I have a question for all you lawn mowing vets

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by skorum03, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. skorum03

    skorum03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    I am pretty new to the lawn care community. I started last year with just a push mower in the bed of my truck. By mid summer I had saved enough money to buy a husqvarna 54 inch, 24 HP zero turn mower. I like it, and although not a heavy duty commercial series mower, it gets the job done for me right now. I only had about 8 people that I mowed for very regularly last year with a few who called when they needed it. This upcoming season I am looking to expand my mowing and go after it much harder. And with expansion I want to get another mower. I am not looking to necessarily buy something brand new, but I don't want a piece of crap either. I am wondering what people think is the best walk behind or zero turn out there for a growing company. I am looking at john deere, exmark, toro, etc. Any opinions are greatly appreciated.

  2. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,760

    If you have gates to deal with then a smaller WB mower might be a good investment...like a 32 or 36.
    Best advice: go measure your gates first.
    A smaller WB mower will also come in handy for areas you'd rather not use your 54 (or 21).
  3. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    You will need to provide much more information regarding your business in order to get meaningful answers.

    A few things:
    Size the yards (smallest,most typical, largest)
    Terrain (flat, slopes, steep)
    Transportation (trailer size, ...)
    Local dealerships
    Bagging, mulching, discharging ....?
    Gates(?), configuration of yards
    Long term plans for your business

    This kind of information will undoubtedly get you better responses.
  4. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 6,309

    Throw some more info at us and we can get a better idea of what you need
  5. skorum03

    skorum03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    Im a small operation. Will only be entering my second season in the lawn business this upcoming season and plan on going at it full time this year. It is just my brother and I, and a couple of friends once in a while when we have gotten too busy for my brother and I to handle. As of right now I have no gates to worry about but that doesn't mean there won't be any this year. Terrain wise, a couple accounts that i have are actually rather hilly. Most accounts are medium sized and nothing is really all that huge. I didn't have any requests for bagging last year, so I didn't even bother buying the attachment for my mower. but i plan on getting that for this season, will be nice for fall clean ups as well. Right now I only have a 6 by 10 trailer, but am planning on getting a 6 by 14 so I can potentially put two ztr's on there. Most of the lawn care guys around here seem to use scag, exmark , or john deere. I have looked at both exmark and john deere, They both seem to have their ups and downs I guess. But honestly don't know that much about the differences between the brands of mowers. It seems that they are all pretty expensive and are all pretty similar when you get down to it. I plan on expanding my business and am hoping that I get busy enough this year that I will have the need for two mowers.

    Thanks for the help.

  6. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    When my buddy and I first went into business we had a 21" Snapper push mower (new), a 42" Craftsman riding mower (3 yrs. old), a 48" Bobcat walk behind (18 yrs. old with a recently replaced engine), 2 Craftsman weed eaters, and a 6' x 12' trailer. After the first year, we took advantage of a finance program Toro was running and bought a 48" walk behind with sulky and a 52" home owner grade zero turn. We soon realized buying the 52" home owner grade zero was a big mistake. We sold it and bought a used (550 hrs.) 60" Exmark Lazer Z and a used (450 hrs.) 60" Toro Z Master. When we bought those commercial grade 60" zeros, we really started making a living mowing grass.

    My advice would be to buy a used 48" walk behind (0 - 800 hrs.) and possibly add a sulky. If at all possible, add a 60" commercial zero turn (0 - 800 hrs.). You can use a push mower for any small areas where the 48" wont go. The thing I would stress the most is to buy commercial grade. I would highly recommend Exmark, Toro, and Scag. These brands are tried and true and if something should go wrong, they are easy to get parts for. I'd pass on all others, especially John Deere. I apologize to any Deere fans reading this but if you gave me one, I'd sell it the next day.
  7. skorum03

    skorum03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    Thanks dathorpe I appreciate the advice. I almost pulled the trigger on a 36inch walk behind last spring but didn't know if it would be worth it cause I didn't have many accounts at the time. But now, I know how the work comes in so I should be just fine picking up another mower.


  8. shop's lawn

    shop's lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    First step is to become a legal business and registered with either LLC or INC. Seperate business and personal. Make sure you carry general liablity insurance/business insurance. Dont low ball jobs just to have the work.

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