grass clippings

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grassman2008, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. grassman2008

    grassman2008 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I'm new to the game and have many questions. My first question is how do I approach grass clippings. I have a new Gravely zero turn commercial mower with a mulch kit installed. It seems way too much work to bag clippings, especially since I am focusing on commercial properties, some an acre or more in size. If I mow regularly, removing only a third of the blade at a time and using mulching blades, shouldn't I be okay? Since a substantial ammount of the nitrogen and phosporus are slowly returned to the soil, it seems actually better for the turf. Being new, I want to be prepared for all possible issues customers might raise.
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    We dont bag nor mulch....

    Simply discharge, however, there are some cases where "for safty reasons" we close the flap on the Exmarks.

    other than that Just discharge.

    If a Customer wants it bagged, It's extra. the towns I service Will NOT pick up grass clippings, But they will allow free dumping for mulch. "grass clippings, leaves, and such"
    But there ya go, it's a trip to the land fill and bags and time.
  3. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,131

    You are correct. It is better for the lawn and the landfill.
  4. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,621

    I operate not too far from Keene, and I rarely bag a lawn. Usually it is not an issue if you cut once per week. I usually discharge, but I will bag in the fall when there are a few leaves starting to drop.

    I try not to discuss bagging during the sales process, don't ask, don't tell. Many customers have heard that it is better to let the clippings stay, so they are open to the idea. However, I charge extra to bag if the customer requires it.
  5. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 787

    I would rather discharge everything but it just doesn't happen that way for us. I only discharge open areas- nothing around tight flower beds and between houses that are close together. We try our best not to blow any clippings onto a neighbors yard. If we do then we blow all the clippings off of the yard with a blower. We DO NOT blow any clippings onto a house- NEVER!
    Everything else we either mulch or bag. We only have a few clients that request that the property is bagged.
  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    You will find that you might be able to mulch in the dry times not in the spring. Just get a ocdc and side discharge.your mulch kit will come in handy in the fall with the leaves.

    Do you go to the Pumpkin fest??

  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I've wondered about this. It seems to me that when people think mulch - they think of some cheapie craftsman or other marginal multhcer with massive clumps of wet grass being kicked out in mushy clumps - just like they see the neighbor kid struggling with when the grass gets too tall.

    Have you found that when you tell a potential customer that you mulch or discharge they get cold feet? I understand the don't ask don't tell approach but I'm concerned about violating the clients trust. :(

    Many of the LCOs in my area bag and do daily hauls to the dumps green pile. I'm not set up to do much hauling with my rigs. Last year on a bid I saw one poor guy mow with a rider and he had this massively huge pile of clipping on his trailer from a larger acre lot. Probably 5 cubic yards of wasted nitrogen. This is one of my greatest concerns about lawn care for 2008.

    How much do you charge to bag? Based on amount of clippings or . . . ?

    I have a family member I mow for and he is the toughest customer I have. He likes it scalped & bagged. Last season I mulched with his newer Toro personal pace Super Recycler that is an excellent multcher noticeably better than my Toro and he was still not terribly pleased with the results.

    What I do for my own yard is bag the first 2 mowing and I bag the last 2 mowing because night temps are low, days are shorter and the grass doesn't break down very well or fast. I prefer to mow every yard as if it was my own, however on this issue I'm stuck. The line at the dump is long and it's spendy to dump there.

    I will not spray herbicides [makes me very sick] and I have been reading up on organic lawn care and thinking of trying to market this way but I'm concerned about alienating the mainstream client with that type of advertising. :confused:

    Anyhow - input greatly appreciated. :waving:
  8. grapeford

    grapeford LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    I'm from Mass. When you get out @ 8:00 am in the spring, or early Fall and the grass is wet, side discharge or mulch is not an option. Side discharge around beds that your customer has just paid you a ton of money to lay mulch, I don't think so. I'm not spending half my day raking grass out of beds, it's counter productive and makes no sense in this part of the world. We run Walkers.
    I don't know how it works in Texas, or Florida, but around here we bag it.
  9. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,621

    I'm from Mass, too, but I rarely bag. In my town, 2+ acre lots are the norm, so there is usually plenty of room to discharge. I do bag some smaller lawns where beds are in the way. As grapeford says, clippings in beds is not a good idea. Luckily, most landscapes here have only foundation plantings, and maybe a couple of flowering trees here or there, very few elaborate landscape installs.

    Many of my competitors always bag and haul off. Others like me don't offer that service. I lose some business as a result. Works for me.

    My friend/competitor runs a 3-man crew, 2 ztrs, f350 dually dump, bagging and hauling. They cut 12 lawns per day. I work solo, 1 ztr, regular pickup, discharge, and cut 8. I think I make more profit, but who knows?

    Bottom line, the market you target, and local conditions will decide whether or not to bag.
  10. POPO4995

    POPO4995 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,208

    I never mulch....side discharge most of the time and bagging is an extra charge.

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