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  • Hey guys, new idea here

    Hi everyone, I'm from northern NJ and my Dad and I have invented a machine that may finally do away with the yearly chore of leaf removal for the average homeowner. We'd love some feedback on our product, and we thought this would be great place to have an honest discussion. I posted our demo video at the bottom of this page so you can see it in action and give us some constructive criticism.

    Put simply, this machine is the only product ever developed that both picks up and bags leaves - in one simultaneous step. Now, we know there are tons of products out there; however, they all only solve 1 part of the problem - they either help to gather the leaves better, or they help to bag the leaves better. None solve the problem end-to-end. Ours utilizes the ease of use of a lawn sweeper, with the improvement of a bagging capability.

    As you watch our video, please know that we acknowledge that our prototype is a HOMEMADE one - this is, it is crude, bulky, and impefect. We ask that you simply look past this and let us know what you think of the concept we are presenting, a machine that allows you to simply walk over your lawn and both sweep up AND bag your leaves in one step (bagging IS half the battle!). After reviewing the video, please let me know your thoughts, I'd be so appreciative to hear what you all have to say and look forward to a good dialogue.

    And yes, we do have full US utiility patent coverage - #8,056,177, issued November 2011.

    Just either click the link or copy and paste it in your browser to see the Pick 'N Bag Leaf Cart in action. Thanks guys

    shereef_hammad@yahoo.com

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1StV-6lW64

  • #2
    for the homeowner this could be useful.

    The thing that I like is it uses the curbside bags.

    The suggestions I have is you need to mulch the leafs. This would allow more in each bag. If you add another sweeper it will pick up thicker piles and get whats left behind from the first sweep.

    The commercial suggestion is it needs to be self propelled and bigger. I'm thinking 6 bags and 48" sweep. You can probably develop that down the line when money comes in.

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    • #3
      Asolutely agree, we already have a number of improvements in mind, and a mulcher is on the top of the list. We also will have a "compacting feature", which will compress the leaves that are in the bag for maximum bag capacity.

      As for left-behind leaves, the sweeper in the video is a 20 year old craftsman (we did this on a shoestring budget), so of course it won't perform perfectly. Ideally, we want bristles of different lengths, so as to get EVERY leaf, and nice big, manueverable wheels for ease of use. Tons of bells and whistles will be added once it's on the market.

      And yea, we definitely think landscapers would like this once there's a commercial version available. We know that having the leaves automatically bagged is of utmost convenience. Instead of having to blow them to the curb. What's more, is some towns now force you to bag them, and there's not a single town that doesn't allow you to bag them. So it's a win win, why not bag them if you can this easily?

      Thanks for the comment, i'll be hitting the sack now so if there are any other comments i'll catch them in the AM. Thanks guys, take care.

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      • #4
        another quick point is instead of self propelled. Just make it towable.

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        • #5
          I think it is very creative!

          Could you tell us a little about how you got through the patent process so if other member out there would like to try and patent something, they could learn from you?

          http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pat...-20111115.html

          - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
          Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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          • #6
            I want to know what you think. Tell me what you currently use, and what you think of our machine in comparison. I'm seriously looking for a dialogue, and would appreciate it. Again, please forgive the crude nature of the prototype, just let me know what you think about the actual concept of taking leaves directly from the ground and automatically bagging them.

            Thanks man

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            • #7
              Hey Steve,

              Here are a few pointers, hope they help.

              First thing is to do a search, to make sure your idea isn't already patent protected by someone else. Patent search can usually run anywhere from $400-$800. Check out uspto.gov and follow the links to try and do a basic search yourself, but it won't show you everything. That's when you have to hire an attorney to do an exhaustive search, but even then you might not find everything

              Our attorney cost us about $2,500 to get the patent, but we did a good amount of work ourselves, and we had to fight for ours. Had the lawyer done everything, it would've gotten up to about $4,000-5,000 or so I'd say. Still, in the end we got it, so we were pumped about that. The examiners at the uspto office are incredibly overworked, so sometimes they'll deny you the patent, but they may not have even completely read through your application. My dad took a few weekends of combing through the conflicting patents that the examiner had cited and actually find some major flaws in her reasoning. He put it all together and had the lawyer present it, and about 3 days later, we had our patent. Always know that you can do some of the work yourself, if you're willing.

              Hope some of this info helps you, any other questions don't hesitate.

              How do most of you out there take care of your leaves every Fall? If this was made professionally, would you find it appealing?

