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ZTR time savings

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lsylvain, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Liquidfast

    Liquidfast LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 739

    Question for the OP. I have a purchase to make. This purchase offers two different Z models.

    The first is a bad boy mower 26HP liquid cooled 60 inch.

    The other a Ferris IS 2000 or 1500 with 19hp and 44 inch.

    I had a discussion with the dealer and explained my needs. He offered (I will not same the name of the WB cuz it is a hated brand here and funny enough, even at a blow out price, he cannot sell it) a WB 48 inch with sulky.

    I refuse to place my fat as@ on a sulky....poor mower. I was thinking about this post and came to the conclusion that me on ANY sulky would probably cost what me on a Z would to ride. Therefore, I have determined that I will choose to ride. If I am buying a big HP vehicle no matter what it is, it will most certainly cost more.

    OP, here is the thing. From day one, I have ALWAYS quoted a property to include riding the Z.

    Example, I look at a property that I know will be $40 a cut. Does the customer have a backyard? If the answer is yes then does the custy have a gate? If yes, Can I get a Z back there? If yes then the yard has just become $42.50 per cut. I swear I have so many $37.50, $52.50 accounts that its not funny. The ONLY funny part about it is this......by typing this, I realized that I have not raised my gas prices for larger properties...instead, I have only added $2.50 per cut. O H MY G O D, I am an idiot.
  2. florida's lawnboy

    florida's lawnboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    are most of the yards you mow normal sub-division sized homes
  3. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,282

    about 60% are normal sub division size lots, the other are from 1/2 acre to an acre in Odessa, LOL, and Lutz.
  4. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 778

    I realize that everyone uses Z's. The question I am trying to aswer is "is it worth it?" You say "yes it is worth it because you get to sit." I say I would rather ride on a Sulky than sit if sitting cost me 5,000 a year in extra expenses. As far as those comments about you arn't going to be young forever so at some point you will have to ride, well yes, if you can't use a walk behind because of your age health or whatever get a Z no question because you are not going to get anything done with a w/b.

    The point is as I said in an earlier post, if I can cut grass with a 36" w/b and make more money than with a 60" ztr I will walk my tired butt behind that 36 from sun up to sun down or until my body gives out. If I get to the point to where I'm loosing productivity and the 60" ztr earns more money I'll buy a ztr.

    The purchase price of the mower isn't an issue as far as me spending the money if that is what you are thinking, and that I just don't have the funds to pay for an expensive Z. I could go buy 50k in equiptment today with Cash, get another 100k by taking out an homeequity line and I could put about $60,000 on credit cards if I so choosed. The out of pocket isn't the issue it is the return on the investment. I have $0.00 debt with the exception of a modest mortgage and whatever I put on my credit card since my last statement. I attribute this to the fact that I never buy anything I don't need and when I do buy something I make sure I get a good deal on it or I make due without it.

    I guess what I am saying is there are "personal" reasons for buying a z, such as you want to sit, you think it is more professional, or you can finish your day an hour early to be with your family, etc. These are reasons for buying a z that are personal in nature, I may hate my family so I don't really want to finish up an hour early each day, or I may have a back problem that gets agrivated if I sit for to long, and I may think that a walk behind looks more profesional than a z. These are reasons to buy a z that do not really involve the question of profitability, if you think that paying an extra $5,000 is worth paying to be able to sit that is your personal opininion. What we are looking for is strictly financial reasons, profitability reasons, and efficiancy reasons.

    If you have a Z how much does it cost you to mow and Acre? How much does it cost you to mow and Acre if you run a w/b? It cost Heather Lawn $23.00 per acre per machine, what does it cost you?
  5. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,280

    [QUOTE=lsylvain]I realize that everyone uses Z's. The question I am trying to aswer is "is it worth it?" You say "yes it is worth it because you get to sit." I say I would rather ride on a Sulky than sit if sitting cost me 5,000 a year in extra expenses.

