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clipperslawnservice
03-22-2009, 12:19 AM
I"ve heard of guys raking leaves onto tarps, but my truck is a short bed
and will not hold many leafs ,and my trailer is a open ,low sided 5-8,
so i decided to bag the leafs. i used my blower to pile them up, then
baged them and ran the mower to mulch what was left. had a total
of 141 bags, there were also 7 flower beds to rake and blow out!
it took me 10 hours ,customer didnt ask for a price, i
trimmed some trees for her before, so i guess she thougt i am reasonable
on my price.so do you think i should bill her for 10 hrs. @$30.00 hr.?
or is that way to high.? also, any suggestions on a faster way to
remove leafs with my limited equipment. thanks for ANY help!

punt66
03-22-2009, 12:22 AM
I"ve heard of guys raking leaves onto tarps, but my truck is a short bed
and will not hold many leafs ,and my trailer is a open ,low sided 5-8,
so i decided to bag the leafs. i used my blower to pile them up, then
baged them and ran the mower to mulch what was left. had a total
of 141 bags, there were also 7 flower beds to rake and blow out!
it took me 10 hours ,customer didnt ask for a price, i
trimmed some trees for her before, so i guess she thougt i am reasonable
on my price.so do you think i should bill her for 10 hrs. @$30.00 hr.?
or is that way to high.? also, any suggestions on a faster way to
remove leafs with my limited equipment. thanks for ANY help!

without commercial equipment its slow going. Without seeing the property i couldnt tell you what to charge. 30hr is low but it took so long because it was all by hand. So $300 seems reasonable.

EagleLandscape
03-22-2009, 12:23 AM
500 is minimum i would have charged her if i had a laborer there...

clipperslawnservice
03-22-2009, 12:39 AM
My rates are normaly hire than this on mowing and tree work, but
$400.00 or $500.00 for leaf removal, wow!!!! I live in a very small
town[3000 pop. i guess if i can get those kind of prices it will make
the back ache worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!

topsites
03-22-2009, 12:59 AM
Take the cost for the bags.
Add to this $20 for equipment use (rake and tarps).
It sounds like you worked hard so 10 hours labor $15 an hour, 150, add that.
Give yourself $15 for driving around picking up supplies, add.
Another $30 for the use of the mower. + it

Did you have a disposal fee?
If so, tack this on.

Now, what do you have?

CCC52
03-22-2009, 05:51 AM
Dude, 141 bags of leaves?

Leave them on the front lawn for a few days and bill her $1000.;)

I'm only kidding. $300 sounds more than fair, labor alone covered that.

All I can add, 20-some years ago I agreed to 2 bi-weekly mowing accounts. It was spring and they had Chemlawn service. Second month in I mowed at around 3 1/4" and bagged both lawns. Filled 15 or 16 giant size lawn and leaf bags for the $30 price I'd quoted for both. Stinking, reeking 100+ pound bags of fresh grass and dog doo. 3 weeks later they called wondering where I was after a full week of rain in between...

:walking:

Whoever said $500 nailed your bare minimum. I work fairly cheap but your description is well over the $300 mark IMHO.

Edit to add, sideboards for the truck! I've done it with sporty shorties too although I've found 2wd longbeds superior for all-around user-friendliness. I did it with an old GMC on 36's. Pain to load, then again, 141 bags?!! Tarp, load, and haul. Charge for it too, imagine what her trash service will say to 141 bags!

clipperslawnservice
03-22-2009, 07:38 AM
I already put the cost of the bags on the bill and i already hauled
the bags to the conv. station, 5 trips ,but no charge to dump.

DRBLawnBuster
03-22-2009, 08:42 AM
$300 sounds about right, But maybe you should look into putting ply wood around the sides of the trailer and make it like 5 foot high so you coulda just put leaves in there instead of bagging it.

yardatwork
03-22-2009, 08:50 AM
10 hours...I would have charged around $450-$500. Leaves are one of the worst jobs to do imo. They are dirty, dusty, take forever, sometimes really wet, and where I live...leaf season is cold!

djagusch
03-22-2009, 09:09 AM
The job sounds like it was too big for your operation. $300 if it makes you happy charge it. It probably isn't enough though. Live and learn.

