We currently run one Hustler 3400 with Highlift collection system, one. Hustler 3200 with Agri-metal frontmount leaf blower, 2 8hp Giantvac leaf blowers and one, 25hp Giant-Vac, tow behind leaf vac that is towed by one of our 1 ton dump trucks with a leaf box. We also use 3 Echo backpac blowers. With the two Hustlers and one guy in the beds with a backpack blower we can do an average size residential in about 1 1/2 hours with only three men. Most of our accounts are commerical so we usually spend a few days doing each cleanup though.
This may sound silly, but I built something that works pretty good and didn't cost an arm and leg. I took a pull behind lawn trailer and built a box out of plywood about four feet above the top of the cart. Then took my first mower (an old mtd with a 46" deck) and ran a six foot piece of 8" flexible water pipe into the side of the box. I had a problem with turning so I used a L and a piece of stove pipe to run into it. Also I cut the hole out long enough to allow some flexibility. This may sound a little crazy but I don't pick out enough leaves to justify buying something really expensive. After I get the majority of the leaves off I will stripe my lawns with the micro mulch kit on my Lazer. It works for me and my customers are pleased!
Alot of my yards we can blow the leaves right into the woods and some of the yards we are able to put the leaves curbside for the town to pick up.
The equipment that I use is: 2 giant vac push blowers, 1 redmax backback, 1 stihl backpack. We also use the mowers to push the piles. then when where done blowing we'll throw on the catcher and cutt the grass and pick up any missed leaves that may have blow back or something.
2 redmax EB6200
Little Wonder 8hp I/C
EZ-dumper with custon 5' enclosed box
16hp Billy Goat Tailgate Loader
Trac-Vac on the Dixie
Catchers on the walkbehinds
10+ plastic rakes
2 large aluminum landscape rakes
And a pitch fork and a shovel do get the leaves out of the dumper.
We dump at a local compost dump: get charged $20 for every 1/2 ton of leaves
Our town uses a 100hp Tarco for leaf pickup. Fills a 8 yd body with 8 foot high leaf box in about 15 minutes.
If you are serious about picking up leaves the larger the loader the better.
Most of the larger units (25hp and above) I have seen are trailer-mounted;when the truck is full leave it at the curb (lock it with a chain thru the tire and coupler) go dump and youre back in business in no time.