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mowerbrad
10-18-2010, 02:00 PM
I've thinking a lot lately about investing in a dump trailer and leaf vac for my a new leaf clean-up rig. I use my mower now and just mow up all the leaves...works pretty well for most of my accounts but then there are some where a truck loader and dump trailer would be way better.

My main thought with this though is sucking up leaf piles for people. There are tons of people who don't want to spend $200+ for a fall clean-up, so they will do the clean-up themselves but won't have anywhere to go with all the leaves. So my thought is that the people can rake their leaves to the street or next to their driveway and then I can come by and suck them up.

Obviously the price would reflect the amount of leaves I'd be sucking up, but for say $50 (or what ever I decide on) the customer would have all their leaves sucked up and not have to pay tons of money for me to do the full clean-up. And doing this won't take too much time at each job and if I plan tight enough routes, I could get a 3 done an hour plus the time to dump.

I have a good dump site that is quick and easy to get to. I figure if I get a 6x12 dump trailer, build a leaf box that would be an extra 6' tall over the already 2' tall sides...that'd give me a 16 yard capacity.

So what do you guys think? Do you think there is any market for a service like this?

knox gsl
10-18-2010, 02:11 PM
It works around here, we have no city pick-up. I would also market this service to other LCOs that don't have the capital to buy a leaf rig and sub the pick-up for them.

mowerbrad
10-18-2010, 02:32 PM
Thats not a bad idea to market to other LCO's that can't afford the leaf vac system. I'm sure I could "team-up" with a couple of the smaller outfits around me.

One of my biggest things is getting a price-point that would be appealing to the average homeowner. Obviously chargeing $75-$100 is probably not going to be appealing to most homeowners. But to charge $40-$50 for most piles (assuming I could fit at least 2 customers in each trailer full) would probably be more appealing. I want it to be something that many people can afford so I can market this many people.

Only one city in my area has the curbside pick-up and the trash companies will only take a certain number of leaf bags. My township has a place to dump in the fall but you have to be able to get all your leaves there and if you don't have a trailer/suv/pick-up it is pretty hard to bring your leaves there. But for all the people who don't have a means to bring their leaves there, they would normally have to figure something else out to get rid of their leaves...that's where I come in.

Meg-Mo
10-18-2010, 02:43 PM
Take a look at what the MEG MO blades can do with leaves.

jdutcher003
10-18-2010, 03:15 PM
some guy around me did that and I know he charges $30 for most piles. you would be there for like 10 minutes or less on most piles I would think so I dont see how you can charge much more than that. you are still making close to $100 per hour if you did 3 in an hour

knox gsl
10-18-2010, 03:22 PM
I would charge at least $75 per pick-up to cover the cost of equipment, and time going to dump. You should be able to get 3 or 4 lawns per trailer if you have a good loader. I would also let them think that you have to go dump after every pick-up as well, don't lie about it, but let them know that is what they are paying for. If you come in there and load up and are done in 20 minutes, its hard to justify $75, make sure they know you're not done untill the load is dumped and that could be an additional hour. I have delt with this before on clean-up jobs where I charged out by the hour and added another 1.5 hours to the bill to go to the dump, cutomers don't think about these things. Around here I've seen quotes for $50 to $150 for leaf pickup, and as a LCO without a leaf rig have been quoted $40 to $75 per pick-up. I for the most part haul my own but will sub out on larger jobs.

mowerbrad
10-18-2010, 04:18 PM
I would charge at least $75 per pick-up to cover the cost of equipment, and time going to dump. You should be able to get 3 or 4 lawns per trailer if you have a good loader. I would also let them think that you have to go dump after every pick-up as well, don't lie about it, but let them know that is what they are paying for. If you come in there and load up and are done in 20 minutes, its hard to justify $75, make sure they know you're not done untill the load is dumped and that could be an additional hour. I have delt with this before on clean-up jobs where I charged out by the hour and added another 1.5 hours to the bill to go to the dump, cutomers don't think about these things. Around here I've seen quotes for $50 to $150 for leaf pickup, and as a LCO without a leaf rig have been quoted $40 to $75 per pick-up. I for the most part haul my own but will sub out on larger jobs.

I think if I start to charge too much people won't be interested. I will only be at their house for a minimal amount of time. Plus my dump site is within my service area (about 10 minutes or less from most of my accounts). And with a dump trailer I will have minimal time spent at my dump site. Obviously if the pile is going to fill my trailer, it will cost more than the pile that will only fill 1/3 of my trailer. I'll have to have a minimum charge as to make it worth my while, but prices will be greatly dependant on the size of the pile and how much it will fill my trailer.

some guy around me did that and I know he charges $30 for most piles. you would be there for like 10 minutes or less on most piles I would think so I dont see how you can charge much more than that. you are still making close to $100 per hour if you did 3 in an hour

That's kind of what I'm thinking, I can't charge too much otherwise I wouldn't get as many people. Afterall, my goal with this is to give people a more affordable alternative to the full fall clean-up. And like you pointed out, if I'm able to do 3 an hour at say $30-$40 per pile, I'll still be grossing $100+/- per hour.

yardguy28
10-18-2010, 05:01 PM
i can see where this would work in a market that doesn't have curb side pick up from the city.

in my neck of the woods the city comes twice a season in the fall to pick up people's piles of leaves. there tax dollars pay them of course. so getting people to pay an lco to come by is out of the question here.

you even see the lco's dumping the leaves at the curbs when people hire them to remove the leaves from there property. i always haul the leaves away. otherwise whats the point. the wind will just blow them back onto the property. and who wants unsightly piles of leaves at the end of there property.

93Chevy
10-18-2010, 05:10 PM
you even see the lco's dumping the leaves at the curbs when people hire them to remove the leaves from there property. i always haul the leaves away. otherwise whats the point. the wind will just blow them back onto the property. and who wants unsightly piles of leaves at the end of there property.

My elderly customers always tell me to leave the leaves by the curb. I tell them I can't do it, I just have to haul them away. They don't understand, but I'd actually charge MORE to leave them by the curb then haul them away. I can dump for free, and let's be honest, I like to make it look like I actually did something other than what the average homeowner can do.

Mowbizz
10-18-2010, 05:26 PM
Be careful about curbside pickups for the simple fact that homeowners will throw other junk in the pile...sometimes hidden! Plan for this "extra" debris in your pricing!

stan the man
10-18-2010, 05:41 PM
my min charge is 100.00.you have truck ins buss. ins and fuel for truck and fuel for vacuum time to go to dump some of my account that pick up for are 8 truck loads my box 8 wide 12 long 10 high. you are say 50.00. that tell me that you not have many leaves. i have 35 account that i do curb side leave pick up for

knox gsl
10-18-2010, 05:52 PM
my min charge is 100.00.you have truck ins buss. ins and fuel for truck and fuel for vacuum time to go to dump some of my account that pick up for are 8 truck loads my box 8 wide 12 long 10 high. you are say 50.00. that tell me that you not have many leaves. i have 35 account that i do curb side leave pick up for

That was my point as well, this is not a cheap business to be in and a very small window of opportunity to make money. Don't sell yourself short on this, people will pay higher prices than what you're talking about. There is nothing wrong with being a little cheaper, but not to the point you will loose money.

stan the man
10-18-2010, 06:03 PM
That was my point as well, this is not a cheap business to be in and a very small window of opportunity to make money. Don't sell yourself short on this, people will pay higher prices than what you're talking about. There is nothing wrong with being a little cheaper, but not to the point you will loose money.
you are right they can 10 to 20 mins of work but my account will have all long the driveway along the road so you in out of the truck moving it went i do my account i get friend to help one one the vacuum on one with a rack i make 6000.00 to 10000.00 more a year doing curb side pick up and i have lco that i pick up for to and a lot sticks to in the leaves to.

mowerbrad
10-18-2010, 07:52 PM
Well in no way is this idea going to happen this year. I'm trying to plan for next season. My main goal now, is just to see if there is a market for this type of service. Soon I'll start talking with people around my community to see what they think this type of service is worth or what they are willing to pay for this service. I know kind of what my expenses will be and how much I should be pulling in per hour

Like I said, this is just the start. I have to get a price on how much it will cost to have a dump trailer built and I still have to decide on what brand and size truck loader I want to buy.

Big Bad Bob
10-18-2010, 10:56 PM
you are right they can 10 to 20 mins of work but my account will have all long the driveway along the road so you in out of the truck moving it went i do my account i get friend to help one one the vacuum on one with a rack i make 6000.00 to 10000.00 more a year doing curb side pick up and i have lco that i pick up for to and a lot sticks to in the leaves to.

What??????????

sdk1959
10-18-2010, 11:16 PM
some guy around me did that and I know he charges $30 for most piles. you would be there for like 10 minutes or less on most piles I would think so I dont see how you can charge much more than that. you are still making close to $100 per hour if you did 3 in an hour

Your forgetting to factor in his drive time to and from the dump as well as time spent at the dump not to mention his capital investment in a leaf loader etc, which aren't cheap. $50-$60 per pile he should charge, less if a customer has neighbors on the same street & same day that want the service.

jbell36
10-18-2010, 11:42 PM
What??????????

hahaha, ya i didn't quite get all of that either...

BrunoT
10-19-2010, 10:32 AM
I'm sure it can be done. But before you start counting the money...

Just imagine the hassles with scheduling so that they have their leaves piled up and ready to go exactly when you're in the neighborhood. Or wind blowing piles away before you arrive, scattering them and you getting blamed for leaving a mess. Or cars parked blocking your access to the pile w/o blocking traffic. Or ingesting some junk into your expensive machine the customers toss in. What happens when you show up and there are no leaves there because the game went into overtime and they didn't get around to it? Think they'll still pay up? And enjoy invoicing or collecting $50 checks from dozens of customers. I'm sure that wont' take long.

Then think of having to field a phone call and answer questions, negotiate prices, get address info and directions, deal with problems, and give out your standard schpeel EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to make $50.

I'd rather field ONE phone call, deal with ONE person, and collect about $1500 for a mowing/leaf cleanup season by squeezing one more of those in rather than deal with 30 collecting their raked leaves for peanuts.

It's one thing if you're making small $$$ on scheduled year round service. But one offs? No thanks. A garbage man can do quite well at $5/stop because he has 30 stops on that street and it takes 1 min each and they pay 52 weeks a year, year after year, with one call to field. But this is different.

You'd be better off trying to work something out with LCO's who each have dozens of accounts for you.

knox gsl
10-19-2010, 12:10 PM
you are right they can 10 to 20 mins of work but my account will have all long the driveway along the road so you in out of the truck moving it went i do my account i get friend to help one one the vacuum on one with a rack i make 6000.00 to 10000.00 more a year doing curb side pick up and i have lco that i pick up for to and a lot sticks to in the leaves to.

If you read this to yourself with a Cajun accent it all makes sense.

mowerbrad
10-19-2010, 07:49 PM
I'm sure it can be done. But before you start counting the money...