              Comment


              • #8
                i think once you refine the machine it might appeal to a homeowner but at that point what will it cost?

                i would imagine once you get it steamlined and also chopping the leaves for more quantity of leaves in the bags as well as i would assume you will also have to have a gas motor on it it will cost a pretty penny.

                i have a huge vacum set up on my 16 yard dump truck and we blow the leaves to the truck or make a pile and drive the truck to it and there is no way that a refined set up that you are making would be able to keep up.

                currently the way i and most landscapers do it is the fastest most economical way to proccess the leaves.
                sure my customers have to pay for the disposal but by doing it in a fraction of the time with disposal cost with my current set up i don't think the savings of putting them in bags and leaving it on the curb will justify the extra time and labor.

                time is money in this business and when you have to get X amount of properties a day done the fastest way is the most cost effective way because the labor rate is the highest cost.

                for 90% of the fall season we use our riders with the bagger set ups and as they load up we just drive over to the rig and dump it on the ground next to it and when we are done we fire up the vac and a couple minutes later the leaves are gone and so are we and off to the next one.
                during this time of the year useing the riders it really only adds a few minutes overall to each stop and does not take much more time then just a standard cut.

                i think it is a great idea but i think your market will be the homeowner do it yourself crowd vs the professional landscaper.
                i live in northern nj as well and i am sure you already know that most landscapers use big big mowers, big trailers and big trucks and just about everything big for that matter.

                unfortunately the only way to make money in this business is by doing high volume as efficiently as possible.

                in this state it is go big or go home broke.

                great idea though, good luck with it and i hope it makes you and your father a million.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I want to know what you think. Tell me what you currently use, and what you think of our machine in comparison. I'm seriously looking for a dialogue, and would appreciate it. Again, please forgive the crude nature of the prototype, just let me know what you think about the actual concept of taking leaves directly from the ground and automatically bagging them.

                  Thanks man
                  Any lawnmower with a bag can do a better job than that will be able to do. Even a low end push mower from HD.

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                  • #10
                    That is a brilliant prototype!

                    It's perfect for home owners, as it's rather cost effective!

                    If you can make it compact for storage, I think you could really make lots and lots of money.

                    I'd really love to see how this evolves over time. Keep up the good work!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      DPLD, thanks for all of the feedback, it really is appreciated. I'll touch on a couple of the things you brought up since you were nice enough to respond.

                      - Market: this machine will absolutely be geared towards the average homeowner who takes it upon himself every year to clear his lawn of leaves. We know that these homeowners have bought millions of rakes, blowers, lawn sweepers, funnels, clog-free rakes, and tarps over the years. This justifies the need for something to relieve them of this chore, because none of them do the job. Not everyone either wants to, or can afford to pay a landscaper like yourself to do it for them, so they do it themselves. Like you said, that's who we're marketing towards. There are 100M+ single detached homes in the country, so it is a big market.

                      - Cost: there will be numerous options for the machine. One such option will be to have the machine be entirely manual, that is, as it is pushed forward, the wheels, brush, and conveyor belt will all move. The brush will obviously move the fastest, probably a 5 or 6 to 1 ratio relative to the wheels so as to sweep up every single leaf. This would be the least expensive, and, like any product line, this will have inexpensive options (the Toyotas), or the expensive ones (the Rolls Royce). The Rolls Royce will obviously have all the bells and whistles that someone who can afford, will want.

                      Now, the machine in the video that you watched is a 20 year old Craftsman that we bought for about $100 20 years ago. The additions that we made to it will certainly add some costs, but nowhere near what we deem to be what the market will bear. We'd think a manual unit can go for about $300-400, and the motorized for a little more. With all of the people we've spoken to, both online and in real life, that is a small cost if they know that for the next 10-15 years, they'll never have to do the backbreaking work of raking, blowing, dragging, and bagging leaves ever again. Just ask anyone with a snowblower, I'm sure they don't regret paying $800 for a nice gas-powered one, and guess what, if you're in northern jersey, you used it maybe twice this year. But it doesn't mean they regret that purchase. With leaves, you know you have to do it every single year, it's guaranteed. So for $400, you will have the job completely taken care of. Besides, there are plenty of reasons as to why bagging the leaves is quickly becoming the preferred method for most towns. Even if your town doesn't require it, it's still the cleanest way to do it. It's just that up until now, it is always such a pain.

                      Now, like you said, most landscapers will not want this, and I do agree. That's why for starters, we're focusing more on the residential market, because it really is that big. And for most of them, raking leaves is a chore that they're just aching for relief from.

                      If you just do a quick google search for "leaf gathering/bagging products", you'll quickly find that there are about 50 products on the market in addition to rakes, blowers, and vacuums. While some people might say that means the market is saturated, I'd suggest you take a look at the products. They all solve only 1 part of the problem - they either gather the leaves (blowers, rakes, etc.) or they help to bag (funnels, tarps, big claw hands, etc.). None do both in one step. We came up with this idea as we were using a lawn sweeper and fell in love with its ease of use - we were just walking up and down the lawn picking up leaves. But the problem was, we had to constantly empty the hopper, as it filled up with leaves every 3-4 minutes. that's when we knew it HAD to also bag the leaves, and here we are.


