View Full Version : Putting leaves in a pickup bed?????

09-15-2002, 08:28 PM
Ok, so leaf season will be starting in a few weeks.

I'm currently using a Dodge ram pickup truck to pull a small 4 foot by 8 foot trailer which can hold my 32" Exmark and a 21" when needed just fine. When I use the 4 by 8, my trimmer and blower and any other tools are in the pickup bed.

I also have a 16*7 foot trailer that I'm fixing up. It would be fine to use right now to pull around the 32 and 21 since space is plenty. For the 32" exmark, I'm looking at picking up a trac vac system so that I can do leaves easier.

Doesn't make a difference if the leaves are bagged, mulched then bagged, or trac-vac'd, I will be carting away some leaves.

Obviously the 16*7 trailer is HUGE to be pulling around only 2 small mowers.. But for leaves, sounds like it would work out real real nice. Here's the question:

Would you put a leaf box a) Only in the back of the pickup truck, and make the sides 8" tall as a box so you can put all the leaves in the truck, or b) Make a box on the 16*7 trailer of some sort * AND* if you do that, do you put the box on the front of the trailer or the back and if the back, how do you get the mower out after the leaves are back there?

Here's a pic of my setup with the big trailer right now, just for kicks:

Green Pastures
09-15-2002, 08:46 PM
I'm looking into getting a dump bed that fits in the bed of my truck. Last lear I had a tough time mowing and raking all day and then having to go to the dump at the end of the day and shovel a ton of leaves out of the bed. Believe me they get packed into every nook and cranny and are a pain in the butt to get out. I tried lining the bed with a tarp.....WOW even worse, it gets locked in behind the wheel wells, and you still end up shoveling.

I'd watch guy's pull up, stay in the cab, with the heat running, hit a button and the whole load dumps out :cry: , I'm there for a half an hour freezing with dusty snot running out my nose.

A good hydraulic dump bed is about $2K, and in the long run worth every cent. You can deliver firewood in the off season, dirt, gravel for driveways, mulch.......



gene gls
09-15-2002, 10:15 PM
green pastures,

You can get a flat bed body and hoist for less than $2000.00 and be able to haul a bigger load. The insert weight will equal most of your allowed load weight. Check out truck body shop and save your self some agervation in the long run.


09-15-2002, 10:22 PM
Doogiegh, I'd look into finding someone local that has a leaf loader and sub them to pick up the leaves that you put at the curb.

I did this last year and it worked out nicely. Loading and unloading leaves on the trailer was such a pain! I found a guy in the paper and he would come by and suck them up for me once I had them at the curb.

09-15-2002, 11:23 PM
I'm wondering how much you pay for that service....

09-15-2002, 11:38 PM
It depended on the amount of leaves (not size of lawn).
Average was $40.
When I consider the amount of time it would have taken me to get them on the trailer, tarp them down, drive to dumping facility and unload, it was well worth it to me.
My trailer is small (5'x10') and some lawns would have taken me 2 trips! True I can charge the customer hourly for all this time, but then I would run the risk that some would not have me do the leaf removal because of high price. Plus loading and unloading just plain s****d and I didn't like doing it.

I hope to get my own leaf vac some year soon!

09-15-2002, 11:43 PM
How about the Load Handler. It is something that you mount on the tailgate and crank it to pull the liner to unload the materials on it. Cost under $90 from Northern Tools. I have no experience with this product but would like to know how well it work.

09-15-2002, 11:51 PM
I have a loadhandler. They are about $160 for the good metal bracket ones. I have to say for the price they are awesome. Mainly use it for grass clippings. I have had the truck loaded over the roof with grass and the thing worked with no problems.

09-15-2002, 11:59 PM
$40.00?? Times 3 jobs in a day, $120.00,,,OH MY GOD!!!! that adds up to $600.00 A WEEK!!!!
Seriously man, I'm not sure thats worth it. Thats alot of money it seems to me.

