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Thinking about starting a leaf clean up business, Input needed please.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BobbieB, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. BobbieB

    BobbieB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I came looking for advice, pricing info and ideas. Sure I might have approched thing poorly. But I thought this was a proffesional fourm, didn't expect some of your responses. I had good intentions for this thread but now it's just a bash session.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 37,805

    It's called family and down time. If you're backed up, fine. But if you're able manage your time well, then there's no reason to kill yourself all the time.
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,039

    OK, thanks for clearing that up. I actually tried to go out and blow some leaves in my yard this afternoon and even with one of the biggest baggest blowers on the market, the Husqvarna 580BTS, it didn't do squat with an inch of slush on the ground. I'm sure as hell not going to go to my customer's properties and try to do cleanups in these conditions.
  4. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 37,805

    Last November I tried doing a couple cleanups with just a dusting of snow...never again...took 10 times as long as it should have. Leaves wouldn't suck up with the mower, the blower wouldn't blow them more than 3 inches at a time, and when I went to tarp them and take them to the truck, I could only lift 15 leaves at a time.
  5. H & M Yard Improvements

    H & M Yard Improvements LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    I guess he didnt get the memo that the northeast is getting hammered with a Nor 'Easter right now and theres still leaves on the trees here causing trees to snap under the weight causing roads to become impassable. Guess thats not a reason not to work huh?
  6. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    Oh man do I got that story beat 3 seasons ago we finish off a neighborhood with snow in the forecast for the next day we just couldn't get that last over sized fenced lawn. So the next morning they had snow predicted for around noon so we went out any ways blew off the entire front then the chain broke on the drive for out self propelled fradan 18hp blower. So be it we made it a manual one figured it was a hilly lawn so were blowing the back through a gate the guy made to the woods and when we got close to the end I started mowing the place. I use a 27hp 60 inch lazer with a trac vac system I get the entire front done then head to the back just as the snow starts. I finish the back about 10 mins latter. By now the snow is coming down like a blizzard huge heavy flakes. The ride home was a challenge trailers do not like 2-3 inches of snow and it was that deep in 30-45 mins from it starting so we raced to unload nothing got winterized. Next spring found a surprise we had like 10 gallons of the nastiest water you can imagine in the trac vac barrel all sorts of molds growing in there guess we forgot to dump it that last time opps. The mower bagged the snow and then later it melted.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    Bob I wasn't trying to bash you I was pointing out the reality of this aspect of this trade. You took a few cheap shots at me and I stomped on you I guess and I apologize I realize you are new here. So what do you say we leave what was said behind and see if we can help you if you still want it. And I didn't fully unload I let the line about how I must be inefficient slide because I know tree sizes differ dramatically as do seeds and things that get caught in the lawns. Get some lawns with yellow poplar seeds and your watch you blow off times quadruple and don't get me started with nut trees.

    So what are the makes and models of the dump trailers your looking at and what size leaf vac can you buy used for 1800?
  8. RodneyK

    RodneyK LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 754

    If you want to do this legit and with only one man and possibly some help along the way you really can't do enough clean-ups to justify all the costs.
  9. BobbieB

    BobbieB LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I've been looking at a few trailers. The first 2 are 3k private owners and seem to be in good shape but need paint, which is not a big deal. I plan on adding 4-6 foot sides and painting the entire trailer. The last one is brand new. He will take $3500 for it. I like the idea of new, but from what I've read a axle under is better for leaves.


    And as for the leaf vac, I judged a little light. Figuring more like 2-2500. There's a 23hp Giant Vac that I could get for 2500 firm, tow behind unit that I would mount.

    I would use the stake pockets and 2x12 to build the box higher, and have my buddy's fab shop build the steel doors higher and some braces for the top and weld the vac to the tongue of the trailer somehow. My only issue is where to put my push blower, I could put it in the truck bed, but it would be a pain. Thinking about welding a receiver to the back of my dump trailer and making a platform that the blower would sit on and could be removed for dumping.

    I'm not sure how long everyone's typical leaf season is, but around me it tends to go from Oct 1 through November. And typically the city applies for a burn and yard waste pickup extension till the last week in November. I talk to my buddy who has his own company and he is back up big time right now. He has 3 crews, 2 for blowing to the street, and 1 strictly to for leaf vac. I bounced some ideas off him and he mentioned I could even run some pickups for him when he's really backed up.

    I just did my leafs today and it took me so long to burn because there damp, and want to have them clean for tomorrow. Thinking it would be so nice to have my own unit. The guy behind me usually does his own leaves, but isn't feeling well to enough to burn so is having his yard guy just pick up the pile. He's paying him $80 for a pile about the size of a average pick up truck.
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,039

    Burning leaves is just not something you do around here. I'm surprised it's allowed where you are.

    I don't think you want to be removing your vac unit every time you dump....actually I KNOW you don't want to be removing it...scratch that plan...really. I have a low profile dump trailer and love it...nice low loading height for lifting stuff in and if you want to ramp equipment in. I see that Bri-Mar has a ramp gate. That new one looks like a really good deal and looks like a Bri-Mar copy. I think the seller is overstating things a bit calling that Bri-Mar in excellent shape but it looks better than the Proline though. Both good tough trailers, but by the time you get done shopping them out you'll probably be at or above the price of the new one.

    You can probably get by without the wheel blower, depending on what backpack blower you have.

    Most people mount the vac on the tongue above the battery box, either attached to the frame or the box itself. I feel cramped working in that area between the truck and trailer but people do it all the time. I have a 16HP Billy Goat I mount on my trailer door. If you're going to mount it on the back of the trailer like you mentioned, I think you need a swing-away hitch or something.

    Sorry if my thoughts are a bit random...no time to compose this any better...working on my invoices.

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