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View Full Version : Hows the Fall Cleanups Going


All_Toro_4ME
11-15-2007, 02:52 PM
Going not so good here. I think its my area. Maybe some other guys from Oklahoma, Texas, or Missouri can chime in. Of course this is my first year at, but I have seen more then I'd like to experiece thus far. As said many times before, these people only want to pay pennies on the dollar for large quantities of leaves being removed. And it seems $40/hr is too high? WTH. People around here are comfortable with $10-$15 max, rather it takes you 30 minutes or half the day. Im beginning to think its a waste of time, not to mention dusty, dirty, hard to breathe, and itchy. I know some of you guys make some killer profits from fall leaf cleanups, but doesnt seem to be the case here. At least I haven't seen it yet. Maybe I should stick with the grass.:laugh:

Richard Martin
11-15-2007, 03:12 PM
I'm getting 30 to 35 an hour. Take it or leave it. It doesn't matter to me.

coonman
11-15-2007, 03:21 PM
Welcome to the wonderful world of fall cleanups. I am not a fan of them either. This year, the only cleanups I am doing is showing up and mowing weekly on my regular accounts that have leaves. I will just mulch weekly until they are gone. My customers are fine with this, so far so good. Just charging my regular mowing rate. Usually requires going over the lawn twice, but with no edging or trimming its works out ok.

All_Toro_4ME
11-15-2007, 03:29 PM
Thanks Coonman.

topsites
11-15-2007, 03:52 PM
Uhm I haven't had much of a chance to get the blower warmed up yet, my back hasn't felt the pleasure of Santa Claus style tarp loads either, at least not in earnest.

With the lawns I'm also just using the mower and for the most part skip the trimming, just doesn't need it thou I do catch those few high spots the trimmer sees a few minutes of use, then the blowing takes a bit longer at times but all in all I've been charging either the same or 5-10 bucks extra (some of the stuff got deep on me lol) it's not bad, no complaints.

rodfather
11-15-2007, 04:56 PM
Fall cleanups are slow going in the Northeast because of an unusually warm October. From MA to SC leaves are very slow changing and dropping even slower than usual. Last year my company was done competely with Fall Cleanups on the 28th of November...that ain't gonna happen this year, mid December I would estimate right now and hopefully no early snow surprise.

As far as cleanups, I don't negotiate and never plan to. Although I never mention hourly rates, my job estimates are based on them. Simple backback and WB blowers run at $50 - 55 an hour and running the 61" and 72" Z's with clamshells are at $75 an hour minimum.

If people have a problem with that, fine. Then just get someone else is all. One less property to clean up makes it that much sooner I can get all our trucks and plows ready for snow plowing is all.

All_Toro_4ME
11-15-2007, 05:10 PM
Thats good advice rodfather...

jrc lawncare
11-15-2007, 07:51 PM
I range anywhere from 40-60 per man-hr. Plenty of work.:)

bigbone
11-15-2007, 07:56 PM
I personally don't want to do fall cleanups because it is a pain in the ass and my blower is a gas guzzler. I sent a letter to all my customers saying I charge $40 and hour.

lawnprosteveo
11-15-2007, 08:05 PM
Im in Tulsa and have 24 of my 60 accounts signed up for regular leaf cleanup visits. Two of these are weekly and the others are bi-weekly. All but two of these accounts I am able to mulch up with my Quik Trak. I charge $40 per hour (I am solo) with a $50 minimum.
This is my 5th yr doing leaves and I really have all the work I can (and want) to handle.
It is dirty, dusty..The two accounts that I cannot mulch suck because I have to blow the leaves and then tarp them into my trailer....LABOR INTENSIVE.
Anyway, this keeps me in money until the end of the year. Then in January I have a couple of grotesquely overgrown beds to clean. That should keep me busy until almost February.

Jason Rose
11-15-2007, 08:09 PM
Ditto the others that said just keep on them weekly/EOW till they are gone. I think it's NUTS to let them pile up till every leaf is off the trees, not to mention the neghibors don't appreicate that too much if they try to keep their property clean!

