What kind of ZTR mower should I get starting out?

When it comes to buying a mower for a start up lawn care business you need to find out what the narrowest gate you have to get through and take that into consideration then buy the biggest you can afford. That is the common response to questions asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum when it comes to getting started, but there is more too it than just that.

One lawn care business owner asked “I am starting a lawn care business next summer and looking at a new ZTR. My load will be around 6 (may do more) hours a day, four days a week with Friday for spillovers. I need to go with a 48″ because my trailer is only 54″ wide, and this one mower I have my eyes on takes up 52.5″ in total (w/o chute) I believe. I am looking for owners to throw their two cents in. Also, how many properties can I do in a day with those hours, how well does the mower stripe on its own, and should I mulch or side discharge everything?”

A second lawn care business owner responded “there are a lot of good choices for mowers out there but the bottom line is you need the best bang for the buck, especially when starting out. Parts availability are a big thing too so it is usually good practice to stick with manufacturers that have dealers nearby.

I am convinced that for the most part, outside of frame designs and deck designs they all use the same parts from motors, pumps, and such that as long as you stick with a true commercial line you can’t go wrong.

I am not saying they are all the same as some hydro systems are totally different animals but with the exception of a few brands every brand has a line of mowers that are similar and compete with the other brands line of mowers.

I have always used various sized mowers due to variations in the properties I mow such as when it comes to hills, gates, and wet area’s. I never needed a push mower but I have had to own a couple 36 inch walk behinds for back yards.

I think it would be wise to get a couple used mowers instead of a new rider because even with a new one if it breaks and that is all you got, then you are out of business until it is fixed so it is nice to have a back up.

I like the hydro walk behinds and with a sulke, it is as good as a rider, but nimble enough to use anywhere and they are also lighter than the riders.

If you are starting out, you can find some great deals on used mowers that still have plenty of life left in them and you will get a better value being the first owner took the hit on depreciation.

In the lawn business, whether you are big or small, you need as much equipment as you can muster and you would be better off if you had 3 walk behinds than one high end rider. With the prices these mowers are going for today, you could just about buy three walk behinds for the cost of a rider.

I don’t like the thought of going out to mow with just one piece of equipment, you always got to have back up. If you got one string trimmer and it takes a dump on you midway through a job what do you do?

Stuff always breaks on the job and never breaks on the trailer. It is nice to be able to have the resources of when you go down on a piece of equipment, you can still get the job and even the day done and it takes that pressure off.

Starting out, I would rather have that option even if it meant I had to buy used equipment to achieve that result. It is all baby steps and used equipment usually does not have a payment book to go with it. During the months we don’t make money that is always a beautiful thing.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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Trencher
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