Need help with ideas.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FrankenScagMachines, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    I've got a Ford F350 with a 7.5' wide 12' long flatbed. I bag a good deal of grass (more than most of the local LCO's by quite a bit). Do not bash me for this, I do it for good reasons that work best for me and my customers. I offer premium services and that is what they get! Yes they pay for it too. Last summer I just had solid oak 16" high sides on the bed. That worked fine, but had to always cover the clippings with the mesh tarp, and secure the tarp, and everytime you added more clippings to the heap, the tarp straps did not stretch as far. I use a 10 bushel 3 bag Fast-Vac collection system on my Ferris ZTR, so to dump the bagger I must lift and dump each bag, or toss them into the truck then climb into the truck to dump them out, then get back out and put them back on the mower. Also I sold the sides I had on the truck bed last year because i put a different bed on. I will be doing all the fabrication work myself as thats just how I do things (if you know me you know what i'm talking about).

    So I need ideas. Here are the requirements:

    must maintain high visibility.
    must be easy to dump clippings into, preferably without climbing into truck bed
    must be quick and easy to use.
    must be versatile (will also have need to haul mulch, etc.)
    must not cost a fortune to build.
    must look good
    would be nice to be able to use this space for advertising also.

    I currently have 3' high solid steel sides on the truck bed that were used during leaf season (then had a top on that that went up higher and covered it). But these sides are just a little high to comfortably dump clippings into, visibility is zero, looks more like a farm truck, and the vertical ribs for it are on the outside so it wouldn't be perfect for advertising unless you added another flat peice of steel on top of that (which would be ok).

    I'm thinking of something like expanded steel sides with angle iron frame or something like that. The sides would be about 2' tall, i think that would be good because its tall enough to hold it all in, but short enough i can dump right over the side. I could attach a flat plate of steel to part of the sides of it for advertising and that would look fine I think. The mesh would be small enough size that the clippings would not blow right through. I found with the mesh tarp that with the holes for breathing, it did not flop around like a regular tarp and also on mesh sides, there would be less or no air vacuum inside of the bed, so clipping would stay still better. I still have not thought of the best way to make a top for it though. I had thought of making mesh steel top panels hinged from the middle with gas shocks to hold them up, kinda like a toolbox, but the middle with hinges would have to be higher up than the sides, and would either slope down to meet the sides, or have say an additional 1' of mesh going down from the top to meet the sides... that would work really well. But, it gets costly to do all of that and a little complicated. Plus, you cannot haul mulch well that way (open top only way to go with mulch). If we're doing alot of mulch we probably will swap the 3' solid sides back on for the mulching job(s).

    I guess i just talked myself into mesh sides and figuring out a way to utilize the mesh tarp for a cover, somehow. Any other ideas for sides I could consider or ideas for a better way to make a top?

    Thanks,
    Eric
     
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    this pic shows how much grass we will usually need to hold. Sometimes less, occasionally more (if we hit high growth or did a cleanup on an overgrown lawn that day).

    1.jpg
     
  3. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 197

    This is not my forte but how about some type of a collapsing ramp on one of the sides. Maybe something that would fold up tight to the side boards or even something that would maneuver over the side boards and serve as a partial cover for your grass.
    That's all I got. :waving:
     
  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Some kind of dovetail gate/ramp system is what you need Eric. That way you could back up into the truck.
     
  5. Fareway Lawncare

    Fareway Lawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    from Canada
    Posts: 2,222

    See if you Can Compost on the Customer's Property....We used to Dig Huge Holes in Customer Approved Location @ the Beginning of the Season & Dump or Dump in Piles at Far Reaches of Prop...

    Or You Could set-up your Mowers to Discharge or Mulch Properly and make it Look Bagged.
     
  6. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332



    My thought as well...try here: TRUCK RAMP SYSTEMS
     
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    First, huge holes probably means he would need a backhoe at least to dig them.

    Secondly, he loses time and money "dead-heading" back to the lawn area to begin mowing again after dumping this grass at what you call "Far Reaches of the Property". All fine and dandy if you are charging strictly by the hour...if not, you are leaving a bunch of $$$ on the table.
     
  8. Fareway Lawncare

    Fareway Lawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    from Canada
    Posts: 2,222

    Running the Catcher to the On Site Dump Spot was Usually No further than Running it to the Trucks...Especially if you were Cutting in the Back..

    Regardless I Would Charge Way too Much $$$ to Bag Anything Now...After Collecting & Disposal the Price Would Have to about Triple to make it Worthwhile...No Way Anyone would pay that Premium.
     
  9. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    First off:
    Free disposal - no fees.
    Whether to bag or not is not the question.... thats not at all what i asked and i am not going to let my thread be hyjacked into a bag vs. discharge/mulch thread! OK! Thank you!

    I had thought of a ramp into the truck from the trailer, but the way my trailer is setup, I'd have to unload the walk behind every time i needed to bag. Thats assuming I removed my beloved cage from front of the trailer. Which could be done... but still the walk behind is up there.... A ramp would be ok though, but cost that much more and still gotta have sides on the truck bed. Not saying its not worth it though, but you still have to take the bags off of the mower, not much more effort to just lift them over the sides....
     
  10. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Also- not digging any holes in my yards! forget that...
     

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