Basically just charging weekly mowing rates, but some get an extra 10 or 15 bucks tacked on for a week or two because of the amount of blowing out involved.

I'm bagging everything, well, almost. Have a couple large lawns that I can actually get by with mulching the leaves on. Everything else gets one quick pass to mulch them up (if they are pretty thick) and then over again to suck everything up. It's AMAZING how much I can get in the catcher doing it this way, and the bags get heavy as heck. Truck sags pretty good in the rear by the time it's stomped down a few times and heaped up!

Dunn's
11-15-2007, 08:17 PM
Why in the hell you even bother getting out of bed in the morning for $40 an hour? Seriously especially for something as crappy as leaf clean-ups. Obviuosly none of you are wearing respirators either. Thats ok though when you a few of you fall out because of mold in your lungs. Hopefully in ourea so there are that many more customers back on the market.











Holy crap!!!!!


I'm sorry but man that is low.

I can make $30 dollars an hour working for at&t as a field technician after abour 3 years there. Plus all that over time at guess what more then you all are charging per hour.

Cheap, cheap, fun,fun!!

SpudsM15
11-15-2007, 08:18 PM
Leaf clean ups are the best. I love doing them. Except for the rain and wind, but other than that doing clean ups is easy. Tarp loads and wb blowers are a thing of the past with a leaf plow and Redmax 8000's. We still use the wb to keep the pile moving fast. Basically it is always behind the line of 4 bp blowers, its sole purpose is to be the wind behind our backs. When the pile starts moving slow hit it with the leaf plow to the loading location.
As far as the cost goes. The cost not by a hourly rate, but by my estimate of difficulty(shrubs and obsticals) leaf quantity, Ztf leaf plow access. Basically I estimate a set price for a property and do 3 clean ups. My only weak link is a 16hp loader it was good for 2-3person operation, but now with 5ppl and a leaf plow I'm thinking of a 27hp or a municple tow behind loader to keep the pace up...

Dunn's
11-15-2007, 08:20 PM
I think we will start subbing out our leaf clean-ups to members of lawnsite. Then we can sit back and take the fall off and let the money keep rolling in.

DSLND
11-15-2007, 08:26 PM
Being i'm only fourteen, i'm pretty cautious about the jobs i take on. I screwed myself last year with a few, and those are lessons i will never forget.

I sent out flyers to everyone on my QuickBook list (anyone i have ever sent an invoice to). I've gotten good response, and have all this weekend and all next week booked with jobs. I bid jobs by the hour, at $60/hour, but i don't share that with the customer.

In a few years, i plan on getting either the two bin, or three bin bagger for my ZTR. I'd get it sooner, but i have to get some other stuff first.

-Mitch-

SpudsM15
11-15-2007, 08:32 PM
Forgot this in my last post.
In jersey the grass during a normal year stops growing 1st or 2nd week in nov. Our contract for lawn mowing goes every week till the end of Oct. Leaf cleans ups usually start first week of nov. It takes us 2 weeks to get through the route. So everyone is on a bi-weekly schedule. This keeps the leaves from pileing up and killing the grass. And it makes the volume more manageable.

lawnprosteveo
11-15-2007, 11:09 PM
I think we will start subbing out our leaf clean-ups to members of lawnsite. Then we can sit back and take the fall off and let the money keep rolling in.Well, rather than berate us for our low prices, why dont you tell us what you charge? Maybe us low-ballers will learn something from you. Then perhaps we can run our businesses as succesfully as you. At $40 per hour, I am about in the middle of the pack for the Tulsa area. And besides, alot of my jobs only take about 45 minutes...and I have a $50 minimum.
Still, I would really like to hear more of your opinion. I think we have all enjoyed it so far.

advantage landscaping
11-15-2007, 11:51 PM
It's a regional thing. $40/hr may be good for you in Tulsa, but in Boston that's terrible. What I say is $60/hr may be much less to you. Look at housing costs and its a good indicator... A lot of us are from the east coast, New England especially - and we have the highest living costs in the country.

lawnprosteveo
11-15-2007, 11:59 PM
I think you are right about that Josh. That is why some prices sound crazy..they work in one part of the country but are not adequate in another.
It is important to me to charge what I can though...I dont want to be the cheapest but I dont want to price myself out of the market either.

