If you could only have one mower….

brydan

LawnSite Member
eventually, when almost every yard is flat, open and nice, I’ll look into a 52” or 61” and be able to do a few more a day because of the increased efficiency. But, when starting out and before ones route has been pruned and refined I think I will choose the 36” deck every time. At least in my hood when starting and almost every account should be taken that comes ones way.

Ran out of time to edit my earlier post but was gonna say, for around here and it may be the same there, there's plenty of yards to suit any size machine. It just comes down to what a person wants to target. My niche is smaller lawns I can stack up and really don't have a burning need for anything larger than a 36". My buddy likes bigger yards/bigger machines and barely uses anything other than a 60".
 

Hurryupelectric

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Charleston
Ran out of time to edit my earlier post but was gonna say, for around here and it may be the same there, there's plenty of yards to suit any size machine. It just comes down to what a person wants to target. My niche is smaller lawns I can stack up and really don't have a burning need for anything larger than a 36". My buddy likes bigger yards/bigger machines and barely uses anything other than a 60".
One thing I’ve learned is that once you are targeting only people who are used to having a lawn service in nice neighborhoods they understand that many companies won’t even take a yard with a tight gate, or a/c unit blocking a big mower from the backyard. I like those because I have a good gate buster but still can service in 25-35 minutes and they understand the price is a touch higher.
There’s almost nothing my 36” won’t get through but even a 48” won’t. I pull a 5X8 open trailer with a 2004 Rav4. A 21”, 32” and 36”.
When I was asking about which direction to go this spring looking to buy a real mower I drove around everywhere that I would service and looked at the houses. This was a great investment of time because I realized that a 36” of some sort was my most versatile option. In my beginners opinion, I think the original poster should be thinking a few moves in advance and purchase a mower that will be a part of a multi mower rig.
I don’t remember if I mentioned it here but heavy rain soaked turf can bring a lawn mowing operation to it’s knees. Knowing what I know now, if I wanted to be able to keep on schedule through almost anything and only had one mower it would be a walk behind, depending on how soft the ground gets and how often would decide what walk behind.
In Charleston SC, if I could only have one mower, period, and wanted to always be on schedule with a full route I would hands down be running a Ferris fw15 or snapper sw15. Inexpensive comparatively, and not too much slower than the stander on maybe half my yards.
I’ve read the world lawn belt drives are good and cheap but I would have rather pushed my hrx217 another month or two and saved for the sw15 then cheap out and have a machine that I hate using and either sell at a loss or run a difficult heavy mower for years because of an extra grand.
 

KjnTiger

LawnSite Member
Location
Washington, PA
One thing I’ve learned is that once you are targeting only people who are used to having a lawn service in nice neighborhoods they understand that many companies won’t even take a yard with a tight gate, or a/c unit blocking a big mower from the backyard. I like those because I have a good gate buster but still can service in 25-35 minutes and they understand the price is a touch higher.
There’s almost nothing my 36” won’t get through but even a 48” won’t. I pull a 5X8 open trailer with a 2004 Rav4. A 21”, 32” and 36”.
When I was asking about which direction to go this spring looking to buy a real mower I drove around everywhere that I would service and looked at the houses. This was a great investment of time because I realized that a 36” of some sort was my most versatile option. In my beginners opinion, I think the original poster should be thinking a few moves in advance and purchase a mower that will be a part of a multi mower rig.
I don’t remember if I mentioned it here but heavy rain soaked turf can bring a lawn mowing operation to it’s knees. Knowing what I know now, if I wanted to be able to keep on schedule through almost anything and only had one mower it would be a walk behind, depending on how soft the ground gets and how often would decide what walk behind.
In Charleston SC, if I could only have one mower, period, and wanted to always be on schedule with a full route I would hands down be running a Ferris fw15 or snapper sw15. Inexpensive comparatively, and not too much slower than the stander on maybe half my yards.
I’ve read the world lawn belt drives are good and cheap but I would have rather pushed my hrx217 another month or two and saved for the sw15 then cheap out and have a machine that I hate using and either sell at a loss or run a difficult heavy mower for years because of an extra grand.
Why the Ferris and snapper over Exmark or Deere? I’m just curious, I’m looking around now and think a walk behind is my best bet starting out. Also, what’s your opinion on the Toro30” time master vs the Honda 21”.
 

brydan

LawnSite Member
That's exactly right, there's a lot of nice neighborhoods around here with ~3k lawns intermixed with large rural type properties and it's like to two different economies. Homeowners know the big equipment guys don't want to be on the small yards and the big property owners aren't in the neighborhoods asking me to cut their acres :D.

I used a Quick 36 for years and it's ability to handle soft ground was one of my favorite features. I use a Big Dog Hike 36 (basically a Hustler Trimstar) now as my only mower but I think next year I'm going to sell it and do everything with a 42" Wright stander (maybe press my old 21 back into service to cover an outlier). I ran a Toro Proline 44 a bit and it was sometimes just a hair too wide.
 

