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View Full Version : Fall Leaf Cleanup - How I Do It


Darryl G
10-25-2010, 08:06 PM
I did an intermin fall cleanup today and took some pics to demonstrate how I do it these days. The property had last been serviced 16 days ago at which point I did a mow an initial intermim cleanup - filled the double bagger 3 times at that point.

I hear a lot of guys talking about waiting until all the leaves are down before doing a cleanup. That's not how I do it. I keep doing maintenance mowing/cleanups on all my properties at intervals from weekly to every 2 or 3 weeks. I really don't like to let the leaves sit on the lawn...unsightly and smothers it and I can't be everywhere all at once after the last leaves drop and before winter comes. This property gets a lot of leaves. There's still a lot on the trees at this point. No way I'm going to let them get all wet and matted.

The process: pre-blow leaves into area accessible to mower, grind up a bit, bag, dump to dump trailer. Sometimes I'll dump them on a tarp and drap that up. Most of the time I'll just ride the mower up to the trailer. I do portions at a time in case something breaks down or it rains. So first I did the entire front, then moved on to the back.

Well here's some pics. #1 front side yard, #2 left rear, #3 rear, #4 rear, #5 front after pre-blow with backpack blower

Darryl G
10-25-2010, 08:12 PM
#1 & 2 more front after pre-blow, #3- 5 front after cleanup with mower bagger

Green Industry Pro
10-25-2010, 08:22 PM
Sweet pics Darryl. What blowers do you use and what kind of blades do you have on your z?

Darryl G
10-25-2010, 08:22 PM
More pics. #1 another of front after cleanup with mower, #2 mower and leaves from front in trailer, #3 close up of leaves from front, #4 rear after pre-blow with backpack and 10HP wheel blower, #5 rear pile after pre-blow

Darryl G
10-25-2010, 08:31 PM
Blower is Shindaiwa EB 630 (my old one since leaves were dry - newer one has a little more power) and 10 HP Billy Goat. Mower is 2003 52 inch Lazer Z HP witht the 23 Kawi and Ultravac (got a hole in plastic housing blowing crap in my face :(

Final set of pic #1 tools used, besides the mower, #2 total amout of shredded leaves collected (about 1/2 7 x 12 trailer full, #3 me with Billy Goat holding my cam, and #4 ready to roll.

The purpose of this is to demonstrate one way to do a fall cleanup. I've done this property for several years and tried it every way there is....the way I did it today, hauling the leaves out in bulk primarly and using a leaf loader primarily. For the pile from the rear I wouldn't have minded having a leaf loader out there.

So any guesses on how long this took me and what should I charge, lol. I already know how long it took and what I'm going to charge but thought I'd give y'all something to talk about, lol.

And before anyone comments. I DIDN'T TRIM THE SHRUBS - an out of work neighbor did!

Oh, blades are gators.

unit28
10-25-2010, 08:44 PM
I'd say 2 hours ...including drive time.

Darryl G
10-25-2010, 08:50 PM
I'd say 2 hours ...including drive time.

If you can do that, you're hired. I'll even pay for your flight, lol.

Green Industry Pro
10-25-2010, 08:56 PM
How much help did you have? Was it just you or did you have a 3-4 man crew?

Darryl G
10-25-2010, 08:58 PM
Just me. No help at the moment. One 48 year old man.

Green Industry Pro
10-25-2010, 09:02 PM
Just me. No help at the moment. One 48 year old man.

Hmmm.how long did it take? hmmmmm? Btw, nice job going solo, thats a lot of work for just one guy.

Green Industry Pro
10-25-2010, 09:05 PM
I honestly dont know for sure, but without giving it much thought, I will guess 4 hours? tell me if I'm close

unit28
10-25-2010, 09:14 PM
well It looks good nuff
The turf looks thin so it may not hide the leaves well.
But normally {with good grass height} I won't blow the leaves as tight as that before getting the mower on it.

Darryl G
10-25-2010, 09:37 PM
well It looks good nuff
The turf looks thin so it may not hide the leaves well.
But normally {with good grass height} I won't blow the leaves as tight as that before getting the mower on it.

Yeah, lot of obstacles in the back and there's a hole in the lawn at the edge of the pile I needed to stay clear of, which is why I blew them that far. The turf was looking good in the front until this year. They had me skip all fert and seeding. They had a lot of expenses relating to a spring flood this year, about a week before Easter. The near rear (up to the first row of trees)usually gets cared for but the far rear is pretty much left on it's own. It's so heavily shaded that it's almost a lost cause. This is a summer home for an elderly woman and her daugther. They're heading back to Miami on Wednesday in fact.

Peter93
10-25-2010, 09:45 PM
id guess $400. i dont have that kind of equipment though. certainly no leaf loader

N.H.BOY
10-25-2010, 10:35 PM
$575 bucks and 5 1/2 hours..

STIHL GUY
10-26-2010, 12:30 AM
looks good. thats a lot of work for one person

sdk1959
10-26-2010, 01:06 AM
If you can do that, you're hired. I'll even pay for your flight, lol.

The yard looks excellent and maintained, great job Darryl.Thumbs Up Who say's us old guys can't keep at it.:weightlifter: I do leaf mulching myself on properties similar to this one but don't let the leaf layer get quite that thick before I mulch the leaves. It's good you pick the leaves up at regular intervals instead of waiting till the end of the season. Then you would need a 3-4 man crew, leaf loader, several tarps, extra blowers, etc.

Why customers and some LCO's think end of season leaf pick-up and removal is the way to go is beyond me.:dizzy: I'm guessing you get a lot of sidework because of more visits to the customer's house then if you just waited till the end of the season for pick-up and removal. I know I do.

