1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Truck loader or ultra vac?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by kc2006, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Ok I'm trying to decide which route I want to go here and I'm lookin to ya'll for help!

    Trying to decide what to do for fall cleanups. I'm a solo operation so I'm looking for the most time effecient route for one guy. It seems to me that an ultra vac or a mower mounted vac would be the most time effecient way. Blow beds/areas the mower cant get in and then just mow the yard. Using a truck vac always seemed slow to me, when I worked for another company thats all we used, truck loader and w/b blowers. Yea it was great for the huge places with tons of leaves but all my accounts are 8,000 sq ft and under. (except commercial accounts but all of them have areas to blow leaves into, arrangements have been made with all them thankfully)

    I'm almost sold on an ultra vac, but I have one worry (anyone using ultravacs for fall cleanups talk to me here). I'll be just dumping the bags in the back of the truck, I have a box i'll be putting on the truck but no loader. How much debris can I put in there without a loader? I used to stuff the box with a loader but that won't happen when I'm actually climbing in there dumping leaves/grass.

    Next situation is, I got a price of $1890 uninstalled for an ultravac 3 bag set up. Again, ultra vac seems easier to use because its so easy to take the blower housing off and its all pretty compact. But I also have the hookup with a Peco vac, pro 14 model, for a really good price. For those of you that actually use them, how do you like them? If I go with the used peco, I could probably find a used 10hp truck loader and still be at the same price of the ultravac. It's a trade off, really nice vac set up but load into the truck by hand, or fair vac and use a loader to load the truck???

    Sorry for the long post, suggestions on all the questions? Thanks guys!
  2. tcls83

    tcls83 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    I'd definitely go with the Ultra-Vac. I bought one for my 60" Lazer last year, and it worked out great. So many customers were tickled on how well their lawns were cleaned. But the Echo PB-751 Backpack I bought last fall deserves the credit also.

    And, I'd say the ultra-vac setup grinds up leaves finer (at least with dry leaves) than the truck loader. And on properties where you do not have to haul leaves away (by dumping in the woods instead) it works great, and cleaning an clogged hose (happens) is really easy. Also, by now, the ultravac's leaf piles from last year have already decomposed into some nice topsoil.

    You can get to only closer distances with a truck loader, unless if you want to push some massive piles over to your truck.

    And, obviously the Ultra-vac can be used to bag grass in the summer.

    I don't mean to sound like an Exmark salesman, but the ultra-vac is great for leaves, in my opinion . Get yourself a really powerful backpack (If you don't have one) too!:waving:
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    I feel it all depends on how many yards you have to clean up. In my case I would go with both. You may not be able to afford that. I find with the ultra vac you get clogged a lot mowing over leaves. Then if you go the blower route with a leaf loader then your blowing all the yards. Sometimes you cant mow over the leaves and when you use and exmark to push the leaves the deck rides up and over the pile and sometimes you can get stuck. I blow the beds and if i can just mow then i mow them over bagging them and dump it in front of the leaf loader to be sucked up. If you have both I feel you have options on how to do the cleanup. But if I had to make a choice right now on the spot I would go with the ultra vac because you can use it for spring and fall cleanups and the whole mowing season. It also does a pretty good job sucking up bush trimmings as long as the clippings are not to woody. my 2 cents. hope it helped some.
  4. TriCountyLawn

    TriCountyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,517

    Both, In a perfict world. I would say a truck loader. Those ultra vacs fill up real fast and in my experience a truck vac will be way faster.
  5. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,182

    I am also a solo operator. What I did last year was pull off the blower and chute assembly, Took all of a 90 seconds. Bolt on a plate to block the discharge on the deck. Could use one of the OCDC assemblies out there but I didn't want to spend the money. Blow out the beds and leaves under the tress into the lawn. Run over the leaves using Gators blades until they were dust. Put on the blower and fill the bags. You would not believe how many leaves you can get into the bagger when the leaves are all ground up. If I could afford a truck loader I would also buy one but I don't do enough fall cleanups to justify it right now. As a side note I built some stands out of 2 x 4's to hold up the bagger assembly. I can remove or install the complete UltraVac in 2 to 3 minutes. That is one reason I bought the Exmark. Bagger is easily installed or removed and it works really well except in really wet grass.

    Mike's Total Lawn Care
  6. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Well made my decision today, my avatar shows what i went with.

    The woman at the dealers gave me the wrong belt and its missing the latches that hold the hood down. Shes ordering the missing parts monday and I'll get the right belt when the parts come in, so its all good. Couldnt pass up the price, they were $400 cheaper then any other place uninstalled and the best price I got installed was $500 more. So I saved some cash, it wasnt that hard to install the unit either, took me all of 2 hours to install it all.
  7. dc33

    dc33 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 240

    you sound exactly like me!
    I got the Ultra Vac and its great, but loading all those leaves into the box gets to be a pain and after doing it all day long you're exhausted. Im sticking with it though and am looking into getting a truck loader to save my back. Pick em up with the Ultra Vac and load em with the truck loader :)

    a tip with the ultra vac, it fills up FAST!!! but if you only use the left blade and half of the center one with leaves it cuts them up 100x better and you get sooooo much more in there :) it will save you tons of time!!
  8. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    Thanks for the heads up dc33.
  9. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,446

Share This Page