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Old 09-04-2011, 10:43 AM   #1
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I've got a friend who would like me to mow their entire townhome complex... Around an acre or so of mowing. I'd rather not break the bank with a rider , but had a couple of questions.

I found a John Deere 317 on craigslist for 1800., and wondered if that was a good buy or not .. It has been fully restored.

The other option is to buy a newer rider, but I worry I would sacrifice some quality. Zrt are out of the question rift now.

Suggestions?

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Old 09-05-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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After doing lawn maintenance for a few years, I think you would be better off buying a used walk-behind if you do not mind walking. If the complex is wide open and there are no small, tight, areas you could get a used 42"+ Scag, Ransomes/Bobcat or the like for about $1000 - 1500 and buy a Velky riding attachment. This would give you a far better turning radius than a John Deere rider, allow you to cut faster, and probably has a larger cutting deck. Hope this helps.

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Old 09-05-2011, 05:20 PM   #3
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The lot itself is 1.3 acres, but upon further inspection there is roughly 15,000-20,000 sq ft of mowing. Which is about 3 times the size of what I currently have at my own house. The lady I spoke with told me it would take 3-4 hours pushing it, but by my calculations it would only take 90 minutes or so.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cibula11 View Post
The lot itself is 1.3 acres, but upon further inspection there is roughly 15,000-20,000 sq ft of mowing. Which is about 3 times the size of what I currently have at my own house. The lady I spoke with told me it would take 3-4 hours pushing it, but by my calculations it would only take 90 minutes or so.
yeah but how many lawns do you have that need a ride on mower?
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by kmc

yeah but how many lawns do you have that need a ride on mower?
Exactly. Are you starting a mowing business? If so buy a new rider. If you are mowing this for him while hes on vacation, use his mower. If you are doing this just for him and going to do it indefinitely, he needs to buy a mower for you to use. If this is an excuse for you to buy a new mower, go all out! Lol I would buy a remote controlled mower in that case, same size as a rider but you can sit in the shade and not spill your beer
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dwillems

Exactly. Are you starting a mowing business? If so buy a new rider. If you are mowing this for him while hes on vacation, use his mower. If you are doing this just for him and going to do it indefinitely, he needs to buy a mower for you to use. If this is an excuse for you to buy a new mower, go all out! Lol I would buy a remote controlled mower in that case, same size as a rider but you can sit in the shade and not spill your beer
I would go with the last option. :-)
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:54 AM   #7
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I submitted my proposal to the association yesterday. I'm awaiting an answer, but pretty sure I'll get the job. Most likely this will be the only job, but I am going to get licensed and insured to cover myself, so should anyone need my services I'll be ready for more. Not planning on adding a bunch of contracts, but I guess I wouldn't be opposed either.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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I submitted my proposal to the association yesterday. I'm awaiting an answer, but pretty sure I'll get the job. Most likely this will be the only job, but I am going to get licensed and insured to cover myself, so should anyone need my services I'll be ready for more. Not planning on adding a bunch of contracts, but I guess I wouldn't be opposed either.
In that case looking for a bigger mower isn't a bad idea. First of all though make sure you have a good working push mower and trimmer. If you get a few contracts you might even want a second push mower for a backup or for more help (like when my grandpa hired me in the summers). I don't know about that John Deere you were looking at honestly. Years ago I know John Deere were high quality and cut great, but when they broke down parts were pretty expensive. I don't know much about them today however. Talk to a lawn mower repair shop, they sometimes buy and fix up mowers to sell on the side, or they may know someone trying to get rid of one. My grandpa owned about 6 craftsman mowers and they all worked great with upkeep, but he preferred the John Deere he had until he couldn't get it to cut even. A new deck for it was ridiculous.

And as for finding a tight turn radius mower so you don't have to do as much trimming... It's worth it if you mow a lot of yards, but just starting out you don't necessarily need to fork over the extra cash for one. It takes another 20 minutes maybe to walk around with a trimmer. Or another few minutes to do the whole 20 point turn around a tree trunk lol.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cibula11 View Post
I've got a friend who would like me to mow their entire townhome complex... Around an acre or so of mowing. I'd rather not break the bank with a rider , but had a couple of questions.

I found a John Deere 317 on craigslist for 1800., and wondered if that was a good buy or not .. It has been fully restored.

The other option is to buy a newer rider, but I worry I would sacrifice some quality. Zrt are out of the question rift now.

