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Zero-turn mower depreciation

“Watch out for that first step. It’s a doozy!” I’m not sure where that phrase was first applied, but it’s certainly applicable to outdoor power equipment depreciation. We all know the depreciation hit is worst in the first year. This is true of anything with wheels, including a zero-turn radius (ZTR) mower. 

Iron Solutions has a deep dataset of equipment transaction reports that form the basis for its IronGuides product. A dive into the Iron Solutions (ironsolutions.com) Spring 2019 Outdoor Power Equipment Guide for 2014 to 2018 models of ZTRs reveals over 300 models from 14 manufacturers. Overall, the average first-year depreciation is 31%. After this drop, depreciation continues at an annual rate less likely to induce vertigo – in the 6% to 4% range.

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I limited the set to larger horsepower ZTRs with an average new selling price of $9,000 or more. These are generally commercial-grade mowers with more horsepower. Limiting to the higher side of the new selling price should filter out most manufacturers’ models of residential ZTRs for those who offer them. Next, I set aside only the 2018 models to look deeper into first-year depreciation.

When looking by manufacturer and sorting by average first-year depreciation, you can see how the manufacturers fared against the average (31%) first-year depreciation across the entire category. Here are first-year depreciation rates by manufacturer:

• Gravely – 29%

• Cub Cadet – 29%

• John Deere – 30%

• Exmark – 30%

• Kubota – 30%

• Hustler Excel – 30%

• Simplicity – 31%

• Bush Hog – 31%

• Grasshopper – 31%

• Ferris – 32%

• Jacobsen – 35%

• Dixie Chopper – 36%

See any surprises? Probably. But be careful before you jump to any conclusions about resale value of any of the manufacturers in the list. There are factors to consider that don’t necessarily come to light when looking at these averages. 

Consider that each of these manufacturers, their models, and dealers have a mix of features, warranties, incentives, leasing options, and other factors that can influence the first-year depreciation.

Someone generalizing a category like commercial zero-turn radius mowers by manufacturer can miss important distinctions deeper in the data. 

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