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Buying a commercial mower.


winston
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I'm going to buy a mower and plan to mow 7 to 10 yards per week when I retire in the fall.   Lots of choices in brands and models.  Should I stand or ride?  Ex Mark or John Deere? Smaller deck or large deck? I appreciate any advice I might recieve.

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A buddy and I have a lawn care/landscaping business so feel free to pm me if you need more information. But I'll touch on some things now. 

As far as brands go I'm a big fan of ExMark, Scag and Ferris for commercial mowers. ExMark and Scag have been making great products for a long time and Ferris seems to be making an excellent product these days. The only negatives I've heard about Ferris is that the hydro pumps can develop leaks and they have small gas tanks. The tank size wouldn't effect you though if you plan to only mow a few lawns per day. I'm not a huge fan of John Deere commercial mowers, they hold up fine for homeowners but don't seem to on the commercial end of things. 

There are two different types of stand on mowers and then of course the ZTR if you wanna ride. Picking one really depends on what you plan on mowing mostly. A ZTR will not hold a hillside safely, so unless you're mowing mostly flat properties I wouldn't go that route. If you're properties are mostly flat then the ZTR is the way to go though as it is quicker and more comfortable.

As for as the stand on and walk behind mowers go they are a lot alike but the walk behind with an attacked velke is more versatile, but not as quick, though you can run around 7mph on one. The stand on mowers that have a built in platform are a bit more comfortable to ride and some of them run at close to ZTR speeds. But you're also standing on a platform that is about a foot above the ground. So you sacrifice center of gravity on hillsides as well as the ability to go under low hanging tree limbs. We use all of the above but given the terrain in my area the walk behinds with attached velke's are what gets the most hours. 

Deck size also depends on your properties. Anything that has fencing with a small gate is going to be a problem to get into the lawn if you have a deck larger than 48" and some gates will only fit a 36" deck. But if you're going to be mowing large/open properties a larger deck is obviously going to be more efficient. If i were going to only have one mower I feel like a 48" deck would be the sweet spot. It will fit through most modern gates and if it doesn't the lawn is likely small enough to push mow. 

Hope that helps some. For weedeaters and other two stroke equipment I'm a big fan of Redmax, its the only brand we get more than a year out of these days and we've tried pretty much all of them.

EDIT: ExMark and Toro are essentially the same, share the same parts, etc. I believe the deck design as well as the frame may be slightly different but if you don't want to pay ExMark money the Toro's are a good option.

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6 hours ago, winston said:

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions.  I appreciate the information.  Do you think used lawnmowers are a good value?

Yes, the same things go wrong with a new mower as they do with a used mower. The only thing you have working for you is the warranty, but in a lot of cases the shop will have the mower for a month+ so that comes at a price as well. If you have any mechanical ability at all they're really easy to work on so I'm a big fan of buying used or working on what you already have to keep it going. 

A used ExMark is gonna cut the same as a new one as long as it doesn't have a bent frame or deck and thats uncommon. If buying used just look for leaks from the hydro pumps and wheel motors, also make sure the hydro pumps are strong and no whine from the wheel motors. We have a 48" ExMark in the fleet that is 20 years old. We put a new motor on it two years ago but the pumps and wheel motors are still original and running strong. Outside of that its just been routine maintenance that you would have to do on a new mower as well.

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I have 5 acres here and I ride a 61" Ferris ZTR and I'm happy with it.  I know it's faster than my neighbors Exmark.  I really like my Ferris but his Exmark mows a nice yard too.  Good luck in your search.  Congrats on retiring soon.

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1 hour ago, jvdfc said:

I have 5 acres here and I ride a 61" Ferris ZTR and I'm happy with it.  I know it's faster than my neighbors Exmark.  I really like my Ferris but his Exmark mows a nice yard too.  Good luck in your search.  Congrats on retiring soon.

Ferris has came a long way in recent years and they seem to be built like tanks these days, the only complaints I've heard are the hydro pump leaks. All of the mentioned mowers are gonna give a really nice cut, its really just about what you need to do what you want with the mower, which also depends on the terrain of the area you live in. 

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