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View Full Version : Refusing to bag?


allstar
01-22-2004, 11:39 AM
Do any of you just refuse to bag customer's lawns?I'm not talking about right now when alot of people are still doing leaf removal and/or cleanups but rather later on when the growing season really gets started.
I am beginning my first full season in this business and right now have 3 mowers;JD LT150,JD GX325 and Exmark Lazer Z w/Ultravac which I'm using right now for leaves and cleanups.My JDs have mulch kits.
I'm sure that occassionally misinformed customers will ask me to bag their lawns so I'm thinking about leaving the Ultravac on.However,if large properties come my way I would prefer to use the Exmark with a mulch kit.So I'm considering just telling the customers that I feel bagging is unnecessary and I don't do it,at least for now or until I can afford another large mower.What would you guys do?Thanks. Jim

T.E.
01-22-2004, 11:49 AM
Refusing to bag?

Yes, in the past I have refused to bag the clippings. Once I found out about mulching that is the only way I go. I tell them if they just have to have it bagged, there are others who will bag it I don't. I also explain to them that mulching will look as if the clippings have been bagged.

I also try to educate them on the benefits of leaving the clippings on the lawn. Just my thoughts Tony

rodfather
01-22-2004, 12:17 PM
I'll bag, but it ain't cheap btw...and I will only bag if I can leave the clippings on their property.

DFW Area Landscaper
01-22-2004, 01:27 PM
I will not bag for anyone. Several have asked for it. None have gotten it.

Won't do it at any price.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

BRIAN GALLO
01-22-2004, 01:48 PM
I just tell new people that I am unable to bag the grass, but you will not know the difference in appearance, and I will make sure of that. Most people are ok with it after that, but you will always have a few that won't want to hear it - I don't take those. Bagging a small lawn with a lawnboy isn't that bad, but when I first started out I bagged a few with a 48" walk behind. Never again! Had to empty the heavy catcher every 3 passes, lawns took 3x as long to finish and didn't look any different than making 2 passes - which is way easier and faster.

TotalCareSolutions
01-22-2004, 01:52 PM
This can be a different issue regionaly.

We don't bag yet. We are running exMarks with mulchers, but Id like to get a different warm season turf grass mower.

Down here these aggressive creeping grasses lend themselves to a much greater thatch issue than the fescue grasses. A thatch "issue" can invite disease and insects. With the climate down here, these grasses grow fast and clippings, even though mulched, can accumilate if they don't decompose faster than the grass is growing. And these coarse runner grasses tend to decompose slower than the moisture full, tender leaved fescues of the North.

Once a week and the 1/3 rule will help any mulching system do it's job better.

There is also the organic benefits that go with mulching as the mulched plant leaves decompose.

DFW Area Landscaper
01-22-2004, 02:45 PM
++++Once a week and the 1/3 rule will help any mulching system do it's job better.++++

You can't mow bermuda once a week and stay within the 1/3 of grass blade rule. It's impossible if the bermuda has proper water, sunlight and nutrients.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

TotalCareSolutions
01-22-2004, 02:56 PM
I did not state that you could or could not.

I've never taken a tape measure out, but I would say industry standard: 1/3 -or- once a week is about the best your gonna get a typical residential homeowner to agree to with a bermuda lawn. Ya, I know once every three days with a 'reel' cutter is optimal according to most universities, blah*blah.

Why be difficult on a point like that? Try to stay on top of the grass length and lessen the amount of clippings, thats the point.

Turfdude
01-22-2004, 04:11 PM
Originally posted by rodfather
I'll bag, but it ain't cheap btw...and I will only bag if I can leave the clippings on their property.

Rod, Don't you have anywhere to dispose of them at a reasonable price? I couldn't imagine leaving the clippings at my clients' reidences for them to put out for municipal collection. We bag " as mneede" or upon request and just add it into the bid price.

tiedeman
01-22-2004, 04:28 PM
I bag their lawns if they ask for it.

