hi, just a few questions on cutting 1/4 acre properties.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by maui8, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. maui8

    maui8 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 33

    I am putting together my business plan and all seems well. Since this will be my first 'riding' 34 inch mower I will own, I am wondering how long the typical 1/4 acre lot will take (assuming the backyard and the majority of the property is clear).

    1. the manual says the mower can travel up to 9mph. do you guys travel at max speed when cutting a lawn? if your travelling around 6-7 mph, cutting with a 34 inch mower, how long does the 'tyipical' 1/4 lawn take to cut?

    2. does lawn damage occur when travelling at max speeds?

  2. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 993

    As always, there isn't a simple answer. In my experience I only travel at max speed on a few accts. Lots of factors are involved: is the yard bumpy?, how tall is the grass?, what kind of grass is it?, how sharp are your blades?, how much is there to mow around? If it isn't a commercial mower, you generally have to go slower to keep the cut quality nice. I mainly deal with 1/2 acre yards and they take me about 50min with my 50" ZTR including edging, weedeating, and blowing. If I remember correctly I can do a 1/4 acre yard in 30-35min. Maybe an hour for you?
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    To begin with, you're not going to get up to 9 mph too often on a 1/4 acre lot. One thing that I have found, is that for a solo, it can take almost as long to do a 1/4 acre lot as it does a 1/2 acre lot. To answer your question about damage at "maximum" speeds, the damage occurs when accelerating out of a turn, and when coming to a stop for the turn. Of course, there is always damage that can occur DURiNG the turn if not done right or done carelessly. A 34" rider would handle these jobs rather well, though.
  4. maui8

    maui8 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 33

    thanks for the replies.

    is going 6mph a decent speed? lets assume that the property is a rectangular shaped backyard, clear of trees and such, and the grass is the size of 2 weeks worth of growth.

    the mower is a ztr 34 inch. how long do you guys think it will take just to cut? I was planning to have my 17 yo cousin do the trimming, edging, and clean up while i do the cutting.
  5. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,395

    Once you get things figured out - and it will take a little while to be able to do things quickly - you should be able to cut 1/4 acre lots in about 20 minutes or less. There are a lot of variables but that is a rough estimate.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Lets not forget what happens to YOU when your deck hits an object such as a hidden tree stump at that speed...
    You should NEVER speed on a lawn, it is a serious safety violation that can hurt and kill you. That having been said:
    - I DO speed (but not 9 mph, more like 6-7) but ONLY on open terrain AND in known lots where I've cut before: NEVER speed on a maiden cut unless you can SEE the lot can take it, even then it is always a danger.

    Far as damage to the machine, dude you can run the deck into a brick wall at full speed and it will hurt YOU and the wall far worse than it will hurt the mower... Well, at least with the Toro that is the case thou I suppose you can break a caster or flatten a tire.
  7. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    34 inch ZTR or lawn tractor?

    I have a 36" scag Zcat. I run it flat out on 1/4 acre yards on the straights, slowing for 3 point turns. It is mainly a backyard mower, but on the properties we use it on, unless the front is really big we don't bother with the bigger mower. takes longer to get it loaded and unloaded than to just keep using the 36"

    what you have will be time competitive on yards with islands and decorations compared to a larger mower. Where it will be much slower is on lawns with only the house and minor beds.

    15-25 minutes is a good time estimate for cutting loading and unloading. Edging, line trimming and blowing can easily make the yard take 45-60 if done solo. Just make sure you bid them according to complexity not just size.
  8. mch181

    mch181 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    im gonna get a small zero turn next season
    either a 36/42 inch deck
    i was thinking hustler mini fastrak any others?
  9. maui8

    maui8 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 33

    hi thanks all for the helpful replies. helps put my business plan in perspective.

    if i am sticking strictly to 1/4 acre lots, im looking to spend around anywhere from 15mins - 30mins per each lawn.
    i can make ~60 bucks an hr - labor - fuel - equipment depreciation....
  10. FiremanDud

    FiremanDud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    hey maui, I have a 34 Rider to. I also have one partner and we can get unloaded and loaded in about 20-25 mins per 1/4 lot. I go full throtle only on open areas and if it's flat. You will love that machine it's a great start up mower to do both front and back of yards. Just go slow when making turns because the tire's are so narrow that it does rut if you go to fast.

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