09-16-2002, 12:42 AM
By looking at your rig, it appears that your bed is a 6' as oppesed to an 8 ' bed. Alas, you probably will NOT be able to find a "dump body insert" to fit into that truck.
If it is in fact an 8' bed ... my suggestion would be to make the invetment of about $2000 and get an insert ... it was the best $2000 I ever spent !!!!!!!!:D :D :D

09-16-2002, 12:58 AM
You do realize that's put into the customers price?
It takes them about 10 to 15 minutes to suck them up.
If I had to load them onto the trailer, and go dump them twice, it would take me up to an extra 2 hours (possibly more).

The lawns are about 5-6K sq.ft. They take me on average 2 hours to blow all the leaves to the curb just using backpack blowers (and sometimes tarps).
I charge the customers an average of $125. Minus the $40 to the guy with the leaf vac, and that leaves me with about $85 for two hours work. Not the best, but not too bad, it has me at my minumum $40 an hour goal.
If I had to charge the customer for the extra hours for me to dump them, plus dump fees ($15 for my trailer) I'm not sure if I could get $175 (and up) for a leaf clean up from most of my customers.

Considering I'm just using bp blowers I figure the $40 or so an hour is ok.
When I do get a walk behind blower and a leaf loader vac, I suppose I will have to try to get more money for these jobs since I will have a good bit more invested in equipment.
But for now this way works for me.

Besides, blowing leaves to the curb does't really even feel like work, but if I had to load and unload them by hand it sure would! LOL!
I hope that all better explains things.

09-16-2002, 01:10 AM
Let me see if I got this right; You are getting 40 bucks an hour for all the hard work of getting the leaves off the lawn, then Paying between 160 and 240 dollars an hour to someone ELSE to come along and suck em up?


P.S. 10-15 min for $40.00 = $160.00-$240.00 P/hou

09-16-2002, 01:11 AM
Yes, I have a 6 foot bed so I don't think a Dump would work for me, and I'm looking to see what I can do to do my first couple of seasons of leaves with the lowest total spend on equipment, yet be able to handle the leaves effectively and timely overall.

So far, I ** LOVE ** the idea of the Load Handler. I just looked at their website and it looks like a CHEAP, perfect solution of a way to get leaves out of a truck bed.. If I put a box with 3 sides (rear, Left and right) made of plywood, cover it with a tarp and put the loadhandler sheet on the floor (but not under the box), it would seem to me I could load the heck out of the truck with leaves and when done at the end of the day, just use the load handler to move the leaves off the truck and into the woods or dumping area that I am using...

Anyone out there use a load handler besides Earthscapes?

Thanks guys!

09-16-2002, 01:37 AM
Mow&Snow, you gotta look at the whole picture.
It takes them 10-15 minutes to suck them up. This doesn't mention the time it takes them to come out of thier way (off the lawns they're working on) to drive to my customer when I call them, suck up the leaves which partially fills thier box. Then when they are full, they have to drive to the dump and PAY to unload.
It's probably around 45 minutes to an hour of thier time each time I call them when all things are considered.

Also, I'm not quite full time yet and only do a couple leaf jobs a week, it's not 3 a day at this point. I'll have my own vac by that point.
$40-45 per hour is about what I get for other hourly jobs (hedge trimming, etc.), so I feel I'm doing ok. I say "ok", not great. I'll admit I'd like to get that number up around $50-60 hr (minimum)and probably will eventually. Remember, I'm not on their lawn with thousands of dollars of equipment like I am when I'm mowing (where I average a much higher rate).
I'm standing there with a $200 blower on my back waving it back and forth.
Last thing I want to point out is these lawns are middle class blue collar working people. They just aren't going to pay too much for leaf clean up. They'll either just leave them on the lawn or do it themselves. I'd rather take $40-45hr then not.
Next year I do plan to go into some higher end neighborhoods that will pay more for this service as thier generally more particular about the appearance of their lawns. That combined with more productive equipment, leaf clean ups should be more profitable.

