Are you starting out and looking into buying your first used commercial lawn mower? With so many makes, models, and options, what should you be looking for? In this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get some insight as to what the pros look for when they are buying used lawn care equipment. It seems certain options can make a big difference in the functionality and lifespan of a mower.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I am going into business and need to find a good walk behind lawn mower. I will be buying used and have limited funds. I figured I could spend about $1,500.00 on a walk behind. What is your recommended brands and types? I would like to have a hydro and also the ability to have good clean cutting quality. Is a 36″ walk behind be the smart size to start with? I know little about deck types. Could you explain why a particular mower is better over another style?”
A second lawn care business owner said “there are so many makes of mowers, it’s pretty much up to what you find in that price range, I’d start with craigslist. I’d try and find a walk behind with a Kawasaki motor first then Kohler second, Briggs although they are popular and have cheap parts, I don’t think they are as durable.
When looking at used lawn mowers, check the spindles, check the deck, run the walk behind in every gear and look for slipping. As far as size….that depends on the kind of yards you are trying to get. If you are looking for large yards, a 36″ will definitely take longer, smaller yards with fenced in backyards, tight areas, a 36″ is ideal. I run a zero turn 48″ and a 36″ walk behind. Research the unit and don’t be afraid to ‘use’ the unit before purchasing.
If it’s a hydro, look for things like a Kawasaki motor, see if it has Parker pumps, hydro gear even. I look for 10-12cc hydro pumps. Look for forged deck vs. a cheap stamped deck. Check the oil and hydro fluids. See if it travels straight without fighting it. If it’s a good motor it should turn over after a few pulls when cold, check the lines, are they dry rotted? Are the belts cracked? How easy is it to get parts? Do you have a local supplier? If this is your first mower, and you’re money maker, you don’t want it breaking down, things will break, it’s how fast you can get parts that makes the difference.
Stick to the commercial mowers. There’s not a big enough difference between brands to base a decision on. I wouldn’t pay an extra $1000 for an Exmark over a Toro or vice a versa.
A lot of the money is buying the name. I’ll tell you one other thing, if I didn’t live in an area where there are so many hills, I’d buy a Walker mower. They are the ones that allow you to sit and have the control arms between your legs. I worked for a guy a while back, who had two of them, they were nice. I loved the cut, the ability to flip the deck upright was great, easy access, cleaning, and sharpening.”
A third added “Good luck finding something for $1,500. I thought I could, but the only ones I found at that price were pretty well used and NOT hydros. I mean, I’m sure you can find one, but I wasn’t having much luck.
I ended up buying new.”
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