Landscape89
11-16-2007, 12:03 AM
It's a regional thing. $40/hr may be good for you in Tulsa, but in Boston that's terrible. What I say is $60/hr may be much less to you. Look at housing costs and its a good indicator... A lot of us are from the east coast, New England especially - and we have the highest living costs in the country.


I feel the same way. Josh are you up in Gloucester/Rockport?
Wherever you are in Eastern Ma, I bet your dealing with the same problem I am.. 1/2 the leaves down and Big time Stresss!! :dizzy:

advantage landscaping
11-16-2007, 12:13 AM
I think you are right about that Josh. That is why some prices sound crazy..they work in one part of the country but are not adequate in another.
It is important to me to charge what I can though...I dont want to be the cheapest but I dont want to price myself out of the market either.

Your local LCOs will be much more helpful with this than we can. Try to network with them - they will appreciate it because you will not be low-balling their biz away from them.

Dunn's
11-16-2007, 12:25 AM
you can call it whatever you want $40 dollars an hour for any type of legal business is low.

Dunn's
11-16-2007, 12:27 AM
nevermind I just read what I typed.

BFLL
11-16-2007, 12:30 AM
Going not so good here. I think its my area. Maybe some other guys from Oklahoma, Texas, or Missouri can chime in. Of course this is my first year at, but I have seen more then I'd like to experiece thus far. As said many times before, these people only want to pay pennies on the dollar for large quantities of leaves being removed. And it seems $40/hr is too high? WTH. People around here are comfortable with $10-$15 max, rather it takes you 30 minutes or half the day. Im beginning to think its a waste of time, not to mention dusty, dirty, hard to breathe, and itchy. I know some of you guys make some killer profits from fall leaf cleanups, but doesnt seem to be the case here. At least I haven't seen it yet. Maybe I should stick with the grass.:laugh:


If your only charging $10-$15 per hour you are wasteing your time.. thats hard work at least go up to $50

Richard Martin
11-16-2007, 05:25 AM
For those of you who think I'm low I want you to reconsider. I have no employees. I don't haul leaves to the lawnfill. All leaves are left onsite. Most of my jobs take the same amount or less time than cutting their grass. I use a $250 Little Wonder blower and a BR600. On 1 (one) job I mulch the leaves down into the turf. My fuel costs per job are around $1.50, maybe $3.00 worst case. It costs me less money to handle the leaves than it does to cut the grass so where's the harm in charging the way I do? I am making more money on leaves than I do on grass. Oh, and did I mention that I'm on the high end of the scale for rates?

lawnguyland
11-16-2007, 07:29 AM
For those of you who think I'm low I want you to reconsider. I have no employees. I don't haul leaves to the lawnfill. All leaves are left onsite. Most of my jobs take the same amount or less time than cutting their grass. I use a $250 Little Wonder blower and a BR600. On 1 (one) job I mulch the leaves down into the turf. My fuel costs per job are around $1.50, maybe $3.00 worst case. It costs me less money to handle the leaves than it does to cut the grass so where's the harm in charging the way I do? I am making more money on leaves than I do on grass. Oh, and did I mention that I'm on the high end of the scale for rates?

Wow. Want to come work on Long Island? I'll pay you 40$ and hour, you use your equipment.