Suggestions?
My sons & I used to mow professionally, and had quite a few different mowers over the years.

The John Deere 317 is a good, tough, solid mower. The only problem I aware of people having with them, is that they engines are not a full-pressure oil system. Some people, who did a lot of ditch mowing - or other non-level mowing - ran their engines out of oil & ruined them.

The JD 317 will, without much question, outlast any of the cheaper residential-grade mowers that are on the market today. Plus, if & when you need to do repairs, you can get the parts, and can actually have something to repair.


That said, the 317 does not have the shortest turning radius. But, assuming it's a hydrostat, that disadvantage is minimized.


There are a lot of different "styles" of mowers. But if you're going to go with the tractor type, and you're choosing between a JD 317 for $1800, or whatever new mower you can get for $1800, there is no comparison. Go with the used 317.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:22 PM   #10
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My sons & I used to mow professionally, and had quite a few different mowers over the years.

The John Deere 317 is a good, tough, solid mower. The only problem I aware of people having with them, is that they engines are not a full-pressure oil system. Some people, who did a lot of ditch mowing - or other non-level mowing - ran their engines out of oil & ruined them.

The JD 317 will, without much question, outlast any of the cheaper residential-grade mowers that are on the market today. Plus, if & when you need to do repairs, you can get the parts, and can actually have something to repair.


That said, the 317 does not have the shortest turning radius. But, assuming it's a hydrostat, that disadvantage is minimized.


There are a lot of different "styles" of mowers. But if you're going to go with the tractor type, and you're choosing between a JD 317 for $1800, or whatever new mower you can get for $1800, there is no comparison. Go with the used 317.
Thanks. Is there another brand or model that you would recommend?
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:36 PM   #11
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Just to expand the idea a little further, how about an edger, weed whip and leaf blower------these are all necessary to do a complete job, there is more to it than just cutting the grass.

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Old 09-08-2011, 09:37 PM   #12
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Thanks. Is there another brand or model that you would recommend?
No, not really.

One reason is because your decision about what mower to buy involves a lot of variables. For instance, are there a lot of trees & other obstacles you'll have to mow around? Is the ground flat, or sloped? Just how much mowing do you have to do? Are there any gates you'll need to go through?

Honestly, one of the very best mowers I ever had was a John Deere F525 - 48" front deck tricycle mower, with a 17hp Kawasaki engine & hydro transmission. The deck is offset, and you can spin around a 6" tree. It had a heavy steel deck that I welded several times over the years. I ran it to about 1500 hours, and sold it to a buddy of mine who is still using it. The only down-side was that it was not good on uneven ground.

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Old 09-08-2011, 09:40 PM   #13
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Just to expand the idea a little further, how about an edger, weed whip and leaf blower------these are all necessary to do a complete job, there is more to it than just cutting the grass.

Mark
You're absolutely right.

We never owned an edger. We just used our line trimmers. Not the very best thing, but they actually did a pretty good job. We were very meticulous about trimming, then making sure we blew all the grass of all sidewalks, the driveway, and even off the street.

When you're getting paid to mow, it's the little things that make a big difference.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:10 PM   #14
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You're absolutely right.

We never owned an edger. We just used our line trimmers. Not the very best thing, but they actually did a pretty good job. We were very meticulous about trimming, then making sure we blew all the grass of all sidewalks, the driveway, and even off the street.

When you're getting paid to mow, it's the little things that make a big difference.
Couldn't agree more. The property sits on 1.3 acres, but when the townhomes are subtracted out of that, there remains about 15-20,000 sq. st. It is very flat, with a slight slope on the open areas around the perimeter. Not a lot of trees, mainly those in the front yards, which I may need to push mow to be efficient.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:15 PM   #15
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Couldn't agree more. The property sits on 1.3 acres, but when the townhomes are subtracted out of that, there remains about 15-20,000 sq. st. It is very flat, with a slight slope on the open areas around the perimeter. Not a lot of trees, mainly those in the front yards, which I may need to push mow to be efficient.
Sounds like a nice situation, and one that a tractor-type mower could handle quite nicely.

I always started by mowing twice around the perimeter of lawns, blowing the grass away from the buildings and street, then struck-off and did a criss-cross pattern - an X of sorts. Then trimmed, then blew the clippings. Everything was literally mowed twice, it left a very nice-looking pattern, and people were always very happy.

Have fun with this, before you get sick of mowing!

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