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View Full Version : Just say no to bagging.


TURFLORD
01-31-2006, 03:51 PM
I just turned down a full service job(mow,app,trim,etc) because they wanted it bagged. This is the daughter of another customer whose lawn just happens to be my only bagging account. She also indicated she had some neighbors that might need a new service. The current lco has a block of four and does a crummy job. I hate bagging. It draws flies, it stinks, it's hard to get rid of, it's heavy, it beats the gear, etc.

NEUSWEDE
01-31-2006, 03:56 PM
All of my accounts and even all the new accounts I am picking up for this year want it bagged. I don't understand why you would side discharge or mulch unless you do the property twice a week. In my opinion bagging gives it a clean look. I dump my clippings end of the day, that charge is added into each persons weekly rate. I can see some accounts as side discharging like field or realy wide open areas that don't matter.
Just my view

HOOLIE
01-31-2006, 04:02 PM
I bag at my discretion. I have one that pays extra for weekly bagging. All the trash services here will pick up bags of grass. If I had to haul it away, I wouldn't, not my trash, and I'm no garbage man.

CLARK LAWN
01-31-2006, 04:58 PM
around here you have to bag about 75% of the season or it just looks bad. also in several communities you can't leave the bags of clipping sit on the curb for more than a day. i have a dump site across from the shop so i dump every day at the end of the route. if you want to be a professional then do a professional job if the lawn needs bagged to make i look good then bag it and take the clippings with you i'm sure you can find someplace to dump.the ones around here that leave bags sitting on curbs are the ones that people look at like the hillbilly out cutting for some beer money not a professional

HOOLIE
01-31-2006, 05:04 PM
Clark, there's just no need to haul grass away here. Nothing to do with anyone's level of professionalism. Why should I waste my time and load my truck down when the garbage companies pick it up?

DixieFerris
01-31-2006, 05:09 PM
We bag as little as possible, it all comes down to two things. (1) bagging takes extra time during and after the day is done and (2) it's not very healthy to always remove the clippings. From time to time you have to do it if you get behind and sometimes just to get rid of a bit of the excess, but overall a waste to do it all the time

Turf Manager
01-31-2006, 05:09 PM
Why waste all that money on fertilizer then haul it away? It will become organic fertilizer in time.

Ol'time Lawncare
01-31-2006, 05:10 PM
Clark, there's just no need to haul grass away here. Nothing to do with anyone's level of professionalism. Why should I waste my time and load my truck down when the garbage companies pick it up?
here in south jersey you see alot of guys running around with there baggers on back of there Z riders. its like a common thing around here.

skurkp
01-31-2006, 05:13 PM
I bag all of my residential customers and leave the clippings for trash men. We leave the bags at the side of the house so not to look bad. I won't bag the back yard if they have dogs, other than that everyone gets bagged. If I can't leave the bags at the residence then there is a charge for disposal and usually that will have the customers asking me to just leave the bags at the side of the house. It does not matter if the customer is basic service or full service always bag.

northwest lawn
01-31-2006, 05:13 PM
bagging leaves the lawn looking more profesionally done fees are added to bag and haul

HOOLIE
01-31-2006, 05:19 PM
here in south jersey you see alot of guys running around with there baggers on back of there Z riders. its like a common thing around here.

You see a fair amount of bagging around here, especially in the spring. The point I was making was, leaving bags of grass here is commonly accepted practice, and not considered unprofessional.

skurkp
01-31-2006, 05:21 PM
In residential subdivisions only the companies doing the common areas don't leave the bags. Everyone else leaves the bags at the home.

