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Major Upgrade--Opinions needed

Chilehead

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Stockbridge, GA
I will know in about 3 days whether or not one or more of three major bids will be awarded to me or a competitor. Each of these bids are for properties of 17 to 20 acres(of actual grass). Right now I have a 48" Exmark walkbehind and a 21" mower. I know my setup is not going to do the job. I am looking to purchase 2 new machines, but have a dilemma: each property wants 3-5 acres of grass collected due to its location. The rest can be mulched/discharged when cut. So.......do I purchase 2 z-riders with collection systems, or do I purchase(my original plan) a 3-wheeled rider or z-rider and an Exmark Navigator-style mower, or do I buy a 96" mower used on golf roughs and get a Navigator? All my current accounts are high-end residential save 4 commercial properties and I operate solo. I look forward to purchasing my dream rig. Thanks for your input.
 

ncls

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
You "lease" 2 bad Boy mowers and find a leasing company. Those mowers are the shizz. 60" for like 6300. Cant beat it with a stick. A leasing company will give you three years to pay. When the lease is up, sell them and you will pocket money.
 

brucec32

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
I will know in about 3 days whether or not one or more of three major bids will be awarded to me or a competitor. Each of these bids are for properties of 17 to 20 acres(of actual grass). Right now I have a 48" Exmark walkbehind and a 21" mower. I know my setup is not going to do the job. I am looking to purchase 2 new machines, but have a dilemma: each property wants 3-5 acres of grass collected due to its location. The rest can be mulched/discharged when cut. So.......do I purchase 2 z-riders with collection systems, or do I purchase(my original plan) a 3-wheeled rider or z-rider and an Exmark Navigator-style mower, or do I buy a 96" mower used on golf roughs and get a Navigator? All my current accounts are high-end residential save 4 commercial properties and I operate solo. I look forward to purchasing my dream rig. Thanks for your input.
Think twice about buying machines specifically for a one or two accounts that you otherwise don't need. If you lose the account, you may have a machine you can't really use elsewhere. Ebay is full of 72" mowers from just this situation. You might even get a solid season in, but bids this large likely go up for renewal regularly, and if you lose the account(s) you'll want to have a more versatile machine. Mowing large acreage is a distinctly different biz than residentials. Be sure you're up to branching the two segments.

Also, on huge accounts there is a larger chance that you actually underbid and will not WANT the account after you figure out it's a loser in terms of revenue vs effort. Rules of thumb that apply for residentials may not carry over on such a unique mowing situation. Make an estimating error on a 3/4 acre lot and you just suck it up. A similar percentage error on a huge prop and you may be kicking yourself in July.

That is a lot of grass to collect, btw. Got a place to put it all?

And finally, working solo, consider carefully if you want to be on accounts for hours at a time. It's cool out now, but in the summer you might find it nicer to put 1/2 or 3/4 hour in at a jobsite, then scoot off to the next smaller prop. I have had 3 hour jobs before, and even sitting on a mower, it gets to be a drag.
 
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