Just imagine the hassles with scheduling so that they have their leaves piled up and ready to go exactly when you're in the neighborhood. Or wind blowing piles away before you arrive, scattering them and you getting blamed for leaving a mess. Or cars parked blocking your access to the pile w/o blocking traffic. Or ingesting some junk into your expensive machine the customers toss in. What happens when you show up and there are no leaves there because the game went into overtime and they didn't get around to it? Think they'll still pay up? And enjoy invoicing or collecting $50 checks from dozens of customers. I'm sure that wont' take long.

Then think of having to field a phone call and answer questions, negotiate prices, get address info and directions, deal with problems, and give out your standard schpeel EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to make $50.

I'd rather field ONE phone call, deal with ONE person, and collect about $1500 for a mowing/leaf cleanup season by squeezing one more of those in rather than deal with 30 collecting their raked leaves for peanuts.

It's one thing if you're making small $$$ on scheduled year round service. But one offs? No thanks. A garbage man can do quite well at $5/stop because he has 30 stops on that street and it takes 1 min each and they pay 52 weeks a year, year after year, with one call to field. But this is different.

You'd be better off trying to work something out with LCO's who each have dozens of accounts for you.

I have no problem with hard work to get the jobs. I can handle a large volume of calls and I'm very familiar with my area so directions really aren't needed, plus I could always just turn my TOMTOM on in the truck.

The one thing that I am seeing as a potential problem is giving the customer a price. Obviously it would be inconvenient for me to go out to the customer's house, look at the pile and then call them back later with a quote for the pile, hoping that they say "yes". I will have to have a minimum charge obviously.

Since people would call before hand, I could set up a good route for the days that I'd be out. Most of my service area is subdivisions, so the houses can be pretty close together, so hopefully travel time would be minimal.

Of course I'd bring rakes and a backpack blower to clean up a little around the pile. But you are right that the wind could really make a mess out of the pile, blowing leaves all around the lawn.

I'm thinking I would do the clean-ups at least every monday, since most people would be cleaning up their lawn on the weekends. Or I could always work during the weekend if needed.

I still have lots of planning to do before I really start to move forward with this idea.

Big Bad Bob
10-19-2010, 09:11 PM
I have no problem with hard work to get the jobs. I can handle a large volume of calls and I'm very familiar with my area so directions really aren't needed, plus I could always just turn my TOMTOM on in the truck.

The one thing that I am seeing as a potential problem is giving the customer a price. Obviously it would be inconvenient for me to go out to the customer's house, look at the pile and then call them back later with a quote for the pile, hoping that they say "yes". I will have to have a minimum charge obviously.

Since people would call before hand, I could set up a good route for the days that I'd be out. Most of my service area is subdivisions, so the houses can be pretty close together, so hopefully travel time would be minimal.

Of course I'd bring rakes and a backpack blower to clean up a little around the pile. But you are right that the wind could really make a mess out of the pile, blowing leaves all around the lawn.

I'm thinking I would do the clean-ups at least every monday, since most people would be cleaning up their lawn on the weekends. Or I could always work during the weekend if needed.

I still have lots of planning to do before I really start to move forward with this idea.

Yes you do. And don't forget to figure in Murphy's Law into the pricing. Expect disaster till you either get it worked out or back out.
A couple of guys have tried this plan around here and from what I'm told it's not the pantecea that it sounds like. What are you going to do when you suck something from the pile and jam or worse yet, break your loader. There goes your schedule. At least when you blow them into the pile you control what sticks, logs, rocks and pieces of metal that go into the pile.
Personally I hate it when a customer calls and says, "I've already raked them into a pile for you so it should be easy.". I've found all kinds of things in those piles that has the customer saying, "How did that get in there?" or "You mean your machine wouldn't pick that carburetor up?"
A little off the subject, it's like when you have a storm and you go to the customer's to clean up the limb damage and the customer has "helped" by piling the branches into a huge tangled mess that you have to dislodge with a chainsaw and then expects a discount for making it easier on you.
Most customers haven't got a clue.

yardguy28
10-19-2010, 09:42 PM
I'm sure it can be done. But before you start counting the money...

Just imagine the hassles with scheduling so that they have their leaves piled up and ready to go exactly when you're in the neighborhood. Or wind blowing piles away before you arrive, scattering them and you getting blamed for leaving a mess. Or cars parked blocking your access to the pile w/o blocking traffic. Or ingesting some junk into your expensive machine the customers toss in. What happens when you show up and there are no leaves there because the game went into overtime and they didn't get around to it? Think they'll still pay up? And enjoy invoicing or collecting $50 checks from dozens of customers. I'm sure that wont' take long.

Then think of having to field a phone call and answer questions, negotiate prices, get address info and directions, deal with problems, and give out your standard schpeel EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to make $50.

I'd rather field ONE phone call, deal with ONE person, and collect about $1500 for a mowing/leaf cleanup season by squeezing one more of those in rather than deal with 30 collecting their raked leaves for peanuts.

It's one thing if you're making small $$$ on scheduled year round service. But one offs? No thanks. A garbage man can do quite well at $5/stop because he has 30 stops on that street and it takes 1 min each and they pay 52 weeks a year, year after year, with one call to field. But this is different.

You'd be better off trying to work something out with LCO's who each have dozens of accounts for you.

what am i missing? what does the amount the check is written for and how many of them there are have to do with anything?

in this business you collect checks written for all kinds of amounts and depending on how many clients you have depends on how many checks you receive. i have checks that range anywhere from $50 a month to hundreds of dollars a month.

BrunoT
10-20-2010, 01:40 PM
what am i missing? what does the amount the check is written for and how many of them there are have to do with anything?

in this business you collect checks written for all kinds of amounts and depending on how many clients you have depends on how many checks you receive. i have checks that range anywhere from $50 a month to hundreds of dollars a month.

It's a matter of how much "management time" one wants to invest in earning $50. Which is easier? Invoicing one customer for $200 or four customers for $50? And it's easier to bill a recurring account each month than to set up a new one that is only generating $50. Sure, it takes just a few minutes, but that adds up. Maybe if one has crews in the field and is sitting semi-idle at the office anyway it'd be no big deal, I suppose.

Or, if you don't want to invoice anyone, are you going to hope the customer left a check for $50 at the front door taped to the window for you, some guy they've never met before? You'll get sales resistance on that for sure. Maybe you could do credit cards, but even then some people don't want to give that out to just anyone.

So you'll likely have to invoice them or waste time knocking on doors of people with jobs who often aren't there hoping to get paid. What happens if they don't have money waiting for you? Do you do the job or not? Do you double back later once the foulup is worked out? What happens if they don't pay the invoice? What happens if they say they left a check, that check gets cashed, and you don't get it? None of these happen regularly, but enough to be a hassle.

The more you have to juggle, the less time you have to spend on productive income producing tasks. I've found that you spend a lot more time than you think anytime something out of the routine happens. It's worth it for a big job, but this isn't huge money. Then again, if one would otherwise be sitting idle and needs the money, it's better than nothing.

knox gsl
10-20-2010, 02:00 PM
It's a matter of how much "management time" one wants to invest in earning $50. Which is easier? Invoicing one customer for $200 or four customers for $50? And it's easier to bill a recurring account each month than to set up a new one that is only generating $50. Sure, it takes just a few minutes, but that adds up. Maybe if one has crews in the field and is sitting semi-idle at the office anyway it'd be no big deal, I suppose.

Or, if you don't want to invoice anyone, are you going to hope the customer left a check for $50 at the front door taped to the window for you, some guy they've never met before? You'll get sales resistance on that for sure. Maybe you could do credit cards, but even then some people don't want to give that out to just anyone.

So you'll likely have to invoice them or waste time knocking on doors of people with jobs who often aren't there hoping to get paid. What happens if they don't have money waiting for you? Do you do the job or not? Do you double back later once the foulup is worked out? What happens if they don't pay the invoice? What happens if they say they left a check, that check gets cashed, and you don't get it? None of these happen regularly, but enough to be a hassle.

The more you have to juggle, the less time you have to spend on productive income producing tasks. I've found that you spend a lot more time than you think anytime something out of the routine happens. It's worth it for a big job, but this isn't huge money. Then again, if one would otherwise be sitting idle and needs the money, it's better than nothing.

This is my thought process on it as well, anytime you do a one off job there is a premium for the extra hassle. Most people know that the regular customer will get a break on this type of service compaired to seeing a sign and calling you. I also would make it a point to collect cash or check payment before starting the vacuum up, I wouldn't waste time riding around being a bill collector. If a customer ask why upfront just tell them it keeps the prices down not having to look for my money.

yardguy28
10-20-2010, 09:15 PM
This is my thought process on it as well, anytime you do a one off job there is a premium for the extra hassle. Most people know that the regular customer will get a break on this type of service compaired to seeing a sign and calling you. I also would make it a point to collect cash or check payment before starting the vacuum up, I wouldn't waste time riding around being a bill collector. If a customer ask why upfront just tell them it keeps the prices down not having to look for my money.

nope.....

one time jobs are worked into my route where they fit and are charged the exact same amount as a regular client is. only difference between one time jobs and regulars is i require 50% up front for one timers.

mowerbrad
10-20-2010, 11:07 PM
Like I said guys this is still in the planning phase. There are lots of things that I will need to decide on and research...how will I do the billing?...what size trailer/loader?...what will my prices be?...is this service something consumers in my area will be interested in?...how much are people willing to pay for a service like this?...etc.

Right now, I think that there really is money to be made offering this service to both consumers and fellow LCO's in my area. There are plenty of ways that I can bill these people without too much hassle. Obviously putting them into my computer may take a little bit, but I can think of ways to help with billing.

And as far as "things" that may be in the leaf pile, I have no doubt that I may encounter stuff. But I think by being a vidulant operator I can minimize any foreign debris from getting sucked up. Obviously I can't see everything, but I can sure try to minimize it. Plus making sure that customers know to only put leaves in the piles, no sticks, rocks, wood, metal, etc. For the most part, I have had very good luck with customers following any direction I give them. So I think as long as I tell them what not to put in the pile and to only include LEAVES, I should for the most part have very little problems. But I'm not saying I won't have problems.

LawnScapers of Dayton
10-21-2010, 05:57 AM
I started doing this this year, $60 for the first 30 minutes, $1 per minute after that..... my truck holds about 14 yards........so far so good....

I have a free dump site and 2 cities that do not offer leaf pickup. Also the City of Dayton stopped leaf pick up this year.......although those folks don't want to pay more for the service I am finding out......

Darryl G
10-21-2010, 09:19 AM
I also do my regulars with my mower. I load just the Lazer into my 7 x 12 dump truck and then just dump the leaves in the front portion. A few years ago I went out and bought a leaf loader with the same idea as you, to start going after piles. My problem is that by the time I get done with my regulars it's already pretty late in the season and running the leaf vac setup really doesn't work well for me on them because I need my mower for the final mow. I also don't like having a box on my dump trailer because it makes hauling other stuff like brush difficult. For a solo op, I think a dump insert is a better route. That way you have the vac when needed and can still bring your mower(s) along. Another option is to put a box on the trailer with a hoop and tarp top so that it can be easily removed.