Charles
11-16-2007, 07:56 AM
Ya, the cost of living is much higher in the Northeast than down south. Especially for homeowners. Still we are all taxed the same by the Feds. I haven't cleaned up one yard yet. No calls coming in. Too many in it and the leaves are slow to fall so far. Probably start doing regulars next week so they will be ready for Thanksgiving. Then again for Christmas. Hopefully some newbies will call. Last year was terrible for newbie calls. People around here may pay you big money one time to get up leaves, but after that most will find an alternative cheaper plan. I won't cut my rates no matter what. Leaves and the dust take a big toll on me and the equipment. So its either big money or forget it.
The economic downturn for textiles and manufacturing industries around here has played a major role in the lack of newbie calls and repeat business. This has effected the retail market too where consumers have less money to spend... then you have those gas prices..

mvp services
11-16-2007, 08:04 AM
I'm in Connecticut which is one of most expensive places to live and do business. I send two guys out for $100 hr. plus dump fees to do leaves. We go to a yard usually three times to keep up with the leaves and keep the house looking nice. We also have to tolerate high gas taxes. Reg gas is at $3.25 and diesel is at $3.55. and they're still going up.

MysticLandscape
11-16-2007, 08:10 AM
The weather is also killing us, Only got out two days this week. Rain and wind have been too much for work. This weekend we have to kick it into high gear, before the S work gets here.

RedMax Man
11-16-2007, 08:16 AM
I think once the rain stops we are going to work 2 shifts night/day and hire 2 more guys:cry: :laugh:

Itzkcatz
11-16-2007, 08:53 AM
It all depends on what type of equipment you have. Since our blowers are so powerfull we charge smaller yards by the job. so if we can blow it off in an hour and make 250 it makes it much better. But if your solo with a backpack and it will take you 5 hours that sucks

Richard Martin
11-16-2007, 10:06 AM
Wow. Want to come work on Long Island? I'll pay you 40$ and hour, you use your equipment.

Provide me what I have here and I'll do it all year long. My house (1600 sq ft all brick rancher, 3 bed, 2 bath, fireplace, formal dining room, 1 acre, 1024 sq ft garage) is paid for, my cheap insurance (State Farm BTW), I buy used trucks (around 40k miles, usually around $13k) etc. I also search around and I am very patient about buying equipment. I got my 60" 28 EFI Dixie with 29 hours for $4500. $250 for my Little Wonder, it's old but has very little use. I also just picked up a brand new Brinley tow behind yard vac for under $350. 8 HP, 8" hose and a 40 bushel catcher.

You can do this type of work and do quality work if you work it right without having a ton of overhead.

coonman
11-16-2007, 01:51 PM
Provide me what I have here and I'll do it all year long. My house (1600 sq ft all brick rancher, 3 bed, 2 bath, fireplace, formal dining room, 1 acre, 1024 sq ft garage) is paid for, my cheap insurance (State Farm BTW), I buy used trucks (around 40k miles, usually around $13k) etc. I also search around and I am very patient about buying equipment. I got my 60" 28 EFI Dixie with 29 hours for $4500. $250 for my Little Wonder, it's old but has very little use. I also just picked up a brand new Brinley tow behind yard vac for under $350. 8 HP, 8" hose and a 40 bushel catcher.

You can do this type of work and do quality work if you work it right without having a ton of overhead.


Richard, I hear you, my house is paid for as well, along with all my equipment which is on the small end of the scale. You guys can't compare prices from 1 part of the country to the other. For instance, my 1400 sq ft 3 bed 2 bath house with 2 car garage goes for about $95,000 here in Tulsa. How much would that go for in CT? I am sure way way more. I try to get around $60 an hour for mowing and mulching, which is good money in Tulsa, at least it is to me.

mvp services
11-16-2007, 02:01 PM
I hear ya. My house is a 3 bed, office,21/2 bath, 2 car garage on a little over an acre. Going rate around here is about $350k and $4k a year in taxes.

