Lawn Care Gear: A Helpful Guide to Buying Lawn Mowers

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As always, business has been booming these last few summer weeks.

You and your team have been working long, exhaustive hours. There just aren’t enough hours in a day.

It’s early afternoon at the office, and everything has been running fairly smoothly. No emergency calls from the team just yet. No customer complaints. It’s relatively quiet, so you decide to go to lunch.

You’re ordering your meal at the drive-thru, when all of a sudden one of your team leads calls. One of your mowers is broken. Again. And you’ll have to buy a new one.

Ughhh… summer is here. And it’s bittersweet.

Finding reliable lawn care gear can seem like an impossible venture. But finding reliable AND affordable gear feels like a dang miracle.

If you know the right things to look for, your gear buying process will stop seeming debilitating. And dare I say… start being exciting.

That’s because new lawn care equipment SHOULD feel exciting. It’s one of the most profitable aspects of your business. It’s what makes your work a whole lot easier to manage.

Just by choosing proper lawn gear, you can exponentially increase your profits by:

  • Saving money on maintenance
  • Providing higher quality of service (resulting in higher prices)
  • Efficient completion of jobs (good equipment can finish jobs more quickly)
  • Reduced fatigue and increased stamina (good equipment provides ease and comfort)

These are just a few of the many ways having the right equipment can make you more money.

Welcome to Part 1 of the only guide you’ll ever need for buying lawn care gear. In future parts, we’re going to discuss other pieces of equipment that are essential to your business.

And without further ado, here are our suggestions of the best mowers for lawn care businesses:

Walk-Behind Mowers

Snapper Commercial Walk Mower

Pros:

  • You can choose between 2 models: Honda; Briggs & Stratton
  • Affordable: ≈ $799 (Honda); 999 (Briggs & Stratton)
  • Self-propelled
  • Torque: 7.1 (Honda); 8.5 (Briggs & Stratton)
  • Engine displacement (cc): 163 (Honda); 190 (Briggs & Stratton)
  • Maximum MPH: 4
  • Height-of-cut: 1.25 – 4 inches
  • Blade type: integral lift (Honda); NINJA® Mulching (Briggs & Stratton)
  • High-lift blade vacuums
  • Rear bagger included
  • Wheels: includes ball bearings with 14-gauge reinforced bracing steel
  • The Briggs & Stratton model has bagging

Cons:

  • Walk-behind mowers aren’t conducive for multiple commercial accounts a day
  • Cutting deck: only 21 inches
  • The Honda model doesn’t have bagging, you have to pay additionally for the NINJA® mulching kit
  • Limited commercial warranty: 1 year

Who’s it for?

This self-propelled mower is great for those of you just starting out or doing residential only or very little commercial accounts in a single day.

Swisher WHERC10224C Commercial Pro Walk Behind

Pros:

  • Affordable: ≈ $2,099.95
  • Horsepower: 10.2
  • Engine displacement (cc): 389
  • Blade: single G6 commercial cutting blade
  • Transmission: 4-speed with reverse
  • Front safety deflectors with protective guard
  • 2 heavy duty front casters (removes weight from the user to make operating easier)

Cons:

  • Walk-behind mowers aren’t conducive for multiple commercial accounts a day
  • Cutting deck: only 24 inches
  • Cutting height:  inches (fixed – not adjustable)
  • Standard lawn and garden battery not included

Who’s it for?

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an established lawn care owner doing predominantly residential accounts, this mower will be a great addition to your team.

Even if you’re doing more than a few commercial accounts in a single day, you might consider this mower as a more affordable commercial mowing option.

Standing Mower

Wright Stander Series

Pros:

  • Stand-on: makes it easy to quickly get on/off the mower and reduces lower back strain
  • Operator control type: quad lever ball bearing
  • Hour meter: digital
  • Shorter length than other mowers of the same width (ideal for saving time in tight spots)
  • Many model options with different engines: Briggs & Stratton, Kohler and Kawasaki
  • Horsepower: 27 – 37
  • Forward MPH speed: 12.5
  • Reverse MPH speed: 7
  • Max acres per hour: 6.69 – 9.92
  • Cutting deck: 52 – 72 inches
  • Deck cutting height: 1.5 – 5.5 inches

Cons:

  • Deck type: floating side discharge (doesn’t bag)
  • It’s on the higher end of the scale: ≈ $11,000 – 13,000

Who’s it for?

