Hydro Walk Behind/Z Turn

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Allens LawnCare, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. Allens LawnCare

    Allens LawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 926

    Guys Looking to upgrade some equipment next year on of which is my mower, I currently have a Exmark 36inch Metro, Can I get some Pros and Cons for the Turf tracer with sulkey v.s Laser Z. I'm looking at a 52 inch. I've been shopping and the two biggest things are time and money. The simple way I'm looking at it is I can save about 4 Grand going with a Turf Tracer or something similar compared to the Laser Z. Is there much of a speed difference. Plain and simple, I'm done walking with a sulkey or Z turn I will still have some energy at the end of the day!
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    There is a top speed difference. TTHP is like 6.6mph, not sure on the Laser.

    The thing is, how much will you be able to mow at full speed with either?

    The TT will be more maneuverable, less maintenance, better on gas.
  3. ha305

    ha305 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Yeah you will be able to sit down on the lazer
  4. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,157

    What matters is the size of your accounts , if your gonna mow accounts less than 1 acre i'd go with the T.T. 52 OR EVEN THE 60 T.T. Were the Lazer will shine is on those bigger propertys. A walk-behind can be better on inclines and more manuverable on smaller propertys with tress and those flower bed areas.
  5. RedMax Man

    RedMax Man LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,051

    Get the mower that matches your properties best. If you got slopes, hills, alot of trimming and cutting into tight areas and most properties are an acre or less then i would reccomend a TT. The Lazers aren't good when it comes to slopes they will slip and slide and tear up the turf. If you have many large and fairly flat wide open properties then then the Lazer would be comfortable and nicer.
  6. Allens LawnCare

    Allens LawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 926

    Whats a flat piece of property???...Just kidding I'm still waiting on one....all my yards range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 acre lots some hills, some smaller yards have a lot of beds, I've wanted the Laser Z because I can sit(What a dream that would be). But the more I think about it I'm going with the Turf Tracer with the Vacum unit on the deck...not to mention the sulkey, thats my main complaint. The 3buschel bag is okay for the smaller stuff but the new vacum unit utilizes a rubber maid barrel.....Thanks for the input guys
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    I have had a 36" Exmark Viking for 9 seasons. I started out walking, then moved to a one-wheeled Velke, then Proslide (discovered my machine is too small for controlling one of these), back to one-wheeled Velke, then to 2 wheeled BullRider (only works in trailer mode for my sized mower). This Spring, well after the season began, I bought a John Deere Z-trak, 717A, 48", 19hp Kaw.

    My properties vary from 10K sq ft (only two of these), to 2 acres (6 over 1.5 acres). Many of them have slopes. Also, the front yards of many are mowed with a 21" LawnBoy, bagging most of the time.

    Early on, the production of the new ZTR was comparable to the w/b, with BullRider. After a couple of months, the ZTR began to move better, and I began taking it on slopes not mowed in the early days of ownership.

    Yes, the ZTR did save some time, but not nearly what I was expecting. I was intending to gain at least five new customers after getting the ZTR. However, I really only picked up one or two. The economics of the move was not even close.

    The properties greater than 1.5 acres, the ZTR did well and did save time. On the smaller properties, the w/b, albeit 12" narrower, was just as good. The ZTR is far better at tearing turf than the w/b -- more turf tearing in one week with the ZTR than the w/b all season. Experience did improve this also.

    Speed isn't an issue with me. I read of the speeds people are wanting, and claim to be mowing, and laugh. I rarely got over 3.5mph on my w/b, and rarely got over 4.5mph (est) on the ZTR. Thinking I am going to mow at 7 or 8 mph over these properties, and live to tell about it ... joke!

    Reasons for the productivity loss:
    1. The maneuverability of the w/b is so much better than the ZTR. Several posts already have mentioned this. Despite my JD being only a small machine, sometimes it feels like a tank compared to the w/b. In all fairness, however, gaining experience did help.
    2. The steeper slopes where the w/b went well in previous visits, the ZTR had to skip. Those places were mowed with the 21" LawnBoy. Bummer!

    Also, don't think the sitting on a ZTR is a picnic. If the properties are rough, and my larger ones are rough, the impact on the back while sitting can be a killer. I was better off riding on the BullRider, taking the uneven terrain with my knees, than sitting on a seat on the ZTR, taking the impact with my back.

    Bottom line: The ZTR isn't all it is cracked up to be. Yes, it was probably a good move on my part. However, the economics are a long stretch -- the return is not there for me. I probably would have been better served to buy a 52" w/b with another BullRider. The increase productivity on the larger properties is small for a ZTR, over what a w/b would have been. And, I could have used the w/b on most all properties formerly mowed with my 36" Exmark. I still have to use my 36" machine on about 1/3 of my 45 properties (gates, too much sloping area, etc.).

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