ZTR time savings

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

  1. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157


    I venture to say that your test will fail. You already seem to have a bias against the ZTR and hence your results will probably show as such.

    Rather than demo a ztr for one yard, demo the Z for an entire week and then do the same for a comprable WB on the same yards. Do a real word test....

    As for the NO breaks. if you have yards spread out, you get enough breaks sitting behind the windshield. but if you have a few large jobs 2-3 hours...You gotta take a break....No man is a machine, and no man would treat employee's to such conditions.

    the number from Scag site do take into account an 80% efficency...Most people are not going to know excatly how many acres per day or per week they cut, if you compare apples to apples IE same machines and same effiencies, it does give one a place to start.

    If you have 200 yards you do a week just remember saving just one minute equates to 3.3 man hours....each week....

    If your schedule is full up 8 hours a day 5 days a week with a 48" wb, I still feel that a 48" ztr would be worth it....But I wouldn't buy a 48, I'd step up to the 52... I really found that my 60 both in florida and Up here has its limitation and I think the 52 is the best allround size (again provided you don't have gates.)

    Good luck with your trial....
  2. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,282

    There are no limitations with a Z, except some fences and those properties are easily avoided.

    It just sounds like you are a Z hater, or have Z envy and dont want to admit it.

    I had the exact same attitude when I first started, I sold myself as the guy who used a walk behind because it was easier on the yard. Deep in the back of my mind I would get super pi$$ed when I would be working on a yard and the neighbors LCO would pull up, the guy would crank it out with his Z and be gone before me. I soon realized I had Z envy and made that my mission in life to get one.
    Now I have 2 and despise my original wb.

    Dont hate the Z, embrace the Z.

    oh yeah in regards to a previous post you made about the Z having merit to commercial but not residential is COMPLETELY b.s. I do 100% residential and use a Z on 100% of my accounts.................
  3. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    This is a statement far too general to be useful to anybody considering buying a Z.

    I hesitated for a few years buying a Z, rather staying with my w/b. I bought a JD 717A in May this season, about six weeks after the mowing season begain. Many of my concerns about limitations for Zs have been realized, and a bit more.

    The terrain and kinds of properties you are mowing may not provide any limitations, but in my case, and I suspect in many other cases too, the Z will simply not navigate all of them. The small areas where clippings are thrown into beds, the steep slopes, the spaces between trees, all these provide limitations for me.

    This is not to say the Z has been useful. I am able to use it about half the time (part Tue, full Wed, part Thu, part Sat), and on those properties, it is very effective. I was hoping to use it on some others, but that is not possible. My w/b is a 36", the Z is 48". My intention of adding 10-20% more customers did not come to pass. The Z is not that much more productive. I have timings on all my jobs, so have a good idea where I make or loose time.

    One other point needs to be made here. The trimming and blowing tasks take the same amount of time, regardless of what mower is on the trailer. I do all the trimming and blowing cleanup work, AND operate either the w/b or Z. So a little time saved by the Z is a small percentage reduction in the overall property visit.

    Am I glad I made the decision to buy a Z? Yes, and I would like to trade some of my properties for others so it could be used more. It may enable me to keep working more years. I am 65, and typically work 9,10, 11 hours each day, 6 days. Last Thursday, I walked all day, both days, with the w/b - did all the trimming and cleanup work, seven properties each day (1/2 to 3/4 acre properties). Yes, by Friday night I was dragging a bit, but still worked a full day Saturday. There is no question the Z helps with energy levels, but certainly the economics of the added piece of equipment is not there.

    As stated elsewhere, what works for some may not work for another.
  4. Grass Man

    Grass Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    .... I tend to agree with you in your deck choices. My dilemma was choosing between the 72” verses the 60” deck. The 72” will cut more grass but the 60” will do a higher quality job. In my case, “gates” were a no brainier. I still find it necessary to use one of my other mowers in some tight spots just under 60”. But, ideally the cross over point is probably right at 55” and maintain a good quality cut.


  5. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    There is obviously support for each type of mower.

    What I would like to see on this thread is:

    1 Your property size range smallest/biggest
    2 commercial/residential
    3 mower choice wb/z
    4 deck size

    Assuming everybody has worked out the best mower for their customer list, the results might show the best property range for a wb and the best property range for a z. This could give operators a rule of thumb for mower choice vs property size.

