View Full Version : Justifying Equipment Purchases

01-15-2004, 03:07 PM
For the older/more experienced guys, I have a couple questions.
There are certain pieces of equipment that I would like to have and definitely have use for, but the problem is that Iím not sure how you know when you need something enough to buy it. Or in other words, these pieces of equipment probably will not pay for themselves in the first calendar year of operation but they would sure add a lot of needed productivity and save a lot of time.
Obviously I know that if you have more mowing equipment than you can haul (and you use it all) then you need to find a way to haul more of the equipment, such as a larger trailer. But what about things that you only use a small portion of the year, like leaf removal equipment for example- how do you justify a $2,000 leaf vacuum, $900 push blower, $2,000 vacuum collection systems for the mowers, and so forth? I always seem to find good deals on stuff, or I build my own things so it works out ok for me most of the time, but sometimes this isnít an option.
Like for example-
I have discovered that in my area there is a good market for one time leaf cleanups, and I am one of only a couple people in this area that realize this market potential and have the equipment to handle it somewhat efficiently (thanks to Lawnsite). I was better equipped than any of the local guys, but it was not exactly an efficient set-up by many other standards. I was kept pretty busy most of the time and I like to stay solo with one helper max. So for this next leaf season I want to step it up and plan on doing much more work, therefore I need more efficiency. I would really like to have a push blower and a debris loader, and while the equipment would be paid for, itís almost hard to justify spending that kind of money on it. I know of a 11hp Giant Vac loader for $650, but it will cost $180 to freight ship it. Push blowers seem to cost several hundred dollars for old used ones and new ones run close to a thousand dollars. It seems that two options for me are use mower and collector and dump in a box or on ground and suck up into box, or use a blower and suck up the piles. To go with the first option I feel I would need some sort of riding mower because with a walk behind you cannot use a large collector (I have my own version of a Trac Vac that holds more than side catchers but still not much on leaves). Thatís a large purchase (rider). We used backpack blowers (45 cc) this past fall and they worked OK but if the leaves were wet we struggled especially in the flower beds. We also rented a 5hp Billy Goat push blower one day (didnít have any larger in the store) and I realized that a good 8hp or larger push blower would really be the solution for cleanups on many properties. With the mower and collection system it made the machine wider, therefore harder to maneuver and you had to take off the discharge chute to get through gates and such. And it clogged a few times a day, and you had to stop and empty it constantly. It worked good, but slow going. With the blowers, even the backpack blowers, I feel we would be much more efficient if we had more powerful machines. Iíd really like to have a 55cc+ b/p blower, 8hp+ push blower and 10hp+ leaf loader. These would work better for us in my estimation, be more versatile and go into smaller spots, steep inclines that mowers and baggers canít handle, never clog or empty, etc.
Then you have to have a way to haul the leaves and dispose of them. We can dump the leaves free at county recycling center so no trouble there. But thereís nothing to tie a chain or rope to in order to drag out a pallet to empty the box, so we had to empty by hand, taking around 15-20 minutes with a dry, fluffy load. Really want something like a load-handler or a dumping mechanism. But I am not going to put a box on my truck again for a few reasons. So I then need a larger trailer or another truck. Larger trailer would cost near a thousand dollars. I might already be getting a older truck to plow with if I get some commercial plowing contracts, so I could use that to put a box on. But then I havenít decided if a plow truck is justifiable here because our weather is so unpredictable and you can go a whole winter with not a single plowable snow here in Indiana, or you can plow 8 times at 4Ē each, itís just weird. There are other considerations under the plow truck thing too- like whether to get an old Bronco type truck (would then not be useable for leaf service), old full size truck, or a flatbed/dump bed truck, dually or non, etc. etc. so many options and things to consider. The dump bed would be great for mulching and dumping the leaves, etc. but once you get to that size of a truck the cost is a whole lot more and harder to find one 4x4, etc.
So itís hard to figure out what to do and how to coordinate these purchases. If I go with an older truck to plow with (keeping my current truck) then it needs to be purchased in time to build a leaf box on, although at the time Iím needing to build a leaf box I may not know yet if I want to plow or not.
Does any of this make any sense/can anyone relate to this? Could anyone help or provide some insight/encouragement? Iím hoping to just be swamped with work and not worry about it and just be able to go and buy what I want and use it all and it pays for itself several times over but that might not happen. Often I get into the position of I have just enough work to need a piece of equipment but not enough work to justify buying it, and some things you canít rent or itís not practical to rent. Seems us part-timer's have more troubles with these issues than full time LCO's.

