First Commercial Mower (List down to 2 choices)

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by seb442, May 13, 2004.

  1. seb442

    seb442 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    My house sits on 7 acres of which I mow about 3 acres of it every 5- 10 days depending on the time of year. I have a JD LT133 13hp 38" cut. Need something bigger and faster so I can mow 5+ acres. My son and I plan to get 3-4 other jobs between 1 and 5 acres this year and hopefuly even more next year. I have been reading a lot of posts on this site and visiting dealers to learn as much as possible before I make a purchase. I have all but decided to chose between the Ferris 3000 61" cut or a Hustler Super Z 60" cut. Have been quoted 8,700 for the Ferris and 8,000 for the Super Z with a Honda 24hp engine.

    Ride is very important as I have had 4 surgeries and do not need to bounce any more than I have to. Open to thoughts and opinions of both mowers, and brand and size of gas engine. Thanks. Plan to make a purchase by June 19th.

    I see Ferris has a new finance plan starting 5-15-2004 with 0% Interest for 36 months.

    This is the main reason I have taken a Kubota ZD 21 out of the running. Hope that was a wise decision.

    Please give me some more food for thought before I make my final choice. I think this is harder than buying a new car. Thanks for your time and opinions. Steve
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    your final choice should be based on the size of the other lawns that you are going to pick up and their conditions.
  3. travis strecker

    travis strecker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    exmark 60in lazer 27 horse
  4. JHE

    JHE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    I am in the same position as you as I am looking to buy one of these machines for personal use. I have been asking the same question on this forum and get mixed responses. Some helpful and some geared towards the responder's loyalty - it does not seem to matter that exmark was not on your list they are just going to say exmark anyway.

    I too am down to Hustler vs. Ferris. From my research (including very extensive reading on this site), and I have not been on either of these mowers, the Ferris is going to blow the Hustler away with respect to ride. The Z comes standard with a suspension seat but I have not seen anyone indicate that the ride is excellent or that it is even in the same class as the Ferris. So, just taking into consideration your back, I would go with the Ferris. Another added benefit with the Ferris is the 2 year bumper to bumper (non-transferable) warranty. And, if your dealer gives a loaner when, and if, your mower is in the shop that = two years of worry free cutting. I also just saw a Ferris in great condition, with @350 hours, and no warranty, go on ebay for $6,000. And that was the old ferris 3000 with just the rear suspension, not the four wheel suspension. So it seems to me they retain value well. The bad news is that I have seen some complaints about their cut/ stripping but it appears that this is being thought out in the 2004 models (maybe a Ferris Rep can chime in on this issue). As a homeowner I doubt this will bother you much.

    On the other hand, I was going to go with the Hustler because they have one heck of a price going with the sale that ends in May. They appear to be a less complicated machine that has less parts than Ferris and, in my simple mind, that = less problems for you in the long run. I think this is super important as a home owner because you are going to have a mower with a lot of years and few hours. So age is going to be the deteriorating factor and not use. In addition, the Hustler owners that I have read about and spoken to are very happy with their machines (although the most happy appear to be the folks with the 27hp engine). I think you are going to see a consistently higher quality cut with the Hustler.

    Both of us are probably going overboard by buying a commercial mower for our residential lawns but I think you are making a mistake with the Huslter. The Z is going to serve your purpose as well as the Super Z but it costs $7,000. The only thing that you get out of this is a much higher cutting speed and the ability to put on a larger deck - neither of which the homeowner really needs. If you want to give a $1,000 away give it to your favorite charity. The Ferris price seems about right.

    Other than these comments the deck and the motor are really the same size. One comment I have about the motor is watch out for the Honda. I keep reading about folks complaining about problems with this motor. Others I have spoken with look at me like I have two heads when I ask if the Honda is having problems. Their answer is no and they point to Honda's reputation (which you cannot argue with). But I have read enough complaints that I would be leary of putting the Honda on the mower I am going to buy. Most folks like the Kawasaki's in the size motor you are looking at but there are some Kohler fans in here (try and read through the post and you will see what I mean - do a search on each motor). My choice is the Kawasaki.

    Also, the first piece of advice that I see over and over again is demo, demo, demo. The only way for you to see if the Ferris and Hustler's ride works for your back is to test it. And I do not mean one of those crappy parking lot tests that the dealers keep offering me. I mean several hours of cutting on your lawn. After riding it for several hours you will be able to tell how your back is going to feel. You will either be popping the ibuprofene or cracking a beer grinning like heck (If it is really bad you will be doing the ibuprofene and beer).

    The second piece of advice I see is that you need to have a good dealer to order through. One that is going to fix your mower fast and treat you like they really want your business. I went to my Hustler dealer, brochures in hand and $7,000 burning a hole in my pocket, to ask some questions about the Z and inquire about a demo. The guy didn't even try and come out from behind the counter to show me the mower and seemed irritated that I was asking questions. Right now, and just because of this experience, my $ is going to Ferris. I found a dealer with a leftover and I am trying to jump on that one.

