zero turn or riding tractor?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by UNIQUElawncare, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. UNIQUElawncare

    UNIQUElawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    anyone ever start out with a riding tractor in there new business or is that not a good idea? I'm trying to do this debt free. I have almost everything I need except the zero turn mower.
    current equipment:
    husq/ trimmer
    polan chainsaw
    2000 chevy siverado 2wd
    12' lift gate style trailer ( getting my trimmer racks fabed up now)
    various rakes, shovels, etc.
    purchasing a new back pack blower
    and two 48" riding tractors that I would like to use until I can pay cash for a new zero turn, I also do cabinetry and wood working and was going to use that avenue as well to help fund the zero turn!
  2. Vecchio Lawn Care

    Vecchio Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 905

    Why not sell the two 48" and buy a used ztr
  3. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    ZTR and you should probably have some kind of push mower - a 21", perhaps, used is fine.

    With the two 48" tractors are you planning to have a helper or did you just end up with two lawn tractors? I do not know your personal finances but if I were in your position I would try to find a ZTR with 0% interest, then sell the two tractors and either pay down the loan or keep it on hand to help with cash flow in year one. Others may have better ideas.
  4. round about

    round about LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    The first answer is keep with the two riding mowers. One as a back up. Two question is how good are they and what brands. How much grass are you planning to cut? I was cutting up to thirty acres a week with my John Deere 285 with a 50 in mower. I had my orginal Troy Bilt Lawn and Garden Tractor as a back up. I ran both for years before buying my first John Deere Walk Behind mower and John Deere 455 HD tractor and add a Toro Titan Zero Turn. I have a different mower for each type of mowing contract I have. Each mower has its own propose. The John Deere 455 is my everything tractor from plowing to loader work to heavy grass mowing. My two zero turns are my two other mowers. I would look at buying a nice used Zero Turn Rider or a cheaper lower end ZTR.
    Most not a home owner ZTR. If you go to a home owner unit go to the top end if possible. The Toro Titan with the 54 in mower has fill most of my middle size lawns and some of my larger small lawns 1.5 acres. But still my John Deere 455 fills my 2.5 acre plus size lots.
  5. UNIQUElawncare

    UNIQUElawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I just happen to have the two tractors on hand one is a cub cadet and the other is a huskee brand from tractor supply. Both are about 4 to 5 yrs old. My goal is to end up with a ztr but I want to do it without borrowing money so I was hoping to try and get through the better part of a season with the two tractors, one for back up and save my revenue from mowing to purchase the ztr, but if clients pour in and I have to get one to keep up I will.
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    I started with a 20" Sears push and a JD 180 42" rider.

    Cuts great. Not as fast as a ZTR but I have no problem keeping up with the work that I have.

    I would say the best thing to do is use what you have for now and save your money so you can pay cash and stay debt free.

    You get more work then you can handle you can get a PT helper and run both of your riders if you still need to build up cash.
  7. round about

    round about LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    You have a very good starting point at this time. Do not load your business with the extra debt. I did that at the start of my business and almost lost everything the third season when the first housing market fell out back in the early 1990. Save up the cash and find a very nice used low hour ZTR or a very nice entry level unit. I look almost three years and talking to may other lawn services on there ZTR and most of all the local dealers with full service shops. When I replace my John Deere 455 tractor with another ZTR mower its going to be a Ferris IS3100Z or a Larger Toro ZTR. I the last five years I have replaced most of my equipment with newer or new equipment and all cash purchases. 32 vid is on spot on his advice.
  8. smokenjoe_10

    smokenjoe_10 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    best of both worlds yes not as fast as a zero turn but darn close and I swear by them get a all wheel steer tractor. I can go head to head with my grandstand and my JD is faster speed wise but the Toro can turn around that half second faster.
  9. UNIQUElawncare

    UNIQUElawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    thanks for all the advice guys! I am picking up potential customers already and I think I'm going to go the route of starting with my current equipment. I love the idea of "debt free"!

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