Make a leaf box for the truck or trailer, invest in a good collection system for a ZTR (trac vac's are great), truck loaders are nice also. Part of your issue is that the leaves were never chopped up before they were bagged. You might of cut down your bags a third by doing this.

Fox Lawn & Garden
03-22-2009, 09:19 AM
What size bags are we talking about?
kitchen sized? I can't image you getting that many garbage can sized on the rig you described.
I think you could save a lot of work by using a bagging machine and garbage can lined with poly bag. cram the material in there ( 50-60 pounds worth) and load on truck. 300 would be max I charged, depending on effort involved.

RocketLab
03-22-2009, 09:31 AM
$300 divided by 141 bags equals $2.13. I'd say your too low by half.


Oh yeh! and why not give her a price up front then you don't have to worry about the reaction?

Think Green
03-22-2009, 09:37 AM
My Texas friend,
If you did this lawn on the pretenses that they will pay you out of pity, think again!
The customer cares less about how many hours it took you. They want the job done and with less cost. A preliminary bid should have been done in advance to cover your backside. The customer would have signed something showing that a dollar amount was agreed upon. Doing the work and then billing is asking for major trouble............It wouldn't stand up in court.
IS your mower equipped with a bagging system for leaves? It is a good investment to look into purchasing one. Tarps are good if you have the means of hauling off the debris.
With the size of your trailer, I can understand your situation, and bagging the leaves up by hand is your only option.
Enough babbling,,,,The only thing that sticks to my mind is doing the work before considering an estimate on the cost of doing the work. I have estimated enough jobs in my many years of cleanups, and some will fool you but never do the work and then ask questions of how much to charge.........................and then submit a bill blindly!!!!!!!!!

Shuter
03-22-2009, 10:56 AM
A faster way is to find someone else with a leaf loader and ask them to pick up the leaves. Add their fee into your price. This will cut your time in half.

Daily Lawn/Landscape
03-22-2009, 12:09 PM
A faster way is to find someone else with a leaf loader and ask them to pick up the leaves. Add their fee into your price. This will cut your time in half.

This is exactly what i do. A majority of my customers get the leaves mulched. For the few that want them picked up, I have a company that has a leaf loader come and suck them up. I add their charge + 15% and my labor.


James

FourTrees
03-22-2009, 01:34 PM
i used my blower to pile them up, then
baged them and ran the mower to mulch what was left. had a total
of 141 bags, there were also 7 flower beds to rake and blow out!
it took me 10 hours

Using your method it is not a wonder it took so many bags. One bag/pile of mulched leaves probably equals 7-10 bags, pile of unmulched. Not trying to insult just pointing out that for time worked you should not compare yours to another LCO’s.

Some here have suggested for your work you might be to low. 10 hours...I would have charged around $450-$500. Leaves are one of the worst jobs to do imo. They are dirty, dusty, take forever, sometimes really wet, and where I live...leaf season is cold!
Problem is that this job would not have been a 10 hour job, slowest method was used. Customer should not be required to pay for that.

without commercial equipment its slow going. Without seeing the property i couldnt tell you what to charge. 30hr is low but it took so long because it was all by hand. So $300 seems reasonable.
Punt66 is right, you did it by hand and that should not be at the fault of the customer. To often on here I hear people ask what should be charged and others responding that only you know your costs and labor hours; while this is true, you still need to consider how long it would take if you were properly equipped.

Examples:
1. I hire a guy to install a fence. I expect him to do quality work. I figure he will be smart and not dig all holes by hand, BUT if he should choose to do so that is his deal for not having a post hole digger. I will not pay him extra because he was not really equipped for the job.
2. I have an acre to mow whether the guy I hire uses a 21” or a 60”, I should only expect to pay a reasonable rate and the 21” guy will just have to work longer for his $. I am not gonna pay more for him not being equipped for the job.

Take the cost for the bags.
Add to this $20 for equipment use (rake and tarps).
It sounds like you worked hard so 10 hours labor $15 an hour, 150, add that.
Give yourself $15 for driving around picking up supplies, add.
Another $30 for the use of the mower. + it

Did you have a disposal fee?
If so, tack this on.

Now, what do you have?

