View Full Version : quoting a leaf removal job

03-23-2010, 02:29 AM
this is the first time i have offered leaf removal to my services. i was wondering how long you think it would take to clear 1/4 acer yard covered in leaves? this lady wants me to price her yard but im not sure what i should tell her. i would be blowing and raking them into piles and and bagging by hand. is this practical?

03-23-2010, 02:30 AM
also should i carry them off or leave them on her front lawn to be picked up?

03-23-2010, 08:55 AM
Time and material's. I'm not going to price out your jobs for you. Figure out how much time it will take and charge accordingly.

Ask her what she wants done with the debris. If she wants it removed, again charge accordingly for dump fees and whatnot.

03-23-2010, 09:00 AM
You'll be there a few hours depending on the landscape (English ivy is a pita) and your equipment, maybe after you do thus for a year you'll want to look into purchasing a Billy goat.

Woa! Woa! Woa! Woa! Woa! "Louis this is not my batman cup"

But don't you have like 6 months before you have to worry about fall clean up?
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Going Commercial
03-23-2010, 01:03 PM
I have found estimating fall clean-ups to be the most difficult part of the bidding process for new commercial properties. It is difficult for me to look at a property in the Spring and come up with an estimate of how many hours it will take to clean it up in the fall. I assume that some sort of clean-up was previously performed in the fall by the company who was sevicing it. In my area, commercial property managers want a bottom line price in their proposals and do not go for the " hourly charge for billing clean-ups ". I try to give my best estimate on how long it will take and then submit a solid price and hope I am accurate. I do not know of any formula for time/data that is out there on how long it would take based on property size, # of beds, and # of trees. If there is one , please share it.

03-23-2010, 06:20 PM
Does anyone with a solid foundation of knowledge, or even a clue about this business, ever start threads anymore?

03-23-2010, 10:01 PM
i guess you have nothing better to do than surf the forums looking for things to grip about. you must be a single lonely loser that has alot of time on their hands. judging by your post count, i would assume im right. just because you know everything there is to know about this business, doesnt mean everyone else does. if everyone was all knowing their would be no need for conversation. we would remain silent and refer to archives. you may not want to talk about it but there are others here that have valid questions and there are people here that dont mind answering them. since your so big and bad on the internet, how about meeting me face to face. i come to Locust grove and griffin about every 1-2 months. i would be more than happy to meet you in a parking lot and have you tell me about how much of a clue i have about this business. jack hole.

03-23-2010, 10:05 PM
or you can come down here to me. you see where im at. look me up. i can show you where they keep the gators around here.

03-23-2010, 10:16 PM
i saw a bunch of gators in florida the last 2 weeks fishing. I grabbed one by the tail while he was crossing the canal. Leave removal up here i am assuming is completely different then the south. So all i can tell you as others here have is figure your time to do the job with the propper commercial equipment and charge your rate to come up with a nimber.

03-23-2010, 10:47 PM
thanks guys i really do appreciate MOST of your replies. As it turns out, the job was not as intense as she made it out to be on the phone. i went today to quote it. there was a light light layer of leaves. not even a layer. just spots. i figure ill just cut her grass as usual and rake up and collect any buildups if there is any. She liked me so much that she decided on the spot to hire me for the whole season instead of the one time service like she originally planned. i dont have the proper commercial equipment for leaf collection because im a small one man business that focused mainly on grass maintenance for the last 3 years. i have thought about getting into the fall cleanup thing to stay busy in the off season but before i can get the equipment, i have to get the money to buy it. so......My plan is to get the John Deere 910A with a 54" deck and the 3 chamber leaf collection system when i save up the money. if i made enough money i would get a yard vac but ill take it one step at a time. again thanks for the info.

03-23-2010, 11:27 PM
Time and material's. I'm not going to price out your jobs for you. Figure out how much time it will take and charge accordingly.

Ask her what she wants done with the debris. If she wants it removed, again charge accordingly for dump fees and whatnot.

Good advice, maybe for the first time charge by the hour, find a rate you're comfortable with (covers your overhead and makes profit) and use that

03-23-2010, 11:35 PM
We charge $135 per hour for a 3 man crew the time it takes.

03-24-2010, 12:29 AM
wow. thats a good/hr rate. im charging $35-40/hr for myself. i just looked at the yard, figured how long it would take me to do a certain size square and tried to place that as many times as i could in the yard. but like i said, it wasnt as severe as i was thinking. not even enough to really bag. maybe 4-5 bags at most. the rest will get mulched. i charged her $100 for the first cut and told her i would do it for $50/cut the rest of the season every 2 weeks.

03-24-2010, 09:14 AM
$35-40 an hour is too cheap.

