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True savings of ZTR ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by vaham, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. vaham

    vaham LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    I run a small lawn-maintenance business, solo op. I limit the number of weekly's I take on because this business is, for the next few years anyway, a part-time business.
    I would rather service 8-10 accounts properly than try for 14-20 or so and rush through them and always worrying about replacing dissatisfied customers.
    8-10 accounts sounds small, but while working a full time job, I keep busy trying to keep up with them (partly because I reserve most of my Saturdays for family, or rain-outs).

    Now to the question to you full-timers:

    All of my maintenance customers are in the 1/2 ac+/- class. I cut them with a 52" hydro W/B with a 2-wheel sulky.

    Am I going to save any measurable time if I switch from my current setup to a comparable ZTR. Will there be enough time savings to justify the costs and add some more customers?
    Drive time, unload/load/edge/blow times will remain constant, and trim time might just go up, I don't know.

    What say ye ?

  2. Budget

    Budget LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 368

    Do you think you can get ZTR, on all the propertys you have now. I say go for it. I do 9 lawns a week and it is part time for me too. If i have to i can cut all in day but break it down to two days. I used a ridder before and cut my time in half. And still have my Saturdays open sometimes.
  3. vaham

    vaham LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69


    Yes, all but one with a slope/lake at bottom- This one needs the hydro's cross-slope ability.

    Well, my 23 hp TT52 already is considerably faster than a lawn or garden tractor w/ belly mower. I'm not sure about a "ridder", though.:laugh: It also lays down one of the nicest cuts I have ever experienced.

    The comparison must be between a hydro w/sulky and a ZTR.

    I know the ground speed of a ZTR is faster, but some of my rear lawns are pretty rough, and by the time I slow down to keep from spilling my kidneys out onto the mower deck, I may have lost any advantage of the ZTR- except maybe the "cool" factor.:cool2:
  4. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    What type of sulky do you have and how do you use it? If you have a fixed sulky(the kind with castor wheels that stays directly behind the mower) then you can use the hydro to it's full capability. True zero turns (counter rotating the wheels) just like a ZTR and instant reverse (without getting of the sulky) just like a ZTR, mowing in reverse (if needed ) just like a ZTR and mowing at speeds faster than walking just like a ZTR. If this is the cas then I don't think a 52" or 60" ZTR would save you anything. unless you bag almost al the time then the catcher capacity might be an advantage on larger lawns.

    What I use is a 48" Hustler Super WB with a bullrider sulky and accelerator bagger (I bag about 1/2 the time) I use the sulky 90 %+ of the time and mow properties fom under 2000 sqft of turf to over 30000 sqft of turf.
    I feel this setup will do anything a similar size rider will do and more.
  5. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,289

    If your only going to have just those 8-10 lawns then stay with the WB. You already own it so why go and spend money on a new ZTR when you only have a couple accounts anyway. Sure the ZTR will be faster no dbout about it and operator fatige is much less. Hell we no longer use WB's at all. ZTR's are faster and less fatiging to the operator. If you plan to expand then go for the ZTR and keep the WB as a back up mower just in case.
  6. seymour_glass

    seymour_glass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I think the guy above hit the nail on the head. You really won't see a difference if you get a ztr with a comparable engine and same deck size, because in most cases a hydro w/b is just as maneuverable has a ztr, except when a ztr has a slightly smaller footprint.

    Maybe if you have some big wide open areas to mow the extra speed on a ztr will show, but if you mow smaller areas or do a lot of turning or maneuvering, that extra speed will do you no good.

    With 23 horses you've got plenty of engine power, and if you love the cut why bother spending the money?
  7. Rob Dob

    Rob Dob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    If your mower cuts excellent and has no problems I don't see any reason to move to a ztr. With only 10 yards of 1/2 acre size, I think a walk behind is perfect.

    If you plan on taking more and possibly bigger yards then a ztr would be nice to have and then your wb as a back-up.
  8. Korey

    Korey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    Considering the amount of lawns you have now, think your best bet would be to stay with the WB. You already have it, and a ZTR would just be more money you would have to spend. I have about the same amount of lawns as you do and I use 48" WB's because they are easy to operate and maintain and are big enough for what I do. If you don't have any problems with the mower you have now and are happy with how it cuts, then I don't see why you should get a ZTR. Hope this helps. :waving:
  9. vaham

    vaham LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    My thoughts were the same as the general consensus. My equip. is all paid for-why incur debt if it does not either increase your productivity nor broaden your scope of services.

    PaulJ, I use a velke x2 , and I have NO prob. making counter-rotating turns nor backing (slowly) around corners without dismounting.

    Most of the season, I mulch, and on those rare bagging occasions, I use a grass gobbler, so bag capacity for now isn't really a factor.

    My TT is getting a little long in the tooth (1500 + hrs), so I am considering the need for a replacememt soon- and I will probably buy a used ZTR when I am forced to make the decision..... I think I might wait another season or two, provided ol' Crusty doesn't give up the ghost....

    Thanks again.
  10. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    I think the best advice is to keep what you have now and get a ZTR if you
    should decide to expand in the future. To give you some idea of how a ZTR will save you time I can tell you about my morning. One of the properties I mow is a 1 acre lot with cement drive, sidewalk going all the way around the house, has a detached garage and about 20 trees that need to be weed whacked. I am a solo operator and I edged the street, drive, all sidewalks and mowed and weed whacked everything in less than 45 minutes from the time I pulled up till the time I drove away. By the way, my ZTR is a Hustler Super Z :weightlifter: with 28EFI/60" and the grass was St Augustine with a weeks worth of growth on it.

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