When I started my landscape maintenance business, my first lawn mower was a home owner’s model Craftsman push mower. It faired pretty well, but not being self-propelled, and needing to cut several lawns in one day, it was not the best lawn mower for a business.
Business was picking up and so we purchased a pair of Commercial Kubota mowers, they had multiple problems and only lasted about a year. Unless they have improved drastically, I would not recommend them.
We now had several large lawns to care for and a riding mower was our next step up. After researching the many different brands, the Exmark seemed the best lawn mower choice. One of my deciding factors was that it had two sturdy formed-plastic grass catchers, which were removable. Most of the other riding lawn mowers had cloth-like removable bags and that didn’t impress me. Cloth or fibrous material wears out and the plastic bins are, to this day, still in fine shape. The plastic bins can also be fitted or lined with large black garbage bags if you want to bag the grass and not simply dump it into the bed of your truck or trailer. I bought the Exmark lawn mower in 1992 and it is still running today!
A large lawn mower is not capable of getting in those tight spaces or gated back yards, so a small mower is still necessary. After the experience with the Kubota’s, I was a bit hesitant when it came to buying another small lawn mower.
The Honda line of commercial lawn mowers had such great reviews, so I decided to try one. I purchased the Honda HRC, a self propelled commercial model. Great mower, absolutely zero problems and ran great, so we got a second one a few years later, same model. Definitely the best small lawn mower overall.
Over the next several years, both Honda’s ran well, but one of them did end up croaking, the person using it didn’t check the oil and it blew a rod. Actually, I blame myself for this, even though I gave the task of maintaining the equipment to others, I should have checked it myself. So my advice would be that even if you trust others with certain tasks, check up on them on a regular basis!
Now we were down to one Honda lawn mower, the newer of the two. This mower had only one problem, we used it for several weeks and noticed the front tires were separating from their rims. The distributor admonished us for getting too close to sidewalks, but the mower was still under warranty and he replaced the tires. A week later, the same thing was happening with the new tires, they seemed to be made of some plastic like material and not rubber like the first mower had. The distributor refused to warranty them the second time, so we took the old tires off the first Honda and even though they weren’t pretty, we never had any more tire problems. The tire incident is the only problem we have had with this mower and it has mowed hundreds of lawns for almost 20 years.
Lawn Mower Tips and Suggestions
Always use premium grade gas in your mowers and all your gas powered equipment, they will run so much better and have fewer gas related problems. My first Craftsman mower actually refused to run on regular!
Another tip, you don’t need to buy or rent de-thatching equipment, just buy a de-thatching blade for your small mower, put it on and run the mower over your dormant lawn, then replace the regular blade on the mower and suck up the thatch!
Check out Start Your Own Landscape Maintenance Business if you are thinking about maybe making some money with your lawn mower.