Where do you dump your leaves? Pay a dump fee?

Leaf management= Today's Smart Thinking:cool2:

End of Season Pick-up and Removal = 1950's Thinking:hammerhead:

jdutcher003
10-26-2010, 01:31 AM
probably about 6 hours and around $500. about 75 an hour is my guess

cheapcuts1
10-26-2010, 07:22 AM
4 hrs / $375

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 09:08 AM
Ok. A little under 4 hours. Here's the breakdown. Set up & front yard 1 hour and 20 minutes. Back pre-blow 1 hour. Back grind and pick up leaves & load up 1 hour and 20 minutes. Total time on site with talking to the customer twice, breaks and taking pics 3 hours and 50 minutes. I was busting it at a pretty good pace because I didn't get there until after 2:00 pm and knew that daylight would be an issue.

I was only going to bill it out at $250. This is a long time elderly customer (probably pushing 90 - her daughter is retired) who has been very good to me over the years so I discount it. Usually would be in the $300 range without discount. There will still be another cleanup to come at least this magnitude. Will get the acorns and hickory nuts and some sticks laying around the back at that point.

Am I giving this away at $250?

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 09:11 AM
The yard looks excellent and maintained, great job Darryl.Thumbs Up Who say's us old guys can't keep at it.:weightlifter: I do leaf mulching myself on properties similar to this one but don't let the leaf layer get quite that thick before I mulch the leaves. It's good you pick the leaves up at regular intervals instead of waiting till the end of the season. Then you would need a 3-4 man crew, leaf loader, several tarps, extra blowers, etc.

Why customers and some LCO's think end of season leaf pick-up and removal is the way to go is beyond me.:dizzy: I'm guessing you get a lot of sidework because of more visits to the customer's house then if you just waited till the end of the season for pick-up and removal. I know I do.

Where do you dump your leaves? Pay a dump fee?

Leaf management= Today's Smart Thinking:cool2:

End of Season Pick-up and Removal = 1950's Thinking:hammerhead:

I have a spot for leaves on my property so no dump fee. I can dump at the town recycling center for free too. And thanks for the compliments. I just do the mowing and cleanups on this property. Basically anything turf related.

Mowbizz
10-26-2010, 11:36 AM
In the picture with the long, deep pile of leaves, what happened to those?
I can't imagine you're driving your mower through that pile to mulch them up...!
That's how I make my piles (a little closer to the street) for my leaf loader to suck them up...that pile would take about 15-20 minutes to suck up...counting moving the trailer along to where the hose will reach the next batch...

stan the man
10-26-2010, 11:42 AM
In the picture with the long, deep pile of leaves, what happened to those?
I can't imagine you're driving your mower through that pile to mulch them up...!
That's how I make my piles (a little closer to the street) for my leaf loader to suck them up...that pile would take about 15-20 minutes to suck up...counting moving the trailer along to where the hose will reach the next batch...

i was thinking same thing get them near the road or driveway and my vacuum suck them up.

punt66
10-26-2010, 11:44 AM
Ok. A little under 4 hours. Here's the breakdown. Set up & front yard 1 hour and 20 minutes. Back pre-blow 1 hour. Back grind and pick up leaves & load up 1 hour and 20 minutes. Total time on site with talking to the customer twice, breaks and taking pics 3 hours and 50 minutes. I was busting it at a pretty good pace because I didn't get there until after 2:00 pm and knew that daylight would be an issue.

I was only going to bill it out at $250. This is a long time elderly customer (probably pushing 90 - her daughter is retired) who has been very good to me over the years so I discount it. Usually would be in the $300 range without discount. There will still be another cleanup to come at least this magnitude. Will get the acorns and hickory nuts and some sticks laying around the back at that point.

Am I giving this away at $250?

$250 for the whole fall cleanup or for tha 1 time service. Your cleaning her yard 3 times for $250? Seems like a lot of hours for that small property.

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 12:08 PM
Yeah I did grind them up. Like I said, wouldn't have minded having a leaf loader out there for that one but mine is in the shed and didn't want to have to wait for my buddy to suck them up. I blew some onto a tarp with the mower (dscharge onto it) and dragged that up and the rest in the mower bagger. I have backed down there before with the trailer both with and without a leaf loader.

The $250 is just for this one service.

93Chevy
10-26-2010, 12:15 PM
OMG why don't you just mulch!!??? There are way more benefits to mulching than bagging. I could mulch 10x that many leaves and still leave it looking better!!!

Just kidding man. Looks good. Do you experience a lot of blowout with your ultravac stystem, especially where the vac unit attaches to the deck?

punt66
10-26-2010, 12:17 PM
Yeah I did grind them up. Like I said, wouldn't have minded having a leaf loader out there for that one but mine is in the shed and didn't want to have to wait for my buddy to suck them up. I blew some onto a tarp with the mower (dscharge onto it) and dragged that up and the rest in the mower bagger. I have backed down there before with the trailer both with and without a leaf loader.

The $250 is just for this one service.

so that little house will cost her how much total for leaf cleanup?

stan the man
10-26-2010, 12:31 PM
great job i wish the places i do was that small you are in and out you blow some onto a tarp with the mower how did you do that

Brad Ent
10-26-2010, 01:32 PM
Darryl,
Nice work, but you missed a few on the roof.
My initial guess was 2.5 Hrs solo.
Your machine does a great job of grinding up the leaves, I would have expected to see much larger volume of leaves in the trailer.
We have experimented with different methods to extract leaves and clean-up.
I'm not convinced that mulching and bagging is ideal for medium to heavy ground cover (as shown in these photos).
Blow, tarp, drag and vac seems to go faster for us.
Most of our customers want one time clean-up.
What county do you operate in??

sdk1959
10-26-2010, 05:44 PM
so that little house will cost her how much total for leaf cleanup?

