Now here's a thought.....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassnazi1, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. grassnazi1

    grassnazi1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    Have a friend of mine with a very small lawncare biz.... Thinking of buying a Z so he can be lazy with his 25 accounts. Talked to me about who is the best dealer in town for Z's...hes been partial to Exmark for his WB for the past 2 years but its the only mower he has etc etc and then he threw out the idea of just buying a residential mower from Home Cheapo this spring, use it and abuse it for the season and then dump it on Ebay or Craigslist for 1/2 of what he paid for it and just keep buying new machines each season......

    I gotta say.... I have never used a residential mower, but I would think it would last the season on 25 1/2 to 1 acre properties if he takes care of it somewhat.... Sure beats dropping 6, 7, 8...grand on a new mower or trying to find a "good" used mower....

    What do you guys think of this idea? It honestly stopped me in my tracks and I thought about it....has key points... 3 months of residential warranty isnt bad when its a 6 month cutting season here.... New machine each season means less wear and tear, always have the latest and greatest mower... Sure....its not commercial grade, but for 25 accounts, does it really need to be?! I gotta say, its a good question.... What do you guys think?
  2. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    Do the math, it doesn't add up.

    Cheap Home D ZTR, say $3-4K

    He dumps it for half price each yr. (if he is lucky) that's $1.5 to 2K/yr. And he is using an inferior machine, that mows slower, is less comfy, gives a poorer cut and is 10X more likely to break and create down-time.

    Or he drops $6-7K on say a Z2. He gets a commercial machine with a sweet commercial Kawi. He mows in style and is more productive. Uses the machine for say 5 yrs and still sells it for $2k, less than a K/yr depreciation, and a better machine.
  3. BMFD92

    BMFD92 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    i agree with lawntamer. I know a guy that bought one to do his condo complex and that was his only account and it is slow, cut sucks, and to this day he regrets doing it. Your friend should either just keep his w/b or get a used commercial z. If the walkbehind is a 48" then thats all you should need for only 25 accounts.
  4. grassnazi1

    grassnazi1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    Thanks for the replys... I agree, I think its well worth going commercial all the way, even if its a used commercial with 800+ hours on it.... However, the Big Box stores in my area are selling ariens mini z's, toro 42" z's and cub cadets for around $1800-2000 bucks. Not a huge investment, so i thought it was worth a thought. like i also mentioned I never used one of these residential machines, so I have no idea how good/bad the cut on them actually is. Also, the WB he is using now is a 36" that he bought used for 800 bucks and has lasted him for 2 years already, especially after explaining to him the 2 most important owrds in lawncare PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE.

    All in all it was just a question, I told him I would think about it and see what others think as well, but I really still believe commercial is the way to go here. Basically, the only reason for the Z is so he can be lazy and "done faster" but it did strike an interest basically its like getting a new mower for 1k per season. but if the cut is REALLY that bad, then 1k is A TON of money when you dont have any customers.
  5. The mayor

    The mayor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    I got rid of mower with just under 4000 hrs. Paid $7200.00 when new. All that time and had to replace 2 spindles and some small odds and ends. Sold it for $1700.00. And I sold it knowing that the person was getting a decent running machine. Can't do that with a residential mower. Newest mower I have now is a 2004.
  6. PearceLawn

    PearceLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    I started 11 years ago in here in Rochester using a consumer mower thinking the same as your friend. I too figured a 6 month cutting season, sell it, buy new next year. Stupid me.

    DON'T DO IT!!!

    Go commercial unless it is a mower that sees 2 hours a week of use. That is what the resi's. are built for.
  7. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    I started the business with a craftsman mower I only had 5 lawns. The wheels fell off after 2 months, had engine troubles and finally bent the deck. My Toro is from 97 and I still use it. Think about that one?
  8. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 686

    No comparison. In the long run he will save money with the commercial. Not to mention all the frustration he will avoid. He is walking half acre to one acre lots???? I walk all mine but mine are 1/8 acre or less. I would not call him lazy.
  9. grassnazi1

    grassnazi1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73


    He is walking half acre to one acre lots???? I walk all mine but mine are 1/8 acre or less. I would not call him lazy.

    He's my friend, and as such....He will forever and always be lazy until his business makes more then mine! Until then, he's captain Chub-O and lazy man! Best friend a guy could have though. Thats why I wanted everyone's feedback before I just gave him my 2 cents.

    Never knew the residential mowers were so crappy. I havent used one for any real length of time. My dad use to own a small engine repair shop and drilled COMMERCIAL into my head since I was about 10.

    I gotta say though.... it brought up a great question I never even asked myself before. I think the best advice in this business is to cut expenses when you can, but spend money to produce quality work.
  10. chuck bow

    chuck bow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 701

    Think about this i have 60 accounts and i mow more hrs in a week than a normal res homeowner mows in 3 years
    Say your friend mows 25 accounts and each avg 1 hr ( maybe they do maybe they dont )= 25 hrs aweek cutting time.......... up north here that would amount to about a yr of homeowner cutting or a little less in a week for him or say to be safe 500 hrs max cutting hrs a year a commercial machine would just really be getting broke in good at thos hr a homeowner machine would be trashed at thos hrs ...... its a no brainer hope you can make sence of what i wrote

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