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The Green Barber
04-01-2008, 11:52 PM
This is my first year in business. What is included in spring clean-ups? what machines do you use? do you roll the lawns, de-thatch, and how do you price the jobs out. I'm located in Buffalo, NY, is it time to do spring-clean-ups? I have had a couple request for lawn rolling. how do you price them? How heavy of a roller do you need? Please any info helpful

Whitey4
04-02-2008, 08:50 AM
This is my first year in business. What is included in spring clean-ups? what machines do you use? do you roll the lawns, de-thatch, and how do you price the jobs out. I'm located in Buffalo, NY, is it time to do spring-clean-ups? I have had a couple request for lawn rolling. how do you price them? How heavy of a roller do you need? Please any info helpful

Every house is different. If it's pretty clean, I will do more work. My general rule of thumb is the property should look noticably cleaner, neater and significantly better when I drive away. On a new customer that has a lot of left over leaves, I might skip the edging, and do it on my on my first mow, while on a clean property I'll edge the beds and all the walks. I usually turn the beds after getting leaves and debris from under the ornamentals and shrubs.

I only dethatch my zoysia lawns at a very high setting, just to thin it out, improve surface air circulation and allow for new growth to fill in.

Lawn rolling? The only time I roll a lawn is after seeding. Otherwise, I don't see any benefit to it. I price my cleanups from 75 to 100 usually, although I offered a $50 discount to new customers this year. Customers that don't agree to the full season don't get it. I shy away from one time cleanups unless I think I have a good chance for signing them as a regular customer.

I usually find I underestimate my cleanups because I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and end up spending more time than I thought, but for new customers, a great cleanup will win them over immediately... seriously, they become more friendly and talkative, and begin to consider other services, like mulching. I try to make it look better than the last guy likely did. First impressions, all that comes into play.

The Green Barber
04-02-2008, 10:21 AM
Whitey4, when you edge the beds and sidewalks, do you use a gas power edger or, the good old shovel? If the ground is still wet, do you still edge. Do you use a rake attachment on a weed trimmer to turn the mulch?

Whitey4
04-02-2008, 11:58 PM
Whitey4, when you edge the beds and sidewalks, do you use a gas power edger or, the good old shovel? If the ground is still wet, do you still edge. Do you use a rake attachment on a weed trimmer to turn the mulch?

I use a spade to edge beds, and a Husky 326LS weed whacker for edging walks. If it's dry enough to get leaves, it's dry enough to edge. I'm pretty fast with a spade, and it's better if the ground is wet. I put a trough at the bed edges, and can hide some moss and other unattractive stuff with the spade quickly. It's all about how good it looks when the owner gets home from work that day. No machine can beat bed edging with a spade for appearance. I use two long handled manual cultivators.... the three pronged type for mulch and the spiked type for around trees with shallow roots.

Fresh turned soil always looks good. In fact, I think it's why so many of my customers go for the black or dark brown fine mulch... they want that look to last for more than a day. Makes my life easier too, as I don't have to turn the beds every week... a shot of Roundup here and there.... (yes, I'm certified in NY by the DEC)

I might be more efficient if I went with more attachments/machines, but this is how I like to do it. Case in point....

A cleanup today that was a $80 job, but had a $50 new customer discount also needed a mow. So, I got the $30 plus a weekly mow price, but I was there for 4 hours. I went the extra yard.... guy had an old water feature, a small ignored little pond. I spent a half hour getting all the pine needles and leaves out of the water. The customer didn't expect that, and now asked me if I could restore it.... it (installed by the previous owner) had a small fountain pump, a two foot waterfall and a fairly nice little rock garden around it. The thing was burried.... and now that it's clean....

For new customers, I want to blow them away. First impression. Think I'm done, spend another hour. I find that consistantly, when I do this, it leads to more profitable work, like mulching, and now a water feature. A short conversation about either getting rid of this water feature (biting bugs like mosquitoes) or getting it cleaned up with some chlorine.... more work for me. Now he wants me to drain it, and make an assessment.

NEVER skimp on new customer spring cleanups. I've yet to see when it didn't pay off.

Now that it looks good again, this customer wants to do something with it.

Jb3NH
04-15-2008, 10:57 PM
Well said.

sweetlou
04-17-2008, 01:10 AM
how do you price cleanups in Long island at 75 to 100. I dont know what part of LI your in but every legit guy I know starts at 150, for a basic 75 by 100ft property.Im not being sarcastic its just thats the cheapest I have heard yet.Your telling me you spent 4hours at a house for 30$ plus your bragging about the fact you got the extra for the cut.My friend I know your going to come back with some sarcastic answer but anyway If I were you I definetly would not be giving advice to people.You say your DEC certified which leads me to believe all your liscensing is in order,sohow in the world are you doing 4hr cleanups for 100$,please save the reply because any LCO out here would laugh the balls off if they cought wind of the bullshit your spewing out.

lawnguyland
04-17-2008, 07:28 AM
How the heck do you enter the landscaping business and not know what a spring clean-up is??????????????????????????????????????? WTF???? Do you know what a mower is? What is grass?