Darryl will probably do 3 visits for $250.00 each or $750.00 total. If he did a end of season fall leaf clean-up he would need at least a 3 man crew, mandatory leaf loader, extra blowers for his crew, deal with daylight and scheduling constraints, and have to charge the customer at least $1000.00 :hammerhead:

By doing it in several visits during the season the yard looks maintained, not crap, less headaches with easier scheduling, no crew to hire and manage.:dizzy:

True, he might average more $$ per hour doing a one time end of season clean-up because he is making money off his crew's labor but that's a one shot deal, Darryl will put more money in his pocket working solo doing several leaf clean-ups at the same property.Thumbs Up

cheapcuts1
10-26-2010, 06:46 PM
$1000 bucks , lmao. You have to be kidding ? CT is not the hamptons . If u can get it, go for it .

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 07:51 PM
so that little house will cost her how much total for leaf cleanup?

Blowout right front corner but better not with an anti-blowout baffle thingy. I end up using reverse sometimes, then it doesn't. And I will mulch some but the back part of that lawn has so many obstacles and a good bit of bare dirt.

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 07:53 PM
so that little house will cost her how much total for leaf cleanup?

Probably around $600 total. It gets a lot of leaves! I have a pic of a pile from a few years back I'll try to dig up.

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 07:57 PM
great job i wish the places i do was that small you are in and out you blow some onto a tarp with the mower how did you do that

Like this...this is the pile after I ground it up and before I started hauling it off. Just don't get too close to the tarp...yes I know from experience, rofl.

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 08:16 PM
Here are the piles from a few years ago. Used a leaf loader and 6 x 10 dump trailer. 3 loads if I recall. Not sure if this was a one time cleanup or what. Probably just the final but not sure.

And I'm down in lower Middlesex county.

punt66
10-26-2010, 08:25 PM
Darryl will probably do 3 visits for $250.00 each or $750.00 total. If he did a end of season fall leaf clean-up he would need at least a 3 man crew, mandatory leaf loader, extra blowers for his crew, deal with daylight and scheduling constraints, and have to charge the customer at least $1000.00 :hammerhead:

By doing it in several visits during the season the yard looks maintained, not crap, less headaches with easier scheduling, no crew to hire and manage.:dizzy:

True, he might average more $$ per hour doing a one time end of season clean-up because he is making money off his crew's labor but that's a one shot deal, Darryl will put more money in his pocket working solo doing several leaf clean-ups at the same property.Thumbs Up

hahah you guys are nuts.

stan the man
10-26-2010, 08:26 PM
Here are the piles from a few years ago. Used a leaf loader and 6 x 10 dump trailer. 3 loads if I recall. Not sure if this was a one time cleanup or what. Probably just the final but not sure.

And I'm down in lower Middlesex county.

good pile that no 50.00 load to me lol looks like 100.00

punt66
10-26-2010, 08:30 PM
Probably around $600 total. It gets a lot of leaves! I have a pic of a pile from a few years back I'll try to dig up.

That is an insane amount of money for a fall cleanup and that small property. It shouldnt take you that long. People would never go for your type of service here. I also stay on top of the leaves every month by quickly running around and blowing bases of trees and quicky blowing beds into the lawn and then cut and vac the leaves up. The way you do it by blowing into piles like that is slowing you down. The best method with heavy leaf cover is to immedietly start cutting and sucking up the leaves and grab as much as you can. Then blow the edhes into the open lawn and do a final mow with youe vac. That way your not dealing with big piles.

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 08:35 PM
Just wanted add a few things. Being solo, I've had to pick a setup that works the best for a majority of my accounts. I've tried using a leaf loader with my dump trailer and sometimes it's just such a pain to get all the leaves to where I can get at them. But the bigger problem is I can't bring my mower(s) along. I like to do a final mow and pickup by bagging with the mower. It's a lot faster than trying to scour things perfectly clean with blowers in my experience. And I want to do a final mow and stripe and get the place looking good. I've thought about getting a dump insert for my truck but guys I know with that setup fill up so fast and it's a pain to have to unhitch all the time to dump. So this is what works best for me for most of my accounts. I have a friend that I sub leaf loader work to if I need to.

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 08:44 PM
That is an insane amount of money for a fall cleanup and that small property. It shouldnt take you that long. People would never go for your type of service here. I also stay on top of the leaves every month by quickly running around and blowing bases of trees and quicky blowing beds into the lawn and then cut and vac the leaves up. The way you do it by blowing into piles like that is slowing you down. The best method with heavy leaf cover is to immedietly start cutting and sucking up the leaves and grab as much as you can. Then blow the edhes into the open lawn and do a final mow with youe vac. That way your not dealing with big piles.

Dude, I was just there 16 days before. This was a maintenace cleanup. I get barrel and barrels of hickory nuts and husks too. The way you describe is how I do most accounts. But for this one, because of the bare dirt and uneven ground, roots, rocks, holes etc. etc. it's just too much of a pain so I blow the back to an open area. But I hear you. What i do is start bagging and let the bagger fill up and then just keep going and grind up an area. Then dump and unclog the bagger and pick up what I just ground up and then let it fill and plug and grind ahead a bit more.

I've done this property for several years and like I said, about every way you could imagine. Look how many leaves are still on the trees. Some of them haven't even started to drop yet. There's a big Sycamore out front that drops a ton of leaves the size of rubarb leaves, lol. This is already my second cleanup, albeit the first one was pretty minor.

