Decided you want to get into ride-on mowing!
Why? – Ride-on mowing is designed to cut large expanses of grass quickly. So if you don’t have the property or work you probably don’t need one.
Do I have the work for ride-on mowing? If you do have the property or work then you need to decide which mower suits best. Do I have gates to get thru which will affect your deck size decision? Are there manicured lawns or are they bush blocks. Do you have acreages or smaller hobby farms? Who will the driver be? What sort of ride-on mowing appeals to them or you!
What is my ride-on mowing budget? Once you answer that questions you need to decide how much money to spend and look at mowers to suit your budget. Domestic tractor type mowers can be purchased for around $2k- to $4k and will get you started. Engine size should be a minimum of 17/18hp especially if you are a contractor. You can spend $70k on a Tractor/Mower! What type of ride-on mowing suits you?
Buy Or Lease/Rent!
The numbers and tax advantages stack up to lease or rent provided you have the work and cash flow. Best to buy though if you have the cash as its one less bill with no interest especially when you are starting new. See Glen Camilleri from “Ezy Rental” for some advice.
Catch Mulch or Throw!
Catching grass with a ride-on is laborious and you can fill Jim’s Mowing trailer quickly, better to look at the benefits of Bio-diversity and leave the grass clippings on the property. Grass clippings mulch down and disappear quickly and it’s great for the wildlife and natural way of things.
How has the property been mowed before? Has the previous owner used a Ride-on and what type, what size etc are great questions for the homeowner and the contractor to ask?
Steep or flat property?
Ride-on mowers can be quite dangerous on the hilly and wet ground as they lose traction and steering especially the skid steer zero turn type. That’s why you never see large skid steer tractors on farms, the practicalities of steering with the front wheels on a tractor are sound. Again look at what has been used before or in the region. Flat ground with obstacles really suits zero turn mowers. Ask around!
Personal drive preference is a consideration – do you like to drive a tractor type with a steering wheel or a skid steer type with levers? Personal choice, but you will find most people can drive a tractor type quickly whereas skid steers can take some learning.
Transport is a significant cost- The heavier and larger the mower the more it costs to use and transport. This has to be considered as petrol is one of the greatest expenses of a large property owner or contractor business. You need the balance to be just right and match the machine to the need. Mower weight is also a significant issue when mowing wet soggy ground as it’s easy to get them bogged. Again match the mower to the job/s.
A critical factor when accessing properties with small gates. Best to start small and work up or look to see what has been used before. Deck Strength is critical and pressed steel decks often found on domestic mowers don’t last long in the contracting or large property world. Welded heavy steel fabricated decks with grease nipples on the pulley are the best bet.
Servicing after purchase is a major issue especially for contractors and country residents. Same day fix or borrow/hire machines are a “must have” especially in Spring. No support no buy!
It makes sense to support local people which are close to you, less travel, easy to get service, loyalty and for parts availability etc.
This function is offered by the manufacturers and sounds great and for a domestic buyer who mows often, they work well. Commercially they put much strain on decks, pulleys, belts, engines, and transmissions especially if the grass is long. So a nice function to have for short grass but can be an issue in long grass especially if wet.
Most commercial contractors and property owners will look to buy the blade that lasts the longest. These usually come on the machine. “Gator” blades are an aftermarket product that minimizes clippings and takes a lot of pressure off mower belts and pulleys. Their design adds to machine longevity and that equates to the machine lasting longer and making more money. They also cost the same just a clever design.
In the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne brands that offer good guarantees, reliable parts, and servicing and cutting-edge technology are – John Deer, MTD, Husqvarna, Walker, Hustler/Bob Cat, Cox ( made in Brisbane) Kubota and Toro to name a few. Engines that stand up to wear and tear are Kawasaki, Honda, Yanmar, and Kohler. From our experience, Briggs & Stratton is not recommended.
Daily work requires commercial grade engines and build strength especially in decks which cop a hiding, look for guarantees. E.g. John Deer are giving 4-year warranties and Bob Cat three years, there may be some conditions but still better than what we have experienced in the past.
Match the mower to the trailer, you may need a dual axle trailer once you get above 48inch cutting decks due to weight and deck size.
Take care that your ramps clip on to the trailer and do not come off when loading and unloading, some nasty injuries and smashed up mowers have come from dodgy cheap ramps.
Clip On-Ramps or door ramps are a must have and need to be built long enough and with a slight upward bow so the mower deck does not hit the ramp or the edge of the trailer as it is loaded and unloaded, if it does it quite often will make the ramp slide off and that’s when things get broken.
EAR & EYE PROTECTION
STEEL CAP BOOTS
MOWING IN PROGRESS SIGNS
RED WITCHES HATS AROUND TRAILER
SUN HAT & SUNSCREEN
A ROLL BAR
SURVEY PROPERTY FIRST FOR HAZARDS & RISK
CHECK MACHINE BEFORE the START
FOR A FREE QUOTE OR SOME RIDE-ON MOWER ADVICE TALK TO YOUR LOCAL JIM’S MOWING FRANCHISE OWNER WHO WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO DISCUSS YOUR RIDE ON MOWER ISSUES. WE ARE THE EXPERTS AND HAVE BEEN IN THE RIDE-ON MOWER BUSINESS FOR OVER 25 YEARS.