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View Full Version : Should i charge more??? (fall clean up)


cuttin-to-the-Max
10-27-2010, 05:32 PM
Ok so what i need to know is do you guys Charge more if your customer just wants all their leaves mulched up during the fall (which includes all leaves in beds, driveway, and EVERYTHING!)

I am leaning towards charging (at least) double my normal cutting price what do you guys think??

Because im not gonna do this for less than that First we gotta blow out all the leaves from the beds and off the driveway into the lawn then its gonna take me at least twice as long to cut the grass/ leaves
I rather just put them in my truck with the loader!

Also its not like he wants it done every week he wants it done every 2 weeks
Thats why its a ton of leaves...... IDK
Someone help me out here!


Oh yeah its for the front and back yard....
Front has like 2 big trees then the back has like 6 or 7 trees if that helps!


Do you charge more for this???
What do you charge?

stuntmanlogan
10-27-2010, 06:24 PM
I would charge at least double or maybe more depending on how many times it would take me to mow over them. Say you mow the whole yard 4 time to get all the leaves mulched up, I would probably charge them for two and a half mows. Just me because yeah I am mowing multiply times but im not trimming and the customer probably wouldn't pay for more then that otherwise it would be getting close to the same charge to just pick them up.

sdk1959
10-27-2010, 08:20 PM
Ok so what i need to know is do you guys Charge more if your customer just wants all their leaves mulched up during the fall (which includes all leaves in beds, driveway, and EVERYTHING!)

I am leaning towards charging (at least) double my normal cutting price what do you guys think??

Because im not gonna do this for less than that First we gotta blow out all the leaves from the beds and off the driveway into the lawn then its gonna take me at least twice as long to cut the grass/ leaves
I rather just put them in my truck with the loader!

Also its not like he wants it done every week he wants it done every 2 weeks
Thats why its a ton of leaves...... IDK
Someone help me out here!


Oh yeah its for the front and back yard....
Front has like 2 big trees then the back has like 6 or 7 trees if that helps!


Do you charge more for this???
What do you charge?

With a decent mulching set-up a layer of leaves 6" or less you should only have to mulch them once, if the grass is thick and the leaves dry you could mulch up to a 12" layer. People don't expect perfection when you mulch especially if the fall season isn't over and you have more visits to make.

I mulch leaves almost exclusively save for one small property I dump on-site and charge 1 1/2 to 3 times my mowing rate. All depends how often I visit and the amount of leaves.

Mulching take less time than leaf pick-up and removal unless the property is very small and you can reach everything with your leaf-loader hose.

cuttin-to-the-Max
10-27-2010, 08:59 PM
I just dropped off his invoice i charged him double the normal and a quarter of the normal cutting rate Ton of leaves! Looks like it was time to mulch them again...
He will prob. call me tomorrow! I'll see what he has to say!

chefdrp
10-27-2010, 10:39 PM
How in the heck do you mulch 12 inches of leaves? Even 6 inches is crazy.Tell the client NO, and use a loader.

THEGOLDPRO
10-27-2010, 10:45 PM
if you have to ask if you should charge more then yea you should charge more.

soloscaperman
10-27-2010, 11:31 PM
Wow your nuts mulching 6-12 inches of leaves lol.

sdk1959
10-28-2010, 12:44 AM
How in the heck do you mulch 12 inches of leaves? Even 6 inches is crazy.Tell the client NO, and use a loader.

Not the whole yard that thick with leaves but if there are some leaf piles that are that high after blowing out from under the shrubs and out of the beds, yes it can be easily done. After mulching a pile that high if the grass is thick the mulched leaves will practically disappear in the grass, if the grass is thin any excess mulch layer can be easily dispersed with a blower. Simple. But if it is a heavily wooded lot it has to be done in several visits during the season, not all at once at the end.

If I get a call late in the Fall season for a Fall clean-up on a heavily wooded lot I turn it down because by then it's impossible to mulch & I'm not set-up to haul away leaves nor want to be.

Unless you know a farmer of which there are few in my area to take your leaves there are scant few free places to dump so you would have to tack on dump fees to your bill.

