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Zero Turn vs Garden Tractor

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  • Zero Turn vs Garden Tractor

    Hello. I am looking at purchasing my first mower. I have limited funds and see that I can get a garden tractor for much cheaper - however, I hear that the benefits of a zero turn are much grater.. Any advice?

  • #2
    zero turn hands down. We started off with a Toro residential 50in. Never any issues what so ever. Had it for 4 years and used it on about 15 of our customers weekly. I have used a garden tractor and they are not easy to maneuver. It takes twice as long with a garden tractor.

    Look on craigslist and find good deals or go to home depot or lowes and spend $3000 for a 50in.

    My 2 cents. Lata

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    • #3
      Toro

      Thank you, I was looking at the Toro Timesaver SS at Home Depot 50' for 2999. I think that is what I will go with.

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      • #4
        If you only want to mow, then a ZTR will be the cheapest route, you will find residential tractor mowers for your budget however you won't find a garden tractor in that range.

        I have run GT's and ZTR's in the business, I opted for the John Deere X749's as they will mow and turn almost as tight as a ZTR and go places a ZTR will not think of as they are all wheel drive and all wheel steer. Mowing is a small percentage of what we do, I opted almost two years ago to focus services on consumer demand that offered the greatest return on my investment.
        Andy
        Halifax, Nova Scotia

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        • #5
          Zero Turn vs Garden Tractor

          Well I am looking at providing a variety of services. Dethatching / Mulch / Areation etc... Can a ZTR do that type of work?

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          • #6
            You can get a dethatcher and aerator unit for your ztr.
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            • #7
              You can get a dethatcher and aerator unit for your ztr.
              I would not hook any of that up to a timesaver, it will likely bend the frame. Those are residential units not designed for that kind of weight on the front. You might get by with a Badboy MZ or a Hustler sport for a while though.
              I am the owner of www.AllOutdoorParts.com an online mower parts distributor. I am also a Briggs Master Service Technician and Expert Certified Mechanic for Kohler. If my posts helps you please like my facebook page at www.facebook.com/alloutdoorparts

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              • #8
                For Aeration we use Natres Lawn Care (Aerify) it's a spray that works very, very well, it is a solution to clay and compacted soils whereas I see core aeration as a patch.

                For dethatch I also have a spray to brake down dead grass or sometimes we we use the Agrifab smart sweet which works great for this.

                As for using the ZTR for other functions, many will. I had the John Deere 997's however they were only used for mowing. We use garden tractors for just about everything in the book, tilling, pulling large wood chippers to locations on the clients property, spraying using the 3pt hitch, in landscaping they will pull a box blade, rear blade and 6 foot landscape rake, rollers etc.
                Andy
                Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                • #9
                  well for me I like the garden tractors, we can tow a trailer with them and have assories and all our clients likes there lawns baged. I used to own a old ramoes zero turn it looked like the walker mower, the engie through a rod so i went to a garden tractor. The advantage for me using garden tractors i can get them at sears which a store is about 30 mins from my house. Sears also sells a nice zero turn which i like. but i live in the desert and and most people dont have much grass i do have a few customers that have 1-2 acres but for me buying a zero trun for 3-5 thousand dosent make sence cause mowing the ten yards that require a big mower i wouldnt break even till like 5-7 years. But if i spend 1,500 and used it to haul stuff and use the spreader and other attachments then i can make a profit with it.

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                  • #10
                    I would not hook any of that up to a timesaver, it will likely bend the frame. Those are residential units not designed for that kind of weight on the front. You might get by with a Badboy MZ or a Hustler sport for a while though.
                    Would it be better to not go with any front mounted devices like that? Is it better to pull them behind a mower or just not use them with a ztr at all?
                    - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
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                    • #11
                      Still unsure

                      Thanks for all the advice. Sounds like there are benefits to owning both types of units. Since I am just stating out and will be trying to offer as many services as possible the obtain new customers - it sounds like I should go with a garden tractor... I do not have that many customers yet so getting a property done in 30 min vs 45 min (adding 3 or 4 hours additional a week) does'nt seem too bad considering I can save almost $1000 on the mower purchase and add additional services extras.

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                      • #12
                        ... I can save almost $1000 on the mower purchase and add additional services extras.
                        You never save the money you think you're saving. You'll be much less efficient in mowing with the tractor. Of course the residential ztr doesn't go as fast as a commercial and isn't going to handle the lawns as well so you'll have to slow down but it's still going to be more efficient than a garden tractor. Efficiency is the key. Inefficiency costs money and keeps you from expanding.

                        Offering extra services isn't selling extra services. Starting out buying equipment you don't yet have a need for can put you out of business before the year is out.

                        My advice is to buy a used commercial mower to start out. Get two if you can because you need a backup. You'll void the warranty on a residential mower by using it in a business context and they won't fix it for you if you break something. You will break something.
                        Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                        • #13
                          I personally won't touch a garden tractor. Maybe if its a large lawn but I would honestly rather push mow then use a garden tractor, they dont turn smoothly and you need lots of clearance to turn..In the end the lawn looks bad and Im extremely frustrated.

                          Im buying a commercial walkbehind.. I LOVE what ferris makes..
                          I would say push mow whatever you can..save up for a walkbehind, stand on, or ztr..dont waste time or money on a garden mower
                          Just Kut Lawn and Landscape
                          "Where Service is Always in Season"
                          Reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud.

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                          • #14
                            I personally won't touch a garden tractor. Maybe if its a large lawn but I would honestly rather push mow then use a garden tractor, they dont turn smoothly and you need lots of clearance to turn..In the end the lawn looks bad and Im extremely frustrated.

                            Im buying a commercial walkbehind.. I LOVE what ferris makes..
                            I would say push mow whatever you can..save up for a walkbehind, stand on, or ztr..dont waste time or money on a garden mower
                            I'm going to have to completely agree. I'd get laughed out of business around here using a lawn tractor.

                            The possibility of adding other services isn't a good reason unless you've already sold many of those services. I'd rather say "I am not set up for that yet" one time per year than to have a piece of equipment languish, unused in the back of the garage. Even if you do sell services you need a real farm tractor rather than a garden mower. In the case of a residential mower they really aren't designed to carry more than an average American fat guy so towing a top-dresser full of compost is not going to happen.

                            Ferris does make a great mower. I'm not convinced they offer the best quality of cut but the suspension makes for a really smooth ride that doesn't beat you up.
                            Last edited by mark123; 04-03-2011, 05:07 PM.
                            Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                            • #15

                              Ferris does make a great mower. I'm not convinced they offer the best quality of cut but the suspension makes for a really smooth ride that doesn't beat you up.
                              You may be right but for the price and the quality i think it would be the best in my situation. I want a 36" or so walkbehind mower and they offer a hyrdodrive one for a little under 4k

                              And i have rode almost every mower that they have and they are unbelieveably comfortable..

                              I didnt have much to compare cuts too..but i would say ferris cuts better than toro..

                              I dont have much experience around other machines though..what would you reccomend to me?

                              i know this is off topic but i suppose this would help him decide on a brand of mower as well..sorry i dont mean to take over this post..haha
                              Just Kut Lawn and Landscape
                              "Where Service is Always in Season"
                              Reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud.

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