Seriously this is probably the best answer (whether Top was sarcastic or not). $15 is way low per hour but it is not the fault of the client that you did not have all the equipment truly required for the job. It is a loss on your part, but they hired you thinking you were equipped for the job. Not quoting prior to is what will hang you.


also, any suggestions on a faster way to
remove leafs with my limited equipment. thanks for ANY help!

Get some better equipment and as suggested build up sides of truck or trailer

Hey, clippers, hope you don’t feel I am cutting you. I am just giving my business opinion, and I often see guys here saying, price the job according to YOUR costs. Problem with this idea is that rates need to be competitive with what a professionally equipped company could be charging.

Good luck and hopefully even if you don’t get top dollar you can take away from this a lesson learned.

lawnpro724
03-22-2009, 01:54 PM
Cleanups are a real pain in the a$$. We just did one for $500 and should have been done in an 8hr day but later in the afternoon the wind picked up so much we had to quit. The next day it rained so had to wait another day and when we got there the leaves were a little wet and burning took forever. A job that should have taken 8hrs took over 14hrs, you never know how things are going to go when doing leaves so charge a good price.

Ric3077
03-22-2009, 01:56 PM
10 hours with one man I would charge $750

Cross Cut
03-22-2009, 02:00 PM
How long and much would the job cost with the proper equipment?

grasschopperofchicago
03-22-2009, 02:04 PM
I agree sounds too big for operation and poor planning on your part...I have never spent 10 hours in someones yard for ANYTHING...regardless of size, my crew does a Mobile home park with 94 trailers, we do just common ground, $400@week with me and 2 others 4 hours. If the job took that long, I imagine you should have paid two guys for 3 hours@$12.00 an hour, and had it done in 3 hours...and charged $300+supplies/disposal/transport-gas.. for a total of about $395.00...I didn't see yard, so this is just an estimate, but if you spent 10 hours, chances are you weren't efficient. I would have to be in the neighborhood of $600 for 10 hours work

Holleys Landscaping
03-22-2009, 03:09 PM
Last fall I tried doing leaf pickups by myself with my open trailer and a dump truck. This spring gave up that and have a guy with a leaf hauler do it and i tack that onto the spring cleanup price. and $300 is way to cheap. I charge about $90/hr and then add or subtract accordingly. That job sounds like a $500+ job like a lot of other guys have already said. And always bid the job before you do the job!

FourTrees
03-22-2009, 03:17 PM
He just did leaves. Proper equipment/reduced hauling trips and he cuts his time to 4-5 hours at the most. At $65 (average going rate per hour) that is only $260 to $325.

Just because he said it took this long remember HE pointed out that he was not set up for this. YOU CANNOT CHARGE A CLIENT FOR YOUR LACK OF HAVING THE PROPER EQUIPMENT.

I think $300 is reasonable. $500 way to high. Its not rocket science.

Richard Martin
03-22-2009, 03:23 PM
The next day it rained so had to wait another day and when we got there the leaves were a little wet and burning took forever.

What did you burn? I thought you were doing a leaf cleanup? We have a name for people that burn leaves around my area. We call them polluting hillbillies.

lawnpro724
03-22-2009, 03:27 PM
What did you burn? I thought you were doing a leaf cleanup? We have a name for people that burn leaves around my area. We call them polluting hillbillies.

Around here everyone burns their leaves. Everyone has a burn pile for leaves and brush and in town everyone burns their leaves on curbside of road they live on. Always thought Hillbillies were in Eastern KY, TN area .........LOL:laugh:

mainstreet1984
03-22-2009, 03:35 PM
Not to be pain in the ...but something is missing here. 140 bags 10 hrs gives us 14 bags in hour then its 1 bag per 4.5 minutes ... plus raking mulching... are you robot or something? I did bags some times takes about 15 minutes per bag in average with blowing, raking, collecting etc...

Sweet Tater
03-22-2009, 03:48 PM
I It is only mysel working, no equipment except hand tools, I will do $300 for an 8 hour day, If I have helpers, its another $15 an hour per helper on top of the 300.

If I have to use power equipment then the price per day changes accordingly

Kennedy Landscaping
03-22-2009, 03:54 PM
I had to charge over 700 for a leaf job last season. You and only you know what your operating costs are and what you need to charge to make money. Good luck this season.

