Time for a new mower... need advice/buyers guide

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dfwblackls, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. dfwblackls

    dfwblackls LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Messages: 8

    So it looks like I will have the opportunity for a mowing buffet this year (private camp ground with lots of clients). This will double or triple the take from the past years and I will not have to mess with residential. Of course this will be reason to buy a new mower. I am not settled for a WB or a zero-turn. The zero-turn would be nice but I wouldn still be using my 21" mowers on residential work I do.

    So the question is this... I have between $2500 and $4500 to spend if this campground thing pans out. The income from the campground will be an estimated $300-800 extra per week (for 2-3 days of work). COnsider this a "What would you do?" type question.

    I have no problem buying used equipment either... I just don't know what is considered "high mileage" with lawn equipment (like with cars 100K is considered higher). How does one go about inspecting lawn equipment?

    I have always used 20-22 inch WBs so this is new territory for me. Thanks for the help!
  2. dfwblackls

    dfwblackls LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Messages: 8

    Of course... I am also a big guy (300#s) so would a WB have a problem with me on a "stand on" devide behind it.
  3. newbomb

    newbomb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 391

    I am assuming the properties are large enough to operate a commercial mower of 48-60 inch width. If this is so you might want to look at a "stand on" model such as a Wright Stander. They are commercial grade and heavy enough for a big man to stand on. You could probably find a new one for $4500 or a used one for much less.

    PS A dual wheel sulky would hold 300lbs easily but you want a heavy duty walk behind with good horsepower to pull you.
  4. newbomb

    newbomb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 391

    To inspect equipment first look at it. What is the general condition of the unit. If it looks neglected or abused it probably was. Check the oil. It should be clean and at the full mark. Check the air filter(s) they should be clean or at least close. If they are black or excessively dirty that is a sign of real abuse. Check all wear items for excessive wear or obvious abuse, tires belts and blades. Check grease fitting for fresh grease. Some machines used sealed bearing without grease fittings particularly on the spindles. In this case you will have to rely on the sounds when you start the unit. All switches and levers should be in order and function properly. The unit should start relatively easy and run smooth. Listen for excessive noise and squealing. This is a sign of bearing and belt wear. With the motor OFF grab each blade and try to rock it up and down, the blade should remain in place. if it moves the spindle probably needs replacing. Also rotate blades manually and look to see if they wobble. If they do not remain level they maybe bent. Start and operate machine, it should run smooth have reasonable power and everything should work properly.

    Good Luck!
  5. Albery's Lawn & Tractor

    Albery's Lawn & Tractor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,674

    Why walk (or Stand) when you can get a rider? It sounds like your gonna have enough work to justify it so why not, you can always use the 21 when needed. For your price range its gonna be a little tuff but you can find them. I've always thought 1000 hrs is like 100,000 on a car not always a bad thing but you still prefer something lower. Another option is if you think you'll be busy enough, is to buy a new one, put down what you can and finance the rest. Alot of different companies are also offering 0% interest right now.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I think you will have to get a ZTR.

    Unless these areas are going to be relatively flat, my guess is you'll end up walking a lot... unless you get a BIG ONE like a 52"-61" Ferris Dual drive or a 52"-60" eXmark Turf Tracer. And even then you may have to walk some....

    And by the time you invest that kind of money....

    You can get a ZTR and ride... and a big one if you buy used.
  7. dfwblackls

    dfwblackls LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Messages: 8

    I was thinking more in line with a 36-48 inch deck... mainly because storage is a major issue right now... maybe that will be a non-issue soon (looking at a house), but as it stands right now, I would be pushing being able to store a 48 inch. Having had my car vandalized multiple times makes me not want to leave it out of the garage while a mower occupies its spot... :)

    And I don't really do much that would justify a BIG mower... I am lucky in that I will know before buying the equipment a good estimate of how many of the camp ground tennants will be using me... if it is more than I anticipate, buying a good 44-48 inch ZTR will be a happy investment... if it is less, I think a 36 WB would be more appropriate. I will need a bigger mower than my 21" for my own lawn if the current house pans out... with a 1.5 acre front yard, the 21 inch would be hell!

    Thanks for the help on the used equipment... I know I should be able to "buy more" if I buy used, but the financing deals on equipment right now is good too.
  8. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,814

    ztr's are sooooo much faster than WB's, id get a 60" ztr and watch your productivity go through the roof. time = money, efficency = more money. go big, same time, more time for more work, more money, less tired.

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