Sorry thatís so long, just getting it off of my chest. Maybe Iím just whining again LOL. Any help appreciated.

John Gamba
01-15-2004, 03:26 PM
PB 650 or Redmax BP, 8HP Little wonder PB, Little wonder Leaf Loader.
You can put an Accelerator bagger with Extension And Jrcos Transporter and TUB On your mower, No big box just high sides and a tarp, You will mulch up the leaves before putting them in the pick up bed. With the bigger accelerator set up you will have with the jrco to a total of 18 bushles.
Load handler works well to get them out.

Kelly & Sons
01-15-2004, 03:27 PM
I don't have to deal to much with leaf collections systems... but as far as other equipment... I like to have 3 of everything.. edgers, weed-eaters, blowers, mowers... that way if one or two go down, I am still up & running... other equipment I try and decide if it can make me money... for example... I just bought a Stihl pole saw... about $600.... I made that back in the first weekend of having it, by simply doing 2 "tree trimming" jobs... now every job that I do with it will be basically pure profit...

John Gamba
01-15-2004, 03:29 PM
Well you can go onto there web for a better pic.

The bagger will not clog and is easy to take off and go threw a gate.

01-15-2004, 03:34 PM
Im not a senior member and cant answer questions about equipment quit yet, but, if your get a big tarp that you can buy at home depot(maybe11'x14')start at the front of your trailer or truck bed, with some that hangs down the outside, work down the front wall, cover the whole bed and then some hanging out the back so you can shut the back gate on it. Fill your truck or trailor with what ever. cover it all with another tarp or some chicken wire and throw some bricks or even weedeaters on the corners and in the middle to keep all the leaves from blowing away. Get 2 helpers to grab each corner of the tarp hanging over the front edge. Pull with all your might towars the back of the trailor. ONce you get 2-3 feet peeled back, you can hop in and start pushing it back with them. Have every push and pull on 3 and takes about 5 minutes to pull the entire load into a pile. I wish i could draw it for you. It works, I promise. Have a good day.

01-15-2004, 03:48 PM
John, that b/p, p/b and loader are just what I want. The Accelerator and Transporter combo wouldnít be any better than my vac collection system I donít think, still too wide and have to dump often.

As for dumping in the truck bed on tarps, I did that at the end of the season when I got fed up with having a big box on the truck and took it off a few days before I was done with cleanups- decided I canít hardly do without the box. Couple jobs, due to terrain or thickness of leaves, could only be done by blowing leaves into piles and tarping them out then sucking them up. To put them in the open truck bed would fill up in no time flat, when I used mower and bagger after taking box off I could only fit the debris from one job in the truck. Some of them I tarped out oceans of leaves and had to suck them up. Manually emptying the box isnít such a big deal. But I have to have the box and a vac! I get asked to do all kinds of properties- some so small you can only get a 21Ē on it, in which case I use a blower, some too thick in which case I use a blower, some not so thick but larger so I use mower & bagger, and so on. I think the first things John listed are what I need, I know that itís just hard to justify spending $2,500 (including a leaf box cost, and if all of it is used except maybe backpack blower) on machines only used one month out of the year. The b/p would get plenty of use in other times of the year and the push blower would get alittle use but the loader wouldnít have any other use and so itís hard to justify that type of machine even though I really need it.

I wasnít talking about just my leaf removal predicament, I meant just purchases in general. With mowers, trimmers, etc. itís easy to tell when you have to go buy something bigger/better, but not everything is that obvious.

