Mike Hodge is the owner/operator of M&M Contracting in Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada. He has been in business for nine years doing maintenance at the local cemetery along with other small contracts. He recently made the decision to expand the landscaping side of his business. Hodge says the housing market in his area is driving the need for landscaping services.
To help him take his landscaping services to the next level, Hodge returned to Prairie Coast Equipment in Kelowna, BC, where he has previously bought equipment, to purchase the John Deere Z915B zero-turn mower.
"This is the third John Deere mower I have purchased in the last 10 years, and is by far best suited to my needs," says Hodge. "We have bought John Deere mainly because of quality. Most landscapers and maintenance contractors in our area use Kubota for ride-on mowers, and Honda for walk-behinds. I think using John Deere sets us apart."
No scalping with smaller deck
A problem Hodge has run into with decks over 48 inches is scalping. That, combined with his need to maneuver around headstones in the cemetery, influenced him to choose a smaller deck. He chose the 48-inch deck with a mulch kit. The mower comes with a 48-, 54- or 60-inch deck.
"So far, so good with this mower," shares Hodge. "I've used it almost 13 hours through thick and wet grass. The mulch blades did a very impressive job eliminating any clippings."
In addition to the mulching deck, an optional material collection system is available for landscapers to equip a mower with two or three bags for easy cleanup.
Features that make an impression
There are many details and features of the mower that impress Hodge. The list he provided includes:
- Mower speed (10mph)
- Weight distribution
- Anti-scalp wheels in the middle of the deck as well as the sides
- Fuel capacity of 11.5 gallons (43L)
- Operator comfort
- Holes in the flooring that show grass directly in front of the mower deck
- Easy access for mower and engine maintenance
- Unit price (After tax and miscellaneous fees, Hodge paid around $9,200. He also receives a discount because of a contract he holds with the municipality office.)
For Hodge, things have been going smoothly with the new mower. Some features of the mower are new to him and caused some concern.
"I have never used a v-belt drive deck, only shaft-driven and have never broke a mower belt," says Hodge. "I'm wondering how long until I start fighting with the belt drive."
"I'm concerned with how the engine will run in the middle of summer. I live in the Okanagan, the hottest part of the country," says Hodge.
One problem he has run into with the mower is keeping the mower blades set at the height he has chosen. Hodge has experienced some downtime due to the blades falling out of their position.
"It seems that in my first 10 hours of mowing I had a slippage in the calibration," explains Hodge. "I did have a little downtime spent getting each blade at the same height. This might have just been because it was new and wasn't properly tightened."