J.A.G LAWNCARE
03-22-2009, 04:01 PM
$300 WAS TO MUCH TO CHARGE.......if you are mowing 10 football fields you do not come with a push mower..............

CLARK LAWN
03-22-2009, 09:57 PM
he still hasnt told us how big the lawn was. i do one every fall that takes me and 2 guys every bit of 10 hours, but it is 7.5 acres and we have to remove everything from the property. i have a 1 ton dump with a 8 foot high box on it with a loader and we pull 4-5 loads out.

J.A.G LAWNCARE
03-22-2009, 10:02 PM
he still hasnt told us how big the lawn was. i do one every fall that takes me and 2 guys every bit of 10 hours, but it is 7.5 acres and we have to remove everything from the property. i have a 1 ton dump with a 8 foot high box on it with a loader and we pull 4-5 loads out.

yes , but how many bags ? 10,000

clipperslawnservice
03-22-2009, 10:24 PM
like i said, i live in podunk ,population 3000. other than myself there
might be one guy who is legit, and there is not any one with a vac
or any other kind of comm. leaf system. im just doing the best i can with
the equip. i can afford right now! this community is mostly retired
people on fixed incomes, theres no way in heck you can charge
$60-90 an hour.doing good to get $30-50, and i think thats because
of the limited lco's around.this was my first leaf job and $30.00 hr.
is as low as i can work for, it just seems like a lot of money to have
your yard cleaned up is all i was saying.thanks for all the advice.
going to put sides on my trailer in the morning,just picked up another
clean-up job today, bid shoud work out to $50.00 hr, and she said "that
sounds very reasonable"
no, i didnt give her a hourly price.

J.A.G LAWNCARE
03-22-2009, 10:31 PM
I think $30 is a good price , if you are working hard .....how many other jobs can you make $30 per hour at....

clipperslawnservice
03-22-2009, 10:43 PM
did not measure it,guess about15,000-18,000sq. ft. with 12 LARGE
red oaks. not sure if it was cleaned up last year or not.

sunray
03-22-2009, 11:25 PM
My Texas friend,
If you did this lawn on the pretenses that they will pay you out of pity, think again!
The customer cares less about how many hours it took you. They want the job done and with less cost. A preliminary bid should have been done in advance to cover your backside. The customer would have signed something showing that a dollar amount was agreed upon. Doing the work and then billing is asking for major trouble............It wouldn't stand up in court.
IS your mower equipped with a bagging system for leaves? It is a good investment to look into purchasing one. Tarps are good if you have the means of hauling off the debris.
With the size of your trailer, I can understand your situation, and bagging the leaves up by hand is your only option.
Enough babbling,,,,The only thing that sticks to my mind is doing the work before considering an estimate on the cost of doing the work. I have estimated enough jobs in my many years of cleanups, and some will fool you but never do the work and then ask questions of how much to charge.........................and then submit a bill blindly!!!!!!!!!

very well put.

Big Bad Bob
03-22-2009, 11:50 PM
I think $30 is a good price , if you are working hard .....how many other jobs can you make $30 per hour at....


After liability insurance, taxes, gas, equipment depreciation and all the other expenses it isn't $30.00 per hour. I would guess it's more like $17.0 per hour, for a lot of hard work. But you get what you can. If you are just starting out, it's ok but after a while you will be experienced enough and have the right to get the $50.00 or $60.00 per hour.

I would guess, site unseen, that we could have done it in 3 hours or so. But we have much better equipment than you do. You have to charge by how much you could if you had a leaf loader and a bigger truck and could get it done in 3 hours so you did ok. You can't expect the customer to pay more just because you don't have the right equipment.

You just keep on keeping on and you will do fine. You're a good hard worker and that says a lot. Good luck.