01-15-2004, 03:52 PM
To ad to Johns idea. Go over the leaves once or twice with your ocdc down first mulching them even finner. Then you can go a long ways before the cather fills up. I don't have the transporter but dump on smaller tarps that hold a couple caters full.
To unload the truck I use a tarp on the bottom al the time. If it gets to the point that I won't be able to pull it out I add another tarp and another in layers. I do thes with grass all season long. (the tarps, not the mulching then baging)

It's is hard to justify new equipment. I went through the same pains before I got my new mower but now I am glad I did. Even If I dodn't pick up more lawns to mow I will have more time for other types of work. Increasing productivity in one part of the buis. frees up time for other parts. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Pick out the ONE thing yuo want most in your operation. What do you tell yourself the "If i only had a ___" the most? And When you get that and are seeing results pick the nest thing.

01-15-2004, 04:01 PM
Eric, what I have noticed is that for your size operation you are doing things pretty well. While it may seem inefficient to do things the way you are doing them, you just have to keep going. With a little diligence you will get to the point where you can justify the larger equipment to make things easier. When we started doing clean-ups we didn't have a walk-behind blower or a bagger. We have a walk-behind blower now and it doesn't get used, I don't think they are necessary. We used to blow piles out to the street with backpack blowers or onto a tarp to drag them to the street. We bought an 11hp Landscapers Supply Loader for $1200 and payed for it that season, after that it was a lot more profitable. We bought a hoist for our truck to dump the leaves, paid too much for it and learned from it. You're young, take risks, risk-takers make it. Just be sure you are aware of the consequences of risk.

01-15-2004, 04:13 PM
Thanks Paul. If I have noticed anyone have the same problems I am it seems to have been you. From what I read of your posts you go through the same things I do. As for mulching first- if the lawn is thicker and Iíll be bagging with the mower then I will do that method, but sometimes if itís wet it has just made the mess 3 times worse. Remember Iím talking about one time cleanups not weekly maintained properties. Theyíre thick and wet and messy. Iíve tried mulching them but when they are wet you only end up with heavier hoppers on the catcher, things like to clog easier, and the lawn never gets clean, it looks like a truck hauling gold fish flake food spilled on the lawn (lotsa little flakes of leaves all over) and they never come up! If itís dry this works great but like I said I get all sizes and shapes of lawns with all kinds of messes. I also put one tarp in the bottom of my load so I could get the last bit out, but with a box and vac you canít really layer like that too easy I found. The blowerís air force moves them around and youíd have to stop and open the box and climb in to situate it, makes a big mess, takes almost more time than emptying the box with a pitchfork :( thatís ok, again the big pain is getting leaves to and in the box. Iíll figure something out. Deals will come along, they always have I trust they will again.

Lbi, thanks. What is your method if you donít use push blowers? Do you want to sell yours? I didnít realize new 11hp vac could be had for only $1200 (was that before or after shipping?) Iím sure I could pay for this stuff in the first season of use, or I wouldnít buy it. But itís kinda hard to shell out the money for stuff. With mowers I know theyíll get used so much that itís well worth the investment, but leaf and snow removal requires you to own a lot of equipment that doesnít get much use during a yearís time.

01-15-2004, 04:20 PM
You guys are awesome! Just when I think I know a little bit, you know 50x more, I've got a lot to learn in this business. Thanks for all the help so far.

01-15-2004, 04:23 PM
Eric There are some pieces of equipment that you will never justify buying but love to have. Then there is equipment that you want to have and have to figure out a way of justifying the purchase. And the last is the equipment that the purchase is justifiable because your gonna make your money back quickly. Your leaf removal equipment is a justifiable expense in that you should be able to pay for it in 1 season. Don't count on renting becuase it may not be there when you need it. #2 would be somethimg like a 72inch ZTR you don't need one but if you had one you could come up with the contracts to pay for it in a few yrs.Now once you have it you opened your self up to a whole lot of oppertunities that you could not do, if you did not have one. And the last one would be something along the lines of a new plow truck, youu gotta have it but you know deep down you will never make enough money using it to pay for it. As you get older and been in the business for awhile you will be able to see what is justifiable in your position at that exact time and what is a wish I could have it.


01-15-2004, 04:30 PM
Thanks Mac, always enjoy your humor and insight/wisdom (as is the case this time). Look forward to your posts.