Now are far as going after the one time piles...it' can be a royal pain. People tend to rake all the sticks and anything else that's on the lawn into the piles and what they call a pile is often a row of leaves 100 feet long at the curb or a big pile in the back yard that you can't get a truck/trailer combo to. It's rarely a matter of just pulling up and picking up a pile. The other problem is that often times the piles have been sitting a while and are wet/compacted and that makes a huge difference and/or the wind has spread them out over a large area. In many cases, it would have been easier and cheaper for them if I had just done the whole cleanup myself. Abouit the only good thing I found about going after curbside piles was that I could go out after dark to do them with some portable lighting (like 5 to 8pm) and bring in some extra income. Most people are fine with $100 minimum where I am. Oh, there is the occasional job where the customer made a nice, easily accessible pile for you with no sticks and you're in and out of there in 20 minutes, but my experience is that they're few and far between.

I still may end up mounting the vac on my dump trailer, but if I do it will be at the end of the season. For the couple of accounts I have where a leaf vac is the best/most efficient way to do the job, I'll just sub out a friend of mine until then, like I've been doing the last few years, or just haul them out in bulk.

punt66
10-21-2010, 09:22 AM
I sold my vac setup. Its a waste of money. Hire it out for the few yards that you need it. Also, unless you get an 40hp plus vac it will take longer then you think to suck them up. I am glad to get rid of it. Its faster to vac it up with my mower and empty the bags in the truck.

mowerbrad
10-21-2010, 09:34 AM
I started doing this this year, $60 for the first 30 minutes, $1 per minute after that..... my truck holds about 14 yards........so far so good....

I have a free dump site and 2 cities that do not offer leaf pickup. Also the City of Dayton stopped leaf pick up this year.......although those folks don't want to pay more for the service I am finding out......

Are you finding any problems with doing this? Customers putting sticks and such in the piles? Even making it hard to get to piles in the backyards?

I also do my regulars with my mower. I load just the Lazer into my 7 x 12 dump truck and then just dump the leaves in the front portion. A few years ago I went out and bought a leaf loader with the same idea as you, to start going after piles. My problem is that by the time I get done with my regulars it's already pretty late in the season and running the leaf vac setup really doesn't work well for me on them because I need my mower for the final mow. I also don't like having a box on my dump trailer because it makes hauling other stuff like brush difficult. For a solo op, I think a dump insert is a better route. That way you have the vac when needed and can still bring your mower(s) along. Another option is to put a box on the trailer with a hoop and tarp top so that it can be easily removed.

Now are far as going after the one time piles...it' can be a royal pain. People tend to rake all the sticks and anything else that's on the lawn into the piles and what they call a pile is often a row of leaves 100 feet long at the curb or a big pile in the back yard that you can't get a truck/trailer combo to. It's rarely a matter of just pulling up and picking up a pile. The other problem is that often times the piles have been sitting a while and are wet/compacted and that makes a huge difference and/or the wind has spread them out over a large area. In many cases, it would have been easier and cheaper for them if I had just done the whole cleanup myself. Abouit the only good thing I found about going after curbside piles was that I could go out after dark to do them with some portable lighting (like 5 to 8pm) and bring in some extra income. Most people are fine with $100 minimum where I am. Oh, there is the occasional job where the customer made a nice, easily accessible pile for you with no sticks and you're in and out of there in 20 minutes, but my experience is that they're few and far between.

I still may end up mounting the vac on my dump trailer, but if I do it will be at the end of the season. For the couple of accounts I have where a leaf vac is the best/most efficient way to do the job, I'll just sub out a friend of mine until then, like I've been doing the last few years, or just haul them out in bulk.

One of the things that I was planning on doing is making the sides on the dump trailer easy to take off. That way I could easily use it without a leaf box on there.

I still think that if I give the customer enough direction as what to do, things can go smoothly. I figure if I tell them to make ONE pile (not row) next to the driveway or street and only to put in leaves...I should have pretty good results. I'm sure I'd still run into some problems though, hopefully they'd be few and far between.

But you do bring up some good points that I will have to think about.

punt66
10-21-2010, 09:36 AM
Are you finding any problems with doing this? Customers putting sticks and such in the piles? Even making it hard to get to piles in the backyards?



One of the things that I was planning on doing is making the sides on the dump trailer easy to take off. That way I could easily use it without a leaf box on there.

I still think that if I give the customer enough direction as what to do, things can go smoothly. I figure if I tell them to make ONE pile (not row) next to the driveway or street and only to put in leaves...I should have pretty good results. I'm sure I'd still run into some problems though, hopefully they'd be few and far between.

But you do bring up some good points that I will have to think about.

a row at the street is much easier to vac the 1 big wet pile of leaves unless you have a HUGE vac.

mowerbrad
10-21-2010, 09:39 AM
a row at the street is much easier to vac the 1 big wet pile of leaves unless you have a HUGE vac.

you bring up a good point...

Darryl G
10-21-2010, 09:53 AM
Are you finding any problems with doing this? Customers putting sticks and such in the piles? Even making it hard to get to piles in the backyards?



One of the things that I was planning on doing is making the sides on the dump trailer easy to take off. That way I could easily use it without a leaf box on there.

I still think that if I give the customer enough direction as what to do, things can go smoothly. I figure if I tell them to make ONE pile (not row) next to the driveway or street and only to put in leaves...I should have pretty good results. I'm sure I'd still run into some problems though, hopefully they'd be few and far between.

But you do bring up some good points that I will have to think about.

I thought that too, lol. People usually have the best intentions of following instructions but have limited time and stamina. Usually when I pull up it's more like WTF, I thought i made myself pretty clear...this is going to cost them! I just take it all in stride though.

For piles made by customers, I usually just lay the hose on the ground and use a stiff rake, like a 24 inch aluminum landscape rake, to feed it to avoid sucking up sticks and "debris".

stan the man
10-21-2010, 05:18 PM
What??????????
sorry i was in a rush to get out of here to go up north bow hunting for deer. what i was saying it take more then 10 to 20 min for me to load up. all my account have a row along the driveway and along the curb to they don't put them in piles .so i have to get in and out of the truck and move it. and a lot of my account are 1 to 2 load of leaves. all i ask is to put the sticks in one pile. i see guys saying 50.00 and 60.00 i don't think that will cover the over head. if people don't like the amount i charge to bad i don't care.last Monday curb siding it was all most 1000.00 day on. the lco that i pick up for it is easy because it is all in one pile and i get it that day after i am done doing my fall clean up.

Miller Time
10-21-2010, 05:40 PM
the rig have would probably work great for your idea. The pics are of my leaf vac and it slides into my hitch mount on the truck. Weather and ground conditions permitting I can pull the truck anywhere it can fit to suck up leaves. In the pics we are actually sucking up thatched lawn from a yard renovation. But the vac pulverizes and tosses the clipping into my dumper and it a dun deal. None of this :weightlifter: or this :cry:. plus the time it saves is crazy!

Miller Time
10-21-2010, 05:51 PM
here's one more pic of the new hitch attachment I bought, so I can tow my dump trailer along while keeping the vac inserted to hitch. Now all I have to do is turn the shoot around when my dumper is full and fill up the trailer. One stop shop for leaves this year! I no longer dread the fall. Of coarse I'll still be fighting the daylight. :hammerhead:

Miller Time
10-21-2010, 06:08 PM
I sold my vac setup. Its a waste of money. Hire it out for the few yards that you need it. Also, unless you get an 40hp plus vac it will take longer then you think to suck them up. I am glad to get rid of it. Its faster to vac it up with my mower and empty the bags in the truck.

Not that bagging doesn't work better for you but, if you have large accounts a vac is the way to go (in my opinon) I have a few town home and apartments complexs that are over 30 acres (managed) establishments, and having the guys blow leaves in piles and into the gutter for the vac to come suck it up is much easier and economical. If I were to use the mowers I would have to fill them up with fuel three times a day to get all the leaves, the crap load of hours that they would accumulate not to mention breaking my guys backs. We can keep going even when the truck is off dumping. Now dont get me wrong the bagger system has it merrits for certain jobs FOR SURE. Once again this is JMHO

mowerbrad
10-21-2010, 09:34 PM
I thought that too, lol. People usually have the best intentions of following instructions but have limited time and stamina. Usually when I pull up it's more like WTF, I thought i made myself pretty clear...this is going to cost them! I just take it all in stride though.

For piles made by customers, I usually just lay the hose on the ground and use a stiff rake, like a 24 inch aluminum landscape rake, to feed it to avoid sucking up sticks and "debris".

I was thinking that if I use a rake I may be able to avoid sucking up much debris besides the leaves. I'm sure I'd run into some problems but I think for the most part I should have pretty good luck with this.

Lots of time between now and next season though, so all this advise I'm getting on here is going into consideration if I decide to go through with this next year.

mowerbrad
10-21-2010, 09:35 PM
the rig have would probably work great for your idea. The pics are of my leaf vac and it slides into my hitch mount on the truck. Weather and ground conditions permitting I can pull the truck anywhere it can fit to suck up leaves. In the pics we are actually sucking up thatched lawn from a yard renovation. But the vac pulverizes and tosses the clipping into my dumper and it a dun deal. None of this :weightlifter: or this :cry:. plus the time it saves is crazy!

Is that an 8" or 10" intake hose? It looks like an 8" but I can't tell exactly, how well does it do in heavy stuff? I used to have a 20hp billy goat with a 12" intake hose and that thing could really power through the leaves. I won't be going that large if I buy a new one...so it'll either be an 8" or 10".

Miller Time
10-22-2010, 09:24 AM
It's a 10'L 8"D hose and it works on just about anything. For instance thatch can get preety dense and heavy like this was and it was like vac'n up cotton balls. I have a replacement hose in bench stock but I'll keep using this one till it either isn't safe or just wont work. 13 or 15 B&S engine (I think) definitely B&S though. Cant remember.