Grasscycling is much better though and I explain that to them, but if they still want bagging then I do it

Shady Brook
01-22-2004, 04:30 PM
turfdude

I agree completely! I and I also agree that it must be regional, or at least grass type and time of season dependent. I have places where it is 8" tall at one week, and you can mulch it, and then blow it, and try to get up the grass stains on the concrete, and leave with a decent, but not great look. Or you can bag it in less time, and leave with a better end product. To me there are times when bagging is just plain better for my operation. I always try to tell my customers that I will do what is best for their lawn, and they have confidence in my judgement. I want to do what is best for them, and I figure they will take care of me when all is said and done. I personally would not leave grass for my customers to dispose, if they had an outlot, or woods that they did not care about I would not hesitate to use that.

If you can do a great job, and it is right for your customer and business not to bag, I think that is great for you.

Take care
Jay

Flex-Deck
01-22-2004, 04:40 PM
T.E. and DFW - I am with you - I quit bagging about 7 years ago and the yard have never looked better - Return to mother earth that which is her's. Why can we not allow the organic material we are cutting off to at least have a chance at replacing some of the material mother earth needs to stay healthy - look at the forests in the mountains or whereever - Nobody rakes up the leaves, burns them, hauls them, etc etc.


The low maintainance yards are nice
The medium maintainance yards are good
the high maintainance yards are the best they have ever been.

nelbuts
01-22-2004, 05:42 PM
Refuse? Shucks I don't even own one! In fact haven't in about 10 years. Was one of the first in the area to promote "grasscycling".

BB36
01-22-2004, 05:56 PM
I don't bag . I side discharge. No need to bag if you mow often and discharge in one direction, toward a street or landscape bed etc., then blow any clipping that may be left.When you get done it looks like it was bagged. This works for the warm season grasses I mow.

Royalslover
01-22-2004, 06:18 PM
Shady brook; I agree with you. sometimes a lawn has to be bagged. Most of my residentials are apped be a company which puts on way too much nitrogen. They always look great, but they also grow way too much. They are all higher end and have lots of landscaping. By the time I mow around the landscaping, mow the yard two or three times, blow the clippings out of the landscaping and blow the clumps out of the yard, I am waaaay ahead to just bag it. Of course I have a Walker and could not mow these yards without it.

lawnman_scott
01-22-2004, 06:39 PM
I used to if i needed to, back when i needed all my accounts. Now i would if they would buy me a bagger, and pay 5 times the regular amount. I just tell them that they dont make baggers for commercial mowers, we mulch it.

LawnPerfect
01-22-2004, 06:44 PM
I bagged until the end of the last season.

Everday I came home filthy from the clippings and dust.

NO MORE.

mulch only

CamLand
01-22-2004, 06:53 PM
we only mulch,used to bag but became to much pain...

dvmcmrhp52
01-22-2004, 08:23 PM
Don't bag,won't bag.

locutus
01-22-2004, 08:23 PM
My philosophy is : If your lawn needs bagging, I'm not mowing it frequently enough.

bob
01-22-2004, 08:42 PM
The only way I would even concider bagging a lawn, is if the customer had a place for me to dump the clippings. I have a metal bagger on my Grasshopper, and it's a pain to dump them out, then pick them up to put into trash bags.

Avery
01-22-2004, 08:59 PM
We do not bag unless the customer provides a place to dump clippings.

bobbygedd
01-22-2004, 09:16 PM
turfdude, its impossible at this point for me to dispose, just no where left to get rid of it. i also tell customers we will use thier recepticle. there are 2 or 3 that insist on us bagging and dragging, so i charge them $3-$5 extra for disposal, and then i use the midnight dumping technique. one guy i know still bags everything, get this, he has to travel 2 hrs round trip to dump it, and they charge him $212 for his 5 yd dump.

dishboy
01-22-2004, 09:27 PM
$212 to dump. You guys are going to die. Boise Idaho $2.50[any truck] at a private grass and leaf dump three miles out of town, $5.00 at the city dump for most pick- ups.

bobbygedd
01-22-2004, 09:31 PM
i aint payin it. and it's not only the dumping fee that stinks, but having the grass in your truck all the time.

packerbacker
01-22-2004, 10:10 PM
I never refuse to do anything for a customer. I dont believe in bagging but sometimes it just needs to be done. I have customers that start watering in early march all along shooting their yards up with steroids. Sometimes it gets so tall i have to double cut and bag it. Of course i charge extra. All my customers know i charge about 10-20 bucks extra to bag.

trying 2b organic
01-22-2004, 11:21 PM
I have been bagging and charging 5$.
My plan was to mulch and only bag when wet and charge the 5$ removal when I bag. Is this a bad policy? Should I eat the small charges incurred when i have to bag? Will I have to bag when the grass is wet (I live in pacific northwest climate? I bought a mulching mower.

packerbacker
01-22-2004, 11:24 PM
I have been bagging and charging 5$.
My plan was to mulch and only bag when wet and charge the 5$ removal when I bag. Is this a bad policy? Should I eat the small charges incurred when i have to bag? Will I have to bag when the grass is wet (I live in pacific northwest climate? I bought a mulching mower.







