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Cuttinitclose
06-20-2009, 08:51 PM
I know its early but its good to be prepared. Anyway I plan on doing some leaf cleanups this fall. Is there anything special I should have? I plan on making sides for my trailer to hold more. I have a BR600, BG86, Ryobi shredder/vac, and rakes. I cant afford a WB blower or vac, as I am saving for a ZTR w/ Bagger. How do you charge?

93Chevy
06-20-2009, 08:58 PM
For the yards I cut, I just upcharge maybe $15, depending on the yard. Go around with the blower and a rake, blow out all the beds. Cut and bag with the 21", which is a PITA, but next year, it'll be easier for me.

For yards I don't cut, I'd estimate how much I'd charge to cut the yard, and kinda play around with that figure, depending on size and how many trees, etc.

With a BR600, you'll be set. My Echo 755 is a beast with leaves. I've heard the 600 is more powerful, so you'll be better off than me. There's no need for a WB blower or truck loader until you can justify the cost from just leaf cleanups.

And tarp!!!! your load!

93Chevy
06-20-2009, 09:01 PM
And since you're still in school, buy 2 or 3 Surefire G2 Nitrolon flashlights. Tape one to your BR600, and carry another in the truck. Not only are they great flashlights for general use, but they really lights up the working area after dark.

Cuttinitclose
06-20-2009, 09:04 PM
Ya I forgot the 22' bagging method.

mowerbrad
06-20-2009, 09:22 PM
You could charge per hour. It is hard to tell you exactly how to charge since each yard is different and will have different amounts of leaves. After doing this for years I am pretty good at estimating the amount of time it will take me and the amount I will need to charge for it. Remember that clean-ups usually take a little longer than you originally expect.

Cuttinitclose
06-20-2009, 09:51 PM
I will probably charge by the hour. At $15 an hour?

93Chevy
06-20-2009, 10:11 PM
$40/hr for me. If they can't afford that, then I can't afford the time. In the fall, I'm a fulltime college student. If they pay well, then I can afford the time. If not, then too bad.

Cuttinitclose
06-20-2009, 10:17 PM
Good point there Tim. Busy w/ school and other mowing. I will say about $40/hr.

93Chevy
06-20-2009, 10:21 PM
I mean, it's not like we have the equipment or crew to knock a yard out in under an hour, lol. Milk it while you can.

HighGrass
06-20-2009, 10:32 PM
Here's what I do. I work alone so take that under consideration.
Equipment:
Back Pack Blower (Echo750)
Tarp
Rake+Spare
Small Flower Bed Rake
Small house broom
ZTR with bagger/blower+mulching blades

Routine:
Check wind. The wind can work with you, or against. It can sometmes be as good as a second guy if you work it right.
Start around foundations, trees, and shrubs getting leaves into lawn. I use backpack blower for most of this but for those shrubs that hang on to the leaves, there is no beating a rake. The smaller, flower bed rake (rake with very narrow head) works well when bushes are tight.
Once the leaves are in the lawn, I start picking them up with the bagger. There are times I take the blower off, mulch the leaves up a bit and then put the blower back on and pick them up. The problem with this is it can leave some leaf "litter" on the lawn. The types of leaves or needles also dictate how I do things. Oak leaves don't mulch as well as maple leaves so I just go ahead and bag them. If it makes more sense to put them on the tarp, then I go that route...but not often. It's sort of like playing pool, you have to look ahead as things progress, change your strategy as conditions dictate. Then it's just a matter of dumping them. Some clients allow dumping on site, some I just take to the curb or pick-up.
Since I work alone, I network with some of the other guys in the area and pay them to pick up my leaves. Obviously passing this cost along to the customers.
Pricing. Pricing is based upon what I bid the job at the beginning. I give them a quote and 24hrs to decide. There are two reasons for the 24 hour stipulation. 1-It gets them to decide quicker( I don't tell them this part). 2-It covers my rear in case weather changes and changes the characteristics of the yard. Wind, rain or snow( I do tell them about this part). What it boils down to is $90/hr for the machine if I'm on it, and $45hr for me if I'm not. Some lawns are "Jackpot" Lawns that I can spend an hour or two just blowing leaves into the woods and pocketing $200. Most lawns end up around the $280 with leaves removed. I can usually do 2-3 a day depending on the light. As long as I can get the leaves into the lawn, I can bag well after dark since I installed a light kit about 3 years ago.
The last couple of seasons I was busy right up to first snow. Good $$$!:walking::walking:

Something I learned last year. I had to do this leaf job for a property before a certain date. The only time I could do it was when there was a steady drizzle. The leaves were 90% oak 10% white pine needles. Everything was damp/wet. The oak leaves mulched and packed like I've never seen before. I think I reduced my turn/dump time by at least 200%! The bags were packed tight, I only had to clean the blower once.