                      Thanks so much for the feedback, I'd appreciate anyone else who has an opinion to chime in. We do believe that this can do for the leaf raking industry what the snow blower did for snow removal, and we're working our tails off to get it on the market.

                      Would love to hear more thoughts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Godslapper,

                        It's true that a lawnmower with a bag attached will pick up leaves and grass clipping. But let me ask you this, and please answer honestly. After a few passes, and your lawn mower bag is full, what do you do with the contents?

                        What anyone does is, they have to try and manage to either a) somehow get the leaves/grass into the tall brown paper bags (which is absolutely impossible), or b) if you don't have to bag your leaves, you'll drop the leaves/clippings somewhere, only to return to them later and either drag them on a tarp to your front curb, or a wheelbarrow, or something like that.

                        So the point is, sure, your lawn mower can chop up and bag the leaves, but it's NOT in the standard brown paper bags that are universally accepted. That, my friend, is the difference between using a lawn mower, and using this.

                        Now, don't look at our prototype, because that's what it is, a prototype. You have to consider the job this machine will do when professionally made. Not only will the lawn be 100% clear, but the leaves will be IN THE BAG. Job done, in one step, not two.

                        Thanks for the feedback man, i'm very curious to hear what you think of this as an option now that I've put it that way. Because using a lawn mower with a bag attachment is not as easy as you're making it out to be. It does not really bag the leaves, and you're constantly emptying it into SOMETHING. Might as well do the same walking motion, but bag the leaves too, no?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The fact that it bags the leaves IS a selling point.
                          Those paper bags are such a pain to fill. I'm lucky in that I get very few leaves in my lawn and even so, I don't use those bags - I dump them (I either rake, or bag them with my mower) into a black lawn and leaf trash bag that I've placed inside a large trash can - it's just SO much easier. (even tough it's not "allowed", as we are supposed to "recycle" our leaves)

                          For large properties, I don't think this machine would be a better option than paying a lawn service, but for smaller lawns, it would probably come in handy.

                          The thing I hate most about using those bags is the incredibly SMALL amount of leaves you can get in them - even if you spend time "smashing" them down every time you add more. If you're going to make a machine that helps people pick up "large" volumes of leaves, you'd better get more in the bag by either compacting, or mulching to get more volume in there, otherwise you are right back to the argument against using a mower with a bag - you have to stop every 50 feet to remove the quickly-filled leaf bags.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hedgemaster, thanks for keeping the conversation going man, much appreciated.

                            You hit the nail on the head - the fact that it bags the leaves is the whole idea, it's what sets this machine apart. We're confident people will see the value.

                            Now, to your point about mulching and compacting - I'm not sure if you read my prior posts, but that's exactly what we're going to be doing. There will be a mulcher at the top that shreds the leaves as they are dropped in, and there will also be a compacting feature that will tamp the leaves down better than i ever did when i sat on the bags as a kid. Capacity will be king with this machine, we want the end user to change bags as infrequently as possible. Please remember, my dad was clearing the leaves of his own lawn when he came up with this idea, so all of the struggles of the average homeowner will be considered when the final product is designed. Like you guys, we've lived through it.

                            Larger properties may still see tremendous value from this machine, it'll all depend on the homeowner. The bottom line is, the ideal lot size for the machine as we originally envisioned it is probably 1/2 acre or less. After that, the commercial guys come into play, but there are tens of millions of homes that fall into that "1/2 acre or less category", and this will certainly do the trick. Thanks again for the comment Hedge!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Godslapper,

                              It's true that a lawnmower with a bag attached will pick up leaves and grass clipping. But let me ask you this, and please answer honestly. After a few passes, and your lawn mower bag is full, what do you do with the contents?

                              What anyone does is, they have to try and manage to either a) somehow get the leaves/grass into the tall brown paper bags (which is absolutely impossible), or b) if you don't have to bag your leaves, you'll drop the leaves/clippings somewhere, only to return to them later and either drag them on a tarp to your front curb, or a wheelbarrow, or something like that.

                              So the point is, sure, your lawn mower can chop up and bag the leaves, but it's NOT in the standard brown paper bags that are universally accepted. That, my friend, is the difference between using a lawn mower, and using this.

                              Now, don't look at our prototype, because that's what it is, a prototype. You have to consider the job this machine will do when professionally made. Not only will the lawn be 100% clear, but the leaves will be IN THE BAG. Job done, in one step, not two.

                              Thanks for the feedback man, i'm very curious to hear what you think of this as an option now that I've put it that way. Because using a lawn mower with a bag attachment is not as easy as you're making it out to be. It does not really bag the leaves, and you're constantly emptying it into SOMETHING. Might as well do the same walking motion, but bag the leaves too, no?
                              Hmmm, ok. don't a lot of people put the paper bag in the bag on their riding mower ? I thought that was standard practice. At least around here it is. You might be on to something for people that don't have a rider. Go for it.

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