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View Full Version : Leaf removal Can I make Money?


tcdodge4000
10-02-2010, 05:48 PM
Leaf removal season is soon to be coming upon and I am thinking about getting into it. I would like to know what are some good ways to make money and count up cost and charge for leaf removal, and curbside and cleanup. So do you have any ideas?

modedicebox
10-02-2010, 09:54 PM
Dont do it! No money in it...Im ah kidding, Man hrs + dump fee. My favorite part of the year...GL

scagwildcat
10-03-2010, 08:44 AM
seeing its the first year doing it, if you buy equipment,get your truck set up for cleanups, you will at best walk away even. thats if you get new blower $1500, new backpack $500, leaf loader $3000.00 leaf box $500-2000.00 see were im going? but if you start small and work your way up to new equipment you will be fine, it just makes it alot harder and takes longer but thats how most of us started... good luck to you...

stan the man
10-03-2010, 09:57 AM
if you are set up you will my money. if not set up for it hang in and get what need as you can. fall and spring is my best time i enjoy doing clean ups

georgiagrass
10-03-2010, 10:26 AM
We make good money on leaf cleanups. But then, it's easy with our Walkers and Navigator. I almost feel guilty ... nah.

Roger
10-03-2010, 03:27 PM
OP: Do you have a list of regular mowing customers who require leaves to be cleared from their property? Or, are you not involved with lawncare and just wanted to jump in on the leaf removal part of the season?

If the former, how can you NOT do the work? If you have been visiting the same properties for many months doing other work, why would you want to jump out at the end of the season? If jumping out is your choice, why would you expect those same customers to retain your services in the Spring?

gasracer
10-03-2010, 05:18 PM
I have did it for the past 2 seasons. I have a vacuum bagger for my ZTR that I use for grass that works great for leaves. I put Gator blade and it shreds them as mow.We have a free dump site for leaves here in town. If you don't have one this type of system you can get a Billy Goat style walk behind vacuum.

yardguy28
10-03-2010, 07:10 PM
oh yeah you can make money in it. but you don't need all that extra equipment some have suggested. i'd forget the walkbehind blower and the leaf loader and leaf box. i've been doing fall clean ups for 4 years now and i still have no plans on ever buying a leaf loader or leaf box. i already made the mistake of buying the walkbehind blower thats hardly been used.

i take my pickup truck pulling my enclosed 12' trailer loaded with a 36" wb equiped with a trac vac and my 52" grandstand with bagger and just mow them up weekly. mostly i use the 52" with bagger. the 36" wb is for the smaller backyards and the jobs that are extremely heavy with leaves.

i really could do without the trac vac just fine but since i have it, i use it. if i could sell it i probably would.

stan the man
10-03-2010, 08:03 PM
oh yeah you can make money in it. but you don't need all that extra equipment some have suggested. i'd forget the walkbehind blower and the leaf loader and leaf box. i've been doing fall clean ups for 4 years now and i still have no plans on ever buying a leaf loader or leaf box. i already made the mistake of buying the walkbehind blower thats hardly been used.

i take my pickup truck pulling my enclosed 12' trailer loaded with a 36" wb equiped with a trac vac and my 52" grandstand with bagger and just mow them up weekly. mostly i use the 52" with bagger. the 36" wb is for the smaller backyards and the jobs that are extremely heavy with leaves.

i really could do without the trac vac just fine but since i have it, i use it. if i could sell it i probably would.

you are right you don't need all the extra but it makes it easier with them. with my box and vacuum doing curb side pick up of leaves i make around 6000.00 more with them

yardguy28
10-03-2010, 10:03 PM
you are right you don't need all the extra but it makes it easier with them. with my box and vacuum doing curb side pick up of leaves i make around 6000.00 more with them

i guess if you do curb side pick up then yes you would. but i don't do curb side pick up.

the city comes twice a season to pick them up. since tax payer dollars pay for that try getting someone to hire you to pick up there piles of leaves at the curb.