When i bag im usually there for an extra 15-20 mins so $5.00 wouldnt be worth my time. But there is no reason for you NOT to charge if you have to do extra work. Every time there is work done for you, if there is something extra to be done the company will charge you more. You have to do it because time is money.

Critical Care
01-23-2004, 12:43 AM
Wow, you guys make me think that I'm going through a lot of unnecessary work by bagging everything. $212 to dump out? I can't believe over $40 a yard for green waste! At the end of each day I dump out on my property and turn everything into compost. Sure it's not the easiest, but bagging and hauling off your mess makes things look primo.

packerbacker
01-23-2004, 12:46 AM
Wow, you guys make me think that I'm going through a lot of unnecessary work by bagging everything. $212 to dump out? I can't believe over $40 a yard for green waste! At the end of each day I dump out on my property and turn everything into compost. Sure it's not the easiest, but bagging and hauling off your mess makes things look primo.





We have a company here in KC that bags everything also, they do huge residentials and some of the biggest commercial lots in town, the problem is they spend half the day drving back and forth from the dump, they are wasting money on gas and labor doing it. Amazing they make the money they do

dvmcmrhp52
01-23-2004, 12:48 AM
Nobody wants to take clippings anymore because of the fire hazard and the toxicity of the clippings from fert. and pest. residues,especially in places like jersey.

packerbacker
01-23-2004, 12:52 AM
Like i said before , i only bag when i HAVE TO, and i just set it out for the trash men, but its funny seeing them roll up with 20 bags of grass on the curb, i can see them muttering some 4 letter words

mtdman
01-23-2004, 12:58 AM
Don't bag, won't bag, don't own a bag. Right now, that is. If the yard is wet enough or long enough in the spring that requires bagging, I usually rake up the clumps and brown bag 'em. LEave them for the customer's trash pickup. And I charge quite a bit for it.

Royalslover
01-23-2004, 02:05 AM
What the heck is the "Midnight dumpimg technique"?

impactlandscaping
01-23-2004, 05:54 AM
We "upcharge" the account 15-25% depending on growing characteristics of the lawn, and charge $ 3.00 per bag of clippings removed.Customer then has to take care of the clippings, I won't take them.This helps thin the herd every spring as well. We use Raptor blades, and seldom need to use the baggers, but there are some people who you can't tell anything to that will pay an extra 12-20.00 to have it bagged.




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work_it
01-23-2004, 06:05 AM
I can't believe you guys that are willing to only charge $5-$10 to bag. Just for me to dump a truckload would cost me $40 plus gas plus drive time to and from dump site, and that doesn't include the extra time involved while at the property. If I have a $125/month residential yard and they want me to bag I tell them that their price per month has just doubled. I'm not about playing games with these people who want everything for nothing. BTW, after you give them the price option they always decide that mulching is a good idea.

bobbygedd
01-23-2004, 09:50 AM
well, here's the deal. at one time it was standard to bag everything. everyone did it. some guys are changing(but around here, believe it or not, most guys still bag). so when your competition is offering the lawn cut, bagged, and dragged, for $30, you will have an impossible time selling your service as a $30 cut, then $5-10 extra for bagging. so like i said, i only charge 3 clients extra, and it"s $3-5 bucks.

Gene $immons
01-23-2004, 10:25 AM
We bag everything. In fact I bought a piece of property and a flatbed with a hoist just for dumping the stuff we collect all year.

I think the bremuda looks better bagged, Its kind of rough in the spring, when the stuff is really growing fast.

By "bagging" I mean dumpung the clippings from the mower bag into a large trash barrell, and then dumping that into the dump truck. I bet 90% of LCO's here in Okla. collect and haul away clippings.