Whitey- I don't get you either. I

The Green Barber
04-17-2008, 09:57 AM
How the heck do you enter the landscaping business and not know what a spring clean-up is??????????????????????????????????????? WTF???? Do you know what a mower is? What is grass?

Whitey- I don't get you either. I

I know what a spring clean up is, I was asking what is included?? Like does a basic package include. Do you charge cleaning flower beds separately. does your price include hauling the debris away?........ as far as the sarcasm, I'm surprised your in the business with that type of attitude. Sorry you did'nt understand my question, but your reply to my post was very unprofessional.

ALC-GregH
04-17-2008, 10:33 AM
In my eyes, a spring clean-up is ANYTHING that needs cleaned up and or removed, manicured and so on...... You wouldn't want to clean up the twiggs, rack/collect leafs then not clean up the flower beds. Or let branches laying around the outsides of the property. You would clean up whatever needs cleaned.

I have yet to do any work as of right now but that will change this coming week (I hope).... I have everything in order and will start to pimp my services next week. I have lettering being made for my Explorer to put on the rear side windows. It should look pretty good on the factory tinted windows. I just hope I can land enough work to survive this summer. I've seen Joe blows all over the place. I know they are not legit as they are driving around in a beat up farm truck with a push mower in the back with no name at all. At least I'll be legal.

larryinalabama
04-17-2008, 10:56 AM
whitey takes pride in his work, some of us in here love this type of work and want to keep our customers yards as nice as possible. Im alaways going the extra mile for my customers, it is great for referals and saves money on advertising

Song Bird
04-17-2008, 11:36 AM
My husband and son just did a spring clean up a few weeks ago. Lots of leaf raking and some power brooming of rock. Plus we hauled away the leaves and will be composting them. It took them 3 hours to do a yard less than a 1/4 of an acre. The home owner did help some with raking. We charged her $45.00 with a $5.00 Sr. discount so her final cost was $40.00 not including the sales tax we must charge here in IA. She was so happy to have the work done we are now going to be doing mulching and summer time mowing for her. She said she is open to any and all ideas we have for her yard. She has some stepping stone that are awful I am going to see if she would like them pulled up and made right. They are all settled and more. We went and sized up the mulching job this weekend, now we have to find out what mulch she wants and go from there. You are right a little extra time and hard work for a little less money will bring even more jobs. This is our first year too so we are struggling with prices but around here you can not charge a huge fee we are a rural area with low income all around. So we look more at the size of the area than the time and price by that at least so far. We will know more as we keep "working". We are taking pride in our work, we want to be fair and good too.

sweetlou
04-17-2008, 01:54 PM
IM not one to bad mouth,but truth be told. There is no way you can stay in business and charge 100 for a 4hr cleanup,even if its in the name of "going the extra mile" Bottom line is get your price,do a good job period.This 4hr cleanup guy should hire a guy to stand next to him all day and e very so often crack him with a 18 inch rubber dildo.Guys listen to this,Lawn thatched or aerated plus beds turned property re edged fertilizer seed all for the bargain price of 75 to 100, ans wait if your a new customer you ger 50 off,and wait with that you get to plant it point blank in my ass.What,s your real job a finance proffesor at M I T.Im sorry, but this guy has some pair all over here you hear about low ballers this is way past that,all because you might get extra work out of the customer,do your job right and you will get the work.Its guys like this giving advice to another poor soul that were paying for eveyone else on welfare. My man really you must have four teeth in your mouth each a darker shade of green if your running around like you are.What are you cutting the grass with your teeth.Smarten the f@#$ up.

larryinalabama
04-17-2008, 02:29 PM
I think the fellers are doing the cleanups to get the weekley maintance. Personally I rearley do clean ups. Im parttime and can be a little fussey about new accounts, I only take on all year customers, therefore the homes look good all the time.

dmc337
04-17-2008, 02:36 PM
Good God you guys are cheap...I get $75 to $100 for gutter cleanouts if I didn't get to it in the fall, nevermind leaf cleanup if snow came early (which it did up here). My minimum spring clean-up is $200, and only if I did a fall clean-up. I would really hate to have you lowballers up here.

