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Effectiveness of Running All Walk Behinds

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by Church2224, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. Church2224

    Church2224 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    6,000.00 Is the Price for the SWZ 36

    Everyone here mostly uses Toro, then Exmark, and that is about 75 percent of the market. Then a combination of Gravely, Scag, Huslter, Wright and John Deere, mostly. I never see a Ferris and Dixie Chopper, Bob-Cat and Snapper Pro are only used by LCOs who are dealers for them, except on who uses Snapper Pro but is switching. A few LCOs uses nothing but 60 and 48 inch Turf Tracers, others just a combination of Lazer Zs and Turf Tracers and Vantages.

    Yeah everyone around here does not like Snapper Pro except for the one LCO who is a dealer for them...funny how that works :laugh: I thought about switching to them as they are cheap but after everyone told me to stay away I looked back at Toro, Exmark, Gravely and Scag.
  2. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    That's great to hear. Stay away. Keep the demand and the prices low. Great machines for us and everybody we talk to.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Snapper Pro WB's have become very popular here over the past few years. I have seen several large fleets.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    Yep. Guys are realizing what great machines and a great value they are. I hope Ferris/SP keep the same controls on the wb's in the future.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. JTLarson

    JTLarson LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Shenandoah, IA
    Messages: 269

    Like a lot of lawn mowers, I got started using walk behinds. A guy hired me to mow his lawn with his 36" Ransomes gear drive. I thought that was the greatest, even tho it was about 3 acres, but there were lots of trees. I purchased a 36" Deere gear drive walk behind for my first mower. I loved it until I stepped up to a 48" hydro. Then I became 'soft' and got tired manhandling the gear drive. I then bought a Scag 48" hydro, advantage series deck in 2004 and my first Velke. Everyone thought I was crazy for spending $4200 on a mower without a seat. I loved the walk behinds and got a few others into them as well. I then purchased an Exmark Viking 48", but I didn't have it long as I began to gain 6 acre farms. That was when I broke the mold and went with a ZTR. Loved having both on the trailer for different situations. As the 3-6 acre yards and commercial properties became my mainstay, I switched to all ZTR's.
    A few instances of using a walk behind again got my blood pumping again on using a walk behind. A change of pace I guess. I have trouble getting others to understand operation of a walk behind, where as I find it simple.
    Every walk behind I have had was equipped with pistol grips and feel comfortable to me besides the Exmark that I did not own long enough to really get good experience with.
    I then jumped on the wagon and bought an Exmark Vantage stand on to go with my ZTR's. I have been unable to master the control of the stander. I am jerky and wish I would have got the ECS controls because it would be a familiar operation to a walk behind. (Set your speed and slow what you need for turns and control).
    After my disappointment in the stander, I purchased a Ferris DD 52" because I liked the height adjustment. I did not realize how the controls would be on it with the extra lever to speed up one side. I find when turning with these controls that I am constantly braking or 'boosting' to get straightened up and up to speed. I purchased a trailing Velke and also a castering sulky. I was familiar with a trailing sulky and thought the caster sulky would be better. Maybe I'm just stuck in my old ways, but I prefer the trailering velke.
    I do prefer a walk behind for tight areas or banks versus a stander. I am a lot more comfortable stepping off of a velke in a bad situation verses riding it out on a stander or bailing to let it go.
    I will admit a walk behind feels slow after having Hustlers, but sometimes it is relaxing.
    I'm not sure how they could do it, but I wish they could develop a walk behind with ECS or pistol grip controls, but have the features of a stander where u can step away to pick up trash without having to set parking brakes, shut off the deck, and take out of "gear". I really like being able to step off a stander, move whatever, step back on, pull the PTO up, and away you go.
    Sorry for the long post, but I really like walk behinds for smaller properties, but for the acreages the ZTR's are a definite time saver. Maybe they should make a walk behind that can mow at 10-12 MPH??
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,020

    It really comes down to marketing and media.
    The manufacturers push what they think to be right and the consumer follows.

    In truth, the big companies, like Brickman and ValleyCrest etc crunch their own data, and after years of collecting data, and dealing with the ongoing employee and maintenance issues, the guy we all envied with the big shiny Zs have returned to walk behinds.