    I'll go first

    1 5000 sq ft/12 acres
    2 95/5
    3 z
    4 54,72
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I think the problem is we fail to gain an unbiased view of the truth due to Z owner's 'justification' mindset. Much as guys like myself who have never owned a Z will downplay the machine to ridicule, the Z owner up plays its importance beyond the norm as well.

    For example:

    See, but then my 48" fixed deck will raise her skirt with an ease that will scare you, without handles or anything, it's a 1 piece machine so it's a matter of a motion with hands already on the controls.
    So what is the difference?


    Now we need to factor in practice. Someone who has done nothing but ride a Wb for 5 years will almost certainly outrun the 1-2 year old Z owner, same goes the other way around.

    I would say thou what most fail to realize is I own nothing but 48's...
    Translation: No 21" to play around with in the corners the Z couldn't get, no other machines to get in the way of each other <- That right there saves me the most time and fuel, is having one machine for all of it and having done nothing but ride the 48" for the past 4 years, there is hardly a guy in town can outdo me on any mower. Practice makes perfect, and so long one continues to switch machines, one can not develop a perfection for any of them and it is the factor of practice that has a lot to do with time and quality as well.

    Hence, I do not believe a truly unbiased, balanced comparison is possible.
    What I do believe is the best summary I've heard is the Z leaves the Wb behind on acre+ lots, and hence we agree:
    You need the props to justify the Z, BIG lots, and a lot of them...
    In my business, this takes time. You do get into the bigger lots, but it takes years because they are scarce.
    It's also why the noob almost always starts with some postage stamp stuff as established Lco's have the market cornered.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No doubt but it's not just that you got a Z, look at the difference in deck sizes...
    You've increased your deck size by over 150% so don't forget that little part of the equation...

    And I can still guarantee I can get anything 1/2 acre or under done as fast if not faster with my 48" fixed deck gear drive Toro.
    From 1/2 acre up to 3/4 acre we'll likely break even, and beyond 3/4's of an acre, the Z should pull ahead (so long you don't got a 21" to deal with on top of things, I have watched so many Z owners waste time with the 21" while granted they got done faster cutting, but by the time they're done playing with the 21" I am also halfway through weedeating... The thing is, they have to leave the Z on the street, unload the 21" and start it and go play around with it, then load the 21" AND get back to dealing with the Z one final time, we're talking 4-5 minutes right there between just having to fool with one more machine).

    It costs 1-2 minutes EVERY single time I go back to the truck: That's in time spent OFF the lawn (from the time you stop working), time spent loading / unloading (granted, seconds) AND time spent starting (20-30 seconds as most machines take a little time to settle in on the rpm's (the Echo is the worst offender lol)) = at least 1 but almost 2 minutes every time at the truck, guaranteed.

    It has a lot to do with my lots not being all nice flat squares... A lot more to do with corners and nooks and crannies...
    You guys brag about cutting in reverse, dude, I been doing that for most of the year, I even learned how to back up a Wb with a velke while standing on it, it's really no harder than backing up a trailer but once again: Practice, practice, practice...
  8. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 779

    My theory is that yes I am only cutting one yard so there isn't much variation, but that my yard is a pretty good representation of most yards in FL. I have a 36" gate to get to the back, a couple of palms to go around, a bed that is about 4-5 feet from the edge of the house, a couple tight turns etc. The other reason I think it should be done on only a few yards it time. I'm not going to go mow 80 accounts 3 times in a week which is what you would have to do to ensure that the test is equal. Even if you did them all with Z one week and all with W/B the next, the grass with not be the same height each time and will be a factor. I do suppose I could do it to a couple of different yards but like I said my yard is a pretty good "average FL lawn" at least in this area.
  9. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 779

    any other input about the cost of a ztr?

    REALSLOW LawnSite Senior Member
    from FLORIDA
    Messages: 668

    Look Jacka$$ I own a 60" Lazer a 60" Super Z and may be buying a 72 ZTR within a month or 2. I also own many Hydro midsizes that vary in size from 61 to 36 so read it again you smuck until it registers ZTR'S HAVE SOME SERIOUS LIMITATIONS, You got it?

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