Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

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Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby DZG » Tue May 10, 2016 4:27 pm

Me and a buddy are planning on starting a side business of mowing lawns, brush removal, etc. Both of us work full time so for now itll be just a weekend thing untill it takes off...

Both of us have good, regular riding mowers (hes got a 26hp craftsmen and i have 2 cub cadets, a 1042 19hp and a 2185 shaft drive with a 18hp)

He has stars in his eyes to go and buy a brand new husquarvarna ZTR for the business, i told him we should just use what we have (due to cost).

I understand most companies run 0turns because of the speed, but is there really any difference in cut quality between a good tractor and a ZTR? Should i quit being a cheapskate?

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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Urbish » Tue May 10, 2016 4:37 pm

I'm a risk-averse person. I would run what you have and see how things go before pouring a bunch of money into it. Of course you could mow twice as much property in the same amount of time with skilled usage of a zero turn mower. I don't own a zero-turn, but they seem to cut pretty nicely given how stinking fast they go.

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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Don McCombs » Tue May 10, 2016 4:50 pm

Instant gratification when trying to start a business is never a good thing. Use what you have until you can afford to buy the zero turn with cash.
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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Eugene » Tue May 10, 2016 5:03 pm

Way back when, a guy mowed lawns. Riding lawn/garden tractors were popular. The guy only used several push type lawn mowers, weed eaters, and his pickup. He made very good money with little expense.

Use what you have for now. See how the business goes. Faster is not always profitable. If you manage to get a large commercial contract, then a zero turn mower might be a worth while investment.
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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Cecil » Tue May 10, 2016 5:17 pm

I agree with what the guys said. I have a John Deere 757 Ztrack I bought when my garden tractor gave out 10 years ago. It was pricey but I also worked for the dealer. It's a commercial mower and has served me well. The only thing I have done over the years is replace 1 belt (my fault) and purchased 2 sets of blades. I mowed about 3 1/2 acres at the old place and it took an hour and 45 minutes. Here I have a little more and it takes me 2 hours to do. I would not trade it for anything but I probably would not spend the money again. If you don't have a lot of large lawns then the z turn is over kill. You'd do just as well with a decent lawn tractor with a 54 inch cut.

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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby DZG » Tue May 10, 2016 6:08 pm

Thanks for the quick responses guys, i agree with him that apperance is important, but a customer wont pay you more just because you have shiny new equipment

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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby outdoors4evr » Wed May 11, 2016 7:24 am

You asked about the quality of the cut. The difference in a zero turn and a riding mower is that the wheels in front of the deck don't roll as much grass down before it is mowed. The mower blades have to pull that grass back up and cut it. The high lift blades and fast blade speeds help with this. Also, the grass is laid back down with the back of the deck to give that nice lawn striping. This can be accomplished with a riding mower by dragging a pipe behind the back wheels of the tractor that is the width of the mower deck. Zero turns seem to work better in wet grass as well.
When starting a business, it is very important to keep costs low. As you get more business than you can accomplish in a week, more time efficient equipment may help expand the business. Don't buy newer, faster equipment until you are running out of time to get the work done. At some point, it may be cheaper to hire employees to run equipment longer into the week.
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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Wed May 11, 2016 1:19 pm

I agree with the rest, use what you have for now, and as business builds then look into other machinery. A lot of the serious ones around here use the walking rigs with front deck and a riding (or standing sulky), though those are kind of rough on old coots. :lol: When on sloping or badly uneven ground they disconnect the sulky and walk. I have always wanted one of the riders with front mounted decks , but they are a lot of dollars.
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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Bus Driver » Wed May 11, 2016 7:00 pm

Confession: Have never operated a ZTR mower. But is is possible that the drive system in the ZTR is more durable than the hydrostatic units in the lower and mid priced riders.
My neighbors certainly seem to like their ZTR units. Use the mowers you have and save to buy a ZTR with the cash flow from the early mowing experiences. Payments are just another form of debt.
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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Eugene » Thu May 12, 2016 6:12 am

Have you researched the number of potential available customers? Considered the competition? Researched the local, state, federal taxes and perhaps business license(s)? Book keeping? Insurance?
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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Jackman » Thu May 12, 2016 6:53 am

DZG wrote:Me and a buddy are planning on starting a side business of mowing lawns, brush removal, etc. Both of us work full time so for now itll be just a weekend thing untill it takes off...

