Educate me on ZTR's and WB's

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LSUstang05, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. LSUstang05

    LSUstang05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thinking about getting into the business here in Baton Rouge, Hammond, or Covington (I have a place I can stay at either city so gas wont be an issue) mowing/edging/blowing residential. Nothing over 1/2 acre or so most likely. I will be starting next season even though we have probably another good 2-3 months of work here. I need some educating on ZTR's and WB's though and that's why I'm here.

    I was thinking about getting a 48" or so WB w/ sulky for the front lawns and then getting a smaller ZTR for back yards. I might do the opposite also. Kind of depends on the cost of the package.

    What is the difference between the gear driven and hydrostatic? Is it a huge difference in speed or is it just in feel? Or is it something completely different? It seems to me that a WB would be very inefficient as a mower to get in and out quick unless you had a sulky of some sort. Opinions on sulky's to get?

    Any other tips on WB's?

    What should I look out for? I have heard horrible things about Briggs and Stratton motors for my entire life. Every one that my dad and step dad have owned have taken a massive dump on us within 2 years or so even with maintenance. I was looking at Hustler, eXmark, graveley, and dixie chopper ($$$$$ but pretty quick).

    What would y'all suggest in the ZTR's?

    Any other tips you guys would have for me on equipment to buy and what is good to buy or what is something I need to watch out for would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance! :drinkup:
  2. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    Other than speed, you have no belt slippage with a hydro walk behind. That is a big deal in wet conditions. It is also much easier to back up with a hydro in tight quarters.

    As far as a ztr, I would look for a brand that has good dealer support. I prefer Scag myself, but all the brands you mentioned are quality machines in my opinion.

    Rather than buying 2 seperate machines right off the bat, have you considered something like a 36 Wright Sentar? Faster than a walk behind and will fit into most back yards. Just a thought.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    hydros have reverse while belt drives have reverse assist. Hydro mowers will not tire you out as much and are easier to turn. but hydros are also more expensive
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I am really curious as to why you would want two mowers to start with. Especially with the size lawns you are looking at doing (1/2 acre and less) 1 smaller wb (36") and a 21" mower should do you just fine for a while. With a 36" walk behind you will be able to up to 1.75 acres/hour (at a top speed of 6 mph). Really a 36" wb would be the most versitile and productive for you and the properties you will be mowing. You would be able to get the 1/2 acre lawns mowed in about 20 minutes.
  5. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    The cheap Briggs engines are still not much, but the Vanguard series engines are great. The Big Blocks have gobs of torque and, from what I hear, are decent on fuel use.

    For starting out, mowerbrad has it about right. 1/2 acre isn't too big to mow with a 36 to start with. As you make more money and get more accounts, you'll want a ZTR to do bigger yards quicker, but the 36" will still be good for tiny yards and gated areas.
  6. LSUstang05

    LSUstang05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Is that a stander? I saw those but had no idea how popular they were or how well they cut or even how well they handled. I would like some feed-back on people who have used them or own them on that.

    I've measured a few gates around here (Covington area) and they are all right around 48" wide.

    From what I seem to be gathering from y'all is that a WB would probably be best to start off with than a ZTR. I'm assuming mainly because of cost reasons? I would want to get a sulky w/ the WB or something so I could be a little bit quicker than just walking. Suggestions on a good sulky or just get one that the manufacturer would sell?

    For handhelds my local dealer is an Echo dealer. Is there a difference between Echo/Stihl and a few of the others? From what I've read, they all seem to be pretty decent for the most part (minus home depot/lowes brands)
  7. thartz

    thartz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 486

    I would buy a 48" walkbehind to start . You can grow with this mower . You can use it for small lawns but still take on bigger projects . find a good used one to start and go from there . Buy a brand that has a dealer close to you .
  8. S man

    S man LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,562

    If you get a fixed deck w/b, changing the deck will be a pita!!! Also it will wear you down faster sulky or no sulky. Try to find a used ztr like emxark gravely. It will save your feet and hands and will be more productive over any w/b.
  9. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    The sentar is basically a stander with a seat
  10. white1

    white1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    Noticed your sig. I got a Z71 that was running 12.8x's in the 1/4. You frequent No Problem?

    I just got started a few months ago and splurged on a Hustler 48" ZTR, Shindiawa weedeaters and blower. IMO I should have started with some used stuff, probably a walk behind would have been all I needed. I love having the Z, but its more than what I need.

    As far as dealers, if youre in the BR area, they have a few dealers that handle SCAG, Hustler, Dixie Chopper etc.

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