DixieFerris
01-31-2006, 05:21 PM
bagging leaves we do that every time, I was just talking about the lawn clippings

TURFLORD
01-31-2006, 05:36 PM
I'm sorry but bagging is just stupid. The only reason I bag that one lawn is that I control the fert. What do you do when the independent fert. co. shows up and dumps down 5 lbs of N per 100 sq ft. Oh gee Mr. jones, see what a good job we do. See how much your getting for your money letting us fert your lawn? And all of a sudden the pain is on your back to make it look good. It's cutting, not plowing. You can't charge per inch every week. Around me, NOBODY AND I MEAN NOBODY TAKES GRASS CLIPPINGS, not the town, not the garbage truck, and most certainly not the county landfill. The EPA spanks anybody that takes leaves, much less grass.

nitrotim
01-31-2006, 06:02 PM
here in south jersey you see alot of guys running around with there baggers on back of there Z riders. its like a common thing around here.

Yeah I guess I haven't done a good job educating the customer on the benefits of not bagging. Then there is that built in metality that a lawn can't look as good if it isn't bagged and also the misconception that not bagging causes thatch.

Jpocket
01-31-2006, 06:07 PM
I would have no problem bagging it if it would pay off $$$ for me.

jt5019
01-31-2006, 06:11 PM
I dont bag, dont really need to if you mow on a set schedule. Any high spots you can double cut quick and it looks just as good. I will only bag if it is my fault the the lawn wasnt cut on time.

elshauno
01-31-2006, 06:12 PM
I dont bag and my lawns still look great I also sharpen my blades every other day.

beautifullawns
01-31-2006, 06:19 PM
We collect all grass from our accounts. Empty the bin in the dump and at the end of the day we empty it. It isn't a hassle unless the grass is tall and wet. IMO it definetly leaves the lawn looking better.

Roger
01-31-2006, 06:24 PM
Conditions vary so widely. This subject has been hashed, rehashed, and rehashed over and over again.

In my area, bagging on some properties is absolutely a must. Trying to mulch would leave a mess that even a homeowner would be ashamed. For those areas mowed with hand mowers, the mower taps out in the first 15-20 feet, leaving a trail of mush.

From all the previous threads about this topic, nobody can make blanket statements. For those who don't have to bag, great. For those who must bag, great too -- everybody has work to do in the way that fits their area.

griffy77
01-31-2006, 06:31 PM
I bag the first cut of the season then i just mulch. If a customer wants it bagged I charge 50% more, reason being that its takeing me twice as long to finish a yard ie more gas, more labor more wear and tear on equipment and if its taking me longer on one yard i am not going to be able to finish as many yards i could if i wasnt bagging. GET PAID FOR YOUR EXTRA TIME!!

I agree that bagging makes a yard look great, but if you were to bag every yard and everytime you mowed, you are really losing time wich you should be makeing money unless you guys figure in bagging in your estimate, but then you may seem like your charging too much and lose an account to the lowballin hillbilly who leaves th bags on the curb.

Our city does pickup grassclippings as long as they are in a leaf bag. Most towns I work in have that policy, they are pretty liberal when it comes to curbside pickups.

crzymow
01-31-2006, 07:08 PM
I bag probably 80% of the lawn we mow, some around here dont, but they look like crap when they are done. i wish i didnt have to, but i hate leaving a lawn look like crap when I'm done. Even if i go over them a second time when its damp it doesnt matter. It is just the area you are in whether or not it needs to be done

lawnboy dan
01-31-2006, 07:59 PM
bagging? we dont need no stinkin bagging!

Turfdude
01-31-2006, 08:25 PM
around here you have to bag about 75% of the season or it just looks bad. also in several communities you can't leave the bags of clipping sit on the curb for more than a day. i have a dump site across from the shop so i dump every day at the end of the route. if you want to be a professional then do a professional job if the lawn needs bagged to make i look good then bag it and take the clippings with you i'm sure you can find someplace to dump.the ones around here that leave bags sitting on curbs are the ones that people look at like the hillbilly out cutting for some beer money not a professional

