Thinking about buying a bagging system

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lasher66, Sep 5, 2002.

  1. lasher66

    lasher66 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 395

    Hi,
    I have a 52"Bunton ZTR that I was thinking about buying a bagging vac system for. I have been cutting for 4 years and managed to get buy without bagging. It just seems to me that when I drive by other LCO's that are out cutting with bagging systems on there mowers, the lawn looks picture perfect because there are no leaves or grass on the lawn. I been using doubles in the spring time but it just seems like so much work double and triple cutting and blowing clippings around to make a lawn look good. I know I will have to deal with hauling away clippings in the spring but I think that would be faster . Another plus about bagging would be the fall time. Just wanted to know if bagging is worth it or not ? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    Lasher
     
  2. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    It sounds to me you may need to rethink your approach to how you mow. For me, I mow when the lawn needs it. If I have to mow every 3/4 days I do. I've found people don't seem to understand how much it is to bag their lawn, especially if you have to haul the grass away. Guy's that bag in NJ usually have a 40 yards dumpster at work and dump the collected grass each day in it. I don't bag so I'm only guessing, but I don't think most customers want to pay $60/70 per hour knowing part of what you do is just dump grass and drive it home. Again, I don't bag, so I don't how things are priced, but if you're not getting at least the same amount of money to "bugger lug" the grass around, I wouldn't bag.
    Last if you have to double and triple cut the lawn it's way too long, Yes???? And, if you have the type of customer that only wants the lawn done once a week, I don't think you're gonna be able to charge them a "good fee" just for disposing of "grass".
    Pete
     
  3. lasher66

    lasher66 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 395

    All my customers are on a weekly basis, I have customers that are planned for the same day every week. If I cut every 3 to 4 days , that means my customers will be cut on a different day of the week and therefore leaves less room for more customers to fit into my schedule for the rest of the season. I have about 50 residential accounts that I do myself . From what I see ,most LCO's that cut residential operate this way.

    Lasher
     
  4. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    I have 2 Great Dane Chariots and each has its own Peco system.

    We've found that in general, you rarely need to collect grass clippings except in yards that where the customer really wants to go the extra distance AND the grass is a really fast growing variety such as many of the fescues during moderate temps with lots of rain. That type of customer is not the norm. I think that you'll find that those yards that look super nice, will look normal if you walk over there and look close. But while you're standing there looking close at the super yard, turn around and look back at the one you just cut and I think you'll see that it looks just as good from the same distance. The other LCO is probably wondering why his quality isn't matching yours. Ha Ha

    So I usually have at least one Peco up and running in the spring to handle those really fast growing ones and also to offer a service helping people who were knuckleheaded enough to let their yards get away from them. Of course, for that I knock their teeth out on price.

    In the fall, now, you're talking an entirely different ballgame. During leaf season the baggers really come into there own and with some aggresive marketing, your bagging attachments will pay for themselves in truckloads in no time at all.

    Definately worth it.
     
  5. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    I know what you are saying, and I agree many guys cut that way. However, you already are finding out the down side of cutting that way;) Lawns don't grow the same all the time. If you cut every week, I'm guessing in the summer you are cutting when the lawns don't really need to be cut. I just can't cut that way.
    Let me ask you, do you charge extra for cutting the lawn 2/3 times, or are you a flat rate? If you are a flat rate you are losing money. Also, what I don't understand is if you mow a lawn once a week that needs double/triple cutting, then the lawn really looks crummy half way through the week that you normally cut it, because it's way too long when you get there. If this is the type of people you mow, I'd look for customers that want a nice lawn, and are willing to pay to have it cut twice a week if needed.
    I have 40 customers, and I mow them as needed. I have a chart of all customer for each time I cut, and adjust my daily schedule for those that need a once a week cut, every other week, twice a week and so forth.
    Pete
     
  6. Mow&Snow

    Mow&Snow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 335

    My main mower is a 52" Bunton that is 4 years old. I put a manufacturers bagger on it for 1500 bucks. This thing will pull the green out a lawn it sucks so hard. This tool paid for itself the first week I had it the fall. It's my main tool for picking up leaves.

    Not only that, but I it gives me a great deal of flexability while mowing. If I mow a lawn and it looks alittle crummy, I can quickly go over the rough areas with collection to tidy it up.

    Don't hesitate to buy that bagger!
     
  7. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    My only point is, I assume you charge extra for the "quick clean up".... Yes????
    Pete
     
  8. Mow&Snow

    Mow&Snow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 335

    Charge extra for five min. worth of work to make a job look professional? Um no...
     
  9. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    I charge depending on the circumstances. If it's a really good customer that's been with me for a long time, no, I probably won't charge. In fact, I may not even mention the fact that we even put in the extra labor.

    On the other hand, if it's a customer that consistantly is causing me to put so much extra time in every trip that I'm passing up good paying work elsewhere, absolutely I'm charging extra.

    But hey, that's all an individual decision we each have to make. Let's not base it on what all the other LCOs are doing.

    The beauty of being the owner of the business is that we get to call our own shots. :cool:
     
  10. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    That sounds OK to me, too, and what I'd do, too. I guess I'm splitting hairs without knowing it, since I really thought bagging is never just a 5 minute affair.
    Pete
     

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