Rider Mower versus Walk Behind

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawn8646, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. lawn8646

    lawn8646 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 23

    Started out in the buisness last year by buying out an existing company which was using riders. Alot of customers do not like them and want me to use walkbehinds because of the weight. Now I know and have been told many times that its not the riding mower its the operator. Looking for some feedback from you guys who use one or the other and the advantages. Most of the accounts are residential so cutting big acreages does not apply. Thanks for the input.
  2. germann

    germann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    we have found walk behinds actually more productive on quarter acre propertys with hills, gates, etc. A 48 and 36 inch model is a good combo. Smaller decks work better in wet grass as well.
  3. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,379

    If you have both types of mower you can service just about any account, large or small. ZTR's are a godsend on large (1/4 acre and larger) properties. I have a Z and a WB and use them both. They both have their uses. If a customer is particular and wants you to use a WB I would try to accomodate him/her. Don't just limit your business to accounts that require one type of mower. There is too much money to be made by being versitile. JMO.

    Where are you in FL?
  4. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,870

    Trust me, the kind of people who want you to use a smaller mower, just because, is the kind you want to avoid. I agree that both have their places, but it's not for a customer to decide. I was giving an estimate last year, the guy saw my 36"WB on the trailer, and asked if I was going to be using that. I said of course. He said he'd prefer me to use a smaller mower, I told him I'd prefer him to call someone else.

    A smaller WB is more universal than a ZTR. A WB can go anywhere a ZTR can go, but not the opposite. If you have large enough accounts, then of course a larger mower would be better.
  5. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,379

    I agree with Elephantnest on not letting the customer dictate what equipment to use. I would still try to accomodate the customer if possible and use a WB. If a customer wanted me to use a small push mower..I would let them know up-front that the mowing charges would be 2-3 times what it would cost using the larger mower. Time is money and the customer needs to understand that.
  6. OP

    lawn8646 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 23

    Its not the customer telling me to use a smaller mower. The rider I have is a 52" and they think its tracking to much and that a walkbehind would be a little lighter, which by me checking its about 500 lbs lighter depending on brand so if I went with a walkbehind it would still be a 52"
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,696

    If your mower is tracking it's not because of the weight. It's because you keep mowing in the same tracks every week. My neighbor has a 21" Honda and he has a portion of his yard that he has torn to smithereens because he keeps running through the same tracks every week.

    Also the foot print on most large riders will actually distribute the weight over a far larger area than most walkbehinds. This in turn reduces the weight per square inch.
  8. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,357

    A w/b will rut up also if cut in the same tracks everytime.

    I have done residential both ways. W/bs and Ztr. I don't agree with w/b being more effecient. My Lazer HP is much more productive in residential lawns than my w/b's were. But then again, that is what the HP is designed for.
  9. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Not this again????

    Look through the threads there is a loooong one on ZTR vs WB that started a few weeks ago and has several pages of reading. Some of it bickering but some good points also.

    For me The hustler Super walkbehind with a bullrider has the best of both. And since I am solo and need one main mower to do almost everything, the hustler is it. I service accounts from 3000 to 50000 sq ft.
  10. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,499

    Man, if it's the one I'm thinking of (and replied many times), palease do not resurrect that one...

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