Cuttinitclose
06-20-2009, 10:38 PM
I mean, it's not like we have the equipment or crew to knock a yard out in under an hour, lol. Milk it while you can.
Exactly.
Here's what I do. I work alone so take that under consideration.
Equipment:
Back Pack Blower (Echo750)
Tarp
Rake+Spare
Small Flower Bed Rake
Small house broom
ZTR with bagger/blower+mulching blades

Routine:
Check wind. The wind can work with you, or against. It can sometmes be as good as a second guy if you work it right.
Start around foundations, trees, and shrubs getting leaves into lawn. I use backpack blower for most of this but for those shrubs that hang on to the leaves, there is no beating a rake. The smaller, flower bed rake (rake with very narrow head) works well when bushes are tight.
Once the leaves are in the lawn, I start picking them up with the bagger. There are times I take the blower off, mulch the leaves up a bit and then put the blower back on and pick them up. The problem with this is it can leave some leaf "litter" on the lawn. The types of leaves or needles also dictate how I do things. Oak leaves don't mulch as well as maple leaves so I just go ahead and bag them. If it makes more sense to put them on the tarp, then I go that route...but not often. It's sort of like playing pool, you have to look ahead as things progress, change your strategy as conditions dictate. Then it's just a matter of dumping them. Some clients allow dumping on site, some I just take to the curb or pick-up.
Since I work alone, I network with some of the other guys in the area and pay them to pick up my leaves. Obviously passing this cost along to the customers.
Pricing. Pricing is based upon what I bid the job at the beginning. I give them a quote and 24hrs to decide. There are two reasons for the 24 hour stipulation. 1-It gets them to decide quicker( I don't tell them this part). 2-It covers my rear in case weather changes and changes the characteristics of the yard. Wind, rain or snow( I do tell them about this part). What it boils down to is $90/hr for the machine if I'm on it, and $45hr for me if I'm not. Some lawns are "Jackpot" Lawns that I can spend an hour or two just blowing leaves into the woods and pocketing $200. Most lawns end up around the $280 with leaves removed. I can usually do 2-3 a day depending on the light. As long as I can get the leaves into the lawn, I can bag well after dark since I installed a light kit about 3 years ago.
The last couple of seasons I was busy right up to first snow. Good $$$!:walking::walking:

Something I learned last year. I had to do this leaf job for a property before a certain date. The only time I could do it was when there was a steady drizzle. The leaves were 90% oak 10% white pine needles. Everything was damp/wet. The oak leaves mulched and packed like I've never seen before. I think I reduced my turn/dump time by at least 200%! The bags were packed tight, I only had to clean the blower once.

Thanks for the advice.

Storm the Patriot
06-20-2009, 10:48 PM
I have found it varies so much for pricing by the hour...

My dad and I charge 70 bucks an hour...i have found that to be extremely cheap to some talking to them online...

Wish you the best.

Cuttinitclose
06-20-2009, 11:06 PM
Thanks Storm.

Cuttinitclose
06-20-2009, 11:10 PM
LIGHT BULB! What if I built a box for my trailer and used the Ryobi as a shredder/vac to load it up. It would probaly be slow but I could try as I already have to build a box for it. To see set up go to my pic thread. Link in my sig.

Cuttinitclose
06-21-2009, 12:03 AM
That was dumb wasn't it.

STIHL GUY
06-21-2009, 12:09 AM
i charge by the man hour. i chop all the leaves with the mower while whoever is helping me blows out the bushes. we then use the WB blower, backpack to make piles and tarp those to the truck. on small yards we chop and then blow everything to the street and load into the truck. the truck also has a leaf box

Cuttinitclose
06-21-2009, 12:17 AM
I wish I had a bagger for the rider but if I'm going to get a ZTR I'd get one for that. Which won't be til next year, and 1 fall isn't worth it to me to buy a bagger.