03-24-2010, 02:49 PM
what would you recommend for someone just starting alternate services? when i cut grass i get about $45-70 an hour depending on how well i price a yard. i guess my average would be about $55. i guess im just nervous about scaring off the customer being too steep when i tell them that lump sum quote so i bring it down a bit. i guess i should stand my ground and if they dont like the quote, i wouldnt want to do the yard anyways right? i dont wanna work for peanuts.

04-09-2010, 09:49 AM
I am just finishing a leaf cleanup job of about 1/4 acre. I underbid this job and it's killing me! Now this yard is 1/4 acre with 50+ full grown trees, mostly oaks and some branches and sticks. It is about 4 - 6" thick over the whole property. Bagging sucks!!! I bought a 20' x 20' tarp for my 6x12 trailer and a 8x10 tarp. I put the 20x20 on the trailer centered so it covers the bottom, sides, and can fold over to cover. Blow all leaves in piles and then set 8x10 tarp right by pile and rake onto tarp, you and a helper each grab a side fold and dump on trailer. Do this about 6 times and you have a good load in about 20 min. I put tarp over back gate and over trimmer racks and pulled tight with bungees to make much higher sides on trailer. Fill it with tarp and finish off with trashcan or something and you will have a big load. On my job I bid it at $575. What a mistake!! Should have been $1250 - $1500 Turned out to be 20 Loads. Dump is 15 min away with a $5 a load dump fee and 1 helper and I will probably lose money on this. If I had to bag there is no way! Bags get expensive and at our local dump you have to take them out of the bags there anyway. Be careful bidding the leaf jobs they can get you! If the customer doesent like your price move on! Dont underbid! This job is costing me money and a whole week of the best advertising time of the year.

05-21-2010, 06:29 PM
Apparently Sahara's short in the maturity department as well, not just leaf cleanup know-how. Lighten up, Francis. One of these days someone might just take you up on your little offers and not fight so fair.

05-21-2010, 08:56 PM
you need to learn that most people think there yard is FULLLLL of leaves and get overwhelmed about it. use this to ur advantage. i just did a clean-up if a 1/4 acre property and didnt remove a single leaf. check it out in my pictures in the pic forum. i made $500 in 3 hours and the woman couldnt believe her yard was so clean when i was done. gotta love the ones who dont care if u dump in the back woods!! i even offered to do a removal....also u need a BR600 to do leaf clean-ups properly, i cant garauntee u that. and why is it that NOBODY KNOWS HOW TO BID JOBS!!?? im new.....its something u learn urself....no1 on lawnsite is gonna teach u how to bid jobs....get out there and do it urself.

05-22-2010, 01:16 AM
plus for clean-ups and almost ANY landscaping job u should be in the $60 or higher range per hour. 35-40 is WAY too low. i know it sounds good when u say it....but its really not worth it if u ask me. so u spend 3 hours doin a clean-up and u only get $120????? wtf? thats why i never even use the "per hour" rate for leaf clean/removals. after a while u will just know how much to charge. its different from mowing rates because u are working alot harder...and dont use bags either. that wastes a bunch of time. use tarps and a trailer. even making 3-4 dump runs is more efficient than stuffing leaves in bags forever. just trying to help u out man. good luck

05-22-2010, 01:48 AM
Hey GrassIsGreener,
Cool company name....I like it !!!! I agree as well that you should be charging more per hour....yard cleanup is much more work and more of your time. I had a pretty crazy estimate for a horrible yard recently, curious what you would charge? I am new to the business as well and just looking to see if I am in the ballpark.

Here it is:

The yard is approximately 1/2 acre on a lake and is very hilly, as in the whole yard will need to be done without a mower. There is maybe a very, very small portion where you may get a mower but not worth the time. The yard has high weeds about 2 feet, with heavy leaves and many branches on the ground throughout....looks like a hurricane hit it to be honest. At this point the customer has only asked for the yard to be cleaned. I hope to sell him on regular maintenance care to keep the yard from getting like this again.

The customer lives out of town and this is a vacation lake home for his family. From what I have read the best way to approach this is to figure out what I need to make per hour and how many hours the job will take. As I mentioned I am new to this but I am sure if you saw it you would say wow, did a hurricane hit here? As well, being new I will only have the use of weed eaters, no DR Power brush mowers or anything like it yet. Also, with all of the debris in the yard, I will need to take it all to the landfill as there is only a small wooded area and it would just be piled high and noticeable.

I did another cleanup last week that was messy, but not this bad. I charged $130 for the cleanup, which took 2 of us 1 1/2 hours, but also got their lawn contract for the year as well as the job for pressure washing a large deck.

Any advice would be appreciated.