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opinions please

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lonnie13, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. lonnie13

    lonnie13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I am a firefighter full time and a part-time mower. I am considering buying a 32" toro or exmark next spring. I now have about 15 small yards ($25-$30). Next year I plan on having 25 yards max, that is about the most I can do. My question is, Is it worth my money to buy a 32" or should I stay with my 21" commercial snapper?
  2. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    If the lawns are small (mainly 3000-5000 sq ft), you should at least get a 36" machine. Most gates accomodate a mower of this size. If you have very few gates - you may want to consider a 48" (which would allow you to do larger properties in the future).

  3. TurfGuyTX

    TurfGuyTX LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 648

    Is the 25 lawns the most you can do with a 21"? If so, I'd bet you could squeeze in a little more with the 32". You'd shave minutes of mowing off each lawn. Is the 32" so you can get in back gates? If not, why not a larger mower? Good luck to you.
  4. lonnie13

    lonnie13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Yes, I can only mow about 20-25 with the 21", maybe not even 25. I would like to get the 36" but I dont think most of the gates would accomodate one that big. I need to know if the overhead would be to much to even have a 32" or not. Can you do 1 acre lots in a reasonable amount of time with a 32"?
  5. Best Cuts

    Best Cuts LawnSite Member
    from 63366
    Messages: 4

    lonnie Get the widest cut possible. If your using a push mower the difference between that and a walkbehind in like the horse&buggy and a race car!!!!! Generally after the inital cost your overhead is very low. blades &air filters not much. Take a tape measure with you first & measure their gates, if most will fit the 36" get it! The time & energy you save will well be worth the cost !! Remember the Cost is a write off, Get the BEST!!! I am very pleased with my exmark's !!! The BEST to you! :D
  6. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    I'm starting to think Chuck is going to have to change the name of this place from "LawnSite" to "Firefighter/Part-Time LCOsite"! :D

    Welcome to the boards, lonnie13!

    Best Cuts idea about measuring your gates is a very good one. Do it the next time you are there mowing. The 36" fits through every one of the gates I have encountered so far. The 'typical' walk-through gate in my area turns out to be 44". Check it out and see what you come up with.

    I also use Exmark mowers and find them to be simply fantastic. My 36" is a Exmark Turf Tracer w/ECS controls and a 15 hp twin cylinder Kawasaki.... Hydro drive....and it is awesome! Go with the best mower that you can afford. You won't be sorry later and your production will increase dramatically over a 22" pusher.

    As for your question about doing an acre lot with a 32" I cannot say. I use the 36" for smaller lawns only and whip out the 1 acre lots with a 60" Lazer Z...which is WAY, WAY faster than a 30-something inch walkbehind.

    Good luck with your search...which BTW- the 'search' feature here at LawnSite is great for researching different types of mowers and their capabilities.

    Be careful fighting those fires! :)
  7. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    lonnie13, Get at least a 36" ... yes, measure all you current and prospective customers gates first ... if you lose one or two, no biggie, or if you feel sorry for them, cut the back with the 21". But I will tell you this, once you start using the 36" (or bigger) you will wonder what ever made you decide to cut them with a 21" ... the difference is night and day. The few you might lose with not being able to get thru their gate, will be soon filled with other accounts that you can and be able to cut them twice as fast and you will soon forget about those you couldn't. You will probably at least double your productivity, or at least be back home in half the time. If you have about 25 accounts paying $25 a week, it would take about 1 month of pay for a 36" w/b or about 6 weeks to pay for a hydro w/b, depending on the manufacturer and price. But with the increase in productivity, you should be able to be doing 40 accounts at a min. of $25 and then it would only take you 2 1/2 - 3 weeks to pay for the new machine.

    Good luck ;)
  8. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    cut quality will improve too.

    there will be a bit more maintenance (blades, greasing, oil changes etc) but well worth it.

    according to exmark literature, an acre will take about an hour to cut with a small walkbehind. hydro, belt, 32", 36", all factor in.
  9. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Welcome to Lawnsite. I was in your shoes about 7 years ago. I am a full time Lt/ PM with my department and I didn't know what to do at start up. You have this site as a tremendous advantage.

    There are many variables to equipment purchases that it will make you dizzy. Asking for opinions is good but it will confuse you.

    You have to know what type of properties that you do and what the expectations are from the owners. There is no one mower that does everything so you have to find one that does most things. I don't know if you just want to mow lawns or do add on services like dethatching, leaf pick up or bagging grass. I know that you will not be productive if you push mow an acre of lawn. No way, no how and this job will eat you alive on 90 degree days.
    I started with homeowner grade equipment and burned it up in 2 years. I bought a Walker for my situation and doubled business. The funny thing was I doubled the business and did these jobs in roughly the same amount of time.

    I am not telling you what to buy but I will try and steer you in the right direction. Go to the commercial dealers in your area and ask them to demo some of the bigger equipment. Test these mowers on your properties. Don't worry so much about gates unless all of your properties have gates.
    If you have specific questions just click on my e-mail button below and I will get back to you. Good Luck.
  10. We do 4 U

    We do 4 U LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    If you want a large area mower AND to be able to get through gates, look at the Hustler Gate Master on the Hustler forum. You will be impressed. I am also a full time firefighter/ part time lco and if this was around when I started, I would have gotten one.

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