    It boils to simplicity and level of available worker.

    In the 90s when the Z made it's debut, the quality of worker available for the price we could afford to pay them was much higher than it is today.

    Now, pay rates stay the same, what we cut the lawns for are about the same, but everything else costs more.

    When I started in this business as an owner fuel was $1.23/gal… just saying.

    The fact of the matter is, when you aren't there watching these bozos, they do not behave in your best interest.

    there is a hierarchy, The chief rides. If there is no riding to do, the chief does nothing.
    Eliminate the rider, and that eliminates the problem.
    If you have ALL riders, NO one will do the work the rider can't do, OR they will try to jam it where it won;t go.

    the reality of worker dynamics, and the actual landscapes we maintain do not match the on paper results of what Z dealers claim we will see.
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,020

    I have snapper pro walkbehinds and ferris standing/rider hybrids.

    I do not like the snapper pro walkbebinds, but these are older style (from 2001 I think) it's the loop style handle they have discontinued using for a reason.

    We don't have the walk behinds that are DD style pistol grips. Wish I did.

    It's time for some new walk behinds…. very very deeply considering getting belt drives. 36" and 48" fixed decks.
  8. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,288

    They still run lasers

    There used to be a sustainable price difference between lazers and tts.. Not anymore
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. JTLarson

    JTLarson LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Shenandoah, IA
    Messages: 269

    A few have said their dealer recommends walk behinds, but when I ask about a 52 or 60" walk behind my dealers don't have them in stock and comment "for a little more you can have a rider".
    I have had clients comment about how big of a mower I am using on their yard (72") and how quickly I get done, but I also took my walk behind with the velke on to a residence I mow and the lady came out scared to death that I was going to get hurt because she had never seen such a "contraption". Lol!
    I will admit that a rider let's you go faster, but is that where we sacrifice quality? I never had a walk behind I ran full speed forward because they just couldn't handle the grass like a rider. Like others have posted, I like my stripes to be uniform across a property. Different size mowers throw them off, but also multiple operators running mowers can lead to mismatched stripes also. But anyway I look at it, a mower sitting on the trailer is a lot of money not being put to use. I feel bad running solo with 2 mowers on the trailer, but I also try to think "simple" for who may be helping me. Usually that puts the least experienced on the rider and me doing technical mowing with the walk behind.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,020

    Over the years I used to hear a lot of complaints about mowing "too fast"

    I'd have to go back and talk with the client.
    is there a problem with the cut quality?
    Is there any damage?
    did they miss something?

    What's the problem?
    well they just went really fast.

    In the past I would just drop clients that would complain this way every week.
    I would have people "insist" I use 21" mowers (basically what THEY thought you should mow with) I just answered simply. No.

    there is just too much competition to do that these days in my opinion.

    I typically run a trailer with a Z (52-60) a walk behind (48 usually, now that the 44s are gone, but some times 36) and a 21 (no 21 if there is a 36 on board)

    There is ONE guy on the truck. He treats his mowers like a golf bag and runs the best mower for the conditions on each property on his route.

    On some rare routes and a particular day the equipment might switch up where you see two 60 zs on one trailer and two guys go together (big stuff that day/route) or maybe one trailer has two 48s and a 36 with two guys and another trailer has the two Zs and two guys. and another truck/trailer doesn't even go out…then the machines, trailer and truck get checked for maintenance.

    This is all based on route and need. but most of the time, with my routes, you will see a single operator with multiple machines (which I call the golf bag..to play golf you need a driver, an iron and a putter, so bring them or don't play)

    however, the size of residential clients lawns are just smaller than they used to be. Walker mowers make more sense than ever as the customers expectations go up ad their pocket book gets smaller, and if you can't afford walkers… a couple of walk behinds and a grass gobbler get the job done nicely.

    Zs a re bigger and heavier than they once were too, and there is more torque and power and it just seems like the grass ripping and divots is just so much more common, especially since many clients cut back on lawn care like good fertilizer and aeration…the lawns are weaker and just can't take the tanks running over them like you could get away with before.

    there is little difference in a 60" rider and a 60" walk behind, in my opinion, if you truly need a 60" deck, I would be running a Wright Stander ZK.

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