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View Full Version : Walk behind vs ZTR


xandrew245x
08-21-2012, 01:42 PM
Hey guys, I wondering what the pros and cons are of a walk behind vs a ZTR. Around this time next year I plan to purchase a commercial mower, I decided to use my residential mower and get the most life out of it. I haven't decided if I am going to buy new, or if I will buy used.

If I bought a walk behind I plan on buying a velkye to ride on.

Other than walk behinds being substantially cheaper and lighter than a ZTR, what are some other pros and cons?

pfreeman
08-21-2012, 02:04 PM
Each has benefits, but the answer is what is your account look like? Gated yards usually don't accept ZTR, nor do steep inclines. ZTR's are great for wide open spaces, but it takes a while to learn not to leave divots in the lawn while turning. Choose the equipment that will make you the most efficient with your accounts. I have a Ferris 61 ZTR and a Scag ProV 36 with a velke. Each was chosen for different account styles.

xandrew245x
08-21-2012, 02:13 PM
I'm just starting out, I have 4 accounts right now, which are all pretty flat. They range from the biggest being about 1.5 acres to one that is under 1/2 an acre, none have fenced in areas.

I guess I will find out what I need once I pick up a few more clients.

Hedgemaster
08-21-2012, 03:37 PM
I'm just starting out, I have 4 accounts right now, which are all pretty flat. They range from the biggest being about 1.5 acres to one that is under 1/2 an acre, none have fenced in areas.

I guess I will find out what I need once I pick up a few more clients.


If you have the means to buy, and have a target neighborhood, and know what the lawn sizes are, buy based on what you have available to mow.

Not sure if that made sense, but here's my example...

I started with a 21" mower. All of my accounts are small/med in size as a result. Let's say I decide to buy a ZTR tomorrow... what will I do with it?
I'll need to find new clients (to use the ZTR) and/or drop the ones I have now because I can barely use a walk behind for my current lawns, let alone a ZTR.

It's "easy" if you have "all" the equipment to cover any type of job, but if you are limited to one or two types of mowers, you need to choose lawns that work with what you have.

Not sure if THAT made any sense either. :D



I actually DID own a new, homeowner Husqvarna ZTR for a few months this past winter. I had trouble with it and returned it and it was the best thing I could have done. I had VERY few lawns I could use it on and some of those had pretty steep hills. I put that money toward the Ferris walk behind.

xandrew245x
08-21-2012, 05:01 PM
It actually all made sense. The areas I would like to target all have at least 1 acre of grass to mow. To be honest, a lot of houses around where I live have decent sized lots anywhere from a half acre to 3-4 acres. A lot of the housing developments have about 2.5 acres.

I was thinking of getting a large walk behind with a velkye, that way if I had hills I had to mow, easy enough to do so, if I had large areas to mow, it was doable.

I think with the advice you gave me though, I should probably shoot for a ZTR, if I can swing it I might pick up a small walk behind, maybe like 36-42" deck.

LawnBoy0311
08-21-2012, 06:00 PM
Hedge said it best. It all depends on you. Large flat I'd get a big deck ZTR. Smaller areas or fences, I'd go with a 36" walkbehind. Thats just me though. Go with what suits you the best.

xandrew245x
08-21-2012, 06:10 PM
I see a lot of companies around here mowing apartment complexes and other similar places with 48-52" walk behinds, rarely do I see them on a ZTR. However all of the smaller scale businesses have ZTRs

xandrew245x
08-21-2012, 06:15 PM
A few companies here use walk behinds. Most of them use ztrs with Walkers being the most widely used.

Or who knows, maybe they do have a ZTR and i just don't see it, I usually only see one person on a walk behind and then like 2 or 3 people trimming, so I assume there is another mower somewhere.

I think I am going to go with a ZTR, if I can upgrade my truck and trailer, I may add on a small walk behind for the future, but thats way in the future.

CHEESE2009
08-22-2012, 10:31 AM
I started doing my lawns with a 21", but I reached a point where I could only take on so many clients.

The reason most people purchase a zero turn is to increase their speed, this is so that they are able to take on more work.

-

When I purchased a zero turn, my productivity allowed me to take on a lot more clients. There are times where you will have to use a smaller mower for backyards, which is not a huge problem.

If it takes you 20 minutes to mow a front yard, imagine having it done in 5 minutes, then compare the difference on a larger scale;

20mins x 100_clients = 33 hours :eek:
5mins x 100_clients = 8 hours :D

It's about '25' difference.
... 75% decrease.

xandrew245x
08-22-2012, 04:26 PM
I started doing my lawns with a 21", but I reached a point where I could only take on so many clients.

