Effectiveness of Running All Walk Behinds

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

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    Not sure why I didn't think of this til now but we run a walker mower in the winter. Think it is a 48".

    So if you didn't have to dump the walker I assume the time comparison between a 48" wb and 48" walker not dumping would be very close. Right?
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  2. SDLandscapes VT

    SDLandscapes VT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581

    sulkies--we don't use sulkies--again more money that doesn't get used enough to justify the expense
  3. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    I had to train a handful of guys to help me with fall clean ups. I couldn't believe how hard it was for them to grasp the use of a blower. By the end of the day the ones that sucked had rakes in their hands and were pulling tarps.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,099

    Generally you don't have to back up very far with a sulky…

    I'd like to see people mow who are always talking about all this backing up…. Mowing doesn't happen backwards…

    there is maybe a foot or two of reverse here or there.

    Most backing up I ever see is loading or unloading.

    If someone is riding a velke to back off the trailer, they are so lazy Id probably fire them just so I didn't have to watch them ride a velke backwards off a trailer.
  5. lawnsaspire

    lawnsaspire LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,695

    I've given this a lot of thought and while I still have properties are larger. It is my goal to eventually shed all large properties that aren't located right next to other mowing accounts. In so doing I thought about going with walk behinds only. But I just can't get over how fast and productive a stander is over a larger walk behind. My stander uses roughly a Gallon an hour like a walk behind and it allows me to take on more properties if need be. The only thing I don't like about the stander over the walk behind is the damage it does to turf. Other than this and the perhaps extra expense of the stander, I feel like it is the best option for productivity over walk behinds or ztrs.
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  6. Mow Mony

    Mow Mony LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 229

    they dont. We let them use them for awhile, and found the would ride every lawn possible even when it should have been not used or removed. It saved very little time, and they scrathed up some nice concrete bed borders and made ruts from tight turns that are much easier with no velke/wheels. 90% of the properties they saved no time, so no they are not included on the truck.
    maybe you dont mow tight lawns, or side lawns with no turning room, or lawns with many obstacles, or lawns with low hanging bushes with grass a full mower length underneath...but the instant reverse of a hydro saves us a couple of minutes on almost every lawn. You also use less energy with a hydro compared to belt drive, not that a belt drive is a huge strain, but it does make a difference over a full day. We also stripe every lawn, its much easier to do efficient alternating pattern striping with a hydro. I know because we used the exact same size exmark belt drive on the same routes, and then swapped in the exact size hydro exmark and got done quicker. Also the belt on a belt drive mower will slip when its wet/raining or going up a steeper incline, whereas a hydro mower is only limited by the traction of the tires.
  7. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    sulkies are the same as having ztr in the fleet. they make the crew lazy. they are fantastic for wide open lawns though obviously, I'm picking up a proslide for next season simply for the retracting factor and additional striping.

    its just like anything else, convenience seems to cause slacking. my policy is simple, if youre out alone, and I swing by and see you using a sulky on a 2500 sq ft postage stamp I'm going to flip out.
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,099

    I used hydros too…

    they were especially nicer when trying to climb a ramp into the back of a pick up.

    they draw back with wet belts on belt drives is an over reported urban legend.
    Used to be much more common of an issue back in the early 90s. Not really an issue now, change of pulleys etc.
    Your main problem is poorly adjusted equipment, not wet conditions.

    Belt drives don't leak hydro fluid on the lawn.
    Belt drives are way easier to move when they are broken and need repair.
    Belt drives are WAY lighter.
    IF you are worried about ruts and damage, the hydro walk behind doesn't ave you much damage over a stander, because most of that damage is being done by that "zero turn" locking that one wheel and causing the divot.

    The zero turn "three point turn" is the way to do it right.
    Walkbehinds with velkes and belt drives can't do this and have to do a "cul de sac" turn, which is where the stander/ZTR saves the time.
    IF you are just going to lock up one wheel and spin 180 degrees, a belt drive can do that all day long and do much less damage and lose no speed over a hydro.

    a Hydro walk behind can't do the three point turn with the velke on, so it takes the same time to do the alternating stripe ( by the way is there another way to mow a lawn?) as a belt drive with a velke.

    I mow all types of terrain, but I'm also 6'5" and 265 lbs… I typically throw a belt drive around like it's a honda 21.
    Low hanging branches I typically carry a pruning saw and hand pruners and trim them up.

    I find the hydro walk behinds can be just as tiring as the belt drives, if not more, simply because they just find different ways of making you muscle them and they weigh more.
    amount them are: getting stuck in mud, getting stuck down a ditch, getting stuck going up a hill, getting stuck some other dang place.
    See a trend?

    A hydro walkbehind is ALMOST the same money as a stander AND ALMOST as much weight.
    is it a little better? yes.
    But if you want a big change, pick up some lightly used belt drives, change your mowing habits slightly and in many cases realize new found time and better quality (because you're not getting stuck, or dribbling hydro fluid all over the clients lawn or generating ruts and divots…OR wasted time trying to get the broke down hydro unit off the trailer)

    All that being said…
    In almsot an larger residential, I'm going to run a stander (if I'm not running walker GHS or MBs)

    I save ZTRs for the institutional, campus and park type work, where the crew generally does 1-2 places a day.

    the hydro walk behind is probably the most common unit because it COULD do the work at ANY of the types of locations I may contract for,

    and the belt drive walk behind is generally saved for the smaller, highly detailed residential accounts.

    I commonly send one 36" belt drive not he back of a pick up with what I call a 'detail' crew.
    They weed, trim, and police up properties. They some times do minimal plantings too small for a landscape crew to get dispatched.

    They will do the small lawn areas that my full scale mow teams would just step all over themselves on.
    also if I have a PIA who constantly complains about speed, or noise, or speed…and of course speed… I send one of these little 36" belt drives to go to do the job and take that place off the regular mowing route.
    That comes with several disadvantages to the customer.
    1) if you don't have detail work to do or a chem program, your canceled.
    2) I can no longer guarantee you when we cut the lawn (which day) it will get cut, when we get there.
    if you like, we can come back with our speed and our noise? No? ok see 1 and 2 above.

    Every mower has it's place.
    But I try to stay very far away from 21" mowers… they give me hives.
    I have never, not a single day in my life, found a way to make a prof it with a 'push' mower.

    Edit: Im just not going to bother changing all the dang mistyped words that apple saw fit to change on me because it thought it knew what I was typing…. where do I change this auto correct… it's SATAN!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  9. JTLarson

    JTLarson LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Shenandoah, IA
    Messages: 274

    I am guilty of using a velke every chance I can. A really small lawn with lots of landscapes I don't use it, but I couldn't put in the long days I do because I would be so chaffed if I didn't use one. Been there, done that. Uncomfortable, miserable, and unproductive.
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  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,099

    chaffed? maybe wear a jock strap?:laugh:

    It really depends on speed an distance.

    If you arent running in 4th or 5th gear you don't need the velke.

    On the smaller lawns I can run a hydro faster without the velke by a minute or two then if Im struggling to use the velke.

    If you can't walk and/or stand for 8-10 hours a day every day....maybe you NEED to (unless you have a handi cap) losing the ability to healthily walk/stand for long periods of time is worse than losing a few minutes per lawn.

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