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Go with a 52" On flat land you should be able to cut 15-20 acers in a 9hr day. And there is close to 43 thousand sqft in a just one acer. Time is money in this business, so i would go with the largest machine i could use on my yds. Marks Mowing Service
If you don't have any gates to need the 36", then buy the 48". If you need the ability to get into back yards, buy the 36". When I stepped up from a 36 to a 48, the difference was pretty big. Anything from a 21" is a big improvement. I keep a 36" on the trailer for only when needed. Almost everything can be done with bigger mowers. My 52" lazar is used most. You are the only one that knows what type of properties you have at present. Only you get to decide the properties in the future. I'm only taking lawns from now on with big enough gates my lazar will get into. Good thing about being the boss, you get to make up the dumb rules. There is enough of the type of work I want out there for me to be very picky.
Thanks for the replies. How much time do you save between your 36" and 48". Most of properties arn't to big none over a acre of lawn, not to many lawns over that around here. About half that I need the bigger mower can fit a 48" one. Don't know if its worth the extra $600 for a 48" would like to know the time difference to decide.
Last year I was in your shoes. I decided to go with the Emark Metro HP 48". It has the 15hp Kaw. on it. I love this mower and am deffinately glad that I didn't go with the 36" and strongly recommend the "HP" model, its heavier duty and is much easier to adjust the deck height. I also threw on a velkie to able me to mow fast and save on my legs. If you bag even a little bit, you may want to look into a "GrassGobbler" catcher. They are made of metel and wont RIP!!