The reason most people purchase a zero turn is to increase their speed, this is so that they are able to take on more work.

-

When I purchased a zero turn, my productivity allowed me to take on a lot more clients. There are times where you will have to use a smaller mower for backyards, which is not a huge problem.

If it takes you 20 minutes to mow a front yard, imagine having it done in 5 minutes, then compare the difference on a larger scale;

20mins x 100_clients = 33 hours :eek:
5mins x 100_clients = 8 hours :D

It's about '25' difference.
... 75% decrease.

Most of the time you can't top out your speed with a ZTR unless your mowing long strips, so wouldn't a walk behinds maneuverability make up for its less amount of speed?

brian'slawncare
08-22-2012, 05:27 PM
if it's small yards or yards with a lot of bed and turns, get a walk behind. What I would like to do is get a 52" zturn and a 36" walk behind. This way, I can use the ztr for pretty much all my lots. If the lot has a lot of turns, I'll use the 36". Look on craigslist for a cheap, used 36". Even a troy-bilt or cub-cadet. They'll last for a decent amount of time. But don't skimp on the ztr. Whichever you think you'll use most, get it nice. Then, get an "economy" level for the second one.

Hope that helps...

xandrew245x
08-22-2012, 05:49 PM
if it's small yards or yards with a lot of bed and turns, get a walk behind. What I would like to do is get a 52" zturn and a 36" walk behind. This way, I can use the ztr for pretty much all my lots. If the lot has a lot of turns, I'll use the 36". Look on craigslist for a cheap, used 36". Even a troy-bilt or cub-cadet. They'll last for a decent amount of time. But don't skimp on the ztr. Whichever you think you'll use most, get it nice. Then, get an "economy" level for the second one.

Hope that helps...

I'm thinking I want to buy a nice ZTR, but I would like to upgrade my trailer first from a 5x10 to at least a 6x12. Then I could get a 60" ZTR and probably fit a small walk behind on it too.

I'm thinking of aiming for a enclosed trailer, but first I will need a bigger truck. I would really hate to buy a new mower and have to limit the size because of my trailer, mowers are not cheap.

CHEESE2009
08-23-2012, 03:40 PM
Most of the time you can't top out your speed with a ZTR unless your mowing long strips, so wouldn't a walk behinds maneuverability make up for its less amount of speed?

Yes and No.

You don't need to go fast with the zero turn in order to be quicker than a 21" walk behind. You can go the exact same speed if you like, but you will still be covering more area per pass.

More area coverage + more speed = overall more productive tool.

There are very small lawns that couldn't properly handle the use of a zero turn, but most can. Maneuverability is somewhat smoother, but you will most likely need to do a little bit more trimming around corners and such.

I could use the zero turn on all of the following lawns, but smaller stripes look a lot better on smaller lawns.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m25/mad_insane/example.png

Then there are times I still use the zero turn on small lawns LOL..
For some reason it actually looks better!

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m25/mad_insane/example2.png

xandrew245x
08-24-2012, 06:25 AM
Yes and No.

You don't need to go fast with the zero turn in order to be quicker than a 21" walk behind. You can go the exact same speed if you like, but you will still be covering more area per pass.

More area coverage + more speed = overall more productive tool.

There are very small lawns that couldn't properly handle the use of a zero turn, but most can. Maneuverability is somewhat smoother, but you will most likely need to do a little bit more trimming around corners and such.

I could use the zero turn on all of the following lawns, but smaller stripes look a lot better on smaller lawns.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m25/mad_insane/example.png

Then there are times I still use the zero turn on small lawns LOL..
For some reason it actually looks better!

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m25/mad_insane/example2.png

Well if I go with a walk behind, its going to be at least a 48" deck, a 52" would be even be better, so would I really even be losing any time compared to a ZTR?

CHEESE2009
08-24-2012, 09:25 AM
Well if I go with a walk behind, its going to be at least a 48" deck, a 52" would be even be better, so would I really even be losing any time compared to a ZTR?

48" is a little too big for most of my clients gates, yikes!

Other than that, you save time where it counts. The speed you can reach with a walk-behind wont really matter. If the deck size is larger than what you were using previously, I believe this is when the choice becomes a personal preference.

The difference between sitting vs standing is how fatigued you get after each job. Sitting might make you lazy after awhile, but standing will at some point make you feel under-appreciated - if you can understand what I mean by that.

For example:

We are guys who dread spending an extra 2 minutes restringing a trimmer. Things like this just become irritating, because deep down inside we are all a bunch of a-holes. LOL.

xandrew245x
08-24-2012, 11:03 AM
I know exactly what you mean.

It will all come down to how much I want to end up spending on a mower, because walk behinds are much much cheaper.