If a customer in my area has a large heavily wooded lot and waits till late November to call someone they better be prepared to open their wallet or checkbook nice and wide. Four man crews, dump trucks, backpack blowers, walk-behind blowers, dump fees, windshield time to and from the dump, this all doesn't come cheap. Daylight is at a premium at that time of year and everybody wants their yard done in a 2 week period. So if a customer balks at the price, tough, they can pay the price or do it themselves, nobody at that time of year is hurting for work.

If they choose to have their leaves mulched or picked-up over several visits during the season instead of waiting to the end they would save money because all that extra equipment and manpower would be unnecessary plus thier yard looks like good for all of fall instead of TOTAL CRAP by waiting till the end. Stupid is as stupid does.:hammerhead:

Bob_n_weave
10-28-2010, 01:02 AM
If I get a call late in the Fall season for a Fall clean-up on a heavily wooded lot I turn it down because by then it's impossible to mulch & I'm not set-up to haul away leaves nor want to be.

Unless you know a farmer of which there are few in my area to take your leaves there are scant few free places to dump so you would have to tack on dump fees to your bill.

If a customer in my area has a large heavily wooded lot and waits till late November to call someone they better be prepared to open their wallet or checkbook nice and wide. Four man crews, dump trucks, backpack blowers, walk-behind blowers, dump fees, windshield time to and from the dump, this all doesn't come cheap. Daylight is at a premium at that time of year and everybody wants their yard done in a 2 week period. So if a customer balks at the price, tough, they can pay the price or do it themselves, nobody at that time of year is hurting for work.

If they choose to have their leaves mulched or picked-up over several visits during the season instead of waiting to the end they would save money because all that extra equipment and manpower would be unnecessary plus thier yard looks like good for all of fall instead of TOTAL CRAP by waiting till the end. Stupid is as stupid does.:hammerhead:

I agree 100 %

topsites
10-28-2010, 02:03 AM
I don't know about how much more I would charge but I know I wouldn't do it for less.

I agree 100 %

I suppose this is the one time where, despite the economy and regardless of the fact that none of us can really
afford to turn work down, leaves is nevertheless a subject that even after 9 years I won't do for just anybody.

Futherkomcers done rode my ass over in years past, done rode me till I was sore through and through,
no single subject has left me feeling more wore out than doing the leaves... Other than maybe not getting paid at all.

Now much like the person you quoted, I'll do them and I'll charge a fair price.
But I ain't doing it for FREE.
And on that note I ain't doing them "cheap" either.

Then, my regulars come first because yeah, EVERYBODY wants them done.

As to how much extra I would charge, that would depend on how much work it is.

stan the man
10-28-2010, 09:03 AM
i know if i mulch 6 to 12inches of leaves my accounts be dumping me

MDLawn
10-28-2010, 09:31 AM
Leaves are tough because it depends on how much work needs to be done. For me it is the 2-2.5 times the normal mowing rate to mulch em up and remove if necessary. Thats just to mulch the leaves on the turf only. If they want me to blow leaves out of all the beds, patios, etc... there is a flat rate starting price and I tack on hourly billing on anything over an hr. Most of my properties are the same size with the same amount of landscaping so it makes it easier. I have a minimum for full clean ups and the price goes up from there, most peoples eyeballs pop out of their heads when they see that one. I definitely will not do leaves for cheap. It's extra time so its extra money. Not to mention they are hiring you for the convenience of not doing it themselves. Convenience comes at a price. At least thats the way I look at it. If someone wants to do them cheaper, not a problem.

stan the man
10-28-2010, 09:41 AM
Leaves are tough because it depends on how much work needs to be done. For me it is the 2-2.5 times the normal mowing rate to mulch em up and remove if necessary. Thats just to mulch the leaves on the turf only. If they want me to blow leaves out of all the beds, patios, etc... there is a flat rate starting price and I tack on hourly billing on anything over an hr. Most of my properties are the same size with the same amount of landscaping so it makes it easier. I have a minimum for full clean ups and the price goes up from there, most peoples eyeballs pop out of their heads when they see that one. I definitely will not do leaves for cheap. It's extra time so its extra money. Not to mention they are hiring you for the convenience of not doing it themselves. Convenience comes at a price. At least thats the way I look at it. If someone wants to do them cheaper, not a problem.

time is money

tobylou8
10-28-2010, 10:19 AM
Why don't you do it for free and build up some goodwill? Of course you should charge more, it's more work.

