Upgrading to a ZTR?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by prosperity, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. prosperity

    prosperity LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Ok - this might turn out to be a little long, but here is my situation.

    It's time for me to grow some, but really don't know which direction to go.

    I am a solo operation, and need to expand to do some other types of work like brush hogging, post hole digging, and gravel driveway repair.

    I currently am doing all this with a Deere 2210 (see photo). It has a 62" deck, and does a great job at mowing, and to me is pretty fast too.
    But, if I am going to get serious with the brush hogging, etc, I need a bigger machine. But (again), once I go to a larger machine, I know that the mowing speed and fine cut will degrade.

    So...I'm thinking of getting a Deere 757 ZTR, and a simple Deere 790 tractor that would be used for loader work, brush hogging, etc. But, for some reason, I just can't fully decide on the ZTR. I've been running all 4WD tractors for years and feel so comfortable with one. My dealer has a small 727 that I tried out for a few minutes. I know that I need to spend more time on it to get used to it, but I came away with the feeling that I didn't like it that much.

    I've read a lot here, and all seem very pleased with their ZTR's.
    Why can't I convince myself to make this change?

    This is a big move for me equipment wise, but in order to gain the more business that I need, I have to get myself a larger tractor for the tractor work.

    So, I guess what I am asking, is some input from folks who went from a 4wd tractor to a ZTR.

  2. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,280

    yard like yours in the picture, a Z like 52"-60" can knock time mowing down in half. Tractor is for public turnpike or expressway with large large acreage. Small tractor is a joke to mow, with steering wheel on resi or mid size lawns. Yes, you can mow but to make real money with volume of business...only the Z can deliver.
    The only disadvantage a Z has is steep hill, but you can solve with a used WB to do those scary slope. Some people simply go with the Z even it is nasty hill, it all depends how experience you are. not me.
  3. prosperity

    prosperity LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Mowing time in half - that's what my dealer said too - and I trust him - been dealing with him for 15 years.
    About the hills - when I was checking out the 727 (small frame) at the dealer, he zipped along a pretty steep side hill with it.
    Like you say, he said it just takes practice.

    Thanks for you opinion - I guess as I get older, I get set in my ways some.
    Even though the one he has (727) is a smaller frame than what I would be buying, I am going to pick it up and try it out on my own lawn this coming week. I have a pretty good slope in one area, so it will give me a feel for it.

    Another thing about slopes - he told me to always make your turn going up at the end of your row - not down. Guess that makes sense.

    By the way, the photo is not my yard - just posted that photo so folks could see what I am mowing with now.
  4. prosperity

    prosperity LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Also, I guess I should add - 75% of my lawns are 1/2-1 acre, and a few that are ~3-4 acres. Only 25% small residential.
  5. sweatyclippingcoveredguy

    sweatyclippingcoveredguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    as far as the pulling part, I'd stick with a tractor, but for cutting yards you'll love the ZTR.

    It will take some getting used to, but when you do you never want to use "caveman" equipment again. (No offense to tractors) You'll like the speed, the turning radius (which might be 0 degrees, but you can't do that without ripping up turf), and time saved. With more time, you can double cut and make it look damn good with fancy diamond cuts or whatever.

    You should do k turns at the end of your line, turning right so clippings are blown inward.
  6. prosperity

    prosperity LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    That is why I am probably going with 2 different machines - the tractor for "pulling', and the ZTR for mowing.
    I have been trying to get away with a "one machine does all" for quite a few years now thinking economically, but the time has come for me to branch my business out some, so this seems to be the logical solution.
    I just need to spend some more time on a ZTR to get comfortable with it.

    One example for me, was a baseball field that I did a couple years ago. A good friend, who retired recently, bid on it and got it last year. And, I was the one who suggested to him to get a ZTR. My tractor has a 62" deck, and I could do it in 3.25 hours (usually 3.5) - he has a Exmark with a 54" deck and he says he does it everytime in 3 hours or less.
    That really made me think for sure.

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