Truly, this mower is for anyone. Its wide range of options makes it easy to find what’s right for you and your business. So whether you’re a small, medium or large lawn and landscape business, you’re sure to find the mower that’s right for your needs.

Zero-Turn Mowers

Husqvarna Professional Mowers

Pros:

  • There’s lots of options to choose from, but these  stand out:
  • Affordability: the semi-professional models start at ≈ $4,700
  • Versatility: can discharge, mulch or bag clipping (attachments sold separately)
  • Cutting deck: reinforced steel made out of heavy flat-stock steel
  • Improved grass and cut: air induction mowing technology draws air from the top and bottom of the deck
  • Automatic brakes (patented-pending): automatically activates/deactivates as your steering levers move outward/inward
  • Cutting deck: 61 inches

Cons:

  • Extremely limited commercial warranty (it’s dependent on the model) for a limited time covering limited items
  • A little bulkier than some of its competitors (taking up more trailer space and more difficult maneuverability)

Who’s it for?

Since there are multiple models to choose from, these mowers are for anyone at any point in your business.

Walker T25i

Pros:

  • Walker has multiple other models to choose between
  • Fuel system: EFI
  • Cooling system: air
  • Engine displacement (cc): 747
  • Maximum power: 25 HP @ 3,600 RPM
  • Maximum torque: 38.8
  • Versatility: multiple attachment options (additional purchase) for snow removal, ice removal, debris blowing, etc… 
  • Fairly compact for its versatility
  • Non-collection option available
  • Cutting deck: 52 inches

Cons:

  • Very limited commercial warranty: 1 year
  • It’s on the higher end of the scale: ≈ $14,000
  • Takes more time to mow (however, the cut is more precise)
  • Bulkier in the back (taking up more trailer space)

Who’s it for?

While the T25i would work great for any business, it’s more worth the price tag for medium to large lawn businesses. This mower thrives on large residential and commercial properties. 

Additionally, if you own a snow business it’s a great option, because of its dual ability to encompass lawn care and snow removal.

Toro TimeCutter® Series

Pros:

  • Variety of options to choose from (17 to be exact)
  • Cutting deck variety: 32 – 60 inches
  • Affordability: ≈ $2,500 – 6,000
  • Can decrease mowing time by 47%
  • Option to buy an attachment to bag your clippings
  • Uses a seal system (so it doesn’t require lubricant)

Cons:

  • Extremely limited commercial warranty: 45 days
  • More difficult maneuverability: a bit larger than some of its competitors
  • Not a well-known engine
  • No gas gauge

Who’s it for?

The TimeCutter® Series can work for any sized business. However, it might work best for small to medium sized businesses. This series was designed for larger properties, but it wasn’t necessarily designed for commercial use.

And if you’re mowing commercial properties, you might consider the Toro Titan Series (the next item on the list).

Toro Titan Series

Pros:

  • Multiple models to choose from
  • Affordability: ≈ $5,700 – 8,400
  • Cutting deck options: 48 – 60 inches
  • Bag your clippings with the purchase of an additional attachment
  • Can decrease your time mowing by 45%

Cons:

  • Extremely limited commercial warranty: 45 days
  • Bulkier than other competitors (more difficult maneuverability)
  • No gas gauge
  • Oil filter location is not quickly accessible

Who’s it for?

Even though the Titan Series can work wonders for any lawn and landscape business, it’s probably more worth the cost for medium to large businesses. However, the countless options ensure you’ll find the right model for your business.

Ariens APEX Series

Pros:

  • Affordability: ≈ $4,900 – 5,200
  • Frame: full tubular steel frame rails
  • Commercial-grade deck: 10-gauge steel deck
  • Belt tension technology: self-adjusting belt maintains constant tension (maximizes belt life, minimizes wear and maximizes consistent, quality cut)
  • Foot operated deck lift system
  • Deck access panel: easy access to spindles and belts for a better cleaning
  • Padded seat and armrests: adjustable, high-back seat with padded armrests
  • Cutting deck: 48 – 60 inches
  • Horsepower: 23 – 25
  • Engine displacement (cc): 725 – 726
  • Engine model options: Kohler 7000 V-Twin and Kawasaki FR V-Twin
  • Cutting height: adjustable between 1.5 – 5 inches
  • Hour meter: tracks when you mower needs to be serviced

Cons:

  • Extremely limited commercial warranty: 90 days
  • Bulkier than other competitors (more difficult maneuverability)
  • No free accessories
  • It rattles

Who’s it for?

