Rider Productivity Question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GrassRoots Lawn Care, Jul 9, 2000.

  1. GrassRoots Lawn Care

    GrassRoots Lawn Care Guest
    Messages: 0

    I currently maintain 49 accounts in a tight service area (7-8 mile radius) and growing FAST (4-5 new accounts weekly with a nice Yellow Pages ad coming out in Aug). I have my eye on some ZTR Riders. Considering Toro, Scag and of course, Choppers. We currently run a 32&quot; belt on smaller yards, and a 48&quot; hrydro with sulke on about 55% of the accounts. We have enough new business that I can drop the smaller gated accounts where the rider will not fit.<p>My question is this: How much time will the ZTR rider shave off my daily routes? Like I said I will drop any and all accounts where the ZTR won't fit and maintain about 80-90 accounts. Our mixture of accounts runs about 30% commercial/70% residential. We do about 15-16 accounts/day with one 2 man crew. I'm asking to get an idea about the increased productivity of a 48&quot; ZTR Rider vs. 48&quot; hydro WB w/ sulke. We will need to keep the rider to 48&quot;, our properties aren't that big. Also, we will take turns trimming and riding to reduce fatigue and further increase productivity, how much will this factor in? Thanks in advance.<p>----------<br>Mike Reynolds,<br>GrassRoots Lawn Care, Florida
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,695

    Mike,<p> Lets break out the old &quot;Acres Per Hour&quot; chart and see. A 48&quot; WB at 6 mph (generally the top speed of WBs)/80% efficiency can mow around 2.33 acres of grass per hour. A Exmark/Toro 48 ZTR can mow 3.10 acres per hour at 8 mph (top speed)/80%. A Dixie Chopper 50&quot; can mow around 4.25 acres per hour at 10 mph (top speed)/80%. The 2 main variables here are purchase price of machines and a specific machines ability to cut grass at top speed. Since you already have a 48&quot; WB you know the limitations of your specific machine. Your next step is test mowing some ZTRs. And when you do it don't just test them on those nicely manicured lawns you do every week, take the machines out and try them on some of those nasty, weed infested, hard to cut lawns that always seem to take 2 passes to cut. <br>
  3. I think if would be a waste of time to buy a<br>48&quot; ztr. I would add a sulky to your 32&quot; machine. A 48&quot; fixed deck belt drive (toro, lesco, eXmark your pick) with a stand on sulky is great for flatland and dry mowing conditions of FLA.<p>You don't need a ZTR unless you can buy one with a 60&quot;+ mowing deck.
  4. lawnforce1

    lawnforce1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I am really wanting to buy a ZTR but am afraid to &quot;pull the trigger.&quot; Would it really be a waste to buy one with less than a 60 inch deck? I am really looking at a 52.
  5. Hardy Enterprises

    Hardy Enterprises LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    Hey Mike I would have to agree with stone on this one. The 48&quot; ZTR would be more comfortable to run but would not increase productivity much over the 48&quot; hydro with a sulky. I have a 48&quot; hydro with a sulkly that I used for about a year then I bought a Lazer Z EPS with the 72&quot; deck this year. On large industrial properties that took a couple of hour to mow with the walkbehind there was large increse in productivity. However, on small properties that only took 15 to 30 minutes to mow with the walkbehind the 72&quot; Z only shaved a few minutes off of the walkbehind times. When compraring the 48&quot; Z to the 48&quot; walkbehind the only increse your going to get is from ground speed. From my exprience on my properties the terrain won't let run much faster on the Z than the walkbehind. I the suspension seat on my Lazer which makes a difference but would still be taking a beating if I ran it wide open in a lot of places that I mow. As far the productivity charts go I have been using a stop watch to keep up with productivity time for about two years now. I have found that for me on everything from walkbehinds, ZTR, to tractors with 15' batwing bushhogs that acutual efficiency comes to be about 65% rather than the sales industries 80%. Hope this helps.<p>Jay
  6. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,214

    Hey Mike: The only way you can increase your productivity with a ZTR is to buy a rear discharge unit such as a Walker or Hustler upper cut so you can trim cut on either side of the deck and not wast extra time to avoid throwing clippings where you don't want them.I run a Walker 48&quot; GHS unit.I just bought a 62&quot; deck for it to use on large open areas. I have been expermenting for the last two weeks.I can mow most of my smaller properties,8000 to20,000 sq.ft., faster with the 48&quot; collection deck than the 62&quot;side discharge because I don't waste time worrying about the clippings going into the beds or on the house and cars.<p>I also get a laugh out of the production times listed by equipment manufactures. I would like to personaly watch some of these unites in testing.Brand A mower can mow 2 1/2 acres per hour,brand B can due 3 acres per hour. Maybe they are all tested in the South where the frost doesn't effect the flatness of the ground.I think most are advertized 50% better than they can really do.<p>Just my $.02
  7. Hardy Enterprises

    Hardy Enterprises LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    Hey Gene I live in the deep south with very little cold weather and most are still rough. I live in a hilly area and I think most properties have some minor erosion that takes place before grass gets established. What ever it is I have not found many properties that I can physically endure cutting at 8-10 mph.<p>Jay
  8. lawnnut

    lawnnut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Demo one or rent one for a couple of days and see for yourself.<br>My son can ride a sulky and cut with any rider. <br>I cut faster with the rider. I like the field of vision setting right on top of the deck instead of behind it.<br>On real hot days with high humidity a rider won't tire the op out as bad.<p>Try one and see<br>
  9. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,261

    When I went from a 48&quot; walk behind to a 61&quot; rider, my productivity doubled. But there was something else I didn't count on. I wasn't tired at the end of the day.
  10. Grasscape Inc

    Grasscape Inc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    Get a 2000 model John Deere Ztrack

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