John Gamba
01-15-2004, 04:48 PM
For the LEAF SUCKER you will need a DUMP so add on 2500 Dollers.
Wet leaves if you bag them first are no problem with the accelerator, If you have to get MEG-MO they suck up anything wet.

Now for the big one! If you get them blown up you can move them with a jrco leaf plow. Now they work very well.

If you can't get anything threw a gate you will have to tarp it to the gate and lift it over.

See with out a leaf loader you have to lift it into the truck, Now its easyer with the bagger and tub and there mulched up so you can fit alot more in the truck. Now Paul has the idea when not wet. Go over them once and you will be amazed at how much you get into that truck with just high sides! NO BIG BOX.

So get a GREAT backpack blower, Accelerator bagger,jrco Trasporter & TUB Some tarps and high sides and your a leaf removing machine!!!


01-15-2004, 04:56 PM
I do not think it makes good business sense to invest a lot of money in equipment that you are going to get limited use out of. You may think you are making good money on leaf collection, but it is only for a short time so you are not making as much as you think you are. Maybe check into renting the equipment you need to do the job. I think your equipment budget would be better spent on things you get more use out of.

Turfcutters Plus
01-15-2004, 05:21 PM
If you have to question it,i would wait.Keep workin' hard and SAVE!Ditto on what avery said

01-15-2004, 05:30 PM
John, How much does the Accelerator, extender and JRCO transporter combo cost? Seems like I could just get a push blower for about that cost, but it goes more places. I think Iím gonna at least get a bigger backpack blower and a leaf loader. Would like a push blower, it depends on another deal. I donít think Iíd ďhaveĒ to have a dump for a leaf box but it sure would be nice :p if they were dry and not packed in real tight I could do a truckload by myself in 15-20 minutes with pitchfork.

Avery, we are thinking similar except I see it as an investment. Sure I may only pay for it in first year of use, but for the hours it will get used per year it will last a long time and therefore pay for itself right? Besides we canít rent leaf loaders hereÖ the backpack would be a good investment anyway (have one but again itís 46cc) and the push blower they have is only 5hp, I want more than that plus it cost $30 a day I think. $30 a day x 15 days of use (may get used more than that) would equal $350 I think. Plus the rental place is on the other side of town :(

Turfcutters, I know but itís not really something Iím questioning, I know I need it, just donít like to spend the money. Seems like push blowers and leaf loaders are overpriced. Theyíre really simple and Iíd just build them myself except for the fact that the fans need to be precision and balanced somewhat in order to stay together.

01-15-2004, 05:50 PM
Eric if you can call me 1 203 637 5828 name is joe and i have a 8 hp blower and a aold tow behind vac that i can part with for next to nothing they need some work but i know you can handle that.

01-15-2004, 05:52 PM
If you cant call me e mail me your phone # JGGEARHEAD@AOL.com and I will call you I might also have a old old husler that you can grap if you whant it.

01-15-2004, 05:55 PM
I have seen a lot of companies go under because they did not do a wide variety of maintenance, like leaf cleanup, snow plowing, ect. The big guys come in and offer a full service contract and before you know it they have taken your account, just because you did not have the equipment to do the job (not fair, but it is the nature of the business). Some times it pays to just have the equipment for when you need it, rather than having the equipment pay for itself, this way you retain your existing accounts and can take on more business. After time the equipment will pay off.

01-15-2004, 06:31 PM
Sounds like you are suffering growing pains like most us have been thru fsm . You have to have the euipment to do the job right and sometimes if the budget will allow it you just have to bite the bullet and buy what you need no matter how much it hurts i look at it this way on the smaller euipment such as trimmers and so on if they will pay for them selfs in at least first year or less buy it . Remember what you said about increasing productity and saving time , saving time= more money and increasing productity opens you up to having more time to increase you client base and having more time to do more or other work or just having more leisure time . On the leaf removal thing if you are one of only a few guys doing it you should be able to get alot more $$$$ per job and alot more one or two time cleanup jobs only , cash in fsm on this bigtime

01-15-2004, 10:40 PM
I spent a little bit of dough last year on new equipment. The aerator I bought was great, I made my $$ back on it and I'll be able to use it for years as a service I offer.

