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GO BIG OR GO HOME mower help!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by DodgeDually, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. DodgeDually

    DodgeDually LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Hello I am new to the site, and have been searching for some advice on weather I should pack my buisness up, and do something else or go big. I have been doing residential mowing for three yrs now. My delema is I am loosing $$$. I bought a Dixon Kodiak 50" mower 2yrs ago, and it has turned into a major headache. If I am to keep my buisness I need a new mower. In my area I am torn between the Grasshopper, and the exmark mower. I don't want to start a debate about which mower is better, but would like to hear of peoples personal exsperiance w/ these mowers. I don't know if I will be purchasing new or used so any info on know problems, and what to look for would be very helpfull. I also want to know which mower is the most adaptable. Can it be easily changed over from bagger, mulching, side discharge. I have a good reputation in my area, but from the all the down time I am having w/ my Dixon I am starting to loose customers. I am terrified of taking on another mower payement, and getting stuck w/ another lemon of a mower. In advance I would like to thank everyone for advice.
  2. TandM

    TandM LawnSite Senior Member
    from south
    Messages: 772

    Both mowers are great get whatever has the best service dealer.I personally use a scag tiger cub because of the dealer. exmark Is a great mower also my dealer for them just sucks. good luck
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yeah but you're stuck in a rut, and until you decide to pull yourself out of it there's little to nothing anyone can do, but I'm not totally unsympathetic either... My 60" Ztr's the same way, it's just a money hog in every way and really only pays off on the BIG lots (acre+) and like yourself I could do without the $230 / month drain on the payment. It shouldn't be, and it's not that big of a deal, but it is, and hence I've learned some lessons:

    - You HAVE to save your money and pay for the farking thing outright, cash or cheque it doesn't matter, even the credit card will do so long you can pay it off at once, that fixes the stupid problem with ongoing payments and if you dont got the money then you can't afford it, bluntly put. Once you start saving you never stop, it is, to me, an absolute requirement to stay operational, is saving. Saving bites, but bite the bullet some all along and then you don't gotta suck it up but so much more when the time comes.
    - The MOST efficient mower is along the lines of a 44-48" Walk Behind, gear-drive 15hp Kohler, make it a T-bar and there's no wrist pain. A smaller deck wastes time, a larger deck is too cumbersome, hydros suck up power and hence fuel.
    - New is great but used is better, IF you can find a good machine for the money, a real trick, even more so with a Toro. Here again you need cash money, moolah, chaching, but for about 1,000 - 1,500 you can find a 4-5 year old in decent shape.
    - Mechanical know-how is a must at least in my business, that AND (or) have two machines, one as main and one as backup, yes, always. Fixing it yourself is convenient, and saves time and money, but also once a machine gets much past its 1st year you simply have to know how to fix it, otherwise you're always dependent on the dealer and when they can get around to it.
    - This eventually gets you independent of the dealer(s), possibly one of the largest cash drains for a company, I still don't understand how I made it while I was dependent on a dealer, otoh it is necessary for the first few years but this is something to work on is getting away from dealer support.

    Other than that it takes time.

    If I had to do it all over again I would've never bought the Z, maybe another 48" Toro, but that's me.
  4. rudeboy

    rudeboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    its better to buy in cash not go in debt
  5. DodgeDually

    DodgeDually LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks for the advice. I think I will base my decision on who will give me the best price, and warrenty. I haven't been able to afford the repair costs at the steeler so I have learned a lot over the last few yrs on how to fix small engines, mowers, and my truck. I want to be as independant from the dealers repair shop as possible.
  6. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,808

    if only life was as easy as this statement! to me credit is a good thing if your responcible. building credit is important. i recommend going big. like someone else said, chose the better of the dealers. get them to assure you they will take care of you in a timely manner should i go down. i run bobcats only because that is what my dealer sells, and they take care of me!

    as far as the mowers, changing any ZTR from bagger to side, to mulching is a PITA. big mowers make $ much faster which gives you more time for other work or more lawns. good luck
  7. westwind

    westwind LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    Any repairs you can make yourself is always more cost efficient. We have used Exmark products since the late 90's and have been pleased. All machines will have their high and low points. We have seen little downtime from the exmark products. Once you reach the 1000hr. mark you will notice the repairs increasing in frequency. Then it's time to sell.
  8. DodgeDually

    DodgeDually LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    1000hr mark my Dixon started w/ the repairs at the 200hr mark.:laugh: I would love to have a mower that went that long w/ out having to fix every wk.
  9. DodgeDually

    DodgeDually LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I did it I bought a grasshopper 723k h2 mower w/ a 52" deck. There is no comparison between the dixon, and the grasshopper. Now I see how it does in the long run. More yards here I come.

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