if they hire you it's to remove them from the mulch beds and turf areas. not just the piles at the curb. for that you don't need all that extra stuff.

stan the man
10-04-2010, 08:30 AM
i guess if you do curb side pick up then yes you would. but i don't do curb side pick up.

the city comes twice a season to pick them up. since tax payer dollars pay for that try getting someone to hire you to pick up there piles of leaves at the curb.

if they hire you it's to remove them from the mulch beds and turf areas. not just the piles at the curb. for that you don't need all that extra stuff.

i remember you saying that town picks up your leaves. that would save a lot time. we do have free dumping of leaves and grass and brush. that why leave curb side pick up work out great here. a lot of account on curb side pick up i got at the dump from people dumping there leaves.you just have to remember time is money. a lot my account take 2 to 3 days to do the clean up. happy fall with the leaves.

tcdodge4000
10-04-2010, 03:49 PM
I do try to talk to my existing customers, but I'm having problems with them. Most of them are on budgets are tight with their money. they would rather wait until the end of the season and then have me blow the leaves to the back yard somewhere and leave them in a pile. I also had to let go of some of my customers for not upscaling with me and signing contracts. And these are long term cuktomers. Here's the skinny, I'm tired of being the cheap guy on the block landscaper and want to upgrade to a more progressive, profitable, and prosperous customer base that wants these services performed at will. Not hear the same old excuses of I dont have the money or I am on a budget, that's not putting money in my pocket or helping acheive my dreams. Don't tell me that everybody out here is a cheapass lazy, penny pinching customer out to get something out of us and for nothing in return. I hope that clarifies things. Somebody wants those leaves removed and not have to do it themselves.

stan the man
10-04-2010, 03:55 PM
I do try to talk to my existing customers, but I'm having problems with them. Most of them are on budgets are tight with their money. they would rather wait until the end of the season and then have me blow the leaves to the back yard somewhere and leave them in a pile. I also had to let go of some of my customers for not upscaling with me and signing contracts. And these are long term cuktomers. Here's the skinny, I'm tired of being the cheap guy on the block landscaper and want to upgrade to a more progressive, profitable, and prosperous customer base that wants these services performed at will. Not hear the same old excuses of I dont have the money or I am on a budget, that's not putting money in my pocket or helping acheive my dreams. Don't tell me that everybody out here is a cheapass lazy, penny pinching customer out to get something out of us and for nothing in return. I hope that clarifies things. Somebody wants those leaves removed and not have to do it themselves.

after you put the leave in a pile what are going to do with them leave them

bradseabridge
10-04-2010, 04:44 PM
no, he's going to leaf them........

stan the man
10-04-2010, 04:49 PM
i like dumping the leaves on the spot it make it faster to do the clean up

yardguy28
10-04-2010, 05:32 PM
i remember you saying that town picks up your leaves. that would save a lot time. we do have free dumping of leaves and grass and brush. that why leave curb side pick up work out great here. a lot of account on curb side pick up i got at the dump from people dumping there leaves.you just have to remember time is money. a lot my account take 2 to 3 days to do the clean up. happy fall with the leaves.

i like dumping the leaves on the spot it make it faster to do the clean up

i actually prefer taking them with me. it leaves a cleaner look the property and they don't all blow back in the yard after i leave and a big wind comes.

i'm picking up more and more clients that there neighborhood assocation doens't allow people to leave piles at the curb so i have to haul them away anyway.

it does save time though when you can or do dump at the curb. it's quicker emptying the catcher at the curb rather than in your truck and you don't fill your truck as quick and have to stop at the compost site to empty it.

