Choose your next lawn mower width wisely.

There are so many lawn mower manufacturers that offer so many different models and cutting widths. Some cutting decks are marketed as 36 inches wide but when measured with all their attachments, their true width can be much wider. This may not sound like a big deal to you until you have finite widths you need your new mower to fit through, like fence gates.

A member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us his recent experience and cautionary tale of purchasing his most recent lawn mower. He wrote “this year I decided to try to start a grass cutting business. I did my advertising and got a few clients. I went to buy a mower and every dealer of course tells me their mower is the best made.

I ultimately went with a 36″ zero turn riding mower. The dealer told me that it’s great because I could get through gates where other mowers couldn’t. I now have 14 lawn care accounts but my problem is this, it’s taking me 2 days to get all these lawns done. I don’t bag any of them so that doesn’t slow me down. As far as the getting through the gates I have 3 accounts that have gates. The 36 inch WILL NOT go though the gates. So I have to cut them by hand! I checked to see if I could get my new mower retrofitted with a 48 inch deck the dealer told me no?

My lawn care accounts are close together so that’s not an issue. I thought maybe I would try to trade in my new mower for another bigger one but another landscaper told me I probally won’t get squat for a 36 inch riding mower. It’s new with only 45 hours on it. I have heard the mower I purchased is the best mowers but I have had my issues already. This rider is a really heavy mower and its leaves impressions in the lawns. I cut in a different pattern every time and I get bounced around because of the last impression.

I already lost 2 lawn care customers because they didn’t like the way the mower cut. I could potentially hire another person but I am really skating on thin ice the way things are already. This 36 inch rider is killing me I should have gone with a 48 inch. Anyone have any suggestions about what I could do to get things done faster?”

Another business owner said “proper lawn care equipment selection is a very important element in running a successful lawn care business. Buying the wrong mower can really put you in a bind. It is terrible having the wrong piece of equipment. The lawn cutting width is often not the width of the deck as there will be a natural extension of width for the frame of the mowing deck. It is always wise to measure a deck, gates of yards, and your trailer to make sure they all work with one another before making a purchase.

Here are a few suggestions for your other question.

1) Are you mowing when the grass is wet or the ground is soggy? The mower you describe really shouldn’t make indentations on solid, dry ground.

2) Have you checked your tire pressure? Incorrect pressure may increase rolling resistance and damage the turf during turns.

3) Are you trying to make up time by traveling too fast? Bumpy ground and a high mowing speed will give a very uneven cut and make the grass look bad.

4) Do you have the correct tires on the mower. It seems unlikely but maybe the tires you have on your machine are not designed for turf mowing.

If it comes down to selling this mower, how much of a loss are you willing to take in order to buy the correct equipment and make your business life easier and more profitable?”

“The mower I have is 36 inches wide all around. The gates are about 30 to 32 inches wide so there is no way this mower is going to make it through. When I was bidding out jobs I went with what the dealer was telling me that I should be able to get my mower through. I cannot afford to take a loss on the machine at least not at this stage of the game. Knowing what I know now I should have gotten a bigger mower and the yards with a gate I would have to do by hand any ways. But 48 inches would make the other yards go faster.”

A second lawn care business owner suggested in the future to “buy a 60 inch mower and then buy a small walk behind for were that will not get into, such as behind gates.”

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