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Welcome all new forum members. Please introduce yourself and tell us about you. Tell us about your company. How did you get started? How long have you been in business? What do you do for fun? Don't be shy, say hello! It's fun and educational to interact on the forum!
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  #11  
Old 07-09-2012, 06:58 PM
PicknBag PicknBag is offline
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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.
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  #12  
Old 07-09-2012, 07:21 PM
PicknBag PicknBag is offline
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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?
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  #13  
Old 07-09-2012, 07:52 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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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.
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2012, 08:23 PM
PicknBag PicknBag is offline
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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!
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  #15  
Old 07-09-2012, 10:38 PM
Godslapper Godslapper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PicknBag View Post
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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  #16  
Old 07-09-2012, 10:45 PM
PicknBag PicknBag is offline
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So you can attach the standard brown paper bags to your ride-on lawnmower? How are you able to do that, can't say I've ever seen it. Is the bag sitting upright, or horizontal? How do you keep it sturdy?
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  #17  
Old 07-10-2012, 07:36 AM
Godslapper Godslapper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PicknBag View Post
So you can attach the standard brown paper bags to your ride-on lawnmower? How are you able to do that, can't say I've ever seen it. Is the bag sitting upright, or horizontal? How do you keep it sturdy?
Place the paper bag into the bag on the back of your mower. Most of them fit quite nice. Almost like they were ment to be placed inside the bag on your mower. I get the feeling this has not crossed your mind before.
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  #18  
Old 07-10-2012, 08:10 AM
PicknBag PicknBag is offline
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Are you talking about the commercial mowers that tow the trailer behind it that collects all the grass? I know this is more of a commercial site, so maybe that's what you're talking about.

I wasn't asking that because I think that might jeopardize our idea, I was asking those questions because I find it hard to believe that the bag sits well enough in there for all of the leaves to get in there, the whole compartment really needs to be airtight, or else you might as well not even bother, the leaves will be all over the place, and not in the bag.

Nevertheless, like I've said before, this machine is meant for the millions and millions of smaller-sized lots all over the world - 1/2 acre or less. People with a 1/2 an acre don't use ride-on lawnmowers, and the majority of them don't pay professionals to do their job, so it's not a concern to us. I was just surprised that you claim that way does the job just as well. If it does work for you, then that's great. Out of all of the people we've spoken to who use ride-on mowers, not one of them in 3 years has mentioned this method of doing it. What you're describing is more used by professional landscapers, and that's not who we're targeting anyway. I know that a lot of you on here are pros, so we're coming from different viewpoints. And that's fine, I'm happy to discuss these things with you. I'm really looking for a professional opinion on what this might mean to the average small to medium sized lot homeowner Thanks again.
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  #19  
Old 07-10-2012, 08:31 AM
Godslapper Godslapper is offline
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Years ago, before I had any commercial mowers I had a Cub Cadet 1045. I could bag grass with it. In the fall I would go to the hardware store and buy leaf bags. I would then take two of them and put them inside the bags on my Cub. Sorta like a liner. They fit just fine. I would then suck up the leaves with my Cub. When the bags were full I would drive over to the road, get off my mower go around to the back and take the bags off my riding mower. I would then set the mower bag on the ground and slide the mower bag down off the paper bag. I would then grab the very full paper bag and move to about one foot to the crub. Then I would put the mower bag back on my mower and put another paper bag back inside of that and repeat. I had at the time less than an acre of lawn. Maybe you should just make custom bags to fit any size mower bag. That would help.
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  #20  
Old 07-10-2012, 08:51 AM
willshome willshome is offline
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I think you have found a real problem, I hate filling lawn bags!!!! And I know this has been said before but mulching up the leafs is key. The bags on lawn vacs are hard to work with.
what about mulching two time once at the brush and once at the bags? I think this would set you apart from other leaf products, two is always better than one!
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