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Looking for advice on first commercial ZTR

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by watsmi57, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I am new to this site and am looking for some advice from you seasoned pros out there. I am in my 3rd season of owner operating a lawn care business. I started out small. Like with a pushmower in the trunk of our 93 Buick small. I now have about $6k invested in my rig. I have been in the process of slowly upgrading all of my homeowner grade equipment to commercial stuff. I know you can't cut commercially with homeowner grade equipment but I had to start somewhere.

    I have local dealer support for Snapper, Grasshopper, Exmark, Toro, Cub Cadet, John Deere and Gravely. I know I need local dealer support so I need to stay within these brands. Most of the guys in my area (and there are a lot of them, very competitive here) run Exmark ZTR's. Mostly I believe this is based on great dealer support. I am having a hard time swallowing $8k-10k for a commercial mower even though I know they are built to last. I know guys that have 3000 hours on their machines and haven't done anything but regular maintenance.

    I am interested in information on entry level commercial zero turn's. I am also even considering an Exmark Quest. I know it is not a true commercial machine but I still have a small time operation. I will probably run the mower an average of 20-30 hours a month. We cut grass about 8-9 months here depending on the weather so you can do the math.(300 hours a year at most) Should I go ahead and cough up the extra cash and get a truly commercial machine or will a Quest or something similiar last me a few years? I am also wondering what is the major difference between the Quest and the true commercial Exmark's? I have heard that the Toro Timecutter and Exmark Quest are identical machines just different paint and badges. Toro owns Exmark I know but the Timecutter is a lot cheaper. I am leaning towards Exmark because of the local dealer here but am open to any suggestions from all of you guys. Is there a better machine (within these brands)for me at this time based on my volume? I am looking to grow in the future but can I upgrade to a true commercial unit down the line or should I do it now? Any and all advice would be appreciated. I know there are a lot of you guys out there that know a heck of a lot more than me! Thanks in advance!
  2. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I forgot to mention I am interested in something that has a good mulching system as well. I do not bag at all and try to mulch everything that I can. Tall grass just gets discharged. Thanks!
  3. Zivman

    Zivman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Out of the ones listed, I would probably get the exmark

    the non commercial units usually have a standard brigs quality motor, vs a kohler, kawasaki, or vanguard. They have less quality hydraulic pumps and motors; sometimes have integrated pump/motor units. They have lower quality decks and less heavy duty spindles.... to go on, usually smaller wheels/tires. There are a lot of differences. If you go exmark, get at least the ASX series.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  4. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    thanks Zivman I was leaning towards Exmark already. i was hoping to get some more feedback. anyone?
  5. head_start

    head_start LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    all i can tell you is about the grasshopper. they are great for going around trees, and you have pritty good vissability. just be careful on hills, and with ditches.
  6. ZTR_Diesel

    ZTR_Diesel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 371

    Look for a good used commercial ZTR, forget about buying new for the time being.

    Also - consider doing a search...this topic gets brought up om this site 3-5 times a week, and it's a question that has been hashed out many times.
  7. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    i have looked at the used commercial stuff in my area and it is not good. what little there is around here cost almost as much as new. just as well pay a little more and get full warranty. will try a search on this site . thanks diesel
  8. deere-man

    deere-man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    I would suggest looking at the Grasshoppers. I currently run a 223 midmount G-hopper and have been very pleased with it. Its got over 500 hours on it and has been a great mower. It mulches well, leaves a quality cut and stripes well. The G-hoppers are built very well, very tough. The Kohler engines run well, and I highly recommend them. You might consider looking at their new 226 model. It has a 26 horse Briggs Pro, 52/61 deck, and is built well. Its also more affordable than the other mowers, but you still get plenty of mower for commercial use.
  9. ZTR_Diesel

    ZTR_Diesel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 371

    Try tractorhouse.com, machinefinder.com, etc. Search state-wide, and travel to find the right unit. Remember you can always upgrade in a few years if you start with an older unit. You may even find a Kubota diesel unit or a Kubota Gas unit in your price range if you look around a bit.

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