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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a few years of thinking about it I think I'm going to go ahead and pull the trigger and start a small lawn maintenance business. After seeing the neighbors hired help sling grass all in the road and drive off and leave it for the ???Idon'tknowhowmanytimes?? I thought to myself "what am I waiting on?" If these knuckle heads can keep business I know I can.

Anyways..enough of my little rant. I'm lucky enough to have a full time job that pays well so I'm not looking to make a living at this. Enough to pay for a new ZTR and a little pocket change. I figure with 4 or 5 jobs I could pay for a mower in a couple of seasons. I worked for a landscape/lawn maintenance company for a few years when I was younger so I know a little about the business. I think this experience will serve me well when it comes to getting jobs.

And finally a question regarding the mower I'll use. I know I can't use the residential mower that I cut my lawn with. I don't want it to die after one season. I'm going to need a commercial grade ZTR. Nothing fancy like diesel or 72" deck but something with commercial quality hydros and a deck built to last. I'm thinking a 48 or 52" deck would be ideal. Also the 5-7 thousand range is what I'd like the stay in. Any brand jump out??

Any and all comments or suggestions will be appreciated as I get up the courage to do this. Thanks
 

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The sky is the limit in regards to ZTRs in the $5000-7K range. All kinds of commercial grade units available in that range. They're all good. I do see some small commercial outfits in my area using $2-3K ZTRs and a heavy duty run behind or two. I'd go with the brand at the dealership that's convenient for you and you like to deal with.

Joel
 

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The Simplicity Axion model is the same as the Craftsman ZTS series and the Snapper 150Z series. Decent mower for the money, just stay away from hills and tall wet thick grass.
 

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I've heard guys that mow for a living say the Gravely ZTRs ride and handle nice. What surprises me is you have to go all the way up to their highest end model "Pro-Master 200" series to get separate pump and wheel motor drive systems. ALL the rest use integrated Hydrogear ZT-2800's and modified versions of that same drive (3100, 3400, 5400). Everybody wines what junk these drive systems are, but the hi dollar big boys are putting their faith in them now too.

Joel
 

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there is a thread on here right now about how guys prefer their old gravely 2 wheel tractors with sulkys to their $4-5k z-turns. i would look to buy something used, which in the case of a gravely, can be had for 600-800 dollars in great working condition
 

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A owner of a lawn care business told me that his employees prefer Grasshopper. I think that they are in your price range.
 

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yup. a couple year old Exmark or Grasshopper or even a Woods "mow'n Machine" would be ideal; Grasshopper made woods equip (Woods owned GH for a while) for years;
BUT; what about the fenced in yards? My 44" Woods barely fits thru some gates and not thru others; for these areas my brother and I used to use a Snapper RER back in the day he could borrow his employer's for the evening; now a days I have a 28" Bunton WB with the grass catcher basket (I rarely use the basket) a 32-36" scag, Bunton, Bob-cat, Toro Pro line or something similar, is better. sure beats the alternative to a fenced in yard; a regular 20-22" residential duty type push mower to access them. I am gonna be looking for another commercial WB in taht size range here between now and next Spring.
I picked up a 48" BobCat (Ransomes) about 6 weeks ago, currently engine-less, that I am building up one of my 12-1/2HP B&S 289700 engines from under the bench, to put on there;
I have it and it should be a good match for the FBV 460 Kawi that once powered it;
ultimately once I get it together and the "bugs" worked out, belts replaced as needed and such I may either sell it or trade it off for a 32-36" version for those gated areas.

I am not "in the business" as much as, like you, just do a few yards a week for "gas money" in my pocket; I'm on Disability and have been unable to find a job, that pays much over minimum wage; and I'm certainly no cook so White Castle or McDonald's is "out"
 

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While not a "full time Comm. mower" but i cut 6 yards a week with a Gravley 2550 ZTR/ bagger. 25p. Kohler. Works great for me. Also run a JD 180 LT/48C deck. Use the JD on hills and on customers that dont need catching. Cant beat the 2550 on on manuvering and getting around things in the yards. But stay away from the hills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the input everyone. It's going to be a while before I make a purchase but I wanted to mull it over during the off season. I think dealer location will play a role in what I end up with and I'd really like something new that will last a long time. I have JD and kubota dealers with 6-8 miles of me so thats what you see most often around here. I think both are out of my price range though. I looked online and it looks like a commercial JD will set you back around 7600 or more and I'm afraid to even price a kubota. Around 30 miles away there are Hustler, Badboy, Scag, Exmark, and Gravely dealers but I really only see the Scag and Exmarks. The Badboy looks good on paper and the prices don't look bad but they are a relatively new company and I don't know alot about them. I guess I'll just have to get out and check out some real world prices and sit on them. Again, thanks for the input.
 
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