Big Bad Bob
03-22-2009, 11:58 PM
Around here everyone burns their leaves. Everyone has a burn pile for leaves and brush and in town everyone burns their leaves on curbside of road they live on. Always thought Hillbillies were in Eastern KY, TN area .........LOL:laugh:

Well, apparently there's a bunch of them in Effingham Il. :laugh:

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 12:28 AM
After liability insurance, taxes, gas, equipment depreciation and all the other expenses it isn't $30.00 per hour. I would guess it's more like $17.0 per hour, for a lot of hard work. But you get what you can. If you are just starting out, it's ok but after a while you will be experienced enough and have the right to get the $50.00 or $60.00 per hour.

I would guess, site unseen, that we could have done it in 3 hours or so. But we have much better equipment than you do. You have to charge by how much you could if you had a leaf loader and a bigger truck and could get it done in 3 hours so you did ok. You can't expect the customer to pay more just because you don't have the right equipment.

You just keep on keeping on and you will do fine. You're a good hard worker and that says a lot. Good luck.


$30.00 an hour doesn't cut it after expenses, sorry, but with Workmans Comp, wear and tear, insurance, advertising, sep, taxes, gas, supplies, I think that equates to about $10.00 @ hour net if I am lucky and get paid part in cash!---lol...$60 an hour minimal if not more, I don't drop my trailer for less than $30 on a cut job, and that is a 15 minute job

TuffWork
03-23-2009, 12:28 AM
Didn't read all of the posts, but I'm a believer of charging what you think is fair. Period. Sounds fair to me, and I'm considered a lowballer by some here. If she doesn't like it, she'll haggle with you. The work is already done.

Big Bad Bob
03-23-2009, 12:35 AM
$30.00 an hour doesn't cut it after expenses, sorry, but with Workmans Comp, wear and tear, insurance, advertising, sep, taxes, gas, supplies, I think that equates to about $10.00 @ hour net if I am lucky and get paid part in cash!---lol...$60 an hour minimal if not more, I don't drop my trailer for less than $30 on a cut job, and that is a 15 minute job

So many people just see the money they're getting upfront with no regard to expenses. I know there are people on this forum who think they're making money when in fact they are just breaking even, thus the part timers with a full time job elsewhere.

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 12:39 AM
So many people just see the money they're getting upfront with no regard to expenses. I know there are people on this forum who think they're making money when in fact they are just breaking even, thus the part timers with a full time job elsewhere.


well said "BB-BOB!...in most cases it's almost working for free for some of them on here!--My theory is simple, I bid based on $65@hour--that is me on a ZT or Stander---so no real labor, if I have to work...double that!

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 12:40 AM
I should be arrested for TUI!!---TYPING UNDER THE INFLUENCE!!

Ric3077
03-23-2009, 01:10 AM
Those grossing $30/hr will never make it in the long run...why leave money on the table? If I said I have a $100 bill and a $50 and you can have one for free...which would you take? I would personally take the $100, but lowballers are taking the $50...does not make any sense. Most LCO are SWAMPED with customers paying $65/hr or more...Which is double what LB's are charging....the rest are lowballing. It doesn't bother me as the lowballers do help weed out the cheap ass customers that I don't want anyway...they see my $35 minimum and pass my ad up...fine with me.

TuffWork
03-23-2009, 01:23 AM
grasshopper, if it was against the law. I'd have already been arrested a long long time ago. I only have 3 1/2 empty Budweiser bottles sitting next to me right now, so I'm not doing too bad tonight. :)

At least nobody needs to take away my key... ...board.

Cathman
03-23-2009, 01:56 AM
To the original poster....i do not have "proper" leaf equipment either. I have a 2 acre lot i do once a year that is full of pecan trees. What i do is partition the lot of into 6 sections (based on where the trees are) and go back and forth with the z blowing all the leaves into a middle pile (of each section). By the time i do this a good portion of the leaves have been mulched from the several passes and this in itself reduces a good amount of the total, and the rest are somewhat chopped. Then i go and rake/bag each pile i have made.

This is what has worked best for me. I tried the blower/tarp thing, but it did not work for me.

topsites
03-23-2009, 05:20 AM
I think the best I heard in this thread as far as the amount, are the folks who said go ahead and charge
the customer the $300 and see how it goes... I might also recommend seeing if you can speak with the
customer to discuss the price before you do, as in, if she's home att.

YOU CANNOT CHARGE A CLIENT FOR YOUR LACK OF HAVING THE PROPER EQUIPMENT.

