Lawn Mowers, Walk Mowers, Riding
Mowers and Zero Turn Mowers!
Lawn Mower Type, this is a tough one, depending on where you are
located and what type of Lawn Mowers the other commercial people are using in your area. In most cases the
Commercial Cutters will only be using 2 or 3 different kinds in your area in
most cases. The
reason for this is the more of them out there, the better chance you will have easy access
to parts and service. This will be true on any of your equipment.
Convertible type lawn mowers are also a good choice.
By convertible I mean lawn mowers that can bag, mulch or side discharge grass clippings. Some
customers will want you to bag no matter what. These customers are considered high
Bagging clippings does take more time and either
the customer or you must dispose of the clippings. Some cities are requiring that the
clippings be removed by the person performing the service. Hauling off and disposal of
lawn waste will take time, manpower and added expense.
You should keep this in mind when you price the
lawn for the customer. Some customers want the clippings put in special areas such as
flower beds or gardens. I would encourage such dumping since removal takes a lot of effort
on you part. Try to talk the customer into letting you dump in back or side yard.
Your thinking that garbage bags don't cost much, I'll tell you how much they cost. Sit
down and figure how many you use in a years time. How much when you run out in the middle
of a job (say you're running late & it's the last job or next to the last job of the
day, does it cost you a job that day or 20 to 30 minutes over time for 1 or 2 employees if
you are lucky).
Say this only happens once or twice a year, think about it. I could write another page
about this bagging thing alone. Why are you here right now, not the glory or the glamour.
You are here for the MONEY and nothing else, I hope.
Mulching lawn mowers are faster and if done often enough gives
great results. The clippings add nutrients to the lawn and thus the customer does not have
to fertilize as much. As people become more concerned about landfills, you will have more
customers requesting this service. To obtain the same results as bagging clippings, you
must cut about every 5 to 7 days. It depends on the amount of water the lawn has received
and how fast it is growing.
Lawn Mowers with larger engines (more horsepower) are
the best. The amount of use and abuse these mowers take requires a lot of power. I would
spend the extra few dollars and get the power needed to do the job. You will never regret
it. The more horsepower you have means less strain on the engine and the faster it will
cut. It will give you many more hours of life.
The next consideration should be the demographics
of the areas you will be cutting. Does your cutting area have fairly level ground or large
hilly areas over 15 to 20 degrees? If you are cutting on fairly steep slopes, you will
want to consider a lawn mower with a two cycle engine. The oil and gas are mixed together in a two cycle,
therefore insuring that the engine is lubricated while cutting on sloping areas.
On fairly flat areas a lawn mower with a four cycle engine with
an oil pump or pressure lubrication would work well. The two cycles require less maintenance but
in most cases do not have as much horsepower. I have been reading that the two cycles are
going to be phased out because of new regulations and pollution standards. Carb standards
in certain areas of the country have certain regulations on the operation of two cycle
Overhead valve engines (4 cycle) are a very good
choice. They are easier to crank, run cooler and burn less gas. Generally, the cooler the
engine runs, the longer it will last. Most engine manufacturers have a overhead valve
The four cycle engines requires more
maintenance such as changing the oil. The two cycle does not need oil changed but the air
cleaner needs cleaning more often. Some of the commercial people favor two cycles because
the hand equipment they have is generally two cycle and they only have oil/gas mixed fuel on their truck. If straight gas is ran in
two cycle the engine will lock up. You will then need a short block, new engine or new
piece of equipment depending on the age of the equipment.
This will be an expensive piece of equipment so
make sure you take your time and do your homework. You should talk to other people in the
business or look around and see what your competitors or using.
The smaller rear engine riders with one belt for
blade and rubber drive disc is what I chose. I never regretted this purchase. They are
easy to work on , very popular and very easy to get parts for. These units are also easier
to maneuver in small lawns.
The larger lawn and garden type tractors with 18
HP or better and hydrostatic drive will
give you better service than ones with gear box transmissions. These mowers are generally
what you would need on large commercial properties. The hydrostatic drive Zero
Turn Radius type mowers
are very easy to handle.
Another consideration when choosing a large deck
mower is the number of blades it requires. The more blades the faster you can travel when
cutting. They also put less of a strain on the engine and will noticeably will chop the
grass clippings finer. This gives the appearance of a neater and cleaner cut.
Zero Turn Radius Mowers
The Zero Turning Radius mowers are good
choice on large commercial properties. Some models come with joystick operation for
steering, which can be difficult to use at first. They may seem awkward at first, but with
practice you will be able to maneuver this mower with confidence.
These mowers are very powerful and fast. The
turning radius as the name implies (Zero Turn Radius) enables you to cut close to objects such as
trees, buildings, etc. This saves on labor cost because you should have less mowing with
smaller walk mowers and/or trimming to do. Your time is very crucial during peak season,
do not take shortcuts on the grounds, save time and labor.
The other Zero Turn Radius type mowers have dual handles for
steering. The preference on this type of steering is at your discretion. If you are more
comfortable with one over the other, get the one you are happy with. Price may be a
factor. Try both!
If I were looking for a big commercial mower, I
would decide depending on the terrain being cut. Generally, you can follow what others
have been using as a guide. Zero Turn Radius Mowers are best for maneuvering in smaller areas. In large open
areas the best choice would be a tractor type mower. Hey you decide it's your money.
I would chose a big tractor or Zero
Turn Rider with an 18 HP
or better commercial grade engine with hydrostatic drive and 48" mowing deck. I would
chose the 48" deck because this would work well in either commercial or homeowner
applications. If you are looking to cut large areas, the wider cut and more horse power