Green Industry Pro
10-22-2010, 02:03 PM
Awesome idea, I believe a dump trailer and leaf vacuum is definitely the way to go. I would probably charge $30 for 1 removal, I know others have suggested higher rates, but you have to look at it from the client's view. They do all the work of cleaning them up and putting them into a pile and all you are doing is vacuuming up the pile(awesome idea) but I don't think people would easily pay too much for that. Obviously depending on the size of the job you charge more, but I can't really help you too much because I don't know your exact situation and I myself haven't ever done this sort of job either. I might try doing this myself..thanks for the idea. Good luck




GOD BLESS AMERICA:usflag::usflag::usflag:

stan the man
10-22-2010, 02:15 PM
break down truck ins. business ins. truck gas. vacuum gas. payment of vacuum. your labor. dump ran. backpack blower use and fuel 30.00 cover that. i am glad i dont work for free i am out to make money

punt66
10-22-2010, 04:52 PM
$75 min here. No way you can be profitable at $30. I wont even do it for $75 anymore

stan the man
10-22-2010, 05:05 PM
$75 min here. No way you can be profitable at $30. I wont even do it for $75 anymore
my min 100.00 and all the money i make goes away for new equipment that i get the new mower i got this payed cash

Darryl G
10-22-2010, 06:31 PM
Awesome idea, I believe a dump trailer and leaf vacuum is definitely the way to go. I would probably charge $30 for 1 removal, I know others have suggested higher rates, but you have to look at it from the client's view. They do all the work of cleaning them up and putting them into a pile and all you are doing is vacuuming up the pile(awesome idea) but I don't think people would easily pay too much for that. Obviously depending on the size of the job you charge more, but I can't really help you too much because I don't know your exact situation and I myself haven't ever done this sort of job either. I might try doing this myself..thanks for the idea. Good luck




GOD BLESS AMERICA:usflag::usflag::usflag:

Wow...just wow. $30? You're gonna invest $6k in a dump trailer and $3k in a leaf loader, spend time with the customer on the phone, drive there (don't forget truck expenses), do the job, dump your load, invoice the job, enter the payment, deposit the check and do everything else associated with managing an account for $30?!!!!! THAT'S INSANE!!!!

yardguy28
10-22-2010, 07:27 PM
what i think is insane is paying $50 plus for someone to come and spend what 10 min, lets be generous and say 30 min. at the most, standing there sucking up leaves.

i'd have a hard time charging much more than my hourly rate. especially since my hourly rate already takes into consideration all the items already listed (truck insurance, fuel, etc.)

it's already been said before that i have a totally different outlook on this business. when i price jobs i try to think like a client. not saying that is the determining factor because i do have to make a living and i do have my hourly rate. but what i said above is looking at it from a client point of view. thats an insane price.

i would never pay $100 for just one pick up so i wouldn't expect anyone to pay me $100 for a pick up. i know in this business we try to work smarter not harder, but when people are paying for services they expect physical work to be done. the higher the price the harder and more physical labor work they expect.

Darryl G
10-22-2010, 07:41 PM
Don't forget that the leaves don't magically disappear from your truck or trailer either. You have to go somewhere to dump then.

You have to expect to pay a premium for something that is darn close to an emergency service...at least it is around here..there's very little time between when the leaves stop falling and the snow starts falling.

After you spend a day or 2 vaccing leaves, I think you'd change your mind about how much to charge. It's hard, equipment intensive dirty work!

unit28
10-22-2010, 07:44 PM
Add another chunk of change for the wonderful dot inspections.

And add double to the trailer set up because we all know things don't break down.

The $30 dollar idea is nuts because the work isn't in getting a fluffy pile of leaves to the curb. It won't take them anytime to tarp it there, and they'll be wondering where the truck's at. They want it gone like right now

topsites
10-22-2010, 07:59 PM
Here we go again, now I don't mean to point out the obvious ...
But it should not cost more because for some reason or another, whatever the job,
the cost should stay the same regardless of equipment or method.
Don't we charge by the amount of work?

Thus it can not be cheaper with a more expensive piece of equipment, but it really
shouldn't cost more either, matter of fact it should come out to about the same.

I mean, unless you like spending a lot of money so you can work for less...

mowerbrad
10-22-2010, 09:04 PM
Any and all equipment that I will need to buy for this venture (ie, dump trailer and leaf vac) will be paid for in cash. I have never financed a purchase and don't plan to anytime soon. So I will have absolutely no payments to make on ANYTHING.

When towing my truck gets 8-10mpg...so lets assume 8mpg. I already mapped out what I would consider a fairly busy day doing the leaf pile "sucking" and it came out to be 85 miles including all trips to my dump site. So lets just say 100 miles to make things even...that means I would burn 12.5 gallons of fuel driving from job to job and to my dump sight. Add in an extra 25% for while my truck may idle during the day which would be an extra 3 gallons per day, for a total of 15.5 gallons per day. I'm not too sure how much fuel the leaf vac would use but lets say 4.5 gallons per day to make for an even 20 gallons total between the leaf vac and my truck. And at $3.50/gallon, that'd be $70 per day just in fuel costs.

For business insurance I would need about $5/day during the season to pay for it (that's using a very generous number too). For truck insurance I would need $10/day during the season to pay for it (again using a generous number). So my insurance should be covered by $15/day.

For maintenance costs, lets say $0.40/mile on the truck...so for each full day of "sucking" I do (or 100 mile day) I will have to have $40 to pay for truck maintenance. Then for each hour I use my leaf vac, I'd have to have $2 for maintenance costs and $2 for depreciation costs. So if the vac runs a total of 5 hours in a busy day (fairly generous number if you ask me)...I'd need $20 to cover maintenance and depreciation costs.

As far as the trailer, lets say I'll need $0.20/mile. So that same 100 mile day, I'd need $20 to cover maintenance costs on the trailer

And just to be safe lets add an extra $20/day for any unexpected happening.

This all makes for a total of $145 per day just in expenses. I'd like to say that this would all be in an 8 hour day which would be about $18/hour, so lets say my expenses (not including paying me) will cost me $20/hour. I know I will have to replace the money in my bank account that I would spend on the dump trailer and leaf vac. I will also need to pay myself for doing this.

So to conclude, my expenses will be $20/hour just to run this rig...that's just breaking even and not making any money back.

Now I figure I can do 2-3 lawns in my area per trailer full. A lawn in my area will fill about 5+/- yards worth in a trailer (I know this through experience) after going through a leaf vac. So with a 6x12 dump trailer and sides either 4' above the existing 2' sides or 6' sides above the existing 2' sides...I can hold between 16 and 20 yards worth of leaves.

I think a minimum amount will definatley have to be set. Right now, I'm thinking a minimum of $50. Once I start talking to more people about this around my community, I should have a better idea what people are willing to pay and if this will be a profitable service for me based on what the potential customer will be willing to pay.

LawnScapers of Dayton
10-22-2010, 09:23 PM
I am having great success with my rig this year.......I only do curbside pickup......I did 2 full lawn cleanups today and 3 curbside pickups..... Also handed out about 15 business cards while doing the curbside pickups..........20 minutes, 32 minutes, and 24 minutes

Very happy with the new income stream....

mowerbrad
10-22-2010, 09:42 PM
I am having great success with my rig this year.......I only do curbside pickup......I did 2 full lawn cleanups today and 3 curbside pickups..... Also handed out about 15 business cards while doing the curbside pickups..........20 minutes, 32 minutes, and 24 minutes

Very happy with the new income stream....

So I could probably average 2 pick-ups an hour with some extra time for driving and dumping...obviously tight routes could probably help with this.

May I ask what type of prices you charge for curbside pickup? You don't have to be exact but a range or even a minimum would help.

stan the man
10-22-2010, 10:09 PM
i did one today 2 truck loads it take me 2 hrs wet leaves front of the house was easy. back of the house i had to trap all the leaves out of the back of the house to the truck and i had to go in and out of gate door. 30 or 50 i wouldn't do it for that. my account don't ***** about want i bill them for so why are you.you are not paying the bill .

Big Bad Bob
10-22-2010, 10:15 PM
what i think is insane is paying $50 plus for someone to come and spend what 10 min, lets be generous and say 30 min. at the most, standing there sucking up leaves.

i'd have a hard time charging much more than my hourly rate. especially since my hourly rate already takes into consideration all the items already listed (truck insurance, fuel, etc.)

it's already been said before that i have a totally different outlook on this business. when i price jobs i try to think like a client. not saying that is the determining factor because i do have to make a living and i do have my hourly rate. but what i said above is looking at it from a client point of view. thats an insane price.

i would never pay $100 for just one pick up so i wouldn't expect anyone to pay me $100 for a pick up. i know in this business we try to work smarter not harder, but when people are paying for services they expect physical work to be done. the higher the price the harder and more physical labor work they expect.

Would you pay more if I came to your house with a pickup, some tarps and a rake and shovel? Why do you want us to be penalized for spending money on equipment that makes us more efficient?

stan the man
10-22-2010, 10:21 PM
Would you pay more if I came to your house with a pickup, some tarps and a rake and shovel? Why do you want us to be penalized for spending money on equipment that makes us more efficient?
i think yard28 just don't like people making more then he is

mowerbrad
10-22-2010, 10:29 PM
i did one today 2 truck loads it take me 2 hrs wet leaves front of the house was easy. back of the house i had to trap all the leaves out of the back of the house to the truck and i had to go in and out of gate door. 30 or 50 i wouldn't do it for that. my account don't ***** about want i bill them for so why are you.you are not paying the bill .

That $50 (or whatever the price) will not cover me tarping leaves from the back and dragging them to my trailer and vac. It will only cover me sucking up the leaves that were piled next to the driveway or road. Basically, the pile that the customer put in the front of their house will be sucked up, not leaves that are in the backyard.

If I have to tarp leaves from the backyard to the front so I can suck them up, it would be considered more of full fall clean-up and would be charged as such.

If an account for me took a full 2 trailer loads (lets say 30 yards) I would charge accordingly...it would not be $50. Like I stated earlier tonight, I can expect to get 5 yards of leaves off of each typical neighborhood lawn (1/4-1/3 acre) that I would pick-up for.

stan the man
10-22-2010, 10:37 PM
That $50 (or whatever the price) will not cover me tarping leaves from the back and dragging them to my trailer and vac. It will only cover me sucking up the leaves that were piled next to the driveway or road. Basically, the pile that the customer put in the front of their house will be sucked up, not leaves that are in the backyard.

If I have to tarp leaves from the backyard to the front so I can suck them up, it would be considered more of full fall clean-up and would be charged as such.

If an account for me took a full 2 trailer loads (lets say 30 yards) I would charge accordingly...it would not be $50. Like I stated earlier tonight, I can expect to get 5 yards of leaves off of each typical neighborhood lawn (1/4-1/3 acre) that I would pick-up for.

all my account are about 2 full truck load and the leaves out back i haul out for them that is why my min is 100.00 all my places will be different then yours.

mowerbrad
10-22-2010, 10:46 PM
Well I'm looking over some dump trailer prices and it seems like I will be able to get an 83"x12' for $4899 and seems to be pretty well spec'ed. So I'll have to see what my trailer guys would charge to build me a dump trailer when I'm over there later.

And for a leaf loader I'm looking at $2600 or so for a 13hp billy goat.

yardguy28
10-22-2010, 10:46 PM
Don't forget that the leaves don't magically disappear from your truck or trailer either. You have to go somewhere to dump then.

You have to expect to pay a premium for something that is darn close to an emergency service...at least it is around here..there's very little time between when the leaves stop falling and the snow starts falling.

