The best ZTR for Residential


LawnSite Member
Milton, FL
This is our second year in business (two sons and myself). I have a full time job and do this after work and on Saturday. Last year we had about 10 accounts and we were mowing with a Kubota 40" tractor mower. This year we would like to get more accounts and I am looking for a good ztr. I ask the dealers and they always say theirs is the best. I asked one repair shop here in town and he said grasshoppers are great because of lower repair cost. Also, would anyone recommend buying used and what is the best size for residential? Any suggestions. Thanks.


LawnSite Senior Member
Buying used can be the best way to go. Check it out GOOD first.

Not sure what your average residential is, but most believe 60" is the best size.

Never had a Grasshopper, but figured parts would be higher than most others, or atleast the same as the rest.

Good luck to you and your's in this 2004 season!


LawnSite Senior Member
We started out with a new 52" is1000 Ferris. If you have the money buy new. If not and you want to keep your start up cost low buy used. I bought used when i started but they guys are hard on the machines they would break down being so old. Now i buy 2 new mowers a year and with the 2-3 year warranty much easier then driving out to where they are to fix it. We can just call the dealer they pick it up and drop of a new one until ours is done. I think that might be ferris's take care of the customer deal?

Leisure Lawn

LawnSite Member
If you have a Great Dane dealer in your area give one a try. They have some awesome riders at very affordable prices with a $500 factory rebate.

They also have a finance plan through John Deere where your payment can be as low as $60/month or so the first year to get you started.


LawnSite Fanatic
Grasshopper has a good reputation around here for reliability. I mowed with a new one all last year with no problems.


LawnSite Member
Brainerd, MN
My situation is much the same as yours. I am starting my third year in business and mow after work and on saturdays. I use a 42" Husquvarna ztr. Works great and is small enough to get around the average yard. My next upgrade will be to a 48" or 54" ztr.

One thing to consider is how you will be transporting your mower. Don't buy something you can't fit on the trailer.

Good luck in 2004


LawnSite Bronze Member
Have you considered the Gravely 34z? I also hear Scag is coming out with a 36" ZTR, and Exmark to soon follow but haven't seen either of them yet.

Envy Lawn Service

LawnSite Fanatic
North Carolina
I need to type up a blanket reply for this and keep it on file so I can just copy, paste and reply... because I always say pretty much the same thing.

The thing is, residential can be 1/4 acre or 5. The main thing to do is get the biggest deck you can productively use while still being able to get a quality cut on your home town terrain. The additional cost of a larger deck is so small even if it doesn't seem that way now. Within one season it will pay for itself no problem with the extra production as long as you don't go too large.

On the flip side a deck that is so large it is unpractical for your accounts can hurt as much as it helps. You don't want to go so big that you create a lot of trim work for yourself and counter the addition production elsewhere.

What I did was try several different deck widths and mowers with different overall lengths on MY accounts. I took them out on various account layouts. took notes on each one and compared one to another. I kept a record of mowing and trimming times. Plus I kept mental notes on how the cut from different sizes looked and how smooth the flow of work was with each one.

In the end I decided 48" cut on a short overall length Mini frame was best for me at the time. I could get to everything with the 48" where as the same didn't hold true for a 52". I had a lot of places where I couldn't squeeze in between the landscaping with the 52" like between tree rings or between a tree ring and a bed.

Right now is also a good time to explain what I men about 'flow' of work. When you are running along and you have to route out of your way around some landscaping because you can't squeeze between, it interrupts the flow of work. Especially if you stripe. You either run up on it, turn and go around it. Then pick back up on the other side, repeating that with each pass until you work past it. OR you run up on it, cut your turn around area, then go back the other way, repeating back and forth until you work past it. Then repeat the same thing on the other side.

I also had a lot of short ditch banks I couldn't get down in with a larger mower and several places prone to scalping. So i had to go back with another mower to get the ditches and tight places.

Also I decided on the mini frame because the machine length was shorter and more maneuverable. But not only that. At 48" wide and 72" long, I only had to cut one border round to turn around in. With the short length and shorter wheel base, I could turn around inside one 48" pass without missing grass. The more border trim a property had, the more time I saved by not having to make another pass and cutting down on mowing over the same patch of grass twice. You would be surprised how the square footage of double cut grass adds up. Also you would be surprised how many mowing passes can be made in the time it takes to go all the way around the borders again.

You may find any size cut to be better for you and YOUR accounts though. Maybe a 36" or maybe a 72" or anything between. Just try them out...


LawnSite Senior Member
All but one of my accounts is residential and I chose the Scag Tiger Cub, 48". Suits me just fine.


LawnSite Senior Member
thats how we started out, me, my brother and dad on the weekends and sometimes after work. we also started out with a lawn tractor.

just my opinion here: your next logical step might be a 60" w/b with a sulky. it is versatile, and will go where the ztr will not, while the reverse is not true. after you pick up more accounts, then get a 60" ztr.

most of your major manufacturers make decent and compareable models. location of the dealer, whether you like the dealer, his supply of parts are all important factors. you don't want to have to wait a week for every small part you need, and then have to drive an hour and deal w/ a jerk to get it.

i personally prefer the exmarks. i think they are good, relatively inexpensive commercial machines that hold up well. parts are easy to get too.