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Need some advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by YardKeeper08, May 14, 2008.

  1. YardKeeper08

    YardKeeper08 LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 74

    How many ¼ acre properties per week would you say is reasonable to do with a residential 48” zero-turn or 48” walk-behind ($3,000) mower before you would upgrade to a commercial grade one? Just wondering how much use/abuse a residential mower can take before it is junked out. I’m having a hard time justifying the commercial price for 15 properties (small time) and 6-7months of mowing (Midwest). Also any brand recommendations for residential 48” zero-turn or 48” walk-behind?

    Thanks for the advice
  2. Paulup

    Paulup LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    If you're cutting 1/4 acre yards, i'd take your 3k and get a good Quick or another nice walk behind with a Sulky. You'll be wasting money on a residential mower, it just won't hold up to being pushed all day long week after week.
  3. YardKeeper08

    YardKeeper08 LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 74

    What brands of 48" walk behinds can you pick up for 3k?
  4. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    I've never seen a residential 48" walk behind. Is there such a thing?

    But yeah, get a good commercial mower. Quick, Exmark, Toro, Scag, pretty much anything that is built to last will do the trick. Oh, and get a Kawasaki or Kohler engine - don't want the Briggs engines on commercial stuff.

    Unless you've got a lot of lawns, or they're really big, I would wait on getting a zero-turn. They can be rather pricey. :)
  5. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,478

    The Quick comes in a 44"
  6. YardKeeper08

    YardKeeper08 LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 74

    I think what I need is a 48" walk behind. Right now we've just got a 38" JD tractor that is just making us struggle (way to much time). What specs/ options would everyone recommend in a walk behind mower? Also for ¼ acre properties how much time (average time) should it take just to mow (no trim or blow) with a 48"?
  7. flakebortch

    flakebortch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    I asked a similar question last fall, and Topsites gave me some perspective. Hope it helps you too:

    What they're saying... With this business you really have to think in terms of thousands of lawns cut, literally, over the years sure, but it doesn't take 2 years even to get over the first 1,000...

    By the time you got 3-4 years you've serviced 2,000+ lawns, 5-6 years in you're on your way to having cut 4 thousand lawns. It's mind boggling to think of four thousand cuts, but a commercial mower is designed to last 8-10-15 years, which I reckon is somewhere in the range of 4 to 10 thousand lawns cut, some of these machines even last 20 years, but at the absolute least 5-8!

    In terms of a homeowner, we're talking 20 cuts / season at the most. Of course most homeowners who buy such a beast have a large lot (acre+) so you could say each cut of his could equal 2-3 of the average, still much past 40-60 cuts a season it doesn't have to run, in comparison. I'd say if that mower lasts 20 years then that homeowner just got the first 1,000 lawn cuts under his belt, not all their machines last that long either. And, their mowers get serviced every year, and sometimes in between.

    You need a machine that, with minor daily maintenance, runs flawlessly the entire season, 800 lawns cut later it finally needs an oil and spark plug and air filter change, along with several other things that come in time and with a seasonal maintenance program, but I don't usually do major rebuilds mid-season, it's almost unheard of in my business. Really, most any machine of mine that craps out mid-season tends to sit the rest of the year, until I have the time and inclination to deal with it, with 1-2 exceptions that's what I'm talking about, just grab the spare and hope it doesn't break too (some years are better than others lol) but the last thing you and I need is to be dealing with a repair the likes of an engine or a transmission replacement mid-season.

    So ...
    Get a commercial unit, you'll thank yourself later.
  8. Shaun13

    Shaun13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    well said.
  9. YardKeeper08

    YardKeeper08 LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 74

    Well I think that really puts it in a nut shell, very nice. I understand that to do things right I need a commercial mower (upgrade time). But what about thoughts on post #6?
  10. flakebortch

    flakebortch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Bump on the Quick mowers. I have a Quick 36 Samuri, and it is built like a tank. It also handles better than my 21" home owner model which is over 200 pounds lighter. I use it to mow a 2 acre plot that takes me an hour and a half. They also make a Quickie 32 now. All of their models are about a thousand less than the other big names.

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