After you spend a day or 2 vaccing leaves, I think you'd change your mind about how much to charge. It's hard, equipment intensive dirty work!

i guess i'm thinking about all the piles of leaves that are already at the curbs of home owners now and the fact that our city comes twice during the fall season to pick up those piles.

i don't really see that as an emergency service or even darn close to one. there is still plenty of time before the snow flies.

now as it gets closer to that time i could see it being more of an emergency service.

i know leaf removal is dirty work. i come home every day with a face full of dust and dirt from mowing up leaves all day.

Would you pay more if I came to your house with a pickup, some tarps and a rake and shovel? Why do you want us to be penalized for spending money on equipment that makes us more efficient?

i would be more likely to.

spending money on equipment that makes us more efficient is not the clients problem.

almost none of the services we offer are emergency have to be done right now and as quick as possible services. most of the equipment we purchase that makes us more efficient is mostly to make our work less physical.

maybe i'm ass backwards. lets use mowing as an example.

lets say you have 2 acres to mow. i would charge something that large out on man hours. pick your piece of equipment 36" wb or 52" stander. the 52" stander is going to get the job done quicker therefor less man hours which equals less money the client is invoiced. at least for me thats the way i do it.

i know some guys charge more the larger the equipment is. which doesn't make sense. you pay more the quicker the job gets done? if that were the case clients would say take all day to cut my grass using your smaller equipment so i can get a cheaper rate.

knox gsl
10-22-2010, 10:47 PM
Here is the deal, in my yard I have to make 3 trips to the dump to unload my leaves each fall. I'm using a 6x16 trailer with 2 foot sides and I pack the sh!t out of them to only make 3 trips. Its rarely ever more than 2500 lbs on there but its leaves. It takes me about 2 hours to load it and then I have to drive to the dump 15 mins each way. While at the dump I have to unload by hand, blower or kicking. Yes I know about using a pallet and rope to unload, but there is no achor point at this location. This is not an extreme case here I just have several large hardwood trees. That being said most home owners would have a much harder time than that to get rid of theirs. I think most people are like me and would gladly pay $100 plus dollars not to have to deal with that. It may only take you 30 minutes to suck them up and 30 minutes at the dump, but it would take the average Joe 12 hours to do the same thing. So if you are looking at it that way take a 12 hour job and do it for $100, you just worked for $8.33 by average Joe's standards. Just because you did it faster doesn't mean its worth less, it just means you're more efficiant, I would never discount myself for being faster.

Say you are a home builder and you are really fast at building homes. You can build a house with the same design, spec and quality as my crew but in only 2 weeks start to finish and my crew takes 3 months. Are you going to sell your home any cheaper because of it, we are selling are homes in the same area. As a fellow home builder you're going to piss me off if you sell your home for 60% less than mine just because you have the fastest crew. That would sour the whole market. Just give that some thought before being the loswest bidder and I'm not just talking to one person here, I'm talking to everyone.

stan the man
10-22-2010, 11:02 PM
Here is the deal, in my yard I have to make 3 trips to the dump to unload my leaves each fall. I'm using a 6x16 trailer with 2 foot sides and I pack the sh!t out of them to only make 3 trips. Its rarely ever more than 2500 lbs on there but its leaves. It takes me about 2 hours to load it and then I have to drive to the dump 15 mins each way. While at the dump I have to unload by hand, blower or kicking. Yes I know about using a pallet and rope to unload, but there is no achor point at this location. This is not an extreme case here I just have several large hardwood trees. That being said most home owners would have a much harder time than that to get rid of theirs. I think most people are like me and would gladly pay $100 plus dollars not to have to deal with that. It may only take you 30 minutes to suck them up and 30 minutes at the dump, but it would take the average Joe 12 hours to do the same thing. So if you are looking at it that way take a 12 hour job and do it for $100, you just worked for $8.33 by average Joe's standards. Just because you did it faster doesn't mean its worth less, it just means you're more efficiant, I would never discount myself for being faster.

Say you are a home builder and you are really fast at building homes. You can build a house with the same design, spec and quality as my crew but in only 2 weeks start to finish and my crew takes 3 months. Are you going to sell your home any cheaper because of it, we are selling are homes in the same area. As a fellow home builder you're going to piss me off if you sell your home for 60% less than mine just because you have the fastest crew. That would sour the whole market. Just give that some thought before being the loswest bidder and I'm not just talking to one person here, I'm talking to everyone.

will put if someone would to come and do my and house and my 3 rental houses 50.00 each bring it on and i do have a dump spot in back of my barn. they are all in the same area my house 3 truck loads and the 3 rental are about 1 1/2 truck loads each that would be 150.00 for all them.

yardguy28
10-22-2010, 11:08 PM
well i know for me this business is about selling time NOT efficiency. so yes if i can get the job done quicker i'm gonna have a cheaper price.

if i look at a property and can get it done in 3 man hours thats what the client will pay. no matter what equipment i use.

i have properties that if the client would get a larger gate opening to where i could get larger equipment in i'd be willing to lower the price per cut. it'd save me the hassle of using the 21 incher.

Darryl G
10-22-2010, 11:19 PM
Trust me, once the customer has the leaves in a pile, it's an emergency for them to get rid of them. They want it done NOW!

knox gsl
10-22-2010, 11:26 PM
Trust me, once the customer has the leaves in a pile, it's an emergency for them to get rid of them. They want it done NOW!

Good point.

kemco
10-23-2010, 12:33 AM
Well I'm looking over some dump trailer prices and it seems like I will be able to get an 83"x12' for $4899 and seems to be pretty well spec'ed. So I'll have to see what my trailer guys would charge to build me a dump trailer when I'm over there later.

And for a leaf loader I'm looking at $2600 or so for a 13hp billy goat.

I have a 6x12 hydro dump trailer (with 6' side extensions I built - total 16 cu yrd capacity) I bought brand new at the beginning of last season for leaves. I also have a 16 horse little wonder loader. I learned a quick lesson the hard way the first time I took it to the dump. Nothing came out... I mean nothing... My LW shreds the leaves up pretty good, and just the sheer weight of the leaves packs them in like a brick. I have to pay an additional fee to get pull off by a front loader. That's fine, but had I known that I would never have purchased a "dump" trailer. I would have just bought another good large trailer and saved a few thousand dollars. Just sayin'... you might be better off with the same and saving a few large in the process.

Darryl G
10-23-2010, 12:39 AM
Did you try backing up and then nailing the brakes or putting it in 4wd (assuming you have it) and flooring it?

kemco
10-23-2010, 12:49 AM
Yep. Except for the 4wd I dont have. But I tried the flooring it method in reverse and slamming on the brakes. And just flooring it. Many, many, many times on many different occasions. I swear I would have just bought a large nice non-dumper had I known.

knox gsl
10-23-2010, 01:31 AM
I have a 6x12 hydro dump trailer (with 6' side extensions I built - total 16 cu yrd capacity) I bought brand new at the beginning of last season for leaves. I also have a 16 horse little wonder loader. I learned a quick lesson the hard way the first time I took it to the dump. Nothing came out... I mean nothing... My LW shreds the leaves up pretty good, and just the sheer weight of the leaves packs them in like a brick. I have to pay an additional fee to get pull off by a front loader. That's fine, but had I known that I would never have purchased a "dump" trailer. I would have just bought another good large trailer and saved a few thousand dollars. Just sayin'... you might be better off with the same and saving a few large in the process.

That doesn't sound right what is the angle of the bed when fully raised and are the leaves wet or dry. Some trailer builders use smaller lift arms and place them farther toward the front to save money, but the draw back is that you cannot get a 45-55 degree dump angle.

stan the man
10-23-2010, 07:28 AM
I have a 6x12 hydro dump trailer (with 6' side extensions I built - total 16 cu yrd capacity) I bought brand new at the beginning of last season for leaves. I also have a 16 horse little wonder loader. I learned a quick lesson the hard way the first time I took it to the dump. Nothing came out... I mean nothing... My LW shreds the leaves up pretty good, and just the sheer weight of the leaves packs them in like a brick. I have to pay an additional fee to get pull off by a front loader. That's fine, but had I known that I would never have purchased a "dump" trailer. I would have just bought another good large trailer and saved a few thousand dollars. Just sayin'... you might be better off with the same and saving a few large in the process.

only time that has happen to me. is i leave them in over night in the on my truck. i just back and lock them up out them come. riding around will pack them in and harden like bricks . i all so try not to full it to the top leaving some space. i think the box on the back of truck is better then on trailer.

Big Bad Bob
10-23-2010, 10:56 AM
i guess i'm thinking about all the piles of leaves that are already at the curbs of home owners now and the fact that our city comes twice during the fall season to pick up those piles.

i don't really see that as an emergency service or even darn close to one. there is still plenty of time before the snow flies.

now as it gets closer to that time i could see it being more of an emergency service.

i know leaf removal is dirty work. i come home every day with a face full of dust and dirt from mowing up leaves all day.



i would be more likely to.

spending money on equipment that makes us more efficient is not the clients problem.

almost none of the services we offer are emergency have to be done right now and as quick as possible services. most of the equipment we purchase that makes us more efficient is mostly to make our work less physical.

maybe i'm ass backwards. lets use mowing as an example.

lets say you have 2 acres to mow. i would charge something that large out on man hours. pick your piece of equipment 36" wb or 52" stander. the 52" stander is going to get the job done quicker therefor less man hours which equals less money the client is invoiced. at least for me thats the way i do it.

i know some guys charge more the larger the equipment is. which doesn't make sense. you pay more the quicker the job gets done? if that were the case clients would say take all day to cut my grass using your smaller equipment so i can get a cheaper rate.

You are simply leaving money on the table. People are willing to pay more for a once or twice a year service.
Have you ever heard of charging what the market will bear?

punt66
10-23-2010, 11:04 AM
You are simply leaving money on the table. People are willing to pay more for a once or twice a year service.
Have you ever heard of charging what the market will bear?

yea, it doesnt make sense. If thats all what his market will bear i would be doing something else.

Green Industry Pro
10-23-2010, 11:55 AM
Wow...just wow. $30? You're gonna invest $6k in a dump trailer and $3k in a leaf loader, spend time with the customer on the phone, drive there (don't forget truck expenses), do the job, dump your load, invoice the job, enter the payment, deposit the check and do everything else associated with managing an account for $30?!!!!! THAT'S INSANE!!!!

Looking back that does seem a little bit low. We dont have anyone around my area that uses leaf vacuums or anyone that does this sort of work(its starting to sound like this might be a niche for my company...do something no one else is doing). For just a tinsee tinsee pile of leaves..they wont pay much. But obviously I wouldn't accept a job that wouldn't give me a good return. My bad guys....$50+ and if a job wouldn't pay you that...move on.

Darryl G
10-23-2010, 12:51 PM
Looking back that does seem a little bit low. We dont have anyone around my area that uses leaf vacuums or anyone that does this sort of work(its starting to sound like this might be a niche for my company...do something no one else is doing). For just a tinsee tinsee pile of leaves..they wont pay much. But obviously I wouldn't accept a job that wouldn't give me a good return. My bad guys....$50+ and if a job wouldn't pay you that...move on.