I do try to talk to my existing customers, but I'm having problems with them. Most of them are on budgets are tight with their money. they would rather wait until the end of the season and then have me blow the leaves to the back yard somewhere and leave them in a pile. I also had to let go of some of my customers for not upscaling with me and signing contracts. And these are long term cuktomers. Here's the skinny, I'm tired of being the cheap guy on the block landscaper and want to upgrade to a more progressive, profitable, and prosperous customer base that wants these services performed at will. Not hear the same old excuses of I dont have the money or I am on a budget, that's not putting money in my pocket or helping acheive my dreams. Don't tell me that everybody out here is a cheapass lazy, penny pinching customer out to get something out of us and for nothing in return. I hope that clarifies things. Somebody wants those leaves removed and not have to do it themselves.

you dumped some clients because they wouldn't purchase extra services or sign a contract.........:hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

i don't have single contract with any client, residential or commercial. everything is billed monthly. if they don't purchase something extra oh well. i'm just happy to have the business i have. especially in this economy.

if you don't want them i'll take them...

bradseabridge
10-04-2010, 05:50 PM
haha, no ****. He got rid of paying work because they wouldn't pay for more work?! lolz

stan the man
10-04-2010, 06:14 PM
i actually prefer taking them with me. it leaves a cleaner look the property and they don't all blow back in the yard after i leave and a big wind comes.

i'm picking up more and more clients that there neighborhood assocation doens't allow people to leave piles at the curb so i have to haul them away anyway.

it does save time though when you can or do dump at the curb. it's quicker emptying the catcher at the curb rather than in your truck and you don't fill your truck as quick and have to stop at the compost site to empty it.



you dumped some clients because they wouldn't purchase extra services or sign a contract.........:hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

i don't have single contract with any client, residential or commercial. everything is billed monthly. if they don't purchase something extra oh well. i'm just happy to have the business i have. especially in this economy.

if you don't want them i'll take them...

you are right if i can on the spot i do. it make it
easier and fast dumping on the spot. i dont have to vacuum them up.it save from doing to the dump to dump

yardguy28
10-04-2010, 10:37 PM
haha, no ****. He got rid of paying work because they wouldn't pay for more work?! lolz

gotta be the stupidiest thing i've ever heard of.

i think its bad enough there are guys that will only do full service work but he clearly isn't one of them because if he was he wouldn't have taken the job in the first place if it wasn't full service to begin with.

ShooterK2
10-06-2010, 03:32 PM
We all took on a few customers early on that we wish we hadn't taken, right? The ones that complain about the price, always crying broke, etc. I understand trying to upgrade to better customers with nicer properties, who care about keeping it nice.

yardguy28
10-06-2010, 05:07 PM
We all took on a few customers early on that we wish we hadn't taken, right? The ones that complain about the price, always crying broke, etc. I understand trying to upgrade to better customers with nicer properties, who care about keeping it nice.

nope.......the only clients i have ever fired are the one's i've turned over to collection agencies.

i am very thankful for the work i have. i have never dropped a client for anything except no payment. they can all complain about the price and cry broke all they want. but as long as they are still using me and paying there invoices on time i will always be working for them.

i'm not saying i've kept every single client i've ever had. i've been fired before but except for the non payers i've never dropped a single client for any reason.

i certainly wouldn't drop an already paying client because they won't purchase extra services or sign a contract.

stan the man
10-06-2010, 05:28 PM
nope.......the only clients i have ever fired are the one's i've turned over to collection agencies.

i am very thankful for the work i have. i have never dropped a client for anything except no payment. they can all complain about the price and cry broke all they want. but as long as they are still using me and paying there invoices on time i will always be working for them.

i'm not saying i've kept every single client i've ever had. i've been fired before but except for the non payers i've never dropped a single client for any reason.

i certainly wouldn't drop an already paying client because they won't purchase extra services or sign a contract.

good way to be. i haven't been fired. i had 1 account that have been slow paying he is home 2 or 3 day a month. i do clean ups for and plow his driveway for him.sometime fill in mowing for him. sometime 2 to 3 months to get pay on the bill he was upset with i change him 50.00 for him mowing his lawn and the lawn was 18 inches long and billed 100.00 he was not happy

gasracer
10-06-2010, 05:50 PM
I have lost a couple of customer for charging them "overgrown fees". They want to save money and call every 4 to 6 weeks them want me to mow for normal price.

