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Mower Research, Kindly toss in your .02!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by TGK, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. TGK

    TGK LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    Ok fellas, 1st I would like to thank everyone for getting back to me on prior questions about mowers. Now heres the big one! If some of the experienced guys were to go back and do it again what mowers would they start out with (brands and sizes etc)? For example would you start economically (cheap) and buy a couple of Lesco mowers, or would you purchase equipment that will be with you for the long haul but costs alot more ie: Exmark or Hustler? Thats the big question in my mind for the upcoming season.

    Thank you in advance

  2. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    I'm actually very hapy w/ our decision to go w/ Ferris & Walker for our mowing equipment. For our small engine equipment, we went w/ Echo & got what we were expecting (about 3 years of good service). We have since switched completely over to all Stihl equipment, but would still recommend that route for a beginner.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Used Toro float deck, gear-drive, at least 44"
  4. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    I without question would buy a ztr and you would have to pry my cold dead fingers from it to get it away from me.
  5. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    No doubt a ztr is great, but just starting out I would use a walkbehind mower for the versatility, they can be used anywhere.

    When I started, I got a cheap wb mower, a byers 48 inch cut. It was a decent mower, but now I would go with a exmark mower and it would be easier to operate, last longer
  6. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Our first purchase was an '01 scag hydro WB 48" cut. We were able to pay that off in the first year and expand our business the second year to the point we needed a second mower. Our second purchase was a '02 scag hydro wb 48" cut. It has the advantage deck with mulch setup. In 2005 spring/summer we purchased a '05 scag TT w/ 60" deck and 29 LC/EFI kawi.

    Looking back I wouldn't change purchasing the first WB unit new. It's still one of our main mowers (behind the ZTR) and gets used every week and stays on trailer with the Z. With the purchase of the TT we rarely use the mulcher WB anymore. We place it in the trailer in the summer and sometimes in the fall when the grass isn't too thick. We realized the Z would save us time, but not THAT much time. I think hindsight being 20/20 we should have purchased the Z second.

    For us there was never a question of whether or not to purchase new. Our downtime is minimum. Of course with three mowers and two operators even if one goes down we aren't really screwed. The only major problem was the 02 WB hydro pump...however that wasn't scag's fault that was ours. We broke an axle spring on our trailer doing about 40mph and the two wb were on their. They got jostled around pretty good. But, yes, we still have the two WB's and they are (knock on wood:hammerhead: ) running strong.

    MY recommendation would be to purchase new. For all of our mowers we purchased new we got the no interest no payments for 12 months. We were able to pay off the first two mowers (~6k each) by the time the no interest/no payment was up. So we really didn't have to worry about making payments cause we new by the accounts we had already that we'd be able to pay it off.

    We could have paid off the Z but we decided not to and we are actually making payments on it. WHY? We want to establish business credit so I no longer have to personally co-sign for equipment purchases.
  7. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    When I started back in 1990 I just didn't have the money to buy anything but residential stuff. It got me started and held together for the first year without many problems but as business grew so did all sorts of problems. Now 17yrs later and lots of experience I try to steer everyone away from residential anything. If I had to do it over I would have went with a Toro commercial walkbehind 48" and 2 - 21" proline mowers and Echo trimmers and blower. I have been using Toro commercial mowers and Echo small equipment now for the past 15yrs and have no complaints at all. Some of the toros I bought in 93-95 are still running perfect but are just backups and rest were traded in for new stuff.
  8. Lawn Enforcer

    Lawn Enforcer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,381

    I would get a walk-behind, a Quick 36 or a Toro walk-behind, 36" to 44". I have a 44" Toro walk-behind, hydro, floating deck, and it an amazing mower. It goes anywhere.
  9. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    LB1234 makes a good argument for buying new.

    If you have a half-sound business plan, and accounts, it should be fairly easy to pay the mower off before the no-interest period is up.

    Another reason I see to do such a thing? If the mower breaks, and you take it to the dealer you bought it from, you have a much better chance of getting a loaner while your mower is getting fixed. Not likely if you take them something you didn't buy from them in the first place.

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