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Leaf Removal

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GriffinLawnService, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. GriffinLawnService

    GriffinLawnService LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    I know that this question has been asked before many times, but I am trying to get some ideas about the best and quickest way to remover leaves. I have read that most people use a back pack and then load them.

    Any feed back would be greatly appreciated, thanks
  2. the undergraduate

    the undergraduate LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    You should probably do a search for more answers... that said some people use blowers (backpack, push, handheld?) to move the leaves into the woods or to the curb to their loader or for the county/city to pick up. Some people use tarps when the leaves get to be too much for their blowers. Some people load the manually onto their truck or trailer. Some people mulch the leaves.

    It all depends on your equipment, the property, wind direction, the homeowner, whether your municipality offers curbside pick up, the type of leaves, fees at the local landfill, etc... figure out your situation and the best method for you.

    I have a backpack blower (Echo PB755), rakes, tarps, 13hp Billy Goat loader, 10cy leaf box, and a 6x10 trailer. I use my back pack blower to clean out the beds and move the leaves across the property. When it becomes more efficient to use the tarp and rake, then I do that. If the county/city offers curbside pick up, I will leave the leaves at the curb because this allows me to offer the customer a more competitive price (I can't compete with $0-$30 from the government). If the customer wants them in the woods, I put them in the woods.

    I fill up my leaf box, while climbing in and packing it down occasionally (my 10cy of DRY packed leaves can weigh up to 1500lbs). If I can't fit it all into the box, I'll fill up my trailer with the rest and take them to the landfill.

    You have to know how to estimate leaf jobs... if not you will lose your a$$ on oak (especially pin and willow oak) leaves, wet leaves, acorns, etc. Don't underestimate the amount of time it will take to clean out or push the leaves through (if they're in the middle of the yard) the beds.

    Good luck...

    P.S. You have to know when to put down the blower and pick up the rake (or buy a bigger blower...)
  3. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    I'm not sure there is a quick way to do leaves. It all depends on the houses layout and such. I have a billy goat kd-512 leaf vac that i use allong with a grass gobbler for one of my wb mowers. At least 1 back-pack blower and thats about it.
  4. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    The quickest way to do leaves is to close the door and let the wind take care of business
  5. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,937

    I second the suggestion to do searches and read the many, many threads on the topic.

    There are as many different ways to handle leaves as there are people responsible for doing leaf work. And, if many are like me, I will use different methods for different properties, different methods for the same property when cleared at different times. As suggested above, there are many choices, and everybody has to find their own ways.

    There are tradeoffs -- more money invested in equipment most likely will mean quicker work. But, is the money wisely invested? Do you have enough work so that the ROI is reasonable? Time may be very important and therefore more equipment will mean covering more properties. But, a competitor may have much less in expenses and be able to quote a better price to the customer, hence you loose due to competition.

    Some threads suggest that everybody should be charging nearly the same for a given job, but that runs against the advice also offered by many, quote what you need to cover your expenses and make a good profit.

    I think most would agree that methods and costs change over time. As one gets experience, one finds better, more efficient ways of doing the work, buying one more piece of equipment, etc. Some jobs that take a certain amount of time this season, took twice that time in the early years. However, the turnover of contractors is so high that the years of experience never get built -- out of business before they get more efficient.
  6. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Well, this is how I did it this year, since I do not a have a boatload of equipment.

    Used the blower to clear out all restricted areas, blew leaves into as central of a place as I could get on the lawn, then ran the pile over numerous times with my walk-behind with a bagger on it. There were numerous trips to the trailer to dump the bagger, but this was the quickest way I could do it with what I had.

    Oh yeah, if there is one thing I can say, get a stinking backpack blower. Handhelds simply do not have enough power to move large amounts of leaves. I will definitely have one or two backpacks for next year.
  7. Budget

    Budget LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 368

    I had a last min. call to do a clean up for a lady that has not touched a leaf since they started falling. I blew all the beds out into the yard, ( Get a good back pack blower like Five-0 said, it worth it) With a my Ferris Z. i mulched them up. I have a John deere rider with a collector on it, my wife used that to suck up the mulched leavs. As i mulched she collected, and baged.

    1 hour to blow out the beds.
    2 hours to mulch, collect, and bag.
    1/2 hour clean up and chat with cutomer.

    Last year with out mulching leavs up she said they filled 42 bags.
    We did it the other day ended up with 18 bags. She was very happy with the job.

    We went into the job with a plan how to attack it and it worked. I was thinking 6 hours to do it and charged for that time and made out.

    This is my first year doing the clean ups and what not. Next year a Cyclone rake for sure...
  8. GreenN'Clean

    GreenN'Clean LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,512

    I hate doing leaves but its good money. I Use a Blower to clean out the beds and then run the leafs with my mower to mulch them up then rake up the left over debris put on a tarp and drag to truck and load em up. Doing a leaf job seems like it will never end now matter how big or small the job is, i guess maybe cause i hate doing them

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