Is a leaf vac worth the investment???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LB Landscaping, Oct 5, 2002.

  1. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,309

    Hey all, I did a search on this topic but and have been reading for about an hour but still have questions so here goes.
    I am looking to purchase a leaf vac and wonder if it will be worth the invetment of over $2000. If you live in Maine you know we get ALOT of leaves (if not you do now). Here's my procedure as of now. Blow and rake out of all beds and areas the mower won't reach. Mow over what I can with a Walker (20hp, 48 ", 9.5 bushel) if they are too thick I blow into a very large pile. Then onto the tarp and into the truck/trailer. Would a leaf loader/vac save me time? Obviously it will save space by mulching the leaves and I would be able to fit more in the truck but would it be worth shelling out all that cash??? I am definatly willing to do it if it will make a big enough difference.

    Also anyone know the website for lesco???
     
  2. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    I have to say definatively ... YES !!!
    A truck loader will save you time and make you more productive, as well as save yours and any help you have backs from the strain of trying to lift and pull a tarp up into a truck and then fold it over and dump it. That takes two, where as a truckloader will just take one to rake or push the leaves to the hose opening and leave the other to run the machine to drive the Walker over and dump it next to the truck.
    As to a Lesco, they are OK, not the best, not the worst ... try looking at a GiantVac, BillyGoat or one of the many other manufacturers that are out there ....
    Again, yes, a truckloader will save you time and effort ... hope you have a good dump truck :D :D
     
  3. JasperStorm

    JasperStorm LawnSite Member
    from WA
    Posts: 71

    It depends on what type of properties you generally maintain.

    You will reach the break even point on your investment quickly if you have large jobs (commercial, not Granny Cheapskate's backyard) with good access via street or parking lots to the areas where your piles of leaves will be, however breaking even might not be an issue if you are only trying to save your back from wear and tear in hefting tarps of (often wet) leaves into your truck.

    Benefits of a vaccuum:

    1. On large jobs, saves time over loading by hand w/ cans/tarps

    2. Usually mulches leaves well, especially helpful to those who have to pay by the cu.yd to dump their yard waste.

    3. No broken backs from loading leaf tarps of leaves into trucks.

    4. You can work 3x as long before having to dump the truck.

    Negatives of a vaccuum:

    1. Initial expense

    2. Requires truck to be set up with chip box, or have dump bed tarped with suitable mesh tarp lashed down with ropes, boards, clamps, etc. to keep leaves from blowing back out of the truck when being loaded (takes time and a second worker to set up)

    3. Broken back from loading machine into receiver hitch, if unit is not trailer mounted. (Not a consideration if you have two guys to do it.)

    4. If unit is trailer mounted, you need one truck to pull the vaccuum and one to pull your mowing trailer.

    5. Machines can easily bog down/plug up (either on the suction hose end or the exhaust chute into the truck) when vaccuuming up dense piles (e.g. wet birch leaves mixed with bark dust from the beds as opposed to dry maple leaves), requiring the machine to be shut down and cleaned out.

    6. Very high wear and tear machine (impeller gets banged up from sucking up small rocks) , you'll have to be ready to put a couple hundred dollars into the machine at any given moment.

    7. Machines are LOUD! No starting early in residential areas.


    If you have alot of leaves, and get paid decent money to remove them, I say "Go for it."
     
  4. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,309

    Thanks guys,
    Most of my yards are medium to large residential. Like I said up here in Maine we get a ton of leaves. Last year a buddy of mine bagged 78 bags (not those little kitchen bags either) of leaves on his property and he has under a 1/4 of an acre. I just need to weigh out the pros and cons. It will definatly save time on loading not to mention my back. I don't have a dump body (thats next year) so I am trying to rig some way to get the leaves out of the box on my pick-up.
     
  5. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    If you don't have a dumpbody, then one way to get the leaves out would be to lay a heavy tarp inside the bed befor you load it, leaving a foot or two hanging over the back. Then when you get to the dump, either take a rope and tie it to something solid and pull away or perhaps throw one of the "Loader" operators a couple of bucks and tie it to his bucket ...
    Try looking into one of the ez-dump type pick-up truck inserts, I have one and it was one of the best investments I ever made ... cost about $2000 plus tax.
     
  6. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,309

    The tarp is a good idea. I have a load handler now and am trying to rig up a way to add something that is high (piece of plywood maybe) on the end to drag leaves out. I did look into a dump insert but I am planning on buying a dump body next year. I haven't decided if I am going to keep my pick-up or not.
     
  7. TurfGuyTX

    TurfGuyTX LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 648

    If you still need it, go to www.lesco.com
     
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,133

    I rarely haul leaves, as most of my properties are larger residentials where I can just plow the leaves into the woods or deposit on-site in their yard-waste dump area.

    I was just curious though...can the leaves be vacuumed out of the truck bed and discharged at the dumping site?
     
  9. JasperStorm

    JasperStorm LawnSite Member
    from WA
    Posts: 71

    Darryl,

    One the leaves have gone through the machine they become a finely ground mulch that is pretty dense/ heavy. If you tried to run it through again it would clog the machine (especially if the leaves were wet when they were sucked up.)
     
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,133

    Thanks. That makes sense.
     

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