PDA

View Full Version : Leaf clean up prices are in the toilet here.


delphied
11-02-2007, 10:26 PM
Gave a customer a price of $50/ HR and I was $10 higher than his Fert and Squirt guy that gave him a price. I thought I was doing him a favor. I told him to give the work to the other guy. This business is really going down the drain in Michigan.

ed2hess
11-02-2007, 10:41 PM
Completely gone away several years ago in our area mainly due to people having the big ZTR that can mulch up stuff easily. Customers that always thought they needed leaves removed realized the low prices was much better.

razor1
11-02-2007, 11:38 PM
delphied, I understand where you are coming from, but at the same time their is way to much competition (in my area, Balt-DC) to lose any jobs over $10 hr. imo. I would just hope to make up the difference at a later time. Did they ask for a total cost estimate? Who knows, the "Fert and Squirt guy" might end up charging what you would have or more, by working the numbers. :nono:

ed2hess, "having the big ZTR that can mulch up stuff easily" We've been doing this for years but we still try to charge extra. payup

mattfromNY
11-02-2007, 11:55 PM
I think some of it depends on the customer, and what they are looking for. We were doing a cleanup the other day, and the neighbor had mulched his own leaves (did a good job, but you could still see a brown tint due to the leaf debris in his yard), he came over to the yard we were working in, and commented about how nice the blowers had done, told me 'You just cant make it look that nice with a rake, or by mulching'. You cant mulch the flowerbeds, and a rake wont clean them out as nice. JMO, I guess.

baddboygeorge
11-03-2007, 12:05 AM
With leaf work you have to find the right clientel!The key element being people that need the service, executives,disabled people, seniors,an people with extra spendable cash! After you locate that cliche of people then ya need to know how to sell leaf work! I promise ya leaf work is a system that takes years to execute properly! have fun George

lawnworker
11-03-2007, 01:11 PM
Leaf removal is a pain from beds and lawns.Weather has som much to do with conditions. Hourly is best, but most people shy away from the cost. The right client is where the money is at- good luck finding them now a days.

supercuts
11-03-2007, 02:15 PM
im surprised so many still give hourly rates for fall cleanup. think of it from a customers point of view. you say ill do it for $50/hr and show up with a tarp and rake and it takes you 10 hours. i tell them ill do it for $300, including the mowing. they dont care that im in and out in an hour and a half. htey are happy they know exactly how much it will cost they so they can plan ahead. people like to plan and the hourly rate is an open door policy for some to come in and clean out a persons savings.

if you dont know how long it will take you due to lack of expericence, you'll have to guess. always guess a little hirer since things never work quite as we plan. after a bit you will figure how long a lawn will take just by looking at it. the hourly rate kind of bits you in the rear because as you grow and buy bigger and better equiptment, you become faster. customers are not going to want to pay more per hour even if you tell them you are quicker.

Leaf Jockey
11-03-2007, 02:30 PM
im surprised so many still give hourly rates for fall cleanup. think of it from a customers point of view. you say ill do it for $50/hr and show up with a tarp and rake and it takes you 10 hours. i tell them ill do it for $300, including the mowing. they dont care that im in and out in an hour and a half. htey are happy they know exactly how much it will cost they so they can plan ahead. people like to plan and the hourly rate is an open door policy for some to come in and clean out a persons savings.

if you dont know how long it will take you due to lack of expericence, you'll have to guess. always guess a little hirer since things never work quite as we plan. after a bit you will figure how long a lawn will take just by looking at it. the hourly rate kind of bits you in the rear because as you grow and buy bigger and better equiptment, you become faster. customers are not going to want to pay more per hour even if you tell them you are quicker.

This is a good post and pretty much answers every cleanup/pricing question I have seen here.
Use the $50 hour as your estimating guide. Don't offer it as your rate.

Scott

delphied
11-03-2007, 03:32 PM
This is a good post and pretty much answers every cleanup/pricing question I have seen here.
Use the $50 hour as your estimating guide. Don't offer it as your rate.

Scott

Excellent advice,TY

lawnworker
11-03-2007, 04:43 PM
Leafs are hard to figure. It can be done both ways.

ed2hess
11-03-2007, 06:42 PM
I think some of it depends on the customer, and what they are looking for. We were doing a cleanup the other day, and the neighbor had mulched his own leaves (did a good job, but you could still see a brown tint due to the leaf debris in his yard), he came over to the yard we were working in, and commented about how nice the blowers had done, told me 'You just cant make it look that nice with a rake, or by mulching'. You cant mulch the flowerbeds, and a rake wont clean them out as nice. JMO, I guess.
One problem I am seeing with the big blowers is they blow out a lot of soil that is on the top.

Scagguy
11-03-2007, 08:55 PM
Completely gone away several years ago in our area mainly due to people having the big ZTR that can mulch up stuff easily. Customers that always thought they needed leaves removed realized the low prices was much better.


