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Need advice on a ZTR

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnreaper, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. lawnreaper

    lawnreaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    New to the forum and looking for some help.
    I'm not a professional per say, but I do have a commercial account (a townhome complex with about 3 acres of mowing) and I have 2 acres of yard to mow also. I would like to increase accounts, but nothing crazy. I am a teacher and a football and track coach, so I am looking to add jobs during the summer to supplement my income. Maybe two or three more accounts tops would be about as much as I could handle.
    My question is this. Is this really enough acreage to justify buying a commercial grade lawn mower? My local dealer has a 48" Exmark Quest for 3800 right now (Except its the 2010 camo version). $4000 is about as much as I can spend. How long would a Quest last with my yard and hypothetically 5 more acres of commercial business? Or do I need to bite the bullet and buy commercial?
    I hate to say it, but I have been looking at the Z Beast from HD. I contacted beastpowerequipment last week about getting a demo at a local HD store and still have gotten no response though which turns me off. Don't want to turn this into a Beast conversation, there's enough of those on here. Thoughts from guys who run smaller operations? What kind of equipment do I really need?
    I'm not picky, sadly enough I started mowing this acreage last year with 38" Craftsman lawn tractor I got for free from my neighbor. Needless to say I felt like I needed back surgery last year:laugh:
  2. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,024

    For what you are doing I would go with something a bit better. If you dont have the cash, go for a commercial walkbehind to start out with. It will be far better/faster than a craftsman tractor and will hold up for years.

    I am not too familiar with the Quest but generally in the 4-5k range you are looking at high end homeowner/very low end commercial for a ZTR. That type of machine I would recommend for a homeowner doing 2-3 acres themselves only.
  3. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,350

    Do you have anyone that is knowledgeable when it comes to mowers, and can help you? You might want to try finding a good (low hr) used commercial mower. Less money than new, and a good used commercial unit will almost always be cheaper in the long run than a new homeowner unit.

    Just like cars, the biggest depreciation on eqp. takes place when you roll it off of the dealers lot.

    Good luck!
  4. lawnreaper

    lawnreaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I've looked locally on craigslist and such. I saw a woods 62" that looked like it was in good shape. I've thought a lot about that route. Just worried I'm going to inherit someone else's problems with a used mower. But I also understand that in my price range I don't have a lot of options either.
  5. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,350

    I completely understand your concerns about used eqp, but with so many people in bad financial condition, there are a lot of really good used mowers at really good prices.

    The key is being knowledgeable about what you're looking at, and knowing what to look for. Or, having a knowledgeable person (that you trust) look at it for you.

    In the end though, you have to do what makes you comfortable.
  6. CustomCreations

    CustomCreations LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 64

    The Quest is made for home owners. They do not have the deck, spindles, motor that you would find on a commercial machine. You would only get a 6-12 month warranty and it is strictly for personal use so if they find out your running commercial with it they can void the claim. Had a local guy try that route and it came back to bite him. Sometimes you can pick up a good low hour motor that still has warranty on it. Or you can step into the Lazer 52" for a few thousand more in a used model or a new one for around 8800. Sounds like alot, but your initial investment on equipment is the most important. Thats what brings the money in.

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