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barefoot352
11-30-2011, 09:07 AM
Hi everyone,

New to this site and getting ready to start setting up my business for the spring. I am pretty well set on my business plan/setup and equipment except for one thing, a mower.

I am buying everything new (edger, trimmer, blower, etc.) and plan to buy a new mower as well. My business will focus on quality over quantity and here in Florida there is plenty of work. The better lawn companies run the cheap labor out pretty quick. I will be maintaining approximately 20 yards in the 8-10k ft2 range at the beginning and plan to grow it to 40-50 accounts this year.

I can't afford a new commercial mower at this time and pretty much refuse to go into debt to get this little dream started.

My initial plan was to but a JD Z425 to get started and as I grow a bit move up to a bigger commercial rig. I know its a ressidential ZTR but my budget calls for $4000 mower and not much else. I also don't want to buy something used as I don't want to inherit someone else's problems/sloppy seconds.

I figure I can run the JD for a year or two, sell it and upgrade when the time is right and I have more money in the bank.

SO question is...how does the Z425 fare and am I making a decent decision going with this brand/model/type of mower?

All opinions welcome and thank you for your time!

Barefoot

kymd82
11-30-2011, 12:13 PM
Welcome aboard. I am new to this site as well. To answer your question, I think that the z425 would be a great machine to start your business with. At the old company that I worked for, we used nothing but JD and had very few problems. I don't think you can go wrong with a Deere.

I have a 48 walk-behind ex-mark that works great for residential yards. An advantage to having a 48 instead of a 72 is that I can actually fit into some(but not all) backyard fences. Like you, I am just starting my own business, and until I can afford to buy a commercial 60 or 72, the 48 works wonderfully. I have received many compliments on the "stripes" and the cut. Many people that I know only use a big commercial mower for business/commercial jobs. In some residential yards, there's a definite advantage to having a smaller deck. Hope this helps.

CHEESE2009
11-30-2011, 02:13 PM
John Deere is great and all, but I would only consider their brand for snow tractors, or their non Zero Turn lawn tractors.

There is absolutely no real reason not to go with them if the dealer is near your location.

plsllc2011
11-30-2011, 02:36 PM
I agree with the previous post. I think you can get into a commercial grade 36" or 48" walk behind that has a sulky attached for the same money as the JD. Buying commercial gear usually gets you things like a bigger gas tank. For example, residential mowers usually have 3 - 3.5 gallon tank or smaller. Commercial mowers have 7 gallon plus tank.

barefoot352
11-30-2011, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the input...I have three JD dealers within 20 miles of my location so not too big a deal.

I agree with the buying of commercial stuff and will upgrade quickly...if I don't sell the 425 I can just keep it as a backup.

When I go to commercial I am pretty sold on the JD 900 series and if I kept the 425 as a backup then I would still have same make equipment (I am psycho when it comes to uniformity) lol

wandfsmall
11-30-2011, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the input...I have three JD dealers within 20 miles of my location so not too big a deal.

I agree with the buying of commercial stuff and will upgrade quickly...if I don't sell the 425 I can just keep it as a backup.

When I go to commercial I am pretty sold on the JD 900 series and if I kept the 425 as a backup then I would still have same make equipment (I am psycho when it comes to uniformity) lol

the problem with John Deere is price to quality ratio. you can take any John Deere and take away 1 to 2 thousand and you will see competitors with equal to even better quality. That green paint is expensive. Look for a good commercial walk behind or something with a Kawasaki engine on it.

Steve
12-01-2011, 08:49 AM
My business will focus on quality over quantity and here in Florida there is plenty of work. The better lawn companies run the cheap labor out pretty quick.

This is a very interesting point that you might be able to use to your advantage in growth.

Can you tell us a little about what you mean by it? How do you feel the better lawn care companies run out the cheap labor? What about this have you seen in your experience?

Ultimately how will you battle against it?