The little wonder leaf loader I bought was a big fat white elephant. It's a great piece of equipment, but after I bought it and advertised like crazy for the service, I got very few calls. And those that I did get didn't like the rates I quoted on leaf removal. I have always thought I should be doing more leaf work in the fall, but the demand (at least around here) is so spotty and differs from year to year so much that it's just not regular enough to rely on. Anywho, the leaf loader came in handy for several jobs, but wasn't worth the expense and hassel. Wish I hadn't bought it, really.

So now I am determined to really be careful about new equipment and to do more planning and homework before buying next time.


01-15-2004, 11:02 PM
The best way is to look at it over a years time. How much time will it save you. Will you get additional work by having it. If its a replacement, is what you have now costing alot to repair. You kind of have to try to see the future. Look at how you have grown from last year to this year, and think of how you will grow from this year to next. Then ask yourself if you need it. Alot of times there is work out there that you never saw, simply because you didnt have something. I never saw so many dead, or overgrown trees tll i got a chainsaw, and pole saw. Never noticed them, but now I just ask if they need to be taken care of. Its extra things like that you have to consider.

01-15-2004, 11:34 PM
Originally posted by lawnman_scott
The best way is to look at it over a years time. How much time will it save you. Will you get additional work by having it. If its a replacement, is what you have now costing alot to repair. You kind of have to try to see the future. Look at how you have grown from last year to this year, and think of how you will grow from this year to next. Then ask yourself if you need it. Alot of times there is work out there that you never saw, simply because you didnt have something. I never saw so many dead, or overgrown trees tll i got a chainsaw, and pole saw. Never noticed them, but now I just ask if they need to be taken care of. Its extra things like that you have to consider.

Gotta agree with everthing except the first sentence, Sometimes it will take years not just 1, thats where alot of guy lose out can't justify or pay for it this yr. Gotta look farther into the future than just 1 yr.


Kelly's Landscaping
01-15-2004, 11:51 PM
Efficiency Eric is key to growing so having the right toys for the job is very important. I can do limited tree work but wont even bother to bid on the jobs because I cant do them quickly enough to make money and compete with the pros. I got many a clean up this year because my prices were lower then the small guys not because I am cheap but because I have the equipment to move the leaves quickly.

For starters dump truck thatís gona be your best friend my rack is equipped for plowing but I wont even plow with her to big. What I do use her for is landscaping and clean ups with a 18 yard box on her I can go from job to job with out having to race to the dump site to empty her because she is filled up to quickly. I have an 89 GMC v3500 6.2 diesel with a 8x11 foot bed cost me 8500 and boy was I pissed to spend that but after looking for months I became aware it was actually a good deal. Guy that sold it to me loves to go that truck makes money I disagree I make money but with out the ability to move stuff like she can id make a whole lot less just using my dodge pick ups. When you have a decent dump truck you can do the mulch jobs you can do planting jobs you can haul your own topsoil. You can rip out old shrub beds and not take 5-10 trips to get rid of the stuff. I donít use her much in mid summer but she gets plenty of use in spring and fall in fact I didnít take my leaf box off I plan on starting my spring clean ups as of march 1st and this year I'm gona use my vac system.

My vac cost me 4 k I went with a 20 hp giant vac night and day over a 16 and the smaller ones would be even less effective hose size matters if your getting clogs and the 8 and 10 inch tubes clog a lot your losing time. Did it pay for itself it would of but ran into complications with mounting and building the box and lost 8 days at 1 k a day income that hurt so my fall was cut short. However she will pay for her self in no time this spring so Iím not worried. The truck loader is one of those things that makes you profitable they reduce at a rate of 11-1 or so they claim but when Iím looking at a pile I just made that is 6 feet high and 30-40 feet around and it fits in one truck load in a mere hour of suck time I know I made the right choice how much time would it of taken me other wise.