Both of us have good, regular riding mowers (hes got a 26hp craftsmen and i have 2 cub cadets, a 1042 19hp and a 2185 shaft drive with a 18hp)

He has stars in his eyes to go and buy a brand new husquarvarna ZTR for the business, i told him we should just use what we have (due to cost).

I understand most companies run 0turns because of the speed, but is there really any difference in cut quality between a good tractor and a ZTR? Should i quit being a cheapskate?

Opinions


I'm in the lawn business full time 25 years , started same as you with a full time job . Good equipment is really good to have, in a comparison of Zero turn vs lawn tractor the ZTR blows a tractor away big time, tractor not even in the same ball park, since your starting up ya do what ya gotta do but ditching the tractor would be a priority , ztr faster ,better cut , made for the job, read up on ztr's there not all the same the word "Commercial" get put on a lot of equipment that is nothing more than home owner junk , Exmark, Ransomes, Skag and some John Deer are good mowers, husquarvarna not so good basically home owner junk.

BTW most lawn guys double cut the lawns as in do the whole lawn then do again for that real nice clean cut :D

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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Scrivet » Thu May 12, 2016 8:58 pm

DZG wrote:Me and a buddy are planning on starting a side business of mowing lawns, brush removal, etc. Both of us work full time so for now itll be just a weekend thing untill it takes off....................
The mower topic has been pretty well covered as well as a few for researching the business plan. What really jumps out at me and I mowed quite a few yards a couple years ago when I was in high school (OK......... maybe it was really a couple three decades ago) is your statement of "just a weekend thing". Ain't gonna happen! Unless you can plan the rain. You'll get rained out, ground to wet/soft. Will your customers wait till the next weekend? Second problem is most I did wanted their yards looking good for the weekend. Not done on the weekend. Don't know if that still holds true but something to consider. Not trying to discourage you at all, in fact just the opposite by offering my experiences to help you understand first hand situations.

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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Scrivet » Thu May 12, 2016 8:58 pm

DZG wrote:Me and a buddy are planning on starting a side business of mowing lawns, brush removal, etc. Both of us work full time so for now itll be just a weekend thing untill it takes off....................
The mower topic has been pretty well covered as well as a few for researching the business plan. What really jumps out at me and I mowed quite a few yards a couple years ago when I was in high school (OK......... maybe it was really a couple three decades ago) is your statement of "just a weekend thing". Ain't gonna happen! Unless you can plan the rain. You'll get rained out, ground to wet/soft. Will your customers wait till the next weekend? Second problem is most I did wanted their yards looking good for the weekend. Not done on the weekend. Don't know if that still holds true but something to consider. Not trying to discourage you at all, in fact just the opposite by offering my experiences to help you understand first hand situations.

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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Eugene » Thu May 12, 2016 9:22 pm

There are a number of internet discussions on starting a lawn care business. Also topics on the profit margin for a typical lawn care business.

Just suggesting that you really need to research the topic before starting a business.
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Re: Zero turn vs lawn tractor for commercial use? Opinions?

Postby Jackman » Fri May 13, 2016 3:51 am

Thats a discouraging post and just an opinion :o ,


I started 1992 just weekends for lawns and a full time truck driver job during the week (quit the full time trucker job in 1996 went seasonal) rain or bad weather yeah it happens but its not a tombstone for your weekend business idea , just go for it you will do fine.



. if you work full time as an employee your tax deductions is minimal at best, start your weekend business get an CPA and write off your equipment at tax time , chances are good that you already own a pick up truck and its not a right off for a regular job but it will be for a weekend business, same with the mowers that you already have write them off at tax time, truck gas write it off, mower and trimmer gas write it off and also get a refund on any road fuel tax that you paid at the pump, the tax write offs go on and on,call a CPA get the whole deal and think out your business.

Do the math what do you make at your full time job and what will you set as your goal for the weekend mowings that info alone will be a yay or nay eye opener.

mine looked like this in 1992, 10 dollar an hour truck driver = 400 a week before taxes, my first year weekend lawns 7 customers 30 dollars a cut 210 dollars on a Saturday or basically half of what a full time job paid in less than 6 hours time.

big plus most people like writing their own pay check its a real good feeling :D you might like that part of the weekend work.


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