ShooterK2
10-06-2010, 07:08 PM
Yardguy, if you've never taken on a client and didn't charge enough, then you're better than I. When I first started taking on clients, I was bad at estimating time/manhours, and I way underbid a few jobs. It makes a person dread going to the property every week, because you just know it's going to take X amount of time, for only X amount of dollars, and there's only one person to blame: youself. This is not to mention the ones that complain about the already-way-too-low price! So sure, I'll replace them next year with a better paying job that takes the same amount of time. The goal is to, in time, work my way into making more money per hour. If I can do more work at the same property, it maximizes my time by not having to travel to another property. More hours working, less hours driving.

I'm in this business to make money, not give away my time and effort. So if I can bring in $60 in an hour, why would I want to keep this $35/hr property? Do you not think this is smart business?

Then again, maybe you bid every job perfectly from the very beginning, and therefore you already are making every dollar possible each hour. Maybe I'm the only one who had a learning curve on how to bid, because I couldn't estimate time correctly when I was first starting out. In that case, I totally understand where you're coming from.

PR Fect
10-06-2010, 07:13 PM
I also had to let go of some of my customers for not upscaling with me and signing contracts. And these are long term cuktomers. Here's the skinny, I'm tired of being the cheap guy on the block landscaper and want to upgrade to a more progressive, profitable, and prosperous customer base that wants these services performed at will. Not hear the same old excuses of I dont have the money or I am on a budget, that's not putting money in my pocket or helping acheive my dreams. .

Good! Very smart move. You will not regret it. Also raise your rates on new clients. If you do that your problems will go away. We did it, and still have more work that we can handle, and our property's are taken care of the way they should be and look great! You are in the right direction. Start out small with the leafs. You can make allot of money with a back pack blower, tarp, and a rake. Good luck. PR

yardguy28
10-06-2010, 07:51 PM
Yardguy, if you've never taken on a client and didn't charge enough, then you're better than I. When I first started taking on clients, I was bad at estimating time/manhours, and I way underbid a few jobs. It makes a person dread going to the property every week, because you just know it's going to take X amount of time, for only X amount of dollars, and there's only one person to blame: youself. This is not to mention the ones that complain about the already-way-too-low price! So sure, I'll replace them next year with a better paying job that takes the same amount of time. The goal is to, in time, work my way into making more money per hour. If I can do more work at the same property, it maximizes my time by not having to travel to another property. More hours working, less hours driving.

I'm in this business to make money, not give away my time and effort. So if I can bring in $60 in an hour, why would I want to keep this $35/hr property? Do you not think this is smart business?

Then again, maybe you bid every job perfectly from the very beginning, and therefore you already are making every dollar possible each hour. Maybe I'm the only one who had a learning curve on how to bid, because I couldn't estimate time correctly when I was first starting out. In that case, I totally understand where you're coming from.

sure i've underbid jobs. some of my original clients are still at there original price. some of them are actually below my current min. price.

i'd rather make some money than no money. so if all the client wants is mowing, why turn away that money just because they won't let me prune there shrubs or throw down some mulch?

why replace clients in the first place? why not just add clients? unless your to the point of not being able to add business because you are already overworked.

for the ones that complain. i just let it go in one ear and out the other. as long as my clients are paying there invoices on time and using my services i'm happy. they can piss, moan and beotch all they want. i'm not in this business to make friends. if they hired me, are paying me and are happy with my work let them moan and groan, i don't care.

i'm not in this business to get rich. i'm in this business so i can provide myself with the essentials in life. i'm not looking to make money that i can go spend on boats, bikes, houses, condo's, pools, lakes, etc. if this business is paying the bills for me, it's doing its job 100%.

