Riders vs. Walkbehinds...my experience after one season

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PR0 TURF, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    Oh yes that would be grounds for me leaving as well. I wouldn't have been there to begin with if all you used were walk behinds so switching would be all I needed to buy my own lazer and open my own lawn care company. The walk behind controls kill your hands and is future carpal tunnel and I do speak from experience on the hand and wrist pains. I have about 4000 hours on walk behinds granted I have about 8000 on ZTRs no way I'd go back. What I notice is when I worked for an old boss that used walk-behinds we called it quits after 8-9 hours completely exhausted. With my own ZTRs I go 10-12 hours and come home less tired.

    Not saying thats going to be an issue for you unless you have some capable leaders in your company in which case you may spawn some new companies.
  2. Turf Tracer

    Turf Tracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,737

    ECS is easy on the hands and wrists. You were on pistols. :nono:
  3. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,562

    Ecs isn't that much easier on the hands.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. elbow300

    elbow300 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Wow!!! I have always thought of the guys working in the grass business as hard working folks. Sounds like we are not exempt from divas after all! I run all walks in my business, because they are more suitable for the topography in my area. I run sulkeys on the 61 and 52 inch decks, and walk behind the 48s. I'm sure everybody would prefer to sit and ride, but its not what is best for the turf, and not what is best for our clients. I find it easy to gain accounts from those companies that refuse to stand up and work. I have run ZTR's at times when we have accounts that require them, but those accounts typically come up for posted bid every year. There is always a new guy who misses the bid or is hungry enough to work for the "crack head" price. If we do not retain the account, out goes the ZTR. After years of running both ZTRs and walks, I am picking the walk. Sure I'm tired at the end of the day, but that is a common side effect of work. The ZTR is less fatiguing, but much harder on the lumbar spine.
  5. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    The health benefits of walking all day are fantastic, ask my doctor.
  6. CriderLawn09

    CriderLawn09 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Amen to the divas :cry: lol we have been running all walks since day one, we only have 2 zturns that barely get used, and i was reading all of this about how everyone would quit, and i had to laugh cause most of my guys hate running z turns, because if we had all zturns they would be trimming or push mowing 80% of our properties, as everything is hilly around here. But, pro turf thanks for your input i'm not sure you meant it to be a topic where everyone could bash you for being such an awful employer cause you make your guys work?, looks to me like your guys are pretty happy, they get to drive nice, nice trucks, run great equipment, and i'm sure you pay them all good. But, anyway great debate i guess :confused: lol
  7. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Gravelys pro steer controls are super easy to use and really cut down on the hand fatigue.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    Pro turf, you better pull that ZTR pic off the picture gallery on your webpage-wouldn't want any prospective employee's thinking their gonna ride all day! LOL There's another thread on the pricing of the 60" TTHp-what are your thoughts?
  9. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    I've always said the Ztr is the Cadillac of lawn mowers, while great to have it's more of a show boat and not very cost efficient.
    When you speak of them being heavier on the truck, that also results in more wear and tear.
    The trucks are harder to drive when a Z is in back, and it costs more to get it down the road, too.

    The Walk behinds are a bit slower on turf but you are right, the decrease in production can be
    explained away with the decrease in damage as well.

    ONLY on very large properties does the Ztr truly come out ahead.
    Glad to see at least one other person besides myself has noticed this.
  10. SDLandscapes VT

    SDLandscapes VT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581

    So we also made the switch this season as well--though this has been an ongoing process--we have three S-series turf tracers and 1 X series turf tracer with fuel injection. If they all could be fuel injected I would do it--x series burns like .9-1 gal/hour. We don't have sulkies of any flavor though we are considering a pro slide for the X series. We run a combination of two and three man mowing crews--two man crew--2 48" S series, three man crew 48" S, 52" X and walker 48" GHS (which seldom gets used other than spring and fall). The cost savings is huge and productivity is actually faster--we do mostly medium residential and small/medium commercial. The way the work gets done flows better and there is less down time for the operators--everyone is expected to perform any and all operations--you finish mowing there is a trimmer with your name on it, or an edger, or gardening tools/sprayer, or blower depending on what the progress is for the other crew members. When we had the rider the rider lagged to avoid trimming etc--in effect we leveled the playing field.

    There are also some huge business ramifications that benefit larger companies (anyone bigger than solo) and this is why Brickman is big into using walkbehinds. Don't get me wrong there is a place for the zero turn, but it is a much smaller place than it currently occupies in the market.

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