StihlBR600
10-26-2010, 08:46 PM
Id say he did it on 3.5 hours. Do they gator blades make a diiference in how much you can fit in the bagger?

stan the man
10-26-2010, 08:49 PM
Just wanted add a few things. Being solo, I've had to pick a setup that works the best for a majority of my accounts. I've tried using a leaf loader with my dump trailer and sometimes it's just such a pain to get all the leaves to where I can get at them. But the bigger problem is I can't bring my mower(s) along. I like to do a final mow and pickup by bagging with the mower. It's a lot faster than trying to scour things perfectly clean with blowers in my experience. And I want to do a final mow and stripe and get the place looking good. I've thought about getting a dump insert for my truck but guys I know with that setup fill up so fast and it's a pain to have to unhitch all the time to dump. So this is what works best for me for most of my accounts. I have a friend that I sub leaf loader work to if I need to.

i understand everyone works different ways.that is why i have my vacuum and box on the back of my truck. so i can haul my trailer and mowers if i working by myself. good job

sdk1959
10-26-2010, 09:01 PM
That is an insane amount of money for a fall cleanup and that small property. It shouldn't take you that long. People would never go for your type of service here. I also stay on top of the leaves every month by quickly running around and blowing bases of trees and quickly blowing beds into the lawn and then cut and vac the leaves up. The way you do it by blowing into piles like that is slowing you down. The best method with heavy leaf cover is to immediately start cutting and sucking up the leaves and grab as much as you can. Then blow the edhes into the open lawn and do a final mow with your vac. That way your not dealing with big piles.

I agree, moving large leaf piles is more time consuming, more resistance, plus your moving the leaves a longer distance to make the big piles.

I do what you do but I mulch them and do more visits at a property (every 2-3 weeks) but for a lesser amount of money per visit. The one property I mulch the leaves at is almost a acre, I do 6 visits @ $85.00 a visit which comes to $510.00 total. They paid someone else $750.00 in 2008 for a end of season fall clean-up, so they save about a third of the cost and the yard looks maintained for all of Fall.

I do collect the leaves on one property though, but it's small and I can dump the leaves on-site as I don't haul away leaves.

Darryl G
10-26-2010, 09:55 PM
You really don't want to be bagging or mulching in the far portions of that back yard. It's pretty bare. You'd have more dirt than leaves in your bagger, lol.

As far as the pics I put up with the bigger piles that I vac'd out. That was a one time cleanup back in 2006 during the 2nd week of November. Not quite a one time... I had done a mow on Oct 5th and got 5 bags of leaves/grass. The cost for the November cleanup was $560 and it was 3 loads in the 6 x 10 dump trailer -one in front and 2 in back, but the second one wasn't a full load. One 60 gallon barrel of nuts.

BTW - The front lawn and the near portions of the rear yard were slit seeded in the spring of 2006. Lesco Suburban sun & shade seed - Ryegrass/Creeping Red Fesque/Bluegrass blend. I didn't realize it had been that long ago.

jbell36
10-27-2010, 12:49 AM
damn darryl, those leaves are chewed up, you fit quite a bit of volume in that trailer...our trac-vac can get close to that when we are mowing with it, not just sucking up the leaves with the hose, but still not as ground up as those...

bare spot
10-27-2010, 01:23 AM
Like this...this is the pile after I ground it up and before I started hauling it off. Just don't get too close to the tarp...yes I know from experience, rofl.

interesting looking tarp, 2 different colors and rope or tie downs pre-installed (if so didn't know something like that existed), looks canvas. btw nice cleanup, pretty much do the same with most cust.'s, been dealing with a lot of wind last two wks.

Darryl G
10-27-2010, 01:24 AM
Yeah, well I grind them up that fine partly for personal reasons. The finer they're ground up the faster they break down in my compost pile and the sooner I can get them in the veggie garden, lol.

NJemerald
10-27-2010, 04:16 AM
While mulching is a great space saver, we vac our leaves for off site clients. "Dry," whole leaves load much faster and with alot less mess! Trying to mulch and then vac leaves wet... fagetaboutit!
From the looks of the pics/property size (1/2 acre!?) We would have a 3 man crew come in and blown/pushed/tarped the leaves from the rear & sides to the front and vac'd up, then a mowing, in about 2 hrs for about the same price. Dump Fees not included.
As far as guys talking weekly/bi monthly visits... Come on... every company is different... # of clients, size of accounts, # of crews, ppl on the crew,
WEATHER and what client will PAY FOR!!!... lol
We tell clients we shoot for 3 visits between the end of Oct thru Dec... sometimes more, sometimes less, mostly depending on the last two factors.

Darryl G
10-27-2010, 09:57 AM
Yes about 1/2 acre and yes, picking up mulched wet leaves is like trying to pick up wet cardboard. I once ground up all the leaves on a yard only to have it rain on them while I was in progress...what a freakin mess! Picking them up wet with the mower bagger without grinding them isn't too bad though. Less than ideal but it can be done.

On this property, I've done it the way I showed here, hauled them out in bulk and used a leaf vac. The funny thing is that it all turns about to be the same amount of time and money no matter how I do it.

Darryl G
10-27-2010, 10:06 AM
interesting looking tarp, 2 different colors and rope or tie downs pre-installed (if so didn't know something like that existed), looks canvas. btw nice cleanup, pretty much do the same with most cust.'s, been dealing with a lot of wind last two wks.