Charles
11-16-2007, 02:22 PM
A solo operator charging 35$ per hour(worked) in a seasonal area could make a lot more take home pay working for an employer with bennies. This figuring the cost of health Insurance, fuel, self employment tax etc.
You figure in your drive time, buying parts/repairs, talking to customers, maintenance, loading and unloading etc. You are not really even making $35 per hour.
You have to factor in the seasonal aspect of the job and the droughts. True you can only charge what your area averages, but I sure wouldn't undercut that average even if my over head was lower.
I guess it comes down to how ambitious a person is and that plays an important roll.
You have to plan for the future and try and sqeeze every dime out of what you could possibly make. You are not always going to be young/healthy and therefore able to cut 8+ yards a day solo. You have to think of investments and a retirement plan and likely health insurance increases

prizeprop
11-16-2007, 04:56 PM
I think a lot of the disagreement in hourly rates has to do with A solo guy @$60 an hour vs a five man crew @ $40 per man hour.($200 an hour).

mvp services
11-16-2007, 08:00 PM
Usually in my are of ct we get 300 to 350 for a fall clean up of a 1/2 acre lot. I know things vary by region but its good either way to have these discussions out there. Yes we talk about sqft. price, per acre price and of course the hourly charge. It seems no matter what the discussion it always comes down to what we are charging, never mind the area. I don't want to be digruntal on what others are charging but it is good piece of mind. I'm finding there is no "true" standard and we are all getting the most we can whether it be mowing, clean ups, pruning Etc.. On the positive all seem to be doing well and surviving the drought and some bad customers.

Looking Good Lawn Service
11-16-2007, 08:46 PM
IN RI and Ma, the avg is $35-$40 and hour per man, but to a point, I think the first 2 or 3 are that and then its like 20 an hour each extra man. Even in every state it depends the neighborhood you do, some pay more than others. Best bet...figure out what you want to make first clear, then figure out your expenses, then add them up and thats an idea of what you need to charge per hour. Your best customer is the one who says for you to do the job and just send the bill after. This way you can do the job and figure what you need to charge after.

lawnprosteveo
11-16-2007, 09:22 PM
Im solo and only haul leaves for 2 of my 24 leaf accounts. I mulch the rest. I charge $40 per hour and have a $50 minimum. I rarely need an entire hour to finish. I am solo...no employees, workers comp, payroll taxes...I run a 3yr old Deere Quik Trak that is paid for...this is my 2nd job so health insurance is covered...
I see guys out and about with 3 or 4 helpers, an expensive dump truck, leaf loader, ZTRS, new blowers....
Im sure they can kick *** and take names...but I bet you at the end of the day they dont make much more than me...

ARTQOS
11-19-2007, 06:40 PM
fall c-ups we do are 175.00 cheapest to 400.00:dancing:

IN2MOWN
11-19-2007, 07:17 PM
KC area here. I have a $150 minimum for a full cleanup. That includes cleaning out the beds and fenceline and hauling the leafs away.

If they just want them mulched then its $60.00 per hour.

americanlawn
11-19-2007, 08:02 PM
Ditto here. Hauling & disposal usually ain't cheap either. Then there's fuel prices. Leaves have hung on unusually long here - just like the Northeast, so we're later than normal. I chopped up the leaves three times on my two-acre lawn, and it looks great.....no need for any "fall cleanup". Just wondering why more homeowners don't do this too:confused:
Hope the snow holds off.:waving:

I range anywhere from 40-60 per man-hr. Plenty of work.:)

Charles
11-19-2007, 08:15 PM
Ditto here. Hauling & disposal usually ain't cheap either. Then there's fuel prices. Leaves have hung on unusually long here - just like the Northeast, so we're later than normal. I chopped up the leaves three times on my two-acre lawn, and it looks great.....no need for any "fall cleanup". Just wondering why more homeowners don't do this too:confused:
Hope the snow holds off.:waving:

I agree with that. I have always mulched my yard and it looks healthy and great every year. I got a few people calling me to bag and haul the stuff off. No convenient place to haul it and no machinery to haul it away with. I can't see myself putting leaves in 20 bags either. I need the work but people ought to be realistic. Not enough work to invest in a covered truck and a leaf machine to throw it in with

coonman
11-19-2007, 08:18 PM
I agree with that. I have always mulched my yard and it looks healthy and great every year. I got a few people calling me to bag and haul the stuff off. No convenient place to haul it and no machinery to haul it away with. I can't see myself putting leaves in 20 bags either. I need the work but people ought to be realistic. Not enough work to invest in a covered truck and a leaf machine to throw it in with

Agreed, If they don't want me to mulch them, they will have to call someone else.

lifetree
11-19-2007, 08:31 PM
... The cost not by a hourly rate, but by my estimate of difficulty(shrubs and obsticals) leaf quantity, Ztf leaf plow access. Basically I estimate a set price for a property and do 3 clean ups. ...