stan the man
10-06-2010, 08:02 PM
you have to be out to make money.you have to put money to get new equipment lawn mower aren't cheap.and get equipment to better your company

yardguy28
10-06-2010, 08:29 PM
you have to be out to make money.you have to put money to get new equipment lawn mower aren't cheap.and get equipment to better your company

yes thats included in necessities.

but i'm not looking to make money for "wants" such as boats, rv's, bikes, nice houses with pools, lake cottages, vacations, etc.

as long as this business is putting a roof over my head, food in my belly and clothes on my back, i'm fine.

i'm not out to gouge every person that comes my way making as much money has possible off of them. i'm out to do quality at a fair price. and dropping someone because they refuse to use services i offer other than the basic mowing or sign a contract is out of the question. until i have so much business i can't physically do any more work, i will keep adding to my client base.

there is no dropping clients because they are always complaining about the price, or because they asked if i could use there equipment or because all they have me do is mow weekly.

i'm happy to work for the people who just have me mow and i'm also just as happy to work for the people who have me service there entire property.

stan the man
10-06-2010, 08:37 PM
good you are on the track. accounts are number one they put food on the table and pay your bills. my account i baby them and they don't *****. i have no so to account i say the amount on it and that is it. if they don't like it find someone else.

Roger
10-06-2010, 10:35 PM
[QUOTE=yardguy28;3746719....

as long as this business is putting a roof over my head, food in my belly and clothes on my back, i'm fine.

....

[/QUOTE]

This is not a sustainable strategy.

yardguy28
10-07-2010, 07:59 PM
thats your opinion roger.

this business is working out great for me. it is putting a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes on my back.

all you need to survive in life is the necessities. as long as i have those i consider myself lucky and happy. i don't need all those other "wants" in life. for me money can't buy happiness. i don't need boats or rv's to be happy. i can live without a bike or a pool. it's not necessary to have fancy vehicles or designer clothes.

Roger
10-07-2010, 10:00 PM
yard, ... agree that boats, rvs, bikes, pools, fancy vehicles, designer clothes, ... all material things that don't mean a hoot. I have none of them, never will. None of your examples, or any other examples of materialism, or opulence, is what is in mind here.

But, in order to be prepared, plan for the future, take care of unexpected expenses, monetary protection, etc, your strategy of the big three is a failed strategy. Not an opinion, rather rational discipline.

ShooterK2
10-07-2010, 10:40 PM
sure i've underbid jobs. some of my original clients are still at there original price. some of them are actually below my current min. price.

i'd rather make some money than no money. so if all the client wants is mowing, why turn away that money just because they won't let me prune there shrubs or throw down some mulch?

why replace clients in the first place? why not just add clients? unless your to the point of not being able to add business because you are already overworked.
for the ones that complain. i just let it go in one ear and out the other. as long as my clients are paying there invoices on time and using my services i'm happy. they can piss, moan and beotch all they want. i'm not in this business to make friends. if they hired me, are paying me and are happy with my work let them moan and groan, i don't care.

i'm not in this business to get rich. i'm in this business so i can provide myself with the essentials in life. i'm not looking to make money that i can go spend on boats, bikes, houses, condo's, pools, lakes, etc. if this business is paying the bills for me, it's doing its job 100%.

Ah, there's the difference. My schedule has been completely full since about the end of May. I couldn't squeeze in another yard (even though I try when someone calls with a "one timer"). I guess if you're still trying to get work, then yes, any money is better than no money. I was talking about once the schedule is full, why not drop some of the lower-paying account when better-paying ones come along, you follow me? My mistake....... I shouldn't assume.

bradseabridge
10-07-2010, 10:47 PM
That makes sense, and I completely agree with that. Drop all the crap accounts when a better one comes around, but not until the better one is in your pocket.

stan the man
10-08-2010, 08:15 AM
i haven't start fall clean up my phone is ring off the hook.curb side leave up is doing. people are doing early this today and this weekend curbing.

