Turf & Rec

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Machine makes fall cleanup a breeze

Busy fall cleanup while watching for early snow can be hectic time for landscapers.


October 17, 2019
By Turf and Rec Staff
MPS Property Services recently purchased a new type of debris loader to help eliminate some of its past equipment issues.

Sandwiched between a busy summer full of landscape projects and a never-ending winter of snow and ice removal, fall is often a hectic time of the year for many landscape professionals.

Adding to this stress is the always-lingering possibility of an early snowfall that can make a big mess of fall cleanup work. This causes landscape professionals to scramble as they work to clean as many properties as they can before the snow begins to fall.

MPS Property Services (MPS) is all too familiar with this process. Based out of Markham, Ont., MPS has been servicing residential and commercial properties for more than 30 years. What started in 1985 as a simple lawn mowing business to pay for college tuition quickly turned into a full-time business when owner Jim Monk realized he had to support his growing family. Soon thereafter, snow removal and landscape design-build services were added into the company’s offerings.

Today, MPS operates out of a three-acre space with a 12,000-square-foot building for its management team and mechanics who keep the operation running smoothly. The company has been certified to the ISO 9001/SN 9001 standard, and prides itself on its social responsibility. In addition to its array of services, through its environmental policy, health and safety program, and community involvement, MPS now offers its large portfolio of clients a complete list of year-round services, including landscape design and installation, stone work, decking, irrigation, tree care, turf care, snow and ice management, and grounds maintenance.

When it comes to grounds maintenance, cleanup service has become particularly valuable in the fall when leaves, branches and other debris litter many clients’ properties. Because the length of fall can be difficult to predict, MPS understands it is a race against time to get all of its properties cleaned up before an early blast of winter complicates matters.

“The window to get all of our properties cleared of debris before the start of winter can be very short some years,” MPS general manager Darryl Snider said. “Mother Nature certainly likes to put a kink in our plans.”

To assist with the cleanup, MPS used a leaf loader to vacuum, shred, and load grass clippings, leaves and other debris into a truck.

“Having a debris loader definitely speeds up the process,” Snider said. “It allows us to get more properties cleared than we would otherwise.”

Time wasted unclogging machines

The problem that Snider often found with leaf loaders was that his employees were constantly stopping to unclog the machine. Fall precipitation only complicated matters. Needing to be as efficient as possible, the downtime caused by blockages was starting to lead to major headaches.

“It was a major drain on resources,” he said. “Our team was wasting valuable time clearing obstructions from the machine. If we don’t get to all of our properties before the snow flies, we lose out on the business, and we can’t make that up.”

Not only was plugging an issue, but the leaf loader was hard on the operator’s back.

“The welfare of our employees is always on the front of our minds,” Snider said. “Which means we are always looking for ways to improve their working conditions.”

When it came time to purchase a replacement unit for his operation, he wanted a better solution to alleviate the headaches his crew had been experiencing with previous units. So, when talking with his local equipment dealer, Turf Care Products Canada, he asked if there was an alternative. He explained to them the pains he was having with his current debris loader, and the company directed him to the newly released ML32 MultiLoader from Harper Turf Equipment.

“The first thing they showed me was the 45-degree design of the coned inlet,” Snider said. “Every other debris loader I had ever seen had a 90-degree inlet, which they explained is a leading cause of frequent plugging. This one also had a longer handle on the hose which made it easy to operate without the need for bending over for hours on end.”

The unit also comes with a removable drain plug in the bottom of the impeller housing. When the machine is not in use for extended periods, the plug can simply be taken out to keep water from collecting and causing damage to the inside of the machine.

It didn’t take long for Snider to realize that his new piece of equipment was the answer for which he had been searching, understanding it would increase the efficiency of his team and reduce their health risks. After exploring his options, MPS purchased the ML32.

 “Fall was just getting under way and our list of properties needing cleanup was long,” Snider said. “The ease of use with this machine was great. We were able to quickly go from property to property thanks to the skid mount version of the Multiloader. We set it up on a flat deck truck to suit our operation.”

Because the ML32 was new to the market, both Harper and Turf Care wanted to ensure Snider’s concerns were addressed.

“They were both great to work with, and I could tell they really valued my input,” Snider said. “The responsive service also helped to minimize the learning curve experienced during the transition to the new debris loader.”

Since purchasing the new debris loader, MPS has seen efficiency rise, while blockages have almost been eliminated entirely.

“It was definitely worth every penny and I only wish it had been available sooner,” Snider said. “It’s been a real asset that we’ve been able to add to our company.”