Move from WB's to ZTR?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by f50lvr2, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. lawns Etc

    lawns Etc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,277

    I have had many riders and WBs and yes I made bettter time on alot of lawns but if a Z was down and we used a WB on the same lawn it was night and day difference. I had several customers in the same development request we use a WB and I told them it would be $10 extra per cut and they never blinked an eye. I sold all the Z mowers and even bought a new Bad Boy last year to help with a couple of larger lawns to cut down on time the cut was good as well but on a 3 acre lawn with tons of trimming the 60" Z only saved about 25 minutes over a 48 belt WB. So we sold the Bad Boy a few weeks ago and just picked up 2 Bobcat Hydros with Z controls and still have 2 48 Exmark belt drives. In my area most lawns are 1/2-3/4 acre of turf and the Zs save some time but I can make the exra csah up as most customers use me and another very large service "Wetlawn" because we dont use the Z Riders. I lost 3 customers in 1 year using a Stander 36RH because of rutting that it did so it had to go. I have been mowing for over 10 yrs and started with WBs and have to say I will stay with them.
  2. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    What is wrong with you guys and ruts. I don't even do that when it rains.
  3. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    i know, i dont get it hahahah.
  4. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    i don't get the rut thing either. i use a toro grandstand currently and i've never even came close to rutting.

    in my opinion you have to really be stupid to rut a lawn. it's called slow the machine down when it's really wet and if its that soggy you shouldn't be on the lawn in the first place.
  5. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    I just looked something up. I was looking a great dane mowers and scag mowers. On both sites the walk behinds are longer than the stand on mowers and with greatdane mowers, both weigh the same. With scag there is about a 100lb difference. The great dane mowers weigh 100 lbs than scag.
  6. lawns Etc

    lawns Etc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,277

    The rutting with the smaller standers is because of the narrow tires and the marrow wheelbase it only seems to happen with the 36 and 32 standers it happens pretty bad on anything mildly damp that a regular Z or WB doesnt make a mark but those standers really do. ED HESS has had the same problem with rutting.
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    Easy with the blanket statements. I'm old and have both, a 36" w/b and a 48" ZTR. Up until three years ago, I used the w/b for all jobs, then added the 48" ZTR. The w/b is still used on a little over half my properties. The ZTR is too big in terms of terrain, too tight to get through, or is much harder to manage discharged clippings (don't want them in beds, driveways, etc). The w/b gets used about 350 hours per year, the ZTR, just a little less. I am the only operator of both machines.

    I also run a 21" hand mower nearly all the time -- many places it is needed where the w/b is too big. The quality of work, handling of bags, etc just does not justify using the w/b.

    In terms of the economics, I could never justify adding the 48" ZTR to my 36" w/b. I can never recover the costs. The added productivity just cannot justify the added expense and maintenance. I bought the ZTR hoping for much more production, but it just isn't there. Also, I'm a little older than most others who are on LS, and I was strongly encouraged by others to "ride." Well, that is not its cracked up to be either. Riding is a back killer. I do well with walking, or using a BullRider with my w/b (rare cases). In the Fall, when the weather is cold, the ZTR is akin to a mummifier -- just sit there, getting colder by the minute, not moving, and at the end, somebody needs to pry me out of the seat. Not quite, ...

    Maybe the rider will extend my career by a season or two. I would much rather get customers who need a 21" hand mower -- those properties are the most profitable for me. If given a choice, I would permanently part the w/b and ZTR. But, the mix of properties dictates otherwise.

    In my area, I think nearly all ZTRs are 48", maybe a 52" machine here and there. 60" and 72" machines are never used. I think nearly all w/b are 48". My 36" is very rare.
  8. slamjamrockinman

    slamjamrockinman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 715

    I so agree with the WB guys. VERY few companies around here use a Z on residentials. It's all standers and WB's. I don't get the hype about the Z's. Too big, heavy, and not manueverable, not too mention a much higher cost of purchase and maintenance. For those guys that say they have NEVER had a problem with rutting??? I find it hard to believe, the issue is most guys don't even realize it! Try mowing perpendicular to the way you normally mow. WOW, this lawn that used to be so smooth and stripe so nice is now a mess!! Another problem with Z's is ya they can mow many areas pretty fast using the same pattern (take the longest edge of the area and mowing parallell to it) but with a Z it is crucial that you alternate mowing patterns. If you took some rectangular shaped areas for example, it would be very inefficient to alternate patterns. I see these guys on long rectangular strips of grass at business parks and such, yup they just drive the 60" lazer down there every week and knock her out in 2 passes. Can't they realize what they are doing?? The entrance to Gateway office park now looks like a freakin ATV trail. Ya the stripes look GREAT, nice permanent tire tracks, that way they can keep their lines nice and straight!! Then the management companies drop them and they come on to lawnsite and complain about lowballers. For the ones who don't believe me, I am going to start a thread in the spring of rutting pics done by other companies, it seems to be really bad around here. I am not saying Z's aren't good and productive mowers, but it is ALL about the right application and a good operator.
  9. cbegap

    cbegap LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    I get some rutting with my Z mainly from going around trees and other obstacles and it starts to leave donuts around them. Not sure what to do about it yet. I use my rider way more than my 2 wbs. Just works for me. I just could not mow as fast, period, the end. I don't get heat stroke riding like I did one year walking. Amazing how much cooler it is riding vs walking. My Z also bags better using a Grass Gobler. The catcher stays on better than it does on the wb. Kept falling off the wb and I was trying to bungie it on, cuss at it etc. I have a 1 wheel velke and it leaves a bad stripe that messes up my beautiful lines. I don't use it enough to justify running out and buying a 2 wheel one. Someday maybe. But the top speed just isn't there with the wbs. Turns are trickier and I really wish I had ECS controls. I will say that I am truly converted to Hydro wbs vs my trusty belt drive. Yes you can do 90-95% of the same thing with the Belt drive, but that last percent is oh so nice. Love backing up. With the velky, just lean back and push up with your toes and you can back up nicely with it. Nice. Not as hard on my hands either as a belt. So I really try and match my equip to each lawn. I use a 52 Ztr, 44 Hydro Wb, a 36 Hydro WB new this year (to me anyway) , and a 21 push. So if the yard is really big my helper uses the wb until it makes sense to stop and start weed eating and edging. Then I finish up and help him finish blowing if he isn't done. Both done at the same time and off to the next. Call me crazy but I like having them all to pick and choose. Also, if one goes down while out, you can still put together a decent day.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  10. slamjamrockinman

    slamjamrockinman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 715

    I agree, if you have a variety of accts, it is certainly a good idea to have a mower for each application. I am just stressing the point of applying the right machine to the right application, which it sounds like you are doing.

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