StihlBR600
10-08-2010, 10:56 AM
I just started doing leaf cleanups this year. The best way to go is an accelerator bagger with the leaf extender and a strong backpack blower. I only have a 5 x 10 trailer so i have to leave my mower at the house and go dump the leaves somewhere.

Mowingkid35
10-08-2010, 01:44 PM
this is what i ahve been doing for well over 5 years now, i got my great dane stander with a gross gobbler, my 425 with a mc519 cart and a lesco with a grass gobbler and all i do is dump it on the flat bed of my truck, none of this stuff with having a leaf box and a big vaccuum, my baggers and back pack blowers get the job done just fine.

ShooterK2
10-08-2010, 02:46 PM
this is what i ahve been doing for well over 5 years now, i got my great dane stander with a gross gobbler, my 425 with a mc519 cart and a lesco with a grass gobbler and all i do is dump it on the flat bed of my truck, none of this stuff with having a leaf box and a big vaccuum, my baggers and back pack blowers get the job done just fine.

You have a flatbed truck, and you haul leaves on it? Could you post some pics of this PLEASE??? And, if possible, have someone drive along beside you and take a pic or two as well.......

bradseabridge
10-08-2010, 02:52 PM
lol.......

stan the man
10-08-2010, 03:26 PM
lol read your posting had laugh. i know i can fix a lot more stuff in the box on truck then you can fix on the flat bed of your truck. the first year i did box and vacuum on my truck with curb side pickup i pay for it . i make 6000.00 to 8000.00 or more with curb side pick up a year.

yardguy28
10-08-2010, 09:37 PM
yard, ... agree that boats, rvs, bikes, pools, fancy vehicles, designer clothes, ... all material things that don't mean a hoot. I have none of them, never will. None of your examples, or any other examples of materialism, or opulence, is what is in mind here.

But, in order to be prepared, plan for the future, take care of unexpected expenses, monetary protection, etc, your strategy of the big three is a failed strategy. Not an opinion, rather rational discipline.

purhaps i should have made a complete list of what i consider necessities in life instead of just listing the big 3.

unexpected expenses are included. future plans however are different than most. i do not plan to ever retire. i plan to work until i am either physically not capable or i die.

so no my strategy is not failed.

Roger
10-08-2010, 10:13 PM
yard, I hear you on working until the end, or dying. There is one more case you didn't list, one that is very real -- unable to work because nobody will let you work. Even working for yourself, you may not find anybody taking your work seriously enough to be useful. There certainly is a point where you cannot work for somebody else, regardless of how badly you wish to work, believe you are capable of working and contributing. But, if you have a self-employment situation where you interact with others, you may find nobody wanting to work with you.

Also, there could be a long time period between when you are unable to work, and when you pass on. You may not wish to play with toys, or spend time doing things most people consider important to do. But, something may impede you ability to function normally, be active, and be a productive person. I am at an age where I know many in this category, frustrated about not being productive and useful because they are incapable.

Getting old, and being old, is not simple.

ShooterK2
10-08-2010, 10:48 PM
That's a great post, Roger. It is definitely something we should all think about BEFORE we actually cross that bridge.

tcdodge4000
10-22-2010, 08:31 PM
Yes, so that's why I dumped my clients. I am planning on retiring in this business, and if I am going to do that I can't afford to settle for getting just enough money to get by till the next mowing, or the next season. I have to look forward to the next unexpected expense. And I can't afford to settle for just getting one service customers, because my bills go year round so my revenue must be enough to go year round. And about being sastified with just enough, my former customers were happy being cut once a month and every two weeks. You cant make a whole lot on that unless you have a lot of volume. And you should be able to afford some luxury, notice I said some luxuries in life. Everybody cant be broke, poor, and loving it. what happens if a crisis occurs that knocks you out of business or severely taxes it. Then you have set yourself up for failure because you never tried to make more than enough to cover the possibilities, so down you go. And nobody is going to have mercy on you or empathize with you.