That is correct.

if you are mowing 10 football fields you do not come with a push mower..............

And if you do, it still costs the same it would cost if someone with a Z had mowed it.

$30.00 an hour doesn't cut it after expenses, sorry, but with Workmans Comp

$30 an hour isn't bad for a 1st-2nd year operation, especially without the proper equipment,
and you don't need workman's compensation until you have a certain size crew.

I couldn't tell how much it should have cost, but $250-275,300...
Fine, so be it, it ain't that high if it is too high, what else can we do?

Richard Martin
03-23-2009, 06:43 AM
So many people just see the money they're getting upfront with no regard to expenses. I know there are people on this forum who think they're making money when in fact they are just breaking even, thus the part timers with a full time job elsewhere.

I agree but... Then there's those here that don't realize that not everyone has the same costs. I doubt Clippers has a real high overhead and no employees. Some people simply can and do work for less. As long as Clippers is happy with what he made then I'm glad for him. I work to my own expectations, not to the expectations of the members of Lawnsite.

clipperslawnservice
03-23-2009, 07:29 AM
I busted my butt on that job, partly because i DONT have the proper
equip. AND i have decided even though i live in podunk im changing
the bill to $400.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

J.A.G LAWNCARE
03-23-2009, 08:29 AM
I think the best I heard in this thread as far as the amount, are the folks who said go ahead and charge
the customer the $300 and see how it goes... I might also recommend seeing if you can speak with the
customer to discuss the price before you do, as in, if she's home att.



That is correct.



And if you do, it still costs the same it would cost if someone with a Z had mowed it.



$30 an hour isn't bad for a 1st-2nd year operation, especially without the proper equipment,
and you don't need workman's compensation until you have a certain size crew.

I couldn't tell how much it should have cost, but $250-275,300...
Fine, so be it, it ain't that high if it is too high, what else can we do?

you have to charge for the equipment you have or sould have for a job ......I am not paying someone hourly to push mow my football fields to same hourly rate as one with a zero , you all need to wake up. All setups are different all overhead is tooooo...............

punt66
03-23-2009, 11:03 AM
I busted my butt on that job, partly because i DONT have the proper
equip. AND i have decided even though i live in podunk im changing
the bill to $400.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
you busted your but because you dont have the proper equipment. Not the home owners fault. You cant charge the same hourly rate as a person running tens of thousands in equip. The job is worth what the market says. If you can do it in 2 hours with good equip or 10 hours with tooth brushes its up to you. The price stays the same.

Brett's Cutting Edge
03-23-2009, 02:42 PM
Ive done many jobs that cost$500+, last year there were 3 of us at a job for 4 hours with backpack blowers and a truck loader and i charged $475. If they know the cost up front how can they complain. Its not your fault they wait till everything is down to do them.

punt66
03-23-2009, 07:59 PM
Ive done many jobs that cost$500+, last year there were 3 of us at a job for 4 hours with backpack blowers and a truck loader and i charged $475. If they know the cost up front how can they complain. Its not your fault they wait till everything is down to do them.
Thats $39hr.

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 08:51 PM
Thats $39hr.

yeah but that is $39.00 @ hour counting crew, are you paying them that per hour?---you collected $39.00 per man hour, but guessing you didn't pay that out
If you paid them $15@hour, you paid out $120 you retained nearly $355.00 so that is more like $90 per hour...

I would have paid out my guys $10/12 puts $88.00 out in labor and then just under $400 for me..so about $100 per hour...

He worked 10 hours by himself it sounds, and gained about $30 per hour...I would have had the job done in 3 hours with three guys and correct equipment, charged the same plus supplies and haul away fee...paid out $66 in labor and kept about $250 for me...so $85 an hour for the same job he made $30 per...but I would have charged more honestly...if it was 140 bags...I would have done it differently and worked towards the $100-120 mark

Richard Martin
03-24-2009, 05:11 AM
He worked 10 hours by himself it sounds, and gained about $30 per hour...I would have had the job done in 3 hours with three guys and correct equipment,

So it took him 10 man hours to get the job job and it would have taken you 9 man hours "with correct equipment" to get the job done. Where's the savings in that?

He averaged $30 per man hour, you averaged $28.33.