How to make leaf removals quicker and more profitable?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by smallstripesnc, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Currently my business consists of myself and one employee. We are running a special for leaf removals. $80 for under 1/2 acre. Yes I know once we get close to the 1/2 acre mark its time consuming but blowing the leaves into piles isn't what takes so long. Its the raking leaves onto the tarp and putting them into the bed of my truck and the trips to the dump site that kill time and limit us to two leaf removals a day.

    Our process is this.

    -Blow leaves into piles
    -Rake piles onto a tarp and empty tarp into bed of my truck.
    -Once we mash the leaves down and get as many as we can in truck bed we fill the four tarps we have and tie them up full of leaves and put them in my trailer.
    -Go dump at dump site.

    Equipment for leaf removals

    -Redmax EBZ8500RH
    -Stihl BR600
    -1996 Cummins 12V long bed truck
    -4X7 trailer

    I have talked to many people who can do at least 5 leaf removals on 1/2 acre lots a day. They have a crew of three but thats only one more guy than I have. So I don't think the extra person would make it faster.

    BUT the leaf loader trucks I keep seeing around must really speed things up.

    Does anyone have any advice to make the process we have quicker? Also it seems I'm in a lowballer area because people say $80 is way too much because guys do it for $45 for the same size lawn.

    Any advice?
  2. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 549

    You have a fair price, the other businesses won't be able to bring in enough profit to keep afloat. Im not sure what size tarps you use but I use apprx. 10'x15' tarps, if you put a couple bricks or rocks along the edge you can blow the leaves onto the tarp instead of raking. Otherwise invest in a leaf vaccum, that is one of next years investment's for my company.

  3. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Thanks for the reply. We have pretty big tarps but the leaf vacuum just seems like the answer. So much faster to blow them to the curb and suck them up. It only makes sense but at the same time I know they're not cheap!
  4. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    if you mention rakes, you are already losing money.
  5. C Jovingo Landscaping

    C Jovingo Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    I'm solo/part time & tarped leaves for 3 seasons by myself. 5X7 tarp is what I use cuz I seem to over load if I use bigger. Did good this leaf season & invested in used stuff to help next year to go full time. EZ Dumper $1200, Giant Vac Leaf Loader $150 (NO engine), looking at Honda 20hp $600. Savings on back & efficency = priceless.

    Watch craigslist for deals!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 549

    The only time I use a rake is when I have a clump of leaves in a small area, its just faster for me to pull them out of their than to sit there with the blower and watch them move little by little.

    I can't remember details but if I recall properly another landscaper that I keep in contact with used an old blower in reverse. So it would suck up the leaves and then blow them into the truck and he only spent $300-$400 on it. You just have to make your own brackets and fit the proper size tubing to it on your own.

  7. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    I have been looking at used leaf collectors but they're for mowers but I could use just the engine part with the vacuum housing and just route the hose to my truck bed. I can mount the sucker on my trailer to pull behind the truck. I've seen a few for cheap but they're only like 5HP. Would that be nearly enough to suck up leaves and put them into my truck? I know the systems are meant to be used with a mower but just wondering if something like that could get me by until I can spend the big bucks.
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    So a crew of two is making $160/day???????

    Have you tried grinding the leaves up with the mower a bit first to reduce the volume and "loose" some of them to the turf? I have a leaf loader but prefer to just bag the leaves with my mower, albeit a zero turn rider with a rear bagger.
  9. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,109

    Try mulching the leaves then bagging with a walker...reduces the leaves to almost nothing, more passes,less to haul off....try it and see
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 549

    I plan on buying out another small company that has a really nice walker, I can't wait to use it.

    Investing in a walker kills two birds with one stone, you get your ztr mower and your leaf vaccum. The cost is about equal between buying a top model commercial mower and a vaccum vs. buying a walker. Not to mention they have the best cut quality in the industry bar none. (not trying to start an argument). :weightlifter:


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