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Commercial Flail Mower Options

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  • Commercial Flail Mower Options

    Hi, new member. Thanks for the forum and any info that you are able to pass along.

    Question - I want to try a flail mower. I live in a super rocky area where there is a very healthy market for brushcutting. I'm talking serious brush with small saplings, tough grass, thick weeds +. I like the work that I'm getting in that niche, but even my forestry grade handheld equipment is too light and slow for the density of vegetation, and area sizes that are being proposed to me as job offers.

    I don't own a running tractor, or any heavy equip., so can't just buy an attachment.

    I was going to buy the big mother DR brushcutter, but the rotary blades would be no match for the zillion year old granite rocks up here which just laugh at all human folly, and shrug off our machines, and our civilization as if we were ants.

    I looked at the Husqvarna 322T, a rider mower which accepts a flail mow attachment. Its capabilities look good, but I'm thinking that it is probably not going to hold up to heavy commercial use for very long at all.

    What I really want is a Ventrac with the flail attachment, but I can't buy anything nearly that expensive right now ( $28,000+ ?, I don't even know, but it's up there). The size and power of that unit appears to me to be just right for the stuff that I need to cut.

    Is there a less expensive alternative? Like maybe something that comes in somewhere in between the Husky and the Ventrac pricewise but has decent commercial reliability? Thanks for any help that you may offer.

  • #2
    The big question here is how much do you want to invest in a mower.

    You could go with something smaller at first like the dr equipment you mentioned. That way you could own it and take on jobs that would be able to be completed with such a piece of equipment. Do this for a little while and scale up both in job size and in equipment size.

    Keep an eye out in your area for a used tractor and then when you save enough, pick it up and get a mower attachment you can afford.

    I'd love to see some pics of the jobs you are trying to take on.

    Sure a flail mower would be great, but if you don't have the money to invest in it, why not just start smaller and scale it up as you can?
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    • #3
      Yes, good points all. I like those big DR brush mowers, but for example: today I am bidding on a job for a local bank. It's a brushy sloped area between a bike path and the bank parking lot. Directly on the other side of the bike path is a highway. Using the big DR is out of the question. Even if there were no risk of picking up a stone and hitting a pedestrian or a car, the slope is too steep for that kind of machinery. If I get the job I will have to use my handheld brushcutter along with some heavy line trimmers that I can use for stuff like that. I believe that the risks will be acceptable that way if I am careful, but I'm thinking that a flail mower would be SO much safer and quicker for that kind of thing.

      I think that your advice to go slow is right on. I'm old so I have savings, and I could actually run right out and buy one of those Ventracs along with a few attachments, but I would be a REAL fool to do so. I don't put in the long hours like I did when I was younger, maybe 35, 40 hours on a busy week, I have another business interest that I have been busy with, and I'm still experimenting with some expensive equipment that I have already bought for this latest endeavor to see if I can use it to produce the kind of profits that will compensate me for all the trouble and problems that will inevitably arise.

      One thing I learned from truck driving is - best not to get into trouble, but if it looks like you might get into trouble, get into trouble slow. Although I am excited (and somewhat surprised) about all the opportunities to work in this sparsely populated area, and sorely tempted to buy the big shiny new machines, I want to get in slow at first. I'm sure that it could take a long time to recoup the costs of $50,000 worth of gear if it is just sitting around most of the time. Too much business risk for a lightweight like myself who is still just feeling his way around.

      I'll just go slow for now and see how things work out, and then as long as the money keeps coming in, later on I might still have the option to turn it all up and spend on the higher dollar stuff. I figure you can't always have the best tool for the job anyway. Sometimes we all have to get by with what we already have.

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      • #4
        With any new venture, you never really know what the costs to operate are going to be until you are actually in it doing it. You also don't know what the market will be until you get into it.

        So even though you can go out and get that higher dollar equipment, you could buy it and find out there are no where near enough jobs out there to pay for the equipment and your time.

        What seems like great opportunity when you are small with cheaper equipment, can change when bigger costs are involved.

        Some will experiment by spending money to find out, while others will experiment by spending some time testing the waters.

        You could also consider renting equipment for larger jobs you don't currently have the equipment to perform.

        Keep us posted on how that bank job goes and take pics. I hope you get that job!
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        • #5
          Thanks Steve. Yes, I think you're right on all points. Are you a consultant, or a business coach? Maybe you have an acumen for that line of work.

          I just got approved for the bank job this afternoon. I'll try some photos, but my computer skills are marginal at best.

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          • #6
            That is great news.

            I'd love to hear how long you estimated the job to take you and how long it actually took you. Then if there were some learning lessons from the job.
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            • #7
              Yeah, I'll let you know how it went as long as there isn't an undue amount of shame or disgrace involved. It shouldn't really be a hard job.

              The thing is - as an employee I had a lot of experience wasting other people's money and abusing their equipment, but I only have a small amount of experience wasting my own money and screwing things up on my own.

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              • #8
                This will be a great experience as it will teach you how your estimated time differs from actual times. A lot of times on here we will see a new member need to double their estimated time and then double that again to get an actual time. What ever you learn, others will be very appreciative on here to hear your thoughts on the job.
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