    $5000 in expense for operating a Z??? You must be extremely brainwashed by the WB folks! Please, nobody will stay in business if it takes 5k to maintain the Z! The only difference I see based on operating my Gravely 152z is the gas cost, the Z takes about $15 dollar more cause it is twin tanks. The rest is the same as my hydro eXmark wb, 3 belts the entire mower, hydro belt, blade belt, and deck belt, need belt dressing once and a while. No greasing on gravely, but exmark yes, keep filter clean (canister type)...so basic.
    The most important part, is sharpening the blades and that is the main maintenance on both machine. Hydro oil change and engine oil change...very simple both takes 1.8-1.9 qt, every 40 hrs on engine, and 200 hrs on hydro, plugs every season....
    It is pretty much nickle and dime to operate a Z.
    It seems you are scared the heck out of it:laugh:
    If you can afford to take care of your Ford or Toyota truck, the Z is piece of cake.
  6. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    I don't think it's much more if at all more expensive to maintain a ZTR than a w/b. I don't think you will find the answer you were looking for in here. I'm sure some guys buy them just cause they can to say hey look what we have. And some guys buy them for more productive reasons. A friend of mine bought a Exmark Lazer with all the bells and whistles and he seems to have no problems with it what so ever so far, I see him out every day using it. For me like I said before, I am buying one for the bagging capability (yes time saving vs. a side bagger on a w/b) and the time we save when we demoed one a few weeks ago vs. our w/b's. All but 5 lawns we can use a ZTR so to me it's worth it and if it saves me 10 minutes per lawn that gets me home 1hr 45minutes sooner or enables me to take on a couple more lawns per day.
  7. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    I started in Orlando with a 21" murray, thenI cot a 36" wbhydro with a velke. I then got old 48" walker, and then a 52" lazer and thena 60 " lazer.

    The 36 got sold, the 48" got sold. I was able to cut every lawn with a 52" lazer the only thing that was more expensive was the fuel. I could run the lazer for eight hours from a full tank to bone dry... about a gallon or so per hour.

    Being able to get off your feet every now an again is worth it. By being more productive in most cases (even in orlando on 10K lawns it was much faster) youa re less fatigued, which means you make less mistakes, whicm means you are able to mow longer....

    I could never sit all day any how, and I made sure the rider moved around and others got to benefit from it.

    Price wise, the 52" wildcat I got last year was 6300 and the 48" hydro(fixed deck) wb I got was 4300. Id venture to say the 52" hydro (floating deck deck) would have been 1 grand more. so the wildcat woudl have been $1000 more than the comparable walk behind. on scags web site, the wildcat can cut 20 acres per day versus the 13 for the WB, thats an extra 7 acres a day. lets say it means you can cut only seven more yards a day...@ 50 a cut.... 25 times a year, $8700 bucks.... I'll drop an extra grand amortized over 5 years and and extra 4 bucks a day in gas.... to gross 8700 a year.

    proved you have the customer base adn the willingness to grow.

    you harp on the costs...but what about the benefits...
  8. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 778

    You can't sit here and tell me that a ztr cost the same as a walk behind first a ztr cost about $4,000 more to purchase in the first place. I went though a set of tires every other year with my walk behind and I know that ztr tires cost more than w/b tires. We already know that they eat 2 times the gas at 2.50 a gallon that is 12.50 a day more if you are burring 5 gallons a day in your w/b. Just the gas comes to an extra $1,800 a year. You would have to shave an hour each day with a z to save the labor just to pay for the extra fuel and another 1/2 hour worth of labor savings per day to cover the extra cost of the machine over w/b. (Assume a 5 year life of the machine before it needs replacing.) total we need to shave 1.5 hours each day just to break even before any extra cost assosiated with the z like the fact that when something does break it is going to cost more to get fixed.

    If you can currently get 16 jobs done in a day with a walk behind, that averages out to 30 minutes a job including drive time. I'm going to say that each time you load and unload you eat up 5 minutes and another 5 minutes to drive. So that is 160 minutes of the day that the ztr doesn't help you. That leaves you with 20 minutes each job we will just say 10 to mow 10 to trim and blow. So with 10 minutes of trimming and blowing, that is another 160 minutes that the ztr can't save us any time. So now we are at 320 Minutes of time spent that the ztr can't help us with. and only 160 that the ztr will effect that is 2.6 actual hours of mowing during an 8 hour day. To save my 1.5 hours to cover my gas and my extra mower payment the ztr needs to be 128% faster than a walk behind. in other words if the deck was the same on both machines and the walkbehind could maintaitn 4 mph including turns you would have to be running the ztr at 9.1 MPH including turns. Now the toro website states that their walkbehinds can run 6 mph and the ztrs 8.5. So unless toro underestimates there speed on thier ztrs we have a little problem with our time savings here.
  9. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 778

