Do you collect grass because you think it looks better?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by walker-talker, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I have a Walker and run a 52" SD deck in the general mowing season. I only use the 48" collection deck for cleanups. On a couple lawns I use the 52" deck in combination was an accelerator catcher. Well, I mowed a lawn the other day with the collection deck that I usually use the 52" deck in combination was an accelerator catcher and what a difference. I know there are pros and cons to each. Of my route (which is small compared to most standards) 10% of lawns I collect the grass and another 10% told me this year they would pay extra for me to collect their grass. Even though I feel that 20% would pay extra for this service, I just can't seem to justify the extra expense and hassle to get set up to do this the way I would like to. What I am talking about is adding a dump kit to the truck ($1000) and a high-lift kit to the Walker ($3000). The setup will cost me about $4000. It would take a little bit of extra time to dump in the truck throughout the day, but the real difference would be at the end of the day or week to take the truck to the recycling center to dump the grass. The added expense for dumping grass would have to factored in the cost of the cut, as well as the added time. I just feel collecting grass is superior to any other method as far as looks go. I am not looking for a pissing match here.

    I guess I am looking for replies to people that decided to collect grass for cosmetic reasons and built they're business around that market. My business is still in the infant stages and looking for some guidance here. Of course I would have to tailor to the higher end residentials, but is it all worth it?
     
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    i dont think it looks any better then when i mulch.....and it robs the turf of nutrients.....after some educational reading, i have found quite a few studies on the matter, and the consenses is, mulching or even side discharge is better for the lawn....at least thats the info i found, there maybe other studies that are different
     
  3. Thirdpete

    Thirdpete LawnSite Member
    from Chicago
    Posts: 236

    I collect in the spring when mulching leaves hay on the grass, but i would say that only happens pretty much in may around here. Mid june til the end of the year, it gets mulched and same with april usually.
     
  4. TURFLORD

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    I guess I am looking for replies to people that decided to collect grass for cosmetic reasons and built they're business around that market. My business is still in the infant stages and looking for some guidance here. Of course I would have to tailor to the higher end residentials, but is it all worth it?
    Do you use your truck for work and personal reasons? If so that grass is going to make it stink to high heaven and draw flies like you've never seen before.
     
  5. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    A lot of the areas I provide service in prefer us to collect the clippings. In the early spring it is almost mandatory. I guess it all depends on how you are set up. We have designated maintenance crews set up specifically for mowing. The other aspect w/ multiple crews is the employee factor. They are all lazy and will try to take short cuts wherever posible. We have less than 20% of our accounts that are side discharged only. If you leave it up to the crews, I think you'll find too many clippings in beds, on patios, discharged into a/c units, parked cars and the like. To avoid the aforementioned, we make them bag almost everything all of the time. Gone are the days when employees took pride in their work or cared about anything other than a paycheck (and if you ask them they're still all overworked & underpaid). Thats the long & short of it.
    If you don't care about being a mow, blow & go guy and will settle for lesser mowing accounts, then I guess the above doesn't matter. I usually figure on about $100/week for grass clipping disposal and thats for up to 20 cu yds. per week.
     
  6. uspw

    uspw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    It really depends on the customer, we mostly bag everyone, but have been looking into a mulching kit.
     
  7. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    I think the main problem is the customers are not educated and think its bad to not collect (thatch build up, etc). If we can educate them (1 less fert. a year, better for the environment, lower cost for them, etc) they will start to see the real picture. I used to swear by collecting and used walkers when it was free for me to dump. Now that I live in Chicago and its a PITA, I side discharge, rarely have to go over twice, and am a lot more efficient with barely any difference in appearance (as long as they are weekly customers).
     
  8. scagwildcat

    scagwildcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from nw. ct.
    Posts: 507

    i dont know about you guys, but in my area unless you have a place on your own land, you can not dispose of lawn clippings, i for one will not clean someones house just to make mine look like a mess, the local dump will not take them, because of fertilizer.
     
  9. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I guess my reason for bagging is part in due to the Walker's ability to cut up the clipping well (with the 52" SD deck). For most lawns, it's not too bad except in the spring. At that time I have to double cut some areas of some lawns, but I am thinking this might be true with other mowers as well...not sure. The cost of dumping grass is very affordable. I have a truck that holds 22 cubic yards. I use a leaf loader to load debris...so it's very compact when I dump and it only cost between $20 and $25. Stink don't bother me. I have two work trucks and another for personal use.
     
  10. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,213

    We collect 90% of our properties all season. Its much faster and easyier than trying to double cut and / or blow clippings from beds,walkways, or driveways. I have 4 places to dump at so that is not a problem.

    Walker-Talker
    I bought my Walker with the intention of using the High Lift Dump System in 1996. My dealer advised me not too but I insisted. I had him remove it after only 4 days of use. My area has too many steep areas and the added higth of the lift unit throws off the traction ability of the Walker. It was nice not to have to fork clippings but I would rather have the traction. If you have mostly flat ground it will work. With all the mowers on the market today the Walker is too slow for the larger areas.

    Gene
     

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