Now, somebody 1000 miles away tell me that I'm wrong to do this. I'm used to it.

dishboy
01-23-2004, 10:46 AM
Everybody bags here also. I do smaller properties so letting it fly is not a option. I tried mulching with my Exmark 36 [1996 model I believe], but it left trails everywhere, not acceptable. Are the modern Exmark kits any better?

mtdman
01-23-2004, 11:30 AM
Originally posted by Gene $immons
Now, somebody 1000 miles away tell me that I'm wrong to do this. I'm used to it.

I don't think any of us on here can say what another successful LCO does is wrong. At least on certain things. If you do it, cool, if you don't, cool. It's whatever works where you work. I think it is interesting to see how others do things, and sometimes I get ideas and learn things on how I could do things different.

:D

LawnMower
01-23-2004, 03:10 PM
I bag some places. The people that fertilized have to be bagged. The grass grows 6 inches a week, and its thick. Theres no amount of mulching or double cutting thats going to make it look good.

I only pick it up if I can dump it on there property however. I have a Protero grass catcher that works pretty well. But not in the wet.

The picture is the one I'm talking about. It just has to be bagged or it wont look right.

sheppard
01-23-2004, 05:54 PM
I've had 2 customers ask me to bag. Told both of them "Nope!" with a smille. Try to throw in how good the nitogen is for their grass. Both of them wanted to dispute that so I just shrugged blandly and smiled stupidly.

One customer wanted me to do it last year toward the end of the season (for pine needles). Told him I couldn't do it. He said he'd expect me to do it "next year" ( which is going on now). Will have to either pass him off to another company or hire some one with a bagger to do it.

Cordially,
Sheppard

outrunjason
01-23-2004, 06:24 PM
There is a few that want me to bag. There lawn wouldn't even fill up the bag after one mowing. I tell them sure. I come out there and put the bag on and just don't open the chute! They never even new the difference.

I know, a great way to do business right.

Jason

bastalker
01-23-2004, 06:46 PM
Its amazing the cultural difference between the north an the south...

The properties up north seem to be quite a bit different. Seems I just want to bag them all for some reason. Well I have a few I wouldnt.... But those clients will be introduced to a friend of mine ....Not because they are a pita, but there are several new lco's startin up, that would love these props. He just happens to be one of them. The customers really dont mind gettin the new lco's.

I figure if the property looks awsome after I am done, Then sooner or later, I'm gonna get the nieghbors yard too.....The bigger the property, the more likely I wind up with the neighbors yard....

Why??? Because I bag em! Put down a pretty good stripe too!!

LawnMower
01-23-2004, 07:15 PM
I think the lawns In New england need bagging to look half way decent. Well the fertilized ones do.

dvmcmrhp52
01-23-2004, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by LawnMower
I bag some places. The people that fertilized have to be bagged. The grass grows 6 inches a week, and its thick. Theres no amount of mulching or double cutting thats going to make it look good.

I only pick it up if I can dump it on there property however. I have a Protero grass catcher that works pretty well. But not in the wet.

The picture is the one I'm talking about. It just has to be bagged or it wont look right.




Then you need to council them on the fact that TOO much fertilizer is being applied.

Expert Lawns
01-23-2004, 09:51 PM
I will bag parts of the lawn if neccessary. It will save me time in the long run. If there are tight spots where discharging will leave flowerbeds covered in clippings, I will throw the bagger on when I'm making my first outline pass. After that, the bag comes off and I just make sure I discharge the other way. I know my accounts well enough to know ahead of time if the bagger is needed. I will just grab it while at the trailer.

Critical Care
01-24-2004, 03:10 AM
One client of mine had mulched his fescue lawn for a few years and after he hired me I began to bag everything. For almost a month I kept picking up all that dead mulched-up thatch. There was so much of this stuff on the ground that in places the grass couldn't grow though it. Needless to say, now after a season of bagging, the lawn has filled in and looks a whole lot better.

LawnMower
01-24-2004, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by dvmcmrhp52
Then you need to council them on the fact that TOO much fertilizer is being applied.

They actually have a fertilizer company come in and apply the fertilizer. I think its Scots. I'm surprised that they don't know better.

But then again the more they put down, the more money they make, I guess.