Song Bird
04-17-2008, 02:53 PM
Ok now I am mad. I am not a "lowballer" and I am not "doing the cleanups to get the weekley maintance". GRRRR!!! Yes we are new to the lawn care and are struggling to figure out prices. It is not easy around here. Incomes are low. Many are retired and on fixed incomes.
But I know if someone wanted to charge me $200 dollars for spring clean up I would tell them no thank you if my yard were smaller than an acre, esp if they were only raking leaves and moving rock.
You can not even call us lowballers we charge according to our location with in the USA and the average cost of things around us.
So maybe we are cheep to you but to our customers we are right on target.

larryinalabama
04-17-2008, 03:04 PM
Well dont get mad, actually I was sticking up for ya'll. Whitey is doing nice clean ups to establish his weekly accounts.

Truefully though 2 men at 3 hours is 6 hours. 6 hours for 40 bucks is someware around minimum wage I think not sure what is though. That seems kinda of low to most of us.

Song Bird
04-17-2008, 03:25 PM
Ok I will not be to mad and thank you for sticking up for us.
To clear up some confusion or maybe miss understanding. As far as 2 men for 3 hours. Our son is only 6 1/2 years old. He went with his dad to spend some Dad time and to help out. He ended up not being a lot of help my husband said because it turned out the neighbor's to the house were they were working has a daughter that is in our son's class so he was over playing for over half of the 3 hours. So in reality it was only one man full time for 3 hours. And yes maybe 40 is still low to some of you but around here it is not. Our min. wage here will soon be $7.25 per hour. So we are over that per hour currently. So I hope all of you understand where I am at when I look at your higher prices and it is a "sticker shock". Around here you could not charge those big prices.
I am sure WHitey is doing a good job at establshing his weekely accounts. I am happy for Whitey
Our goal too is to get many established weekly accounts. We want to make this work so my husband can quite his current full time job and just do lawn care. We know it is not going to be easy, there are other doing the same work. So we are happy currenlty just picking up one job here and there and hoping they will talk to friends who might need mowing or other jobs. So sometimes being the new one on the block it pays to do the single smaller jobs just to get out infront of people and let them see you work. My two cents. So I have cooled off now, sorry. I just do not like name calling or bullying.

j05h22
04-17-2008, 04:00 PM
Don't worry about guys like lawnguyland... It's great to get on here and ask questions... What the hell else would this forum be for? "Hey guys I cut some yards today!" "Oh yea me too!" This forum is such a useful tool but big timers use it as a way to embarass people. Sometimes it disgusts to see some of the responses.

DK lawn care
04-17-2008, 04:02 PM
If you guys charge by hour, what is it?

Dunlaps LawnCare
04-17-2008, 05:53 PM
$30 a hour usely

lawnguyland
04-17-2008, 08:17 PM
I know what a spring clean up is, I was asking what is included?? Like does a basic package include. Do you charge cleaning flower beds separately. does your price include hauling the debris away?........ as far as the sarcasm, I'm surprised your in the business with that type of attitude. Sorry you did'nt understand my question, but your reply to my post was very unprofessional.

wah wah wah:cry:

aaronm
04-18-2008, 12:30 AM
I couldnt survive on 100 dollars for 4 hours work with 2 guys. I charge 50 an hour for cleanups and a 65 dollar dump fee for any debris.

I offer bed cleaning, edging, hedge trimming, weed removal and leaf cleanup with a spring cleanup and i usually do the mulch soon after. Im in PA so maybe the prices vary per area. Dont sell yourself short though for sure

Whitey4
04-18-2008, 01:26 AM
Funny how the people that don't understand my biz strategy for new customers also don't understand W-T-F a paragraph is.

DK lawn care
04-18-2008, 11:15 AM
$30 a hour usely

The way i see it is kinda like charging what you charge an hour to mulch a yard. What do u guys think?

F3Nelson
04-19-2008, 12:12 AM
<snip>

I usually find I underestimate my cleanups because I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and end up spending more time than I thought, but for new customers, a great cleanup will win them over immediately... seriously, they become more friendly and talkative, and begin to consider other services, like mulching. I try to make it look better than the last guy likely did. First impressions, all that comes into play.

Amen to that, I love doing clean ups, just always "bid them to get them" I have GOT to stop doing that

dmb101484
04-19-2008, 12:29 AM
i dont know about you all but i usually charge by the man hour on cleanups. Always getting to involved and making it look nice and hurt myself in the end. Charge by the man hour and go from there. Def better then trying to eye up a cleanup. Especially when it rains and all the other factors that are included such as wind and what not

F3Nelson
04-19-2008, 01:17 AM
i dont know about you all but i usually charge by the man hour on cleanups. Always getting to involved and making it look nice and hurt myself in the end. Charge by the man hour and go from there. Def better then trying to eye up a cleanup. Especially when it rains and all the other factors that are included such as wind and what not


Agreed, but I have found most clients want to know a "bottom line" and wont take a T/M job.