Push blowers are not a must but they are nice to have I run a 13 and a 10 giant vac I picked up the 10 for $775 this fall well worth having and at the price you can make that in no time I considered picking up a second but the season was to short. I run 4 stihl br420s all with curved arm attachments its one of the most important things I bring to a job good backpacks that can easily be aimed and unlike the red max or echoís the trigger is on the hand that is aiming the pipe. Personal preference but I wonít change till the other brands give me some options on the throdal.

I heard you say you bag the lawn in clean up way to long I have a 44 gal trac vac on my lazer I still wont do that. What you want is a way to get the leaves to your truck fast if you can not fit the equipment in the back yard then yes use a tarp I hate using them but it is a fact of life. The tool I do love is 450 dollars and probably the most improvement to your time you can buy for that price and that is a leaf plow I know you want to make your own but for that price why bother they are aluminum with stainless steel teeth. Only thing they screw up on and it is a must is try a rope to the top of the plow and bring it back to your hand you need to keep it from buckling under the mower as long as you do that your golden. I move 1000 pounds plus with the plow on the lazer what takes 3 men 15 mins each to do with a tarp the plow does in 2 trips of 1 min per. wouldnít leave the house with out it. Iv had it save me as much as 10 man-hours on a single lawn and if they are one-time customers then you probably are locked into a price before hand and not a hourly clean up price you can see where that kind of time saver can make the difference in winning a bid and losing one.

Something I wont do again is advertise in fall. Season is too short and I found myself missing many of my real customers due to the weather turning on us early this year. I would see how your year goes Eric before buying some of the big toys buy a dump truck would be on top of my list if I were you and we know you can do a lot of work your self so pick up a junker and clean her up but donít cheat your self and work harder then you need too.

01-16-2004, 12:19 AM
if you have a need for bagging grass, the accelerator is nice and can be used for leaves too. costs around 400 and works great with my 48 tthp. easier to justify since you could use it year round. well worth the extra money over the metal ones in my opinion.

when i can't decide if i can justify a piece of equipment, i go to wants. how bad do i want it. that makes the decision. Having want i want keeps me happy and i work better and more efficient when i'm happy. just something to consider. I'd try not to get too far in debt though. make sure that you have the work for the equipment.

as far as another truck goes it's a lot of $ to maintain, especially older vehicles. i'd stay away from it. you could put a plow on your truck. I know the suspension is goofy but some timbrens otta help. the two wheel peel should do fine as long as you don't have too many hills.

hope some of this helps

01-16-2004, 12:56 AM
Thanks eric. Your right I stress like crazy over any purchase. I drove my wife Nuts before I got the Hustler. I am still considering a second trimmer!! I will get one but what brand :confused:

Your right about wet leaves, nothing but a mess. I do mostly cleanups for my regular customers so it gets done a few times through the fall and not all at once so the build up isn't bad.
For now you might just have to get a couple friends and a couple big tarps and a few rakes. I know thats a bad word but somtimes that's what you have to use. One thing you have going for you is that you seem ot have a pretty good availability of used equipment there and you have the ability to fix it up and make it work for you. So make a list of your wants and keep your eyes open. Keep pluggin' away:D

01-16-2004, 01:12 AM
Doing this part time for 10 years gave me a good indication, equipment wise, of what I needed to go full time. For example; starting with a basic trailer, truck and mower and adding componets to each to maximize their efficiency. After years of shoveling dirt, leaves and mulch out of a landscape trailer, I decided that I could do more with a dump trailer. That was my first major purchase when I went into this business full time. It is very versitile. We're able to do more work with it, more types of work and it saves your body. It has 4 ft sides but I can build them higher if I want, add a leaf loader to it, and transport equipment in it. So I knew I could make money with it. I'm not sold on leaf loaders and walkbehind blowers yet, tarps and bakpak blowers seem to be pretty efficient for us still. I rented other equipment to the point where I knew that they would have a quick ROI if I purchased them.

John Gamba
01-16-2004, 07:55 AM
You seem stuck on a p/b & L/L. Now without a dump and you put the leaves in with the leafloader they will be in very tight BUT you can also suck them out with the leafsucker just like you put them in. A dump insert you will fine great to go along with the other stuff.