Hurryupelectric

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Charleston
Why the Ferris and snapper over Exmark or Deere? I’m just curious, I’m looking around now and think a walk behind is my best bet starting out. Also, what’s your opinion on the Toro30” time master vs the Honda 21”.
The sw15 32” seemed considerably lighter on its feet then any true hydro walk, many times almost half the estimated psi on the ground. The math becomes cumbersome when considering different tire diameter and width when trying to figure out psi on a apple to apple comparison. Roughly, the sw15 is 280lbs on 5” wide drive tires and a dual hydro walk is around 600lbs on 6-7” tires. I was also needing a 32” about the size of my Turfmaster to fit in it’s place on the trailer. I do have tight spots that the Turfmaster was helpful on.
If I had to choose between the Honda and Turfmaster I would go Honda no questions asked. The Honda goes in long ditches in place of string trimmers where the Turfmaster would scalp the ditch top curve. The Honda will almost brush hog where the Turfmaster would shatter like an egg. The Turfmaster with the cv224 swap wasn’t that much faster than the Honda unless it was on a plot with a big stretch of straight and little turning. In wet conditions or spring the Turfmaster cloggs and throws clumps that burn up time tending to. I bought the Turfmaster used and completely rebuilt it from the ground up and expected it to be my main mower. Unfortunately the spring growth choked it and I took advantage of John Deeres 0% deal on my stander.

Timemaster vs sw15. In difficult conditions the sw15 disperses clippings nicely and doesn’t clog. There’s enough power to make the wide deck truly more productive, the reverse is a back saver. These are my experiences in coastal sc, many happily run the Turfmaster/Exmark 30’s all year, it didn’t work well for me unless the conditions were perfect, believe me I tried.
 

Hurryupelectric

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Charleston
That's exactly right, there's a lot of nice neighborhoods around here with ~3k lawns intermixed with large rural type properties and it's like to two different economies. Homeowners know the big equipment guys don't want to be on the small yards and the big property owners aren't in the neighborhoods asking me to cut their acres :D.

I used a Quick 36 for years and it's ability to handle soft ground was one of my favorite features. I use a Big Dog Hike 36 (basically a Hustler Trimstar) now as my only mower but I think next year I'm going to sell it and do everything with a 42" Wright stander (maybe press my old 21 back into service to cover an outlier). I ran a Toro Proline 44 a bit and it was sometimes just a hair too wide.
If you can afford to holding on to the walk might be prudent if you have any concerns about soft ground.
 

KjnTiger

LawnSite Member
Location
Washington, PA
The sw15 32” seemed considerably lighter on its feet then any true hydro walk, many times almost half the estimated psi on the ground. The math becomes cumbersome when considering different tire diameter and width when trying to figure out psi on a apple to apple comparison. Roughly, the sw15 is 280lbs on 5” wide drive tires and a dual hydro walk is around 600lbs on 6-7” tires. I was also needing a 32” about the size of my Turfmaster to fit in it’s place on the trailer. I do have tight spots that the Turfmaster was helpful on.
If I had to choose between the Honda and Turfmaster I would go Honda no questions asked. The Honda goes in long ditches in place of string trimmers where the Turfmaster would scalp the ditch top curve. The Honda will almost brush hog where the Turfmaster would shatter like an egg. The Turfmaster with the cv224 swap wasn’t that much faster than the Honda unless it was on a plot with a big stretch of straight and little turning. In wet conditions or spring the Turfmaster cloggs and throws clumps that burn up time tending to. I bought the Turfmaster used and completely rebuilt it from the ground up and expected it to be my main mower. Unfortunately the spring growth choked it and I took advantage of John Deeres 0% deal on my stander.

Timemaster vs sw15. In difficult conditions the sw15 disperses clippings nicely and doesn’t clog. There’s enough power to make the wide deck truly more productive, the reverse is a back saver. These are my experiences in coastal sc, many happily run the Turfmaster/Exmark 30’s all year, it didn’t work well for me unless the conditions were perfect, believe me I tried.
Thank you
 

brydan

LawnSite Member
If you can afford to holding on to the walk might be prudent if you have any concerns about soft ground.

Definitely. Still have both of them. The Q36 is tired and needs some TLC but it could still see limited service. The Toro's out of commission with a rusted deck and broken spindle. Paid $300 for it to use on some vacant lots I used to cut with thoughts of salvaging a better deck for it but they proved more difficult to find around here than I anticipated. Made a few bucks with it but not my best of purchase decisions :D
 

Bruce513

LawnSite Member
Hello

Long time lurker but first real post. I have run a lawn care business on the side with my full time job for the past 3 seasons. My goal is to gradually grow that I may be able to go full time in the next 5 years and have about 15 accounts right now.

Currently I have a 26 inch mower as well as a 42 inch toro timecutter. I only use the 26 inch mower on 2 or 3 properties so the toro gets the most use. I would like to upgrade to an actual commercial mower towards the end of the season. In a perfect world I would get a 52 and 36 but only have a 5x8 trailer so maybe that can be a goal down the road when I have a bigger trailer.

My question is if you could have one type of mower would it be a walk behind with sulky, stander, or zero turn? Also, do you have any preference on the size of the deck? I have never used a stander before but part of me says stick with a zero turn for bagging. I only bag one yard but I was thinking leaf clean ups may be easier if I could bag them versus doing everything with a blower and a rake.

I don’t have any huge yards, most may be around 10,000 square feet. Any input you may based on your experience would be much appreciated.
I have a toro grandstand . 52" it's awesome on hills . I will always have one of these. The exmark sit down is awesome but not on hills . Walk behinds are terrible for hills . Yes , hills . I do alot of lakehomes . Both come with Kawasaki engines ,another item I will always have
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
I understand all that with the subject being on starting out with the choice of only one mower and puzzlement came with your comment in which you said that most gates were at least 52 inches or something along those lines and being a framer most of my life I find that astonishing and I still do. Makes me wonder if Texas is the only place where 36 to 40 inches is standard practice ????
Didnt you hear?
Everything is bigger in Texas!
 

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