That's a 10 x 12 cordura nylon tarp, a.k.a 1000 Denier. Got it from Northern Tools years back as a factory second. I like them better than canvas, which is what I used to use. Much more durable, lighter and doesn't weigh a ton when wet and folds up more compact. This may sound weird, but a lot of factory sewing is done by blind people, so of course they can't tell the difference in the color of materials. I like that it's two colored so that I can tell which way it's oriented easily. I installed the ropes through the factory-installed grommets. Notice one rope is longer so that I can run it through the other handles and make a bundle out of it and tie it to the mower to drag it if I want.

bare spot
10-27-2010, 09:48 PM
That's a 10 x 12 cordura nylon tarp, a.k.a 1000 Denier. Got it from Northern Tools years back as a factory second. I like them better than canvas, which is what I used to use. Much more durable, lighter and doesn't weigh a ton when wet and folds up more compact. This may sound weird, but a lot of factory sewing is done by blind people, so of course they can't tell the difference in the color of materials. I like that it's two colored so that I can tell which way it's oriented easily. I installed the ropes through the factory-installed grommets. Notice one rope is longer so that I can run it through the other handles and make a bundle out of it and tie it to the mower to drag it if I want.

nice, sounds and looks good. always find myself using them a lot.

Green Industry Pro
11-05-2010, 05:52 PM
Yeah, well I grind them up that fine partly for personal reasons. The finer they're ground up the faster they break down in my compost pile and the sooner I can get them in the veggie garden, lol.

Nice! Idk if the "veggie garden" part was just play or if you really have one....but I personally have one..and I think its a good idea .

turtle
11-06-2010, 12:01 AM
That is an insane amount of money for a fall cleanup and that small property. It shouldnt take you that long. People would never go for your type of service here. I also stay on top of the leaves every month by quickly running around and blowing bases of trees and quicky blowing beds into the lawn and then cut and vac the leaves up. The way you do it by blowing into piles like that is slowing you down. The best method with heavy leaf cover is to immedietly start cutting and sucking up the leaves and grab as much as you can. Then blow the edhes into the open lawn and do a final mow with youe vac. That way your not dealing with big piles.

You would be surprised what people will pay. I've cut 4 acre properties for $500 a cut. I think alot of guys don't realize how much others are getting for leaf cleanups and cut their prices out of ignorance.

punt66
11-06-2010, 09:02 AM
You would be surprised what people will pay. I've cut 4 acre properties for $500 a cut. I think alot of guys don't realize how much others are getting for leaf cleanups and cut their prices out of ignorance.

i can cut a 4 acre property in less then 2 hours. $500 a cut? Doubt it.

sdk1959
11-06-2010, 09:16 AM
i can cut a 4 acre property in less then 2 hours. $500 a cut? Doubt it.

You don't know the details of the lot he's cutting. It may have a fence, pool, a lot of trees, beds and shrubs to trim around as well as a lot of edging to be done. It may take him all day to cut it working alone because of these things.

Darryl G
11-06-2010, 12:31 PM
Yeah, the veggie garden is real. Mostly my wife's thing but I do the heavy work. Gotta plant the garlic this weekend.

turtle
11-06-2010, 10:24 PM
i can cut a 4 acre property in less then 2 hours. $500 a cut? Doubt it.

It was a 4 acre cemetary. 2 guys on 48" walkbehinds with sulkys. We usually took between 4-6 hours and weedwacked every second or third visit.

Barefoot James
11-06-2010, 11:38 PM
Question - Why not just drive the mower over the entire property and suck them up with the leaf collection system? Why the piles and tarps and protable blower stuff. I can see the back pack blower to get them off the sides of the house, trees, landscape stuff but doesn't the leaf collection system suck up leafs and then dum in the trailer why have this expensive system at all.

We do 2 high end properties that are 20K each. One has woods next to it and we blow them to a common area mulch them up real good and blow them in the woods on the woods side - the other side we blow thme to the drive and mulch them up real good (dust almost) and suck them up with a Billy Goat lawn vac and dump them in the woods. You could do this on one side if they would move the car.

The other property we blow them to the drive or street and gring them up and suck them up and bag them and leave them for pick up. In Back we blow them to drive grind and suck them up the other side by pool (about 4K) we suck them straight up with Billy.Billy.Billy - love the Billy.

We are a two man crew and I'm 49 soon to be 50 and we do both properties in about 2 hours. We do each property EVERY week but we have had entire grass coverage by leafs and have some really big trees here in KY too. Based on your statements I'm glad I never invested in a leaf collection system.

We charge about the same. $250 is a good number here too for quality work. But with that collection system I would think you could do it solo in a few hours but if you have to blow them why have the collection system - this is my question.

Barefoot James
11-06-2010, 11:52 PM
Question - Why not just drive the mower over the entire property and suck them up with the leaf collection system? Why the piles and tarps and portable blower stuff.? I can see the back pack blower to get them off the sides of the house, trees, landscape stuff but doesn't the leaf collection system suck up leafs and then dump in the trailer, why have this expensive system at all?

We do 2 high end properties that are 20K each - 25 other high end properties too but smaller (avg about 8K). One has woods next to it and we blow them to a common area mulch them up real good and blow them in the woods on the woods side - the other side we blow them to the drive and mulch them up real good (dust almost) and suck them up with a Billy Goat lawn vac and dump them in the woods. You could do this on one side if they would move the car. I use a Wright 52 Stander (love the Wright) and on the dirve side our pile is about 4 ft high and 20 ft in diameter (maple/oak leaves) from about 10 trees on that side. I can go back words with the Wright around the edge of the pile (dusty but very cool) and it takes less than 5 mins to reduce the pile to dust literally about an inch thick and we do two bags with the Billy - take the bag off set it on the front of the Wright to the woods & dump. I have a mulch blade on the Wright (no clue what type but it is over 5 years old and works great - leave it on full time) I really need to do a you tube video of this process of driving the Wright around back words to show the speed and efficency it blows peoples minds!