David Haggerty
01-16-2004, 08:58 AM
I'm with you Eric on snow. No money in it here. It's about the same with leaves. My city vacuums them up at the curb for free. Pretty hard to compete with free.
Don't let customers just expect the leaves and snow to disappear just because you also mow their lawns.
I have had difficulty finding customers willing to pay for either one. I figure it's the region we're in. Not much snow, not too many leaves. I just mulch a few leaves, sub out the snow work.


Premium Services
01-16-2004, 09:36 AM
it's simple i have a lawn service and my father run a sand and dirt trucking company and have done all the math for these equipment buys if average it out you shoud put aside 1/1000 of your total equipment cost every day even the day that you have off.you know truck, mower, trailer,etc.

01-16-2004, 09:50 AM
Thanks guys.

John yes thatís what I want! I now have been given a 8hp pb and a 4 cylinder Wisconsin 30hp? Tow behind l/l, both need some work but free. They are in Connecticut :( maybe if I go get them I could stop and visit you? Dump insert expensive, could get a hoist kit for less and have more space in bed and hold more weight. My neighbor has a late 80ís F250 similar to mine but itís gray 4x4 he used to have it for sale for a while then gave up selling it. I may be able to get it for cheap and put a plow, hoist and leaf box on it. I also considered a dump trailer but for what one of those would cost I could have a older 4x4 truck instead that would also plow.

David, itís not that there isnít money in plowing here, itís just a big gambleÖ if it snows your fine, but if it doesnít you have no money to pay for the plowÖ I guess thatís what you meant though. My city vacs off of the curb free too but only once a week and only IF they can get to it in a weekís time. Customers rather pay a little extra money and have it hauled off now so itís off of their property and wonít be in the way, an eyesore or blow back into lawn. It probably only comes out to another $15 but they donít see it that way, they see it as itís included in the job which it is also but I charge based on per hour rate so itís all included lol. also I get some jobs outside of the area the city sucks in.

Grounds Control
01-16-2004, 09:51 AM
something that may help with your decision:

you can deprciate the cost of equipment on your taxes. talk to your accountant to find the write off schedule. it will vary with the expected life of the equipment. things like hand tools can be written off 100% each year i believe.

my thoughts are the more/better tools you have than the next guy will help you keep costs down, expend less labor, spend less time and sign up more customers. most of the stuff your talking about will last a few years, so looking at the cost on a yearly basis wil the tax write off, the addition of more work should put you in the right direction.

Kelly's Landscaping
01-16-2004, 01:25 PM
a 4 cylinder Wisconsin 30hp? I wanted that at first but couldn't afford the price Eric new the giant vac with that motor is $10,000 might be worth the trip for you. It would have a 16-inch tube and if itís running correctly it has some 15,000 cmf it also weighs a full ton. The 8 hp would likely be around 2,000 cfm.

01-16-2004, 01:48 PM
#1 (I, You, We) Can't afford to dump by hand unloading. Invest in a dump truck or trailer. I got a 6x10 dump trailer (4 cubic yards) for $3,000. I then added wood sides that brought it to 7 yards for less than $200 in material. Works great for leaves, but I also use it for hauling mulch in spring & hauling sticks/shrubs when pulling out overgrowth. Therefore, it is pretty much being used year-round. (It even has a landscape gate so I can run my mowers up and down it if I want to.)

#2 Hard to justify buying $2000 loaders and $1000 blowers here in the "short" Indiana leaf season. Get a big tarp. A REALLY BIG TARP. Like 20 x 20 from Tractor Supply or similar store. Rake, blow, mulch, push or otherwise get leaves on tarp (method depends on conditions of leaves (wet, dry) and weather that day), Drag tarp to trailer, one guy get in trailer and haul one side of tarp up to trailer. Other guy hand other edges of tarp to guy in trailer. Second guy get in trailer an together haul FAR SIDE of tarp into trailer. Leaves are now on bottom and tarp is on top for easy removal. Stomp down leaves to compact. Repeat. I can fill my 7 yard trailer in 3 or 4 tarp loads. COMPACTED. Then take to dump and drop off a big compacted load of leaves. Takes 2 minutes to unload an go!



01-16-2004, 01:51 PM
Kelly, I know :D :D :D