Mikes mowing
12-03-2011, 07:54 PM
I also new to the page. I started with a exmark 48.
I rebuilt it belts,pulleys ,one caster wheel ,rebuilt carb starter basket.
I do a range of residenal and 2 comm properties.
the 48 inch deck gets in to small yards and also does 4 arce church lot nicly
Bigger is not always better.as long as the mower is not home version it should do fine .Home owner gear is not designed for extened hours of use.
hope that helps.

barefoot352
12-04-2011, 07:23 AM
Thanks for the info everyone!

I wish I could go with a new commercial but it is out of my range right now, hopefully whatever I go with will be the right choice!

CAPTWILL30
12-15-2011, 09:52 PM
All I will say is that @ my full time job I run a JD 60 commercial and it only has 425 hrs and it runs like it is on it last leg I will tell you I was sold on the green for my biz when I start it but after this I'm done whit the green!!!!!!

gatewayuser
12-21-2011, 03:01 PM
If you're doing lawns that small just buy a 32 inch that way you can get into gated properties too, most gates are around 36 inches. Also stay away from JD, been there done that, last one I bought cost 10k and has been nothing but problems. When JD's have something break its expensive, about 2-3 times as much. I recently switched to Gravely and been happy so far. If you buy used the old Scags and Bobcats are good mowers that last forever. Usually a used 32or36 inch you can find for around $800 and will last you until you can afford an upgrade. All about finding your sweet spot for mower size, mines 54inch but I do large properties, government, commercial and residential.
Hope this helps! :)

turf&tree
12-21-2011, 06:59 PM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying used. I have bought 40% of my equipment that way when I started. Saved Huge money too. Example I got a Ryan LA28 aerator for $ 900.00 New it sells for about $ 6000.00 As far as mowers go I love all of my Exmarks. Just a solid design and quality all of the way. I do all of my own repairs, maintenance, and fabrication also so I can save a lot that way. Also buy all of my parts wholesale, not from a local dealer.

joeblack
01-12-2012, 01:03 PM
JD is not sub par equipment any way, and in no way am I claiming a Deere won't get the job done.
However JD reputation extends beyond its worth
I used to sell lawn mowers at Lowe's and the consensus among all vendors, including JD's own (shhh their name's are secret) is that your'e paying extra just to get the green paint.
I know this isn't news to most of you, I just thought I'd share an anecdote of what vendors are admitting.

btw I am the proud owner of a beast bearing the holy green paint!

Steve
01-13-2012, 02:32 PM
I used to sell lawn mowers at Lowe's and the consensus among all vendors, including JD's own (shhh their name's are secret) is that your'e paying extra just to get the green paint.

What was your view then of who made the best consumer mowers you sold at the store?

joeblack
01-14-2012, 09:01 AM
For a while jd was getting a whoop *** in the light mower market by the likes of american yard which makes husqvarna and craftsmen poulen, until jd started makin the 100 series to sell to big box stores. Well RUMOR says these jd are coming from same factories as the other light mower brands and not from a deere factory.
Over the seasons i heard multiple unhappy customers with troy bilts so i tried not recommending those.
Husqvarna was my top seller bc i could sell a husq with the same exact specs as a jd and the customer would save 100-400 bucks.
Also i constantly heard good things about cub cadet but we didnt sell them.

wandfsmall
01-14-2012, 12:59 PM
For a while jd was getting a whoop *** in the light mower market by the likes of american yard which makes husqvarna and craftsmen poulen, until jd started makin the 100 series to sell to big box stores. Well RUMOR says these jd are coming from same factories as the other light mower brands and not from a deere factory.
Over the seasons i heard multiple unhappy customers with troy bilts so i tried not recommending those.
Husqvarna was my top seller bc i could sell a husq with the same exact specs as a jd and the customer would save 100-400 bucks.
Also i constantly heard good things about cub cadet but we didnt sell them.

I have been in this business for over 20 years and know where most of the factories are. John Deere does at this time make the mowers that they sell at the box store. Guess what John Deere can make junk just like the other brands. The Cub Cadet lower end Cub Cadet ztr mowers come down the same line as the Troy Built ones.

joeblack
01-14-2012, 07:49 PM
Ah i didnt know troy bilt and cub cadet were same, good to know. I guess at the end of the day, what matters most is how well you maintain your equipement(as far as light consumer models go) .... That and a good warranty:)