    I'm not saying that you can't cut more with the Z. And in FL I would use nothing but a Z because you can use it anywhere unless your customer has a gate and it is so hot that it does affect your performance, but when you are talking about an average summer temp of 75 degrees with almost no humidity you can rock and roll all day with a walk behind. Then trow in steep hills that you can bearly keep a walk behind on, toss in all the friggen rain. I mean it rains like hell down here but 10 - 15 minutes after it stops it seeps down through the sand. Up there with all the clay it is not going to go away anytime soon and with that heavy machine you are going to do a lot of damage unless you use the walkbehind.
  10. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    We all know that you are not, in most cases going to run a Z or wb for a full day. I had two sites were two machines ran all day. if I went though 5 gallons of gas a day on average on my Z I would have been suprised. But if you have a mix of comm and resi i think the z is the way to go...no matter Florida or VA... On my Tiger Cub I have about 400 hours, still on the orginal tires...., and still have lots of tread.... and it sees more road use running around campus than most units.... heck its 1/2 mile as the crow flies from the garage to furthest turf. if you use a walk behind and its jsut rained, you better be walkin...If you are a solo one man band....I think the Z gets another + Your feet and legs are your most prized possesion....gotta give them puppies a break ....

    I quoted you my actual prices for the 52 wild cat and 48" hydro wb....why would I lie?

    I quoted the acreage from scags site....

    from Scag site, 48" wb with a 7.2mph speed cuts 12.4 acres 1.5 acre per hour
    a 48" z with a 10 mph speed cuts 18.6 acres per day. 2.3 per hour

    that 6.2 acres....you woudl have to cut grass for four more hours with the WB while I'm on my porch sipping a cool one and cleaning up my Z.... and I'll bet that my hands are not sore, my feet and legs are not tired, which means I'm rested and ready to go the following day.

    so In all actuality to cut the same amount of turf, it has taken me 8 gallons of gas and hours of time, were as it wouldhave taken your WB 6 gallons and twelve hours...for the same amount of turf..., thats only a $5 difference in fuel for the equipment I;ll bet that if you had to go back to the 18 acre site teh next day to finish the job, its gonna cost you at least that in truck fuel....which means I can go on to my next job on tuesday, while you are still cutting the 18 acres from monday...Hence my hourly rate on that particular job is Higher than yours.

    so lets ake a looka t the big picture....lets say you get 2000K hours out of each machine(yes its low). and lets say that 20% of those hours are used for transport(non mowing) so you have used your machine for cutting for 1600 hours..the Z will have cut 3600 acres and WB woudl have cut 2400 acres. 1200 acres less which means that to do the same amount of work over the life of the machine, you would have to run your WB for 800 hours more. pluss the 160 for the 20% loss in non cutting hours.

    fuel....Z-1 gal per hour @ 2000 hours and 2000 gallons @ 2.50 per gallon= $5000
    WB .5 gal per hour @ 2960 hours (rememebr cutting same amount of turf you need to run more hours) and 1430 gallon @2.50 per gallon =3700

    you saved 1300 by using a wb...great...

    Ok lets say you bid a sod farm to cut at 20 buck per acre to just cut. you will cut 8 hours a day 5 days a week... You bid it with the WB @ 12.4 acres per day for the life of the machine(1600 cut hours) = 2400 acres or $48000 bucks or $30 an hour

    Now you still have the contract, and your knees have blown out and you have carpel tunnel in your hands....you have no choice but to buy the Z...in that same price and same cut hours, you can cut 3600 acres which equals $72000 or 45 per hour....33% increase

    I have spent $2k more in purchase price...and 1300 more in fuel. and lets say 1k extra in BS stuff....$4300 more spent to bring in an extra $24000.... for the same amount of time....I'm buying the Z..

    if you only run a WB for 1 hour a day, the Z is gonna get you done 20 minutes sooner... thats 100 minutes a week @ 25 weeks =2500 minutes or 41 hours...
    tell me that you can't find some job to fill that extra 41 hours of time... and that with just camparing using the machine for ONE HOUR.....

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