“The customers we have sold stand-ons to have smaller lawns where they can’t justify a larger rider,” Crane Jr. continues. “The stand-on is more agile in tighter areas; they don’t tear as much when turning tightly. The power is incredible and the mowing quality is excellent. Right now stand-ons are about 5% of my total commercial mower sales.”
See our sidebar for more reasons why you might want to consider mowing with a stand-on.
As more contractors have taken an interest in stand-on mowing, manufacturers have taken contractor feedback to improve the mowers themselves. Today’s stand-on models feature ground speeds, durability features, floating deck designs and engines that are similar to what you’ll find on a sit-down zero-turn. That said, when comparing one stand-on mower to another, a lot of your attention will be directed toward those features that are designed to improve operator comfort.
Bill Wright says his company’s patented operator platform places the operator directly between the drive tires. Thus, the platform is only four inches off of the ground, as opposed to eight-plus inches like you might find with a platform sticking out the back of the mower. This proves advantageous when mowing over uneven terrain or in and out of valleys, Wright explains.
Exmark, Toro and Gravely each have protruding operator platforms. The platforms are retractable, however, so the mowers retain the important feature of being compact and easy to fit on a trailer. The mowers can also be converted to walk-style when necessary.
Features like self-compensating platform suspension and thigh pads further enhance operator comfort. Operator controls are also important. For example, Gravely has increased the size (diameter) of its handles. Exmark, on its Vantage X-Series models, now offers its Enhanced Control System (ECS). Toro has a patent-pending variable-speed control. Be sure to check out our Product Guide listings for a closer look at today’s popular stand-on mowers.
For a landscape contractor, whether you’re talking about a stand-on mower or a sit-down or a walk-behind, it’s all about making more money. “We’re a big company (90 employees and three locations),” Fawcett says. “From a management standpoint, we’re looking at cost. How much will it cost me to operate a given mower? I need my crews to feel good about it, I need the manufacturer to give me great service, and I want to have a great relationship with my dealer. Price is important, but service is huge.”