09-16-2002, 02:00 AM
There is a company out there, I just forget who right now. They have a set of air bags for a pick up to dump for a bout $800. I beleive its either northern tool or jc whitney. Look at google.com and see. I just looked it is northern tools for $ 849

Hoist Kit Turns Your Pickup into a Dump Truck!
Load capacity of kit is 4000 Lbs., but cargoes should not exceed GVW of your pickup. Lifts cargo box to a 45° angle in 10 seconds. Includes 12 Volt DC hydraulic pump, cylinder hardware. U.S.A.

ford, chevy, dodge, so they are out there:D

09-16-2002, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by gslam88
I just looked it is northern tools for $ 849

Hoist Kit Turns Your Pickup into a Dump Truck!
Load capacity of kit is 4000 Lbs., but cargoes should not exceed GVW of your pickup. Lifts cargo box to a 45° angle in 10 seconds. Includes 12 Volt DC hydraulic pump, cylinder hardware. U.S.A.
ford, chevy, dodge, so they are out there:D

May work for leaves....dry ones. I know a guy that went this route when he was starting and tore through 1 bed trying to dump too much and twisted another. The bed isn't strong enough to take that kind of abuse without being seriously reinforced from tearing and twisting. It looks as though you have a 150 with a 6 foot bed. Doesn't seem efficient enough to haul leaves. If you went the dump bed route the weight of the dump bed empty would put you near your max weight capacity.

My advice : Take that $2000 from the dump bed and put it towards an older 350 style truck with a dump. You can use your pickup most of the time to keep the miles low on the dump and haul heavier loads delivering soil and larger quantities of mulch and waste. Or you can use the older truck full time in the biz and keep that shiny black truck looking shiny and black.


09-16-2002, 08:20 AM
We used to haul them off. But always in the dump truck. It was enough fun just loading them, let alone trying to get them back out. We are lucky enough that most of my customers are in the city limits and the city has suckers to pick up the leaves at the curb. So all I have to do is get them there. But dude if yer gonna haul away leaves, look for something that dumps. It the only way to go.

09-16-2002, 11:50 AM
I am with jeffyr. Down the street from me is a 1969 Ford F750 with a 16ft bed and hoist for only $2000. Right now I don't have enough business to justify the cost, but think it's a good idea. Also, if you catch any grass you can put it in your black truck and move it to the truck with a hoist. Once that one is full, take it to wherever you want to dump. Decisions decisions....


09-16-2002, 01:38 PM
I don't really see the fuss of unloading leaves by hand. It only takes me about 10-15 minutes for my 1 ton stake. You just have to get behind them and push them out in rows.

09-16-2002, 03:01 PM
doogie, i once had a trailer just like yours, and here is what i did: got a huge tarp, layed it across the trailer, after grinding them up with the cutter, just dumped them on the tarp, when the job was done, folded tarp and put something on top of it to keep it from blowing open, there was still enough room on trailer for the mower. working like this, i was able to fit 3 decent size jobs before having to go to dump.

09-16-2002, 04:39 PM
Do the Load Handler Commercial model 3000 works very good on a sprayed Rhino Liner bed? I have a 2002 Chevy 2500HD and am interested in them.

Got Grass?
09-16-2002, 07:59 PM
How about making a box on your trailer with some 2x4's & plywood (or steel). Make a gate/door on one side that swings open to load & unload. Buy one of thoes load handler things & attach it to the trailer floor for dumping. If the load handler is to long make a gate that swings down like the tailgate on your truck.
If you made it sturdy enough you would also be able to use it for mulch & soil. Just be careful not to go over the weight limits.

09-16-2002, 09:47 PM
I am a sole operator and have a 6.6X12 ramp, single axle trailer. I acquired the trailer last season as a used piece of equipment. Before that I had a 5X10 trailer, enough for my 36" w/b, 21" hand mower, blower, and a couple of barrels. Leaves were difficult -- trailer either had to be open for 'leaf' mode, or hauling my mowers in 'equipment' mode. The larger trailer gave me some other options.

