida
I mow 12,000 SF (1/4 acre) lawns with my Hustler Z in about 10 minutes. Before I bought the Hustler I mowed with a 52 inch Scag WB and it took 20-25 minutes. Not only is the Z faster.. at the end of the day your legs don't feel like rubber and you're are much less fatigued. Also the productivity factor increases to almost double what can be done with a WB. That factor alone will justify the price difference between the two. But don't do away with the WB if you do jump to a Z. On steep hills a good WB is priceless. JMO.
 
OP
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FineScapes

LawnSite Member
Location
Nashville, TN
Thank you ALL for your replies- Kelly's I do have experience with Z's Kubota, Dixie Chopper, Toro - and have only test drove the exmarks-ON HILLS ARE THEY LOOSE(EXMARK Z) -ITS HARD TO HANG A HILL WITH THE DIXIE - but IM a one man show and im just trying to keep my expenses down or as low as possible I understand about the time - and as far as prices go I average 35 per hour after driving time , when i started and ended the day - IS THIS WHERE I SHOULD BE( some days i make much more but when i bid if i know its going to take an hour I charge 45-50) I know its different for crews but am i on the right price track? My yards are 1 -3 acres but im tellin ya my wb cuts good and is pretty fast(turf tracer52)

SO I assume i should go after a 60'' I have Kubota, Dixie, Scag, Exmark(which im leaning towards) grasshopper, Hustler,Toro DEALERS in my area that I know of and have heard about it im partial to Exmark but want the right machine - ANOTHER QUESTION FOR YALL HOW MANY SEASON CAN I PLAN KEEPING A Z AND DO THEY DEPPRECIATE A LOT

thanks.
 

brucec32

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
I got a ZTR about 5 years ago and wish I'd done it sooner. They're a little faster in general on wide open areas, but it's more than that. My knees took a real beating on velkies and when walking. I find riding much easier. Even standing on a sulky, you are still having to support and balance your body weight constantly. On jobs where I used wb's, the parts where I got to ride felt like I was taking a rest break. Wb's have their place, but not on 1-3 acre properties. I agree, a 48" to 60" rider (smaller ones are more versatile but you lose productivity on larger properties) and a 32" to 36" (32" if you do a lot of small gate properties) wb make a great combination. Besides, you will need a backup anyway, so get one of each type, with deck size on each determined by what props you're mowing. And of course Wb's are often needed for steep slopes, places ZTR's won't get to for whatever reason, and for mowing wet turf or soggy areas where the ZTR tears it up.

Remember, if you aren't using the wb full time it will last a long time, and the extra cost of a 2nd unit will make you much more efficient and will more than pay for itself. Compared to the lost income from being less efficient, these machines are dirt cheap, even though it may be daunting to think of buying them now. I enjoy mowing with a wb and sulky, and think it is easier on turf in many cases, but it's much more wearing on ME.
 
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