Just a little experience to stir up some thoughts. It seems as if many feel that $60/hour is a respectable hourly rate for a single operator, mowing with wide area mowers. I had some concrete work done at my home recently, and it was done by a single operator. He rented the equipment to dig out the driveway. I kept track of his time and materials, and his hourly rate came out to the same $60. While this seems all fine and dandy, the MAIN difference is his overhead. He operates out of a van with all his tools inside. The difference in his tools and our is the fact that his are much less expensive, and do not require the maintenance and repairs that ours do. His tools will also last much longer. Also, his tools do not take up as much space as ours, requiring less storage space. Because his tools are much less expensive, his equipment insurance requirements are less as well. I've noticed this in other trades as well. Think of the house painter that only has a truck and some ladders, or the siding contractor that has some ladders, brake... I know that some trades have tools that require maintenance and repair ( air compressor, nail gun...), however, they are not a $3-5-7,000 Mower that has a lifespan of less than 5 years. Any thoughts, questions, comments???