Not to pick on you, but you're giving pricing advice here for something you've never done and yet you started another thread here asking for pricing advice for a number of cleanups of your own. How is it that you can give advice to others on a subject that you need help with yourself?

knox gsl
10-23-2010, 03:34 PM
Looking back that does seem a little bit low. We dont have anyone around my area that uses leaf vacuums or anyone that does this sort of work(its starting to sound like this might be a niche for my company...do something no one else is doing). For just a tinsee tinsee pile of leaves..they wont pay much. But obviously I wouldn't accept a job that wouldn't give me a good return. My bad guys....$50+ and if a job wouldn't pay you that...move on.

Best as I can tell I wouldn't worry about getting into the leaf business where you are, there isn't enough in Tyler to justify it. The only hardwoods that you have there are going to be Live Oaks and Pin Oaks and the other few hardwoods in that area will mulch easy. These guys are talking about cleaning yards that can get over a foot of leaves over the course of a month or so and at that rate you can't really mulch them up.

yardguy28
10-23-2010, 04:33 PM
Trust me, once the customer has the leaves in a pile, it's an emergency for them to get rid of them. They want it done NOW!

must be your clients because most clients in my neck of the woods are fine with the piles sitting out at the curb waiting for the city to pick them up. as long as they gone before the snow flies.

You are simply leaving money on the table. People are willing to pay more for a once or twice a year service.
Have you ever heard of charging what the market will bear?

yes i have.....

my business is meeting my goals financially. i didn't start this business to get rich or even close. as long as my needs are taken care of this business is succeeding for me.

i'm not leaving any money on the table. i don't do these sort of once or twice a year services and i have no plans of ever doing them. my prices are right around what everyone elses are.

but i know i would have a very, very hard time charging $100 for one pick up for one client if i decided to do this service. thankfully my clients don't have to worry about using this service since i haul all leaves off the property in the first place. in the truck bed they go and i spend about 2 min. unloading at the compost site. truck unloaders work wonders. drop the tailgate, crank the tarp and your done. i can fit all my clients (8-10) for the day in the truck bed until about mid fall. then i have to stop at lunch and empty then again at the end of the day. by the time the end of fall is near i'm back to dumping once a day.

Darryl G
10-23-2010, 07:13 PM
must be your clients because most clients in my neck of the woods are fine with the piles sitting out at the curb waiting for the city to pick them up. as long as they gone before the snow flies.


Maybe the difference is that they're not paying the city to pick them up, not directly anyway, and have no control over when they come.

I haven't chased piles for 2 or 3 seasons now. It really depends on how long it takes me to get my regular accounts and any one time full cleanups done. If they're all done before winter sets in, then I'll probably put a box and the leaf loader on my trailer. I'll have to make a new one though...the old one is now part of the my kid's skateboard park, lol. For my regulars, I prefer to go without the vac.

Groomer
10-24-2010, 11:45 AM
for you guys using a wood floor dump trailer-try screwing a plastic tarp down-really helps the leaves slide out when dumping!

Big Bad Bob
10-24-2010, 02:57 PM
must be your clients because most clients in my neck of the woods are fine with the piles sitting out at the curb waiting for the city to pick them up. as long as they gone before the snow flies.



yes i have.....

my business is meeting my goals financially. i didn't start this business to get rich or even close. as long as my needs are taken care of this business is succeeding for me.

Not a good attitude for a small business man. You'd probably be better off working for someone else with that "just to get by" attitude. Some of us would like to make as much money as possible and guys like you really screw up the pricing base.

i'm not leaving any money on the table. i don't do these sort of once or twice a year services and i have no plans of ever doing them. my prices are right around what everyone elses are.

but i know i would have a very, very hard time charging $100 for one pick up for one client if i decided to do this service. thankfully my clients don't have to worry about using this service since i haul all leaves off the property in the first place. in the truck bed they go and i spend about 2 min. unloading at the compost site. truck unloaders work wonders. drop the tailgate, crank the tarp and your done. i can fit all my clients (8-10) for the day in the truck bed until about mid fall. then i have to stop at lunch and empty then again at the end of the day. by the time the end of fall is near i'm back to dumping once a day.

You must have a glut of lco's with leaf loaders doing this service for nothing.

yardguy28
10-24-2010, 04:56 PM
Not a good attitude for a small business man. You'd probably be better off working for someone else with that "just to get by" attitude. Some of us would like to make as much money as possible and guys like you really screw up the pricing base.



You must have a glut of lco's with leaf loaders doing this service for nothing.

it's a free country. as long as my business is providing my needs i will be staying in business.

you really have no idea what my prices are. to be honest i'm actually in the middle of the market in my area. i'm not the most expensive and i'm not the cheapest either. i actually charge very close to my friend who's in the business and he has 4 or 5 guys that work for him.

as for the LCO's with leaf loaders. there aren't very many. i've seen half a dozen leaf loaders around each season. there are 2 very large companys that have them and one "middle sized" company that i saw had one the other day and you might see a few guys who look like there solo who have them.

it's really, really hard to sell a service like that in my neck of the woods. since the city does it twice a year and if you pay taxes you are paying for that service. most people want to get the work out of the city since they paid for it.

most of the LCO's doing fall clean ups mow them up with there grass catchers and dump those in there truck beds. a few actually dump them on the curb for the city to pick up.

bmoorefield
10-24-2010, 10:21 PM
You really have to consider the amount of money your putting into your set up like Gesner pointed out. How many leaf jobs are you going to need to make back the $10,000 you have put out on equipment, insurance, labor? People are willing to pay for a service that is only once or twice a year, and if they dont want to pay, then its not worth your time to lose money doing work.
Just the other day I quoted somebody a price on leaf removal and I was turned down because she got somebody to do it for $75. For that price I dont expect that company to be in buisness for long.

mowerbrad
10-24-2010, 10:47 PM
I know its alot of money to spend on equipment for a service that would only be offered for a few weeks every year but I think it will pay off. This would be an investment in my company....I don't really need it to pay for itself in its first year (that'd be really nice though). But to have it paid off after 2 leaf seasons would be fine by me.

But like I've been saying, I still need to talk to people in my area to see if there is even a market for this type of service. Once I start talking to current customers, neighbors, friends, family, etc...I will have much better idea whether this service would be profitable for me or not.

The whole reason for me posting this on here, is to get responses from you guys...especially ones who have offered this type of service. I want to make sure that I know what I'd be getting into. I don't want to make a poor decision and regret buying $8000 worth of equipment.

I'm very dutch, so spending money doesn't come easy to me. I about had a heart attack when I wrote the check for my truck.

russ and sons
10-25-2010, 02:58 AM
a couple things you have to consider.

How much is your dump charge? How many loads can you really get in a trailer. 13 hp leaf loader is not very efficient , You are running against daylight .

For a 8x8x6 (14 cubic yards) box , i get charged $30. to $40. for dump fee. you will also wait 5 -10 minutes to wait in line to pay. , most dump trips will take at least 45 minutes to get back to work.

sometimes i only get one load in my truck. i have to charge more for those piles.

i had a 11 hp billygoat with 8 inch hose, not very fast, i have upgraded to 16 hp giant vac this year . should be alot faster and pack better.

you can,t fight daylight too much. i have installed lights for nighttime pickup. but most people don,t want to have load noises after 6 or so .

good luck,

Russ

yardguy28
10-25-2010, 07:32 AM
a couple things you have to consider.

How much is your dump charge? How many loads can you really get in a trailer. 13 hp leaf loader is not very efficient , You are running against daylight .

For a 8x8x6 (14 cubic yards) box , i get charged $30. to $40. for dump fee. you will also wait 5 -10 minutes to wait in line to pay. , most dump trips will take at least 45 minutes to get back to work.

sometimes i only get one load in my truck. i have to charge more for those piles.

i had a 11 hp billygoat with 8 inch hose, not very fast, i have upgraded to 16 hp giant vac this year . should be alot faster and pack better.

you can,t fight daylight too much. i have installed lights for nighttime pickup. but most people don,t want to have load noises after 6 or so .

good luck,

Russ

i'd say for the noise issue. as long as your within the law, don't worry about it.

noise ordance laws in my neck of the woods are 8am - 9pm, mon thru sat. and 9am - 8pm on sun.

as long as i'm within those hours i could care less what people think about me making noise.

mowerbrad
10-25-2010, 08:50 AM
a couple things you have to consider.

How much is your dump charge? How many loads can you really get in a trailer. 13 hp leaf loader is not very efficient , You are running against daylight .

For a 8x8x6 (14 cubic yards) box , i get charged $30. to $40. for dump fee. you will also wait 5 -10 minutes to wait in line to pay. , most dump trips will take at least 45 minutes to get back to work.

sometimes i only get one load in my truck. i have to charge more for those piles.

i had a 11 hp billygoat with 8 inch hose, not very fast, i have upgraded to 16 hp giant vac this year . should be alot faster and pack better.

you can,t fight daylight too much. i have installed lights for nighttime pickup. but most people don,t want to have load noises after 6 or so .

good luck,

Russ

Actually my dump site is free. I can dump as much as I want to and there is never a line. So the dump issue is not an issue. Plus the site I dump at is within 10 minutes from the majority of my accounts and service area, so it is fairly quick to get to.

I'm still not sure what leaf loader I will get. I know the 13hp won't be as efficient as an 18hp unit, but I'll jump that hurdle when I get closer.

andyslawncare
12-29-2010, 04:55 AM
Good idea. I've been thinking of enclosing a dump trailer with a leaf sucker/mulcher/reverse blower (whatever you call it), with a big hose and the motor attached to the front of the built up part of the dump trailer. Holding a hose is always easier than holding a 30 lb back pack blower, and pushing a button to dump is always easier than moving leaves twice.

Darryl G
12-29-2010, 02:44 PM
Actually my dump site is free. I can dump as much as I want to and there is never a line. So the dump issue is not an issue. Plus the site I dump at is within 10 minutes from the majority of my accounts and service area, so it is fairly quick to get to.

I'm still not sure what leaf loader I will get. I know the 13hp won't be as efficient as an 18hp unit, but I'll jump that hurdle when I get closer.

If you're gonna do this, skip the 13 HP unit. There's a world of difference between the 13 and 18 HP units, probably more due to the hose diameters than anything. Mine is the 16HP Billy Goat which the 18 replaced and even that sucks a lot slower than I'd like. I think we all picture them sucking up a huge pile of leaves in no time, but unless you've got a large tow-behind unit, that just isn't the case. Note that I don't even use mine anymore...I keep thinking maybe I'll mount it again every year and never do. I just either haul them in bulk or ground up with the mower.

mowerbrad
12-29-2010, 03:45 PM
If you're gonna do this, skip the 13 HP unit. There's a world of difference between the 13 and 18 HP units, probably more due to the hose diameters than anything. Mine is the 16HP Billy Goat which the 18 replaced and even that sucks a lot slower than I'd like. I think we all picture them sucking up a huge pile of leaves in no time, but unless you've got a large tow-behind unit, that just isn't the case. Note that I don't even use mine anymore...I keep thinking maybe I'll mount it again every year and never do. I just either haul them in bulk or ground up with the mower.

