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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Creter, Jul 20, 2007.
Was wondering what you guys recommend for fall cleanup gear and approx cost.
Even though I got past experience with landscaping, I never was witness to anything mechanical for leaf cleanup, etc. I've seen a few names of things in a few different posts but it's Greek to me. Looking for for a system that doesn't require a mower, if that's possible.
For fall clean ups the equipment can be drastically different based on how you plan to dispose of the leaves. I can either dump on site in wooded areas and the other options are dump at the street and the twp has leaf pick up one time per week. I use a Dump from the Seat bagger. I just got a JD 777 and the bagger is on order. In previous years I have used a Toro 355 which is like a walker knock off. I got the machine for less than a bagger would cost me. I also suggest a few good leaf blowers you will need them. I use Sthils but people have different opinions its really just what you like. I have a leaf loader for my truck but rarely use it. Its a Giant Vac I bought it at a twp auction a few years back they rarely used it, I am a resident there, they always used the larger units. Do some searches here I believe there are alot of posts on it and see what you think. I find leaf clean ups to be profitable not alot of people want to deal with it and its usually nice weather to work.
Thanks HossMP. I'll do some searches as well.
if you don't want to use a mower, then you will need some sort of vac system that can be mounted to a truck or trailer so that you can remove leaves from properties. Granted not every property will need to have them removed, some can have them dumped in a certian area of the yard or at the curb, but you will really be limiting yourself if you have to pass on the ones that need or want them completely gone. A vac setup should pay for itself in the first season.
In order to get answers that apply to your situation, you need to supply much more information. Somebody already has brought up the disposal issue, and that is critical (e.g. dump on property, bring leaves to the curb for municipal pickup, put in bags for municipal pickup, haul away, etc). Also, what size properties are you working? How densely populated with trees are the lots? What equipment do you presently have? How many properties are going to be cleared? What do you mean by "fall cleanup?" Do you mean leaf removal? Or, do you include other tasks, such as trimming, bed maintenance, etc?
The answer to your question will vary widely, depending upon the information gathered from the questions (plus more questions).
OK, good points. I have no equipment directly related to lawn care itself per say. From what I gather so far in regard to leaf removal is that the best best it to use a good, quality blower to get all the leaves off of fence lines, out of beds and out of the nooks and crannies. Then one uses a mower to pick them up.
So that sounds feasible to me. By fall it is within my means to purchase a decent utility trailer, a blower and a small mower. (My thinking is with the small mower is that it will be used in some situations down the road plus I can use at the start of next season if I obtain any mowing accounts.)
I've used Stihl's equipment before and that is what I would continue to buy for the hand power tools. What are some good 21" mowers out there you guys think are worth buying? And do you guys Time and Material leaf removal or do you sight the yard and quote them a flat one time rate?
First off, I think you are making a big mistake trying to do leaf removal with a 21" mower. Remember, everyone out there who is bidding against you is using a 48" or larger and bidding according to how much time it takes to use that kind of equipment. I think you are going to find yourself way behind if you plan on using a 21. At that rate you might as well buy a garden tractor and pull a track vac behind you. It will take you 3-5 times as long to clean up the same amount of leaves as the other guys in your area because you will fill up the collector every 50 feet and have to stop and empty it with a 21. That means that you will have to bid jobs 3-5 times higher than going rates, or you will make 3-5 times less money than you should be making.
Point taken, that's what I love about this site! At this moment I'm gathering information so that I can price out equipment I would use for the fall and see if it's worth the investment. I'm starting out on the lawn care side of things, if at all, and am researching that at the moment. I appreciate your insight Spruce.
The first year in business, I had only a 21" mower. However, it was not part of the leaf removal operation, except perhaps a final cut/cleanup. There was no bidding, "... just take care of the leaves." So, nobody outbid me, and I had more work than I could handle. My tools were rake and tarps, and a 5X5 trailer with sides I built from scrap plywood. I didn't even have a blower. People post pictures of this kind of setup on LS for all to ridicule, but that is all I had to use at the time.
Did I use my time wisely, and make tons of money? No, not at all. However, it was a starting point and kept my foot in all the mowing accounts. The expenses were next to nothing. Yes, I learned this is NOT the way to do leaf work in a productive way. No, I still don't do leaf work in a productive way, but am certainly far better than those days of the first season.