Would it be a horrible idea to use a residential zero turn for a small one man operation?

Doc8406

LawnSite Fanatic
Could you? Maybe.

I had a residential Cub ztr that I used for a part time machine. Maybe 10 lawns or so at that time. By the 2nd year, there was plenty of issues popping up causing problems. The mower is just not built to be used much.
See a lot trying to do this around here.. there are few i have not seen in a while.. hmmm wonder why..
 

Bitches_Brew

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
earth
I started with a mid grade Gravely HD, it worked for a while, but do yourself a favor and spend the money now rather than buy 2 mowers later.
 

rippinryno

LawnSite Gold Member
I started with a timecutter, total residential mower. Put 300 hours on it and then sold it to my cousin who still uses it for his 2 acres.

I then went to a hustler raptor sd. Put 200 hours of commercial use on it before i switched to standers entirely.

Both of those mowers are residential and both of them did fine for 15-20 lawns a year or so. I would say if you're just getting started it would be fine, you have to start somewhere and then find out how it's going for your business. At that point, you can start to search for the better built equipment.
 

Gump_Runner

LawnSite Member
Hi everyone, new here and loving all of the great info! I'm a professional musician in my other life and when the pandemic started I began mowing lawns to make some extra money. I have enjoyed it and am thinking of taking on more clients as the music work still isn't back to what it was. I have a snapper rear engine rider that has gotten me by, but its pretty slow. So, if I do decide to expand (I'm only doing about 7 properties a week at them moment, I'd like to be doing about 15 a week) would it be a horrible idea to get an upper level residential zero turn, or would it be a much better idea to go ahead and invest in a lower level commercial mower? I've seen quite a few small operators around town using what look to be residential models, but I wonder if they last them more than a couple of seasons? I don't really want to spend 10K on a mower as it would take me some time to make that back, however financing it may make that sort of purchase feel doable... Any advice anyone may have would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time!
Just because someone can afford something doesn't mean they need/require it. To pay for college, I started cutting grass with a (used) Wizard 46" 18hp rider and (couple months later) upgraded to a used Exmark 36 belt drive. When I finished Grad. school in 01 I had the same 36" belt drive, 48" belt drive and a 48" hydro - all purchased used.
"Do everything in your power to stay out of debt". Warren Buffett
 

Hawkshot99

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
New York
"Do everything in your power to stay out of debt". Warren Buffett

I definitely agree with this type of statement, but if manged properly debt can be a real asset as well.

I bought my WB for 5k. I needed a mower now, as I already had a client list, and my old mower blew out the transmission and was not worth fixing.
Should I have bought a cheap push mower and gotten that 5k slowly to pay in cash(and likely lose most of my client list because I didn't have time to service them all anymore) or take the 0% interest loan available and buy the mower?

Seems pretty obvious to me personally.

I am not saying be stupid and ring up debt like crazy.
 

brydan

LawnSite Member
I definitely agree with this type of statement, but if manged properly debt can be a real asset as well.

I bought my WB for 5k. I needed a mower now, as I already had a client list, and my old mower blew out the transmission and was not worth fixing.
Should I have bought a cheap push mower and gotten that 5k slowly to pay in cash(and likely lose most of my client list because I didn't have time to service them all anymore) or take the 0% interest loan available and buy the mower?

Seems pretty obvious to me personally.

I am not saying be stupid and ring up debt like crazy.

Not second guessing your decision at all, with a business and no equipment you had to keep the business going, obviously.

For people that advocate a debt free lifestyle, they also have an emergency fund, investments, etc so that when the unexpected does come up, the money is already set aside to stay out of the debt cycle
 

Hawkshot99

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
New York
Not second guessing your decision at all, with a business and no equipment you had to keep the business going, obviously.

For people that advocate a debt free lifestyle, they also have an emergency fund, investments, etc so that when the unexpected does come up, the money is already set aside to stay out of the debt cycle
I could have bought the mower outright, but why when its 0%?

To me, its a want vs need situation. I'll finance things I need, cash for things I want(toys like a motorcycle and such)
 

brydan

LawnSite Member
Like I said. I wasn't second guessing your decision.

What if you had that money invested earning money until it's time to buy a machine instead of borrowing it from the bank?
 

Hurryupelectric

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Charleston
Getting my Deere at 0% was like a rocket for my business. Granted I push mowed with a 21” through my first year and was confident things were heading quickly in the right direction. One weekly account paid the payment and allowed me to not only service many many more yards, it made me look the part much better than the Turfmaster did. I could often tell a difference when meeting a potential client with a professional looking mower vs a big push mower that I always left the bag on to make it look bigger.
 

brydan

LawnSite Member
I did the same too. When I moved cross country I wasn't even planning on starting a business. Decided to and borrowed my girlfriends push (not even self propelled lol) mower to get started. Got a few jobs going and borrowed $5k from my dad to buy a used Q36 and some better tools and it also transformed my business into a semi legit operation :D

That said, after getting going, had I been more diligent about investing early on instead of spending like a lawn guy with a pocket full of cash, I wouldn't need to be cutting grass at this point :D
 

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