I agree with that, however, when you have a property that has lots of flower beds, Z or no Z there's money to be made.

Roger
11-03-2007, 09:34 PM
im surprised so many still give hourly rates for fall cleanup. ...



I always have done so, and continue to give the customer a general hourly rate. Nobody ever complains or comments, "... just get the job done."

I have seen posts that talk about 2X a mowing price, or 3X a mowing price, or $x per bag, or some other scheme. I don't think that model would fit for my ways of working very well.

I don't even try to estimate the time required to get a lawn clear for the season any more. Some properties will take two visits, some will take five visits. I may use a different strategy from one visit to the next (e.g. mulching, haul away). Sometimes the wind blows hard and takes most of the leaves away, or brings the neighbor's leaves onto the property I am clearing. I just take what is there, clear the leaves, keeping a timer running, and charge accordingly. The scheme has worked well for me.

topsites
11-03-2007, 10:28 PM
That's no news, it has been like that for every year of my six, and every year of the 8 before that according to another Lco, so at least 14 years it's been like this. Honestly, I'd suspect it has been like this since the paid leaf removal system come around.

I learned the hard way, I can not properly estimate leaves ahead of the job.
So I don't give estimates for leaves, too many variables come around throw the job and the price all out of proportion.
Fact is not every 1/4 acre that's 2 inches deep in leaves takes 4 hours, some take 1-2, some take 2-3 visits, some have to be hauled, others go to the ditch or the woods, sometimes frost or rain makes it harder, wind, too...

So I time myself, I also monitor how long it took and gauge by the complexity of the job if it's worth more or less, the quote I always write it out after I'm done. The price shoppers don't like it, but it is fair, very fair.

One more thing: EVERYBODY will call you for leaves.
That's why we get so many price shoppers, folks who never call an Lco any other time of the year, they haven't a clue as to our rates, but come leaf season you can bet they will call. Most of them likely figure our rates anywhere from 10-15 maybe 20-30 per hour, in dollars, then they underestimate just how much work it is, hence you can clean this MESS for 60 bucks, right?

Yeah right, now I still lose some and win some, but it's not bad, not bad at all.

I don't even try to estimate the time required to get a lawn clear for the season any more. Some properties will take two visits, some will take five visits. I may use a different strategy from one visit to the next (e.g. mulching, haul away). Sometimes the wind blows hard and takes most of the leaves away, or brings the neighbor's leaves onto the property I am clearing. I just take what is there, clear the leaves, keeping a timer running, and charge accordingly. The scheme has worked well for me.

That's what I'm talking about, I don't think there exists another way.

mathproshs
11-03-2007, 10:33 PM
I just charge for the mow and guesstimate how long it would have taken me to do it by hand and charge accordingly(double the time rate). So if I had a lawn that takes normally 20 minutes to do but with the leaves slowing me down now takes 1 hour, I charge $35 for the mow and 2 hours for the leaves so $105 total. If the leaves are really heavy, I tack on around an hour. No one has complained in 6 years of pricing it this way.

baddboygeorge
11-03-2007, 11:23 PM
what ever works for you keep doing it! As long as your profitting from your system !I have been doing leaves for 20 plus years hard . I can tell you there are to many variables to set a flat rate! Unless you have done the property before an know exactly how many hours it takes !I have proabley 100-120 accounts that are a flat rate , I have been doing these properties for years , i have this down to a science, these properties generally take 1-2 hours an average a minimum of 150- 350 for the entire leaf season. I generally do about 250 plus clean ups a year!have fun George

Charles
11-04-2007, 08:56 AM
im surprised so many still give hourly rates for fall cleanup. think of it from a customers point of view. you say ill do it for $50/hr and show up with a tarp and rake and it takes you 10 hours. i tell them ill do it for $300, including the mowing. they dont care that im in and out in an hour and a half. htey are happy they know exactly how much it will cost they so they can plan ahead. people like to plan and the hourly rate is an open door policy for some to come in and clean out a persons savings.

if you dont know how long it will take you due to lack of expericence, you'll have to guess. always guess a little hirer since things never work quite as we plan. after a bit you will figure how long a lawn will take just by looking at it. the hourly rate kind of bits you in the rear because as you grow and buy bigger and better equiptment, you become faster. customers are not going to want to pay more per hour even if you tell them you are quicker.

I wouldn't pay somebody 50$ an hour if all they had was a tarp and a rake either lol
If one man charged $300 for an hour and a half around here he would be shot. I don't see happy faces
I price by the hour and give them a price range. Lets say $135 to 250$ or something like that. I would not try to guess at a huge yard of leaves. On a large yard, I tell them that I will work so many hours and "lets see how far I get at that point"
I have been doing this since 1991 and have found that people will pay you big money for a few years and then they will start doing it themselves or price shop. I used to have many leaf custumers until gas prices went up and the economy around here went in the dumps