Upgrade to Walk Behind

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,321

    This is my first post here as a biz owner! I am wrapping up my first year in biz, having two weekly accounts to mow (townhome acct across the st from my home and a large res. acct) plus some one times here and there. Very part time this year, but I expected this, being a newbie in town with no name. Still trying to build my name with hard quality work and some selective advertising....

    One may laugh, but I did all my mowing this year with a 21" Toro Super Recycler, incl. the townhome acct (a bit over 1/2 acre.). I pay extreme attn to quality and I love how the 21" mower stripes and cuts, however my townhome acct continues to grow in size (more bldgs being erected) and I want multiply my acct # next year, thus need to look at a larger mower, I am thinking a 36" walk behind. Do you think this size mach. would be a good next move for me, and if so what machines give a great quality cut (most important to me) at a decent price? I am looking to plow my income this yr back into the biz so would have $2,500 or so to spend. Thanks kindly!
  2. Sydenstricker Landscaping

    Sydenstricker Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,281

    If you have 2500 or so to spend, you may look into decent used equipment. If none of your accounts have gates, maybe look into a 48" w/b. You can cover alot more ground with a 48 than a 36. You can find like a nice Scag or Exmark for 1-2k or so with decent hours and condition, really depends if you know how to work on stuff a little. Good luck in your venture!!!
  3. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    Well I went from a 21" to a 26" and the difference was amazing, the 26" didnt work out well so I got a 40"...the difference was even more amazing. I now mow all lawns with 40" only and rarely ever even start the other two mowers.

    A 36" is going to increase your acres per hour for sure, now you just need to decide which manufacturer you would like to purchase from, I suggest purchasing from a local dealer so you can get after sales support and maintenance.

    With this being said for $2500 you will probably have to get a used commercial. You may want to consider purchasing a Quick 36" from Better Outdoor Products.
  4. Skeelow

    Skeelow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Also my fist year. Currently under 5 accounts this year with one timers also. Part time and will stay that way. Looking to not go past 10 accounts if that.

    I got the Quick 36 Samurai last November and have loved it! No problems yet. www.betteroutdoorproducts.com check it out or call them and ask to speak to Gary the owner. You can get a Quick for around that price range.

    I loaded mine up last year with the sale in November and got the stepsaver, grass catcher, stripe kit, gators, mulch plate, service package, headlights and shipping and came out around approx. $3400.
  5. willjones4

    willjones4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Look on Ebay for low hour mowers-every once in a while some really great deals pop up on there...
  6. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    You have two jobs? A half acre is a lot of ground to cover with a 21" but what is that half a day a week?

    So you want to upgrade equipment so you only have to work 2 hours a week, lol. I'd get the work first.

    I also started with a Super Recycler (pos) and then bought a regular recycler for back up and when I had help. 2nd year I got a Toro 36" gear drive with T bar. These machines are only good in large open yards in my opinion. My smaller and done with the 21's (which are falling apart on me). They hydros they say are easier to turn on a dime (I think they say that) but there certainly was a HUGE increase in productivity on my large yards. In fact I wouldn't even have took them on if I wasn't planning an upgrade.

    Americans seem to have a lot of large lots so if that is what your looking at I would try and get a 48" (if you're sure your going to get work) That's what I wish I did. A 36" doesn't fit through a lot of gates anyway so I might as well of had a 48" for the open areas.
  7. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    Have you used the mulch plate in thick green grass? I'm not talking super over grown or anything. Just regular spring growth when there's lots of rain.

    I'm asking because my toro's mulch KIT took me 2 hours to put on, there are curved walls that have to be put on etc. I'm wondering how just blocking off the discharge would work.. I'm thinking it wouldn't in heavier conditions but then if all you have is a plate to take off, like on a Quick. You could switch to bagging in a few minutes. Is this true?
  8. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    I was told this would not work Vikings...I was wondering myself because I was thinking about running Atomic blades and a chute blocker. Oh by the way...Atomics from Toro suck...they leave mohawks!
  9. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    The blades that came with my Toro Mulch kit are about 1/4 inch shorter then the normal blades and have a much more pronounced ....ummm.. up-bend. I don't know what it's called but I think it means they are super HIGH lift, that part at the end of the blade, opposite to the sharp edge is bent up at a much higher angle then the normal blades that came with my machine when I bought it. But they are NOT finned, just normal super high lift and each blade has its own circle that it is surrounded by. It actually works like a dream but I'm not sure I know how to take off the mulch system and put those other parts back on lol.

    As far as atomic finned blades, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I have a 22" toro and they ONLY have atomic blades. I don't understand why but they don't make normal high lifts for it. YOU cannot mulch with that blade unless your talking thin very thin, dry grass or your trying to smash up leaves. I have to bag with it.

    I came to the conclusion this spring, when the grass was growing fast and thick, that you cannot mulch with finned blades.

    We were working side by side. A 21" super recycler with normal blade 6.5HP, and a 22" Recycler with finned blade 6.5HP, the difference was night and day. The 22" with atomic blades would bog down and clog up the deck very bad. It was horrible.

    Now instead of trying to mulch with these small machines I bag with them. I hate dealing with clumps. My 36" 15HP with mulch kit leaves NO CLUMPS no matter what so I mulch with that.
  10. Skeelow

    Skeelow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57


    I haven't had the mulch plate on enough to know how it does in thick green grass with lots of rain. It's extremely dry around here. A lot of miss and hit showers. I also struggled with putting on my mulch plate since it has curved walls and just wasn't fitting. 2 men and 45 minutes later I gave up and turns out later on my dad was able to get it on but with a struggle. I couldn't switch to bagging in a few minutes being the plate was a hassle to get on. I would have to get a few tools out to get the plate off having the mower's front wheels on blocks off the ground and then put on the grass catcher. For me it would take a while. And with the few accounts I service its either mulch or bag no switching until its enough leaves for me to just bag.

    I'm gonna put the gator blades back on this weekend with the mulch plate which seemed to be a good combo in the spring.

    I'm also wondering if there is an easier way to block the chute without the hassle of putting on a plate to switch back and forth quickly.

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