This approach is very good advice !!

lawnprosteveo
11-19-2007, 10:08 PM
Agreed, If they don't want me to mulch them, they will have to call someone else.Coonman, Ive been noticing alot of guy mulching this yr....I do this too...maybe its catching on.

IN2MOWN
11-19-2007, 10:25 PM
Coonman, Ive been noticing alot of guy mulching this yr....I do this too...maybe its catching on.


I mulch but that only goes for the first few times. Eventually I have to bag so there isnt to much of a buildup of leaf thatch.

Patatoe1
11-19-2007, 10:26 PM
We have been mulching a lot this year too (mostly because a village stopped curbside pick up).

We usually mulch first and if there were a large quantity of leaves we go back over and bag it.

Does mulching for the entire cleanup have any adverse effects on the lawn for the following year?

verant
11-19-2007, 10:45 PM
Wow. Want to come work on Long Island? I'll pay you 40$ and hour, you use your equipment.

you're in a big metroploitan area, so it's a high market. guys in rural areas can't charge as much as people like you because of the market, people won't pay that much.

J&T Kiev
11-19-2007, 11:15 PM
We have been mulching a lot this year too (mostly because a village stopped curbside pick up).

We usually mulch first and if there were a large quantity of leaves we go back over and bag it.

Does mulching for the entire cleanup have any adverse effects on the lawn for the following year?


Numerous university research reports have detailed how leaf mulching affects turf performance. In almost every instance, the results show that chopping up deciduous leaves as part of a regular mowing schedule is an effective means of managing these leaves without harming the turf

S.I.
11-20-2007, 12:06 AM
Mulching them back into the yard is fine, if it is not too much, 1/3-1/2", then you should bag it up. I like to make a quick pass over the yard with the bp blower....... nothing detailed or extensive........get the planting beds and around the edges cleaned up then put the catcher on my z and make a "high" pass.........don't empty the bag, once full it will mulch.........then empty bagg lower deck and make a second pass....most will only fill only once or twice..........That is if the I can talk home owner into it, thatch is a big problem here because people don't know how to water and fertilize, no matter how much you try to educate them.

BTW $40-$60 an hour for clean-up only --regular customers are 3x normal mowing fee

All_Toro_4ME
11-20-2007, 10:51 AM
If your only charging $10-$15 per hour you are wasteing your time.. thats hard work at least go up to $50

Hey BFLL, I think you should re-read my first post in this thread. I didn't say I was charging $10-$15 per hour. I'm charging $40/hr, but the customers feel that is too high. They only want to pay 10-15 dollars for the entire job. Not by the hour. The entire job. I do not accept them, but that is what I have ran into a lot here lately.

S.I.
11-20-2007, 01:07 PM
I couldn't afford to show up for $10-$15................trying to stay close to $60per hour $75 min.

RedMax Man
11-20-2007, 02:44 PM
Well it snowed this morning and the ground is covered in white!:dizzy:

jrc lawncare
11-20-2007, 03:44 PM
Well it snowed this morning and the ground is covered in white!:dizzy: Likewise here. Got about two inches, had to plow some of our accts. Luckily, have only 5-6 fall cleanups left, we have done about thirty so far.

MOW ED
11-20-2007, 04:26 PM
Once the last silver maples give up their gold I have a day or so left. I am tired of waiting as it has been about a week behind. I usually have the equipment all wrapped up to hibernate by Thanksgiving but I think that is going to be a week late.
Overall everything is going good with fall cleans. Many happy customers and my wallet is getting happy too. Hope you all are doing well.

lawnguyland
11-19-2009, 05:11 PM
I understand estimating job cost or price using an hourly rate, but I don't get why people charge customers by the hour.