Well, I've been thinking more about this whole idea. While I think the concept is great, I think I will be waiting a little longer to pull the trigger on everything. If I bought this unit next fall or even toward the end of summer, I think I'd be trying to save some money and not get everything I should. I have decided to purchase a second mower this spring, so I really won't have enough money in my budget for a whole dump trailer/leaf loaders set up that I'd want. I'd be purchasing a smaller dump trailer and a smaller leaf loader than what I would really want/need.

I already know that I should have a leaf loader that uses at least a 10" diameter hose, 12" would be better for me.

When the time comes for me to do this, I want to do it right the first time and not have to regret buying something too small just because I didn't have the extra money in my budget at the time.

This whole thread has given me a great deal of information for when I do pull the trigger on this idea. I will know how to do it right the first time.

Darryl G
12-29-2010, 11:01 PM
I say get yourself something that dumps and take it from there...dump insert, dump trailer. Even if you don't get a leaf loader, they're quite useful and will complement leaf cleanups even with your current setup.

mowerbrad
12-29-2010, 11:58 PM
Once I can justify a dump trailer better, I will start looking into one more. I have a clue what I want as far as size goes, I would just need to have more work for it during the whole mowing season, not necessarily just in the fall.

But I think you're right, I can get a dump trailer first and use that for a while and then eventually get a leaf loader for it, should I decide to go that route.

mowerbrad
10-09-2011, 04:43 PM
So I need to bump this up again...

This year our city has stopped their curbside leaf pickup, which has me thinking again. The city announced earlier this year that they were stopping their pickup services and have no plans to bring it back. For years they offered the curbside pickup, it was for every resident within the city (over 10,000 people). Many residents have no place to go with their leaves which leaves them the option of paying for the yard waste removal from the garbage company, which requires the leaves to be bagged or in the yard waste can...no rake to the curb and be done with it.

I was approached by one of the fire fighters I work with about taking care of his leaves this fall. I have an account just down the street from his house, so he stopped by when I was there. Because he has no way of taking care of the leaves, he needs them taken away for him.

So this got me thinking again. An entire city that was used to the curbside pickup, now has to find other options to dispose of their leaves. And there is still no company in my area that offers curbside pickup, so I feel that there is an even bigger market now for this.

I have wondered about scheduling and I am thinking that I would offer the curbside pickup on certain weekends and have customers call in if they want their leaves picked up those weekends or not. This will still allow me to do my regular customers and then do the curbside pickup on the side.

One thing that I have to figure out is the pricing. I'm sure after doing this for a while, I will have a better idea of how long piles will take and how much they will fill my rig. So I should have a better idea after being in this for a while. Obviously I'd have to have a minimum price and I would have to be paid at the completion of the pile (so the client would have to either be home or leave a check for me at the door). If payment isn't received at the jobsite, no work will be performed...unless I know the people of course.

I guess, I'm just trying to get the creative juices flowing again. It probably wouldn't be until next year that I start offering this service (if I even do). But thought I'd bump it up and get some more feedback as the market has obviously changed around me.

Darryl G
10-09-2011, 04:52 PM
Sounds like an opportunity for sure. Chasing piles can be a pain though. I don't know how you feel about working late, but it's something you can do after dark...go out and do your normal route, have dinner and head out til 8 or 9pm or so. You can use portable lighting, lights on your rig or just a good headlamp. What I recommend for picking up piles that you didn't make yourself is to lay the intake on the ground and use a rake to feed it.

Just keep in mind there's a only a few weekend between when the leaves drop and when winter comes, so if this is going to be a weekend only thing I'm not sure you're going to see a return on it this season.

mowerbrad
10-09-2011, 05:05 PM
If I do this on the weekends, they would be 10-12 hour days most likely. The only reason I like weekends, is that most people are out cleaning up their lawns on Saturday and Sunday, so coming by on the weekend would mean that there is hardly any opportunity for the piles to "settle" after sitting there for a week and being rained on...so vacuuming up the leaves would be a little easier.

Throw a BP blower and a couple rakes in the truck and I should be all set.

I still have to do more market research to figure out what people would be willing to pay for a service like this. I don't want to get into this and expecting $50-$75 per pile but having customers only expecting to pay $20.

Kelly's Landscaping
10-09-2011, 05:47 PM
Personally not a fan of the idea for starters they are little bs jobs so obviously you can not run around giving estimates or your going to end up making 10-15 dollars an hour after expenses if your lucky. I own 2 20hp giant vac loaders the wear and tear from clean ups is much worse then you might think we drop 1000 plus dollars into each unit every 18-24 months and just use them for our fall and spring clean ups. The liners get eaten through the impellers wear down to nothing the hoses last but a few seasons the hose tips wear 2 inches off a year. The elbow on the tube directing the leaves into the box gets extreme wear as well. Then there are engine repairs and the environment is so nasty you can not help but get dirt in the motors.

My cost per hour to run them is over 60 dollars an hour each and after 9 years in business I do know my numbers. Now I do not know what it cost you to dump but here its 5 dollars a yard so my gmc box is 16 yards they give me a flat rate of 12 yards so 60 dollars every time I dump. Add it drive time and dumping and my vac is swing away and that has its own pain in the ass issues. And there is often a line to dump and pay so easily cost and hour each time. But if you can figure out a way to get them to sign up with out personally having to man phones or give estimates you may have something perhaps a web site where they get to see the prices and if they agree to them they request an appointment. If I were you Id do something like 75 dollars up to 25 yards of unshredded leaves and 5 dollars for each yard after that something that slides and allows them to estimate the costs. But you need a minimum price. Around here the volume of leaves can differ so much from house to house you wouldn't believe it. I got some that have no need for leaf clean ups and others that produce 400 yards on a single house.

If you really want to do this as a add on service you want a real vac and punt was right you want 40 hp plus and giant vac makes entire dumping trailer combos as big as 30 yards and 80hp. And they are designed to suck off curbs so best of luck to you your going to need it.

mowerbrad
10-09-2011, 06:26 PM
Personally not a fan of the idea for starters they are little bs jobs so obviously you can not run around giving estimates or your going to end up making 10-15 dollars an hour after expenses if your lucky. I own 2 20hp giant vac loaders the wear and tear from clean ups is much worse then you might think we drop 1000 plus dollars into each unit every 18-24 months and just use them for our fall and spring clean ups. The liners get eaten through the impellers wear down to nothing the hoses last but a few seasons the hose tips wear 2 inches off a year. The elbow on the tube directing the leaves into the box gets extreme wear as well. Then there are engine repairs and the environment is so nasty you can not help but get dirt in the motors.

My cost per hour to run them is over 60 dollars an hour each and after 9 years in business I do know my numbers. Now I do not know what it cost you to dump but here its 5 dollars a yard so my gmc box is 16 yards they give me a flat rate of 12 yards so 60 dollars every time I dump. Add it drive time and dumping and my vac is swing away and that has its own pain in the ass issues. And there is often a line to dump and pay so easily cost and hour each time. But if you can figure out a way to get them to sign up with out personally having to man phones or give estimates you may have something perhaps a web site where they get to see the prices and if they agree to them they request an appointment. If I were you Id do something like 75 dollars up to 25 yards of unshredded leaves and 5 dollars for each yard after that something that slides and allows them to estimate the costs. But you need a minimum price. Around here the volume of leaves can differ so much from house to house you wouldn't believe it. I got some that have no need for leaf clean ups and others that produce 400 yards on a single house.

If you really want to do this as a add on service you want a real vac and punt was right you want 40 hp plus and giant vac makes entire dumping trailer combos as big as 30 yards and 80hp. And they are designed to suck off curbs so best of luck to you your going to need it.

I understand costs to run these machines can get expensive, especially with larger units that get used heavily. I'm more familiar with the wear on equipment such as mowers, so I can't really say that I know exactly how much I will be spending in repairs and on wear items. I did own a 20hp billy goat truck loader a couple years ago, but I didn't really have the right set up so I ended up selling it off after using it one season.

As far as the dumping costs, I don't have any besides my drive time and fuel costs to get to my site (which is on the south side of town (about a 10-15 minute drive from the north side of town). My uncle has a blueberry farm and has several compost piles that he eventually uses on the fields, so I just dump there, its free and there is never a line, only the occasional other landscaper who may be dropping leaves out there. But either way, its free for me to dump there, so only my time and gas involved in dumping.

The amount of leaves in my area can vary quite a bit. Certain areas (typically newer developments) have very few trees but many areas have heavy amounts of leaves in the fall, especially on the east side of the city. So for the majority of city lots, I will have some idea of how many leaves they will have in the fall based upon what side of town they are on. But you are right, I can't be driving around all the time to give estimates to each customer...especially if I don't know if I will get the job or not. So I will have to develope a website where potential customers can get on to and find out prices. This way when they call, they will already know my prices for piles and will be willing to pay my prices.

Its obvious to me that I need a minimum price. This way no matter the size of the pile, I will be guaranteed a certain amount of money. So I am going to have to develope a price scale so I can figure out what I need to charge.

Two of the important things I need to figure out is the size of the trailer and the size of the loader. Its definately not going to be worth it if I only have a trailer that holds 8-10 yards. At the same time, I can't get a trailer that is so huge that I can't manuver it or tow it with my truck. I'm leaning towards something in the 20 yard range once I build the leaf box on it. And the same goes for the truck loader, I have to get something that I can afford and something that will be useable by me. I won't be able to use a tow behind unit, so I am going to be stuck having to get one that will be able to be mounted either to a hitch or to a tail gate. That means something in the 20+/- HP range. Something with at least a 10" hose as a minimum.

The big thing that I am concerned with is the shredding capabilities of some of these truck loaders. I've heard that some loaders shred better than others. Little Wonder in particular, I have heard is one of the better shredding units. If the customer's pile is roughly 8 yards, I don't want that to be taking up 8 yards in my trailer, I'd rather have it take up 2 yards (if that is even possible). I've heard of the up to 12:1 reduction ration, but I have a hard time believeing that any loader can cut down a pile that much, I'm thinking closer to 4:1 or 6:1. Obviously I want to fit the most amount of leaves into a trailer full. I don't want to do 2 jobs, each 9 yards and fill up my trailer. I'd rather get 4+ of those jobs in one trailer full...so long that the loader can actually reduce the material that much.

