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Sit on mower

Hi all

I'm considering buying a sit on mower. I have 3  flatish lawns about 1 acre total all on one site. I only plan using it solely for this site in a secure compound. My budget is based on weighing up the saving in time over using  my existing Mountfield sp55 . I will buy new if that helps

Many thanks in advance ☺ 


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  • It’s a wide open question really as there are so many different machine types and makes to consider.

    But I would strongly advise getting a mulching mower. Far better than collecting grass. Much quicker and less fuss.

    Personally I would never buy a garden tractor type of machine. Rather, I would recommend you get an out front deck machine or a zero turn. These machines are much more flexible.  

    I would also advise buying new. Any second hand machine will have either had a very hard life or will have some issues, or both. Some makes, like Stiga, hold their value so there’s often not much difference between the used and new price. Don’t go by the list prices, as the price you actually pay is always much less.

    The Stiga Parks machines are very good. Actually you can buy a Stiga with an Atco badge in green livery rather than Stiga yellow. These are more readily available than the Stiga equivalent presently and also seem to be on offer at very low prices.

  • i would say just a cheap domestic type MTD or similar, with side discharge, if it's just for that one job you should get years of use from it with next to no maintenance, I do similar on one job and literally buy a brand new one every 5 years or so once a belt eventually snaps, the old machine will still have a resale value

  • PRO

    I would build a good relationship with local dealer who stock a range of high end resi and commercial mowers and look for a good warranted part ex machine - certainly until your usage expands and you can take stock of what you chose Vs current work load/type.

    Would also recommend 1/ hydrostatic, 2/ out front deck or 3/ zero turn as all gives better manoeuvrability and ease of use.


  • It might be useful to state what your budget is.

    Also, you might only be thinking of buying a machine for this one job, but two things will then happen.

    One, you will likely find that it can be used on other work you already have, work that perhaps you would not ordinarily think of as ride on work. So that work will be done much faster, meaning greater efficiency, freeing up time to be spent on other work.

    And two, you will then be able to take on more ride on work when it is offered to you. The intermediate ride on work is really where the money is in contracting.

    So I would advise that you maybe should think about getting something a little better or stronger than you need just for this one job. Because inevitably once you have the mower, you will find you are using it elsewhere.

    A good dealer that you have built up a relationship with should be giving you about 20% discount on new machines.

  • Hi, in a similar position myself. I have a job I could use a ride on machine on but would ideally need to pick up other jobs. I use a customer's stiga park on his lawn, I would personally go for one of these or something similar (out front deck). I have asked a local dealer to call me if he gets a reasonable trade-in. Might be worth asking around local dealers for a good second hand machine.

    • Hi I'd like to thank you all for your helpful advice. Ill take it on board and see how i go

      Happy Christmas all 

  • PRO

    If you are only going to mow 1 acre of lawns you need to find the amount of hours per year you will be using  and compare that with the amount of time saved.

    Is the amount of time saved by having a sit on mower going to out-way the purchase cost, the cost of a trailer, the cost of storage, plus make a profit.

    Just having a sit on mower to mow one acre seems to be a very expensive route to go down compared to the amount of time saved.

    • As I have said before, pretty much all my work is ride on work. So I have many years’ experience [about 36 years] of the benefits, both financial and time wise.

      Five years ago I bought a second machine to help me manage a new Council contract worth about £8k per year [season]. I bought the John Deere Z535m, which with a very healthy discount, was £4995.

      Just looking at those figures, one might have said ‘it’s not worth it, £8k minus £5k is not a good enough return’. But a new mower should not just be calculated or offset against one year or one job, but rather is an investment in the future, as well as in the present, in other ways.

      The Council contract has continued and I have done four years now, with at least two more years to come. But it’s not just down to this one contract. I use the JD on other work also, both new and existing. The Stiga is an excellent machine and is used all the time, but some former Stiga work is now done with the John Deere.

      For example. One job takes the Stiga 70 minutes. The JD now does it in 40 minutes. So every time I mow this job I save 30 minutes.

      Sometimes the JD is used where the extra horse power and heavier duty cutting ability makes all the difference.

      Once a mower is acquired, other work will come along that you can now do, that before you couldn’t. So the business can expand and evolve. You will also find that some current hand mowing work can now be done with the ride on, saving time and effort, meaning greater efficiency and therefore increased income for time spent on site.

      So it’s not a good idea just to think of a new machine in terms of being offset against only the first job that instigated the initial purchase. It goes far beyond that.

      • I think I have answered my own question now

        I do not plan taking on anymore work ( I hope ) . I maintain 4 large Wholesalers sites which keeps me busy all year without the need to find more work. The one site with an acre of lawn I can do in about 2 hours . Even if a ride on saved me an hour,  26 cuts a year . I don't think it would justify the expense and complication of storing on site.. 150 mile round trip with a mower is a lot easier. 

        So I rest my case ill stick to my un sturdy Mountfield SP51H.  Its saving grace is the Honda engine mounted on it 

        Thanks to you all for your helpful comments.

        Regards from Kieron in The Peak District 😀 

        Oh and an early happy Christmas to you all 

        • So, you would need to keep the machine on site. That makes a great deal of difference. I keep both my machines at home and transport them on my trailer. It looks like you would not be operating like that.

          It’s worth pointing out that I think that a ride on would mow the one acre site in no more than 30 minutes, maybe 20 minutes. You would save far more time than just ‘half’, probably an 85% time saving.

          Earlier this year I had a breakdown with the Stiga. I was in a churchyard. I had about 15 minutes mowing left to do. So I thought, rather than coming back later [after doing the repair which couldn’t be done on site], I would just use the hand mower. The 15 minutes of Stiga mowing took me nearly two hours with the hand mower and was very hard work.

          If I never saw another hand mower ever again, it would still be too soon.

          If you are in the Peak District, it looks like we aren’t that far from each other. I am a few miles east of Chesterfield.

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