Why so few standers?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by blade cutter, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    intersting, we found the wrights to be super more productive and switched many yards over to those instead of even larger deck sized ztrs. the manuevering ability was the biggest factor i think

    now over a walkbehind, um, you can ride faster than walking, if it is the same size then it is comparable dont you think. we used to run walks only and then got my hands on one stander and have never looked back, huge difference. now we have 5 standers on the fleet. they work great(smaller one) for small to larger medium lawns.

    they are so much shorter and take up less room to make turns and things in the lawns and against walls and houses, no need to make double passes like you should with a walk behind to have room to not crush your hands against something

    seriously i have no idea or reason why to ever go back to a walkbehind. it is like going to a push mower from a rider
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I also have wondered why I see so few stand ons, but down south that might have more to do with the varying grass types vs the fixed decks formerly the norm on them, and some other technical factors.

    But I think that if you do omit factors like "fun to use" or "less tiring" and only stick to pure production numbers, you're missing an important element. Be it an owner/operator or employees, a machine that is more pleasant to use may actually get more work done in the big picture. With employees if you keep them happier and less fatigued, they will be more likely to stick around. An owner can always use more energy and less wear/tear on his body and any machine that provides that is a lifesaver. I know my limiting factor isn't hours in the day, it's hours of effort in my body. At some point you just want to head home. If a machine can postpone that an hour a day then it's more than worth it.

    Walk behinds are, when you are young, only subtley harder to use I think. When you get older and everything aches you notice it a lot more. My impression is that standers are quicker in most situations, but mostly they seem to require less body effort than a sulky/wb and of course less effort than walking. A ZTR may be better on wide areas, and is still easier on the body than a stander (again this shows more as you get older), but the more turning you do the more a stander may make sense.

    Large companies are probably more set in their ways. They also may feel the stander takes more training or rather re-training. If Juan has used a pistol grip fixed deck wb for 5 years, he's someone the busy owner or manager can forget about. But buy a new fleet of standers and there is a learning curve.

    Also a wb is the most versatile mower, ultimately. It can mow anywhere. A stander can mow MOST anywhere, but in some conditions you'll still need a wb around. When equipping a fleet of trucks with machines, they may feel it's cheaper to have 2 types of mower rather than 3.

    Finally we know that in economics the cheaper the labor supply the less capital (equipment costs) is spent on production. If a typical laborer cost $25/hour I'm sure they would spend more money on getting that 10% extra efficiency. But whenever labor is cheap, you often find cheap tools along with it. I quite often see large crews mowing properties where 2 guys will be mowing a pretty darn big area with puny 21" mowers, and a 3rd will be waving a string trimmer around trim-mowing patches of lawn! The other guy is on a ZTR. So they are what is called "undercapitalized". Cheap labor makes this strategy easier than if your labor costs (yourself, if solo) are much higher. Meanwhile, I'm a solo operator and have 2 ztrs, 2 midsize wb's, and 2 decent 21" mowers so I always have exactly the best machine for every property. Because tiny improvements in efficiency are worth more to me than someone with a $10/hour guy using it.

    A small company or solo operator is more concerned with productivity (and comfort, and ease of use, and fatigue) than a big company with employees for that reason. And standons aren't cheap, so I would say you'd be more likely to see them used by smaller companies and solos than big fleets.
  3. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,648

    When I switched from a WB to a ZTR, the increase in productivity was astounding. I was able to finish 8 or 9 lawns in the time it used to take to cut 6.

    I find that the stander is almost as productive as the ZTR. It is way faster than a WB. Faster loading/unloading, faster in tight areas, faster backing up, faster turning...it all adds up.

    Around here, you really need a bagging machine for some lawns and for cleanups. So most solos starting out go with a WB, then switch to a ZTR w/vac when business picks up. That is what I did. When I needed a 2nd mower to keep up with the lawns, the stander seemed like the best choice. And it was.
  4. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    i totally forgot about the price, as standers are way more money and i am sure that it reflects on puchasing and overhead in many guys eyes
  5. WHIPPLE5.7

    WHIPPLE5.7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 958

    I've been shopping for a stander but can't find any close to me. The one thing that scares me about the Wright is that it has electric blade engagement and I worry how long that would last. Almost all commercial mowers of the smaller deck sizes have been manuel blade engagement for along time now because it outlast electric. I would still buy a stander if I could find one though, just not new price. I never like spending more than around $3K. Also a stander is my only choice other than WBs because people here will not allow ZTRs in their yards. They all think smaller decks provide a better look.
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,546

    We switched one WB out for a stander 4 years ago. We liked all things about increasing production, it had floating deck and was a good mulching machine. But we are finding that it just leaves ruts and that is creating a big problem. We normally run 36" WB and not riding units and that was fine. Now when the customer see this damage they say use 21" or I will get Justmow it with his 21". We lose the option to fall back to WB. And yes it is good in theory to try to not run in same exact path but in the real world it doesn't work out. So we aren't going with any more stanters. I don't see how you guys up north that gets rain can deal with it unless your grass is a lot thicker than ours.
  7. WHIPPLE5.7

    WHIPPLE5.7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 958

    I worry about this happening too. I have one place that is sloped in the front yard and they water daily. My Quick 36 dually actually leaves slight signs of rutting so i'm always hitting it at different angles. I know a Wright, plus me would be way over 2X my Quick dually so I suppose a stander could pose a real problem. Our northern grass are mostly fescue/kentucky blend and they aren't that thick.
  8. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    oh yea, every mower ruts a bit but that is just oo bad really, you have to cut it and most are good sizxxe lawns that aint getting push mowed period.

    but our grass is way thicker here than downsouth. it is like the plushest thickest growing carpet you can imagine so it does cushion quite a bit
  9. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,327

    So the real advantage is mostly the maneuverability? Is the top speed much different with a wb & sulky than a stand on?
  10. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,758

    Seems to me that one would have a predilection for standing or sitting...while taking all the abuse. Personally, I know I'd rather stand than sit.

    Lots of bagging of grass/leaves makes a ZTR look more atttractive.

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