Mowing versus leaf removal

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by icareindy, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. icareindy

    icareindy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    This is my first official year mowing and we've had leaves falling already from disease, bugs, and/or climate conditions ( muggy, wet, cold, then hot, all within each week the past two months.)

    I own a 60" Laser Z, 36 and 48" turf tracer, 30" and 22" toro push mowers. All with normal blades that do not mulch the leaves, just shoot them across the yard.

    Going into fall I'd like to hear how the pros address leaves during the mowing season. Do you blow and remove with no additional fee? How do you address these clients and provide clarify on additional fees? Or do you leave the leafs on the ground for a one time removal?

    I like leaving properties looking nice, but also feel that the additional work and disposal merits a premium.
    Any suggestions are appreciated. Last year I only did leaf removal, no mowing.
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  2. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,494

    your situation is unique, leaves arent expected to fall this early. so i would cut them up and bag or rake up the highest concentrated areas. im going to mulch them initially, but when theyre heavy and covering the whole lawn, i am going to give clients the choice of having them cut up, or pay $60/hour for leaf removal/disposal. ill blow them into piles and put them in tarps or buckets and in the truck
     
  3. clay45

    clay45 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    http://exmark-staging.4w.com/accessories_lazerz.htm

    "
    UltraVac® Collection Systems
    UltraVac Collection Systems make it even easier for you to maximize your productivity.

    Quick-attach design enables easy switching from bagging to side-discharge, without tools, in minutes.

    Larger diameter, smooth-discharge tube handles volumes of debris with less clogging.

    Compact design minimizes trailering space and lets you easily maneuver around obstacles.

    Sealed hood reduces dust around the engine and operator.

    High-capacity, durable bags and QDS hopper dramatically improve efficiency:
    (3) UltraVac 32-gallon collection bags (13.5 bushels).
    Available on select models.
    (2) UltraVac 32-gallon collection bags (8 bushels).
    Available on select models.
    UltraVac QDS commercial grade steel and polyethylene hopper with rear-discharge door; (7 bushels) or (11 bushels)."
     
  4. icareindy

    icareindy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Thanks for the prompt reply! I don't have a mulching kit, I use trimmer traps on all of my commercial mowers. How do you mulch? A kit, gator blades ? In addition , if you're bagging, how do you suggest stating on time within routes if the trailer/ truck bed is being filled with debris? And, during that period do you charge for disposal?

    QUOTE=Ditta&Sons;5093570]your situation is unique, leaves arent expected to fall this early. so i would cut them up and bag or rake up the highest concentrated areas. im going to mulch them initially, but when theyre heavy and covering the whole lawn, i am going to give clients the choice of having them cut up, or pay $60/hour for leaf removal/disposal. ill blow them into piles and put them in tarps or buckets and in the truck[/QUOTE]
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  5. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,413

    If you are talking about a small amont of leaves (not fall/winter trees going dormant) I would simply mulch them. But realize if you put a mulch kit on it will affect your other mowing. Maybe a chute blocker would fit your needs. I run a JD with MOD which is perfect for these scenarios.

    Someone mentioned a vac system and that would work but be aware they are expensive take up significant room on the trailer and are not easily removed. This would require charging additional fees.
     
  6. trock

    trock LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 430

    The ultra vac is easy to remove with no tools
     
  7. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 751

    Get a qwik chute blocker and mulch them.

    We always blow beds and sidewalks first, then mulch on site.

    Save your time, sanity and labor!
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  8. olajoe808

    olajoe808 LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5b
    Posts: 221


    IF it's a small amount and it's not a problem then it's included. Depends on the time invovled. Examples like your situation or say your clients property abuts another property that hasn't been cleaned up and gets blown on to yours and it's a problem then hopefully you have something in writing that spells it out. Your price includes xx number of minutes clean up each visit, OUtisde from that you take pictures, make note of the situation, contact the poc, have a setup so that you are authorized to get paid for the additional time involved.

    Generally, here there is a window between these two services and they are treated as such.
     
  9. icareindy

    icareindy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Thank you for the great responses so far. I'm more concerned with October when leaves begin going dormant. From a business prospective I don't want to create the "All inclusive lawn care" for a "flat rate mowing fee." My contracts are specific to: mow, edge, trim, and blow grass clippings. I learned this year with weeding that some clients feel like if they pay once, that they can simply call and say "more weeds are growing," and expect that one time fee to cover all future weeding.

    I'll surely be specific on hours for large leaf clean up jobs. However as leaves go dormant, and grass is still needing cut, I feel a premium to gather and dispose of fallen leaves is merited. It takes time, room on my trailer, and increases my labor costs. It also could reduce paid work from those properties with less leaves that I "could mulch and bag until the lawn is covered."

    From a customer service prospective, and my logo at their house, I don't want to be known as "The company that leaves lawns unclean."

    It's a double edge sword I'm hoping I receive input on to help shed clarity on my plan.

    As for mulching , I have shoot traps on all of my mowers, sorry my local shop refers to them as "trimmer traps." Question is, do you use gator blades once leafs begin to fall, switch to mulching kits, or stick to straight blades with shoot covers? Or do you use your preference once the ground is covered?

    Most of my properties are .3 - .7 acres, very small front yards, all back yard. I have a metal grass catcher for my walk behinds that no longer fit since adding the chute trap. It needs welded/ fabrication, or my trap taken off. Not sure if I can justify the investment of a bagging system for my lazer Z unless I go after market.

    Sorry for the long post but felt my free flow thoughts would initiate broader feedback.
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  10. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 503

    We mow during summer at the mowing price, stop mowing when grass stops and leaves are more prevalent. We do 2x fall cleanups at most properties. Some are weekly, most are every other. These get charged at the fall cleanup rate of a minimum of 330 for 2 visits. Average out around 50-70/hr. Everything is blown out, mulched then bagged and taken offsite. Fall cleanups are a whole different game then mowing and require much extra time
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