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opinion on best size mower to start with?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Nolimit124, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. Nolimit124

    Nolimit124 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I am looking into getting a mower to start with I have 4 21" so I'm looking to go bigger. I have been finding all types of deals I just cant find out what size i should go with. I'm currently looking at 36" 48" and 52" walkbehinds.

    At the moment I found a ekmark 2001 36" for $800 and a lesco 48" hydro 2004 for $1000 and a 1999 ferris 52" with a brand new echo blower for $800. What would you guys go with?

    I looked around at several properties in the area, it would be about 40% have gates and 60% dont have them. So thats why my decision is so tough because I'm not sure if its worth having the 36" just for the gates. i feel like if its my main mower its going to slow down productivity.

    What do you guys think??????
  2. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    This question has been up for debate for a long time. Here is my opinion but you are going to get a lot of different opinions.

    If you already have several push mowers I would get a 60 inch ztr. You will find most of the time that will be the only mower you will need. On smaller properties or properties with a gate you already have push mowers…..yes a walk behind is faster then a push mower but not fast enough to justify having a bunch of push mowers and 1 wb.

    The only reason I would change that is if you are financially in a pinch. If the payments are to expensive for you on a ztr then wait it out and save your money.
  3. Nolimit124

    Nolimit124 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Yeah I was looking to buy a mower for cheap. Out of the 3 I have listed, which should I go with or pass on all of them? I have several push mowers so the gates arn't going to be a problem.
  4. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    The only one of those mowers I know anything about is the exmark 36……however….since you already have some walk behinds (push mowers) I would say go with the 52 inch so you can take bigger lawns….keep in mind though…I don’t know anything about ferris. I am just saying that so you don’t limit yourself to small lawns. Make sure it was well taken care of…its over 10 years old so its going to be risky
  5. mirrorlandscapes

    mirrorlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 79

    Lol I think I'll just follow sanger around and ditto what he says :)

    When I started I jumped from a little lawn tractor and push mower up to a 72" ZTR (it was an amazing deal) and I was so glad I did. I was considering the walk behind as a next step, but we ended up getting accounts that the wb would not have been productive at all.

    Look at the properties you anticipate getting, are they hilly or very uneven? If the wb isn't a floating deck you'll have more problems with scalping the bigger the deck you get. If everything is relatively smooth and flat and fairly large, definitely go big.

    Ferris is always over priced for what you're getting. I demoed one and wasn't really impressed with the construction, but they aren't terrible either.

    Echo is a good brand btw.
  6. vanncann

    vanncann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    I would find a 42" and get it, you can fit in almost any back yard with no problem. Then get a bigger one in the future. JMO.
  7. posterlion

    posterlion LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Being that you are asking, "What is the best mower to start with?" I must ask, "Have you started yet?"

    Do you have some customers already? If the answer is no, then I would start with what you have, and wait until you have the cash flow to justify another mower.


    I started my LCO on a whim, because my step dad said he wanted to start a lawn care business. I thought it was a good idea, but it was mid-November and cutting season was months away.

    Then I was out driving around and I noticed there were about 1,000,000 tons of leaves lying about so I went to Wal-Mart and bought some 3"x5" index cards and some masking tape and started advertising.

    I put out 30 cards on the ugliest leaf covered lawns you can imagine and within two days I had a call. I went and gave my estimate and got my first job, so I went to Lowes and bought a rake and 64 leaf bags.

    The point here is that you don't even need equipment until you have something lined up.

    I did that first yard for $80 and I used 52 bags and it took 8 hours and I was one F-ing tired SOB. I laugh today when I think how stupid I must have looked tackling such a large job with a rake only! hahahahaha!

    But the thing is, I had real profit from my very first job because the rake was $15 and the leaf bags were $16.

    I got another call the next day and I told my step Dad about it. He pulled a Craftsman mower and shredder vac out of his shed and offered them up. Believe me . . . I was not nearly as tired after my second job.


    If you have customers already, then I'd ponder the following:

    - What mower will best increase my efficiency with the customers I have?
    - Do I have a lot of fenced back yards or do I have wide open spaces?

    Use the answer to these questions to dictate what your next mower will be. If you can't increase your efficiency with a new mower on your current work, don't buy one.

    On the other hand, I don't know what your finances are but here is something to consider.

    If you have the bucks to pay cash for a BIG mower then don't worry. Go out and solicit business for jobs that require that BIG GIANT DREAM MOWER IN THE SKY. Then buy it once you've got the business.

    If you don't have the bucks then go work out financing at your local dearler of choice beforehand. Go out and solicit business for jobs that require that BIG GIANT DREAM MOWER IN THE SKY. Then buy it once you've got the business.

    Either way I can guarantee you this: You"ll be able to acquire a mower within 24 hours for that BIG CONTRACT because mower dealers REALLY WANT to sell you a mower and in most cases that would be as QUICKLY as POSSIBLE!

    Good Luck my friend
  8. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,612

    I would go with the 36" if you have smaller lawns. I started with a 44" and ended up getting a 36". I was actually more productive with the smaller mower because of small gated lawns.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Nolimit124

    Nolimit124 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    o ok sounds good thanks for the input.
  10. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    Get the Lesco assuming the Exmark is a belt drive. Also, get a cheap 21 doesn't even have to be self propelled as long as it has the big wheels. Later or if you can afford one now get a velke or something similar. 48 is a good size but you will need a 21 if you can't afford to pass down a job. I have a 36 wright stander and it is my only mower now. For me it was the best choice. I looked at the areas where I planned on advertising and looked at the gates to come to my conclusion.

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