    I will say that this site has been an invaluable tool for me. The links to the sponsor's sites and all of the input make this one of the best informational sites I have used ever on the web. Hats off to the folks that put this together and keep it running day in and day out.

    Hopefully you will get some other responses from people with actual experience with the Hustler and Ferris (and not too many from those that want to praise a brand that you are not even asking about). Good luck!
  5. Burger

    Burger LawnSite Member
    from Montana
    Messages: 192

    as a home owner with a large plot of land, have you thought about a Compact utility tractor? Mid Mount belly mowers give an excellent cut, plus opens up the options for Loaders and three point hitch implements. Granted it is a bit more money, but it opens the door to other options than simply buying a machine dedicated to mowing.
    Just a thought.
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Wow, I give you gents credit for the extensive research and knowledge that you have on these two mowers.

    I'd like to tell you that buying commercial equipment is not such an out of the ordinary thing. I work with a guy (fire dept) that bought a Toro 26EFI 61" deck commercial Z for his 3 acres. He can do the whole thing under an hour. He is selling the house and now has a Z for sale but he really loves the mower.

    Last year I began to research Z's also as I have a Walker and a Toro WB for the lawn biz. I did demo a Hustler Super Z with a Honda and a Ferris IS 3000, 4 wheel independent suspension as well as an Exmark.

    There are pros and cons from a commercial cutters point of view for all mowers because as you may or may not know, one mower can't do everything. That is where you have the advantage because you are using it for your own property.

    I will just give you a couple of my observations and if you want more info just PM me and I'd be glad to expand.

    The Hustler with the honda cut grass but was underpowered for the commercial cuts. It is a solidly built machine. The thing is as fast as a go kart but it cannot cut grass at full speed. Great company and support. I don't think you would be unhappy with the machine and it would last until your kids have kids.

    The Ferris has a nice idea with the IS. I tried it on many bumpy properties and it did work well. The biggest downfall I experienced was quality of cut from the deck but that may well be fixed now. It was smooth and it also was well built. It had a 25 Kawi in it which had good power. It also would do you well.

    In the end you have to decide what is the factor that makes up your mind. I'm thinking that price will probably be the major deal maker but there are others such as dealer support and add-ons.
    One thing I would like to add is that these things do use some gas and if you have an opportunity to compare an EFI engine to a carburated one, you will find that you save quite a bit of fuel. It may not be a major concern as a homeowner but it is a step up without going to a diesel.
    I hope I helped a little, good luck.

    superz 066.jpg
  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Here is a pic of the Ferris 3000IS

    ferris3000 006.jpg
  8. chines63

    chines63 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    I have an Exmark 48" and love it. It is not the fastest but gives a beautiful cut everytime. I will never switch, my personal observation of different mowers. Don't know anything about Scag or Ferris and will probally never learn.
  9. JHE

    JHE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    With respect to the utility of the Z's, I was worried about that as a home owner. I am going from a garden tractor that does everything ok (cut, tow, plow snow, pull trailer, etc.) to a lawn mower that is built just for grass. I did not want to keep two machines around but my primary goal was to reduce the amount of time it takes me to cut grass. Both the Hustler and the Ferris (as well as most others) have an optional trailer hitch. I wouldn't throw a landscape trailer on there and pull it around (they all have a relatively low tongue weight) but it is good enough for my purposes. In addition, there is an aftermarket snow plow and snow blower for the Exmark, Gravely, and a couple of others (not the Hustler or Ferris). I forget the name of the company but I think they are out of Canada and the Gravely website (at least for the 2 series mowers) links you right to them. If you needed more utility then you would have to go with a Kubota.
  10. seb442

    seb442 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    I have all but decided which ZTR to purchase. This will be my first. I think I will be going with a Ferris 3000. Probably will chose the Kohler 27 hp engine. I have learned a lot from reading posts on this web site the past 5 weeks. Thanks to everyone.

    I demo the Ferris (both the Kohler 27 and Kawasaki 25) - a Bad Boy and a Super Z yesterday. I really like the Super Z and I am sure it is a great mower but the Ferris did seem to be a lot smoother ride. The ride is very important to me. The past few weeks I have also looked at Snapper, Gravely, Kubota, Exmark, Dixie Chopper, Toro, and Cub Cadet.

    I was quoted 8,699 on the Ferris 3000 61" with 25 Kawasaki and 8,999 with the Kohler 27. I think each can be had for a 2-3 hundred less than the quote. Do these prices sound about right???

    I think when we try to chose which mower and engine brand to go with is is for the most part just a matter of opinion. Similar to which is best - Ford, Chevy, or Dodge. If we are looking at the top 6-8 companies which produce the ZTR's I think the bottom line is a personal preference on some of the different options available on different models and our own past history with brands. I don't think I could make a very bad decision choosing any of the last 4-5 mowers I was looking at. Down the road several years I doubt if I would know the difference, however I think the ride down the road will be a little smoother for me with the Ferris Independent Suspension. Also the 0% for 3 years which started 5-15-04 was a small factor. Feedback and Opinions are welcome. Send a PM if you would like. Thanks, Steve

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