How to make leaf removals quicker and more profitable?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by smallstripesnc, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. C Jovingo Landscaping

    C Jovingo Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 436

    Do you serch different KEY WORDS? You say leaf collector in this post, do you try others.

    I searched with seperate search for each

    Leaf loader
    Truck loader
    Leaf vac
    Leaf vacuum

    Leaf loader turns up the most results but if someone don't call it leaf loader it won't come up in search
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  2. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 714

    The few leaf loaders I have found they want way too much for them. I do have a walk behind leaf vac but it doesn't do that well honestly and its the size for a push mower and about two strips fill the bag. I may try mowing them first and try sucking up the rest with my walk behind leaf vacuum.

    I still think blowing them to the curb and sucking them up with a leaf loader seems like the fastest method. I mean really we can get usually have the entire lawn blown into piles within 20 minutes or less. But the tarping them into the back of the truck bed and taking a few trips to the dump site is very time consuming.
     
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    I have tried using a leaf loader and to me it's like moving the mountain to the man rather than the man to the mountain. You have to get all those leaves where you can get your truck, and then it's still work to operate the loader. Maybe on smaller properties it's no big deal, but when you have to move leaves hundreds of feet it can be a problem, so now you're back to tarps, blowing long distances or using a leaf plow, which can compact the piles. I know they have their place, but leaf loaders aren't the answer to everything by any means, and a small one is next to useless on wet leaves.
     
  4. C Jovingo Landscaping

    C Jovingo Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 436

    Do you have 4' side boards? If not, for cheap route buy 2X2's & 3/8 plywood. Personaly I don't like plywood look. 4' sides=less trips to the dump. Time = Money.
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  5. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,144

    My experience has been with leaves it takes X amount of effort to remove Y amount of leaves and there is really no way around it you just have to get in there and do them, whether you rake them or blow them or tarp them or suck them or chop them up, doesn't matter, the easiest and fastest way to get them done is to get in there and do them.

    The reason I say that is because the longer I wait, the harder it gets.
    Rain, frost, snow, ice, procrastination, all of that only aggravates things, making the clean ups harder and harder as winter progresses.
    So the sooner the better, right now is a very good time, knock them out, get them done, tough as it may sound but that is the easy way.

    Not sure how you do things but in my world easy means profit, won't get rich doing it but more customers are willing to
    pay less, so the faster it gets done the less they have to pay the easier I can make ends meet, the happier everyone is.

    That having been said I like running over mine with the lawnmower once or twice, shreds them down to smaller bits... Still takes about as long to clean up but I find the wind plays less aggravating games with me, the smaller pieces some get lost in the turf meaning less to clean up, and the final pile is MUCH smaller (meaning more customers are likely to allow me to leave them in their yard, and if I have to haul them it takes less loads).

    But ultimately it still takes what it takes.
    Effort.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  6. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,486

    i'm gonna agree with darryl here and say if you have to remove the leaves, a ztr with a rear mount bagger bagger is probably one of best ways. I also have a leaf loader, and that is the answer for some lawns, but not all. mine is a giant vac 16hp works pretty good and i picked it up for only 1600 with a motor from 2009 on it and new impeller and considering they are 5000+ for new one i think 1600 is a pretty good price considering how much faster you can load a big quantity of leaves, and how much easier it is. The leaf plow is good for pushing piles to the curb if the town is going to take them away, or they are going into the woods.

    also 160 a day sounds really really cheap for two guys, I just did a 160 dollar clean up with 2 guys plus myself on the cheetah with a bagger system and literally, I just had my two guys blow out the beds and I cut the lawn and I was done, took about 50 mins and I filled my 8ft bed full over the bed rails of shredded leaves, and pine needles, the crappy part is we have to unload it by hand still and that stuff is packed down good usually. but with 3 people we can unload it in 5 mins so its not too bad.
     
  7. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,144

    Couple more tips...

    Always LEARN which way the wind blows, every yard.
    Learn from your mistakes, too.

    You may find this hard to believe but chances are the wind will be blowing the SAME way next year.
    And if it doesn't so be it but when it does, the second time around will be easier you already know how to go about it.

    Profit also lies in doing a lot of the same work repeatedly.
    5 or 10 years into it, same yard used to take me 4 hours now takes 2.
    Because I learned a few tricks.

    That's another one there's just no way around it, you have to get out there and do it.
    I can give you hints and tips but what works for me may or may not work for you.
    Just have to get out there, tarp and rake, blowers, you name it, do it.
    Faster you get to it, sooner it gets done, the more you learn.

    Next year will be better.
     
  8. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,067

    All baggers have extremely good cut quality, I'll bet a side by side test with various dedicated baggers would be hard to tell difference
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  9. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Posts: 555

    Everyone has a different opinion, Walker's have one of, if not the best cuts and they are designed to pick up clippings and leaves. A few other mowers with vacuum baggers can be very close to the quality and the cheaper cost draw most towards "regular" zero turns instead of spending the money on the Walkers.

    -Michael
     
  10. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,067

    Over the years I've heard this mower cuts so much better than that one...never seen much of a difference ...the blade is doing the work,while the deck can somewhat allow for more suction onto the chute ....making grass stand up straighter possibly ....they do cut nice....
    I don't like to haul off organic material and dirt....
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