I don't need all the space on the 6X12 for my equipment. I built a box across the front, 4 ft long, 6 1/2 ft wide (width of the trailer), and 4 ft high. I have a F-150 p/u, with cap where I store/haul all my extra equipment (trimmer, edger, hand tools, etc). Therefore, the p/u is not a hauling option, but the box on the trailer can be enough for more than half of my leaf projects. I try to keep pace with the leaves, so make many visits to the property over the season. The box enables me to clear leaves, then mow.

Sure, some properties have more leaves than the 2-3 cu yds I can haul in the box. In those cases, I use my open trailer to clear, then return with mowing equipment. But, having the capacity to haul away, and mow, is helpful.

The initial inquiry of this thread is for a situation similar to mine, no space in the p/u, but a large trailer.

I made the box so that one side easily comes off. When I go to the dump, the side comes out, and a refuse hook will unload the box in only a few minutes.

Hope this helps ...

Darryl G
11-09-2002, 12:00 AM
Doogiegh - What did you decide to do for hauling leaves. I just built this box for mine today. It's 6 x 8 and 4 foot high. I still have room for my 48 inch mower on the back. There's a hinged door in the back. I don't expect to use this next year, but it will get me through this one.

Lawn Sharks
11-09-2002, 12:16 AM
Sell the truck, sell the trailer, buy a cabover and have a welder put a leaf sucker cage on it. Still have room for the mowers on the back and better gas mileage, easier driving (no trailer) and they never break down. Make the cage so it is removable when the leaves aren't falling and you end up with a HUGE bed for equipment. Oh my, so sweet.

No offense intended but I see too may guys trying to drive expensive, poor mileage pickups for reasons that I cannot understand. Vanity perhaps? Cabovers are the way to go.

Good luck in your decision.


LB Landscaping
11-09-2002, 12:18 AM
Keth got any pictures of yuor set up???

11-09-2002, 12:21 AM
Hey Darryl,

So far for this year, I haven't bagged a single leaf. I've continued my mowing season from the summertime right into the fall and am still visiting my customers every week or 2, doing the full mulching routine with the Exmark mulching kit and mulching blades from Exmark.

I know I may SOON have to take off my mulching kit and put on the gator, side-discharge the leaves after being cut and then bag the particles....

But for right now, it's still mulch time. :)

I also re-worked my trailer, I need to put some new pictures of it up on here. I moved the trimmer rack to the rear of the trailer. I built my own "rack" system that goes across the trailer 4 feet in from the front. I put my 32" and a 44" in the middle of the trailer. The front 4 feet of the trailer only hold my green garbage cans right now, but they have been empty thus far. If I find I am bagging, I will fill up the three cans first. Once we get to the fourth can, I will dump the cans into my pickup bed.. Nothing else to do with them right now. :(

I look to build a leaf box JUST like you did, 4 feet deep, 7 feet across the width of the trailer and 6 feet high.. That would make a nice CUBE for a box and I would hook up a loadhandler to side-discharge the load off the passenger or driver side..

That's where I'm at for right now..

If I struggle to get thru this season, then I'll re-think things and procedures over the winter to improve effeciency.

BTW, you box and trailer look great for the purpose they will serve. :)


Darryl G
11-09-2002, 12:23 AM
Keth - LOL. If you saw the rest of my truck you'd know I wasn't driving it due to vanity.:D Like I said, this is temporary. I wasn't even going to do leaf removal this year but had all the materials already so went for it. After loading and unloading it a few times by hand, I may still decide I'm not doing removal!

Darryl G
11-09-2002, 12:31 AM
Doogiegh - I was also mulching every 10 day to 2 weeks but am about to pull the kit off. Grass has all but stopped growing and we just had a lot of wind so lots of leaves just dropped.

Total cost of my box was about 10 worth of deck screws. The rest was salvaged, mostly from a handcapped access ramp I built to get my mom into my house. The front piece of plywood usually keeps everything from falling of the back of my workbench.

