View Full Version : Leaf Question

10-07-2008, 06:17 PM
I'm planning on purchasing an ultra vac for my exmark zero turn to do leaf cleanup, but i'm not sure how to charge my customers? Any suggestions?


10-07-2008, 11:32 PM
I've never used the vac system on a rider, and my first idea was to just charge them for another cut since i would be going over it more than once.

Example: I have to go over a lawn three times in order to have it cut and the leaves removed. The lawn is 25 dollars a cut so i charge 75 dollar for the job.

Does this sound like a good idea to anyone else, or should I rethink this

10-08-2008, 12:19 AM
If no one else jumps in, check out the second and third blog entry here


I think they will really help you out.

10-08-2008, 04:35 AM
I've used the "vacuum" on a Z method for a few years now. I've never been able to do a job for only 3 times the mowing price. My minimum is $200 and I get anywhere from 7-11 times the mowing price. I make an exception if we do a multi-stage cleanup. Keep in mind, this is Maine, and we often have 4-8 inches solid leaves - completely mulched, one 20k job can fill a 8x 12 trailer with four foot sides, but we average 3-5 jobs per trailer load. We use one trailer for towing the Z and one for leaves.

At LawnGuru.net/freebies I've uploaded an excel "estimator" which estimates mulch and cleanups based on mowing price ... not perfect, but we analyzed all our mulch and cleanups and discovered that we COULD use mowing price as a fairly accurate multiplier, simply because mowing price is based, in part, on square footage

10-08-2008, 12:26 PM
Hey Hotwired, i have not purchased the vacuum for the CT yet and don't really know what to expect. What i'm looking to do is to cut the grass with the leaves on top and then go back over it with the vacuum to get all the remaining clippings? Is this a good idea, or do you have a better recommendation? I just want to be the most efficient as i can be, but really have no experience. Any advice would be useful!


10-09-2008, 02:21 PM
What i'm looking to do is to cut the grass with the leaves on top and then go back over it with the vacuum to get all the remaining clippings? Is this a good idea, or do you have a better recommendation?

That is something that Ken does. But he charges much more than the 3 times you want to charge. He has been in business for many years and he has found how much he should and can charge.

Experiment with different pricing. See how much longer the job takes you with the vacuum attachment and then you will be able to find a price that works for you and your customer.

Have you found a used one for sale or are you buying a new one? What price range have you found them at?

10-10-2008, 04:59 AM
I'm not sure about the "cut first / suck later" strategy. I can't say I've actually tried and timed it vs. the "suck from the beginning" method, but I think that simply vacumming right from the beginning is best, because the grass is standing up and "presenting" the leaves to you ... and they're still in one piece and light. If you mow first, you sort of "drive" everything into the ground, then you're picking up much finer, heavier particles. You want BIG AND LIGHT vs. small and wet and heavy for your vacuuming system, IMHO.

What we have found works for HEAVY leaves is to go over them once with the deck completely raised, which will suck the top layer without chopping and mulching the grass up too much ... then we lower the deck and repeat as needed.

We have also found that sometimes it's better to just shut the z off, and do a "very quick and dirty" blowing of the bulk of the leaves into a pile and tarp them into the woods. This is ONLY if there's ankle deep leaves - which we DO HAVE in rurual Maine, or if the leaves are plentiful and wet.

The best of both worlds of course is to have a truck sucker too, so you use that for the big piles and the Z for the less "leaf populated" areas.

I have found a sub that got out of the lawn mowing business to concentrate on leaf pickup and hydro seeding, so we're going to use him this year for sucking some of our larger accounts. Very synergistic - using the right tool for the job.

(beware of my shameless upcoming plug) - For more on this info, buy my program at LawnGuru.net !!

10-13-2008, 08:38 AM
Thanks alot, this is very helpful!

10-13-2008, 02:59 PM
Keep us posted on how you do with this. If you get the vacuum attachment and how you find it works out for you.

10-13-2008, 10:16 PM
If you do leaf business, or if you bag any of your accounts. You should definitley check into Walker Mowers. These mowers are perfect for leaves and no extra attachments, vacs, etc. are necessary. The Walker Grass Handling System acts like a vaccum itself as you mow the grass or leaves the leaves are sucked into a blower which blows them up into the attached box. Very Very effective. Also if you bag your mowing accounts and enjoy having a striping effect to your lawns there is no better than a Walker Mower. It will stripe any decent piece of grass, first mow. Definitely worth checking out. Also, they are AMERICAN made out of Fort Collins, Colorado.