Mowing in reverse up to 4mph, it can also mow forward up to 8mph. This is a solid mower for those owning medium to large lawn care businesses.

Swisher Z3166CPKA 31HP Big Mow Commercial Pro, 66”

Pros:

  • There are many options to choose from
  • Cutting deck: 66 inches
  • Maximum forward MPH speed: 10
  • Maximum reverse MPH speed: 5
  • Horsepower: 31
  • Engine displacement (cc): 999
  • Engine: 4-cycle 2-cylinder Kawasaki
  • Deck lift: electric and can be controlled from your seat
  • Transmission: hydrostatic
  • Cutting height: 1.25 – 5 inches
  • Headlights
  • The deck can be totally lifted out of your way
  • Versatility: you have the option of buying a snow plow attachment

Cons:

  • Extremely limited commercial warranty: 90 days
  • On the higher end of the pricing scale: ≈ $12,000
  • Not recommended for inclines/declines of 15 degrees
  • Difficult maneuverability: bulkier than its competitors

Who’s it for?

The American-made Swisher Z3166CPKA Big Mow is a commercial-grade, zero turn radius mower. If you own a larger lawn business with multiple commercial accounts or large residential accounts, this mower is for you.

John Deere Commercial ZTrak Zero Turn Mowers

Pros:

  • So many options to choose from that it feels customizable (plus, they have commercial walk-behind and commercial stand-on mowers)
  • Horsepower: 23.5 – 37.4
  • Cutting deck: 48 – 72 inches
  • Fuel options: gas, propane kit, EFI and diesel
  • Deck: 7Iron PRO Deck
  • Quiet engine
  • Michelin® X® Tweel® Turf® (airless radial tire technology, flat-free tires)

Cons:

  • Limited commercial warranty: 24 months or 120 hours (whichever comes first)
  • Cost of accessories
  • The deck isn’t easy to lift
  • No gas gauge
  • No standard hitch
  • On the higher end of the pricing scale: starting at ≈ $8,900

Who’s it for?

The John Deere ZTrack series works wonder with medium to large-sized businesses. The price tag may not be worth it for smaller lawn and landscape owners.

However, smaller businesses can consider their commercial walk-behind or even stand-on mowers.

New… Or Used???

Before we get started talking about lawn mowers, you’re probably going to be asking yourself this question throughout this lawn and landscape gear series.

That’s because this is the #1 question asked by lawn care owners everywhere.

Why? … Because there is no right or wrong answer here.

It’s a highly individualized question that’s specific to your lawn care business. What’s right for your lawn care business may not be right for another.

But one thing is for certain: I highly recommend that you do not rent your equipment.

Very rarely, do I tell you specifically not to do something. But in this instance, I feel it’s necessary for me to take a firm stance on this subject. Here’s why… 

If you’re renting your equipment, you’re consistently losing profit with zero gain. Every time you pull money out of your profits to pay for the equipment, you’re gaining absolutely nothing. 

At least when you own your equipment, you’re eventually going to stop having payments. Over time, you’re going to spend an astronomical amount of money renting compared to buying lawn equipment.

As for this new or used business, it’s honestly up to you.

I’m not going to tell you to only buy new products, if you’re struggling to pay your bills on time. Used equipment might be the only thing you can afford.

And vice versa, new equipment might save you more money in maintenance in the long run.

All I can say is this: If you’re buying used equipment, be sure you’re going to a reputable dealer. You might also check to see if they offer some sort of extended warranty in case something goes wrong.


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Conclusion

At the end of the day, the lawn mower you choose for your business is specific to you and your needs. Just be sure you choose something that you know you can easily maintain yourself. 

You should consider your budget and decide which mower is right for you based on how much you’re bringing home in profits. You should also consider the purpose of your mower – residential or commercial.

Not every lawn care business is going to need a zero turn riding lawn mower. If you’re working small residential accounts, it might make more sense for you to choose a walk-behind or stand-on mower.

And vice versa, if you work with several large commercial accounts, it might make more sense for you to choose a zero turn riding lawn mower.

Every lawn and landscape owner’s choice is unique to them and their business. Decide what’s right for you, and be sure your mower is going to get you one step closer to fulfilling your dreams for your lawn business.


Lawn Care Gear Series: Part 2 – Edgers

Lawn Care Gear Series: Part 3 – Trimmers

Lawn Care Gear Series: Part 4 – Uniforms


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