I just give a price- the faster I go, the more I make an hour.

If charging hourly works for you, so be it.

lawnguyland
11-19-2009, 05:15 PM
you're in a big metroploitan area, so it's a high market. guys in rural areas can't charge as much as people like you because of the market, people won't pay that much.

That's true. I would love to move to a rural area- really, I would- (at least semi-rural), but I can't see how I could make any money getting 40$ an hour. Someday I hope to have a few acres, small hobby farm, orchard, etc.

I've considered moving upstate about 90 miles and working on Long Island a few days a week- at least to start out. Give me the country-- yeeeee haw!

Wait...what were we talking about? Oh yeah fall clean-ups.

Richard Martin
11-19-2009, 06:42 PM
I understand estimating job cost or price using an hourly rate, but I don't get why people charge customers by the hour.

It's because most LCOs are uncomfortable giving a price ahead of time. They're not really sure how long it's going to take to do the job and they don't want to get burned.

brucec32
11-19-2009, 07:21 PM
I agree even $40/hour is peanuts for the amount of work and equipment involved. Factor in time spent driving off-route to do these jobs, misc loading, etc, overhead, etc, and you are netting far less than that. This is not an office job where you can easily put 10 hours in, day after day, week after week. It's tiring, it's seasonal, and it's prone to interruptions from weather and such. So you had better be doing a lot more per hour than at a "job".

Hmmm, I see there are several posts bemoaning how low this is for the work involved, and expressing shock at how cheaply some are willing to do it.

Ok. Now, remember this moment next time someone with zero experience in the biz shows up on lawnsite asking you to tell him how it's all done and you gleefully gab away the tricks of the trade it took you years to amass because it feels cool to be the expert.

Because at least indirectly, that guy is part of the reason why you can't get your reasonable price for the work. He's unemployed, possibly broke and desperate, and he will GLADLY underprice you any day to try to survive. He's not in it for the long haul, he just wants to make a few bucks till his old company starts rehiring. He has almost no work booked so even low-paid work is better than nothing. I don't blame him a bit.

But I'm not so happy with the secure feeling folks who think that just because he's not opening in shop in THEIR town, it won't affect them, and so they blab away, basically hand-holding the guy through the process of starting a new business because the guy simply cannot be bothered to work for $12/hour for someone else while he learns the ropes. Everyone in America is the boss. Nobody's a worker. We'd rather do the work but call ourselves businessmen than take an actual "job" in this industry. That's how far we've beaten down wages and quality.

None of those guys charging $20/hour for leaf cleanups is actually netting any more than he would as an hourly employee. He just doesn't realize it because he's not only ignorant about lawncare techniques and tools, he's also not a great businessman and doesn't realize that those miles on his truck are not free just because he already has a truck payment, the gas isn't free just because he was at the station to fill his tank anyway, and the equipment isn't free just because the dealer gave him a "1 year no payments" deal.

In this economy you should be out finding high quality intelligent and motivated labor that you've been complaining for 20 years didn't exist. Not helping set him up so he can drive your rates down.

dtford
11-19-2009, 11:11 PM
I'm from Plymouth/Cape cod, Ma. Weather has been perfect around here. *(knock wood) 50-55 love it. Spuds, we do the exact same schedule, mow until the end of October, 2 Clean-ups in November. (2) Walkers, (3) bps (2) 13hp billy goat walk behinds and a 16HP leaf loader. Time is money and labor saving devices will make you money.

Groomer
11-19-2009, 11:31 PM
Always a hoot when guys chime in and say, "I just mulch 'em" yeah right. I've got properties that by mid november are buried, quickly, in leaves a foot deep. Gotta clean them up.

STIHL GUY
11-19-2009, 11:35 PM
this has been a late season for leaves but its going well. ive been pretty busy working in the dark every night untill about 6:30 but it could be a lot worse