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Potential problem in my future...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Doc Pete, May 25, 2002.

  1. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    :confused: I can see a problem in my future. I use WB's with velkys. Speed is not a problem, and my machine are faster than a rider for what I do. However, I have more and more lawns that are "chemlawn, techlawn, or whatever" treated. OK, the problem is even with cutting twice a week, I can't get rid of the grass. I need to bag or blow the grass. It's getting expensive for the customer, which I can understand. It looks like I may need to get a bagging rider to speed things up.
    Now, I hate riders because they just bounce too much for me, and I don't have big lawns. Everything is under 1 acre. However, since I will be bagging I will be going slower, so I won't have a problem. My question is, how do I price the "use" of the riding bagger?? In other words, If I get $60 an hour to cut with my WB's, how much more per hour is a "rule of thumb" that I can use when riding and bagging the lawn, if I buy an $8,000/$9,000 riding bagger????
    Thanks in advance.

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Posts: 665

    Bagging is the absolute last resort for me. It will slow you down, create extra physical work lifting those heavy bags into the truck, use more gas and put more wear on the tranny from the weight, then, you have to quit early to drive to the dumpsite and probably pay money to get rid of it. Then, you're left with a sticky, smelly truck bed. Its hard to calculate an adjustment for those kind of problems. I came up with a new way to deal with the excess clippings that seems to work well. I cut one time at a slower pace to make sure I cut evenly. Then, I take the little wonder across the lawn. If there is a woods or a field next to the property, I keep pushing it in that direction. If there is not, I go about 1/2 way to the border and start from the opposite side and blow back to the center. I would say about 80% of the grass gets broken up and pushed under the turf canopy, while the other 15% gets pushed forward. That is why you have to move around a bit. Since I started this procedure, I have cut my bagging down by 80%. I now only bag near areas with landscape beds. The only drawback is the lines from the little wonder.
  3. Krimick

    Krimick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 86

    Your not going to get much more..... atleast in my experience.

    Small lawns I charge the same whether I bag or not. Larger lawns I would definetly charge more to bag, but the amount would depend on how insistent the customer was on having the clippings bagged.

    To limit the amount of grass you have to take away I suggest cutting first, then putting on your bagger and going over the areas where the grass is laying on top of the lawn. This time of year your bags can fill up after only a couple of passes on the lawn
  4. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    First, thanks for offering suggestions. To hone in on my thinking, when bagging with the WB, the bag gets so damn heavy (running doubles packs it in) the machine tilts and the cut suffers. Also, the bag is gotta be about 50lbs, and awkard to lift and dump. Also, I have to do so much more walking to the back to dump. So, I was assuming a good Rider and vac system would really speed things up, especially those trips to the backyard to dump.
    On the other hand, it's a lot of money for a small amount of lawns. BUT, I can see it being a big help with leaves in the fall. Help, help. :p OK, keep those suggestions coming.
    Thanks again,
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Switchless - Can't you bring the machine with the bag still on to the back to dump rather than carry it. If not, how about putting down a tarp in a convenient area, dumping onto the tarp, and then dragging it in back when full.
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    If you're going to bag regularly then I suggest that you change your complete setup to a bagging rig. Start with a Walker 42" GHS Model C or T. This mower will reduce the time that you spend cutting grass so-much-so that you will not need to raise your prices. As for emptying the hopper on the Walker some of the guys here on Lawnsite have come up with some very innovative ways to just back the mower on the trailer and then back it up a set of ramps so that you can dump right into the back of the truck. Quick and painless.
  7. slplow

    slplow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    Richard Martin is right, a walker will speed things up for you. I run two of them with speed up kits and they have saved me alote of time doing lawns like yours. I can do more lawns bagging then spraying the clipping all over the place. No blowing off lawns in the spring , no double cuts, no blowing off cars, houses,beds that the custermer just paid you to mulch. My new worker can't believe how many more lawn we get done than his old lco that he worker for who did not bag a thing . He say's at tops a three man crew were cutting only 20 -22 lawns , where we are cutting 28- 30 lawns a day.
  8. If you cut and let them lay just a little, it reduces the weight a lot. A lawn that would be 10 bags if it were collected when cut can be reduced to a bag or two if you let it dry. Plus a lot of it gets lost into the lawn.
    When I used to collect clippings, I'd get as much as 1,000 # off of an urban lot with a bagger attached to the mower. I got to where I'd just side discharge it and let it lay. It looked terrible. The people would come screaming out of the house with "YOU CAN'T LEAVE MY LAWN LIKE THAT!" I'd tell them no-o-o-o, it has to dry. Then I'd come back later that day and bag it all in one bag. Then charge them for a second cut! It wasn't long before they were having a conversation with their applicator guy.

  9. captdevo

    captdevo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 932

    WALKER GHS will save you time and money in the long run and give an exceptional cut too!
  10. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 739

    Sounds like your customer has the problem. If they hire someone to make chemical applications on the property, it's not your fault that you have to cut more often. I would charge more to bag, even if it's a small lawn. Maybe you could charge by bag weight like they do at the landfills. Be sure to cover the pita factor. This could be a good thing. You could be forced into buying a Walker which will be more fun, and leave a nice cut.

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