This is the way the "big boys" do it in my area as well. Some guys will leave bags for the client, but lets face it unless you mow the day prior to pick-up, either Joe homeowner is upset about having to haul the bag to the curb, or the township can site the client if its out more than 24 hrs prior to pick-up. We haul all of our clippings it is figured in to the contract price. Grass clippings run around $10/cu yd to dispose of legally and the dump is about a 30 min round trip for us (about 5 miles each way)

zim bob the landscaper
01-31-2006, 08:32 PM
i have a few accounts that make me bag but i dont complain cuz my dad wont care one bit he says do your job. we also bag for fall clean ups we dont have alot of money to get a leaf loader right now so we just bag.

cantoo
01-31-2006, 08:56 PM
Some of you guys are cutting up to 35 lawns per day how do you fit all that grass into your truck and only dump at the end of the day? We only collect on a few lawns and some of them we can dump on site. Maybe our lawns are bigger than some but 35 lawns? How? We do a ball diamond that fills a 4x10 trailer 2 feet high. Think of the weight when it's wet.

daveintoledo
01-31-2006, 09:03 PM
while he was at work i cut his grass and mine, one yard i bagged, the other i mulched..... he nor could my wife tell the difference.... in the fast growing season i move to a 4 or 5 day cutting schedule anyway....

i have never seen anyone bag around here or heard of it, till northwst lawns mentioned it in this thread....so i was wrong about that , there are some here who do it...

if a customer insist... i change my price from a 35 dollar yard to a 60 dollar yard... they so far have always seen it my way..... and it is great source of N for the turf...

Precision
01-31-2006, 09:06 PM
Pros of bagging. wait give me an hour, I might come up with something.

Cons of bagging. lost time doing it, lost time emptying it, lost gas dragging the extra weight, lost time driving to the dump, lost time dumping, lost money on dump fees, lost OM for the lawn

Sure there are some types of grass and some situations where it should be done. Personally, I don't have any of those kinds of grass and have never seen those kinds of situations.

Old people and the ill informed may demand it. I get a few every year. I take back the estimate and increase the estimate by 80% (on 1/4 acre properties). anything bigger gets told (politely) call someone who doesn't know what they are doing.

We discharge, we mulch, and sometimes we even double cut. But bagging. So far, NEVER.

CLARK LAWN
01-31-2006, 11:10 PM
pros of bagging are a better looking finished lawn. and it is not wasted time if it is included in your bid.as for hauling the clipping away if you got a roof put on your house you would expect the contractor to take the waste with him wouldn't you? its part of doing a complete job. if he left it for you to dispose of how would that go over with you? if you leave the clippings in a trash bag on the curb and the owner gets cited are you going to pay for it?if you want to say you are a professional then do the job as a professional.

crzymow
01-31-2006, 11:30 PM
my customers want me to mow once every 2 weeks as soon as the grass slows a little, there is no way id get them to pay me to come every 4 or 5 days.

HOOLIE
01-31-2006, 11:38 PM
pros of bagging are a better looking finished lawn. and it is not wasted time if it is included in your bid.as for hauling the clipping away if you got a roof put on your house you would expect the contractor to take the waste with him wouldn't you? its part of doing a complete job. if he left it for you to dispose of how would that go over with you? if you leave the clippings in a trash bag on the curb and the owner gets cited are you going to pay for it?if you want to say you are a professional then do the job as a professional.

Man you must love driving to the dump...roofing is totally different, it's a once in a blue moon job, with tons of debris. Vs. weekly mowing, maybe a couple bags per week in springtime. I used to see guys years ago hauling grass around, now bagging is done less and less, and most guys I see leave it at the curb. Most of my customers get trash service twice a week, so they aren't sitting out that long.

lawn_pro
01-31-2006, 11:43 PM
You should be bagging lawns when they need it..double cut all you want, the lawn will still look like crap. Nothing wrong with not bagging as long as you can get away with it. I hear guys bragging around here about not bagging all the time, happen to see them at a lawn-looks like a piece of crap. Bottom line: if you are not bagging at all you are not a professional.