93Chevy
06-21-2009, 12:30 AM
I wish I had a bagger for the rider but if I'm going to get a ZTR I'd get one for that. Which won't be til next year, and 1 fall isn't worth it to me to buy a bagger.

It's good to see you have some business sense and patience. I cut 5 yards a week with a 21." Done that for a year and a half. Next season, I'm getting a 48" Hydro WB and 5 more lawns. With my full time job and my biz, I'm working almost 70 hours a week and I'm taking a night class. I cannot afford any more lawns with a 21" so I'm kind of in a rut till next season.

I told myself though, this is my last year with a 21." The 48" will be appreciated so much more because I busted my balls for two years for it.

Cuttinitclose
06-21-2009, 12:33 AM
You can get dun in half the time. HAHA.

topsites
06-21-2009, 03:44 AM
I think 40 is a good starting bid, I would NOT bid lower than that because there's always the "can you do it for less?"
plus leaves can end up taking longer than you think, how do I know this :p

But the way I see things...
I have a 10hp push blower, that thing makes mince meat of the Br600's work, but the Br600 is not just any
'backpack blower' either... Hate that crap, some folks think a BP is a BP, they're not.
There's probably 50 or 100 different kinds of BP's out, the Br600 is the 3rd best, granted there
are two that are better but few backpacks can do what the br600 does!
I find it helps to remember this when confronted by cheapness.

Yeah, so then...
I can get $60 with the push blower but I usually end up closer to 45-50, see how that works?
So, the least I would take for a br-600 based cleanup is $30 but really $35, don't let them talk you down far!
Bid $40.

Now I like using the handheld blower in my left hand while I got the br600's nozzle in the right,
dumb as it may sound but it makes a BIG difference...
The handheld only puts out 300 cfm's but with the Br's 700+ it comes out to just over a thousand cubic feet of air per minute.

Stuff to think about, hope that helped.

Cuttinitclose
06-21-2009, 05:32 PM
I think 40 is a good starting bid, I would NOT bid lower than that because there's always the "can you do it for less?"
plus leaves can end up taking longer than you think, how do I know this :p

But the way I see things...
I have a 10hp push blower, that thing makes mince meat of the Br600's work, but the Br600 is not just any
'backpack blower' either... Hate that crap, some folks think a BP is a BP, they're not.
There's probably 50 or 100 different kinds of BP's out, the Br600 is the 3rd best, granted there
are two that are better but few backpacks can do what the br600 does!
I find it helps to remember this when confronted by cheapness.

Yeah, so then...
I can get $60 with the push blower but I usually end up closer to 45-50, see how that works?
So, the least I would take for a br-600 based cleanup is $30 but really $35, don't let them talk you down far!
Bid $40.

Now I like using the handheld blower in my left hand while I got the br600's nozzle in the right,
dumb as it may sound but it makes a BIG difference...
The handheld only puts out 300 cfm's but with the Br's 700+ it comes out to just over a thousand cubic feet of air per minute.

Stuff to think about, hope that helped.
They have BR 700's coming out????

corey4671
06-21-2009, 05:43 PM
They have BR 700's coming out????

no..top is referring to the cfm's of the 600.

metro36
06-21-2009, 09:11 PM
My advice is charge by the hour until you get a feel for how much time jobs will take. Dont forget to chage for any dump fees and on a job where multiple dump runs are required dont forget to charge extra for the time spent dumping. I wont go near leaves for less than 50 an hour then tack on dump fees. Most of my jobs run it the 300-500 range.

Cuttinitclose
06-21-2009, 09:33 PM
My dump fees are $5 for now since I dump them at my Dads work. If I ever have to change that it will go up.

thu cutting edge
06-21-2009, 09:46 PM
just remember dont cut your self short. you will bid some jobs so low it will cost you money. but the best thing about those jobs are that you learn from your mistakes. but leaves can be real easy and all you need is the wind to shift then it will be hell.

Cuttinitclose
06-21-2009, 10:02 PM
Thanks, I want to get a ZTR w/ Bagger before fall.

kj330
06-21-2009, 10:11 PM
here in NE i charge my customers a set rate for Oct and November, with them i double the weekly cutting cost and add a 200.00 disposal fee. (last year i paid acompany to vac my leaves 50.00/HR, this year i bought a vac, so it will be nice $$$$). For the one time customers i charge a min of 100.00 and 100.00/ hr after the first hr. plus disposal fee if more than a full truck of leaves...