John Deere X749 tractor vs. a ZTR mower.

Being that a lot of start up lawn care businesses read the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, I asked the members what equipment would you suggest purchasing now that you have had some time to see what works well and what doesn’t. What I found was quite interesting and I hope it gets you thinking. It brought up a discussion between what is the better purchase, a ZTR mower or a John Deere X749 tractor.

One member said “it depends on the situation, if you were in my shoes, cutting grass with a tractor, you wouldn’t go far.

Tractor vs ztr mower

Tractor vs ztr mower

I cut down my time in half with my ZTR since I had 5 schools to take care of.”

Another added “don’t buy equipment until the demand is there, I have a $12,000 ZTR I thought I would need, to be honest the X749 All Wheel Steer out performs the ZTR in every way. From my experience, I should have bought this tractor long ago.”

I asked what was so much better about the X749 and he responded “an X749 Deere will cut rings around a ZTR and do everything a ZTR will do plus more, all in the same time. Plus it opens a lot of doors for the business owner. This is why research is key to any business. The X749 has a PTO with 24HP which means you can add on roto tilling, wood chipping and a host of other abilities. It has a 3 point hitch, that means it will handle many attachments. A front end loader option. It runs on diesel and in my experience so far costs about eighty cents an hour to run. All wheel steering four wheel drive with a differential lock front and rear. This give it the advantage, it will leave a ZTR behind on grades a ZTR simply can’t make. The one down side is that it is a big investment, but having one and a 997 ZTR which is probably the most expensive one on the market, I will never buy another ZTR. They limit what I can do for the dollars spent. I can put a ‘7 Iron Deck’ on my 749 if needed and they are considered one of the best in the industry.

The key here is two things, it will match and exceed the ZTR as I mentioned. The main reason I went shopping is I picked up two gated communities in early fall and they have places with insane grades and my competition could not get up them with their ZTR. I went in with my 997 ZTR as it’s a pretty big unit, and found I didn’t have a chance. I spun out and there is no way to get to the top and mow down, aside from that it would be dangerous if those tires lost grip heading down, the operator would fly down.

So I brought a Deere salesman out to the site and he said a 749 will play with that, my response was drop one off, which they did, and he was right.

Then I got to thinking you know we till around 90 places, this unit is far smaller in size but has the same power and abilities as the bigger unit, I could do tight areas I had to turn away this year.

Then I was thinking you know we have turned down quite a few lawn jobs due to traction, this thing would do it no problem.

Anyhow when you buy a machine like this I appreciate the investment is steep but you are raising the bar and cutting the competition out, this will make you a lot of money and you can offer so many services with a unit like this, I think there is something like 45 attachments for lawn care that go on it, it will even run a wood chipper.

Then you can add a snow plow, blower etc. traction will never be an issue.”

Well I thought to myself, that is all fine and good but what about the speed of the cut. Don’t most lawn care business owners prefer ZTR’s because of their dexterity and speed? Can a tractor compete with that?

He responded by saying “The X749 is just as fast as my ZTR 997. When I mow, I watch the speed. I will not allow my staff to go full speed on any lawn. To me, and again this is just my personal opinion and based on customer comments, it’s important to go a medium speed, do good work because people are watching you.”

Well how about that! I am learning something new everyday. We should all keep these thoughts in mind.

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