The other property we blow them to the drive or street and grind them up and suck them up and bag them and leave them for pick up. In Back we blow them to drive grind and suck them up the other side by pool (area about 4K) we suck them straight up with Billy.Billy.Billy - love the Billy.

We specialize in turf grass, seeding, seeding and did I say seeding we have the best grass accounts in Louisville, so good that I will be devoting 100% efforts to this and subing out all our full service mowing accounts in 2011. Getting a Mulch Mule (mainly for compost not mulch - wrap your minds around that) - more on that later - another thread.

We are a two man crew and I'm 49 soon to be 50 and we do both properties in about 2 hours each. We do each property EVERY week but we have entire grass coverage by leafs and have some really big trees here in KY too. Based on your statements I'm glad I never invested in a leaf collection system.

We charge about the same. $250 is a good number here too for quality work. But with that collection system I would think you could do it solo in a few hours but if you have to blow them why have the collection system - this is my question.

Darryl G
11-07-2010, 12:02 AM
James. That's what I do on the front and on most properties, pick up with the bagger, usually after grinding them up a bit. The back of this one has a lot of obstacles and bare dirt that doesn't show all that well in the pictures and a number of "machine killers" that I really dont' want to risk running over. I'll be back there this coming week and I'll take some pictures that show it better. I don't have my leaf vac mounted this year and the guy I use to sub my vac jobs out to didn't have his mounted yet either. Like I said earlier, I've tried this property about every way there is and it all works about to be about the same no matter how I do it.

Barefoot James
11-07-2010, 12:29 AM
Still does not make sense - like in your pictures you show a drive with a car in it. To the left you show before, during and after pics. Looks to me like in the after pic you got turf but in the during pic you have piles (blowing leafs with blowers) WHY can't you just drive your mower with that nice looking leaf collection system over it and dump???:confused:

Darryl G
11-07-2010, 01:58 AM
Ok, next time I'll just run over all the rocks and roots and beds and sticks and not worry about all the areas I can't get the mower and just leave the blowers in the truck. :p

Barefoot James
11-07-2010, 03:49 PM
You still have not answered the question - if you drive the mower (with leaf collection system) over the TURF area (not the roots and planters and fence and house and...) the TURF doesn't the mower pick up a MAJORITY of the leafs. So if it does - then blowing out the rest from the roots and beds and... with the blowers, would make this job easier would it not? Don't you mow this property all summer? the MAIN areas are turf so WHY CAN'T YOU just suck up the leafs with that awesome mower and then the piles would be 90% smaller to clean up.:confused: Remember I'm an old guy too worked on golf courses since I was 14, not trying to be a jerk about this but it seems this is going in circles and I'm... :confused: by your methods.

Darryl G
11-07-2010, 06:03 PM
I started to explain last nite but it was late and it gets kind of complicated, thus the smart ass remarks. Basically there were sticks all over the place, there are a lot of obstacles, the old lady don't like dust near the car and house and by the time I blew things away from the obstacles in those 2 central front lawn areas, I decided to just blow them over to the one area that's more open to pick up. Otherwise I would have had to blow things again and risk running over sticks. I agree that often it's easiest to just pick things up directly, but in this case it was my decision based on the conditions present at the time and my knowledge of my customer to blow those 2 small front lawn areas to the larger one and pick up there. Likewise, to blow the rear area clear of the bare dirt and obstacles and pick up in one area.

I don't know if you've ever used the Ultravac, but it gives a good bit of blowout out the right front corner near the unit, even with the anti-blowout baffle installed. At least with high lift gators on it does. Thus, it's not very good for cleaning up leaves in tight areas.

Barefoot James
11-07-2010, 06:14 PM
So the walkers, exmarks and ventrac systems would be the way to go if you had to do it all over again?

Darryl G
11-07-2010, 06:32 PM
Well, I like the Ultravac on the Exmark but it does not do as good of a job vaccing up leaves as a Waker or a Peco vac on an Exmark. Those are the only systems I have any direct knowledge of. I've only operated the Exmark with with the Ultravac but I've seen guys operating Walkers and Peco vacs on Lazers.

Running low lift blades does cut down on the blowout, but they don't shred as well as the Gators. Keep in mind that I have an older (2003) Lazer Z HP with the Trivantage deck and the turf on this lawn isn't very dense. Other newer mowers and/or decks may be better. And my setup is better on more dense turf. But overall I'm happy with the Exmark system. Running backwards all but elminates blowout BTW, and I will run backwards sometimes when picking up leaves, where practical.

THEGOLDPRO
11-07-2010, 06:53 PM
we could do that entire property in 1.5- 2 hours max. and from the looks of it you could lose most if not all of the leaves in the woods behind the house. i would likely only charge 300-350 for the entire job.

Darryl G
11-07-2010, 07:52 PM
No onsite disposal here. They do not own the wooded areas and I don't dump leaves on the neighbors property. I do have a lot of properties where I can blow to the woods and/or have a pile I can dump to. These are 2+ acre properties where there is typically a wooded buffer between lots or an undeveloped wooded area to the rear. Love them!

Tell you what, since you can do it that cheap and you're in CT (small state and can't be that far away) I'll sub you on it and pocket the profit. Deal? :)

Actually I'll likely be back out there this week and will try to take some more pics.

THEGOLDPRO
11-07-2010, 09:10 PM
thats fine with me, we have a leaf truck that would suck those piles with no problem :)

Fresh_Cut
11-08-2010, 09:51 PM
Well, I like the Ultravac on the Exmark but it does not do as good of a job vaccing up leaves as a Waker or a Peco vac on an Exmark. Those are the only systems I have any direct knowledge of. I've only operated the Exmark with with the Ultravac but I've seen guys operating Walkers and Peco vacs on Lazers.

