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First Year Doing Leaf Cleanup

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SW Services, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    Hey everyone,
    this is the first yr I am doing leaf cleanups. Previous years have just been mowing. I have a backpack blower I use to clean up grass clippings and debris on driveways. I am not fully set up yet with a perfect solution to transport leaves. I am thinking of just loading them onto rather large tarps and stacking them on my trailer and tying down with tie downs. Does anyone have any advice or recommendations on how to do this without using those 50gal buckets? I feel the buckets will take much longer. Please help me out.
  2. Yater

    Yater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    Blow them into a pile, rake them onto a tarp, and dump them in the trailer. You'll want to build some 4' walls since you aren't mulching/compacting the leaves. You'll probably only get one cleanup per trailer load and will have to dump before the next job. Keep fuel cost, drive time, and dump time in mind when you estimate.
  3. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    I have been running a low budget buisness with (laugh if you must) a 21" push mower, a leaf blower, and string trimmer and have been doing pretty darn well for just starting out. I am also using my atv and plow to do some snow removal accounts during the winter. I am using my CR-V to tow my 4x8 trailer and the mower and other equiptment. I am just trying to save some money and eventually purchase a walkbehind commercial mower and a larger trailer. Right now the accounts I have I can do with the 21" but would be more productive with larger more economical equiptment, but budget right now is a little tight. I am looking to upgrade this coming spring. I have been adding in the time for dumping and all that into the estimates. Would it be more beneficial to mulch the leaves using the 21" to compact them to a smaller size and then tarp them? I am so lost as how to do this the easiest most economical way utilizing the currrent 4x8.
  4. Yater

    Yater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    4x8 is kind of tight, but add the 4' plywood walls and you should still get a normal sized leaf cleanup on that trailer. I wouldn't bother with mulching them. You'll have to dump that load after one job either way.
  5. sdk1959

    sdk1959 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    Mulch the leaves when you can. Look into the best deck set-up to mulch the leaves. When you can mulch the leaves it will take less than half as long when you factor in the drive time for dumping leaves plus any dump fees. A$125.00 leaf clean-up job is easier to sell then a $250.00 leaf clean-up job.

    Sometimes there is just too many leaves to mulch and removal is the only option. Approach each leaf clean-up job with a open mind. Remember, we are in a down economy but that doesn't mean low-balling either, just recommend the most efficient method, the most bang for the buck. For the customer that is mulching the leaves, followed by leaf collection and dumping on-site (when possible), followed by collection and removal.

    Below are before and after pictures from a 1/2 acre leaf clean-up job I did by mulching the leaves. There was a breeze that day and the leaves were still falling so a few landed on the yard before we left. There are more pictures but only five can be loaded per post.

    Not only were the leaves mulched that are visible but also large pine cones plus leaves by the fence, the driveway and a alleyway by the side of the house were blown into the yard to be mulched. If the leaves are dry, you have a good mulching set-up and sharp blades the leaves pretty much disappear.

    This customer paid $225.00 last year to have the leaves removed. I mulched them for $125.00 and she wants me to come back in 3-4 weeks. I may do it for a $100.00 the 2nd time if there are less leaves. It took me and my son a 1.5Hrs working steady with him taking 2 calls on his cell. LOL

    Good luck in your first year with leaf clean-ups.:waving:





    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  6. jeffslawnservice

    jeffslawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 830

    I have to give you credit. I live over in Northeast Philly and when ever I try to mulch leaves it just looks horrible even if I go over them twice. If you dont mind what mower are you using and how many times did you mulch the leaves up. Thanks.
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I think you may need some plywood sides on the trailer as well. Around here there are a lot of jobs where you can just blow the leaves to the woods or tarp them to an onsite disposal area. You may want to stick to jobs like that if you only have a 21 inch mower.

    My best advice is to be really careful bidding leaf jobs...they can easily take twice as long as you think they will.

    What blower do you have anyway? If it's a smaller one you're going to be really limited in what you can do with it. A rake is often a better bet than the smaller BP blowers. Or rake the bulk and then do a final blow with the BP. I don't want to discourage you, but it doesn't sound like you're really set up for this.
  8. Slcareco

    Slcareco LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    personally I think it looks bad when the result is remianing leaf confetti on the property :nono:
  9. SW Services

    SW Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    most of the jobs I have are blow into the woods behind the house deals. With the exception of one which is 1mile from the town dump where you can deposit leaves. That particular property is less than .25 of an acre so it is not that bad. There are not many trees there so leaf cover is very very minimal. Blower is the echo 755h 63cc. I am just looking right now for smaller lots that are blow to the woods until I can save enough to get a better suited set-up for leaves.
  10. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,038

    on our 5x8 setups we build a box out of plywood that is a 4x4x8 box and we add ]hinged doors to both sides . You just mulch over the leaves then bag then with the push and dump the materials into the box this reduces the volume and also gives a cleaner apperance and it allows you to park the mower/s under the box as usual .
    as an upgrade buy a mow&vac (agri-fab) and using the parts set the vac to one side and blow the leaves into the box just use your blower to move the leaves to the trailer and suck them up i can help i have done alot of small mowing crew setups ,

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