Glad you're making progress on your set-up. Hope fall clean-ups go well for you.

11-09-2002, 12:37 AM
I'm looking forward to a busy day here in NJ tommorow.. Lots of leaves came down in the last 6 days.. The wind, rain and wind some more caused many to come down..

But there are STILL like 60% in the trees. <G>

Thanksgiving is less than 3 weeks.. This is nuts..

As far as loading/unloading, why don't you lay a tarp on the inside floor of the trailer box before you first dump the first load so that you could at least pull the leaves off the trailer and down the rear ramp *IF* your rear-wall comes off and moves out of the way..

You could also put a chain around a tree to the tarp rivots (somehow with cable and hooks) and pull the whole tarp off by driving forward slowly.. That alone may be worth it for another $20 in hardware (chain, etc)

Good luck,

Darryl G
11-09-2002, 12:58 AM
Doogiegh - That's pretty much my plan. Yes, one side of the back comes off and the other opens out of the way. I have an older 8 x 10 heavy duty canvas tarp that I plan to put on the floor. There are rope handles tied on all the gromments. Most of the leaves will probably end up dumped on my property. I have a front end loader on my tractor, so I can loop the handles around the hooks on the bucket and try to pull them off that way. I've got a couple of other tarps when than one rips to shreads.

I use the tarp and tractor to clean up my property. I hook a couple rope handles to the loader, fill the tarp on the ground, then hook the handles from the other end of the tarp and make a "taco". I then pick it up with the loader and drive to my dump site. I can usually curl the bucket just enough to drop the top ropes, leaving the bottom ones attached, then lift and dump the tarp. Unfortunately, this method isn't practical to do on other peoples lawns.

11-09-2002, 01:01 AM
Unfortunatly, this method isn't practical to do on others peoples lawns..

But did you *ASK* them if you could?



Darryl G
11-09-2002, 01:40 AM
Doogiegh - No trailer for the tractor, no finish cut deck either (brush mower only). It's got turf tires, so If I had a PTO blower for it or deck with bagger, I'm sure it would do well on clean-ups of large properties, but not by my taco method. I could get either a 60 or 72 inch deck for it. It's a 24 HP diesel hydro. I'm sure it would spin the 60 fine, but not so sure about 72.

I rent a trailer for getting the tractor to and from landscaping jobs when needed, but it's pricey. I'm getting a new 12 ft low profile equipment/dump trailer as soon as there's enough cash in the checking account. I'd be able to haul the tractor, mulch, brush and build a nice leaf box for it, like some of the other guys on this site have.

Here she is:

11-09-2002, 11:34 AM
very nice setup there, ever consider a belly mount mower?

11-09-2002, 02:46 PM
put in your piece of plywood in the bottom of the bed, then use chain link fence as a mat to put your leaves on. use the mower or a tree to pull the chain link out with the leaves on it....

Darryl G
11-10-2002, 03:39 AM
STS - Yeah, but those belly mowers are expensive, and the rig would be too big for most lawns around here. That roll-over bar can be a real pain when dealing with low brances too. Maneuverability isn't great, but better than you'd guesss. Like I said above, would be nice for big properties. I'd take the loader off, of course. I have the backhoe for it too, it's on the right side of the picture under the brown tarp.

ceaman - thanks for the tip.

Lawn Sharks
11-10-2002, 08:07 AM
Originally posted by LB Landscaping
Keth got any pictures of yuor set up???

Sorry I don't have pictures because this is not my setup. I have a junky old mazda truck which is paid for years ago as well as my equipment. Solo op. There is a guy with this rig in the area and I drool whenever I see it. Seems to be the most efficient guy around. It is a Misubishi Fuso which he paid 16k for and it has never (according to him) broken down. He jokes around about guys in pickups and long trailers paying 35k and not being able to get a good parking spot at the coffee shop. :-)

If I decide to take on an employee this will be the way I go without a doubt.

I will carry my digital camera with me and try get some photos of it so all can see.