1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

New to sweeping

Discussion in 'Sweeper Forum' started by Chaser13114, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Chaser13114

    Chaser13114 Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    I have an established snow and lawn company. We are expanding into sweeping starting this spring. Heres my question.

    I've reserched pricing on new and used vac units as well as broom/vac units. WOW...... Currently I have one customer signed up for sweeping a Lowe's store we do. I plan on selling this service to other clients as time goes on but for now its just the one. I subcontracted a vac unit from another contractor and wasn't impressed with its performance. I spoke with a local sweeper who said the vac units don't work worth a dam and you need to have one with brooms. Yet another told me "thats old school" and the vac units work great. From my VERY limited experience it appears a vac unit may get the lose stuff but is not going to do everything. On the other hand a vac/broom unit will cost a pile more to buy and will require much more maintenance but will perfom much better.

    My current thought is to buy a pickup broom for a skid loader. I'll use this initially for every thing large and small. If I get to a point that something quicker is needed I would buy a vac unit then to step up productivity. This combination would seem the most cost effective. Low start up cost but the ablity to do a quality job then expansion into the mid price vac once established with a back up skid loader broom for the down and dirty stuff. If it were to really become profitable maybe an eventual purchase of a vac/broom combo and the skid would be simply a spare.

    Like I said I know very little about this. This seems logical but haveing never done it I'm not sure.

    Any insite from those experienced?
  2. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    First, Welcome aboard.

    You seem to be heading in the right direction. That is basically the way I started and has worked well for me.
    Along with the bobcat you will want something to do the curbs with. Look into the power brooms like STIHL and others.
  3. Mark F

    Mark F Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I got A bobcat system and it works great on packed dirt, mud, lite material,Cans, bottles, rocks. What it doesn't work good for is trash, like large pieces of paper or plastic. It kind of just shredds it up and spits some of it back out. Small trash it will pick up just fine.
  4. SCSIndust

    SCSIndust Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    When you guys are refering to 'bobcat' systems, are you refering to a broom on a bobcat? And how is that good for getting trash? You'd still have to pick it up with something... am I just missing something totally different????
  5. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    There are different atchments for the bobcat.
    The open face broom only sweeps like a snow plow plows leaving every thing on the ground but is the fastest for doing a big lot.
    Pickup broom works by a broom mounted in front of a special bucket sweeping into that bucket. Some sweep when backing up and some sweep going forward. the ones that sweep backing up are hard on the neck by the end of the day. The ones that sweep going forward pickup the material and through it over the top of the broom into the bucket and you can add a curb broom to them which is a big advantage.
    Any questions ask Mark, he has all 3 types.
  6. Chaser13114

    Chaser13114 Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    I was talking about the pickup broom option. the new bobcat broom is reversible so it will pick up going forward or back.

    Is that where the vac units excell is with trash, bags/paper/cig butts/etc? The one I demo'd didn't work very well but there was real loose hay chaf the seeding contractors had blown all over the place. The vac unit just seemed to blow it around and the heavier stuff it didn't move. The seemed to be just as dirty when we finished. I haven't seen it used on trash yet though.
  7. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    You want to test that bobcat unit that sayes it will work in eather direction. I know the broom in reversable but have found they pickup in one direction real good and don't realy work so good in the other.
    As far as the air vac unit mine will pickup anything from a full pop can to dust, but then again it is new.
  8. cc2004

    cc2004 Member
    Messages: 50

    What does a unit like yours run for?
  9. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    the Air Vac unit (Elgin Air Cub) and others with the same type of unit run between 65K and 90K new depending on options.
    8' wide angle open face broom for bobcat was $5500 back in 1989
    Pelican used $6,000 in operating shape
    Mobil M-7 $5500 used in operating condition.
    Stihl power broom around $500
    hand broom $19.95 @ Costco
  10. Chaser13114

    Chaser13114 Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    Well I've bought a small vac unit planning on teaming it up with a pick up broom on a skid loader. I'll use the vac unit for lighter trash pick up and break out the skid loader for the heavier stuff. Maybe next year I'll have enough accts to justify the big dollars for a self contained unit.



  11. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    That is cool just keep rolling the money back into your sweeping program and sooner then you think you will have everything you want as far as equipment.
  12. Jerry Eckel

    Jerry Eckel Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1

    Sweeping Lots

    Take a look at the Silent Knight Sweeper. It is a single engine Hydraulic Piston Pump operated unit that WILL save you on the high priced diesel fuel that it takes to run two motors. Check it out at sksweepers.com
  13. Hammond Welding

    Hammond Welding Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    the most important thing is organaztion haveing two employees that work well together is a good start i was new to this game last year and have learned alot about what works and what dosnt and in what order things work well together my first bit of advice is probly to stay away from vac unit sweepers yes broom machines are more maintenance but more effcient in the end we have a tymco model 210 and i cant stand the thing my boss places unreasonable demands on me and what the machine can do a especially when he thinks something took longer than it should have with our sweeper though and a bobcat with the bucket sweeper attachment and leaf blowers for the corners of lots you can get things done but its alot of work that way now a bit of advice about buying a used machine go over it with a fine tooth comb with our machine the back door is completely rotted through and is so paper thin that it cannot be patched anymore this little fact was hidden when it was bought used with bondo and new white paint my back ground is largely in welding and fabricating so im able to fix this myself as well as other problems we have had hope this helps
  14. Chaser13114

    Chaser13114 Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    Thanks for the advice

    It is helpful