milkie62
04-21-2008, 02:06 AM
I had my first big customer ask me a price.I was up front and said $45 per man hour.Spring cleanup ---- cleanup leaves from winter blowing in ,about 25yards of mulch with old mulch removed,flower beds raked out and edge of driveway ruts filled with topsoil and seeded.Also fertilizer and bulk lime with drop spreader.Had no clue what kind of price to give.Approximate 1 acre total yard.Gave her the hourly price,plus a couple of dollars per yard added to mulch for fuel.I told her I do not want to overcharge her or short change myself.Mulch is $30/yd,and I can carry 5 yds.I am assuming the cleanup total price around $2700-3000. Plus I got the lawn for $180/wk about around 3hrs max which includes weekly weeding of flower beds.

mngrassguy
04-21-2008, 02:53 AM
I had my first big customer ask me a price.I was up front and said $45 per man hour.Spring cleanup ---- cleanup leaves from winter blowing in ,about 25yards of mulch with old mulch removed,flower beds raked out and edge of driveway ruts filled with topsoil and seeded.Also fertilizer and bulk lime with drop spreader.Had no clue what kind of price to give.Approximate 1 acre total yard.Gave her the hourly price,plus a couple of dollars per yard added to mulch for fuel.I told her I do not want to overcharge her or short change myself.Mulch is $30/yd,and I can carry 5 yds.I am assuming the cleanup total price around $2700-3000. Plus I got the lawn for $180/wk about around 3hrs max which includes weekly weeding of flower beds.


Sounds about right. I have a 1 acre lawn and if I had to pay what I charge...forget it. I only quote time/materials for sp/fall clean-ups and do about 20 each season. They are great money.

I didn't get to this point by charging $40.00 for a clean-up. I've NEVER charged less than $200.00, even 20 years ago. I too live in a rural area where poverty is the norm. Big money is out there, you just need to look for it.

Don't sell yourself short. Charge what your service is worth

N.H.BOY
04-22-2008, 10:10 PM
I understand the "new" guys trying to get some info on cleanups and there is alot of different ways of doing cleanups for every customers so the price will be all over the board, but the price's some of you guys are throwing out are way way toooooo low. Maybe that part of the country, but we get anywhere from 150-400 bucks for spring cleanups, cant imagine doing one for 45-50 bucks. Fall and spring cleanups are the hardest workout:weightlifter: I guess do a few and find out and ask the customer what they want also done for cleanup. Try and up sell:clapping:

evergreen_lawncare
04-22-2008, 10:52 PM
$100 for 4 hours seems pretty low around here. I just booked two jobs this weekend; one for $350, and the other for $400. The $350 is only for garden work, no grass. All they want is to clean out the beds and turn the soil and remove any debris. The $400 yard is just cleaning out the beds as well and trimming some shrubs and aeration. Both of those prices were $100 cheaper then anyone else around here. These jobs will take about 3-4hrs max a piece. I guess it is just where you are located and what the going rate it.

Raking-It-In
04-23-2008, 10:18 AM
I am on LongIsland as well and i cant see charging anything less then 75 for a small cleanup (hour an half job)...anything less then that ill pass cause i would be loosing money!. Now for some guys that dont have much overhead and are a 1 man band then i guess you can charge that little. Lots of luck with your new business venture.......

Raider
04-23-2008, 11:50 AM
wah wah wah:cry:

lawnguyland, I am sure you are very successful in this business, as well as a COOL guy. You obviously need to go back to school and take a few economics courses. Not all parts of the country can demand the higher rates that you receive. In rural Iowa, $30 per hour will go much farther than your $50-60 per hour rate. Also, I am sure you already know this but I will state it anyway, each person knows his own operating costs better that a stranger on a chat board. Before you shoot your mouth off again to a person that is trying to learn the business, consider things such as "cost of living", "operating costs", and "market rate". Other people on here have stated they would not work for that amount also, but they were not d%cks about it!

2fatguyslawncare
04-27-2008, 07:52 PM
Man, I was searching for help on leaf removal, but like most other posts on every open forum it turned into a pissing contest... oh well... I will just ask the question. HOW THE HELL DO I DEAL WITH LEAVES!!

What I do now, is blow them from the edge of house, gardens, etc... and then we just rake onto tarps, and load onto the truck. We have tried mowing them, with mulching blades and the bagger, but that does not seem to be any more efficient. We are considering purchasing the Cub Cadet leaf chipper/vacume... are these any good?

Also, for what it's worth I am terrible at bidding cleanups. We spent 6 hours at a house yesterday (We were also mulching and aerating...) but one man was cleaning the whole time. I estimated the cleaning at 5 hours ($300) but I was able to spread 4 yards of mulch, aerate the entire yard (About an acre) and we still all ended up doing leaf duty. What is a cheap (500-1000) solution to leaf removal for this weekend, and what is the best equipment to purchase for next season.

Please don't tell me we are doing it the best way, because I may very well shoot myself!

Thanks,

Leroy