Walk-behind or Ride a ZTR? (newbie, advice needed)

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Herbacious, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. Herbacious

    Herbacious LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Considering purchasing a mower to speed up the job at my house (1.3 acres, currently using an old Deere 140 42"). Takes me over an hour. Blades are sharp, spindles are good, in order to get a quality cut, need to mow at walking speed - too slow.

    As mentioned, I'm looking to get a new piece of equipment, am considering trying to land 5 or 10 customers to mow in evenings, to help put some money toward paying for the machine. Have an enthusiastic nephew interested in helping starting a part-time bz. would like to give it a try, then grow if I really like it. Day job is great, just looking to "supplement" a bit.

    I've visited some dealers, saw the bob cat 52" ride on, Toro looks like a good machine also, but recently visited a dealer who made the point that a walk behind may be better for just starting out. said they don't tear up lawns as much (especially when it's soft), but from what I've seen the walk-behinds cost almost as much as the ride on! (for the same cut width, and price, I don't think I could justify walking)

    Any thoughts/comments/advice? Thanks.

  2. ffemt1271

    ffemt1271 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    i have an exmark 48" metro hp walk behind. i love it. the rider goes a little faster. but the walker gets the jobe done too. for about 1/2 the price of a rider
  3. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    I concur with ffemt. A walk behind makes sense if you are just starting out. If you dont like the exercise you get, you could also use a velke with it.

  4. Herbacious

    Herbacious LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I think I need to see more walk behinds..my initial impression was that they were almost as expensive as the ZTR riders. I've only shopped 3 places around here, the last one I went to showed me a walk behind 52" machine for almost $5,000. If I can actually get one for half the price of a ZTR mower (my math puts it at about $3,150.00) and get an equal or better cut, I'll go that way.

    The two other machines I looked at (bob cat and toro) 52", were priced around $6,300.00 If I can buy the rider and go faster, seems like the direction to go. I'm also going to look at Xmark.

    Thanks for your input.
  5. rdsmith3

    rdsmith3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    You should be able to get a new walk-behind for under $3,000.

    Also, consider a used one.

    I have an acre, with lots of large trees. I bought a used Toro Pro Line 44" belt drive walk behind with a Kawasaki engine for $1,000. I got it from eBay.

    I have been extremely happy with this mower. I like walking, but more importantly, there is no way a tractor would work in my property. With a walk behind, I can get close to trees, beds, etc. The deck extends well past the wheels, which allows me to cut over curbs. The fastest speed on this mower is a very brisk walk for me.

    My neighbor has a JD tractor, but then he has to haul out the push mower to get close to the trees and beds. It ends up taking longer.

  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    You Should Try A Lazer HP.

  7. Herbacious

    Herbacious LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Lawn one - Believe me, I would love to try a Lazer HP.

    Unfortunately, trying a Lazer HP will cost me about 6 - 7 thousand dollars.

    I'm just not sure that I'm ready to invest that kind of money when a same-quality cut is available. Thus, I'm leaning toward the walk behind. I really don't mind walking. And I'll walk my lawn over the next five years if I can save $4000.

    That would be similar to someone paying me $26.66 per cut, assuming 30 cuts per year, to walk instead of riding.

    Thanks for all the good input. Still trying to decide..
  8. BigDave

    BigDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    This might be too obvious, but... a ZTR will pull the trailer that you've pictured, as well as other pull-behind equipment such as an aerator... while the walk-behind won't.

    Of course, you could just hang on to the Deere (if you have the storage for it) to pull stuff.

    I will also tell you that, at least on my property, with all of the hedge clipping, edging, and trimming that I need to do, it sure is nice to take a rest on the ZTR.

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