Running low lift blades does cut down on the blowout, but they don't shred as well as the Gators. Keep in mind that I have an older (2003) Lazer Z HP with the Trivantage deck and the turf on this lawn isn't very dense. Other newer mowers and/or decks may be better. And my setup is better on more dense turf. But overall I'm happy with the Exmark system. Running backwards all but elminates blowout BTW, and I will run backwards sometimes when picking up leaves, where practical.

I have almost the exact same mower, 2003 eXmark Lazer Z 52" with the ultracut deck.

One thing I noticed is less blowout with the exmark wavy mulch blades as opposed to the Gator blades. The same goes for my 2003 Turf Tracer HP 36", little to no blowout when I switched from the Gator blades to the wavy mulching blades. Both mowers have the mulching kit installed.

Also increases suction on both sides of the mower. Give it a try.

Green Industry Pro
11-13-2010, 01:27 AM
Yeah, the veggie garden is real. Mostly my wife's thing but I do the heavy work. Gotta plant the garlic this weekend.

Sweet! Send some down here lol

normower
11-13-2010, 07:57 PM
Looks like an efficient and well thought out process for your operation.
Posted via Mobile Device

Darryl G
11-13-2010, 09:34 PM
I was there again today. Most of the leaves are down. I took some more pics but left the camera out in my truck. Maybe I'll grab it and download them later. I thought about the input you guys had and it's really not practical to pick up the leaves from a lot of the areas with the mower without blowing them to an open area. I even talked to the next door neighbor about it. He's a long time employee of a major landscape operation in the area and he agreed with my methods. If it weren't for all the rocks, roots, trees and other obstacles as well as areas where the mower just won't fit, it would be easier.

Darryl G
11-13-2010, 10:03 PM
Ok. First Pic. So for you guys that say I should pick up the leaves directly with the mower. How you gonna do that here in this small front lawn area? This is what it looks like after I blew out the beds. I can't even fit the mower between the bed and the tree and if I put the deck down to cutting height I'm just gonna plow them and if I raise it up they're just gonna blow out all over the place. So I blew them to a more open area.

Ok, now for the back. I can't get the mower in that back corner at all so I have to blow that out. By the time I do that, get all the leaves from under the shrubs and along the wall (there's more against the wall than it looks like) I've got some pretty decent sized piles. There are rocks and roots and stumps and other obstacles all over there. I try to remember where obstacles are but I not going to take a chance of missing one. Just not somewhere I'm gonna try running my mower if I can't see the ground....it's like running a mower in a mine field. So I just blow the leaves to a "safe" area for pickup with the mower.

MLAWCARE
11-14-2010, 01:59 AM
You really don't want to be bagging or mulching in the far portions of that back yard. It's pretty bare. You'd have more dirt than leaves in your bagger, lol.

As far as the pics I put up with the bigger piles that I vac'd out. That was a one time cleanup back in 2006 during the 2nd week of November. Not quite a one time... I had done a mow on Oct 5th and got 5 bags of leaves/grass. The cost for the November cleanup was $560 and it was 3 loads in the 6 x 10 dump trailer -one in front and 2 in back, but the second one wasn't a full load. One 60 gallon barrel of nuts.

BTW - The front lawn and the near portions of the rear yard were slit seeded in the spring of 2006. Lesco Suburban sun & shade seed - Ryegrass/Creeping Red Fesque/Bluegrass blend. I didn't realize it had been that long ago.

Is there any easy or good way of getting nuts and acorns up? I end up blowing them (which is time consuming) to like a driveway or sideway then take a shovel to pick them up.

Darryl G
11-14-2010, 09:18 AM
Is there any easy or good way of getting nuts and acorns up? I end up blowing them (which is time consuming) to like a driveway or sideway then take a shovel to pick them up.

I either blow or use my power broom. Power broom works great but can be time consuming and tiring for large areas. I use mine upside down a lot. It doesn't work as aggressively that way but I prefer it.

nepatsfan
11-14-2010, 09:58 AM
You still have not answered the question - if you drive the mower (with leaf collection system) over the TURF area (not the roots and planters and fence and house and...) the TURF doesn't the mower pick up a MAJORITY of the leafs. So if it does - then blowing out the rest from the roots and beds and... with the blowers, would make this job easier would it not? Don't you mow this property all summer? the MAIN areas are turf so WHY CAN'T YOU just suck up the leafs with that awesome mower and then the piles would be 90% smaller to clean up.:confused: Remember I'm an old guy too worked on golf courses since I was 14, not trying to be a jerk about this but it seems this is going in circles and I'm... :confused: by your methods.
When you have that many leaves it takes longer to vac them up because the chute will clog constantly.

MLAWCARE
11-14-2010, 10:32 AM
When you have that many leaves it takes longer to vac them up because the chute will clog constantly.

I have yet to see my chute clog unless the bags are already full and in that case there is no where for them to go.

nepatsfan
11-14-2010, 10:52 AM
I have yet to see my chute clog unless the bags are already full and in that case there is no where for them to go.

maybe you dont get as many leaves as we do in new england. Not my first rodeo. I would love it if we could just ride around and vac them up...it just doesn't work with a lot of leaves and takes much longer.

topsites
11-14-2010, 12:38 PM
I don't have a problem doing leaves, my problem is doing leaves for folks who think I'll do them
for something between $5 and $10 an hour, with roughly the same equipment used in this thread.

It has gotten so that when most folks ask me about leaves, my answer goes like this:

In nine years of doing yard work I have learned of so many ways of doing them...
Unfortunately, none of them are easy.

