Walk behind vs. rider

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by CutsForLess, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. CutsForLess

    CutsForLess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    I have a dixie chopper that I really like and a 26" exmark for small yards, but I have been thinking of getting a walkbehind. Im wondering if I would like the walkbehind enough to sale the chopper. I like riding on the big lots but I have found out a rider is not a priority most of the time, I think it just adds to your overhead more than anything. My question is can I cut as fast with a walkbehind hydro with a sulky as I can with my chopper? Is the rider worth the added expense, I mean its paid for but I could always sell it if I liked the walkbehind enough. I think I could almost get 2 walkbehinds for a little more than I paid for the chopper, maybe a small one like a 36" and then a 48", what do you think? Another thing is would the hydro be that much faster than my 26" metro I mean I know there is a size difference but still can mow at 4mph with the metro. Just thinking out loud fell free to add to it if you like.
  2. Bel Air Bob

    Bel Air Bob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    If you're thinking about overhead with a chopper, maybe you aren't charging enough. You won't be saving any money anyway if you by new and sell the Dixie. You always take a bath when selling something you bought new, so that will cancel out any savings. Also, you didn't put size of chopper, I'd assume 60" but then you're going to be slower for sure with a 48" walk behind. Is walk behind w sulky as fast, I don't know, as for me, I ride whenever I can, wether it's on a ztr or stander. Demoed a couple sulkies, didn't care for m myself.
  3. CutsForLess

    CutsForLess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    Bob thats what im trying to find out is how people like them compared to riding, thanks for the input.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I have a 48" T-bar gear drive Wb with a velke, and a 60" Warrior z.
    I find you need the lots to justify the Z, plain and simple (translation: BIG lots, nothing below 3/4 acres need apply lol).

    Here's the scoop:
    - Riding the Warrior is no more comfortable than the velke. Although the legs are relieved from the strain, now the shock of bumpy lawns (and they're all bumpy lol) gets transferred directly to my spine... It's still work and it still hurts after a day.
    - The Warrior eats a TON of fuel and costs 3 times more than the Wb, but the maintenance intervals are spread much further apart (25 hrs for the z, every 8 hrs for the Wb). All in all, the Warrior has to produce more, or it's not even worth loading it up.
    - The Wb runs circles around the Warrior in most anything under an acre due to its light weight, the Wb is agile and if slower but consistent, it takes turns at almost the same speed as the straights and it gets deeper into the corners so there is less weed-eating with the Wb as well. That, and with the Warriors weight and its huge rear tires, the Z wastes a LOT of time in the turns. Thus, only in lots approaching an acre in size (40k+ square feet) with some nice straight runs does the Warrior really start to pull ahead, once you get into an acre, the Warrior finishes an acre in 30 minutes double cut vs. the Wb's 40 minutes single cut (around 1 hour double cut), both at full stick.

    It's a bit like a Nascar vs. a go-kart: On a big oval track, the Nascar will win every time... But take them on the small circuitous track and the big fast car can't even get around the track, so the go-kart would, if not win, at least place just as decently for much less cost and hassle. It's the same with the Z, in a small lot the Z feels almost as useless as a submarine in a swimming pool.
    So, you need the lots for the Z, otherwise it's not worth it, at least not to me, I still use the 48" a LOT, a whole lot.

    But, the Z has headlights, it can (and likely soon will) keep cutting past sunset. :) Ahhh yes it is nice
  6. THEoneandonlyLawnRanger

    THEoneandonlyLawnRanger LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    Here is a productivity chart from Scag........Not saying you have to buy scag its just the first one i found on the net...........It will show you how many acres/8hour you can do with each deck size in a rider vs. a WB......On average you can mow 6-8 acres more with a rider with the same size deck as a WB, you just cant go as fast on a WB as you can on a rider......hope this helps

  7. Down2EarthLawns

    Down2EarthLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    WB's w/sulke are definitely more versatile than riders are. Especially when you get to tight yards and commercial. They are more agile in turning and you can hop curbs easily with a WB. Both will be a slower solution with a rider. You just have to know your route and what could be most used on it. If you like your WB w/sulke better you know what to do after that. Personally, if you have the means, I think buying the 48" first would be your best option. Use it for one week, then use the 60" the next. Compare the two. If you prefer the 48, sell the chopper and the 26, then get the 36. Good luck.
  8. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Productivity numbers from manufacturers are just that, numbers.

    They take the deck width, and multiply it by the machine's top speed to come up with acres/hour. But no one ever mows at top speed all the time. Turning, going around obstacles, slowing down for bumpy or uneven ground, all things that we all run into. And in some situations, I believe a more-agile, lighter, more-stable WB will cut just as much, or even more, square footage as a Z in the same period of time.
  9. Mr.Mow-It-All

    Mr.Mow-It-All LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 506

    How do you like your exmark 26, I have been thinking of getting a couple of them to replace the toro 21's. I bag more than mulch but like to be able to do both.
  10. CutsForLess

    CutsForLess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    Mr Mow It I love the 26" metro it has a real good cut and is pretty fast, the only thing I dont like is the weight, I think it is about 160 pounds. It looks to be built very well, the blade is belt drive with the same spindle on it as the big mowers.

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