CLARK LAWN
02-01-2006, 12:39 AM
You should be bagging lawns when they need it..double cut all you want, the lawn will still look like crap. Nothing wrong with not bagging as long as you can get away with it. I hear guys bragging around here about not bagging all the time, happen to see them at a lawn-looks like a piece of crap. Bottom line: if you are not bagging at all you are not a professional.
thank you!

kc2006
02-01-2006, 12:48 AM
I'm not a professional. In the 6 years I've been in this field I've never bagged.

When I worked for another company it was a must to scrape the decks and sharpen blades daily. Exmarks with mulch kits on them did the trick. The two 48" w/b's did a beautiful job every time. Double cut it opposite of the first way and the lawns looked perfect. We'd leave the mulch kit off the 60" z in the spring because it would clump slightly. In the 4 years with that company the only time a job didn't look up to par was at a local church we cut where it was b@lls to the wall mowing in the back field that grew like mad.

Just my opinion.

K.Carothers
02-01-2006, 02:28 AM
payup [QUOTE=lawn_pro]You should be bagging lawns when they need it..double cut all you want, the lawn will still look like crap. Nothing wrong with not bagging as long as you can get away with it. I hear guys bragging around here about not bagging all the time, happen to see them at a lawn-looks like a piece of crap. Bottom line: [B]if you are not bagging at all you are not a professionalQUOTE]

Or maybe just smarter than youpayup

kc

Evergreenpros
02-01-2006, 02:53 AM
We have to bag here in the NW a lot. Grass gets so wet for so long it clumps when you even discharge it and forget mulching. When it turns dry in the summer mulching is great, but that's only 2 months out of the year.

Richard Martin
02-01-2006, 05:17 AM
You should be bagging lawns when they need it..double cut all you want, the lawn will still look like crap. Bottom line: if you are not bagging at all you are not a professional.

As was pointed out above by Roger above not all areas are the same. I do bag my front yard once in a while just for kicks and after dumping the bag 10 times on a 5,000 lawn I can't see wasting that much time on every lawn I service. I can only imagine how long it would take me to bag some of these multi-acre lawn I do. I could see me now riding my mower 600 feet back to the truck every 5 minutes to empty the bag. Hoolie made mention of "maybe a couple bags per week in the springtime". I would have to leave a mountain of bags so big they wouldn't take it.

Bottom line: In some areas the grass growth will allow regular bagging. In my area it grows so fast that bagging is dang near impossible if you want to make any money at it.

daveintoledo
02-01-2006, 10:10 AM
my customers want me to mow once every 2 weeks as soon as the grass slows a little, there is no way id get them to pay me to come every 4 or 5 days.


by letting your customers tell you when the grass NEEDS cut, is asking for trouble im my opinion... i have it in the contract, i decide when a lawn needs cut or skipped, other wise the cheepskates will have you skipping weeks all the time....there goes the revinue...
:)

bobbygedd
02-01-2006, 10:13 AM
talk about primitive. you guys are always talkin bout your expensive equipment, but then, you don't even use it properly. bagging is a thing of the past. don't even try to tell me you're getting paid extra to do it. if you are, you are saying something like this: " $30 for the mow, and $5 extra to bag it, and $5 extra to get rid of it." yea, sure, i believe you. i take home MAYBE 4-5 GREEN BARRELS OF GRASS EVERY WEEK, AND THAT'S ONLY because i'll bag areas close to mulch beds where i can't discharge otherwise. ok, let's start from the beggining....if you quoted an AVERAGE property, what would be the breakdown as far as the mow, the bagging, and the disposal? let's hear it

CLARK LAWN
02-01-2006, 03:29 PM
whats average in your area? average in oune town would be huge in another. 10,000 sqf lawn minimal trimming mow no bag $30.00/cut mow with bag $45.00/per cut and its at my discreation in the contract as to when it gets bagged.

Richard Martin
02-01-2006, 03:46 PM
whats average in your area? average in oune town would be huge in another. 10,000 sqf lawn minimal trimming mow no bag $30.00/cut mow with bag $45.00/per cut and its at my discreation in the contract as to when it gets bagged.

The average lawn in my area is about the same size but with a $40/45 price tag for mow, trim and blow, no bag.