But it's true, most of the problem stems from the balking, the hemming and the hawing,
the fact remains that if leaves are to get cleaned up, someone has to get down and do them.
You want me to take care of the leaves, I won't rip you off, matter of fact I don't charge much at all,
but I am going to get paid what it costs for me to do them.

Oddly enough, once I have said that most folks are right back to the hemming and the hawing.
Oh well, I guess such is life.

Is there any easy or good way of getting nuts and acorns up? I end up blowing them (which is time consuming) to like a driveway or sideway then take a shovel to pick them up.

That, unfortunately, is the easiest way I have found.
The more powerful the blower, the better.
On certain surfaces I find my 10hp Billy goat push blower extremely useful.
And, a larger 8-10 cubic foot wheelbarrow is rather helpful as well.

Darryl G
11-14-2010, 06:19 PM
Yeah, I love my 10HP Billy Goat too. The operator controlled discharge is a really nice feature. Mine is down though. The coupling that holds the impeller on the shaft actually broke. I had to shuffle my schedule around a little bit because of it. I go with 60 gallon barrels rather than a wheelbarrow. I find that a short handled steel spring rake (I just use one with a broken handle) and a grain shovel are good for picking up the nuts and twigs and stuff.

turtle
11-14-2010, 06:54 PM
Funny everyone is talking about ways to pick up nuts. i saw the perfect answer at a rental place a few weeks ago try thishttp://baganut.com

Darryl G
11-14-2010, 07:01 PM
Cool but I need a different one for large acorns, small acorns, black walnuts, large hickory and small hickory. Cool though.

THEGOLDPRO
11-14-2010, 07:15 PM
thats pretty sweet, i might just buy one of those one day.

nepatsfan
11-14-2010, 07:19 PM
thats pretty sweet, i might just buy one of those one day.

I was thinking the same thing. I would like to see it in live action first though. Why do you need a different one for every type of nut? I wonder if anyone has actually used one. If so how bout some feedback.

bradseabridge
11-19-2010, 01:36 PM
I would only charge like $150-$200 for that yard, but all my equipment is paid for.

93Chevy
11-19-2010, 07:42 PM
I would only charge like $150-$200 for that yard, but all my equipment is paid for.

LOL, what does that have to do with anything? Darryl said his mower was an '03. I'm sure it's paid off by now.

Additionally, only a complete ignoramus would charge more if their equipment wasn't fully paid for. It's not the customer's fault if the equipment isn't paid for.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
11-19-2010, 09:49 PM
darryl will probably do 3 visits for $250.00 each or $750.00 total. If he did a end of season fall leaf clean-up he would need at least a 3 man crew, mandatory leaf loader, extra blowers for his crew, deal with daylight and scheduling constraints, and have to charge the customer at least $1000.00 :hammerhead:

By doing it in several visits during the season the yard looks maintained, not crap, less headaches with easier scheduling, no crew to hire and manage.:dizzy:

True, he might average more $$ per hour doing a one time end of season clean-up because he is making money off his crew's labor but that's a one shot deal, darryl will put more money in his pocket working solo doing several leaf clean-ups at the same property.thumbs up

exactly what i was thinking at that comment!!

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
11-19-2010, 09:51 PM
I would only charge like $150-$200 for that yard, but all my equipment is paid for.

And thats why every idiot in VA thinks they can get a leaf cleanup for $150

bradseabridge
11-20-2010, 01:05 AM
Sorry, I charge what people will pay. I'm not going to charge something and then watch someone else do it for less money. That's stupid, times are tough and money is money. I can afford to do it for that, and I'm doing just fine right now while all the other hacks are putting their equipment up for sale.

This business isn't rocket science that's why everyone and their brother is in it. I'll take what I can get.

bradseabridge
11-20-2010, 01:06 AM
And thats why every idiot in VA thinks they can get a leaf cleanup for $150

HAH! yeah and that's my fault lol!

Darryl G
11-20-2010, 10:45 AM
Yes, all my equipment is paid for and in fact it always has been. Paid cash for it. Well except for my snow plow but I don't use that for leaves, lol.

93Chevy
11-20-2010, 10:54 AM
Sorry, I charge what people will pay. I'm not going to charge something and then watch someone else do it for less money. That's stupid, times are tough and money is money. I can afford to do it for that, and I'm doing just fine right now while all the other hacks are putting their equipment up for sale.

This business isn't rocket science that's why everyone and their brother is in it. I'll take what I can get.

Why would you charge less and watch somebody do it for more? If his customer is comfortable paying $250, why would you charge less? That doesn't make any sense.

timturf
11-20-2010, 11:31 AM
Only way I remove leaves is on a weekly bases, since that is what is best for the turfgrass.

Find daryl's charge to be approaite

my only recommendation would to be lightly mulch the leaves, 1 pass, before blowing and vacumming

J-Man
12-16-2010, 07:07 PM
Looking at a Billy Goat leaf vaccuum. The only decision now is go with a 14 or 18hp. You guys using a 14hp, do you ever wish you had a 18hp for wet leaves?? or is the 14 hp fine?
Thanks!

timturf
12-16-2010, 08:36 PM
Daryl,

How many times did you remove leaves this fall?

What was the total cost to the client?

Was the area cleaned of leaves 20m?

Barefoot James
12-16-2010, 10:27 PM
Looking at a Billy Goat leaf vaccuum. The only decision now is go with a 14 or 18hp. You guys using a 14hp, do you ever wish you had a 18hp for wet leaves?? or is the 14 hp fine?
Thanks!

The big daddy is the Model DL 2500S 25HP Subaru shreads aluminum cans (15 to 20 at a time. If you are really going to make an investment in this way get the big boy.