Kelly's Landscaping
10-09-2011, 06:52 PM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/80-hp-Diesel-Giant-Vac-Leaf-Loader-only-135-hours-/120790649160?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1faf0948

Found a real vac for you I'm tempted myself

LBA1999
10-11-2011, 09:16 PM
I've thinking a lot lately about investing in a dump trailer and leaf vac for my a new leaf clean-up rig. I use my mower now and just mow up all the leaves...works pretty well for most of my accounts but then there are some where a truck loader and dump trailer would be way better.

My main thought with this though is sucking up leaf piles for people. There are tons of people who don't want to spend $200+ for a fall clean-up, so they will do the clean-up themselves but won't have anywhere to go with all the leaves. So my thought is that the people can rake their leaves to the street or next to their driveway and then I can come by and suck them up.

Obviously the price would reflect the amount of leaves I'd be sucking up, but for say $50 (or what ever I decide on) the customer would have all their leaves sucked up and not have to pay tons of money for me to do the full clean-up. And doing this won't take too much time at each job and if I plan tight enough routes, I could get a 3 done an hour plus the time to dump.

I have a good dump site that is quick and easy to get to. I figure if I get a 6x12 dump trailer, build a leaf box that would be an extra 6' tall over the already 2' tall sides...that'd give me a 16 yard capacity.

So what do you guys think? Do you think there is any market for a service like this?
This is a great plan only get a 6x14 dump trailer and get ramps so u can haul 2 mowers in it if u need to.

andyslawncare
10-12-2011, 12:01 AM
I use an untra vac on my exmark, and still need to dump often--some have dump sites, but some of the commercial sites and smaller residential sites do not. It would be nice to know a service near me that would follow behind me the same day, or next day to remove the collected stuff from the street. For me, we do leaf removal once to 4 times per month to our accounts until Feb. I would prepare to call hundreds of LCOS before marketing the idea any other way.

russ and sons
10-12-2011, 12:50 AM
You might want to reconsider waiting till next year. Next year everyone will be calling back the guy who did there leaves this year . I would look for a used dump insert and used leaf loader. you can still get deals on them now. couple more weeks they will be commanding a higher price. my box on dump insert is 14 cy . have a 16 hp giant vac. works real good. want to upgrade to a dump trailer, but don't do enough yet to justify it . Good luck on your venture.

Russ

mowerbrad
10-12-2011, 09:45 PM
I use an untra vac on my exmark, and still need to dump often--some have dump sites, but some of the commercial sites and smaller residential sites do not. It would be nice to know a service near me that would follow behind me the same day, or next day to remove the collected stuff from the street. For me, we do leaf removal once to 4 times per month to our accounts until Feb. I would prepare to call hundreds of LCOS before marketing the idea any other way.

This may be something that I will have to look into. I do know that most guys are able to take their leaves with them and dump them at their own property or at a farmer's property. However, there are a few guys around that don't necessarily have the means to haul away large amounts of leaves, which is where I could come it.

The only problem that I see is that why wouldn't I just try and do the clean-ups myself? I could pull in more money doing the actual clean-up than only coming by to vac up the leaves. I just find it hard to leave money on the table (so to speak) and not trying to get the actual clean-up jobs if the customer decides to hire that part out.

You might want to reconsider waiting till next year. Next year everyone will be calling back the guy who did there leaves this year . I would look for a used dump insert and used leaf loader. you can still get deals on them now. couple more weeks they will be commanding a higher price. my box on dump insert is 14 cy . have a 16 hp giant vac. works real good. want to upgrade to a dump trailer, but don't do enough yet to justify it . Good luck on your venture.

Russ

I think a dump insert would make the set-up the most manuverable it could be, however it just won't work for me. I have a 6.5' bed on my truck, so already I'd have to get a smaller dump insert. On top of that, there is no way I'm putting a dump insert on my truck. I use the bed for other things and need to have it covered and secured most of the time. So that really leaves me a dump trailer as my only other option right now.

With a dump trailer I could get easily 20 yards of capacity, maybe even more depending on the trailer size. This way I'll still be able to keep my truck how I need it and be able to have even more capacity.

I would love to be able to do start this up yet this fall, but there is just no way that I could do that. I haven't advertised for this service, I have done very little market research regarding how much people will pay for this service and I haven't even placed any orders for any equipment. Even if I go out this week and find a dump trailer and get a leaf loader, I'll have to hope that they have them in stock (or wait for them to be shipped in) then I'll have to build a leaf box on the trailer, mount the leaf loader, market this to customers and then completely rework my current schedule (since I wasn't planning on this for this year). So in other words, it would be over a week before I'd have this thing up and running, where I could start doing jobs. I'd rather be well prepared and have many jobs lined up than jumping into this and only doing a few jobs.

Darryl G
10-12-2011, 10:34 PM
The only problem that I see is that why wouldn't I just try and do the clean-ups myself? I could pull in more money doing the actual clean-up than only coming by to vac up the leaves. I just find it hard to leave money on the table (so to speak) and not trying to get the actual clean-up jobs if the customer decides to hire that part out.


You can make good money sucking leaves with the right setup...on the order of $125 to $150/hr. Can you do that doing the cleanups? I'm guessing not. $60 to $75 minimum and 20 to 30 minutes per stop.

I think you could get this going this season if you wanted to. Even if you don't reach 100% of your potential this season. By next season there will likely be a lot more competition. Rig it up, put a big "you rake 'em we take 'em" sign on it and be seen out there and you'll probably have more work than you can handle. There's a void to be filled from the sounds of it.

mowerbrad
10-12-2011, 11:24 PM
You can make good money sucking leaves with the right setup...on the order of $125 to $150/hr. Can you do that doing the cleanups? I'm guessing not. $60 to $75 minimum and 20 to 30 minutes per stop.

I think you could get this going this season if you wanted to. Even if you don't reach 100% of your potential this season. By next season there will likely be a lot more competition. Rig it up, put a big "you rake 'em we take 'em" sign on it and be seen out there and you'll probably have more work than you can handle. There's a void to be filled from the sounds of it.

I guess when you look at the hourly rate, as long as I have a full schedule, I could definately make more per hour just sucking up the leaves rather than doing the full clean-up.

As much as I would like to get this going this year, that just won't happen. I'm far too cautious when it comes to stuff like this. I don't want to drop $8000-$10000 on this set up only to realize that its something that isn't worth while. For all I know, city residents won't want to pay for a service like this after having the city doing it for them from their tax dollars...maybe paying out of pocket is a little too much and the customers will just resort to the brown paper lawn bags for their stuff?

One of the biggest things that I can't seem to really figure out is the prices that I'd charge. I'm thinking having a minimum of $50 up to a certain point then $XX amount for every cubic yard after that (or something along those line). Obviously if I have a full trailer load, I want to make sure that I have brought in a certain amount of revenue. While on the topic of money, I will have to figure out how to get paid by the customers. I was thinking that the customer would have to pay me while I'm there or leave me a check if they are gone. I don't want to be sending out bills all the time if this service picks up. I can use carbon paper and just leave them a receipt so they know that I got the money and that way they have a receipt in case they needed one. Plus, this way there is less of a chance of a customer not paying me.

But this brings up a whole new problem for me...how much will a decent truck loader reduce the volume of leaves? I know Little Wonder is supposed to be pretty good at shredding and reducing the overall size and volume but I don't really know how much it is going to reduce a pile by. I would want to make sure that I get a loader that shreds well so I can fit the most leaves in one trailer load. It makes a big difference if I can fit an extra pile in each trip, would save on gas and overall earn me more per hour.

Last year this idea sort of "died out" since the city was still doing curbside pickup. Now that they aren't doing that anymore, this idea "came to life" again.

While I can for sure do this on the weekends, I can also do this a few afternoons during the week. So I'd like to think that I could get quite a few jobs done each week. At the same time, I will still need to think about my regular customers who would still be counting on me to do their properties each week.

Darryl G
10-13-2011, 01:01 AM
I don't think you're going to be able to have them leave money because you won't know how much it's going to cost. You don't want to be going around looking at every pile and giving an estimate. I would suggest you charge by time blocks with it front loaded, sort of how many service techs charge. So lets say you set a minimum $50 charge for the first 15 minutes and then $25 for every 15 minutes or part thereof after that. So if it takes you 40 minutes it's $100, dump time and fees included. Or $75 for the first half hour...most jobs should fall into that category. I have a friend in the business who bills in 6 minutes block of time (10ths of hours) after his minimum. Just some suggestions.

metro36
10-13-2011, 09:29 PM
Brad, you are talking about the same kind of setup I am building. Mine is a 6x10 10,000lb dump trailer w/ 18hp billy goat e/s vac. Mine will have 4' sides on top of the 2' trailer sides. I may make them a bit taller. I had a custom mount made up so the leaf loader hangs over the tongue. I wanted a bit bigger trailer but for some reason the dealers around here don't stock 12' trailers. Just 10' and 14'.

My town has also stopped curbside pickup. The are now requiring all residents to bag leaves in large paper bags that must be bought from the town. These will cost approx 50 cents each. I am going to offer curbside pickup. No else in my area is offering this service yet. I am planning to charge $60 for the first 15 minutes then $1 per minute after that. Most people I have talked to think this is fair as the will need at least 50 bags to pickup all their leaves. Plus they don't want to go through the frustration of bagging.

Darryl G
10-13-2011, 09:36 PM
Brad, you are talking about the same kind of setup I am building. Mine is a 6x10 10,000lb dump trailer w/ 18hp billy goat e/s vac. Mine will have 4' sides on top of the 2' trailer sides. I may make them a bit taller. I had a custom mount made up so the leaf loader hangs over the tongue. I wanted a bit bigger trailer but for some reason the dealers around here don't stock 12' trailers. Just 10' and 14'.

My town has also stopped curbside pickup. The are now requiring all residents to bag leaves in large paper bags that must be bought from the town. These will cost approx 50 cents each. I am going to offer curbside pickup. No else in my area is offering this service yet. I am planning to charge $60 for the first 15 minutes then $1 per minute after that. Most people I have talked to think this is fair as the will need at least 50 bags to pickup all their leaves. Plus they don't want to go through the frustration of bagging.

That's the kind of pricing I was talking about! I think that's the way to go. The same way most service techs bill.

metro36
10-14-2011, 09:49 AM
That's the kind of pricing I was talking about! I think that's the way to go. The same way most service techs bill.

Yeah I think its the best way to price it. It would be hard to charge by the yard because there is no easy way to measure the volume. I can just see customers arguing with my numbers. If you charge by the minute there is just less room for debate. Plus when the leaves are wet and take longer, you don't lose any money.

mowerbrad
10-14-2011, 08:42 PM
So I think I like that pricing strategy the best....it beats trying to figure out pricing based on pile size. As I said, I'll have to start asking around to see what people would think would be a reasonable price. I want a price that's going to make it worth while for me and still affordable enough for the customer to take advantage of this service.

I'm thinking an initial fee of $50 for the first 15 minutes then maybe $1/minute after that. But I'll see what people are willing to pay before settling on a price. I will not go much (if any) lower than the initial $50, afterall I'm in business to make money and not give away my services.