Wright Manufacturing’s patent allows it to place the operator’s platform directly inside the drive wheels.
When stand-on zero-turn mowers were introduced to the market over a decade ago, manufacturers hoped the product would soon become as popular as sit-on and walk-behind zero-turn mowers. It never happened. But today, thanks to improved designs, better prices, a refined market position and wider distribution, manufacturers are optimistic that the stand-on won’t sit still for much longer.
The stand-on mower is designed specifically for landscapers, especially those in metropolitan areas who have smaller, heavily landscaped properties to maintain. The good thing about the stand-on is its ability to maneuver in very tight places, while still giving the operator a chance to roll. The stand-ons also handle hillside terrain effectively, while the front deck provides excellent visibility in and around landscape obstacles.
As you can see, whether or not a stand-on is a good addition to your fleet largely depends on the types of properties you maintain. You also need to think about your crews and how you want to equip them.
For example, many large landscape contractors operate multiple “specialist” teams. Stand-on can be a good option for a team that mainly maintains smaller properties and/or properties with a good amount of landscaping and/or slopes.
Read next: How to safely use stand-on mowers on slopes
On the other hand, many small landscape companies that have a few handy crews may also find stand-on a good option.
The flexibility of a mower is a big deal for a small business that maintains multiple types of properties with the same crew.
Although the stand-on is perfectly suited to small properties and slopes, it has the taste to mow quickly in open areas. Still, if the majority of your properties require wide-opening mowing, a mid-height zero-seat turn with a large deck is probably a better bet.
Walk, stand or sit?
Landscape contractors have generally compared the stand-on to an intermediate walk-behind. But some of today’s more advanced stand-up units, with floating decks and more powerful motors, compare well to the mid-mount zero-turn compact rider.
Bill Wright, president of Wright Mfg., says a growing number of Wright’s self-driving buyers were previously avid motor vehicle users. “When we first started making walk-behind mowers over 10 years ago, I would say 90% of our sales were to landscapers who used walk-behind mowers. Now we’re shooting back and forth about 50/50.
One of the reasons this happens, says Wright, is that a mid-foot mower is completely out of place for some landscapers. While some models of mid-mount zero-turn riders have become smaller, some with cutting widths as narrow as 34 inches, intermediate walk-behind riders have lost their place in the eyes of some commercial operators.
Plus, many landscape contractors, especially those relatively new to the field, don’t even want to think about walking. They want to ride, but they want to ride profitably with a unit that can maneuver on and off properties quickly.
Expanded product lines with features, options and price points that appeal to both foot and seated users help stand-alone manufacturers attract a wider variety of customers.
For example, a fixed deck unit, compared to a floating deck model, comes at a lower price point that is more likely to appeal to a traditional foot user. Conversely, a floating deck unit, perhaps with a wider cutting width and a more powerful engine, may attract the attention of the operator who is used to spending more anyway.