Should I buy this used commercial lawn mower?

With the grass growing, many new lawn care business owners are scouring the classified ads, looking for deals on commercial lawn mowers they can get to replace one of their current mowers or upgrade to a larger mowing deck. Sometimes there is a good deal to be found while other times, you may find yourself buying another person’s headache. But how can you tell a good deal from a bad. Here is a discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum that highlights a few issues you may run into.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m looking at purchasing a used 52″ commercial mower with a 23HP engine. The seller wants a $1,000 for the unit. It’s full hydro, electric start, with about 1,500 hours. It does have the old pistol grips which I am ok with. I mainly do residential lawns but I was able to gain two larger places that are completely flat to mow. The mower that is being sold has it’s wear and tear and also has an oil leak that the owner has not fixed. He said it smokes when it runs. He also said that he has not fixed it because he has worked out of town the past several months but ensures it cuts and works great.

Should I buy this used commercial lawn mower?

Should I buy this used commercial lawn mower?

I don’t owe anything on my other equipment and just want something to get me through this season. What do you think?”

A second lawn care business owner said “by what you said I would RUN, not walk, RUN away. The smoking engine and unfixed oil leak when he is trying to sell the mower tells me he did not take care of it. You always want to sell something in it’s best light and fix minor problems that would make a mower sell better. The smoking engine could be a sign you need to rebuild or replace the engine it also makes you wonder what else is wrong with it?”

A third business owner said “before you buy a used mower from another landscaper you need to remember, these guys are like you. They are commercial landscapers and are going to run these machines until they get to a point of costing more to fix on a regular basis than to get new.

On the other hand, the bigger outfits I would assume have it budgeted in that they are looking to replace the old with new lets say every 4 to 6 years. Even if the machine is doing the job. Most need to keep the professional appearance of a high quality lawn care. Smoke bellowing from their mowers with oil leaks doesn’t fit the bill.

I am not sure if you can find a service technician in your area that would be willing to go and look at both machines with you to give you an idea if it’s worth the investment and a ball park figure of what it would cost to fix it.

Check the spindle towers, belts, and ask for a maintenance records if they have it. The mower may need some minor work or a possible engine overhaul. Good chances are if the owner has not fixed this issue, they have not done regular maintenance on the mower such as oil changes, greasing the unit and more. New 25 hp engines will run you between $2,300 to $3,000.00 plus install so keep that in mind.”

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