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How long would this residential machine last doing semi-commercial work?
From previous discussions, we have seen consumer models last on average around 200 hours. While commercial units lasting 2000 - 5000 hours.
One suggestion is you could write to the manufacturer and ask them what the lifespan in hours for that mower should be about. I don't know how accurate they will be in what they say, but it is worth a try.
How much is that one vs a used commercial mower with a reasonable amount of hours on it?
See, I think this is where lawn mower manufacturers have new lawn care business owners over a barrel. The price of a commercial unit is difficult to afford for many new lawn care business owners. It's easy to justify buying a residential mower when you are saving $3,000 to $5,000 off the price of a commercial unit.
The problem is; these residential units just don't stand up to the abuse and constant use of a commercial lawn care company. Before the season is over, a residential unit probably has seized bearings, a mangled deck, and a half dead transmission.
Do you think if more LCOs made careful analysis of their upcoming needs before purchasing their equipment they would make better decisions?
The prices at the big box hardware stores are deceiving too. If I were new and naive about equipment, I would probably see a $3,000 price tag on a "commercial looking" machine and think that it was probably a pretty good mower. Then I would realize that the steering sucks, the deck is a thin piece of stamped metal, and engine components are going to start giving me trouble half-way through the season.
I think one of the best pieces of advice for any new lawn care business owner who is serious about his business and making money is to form a good relationship with a reputable equipment dealer. With a residential unit, you have no quick recourse for maintenance work once your warranty is up. And, if they learn that you are a commercial outfit, your warranty will likely be severely restricted.
Buying from a good dealer puts you in a whole different class. The dealer knows you rely on your equipment to put food on your table and he's going to do what he can ASAP to get you mowing again.
If you HAVE to buy a residential mower be aware that its build quality is much less than a commercial unit. Buying a commercial unit will put you leaps ahead.
I've been lucky enough working for a lawn care company years before we started our business, and I've driven plenty of different mowers, and used lots of small equipment, so I know what's good and what sucks. Hustler's are very good mowers, although I don't know about the residentail machines. If I were to start from scratch, talk to other people who own these types of mowers, or go to a dealer and ask them about that particular one and some other ones as well. You can also ask the dealer if you can try it out before purchasing a piece of equipment. See if you're comfortable with it first. I'm sure you don't buy shoes without trying them on, right? If the dealer isn't willing to help you out, then you need to find another dealer. My dealer is approximately 30 miles away from me, but it took me 2 years to find them. It will take time, so don't just jump on the first mower with the cheapest price tag. Hope this helps. Good Luck with your decision.
on average i have had used 3 residential mowers to do bagging and small yards in 22 years of business . The mowers themselves will last longer than the cutting decks that are under them on average a deck will last me 3 years before any welding is needed on them and maybe 2 more years after that before the deck is totally worn out. this is doing 7 yards 14 times a month over a 7 month season for 5 years .
It actually looks pretty sweet, whats the price tag though. I totally disagree about residential equipment lasting only 200 hours. My tractor has a lifespan of 250 hours but has easily already doubled that and still looks and runs news. The only thing I ever had to do to it was have the blades sharpened, yes it still has the factory belts and all. Those things will last forever if you take care of them according to the recommendations. As for mine it calls for an oil change every 25 hours. I wont run it 10 minutes longer, it the hour meter hits 25 I stop and change the oil. And yes I have changed the oil on the side of the road before. Everyone warned me about my equipment but I love it all. I ONLY use residential stuff.
TB Pony Tractor
TB 4 stroke trimmer, with tiller, brush cutter, pole saw attachments
WE 2 stroke trimmer
WE hand blower
In the 18 months since I start this I have only replaced my original mower and trimmer. They both were 5yo when I started, the mower I still have and it still runs but badly and the trimmer runs great but over heated it and warped the pull starter so its hard to start and it leaks gas. The point is take care of your **** and it will last a very long time.