What does your mower cost you per year?

pblc

LawnSite Member
Location
South
What does your mower cost you per year? I'm kicking around the idea of rotating mowers with lower years/hours and keeping them all in warranty. Other option is keeping them for years and years and paying all repair work myself. I can trade every two years for $4k/machine - trade every year for $2k/machine. Machines have approximately 350 hours put on them each year.

If you're keeping your machines for a couple years and putting a couple thousand hours on them - what are they costing you in repairs and downtime averaged over the years?

The only other major component to the money here that is sometimes overlooked would be the depreciation and trade in value at the end of the machines life.

My machines are being depreciated over 5 years so the amount the dealer is telling me it is "depreciating" to him is the same we are reporting to the govt so I won't have to incur any gains when selling these assets - someone who keeps the machine longer will more than likely incur gains when selling - something that should be thought about when figuring your cost/yr.

So......... what's your mower overhead costing you per year?

Thanks. :usflag:
 

Richard Martin

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Greenville, NC
Let's see here. This will be for my Dixie Chopper. It has 1500 hours on it. Last year I did 1 oil change on it for a total of about $25. I also had one oil test done. That was $30. I put 2 rear tires on it. That was about $200 mounted. 3 sets of blades at $36 per set, that's $108. I also changed the belts for the first time. That was around $50. That was it.

Total is $413.00

This year I'm planning on doing a hydro oil change, around $35.00, one engine oil change at $25.00, 3 sets of blades at $108, 2 front tires at around $100, change out the fuel injection filter at about $20 (1500 hour change interval, as per the manual) and that's about it.
 

Turf Dawg

LawnSite Gold Member
Other than the regular stuff you have to do like oil changes, blades and air filters even on new mowers, my cost is not very high per year. I cannot remember all of my mowers but 2004 Grasshopper I kept till something like 1700hrs and I put on belts once and one spindle. My 08 Hustler has 850hrs and so for I have put on 1 hydro belt. My 07 Walker has 1260hrs and I have put on new blower, chute tube, belts and a couple of relays.
I personally feel if you are putting on 350hrs per year, you should be able to run atleast 5 years with needing nothing more than regular maintenance, blades [which would be on new mowers also] belts and tires. So I personally would not see where the cost savings would be to trade every year or two.
 

Ijustwantausername

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Raleigh NC
This is a question I have had as well, as far as when to trade mowers or keep them etc. My mower has 1100 hrs on it, as of the last year I have changed the clutch, changed front and rear tires, oil changes, hydro fluid, belts, spark plugs, fuel filt, and air filter.

This is the first time since 2003 I had changed anything other than the plugs, oil, filters and belts. So the next couple years, Lord willing, it will be the same basic stuff. I am already looking into companies that sell motors for these things because even at $1500 for a motor, that's leaps and bounds cheaper than having to buy a new unit.

Still though, it would be nice to start out with a fresh mower.
 

dKoester

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Chesapeake VA
I had an engine on one of my mowers last year blow. Getting a new motor is the best option. Lets say I found out the character of the shop we do business at. It was sales reps vs. mechanics. They were really angry at each other. Some people don't have your best interest in mind and I know who they are now.
 
This is a question I have had as well, as far as when to trade mowers or keep them etc. My mower has 1100 hrs on it, as of the last year I have changed the clutch, changed front and rear tires, oil changes, hydro fluid, belts, spark plugs, fuel filt, and air filter.

This is the first time since 2003 I had changed anything other than the plugs, oil, filters and belts. So the next couple years, Lord willing, it will be the same basic stuff. I am already looking into companies that sell motors for these things because even at $1500 for a motor, that's leaps and bounds cheaper than having to buy a new unit.

Still though, it would be nice to start out with a fresh mower.
Most companies are currently offering 0% for at least 3 years.... Unless you are a big operation, I would try to get the most out of your mowers. There are a lot of guys on here that have said they got 3-K+ hours out of units with regular maintenance.
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retrodog

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Paris, Tx
I talked to a dealer in Tennessee that rents alot of mowers. I have done alot of research on it, and it makes sense to me. I am gonna offer this service this year to some of my good customers that requested me to.. If you lease your mowers it is a 100% write off per year. The going rate is $4000 a year all maintenance, service, and repairs covered 100%. It sounded high until I talked to my tax lady, and she explained you get alot more write off that way upfront, expecially if you need it. The dealer said most of his guys actually request their same mower each year because they are used to it. He said most put between 500 to 1200 hours per year on them, and he doesnt mind doing all the maintenance to insure it is being done properly and at the right times... You might look into that since you are going to trade out so often... I had a customer my first year lease a cat diesel 72" through a national lease company. They basically gave a ghost loan at 30% interest, I thought they were raking him over until I saw his tax benefits. The cool thing was he could opt to keep mower, or the bank would pick it up and he could buy a new one same way after 2 years...
 

MOturkey

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Bolivar, MO
I do the same thing you have been doing, trading every two years and keeping the mowers under warranty. Coincidentally, my hours are very similar to yours as well, but it has been costing me closer to $5,000, including tax, to trade, on average, or $2,500 a year. Of course, my other expenses, because of always being under warranty, are almost nil, being only routine maintenance like oil and filter and a new air filter or two.

You'll find two schools of thought on the subject, and most people are firmly convinced their method is the only way. I, personally, think it is simply a matter of "pay now, or pay later". Keeping machines under warranty guarantees me I won't face any surprises, or down time. Chances are, cost per hour of operation will go down as you keep a mower longer, however, I personally don't believe there is as much difference, on average, as many would like you to believe. It is much the same as driving any vehicle. You hear the stories of 300,000 miles with only oil changes and a new fan belt, but those are the exception, rather than the rule, and the guys that give figures of a few hundred bucks for blades, maintenance, etc, are totally ignoring depreciation, or, actually, future replacement cost. If you use a machine long enough, you will eventually have to replace either the machine, or every component on the machine subject to wear. That is just a fact, and either option costs money, eventually.
 

retrodog

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Paris, Tx
The leasing company he uses is capital funding group. They only give biz to business I think, and will let you lease machine for 2 years. Its kinda like getting a high interest loan, but worded different on the contract to reflect a lease agreement. On a lease its much more beneficial on the taxes, and then instead of working a trade or dealing with selling machine, just let them deal with it after your 2 year
 

torotorotoro

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
omaha, nebraska
i usuall spend a couple thousand a year on repair. sadly i blew a moter on a walk behind. i an replacing it now. a friend bought a scag 36 for $800, newer machine with low hours. my new kawaski is running me $1350. im not sure if selling off and buying new would be better.
 

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