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Zero Turn vs Garden Tractor


Outdoor Power Equipment Discussion, Repairs, Buy or Sell

Outdoor power equipment discussions. Questions on commercial lawn mowers, lawn mower, mower parts, lawn tractors, engines, edgers, trimmers, pole saws, aerators, hydro seeders, snow plows, chain saws, stump grinders, trucks and trailers?
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2011, 11:55 AM
mcleargrounds mcleargrounds is offline
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Default 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  
Old 04-03-2011, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mcleargrounds View Post
... 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.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:57 PM
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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
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  #14  
Old 04-03-2011, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jklawncare View Post
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 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:18 PM
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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
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mark123 View Post
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.
As with everything we need to keep up to date on what is on the market, my X749's will mow circles around your ZTR's meet or beat the quality and generate multiples of income, for fuel economy these are 3 cyl diesels, there isn't a gas engine that will touch it's life, torque and the list goes on.

I agree the box store lawn tractors are not worth the effort on the business but there are many high end garden tractors that will assist the business owner in growing their business far beyond lawn mowing.

I have a 48" deck mower for this we use on lawns that are not flat which is the majority, we have a few very large areas we mow so they put the 7 foot finish mower on, for clearing areas over grown we have a 60" bush hog and a 6 foot sickle bar mower, a ZTR will not run any of these.

As for tight turning, this model will go arould a telephone pole with the deck tight against the pole, start to finish, in my area we have some pretty tough grades, being all wheel drive we can mow any lawn I have seen which brought us a lot of business two years ago when even our 997 ZTR's would not go up the grades.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jklawncare View Post
... I didnt have much to compare cuts too..but i would say ferris cuts better than toro..
Oh, no you didn't!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jklawncare View Post
...I dont have much experience around other machines though..what would you reccomend to me?
In my experience on mostly KBG/Rye mix Toro gives the best quality of cut except for their 40" anything. The 40" is a lemon. No matter what they tell you stay away from the 40". It does not stripe the lawn and it makes a mess of the lawn. I had the displeasure of buying a new one last year only to return it a few days later for a 36". Check my site for pics of what the Toro 36" can do (there are only 2 lawn pics on the site, maybe I should add a few more this year).

After Toro, I'd say go Exmark.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:32 PM
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Andy I cant argue with you those are some truly great mowers. How much do those run you a piece?

I dont have alot of grades so personally i want a walkbehind or stand on.

And thanks mark..the one i tested the cut on actually was a 40" grandstand so thats probably why i didnt like it..I wonder why that is..Id be going for a 36" grand stand if I went the Toro route. or the 36" hyrdrodrive if i went with Ferris..
maybe a wright stander even..Oh well..thats a subject for another thread..
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picframer View Post
As with everything we need to keep up to date on what is on the market, my X749's will mow circles around your ZTR's meet or beat the quality and generate multiples of income, for fuel economy these are 3 cyl diesels, there isn't a gas engine that will touch it's life, torque and the list goes on. ...
You're talking a $14,000 mower though. This cat's talking about saving a few bucks compared to a $2,000 ztr.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:36 PM
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You're talking a $14,000 mower though. This cat's talking about saving a few bucks compared to a $2,000 ztr.
Thats why i asked him how much they ran him
It would be great to have a machine like that but in most situations it would not be very practical cost wise..
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