stan the man
10-28-2010, 11:33 AM
Why don't you do it for free and build up some goodwill? Of course you should charge more, it's more work.

i mow 4 for free and 4 fall and spring clean up for free my house and my 3 of rentals

93Chevy
10-28-2010, 12:21 PM
i know if i mulch 6 to 12inches of leaves my accounts be dumping me

I heard that. I bag everything this time of year.

stan the man
10-28-2010, 12:35 PM
I heard that. I bag everything this time of year.i bag all the time all my mowing accounts are bagging grass clipping

93Chevy
10-28-2010, 12:54 PM
i bag all the time all my mowing accounts are bagging grass clipping

Typical "guy with a Walker" attitude. :laugh::laugh::waving:

Unless the pic in your avatar is misleading, then nevermind.

stan the man
10-28-2010, 01:05 PM
Typical "guy with a Walker" attitude. :laugh::laugh::waving:

Unless the pic in your avatar is misleading, then nevermind.


i have two walkers 2006 and 2008 and one 2010 Exmark Navigator i like them

boneslawns
10-28-2010, 06:19 PM
This was my first year doing leaves. i was so damn scared but so far its been ok. I bought a catcher for my scag walk behind. i just left the catcher on makeing a few passes over the whole yard. When the cqatcher gets full it acts as a block plate so my gator blades mulch the leaves. I have ended up dumping about 5 times per yard with he rest being mulched. Cant even tell there were any leaves. All in all a yard that took about 45 min turns out to take almost 2 hours and that blowing the beds and decks so i charge a little over my hourly rate. customers seem to be happy, even though i think i deserve a little more, Also i thought the dumping off the grass gobbler into bags would be time consuming but i was doing a high in yard (300 plus) and there is another crew that works in the same area and i got done 20 min after then, same size yard and they had 4 guys with blowers and one on a stand up and still had to bring in a leaf loader to pich up what they couldnt mulch into the yard! i was suprised

undercuts21037
10-28-2010, 06:34 PM
My min. is $225 for leaf removal. if you set minimums it weeds out a lot of phone calls from people who think its only $75 bucks for leaf removal. People sometimes including business's owners have a price in thier head as if you were a 10 year old boy with a rake. We are not. We are all business's that want to make money. you have to pay for equipment travel time etc. and here in Maryland its 75 dollars a ton to dump. My prices are from 225 to 400. Its a time and materials thing. You might get burned but hopefully you can learn from your mistakes. You know what you need to make and what your area can afford. you must keep track of your profits on every leaf job so you can adjust your next job accordingly. ex. if you only made 25 dollars after expenses, your next job bid higher. At the end of the day your only making ten dollars an hour then close your business and get a job . My company is new and my affective rate is 52 dollars an hour (thats after expenses).

boneslawns
10-28-2010, 06:56 PM
undercuts, is that min for a one time end of year clean up or do you charge that price if they have you come 2 or 3 times up to the end of the season when the last leaves have fallen?

undercuts21037
10-28-2010, 07:13 PM
The min. is for the one time clean up that runs from middle of november to middle of december. For my customers that have a mowing contract/maintanance contracts may be different. All my contracts are custom per house which takes a little longer to write up but sells more because the customers get exactly what they want. ex. some people might want monthly leaf clean up instead of end of the year. I started min. because I got tired of doing useless estimates (wasting time driving 30min for someone who wants leaf removal for 50 bucks). so when i answer the phone and tell them its a 225 min five peole might say no and 3 say ok . when i go out to those 3 people they have an idea of what it cost. As for those other five people they can do it themselves and i didnt waste any of my time drioving to their house.

undercuts21037
10-28-2010, 07:19 PM
sorry i use a leaf trailer with a leaf grinder, blowers and rakes

sdk1959
10-28-2010, 08:17 PM
My min. is $225 for leaf removal. if you set minimums it weeds out a lot of phone calls from people who think its only $75 bucks for leaf removal. People sometimes including business's owners have a price in thier head as if you were a 10 year old boy with a rake. We are not. We are all business's that want to make money. you have to pay for equipment travel time etc. and here in Maryland its 75 dollars a ton to dump. My prices are from 225 to 400. Its a time and materials thing. You might get burned but hopefully you can learn from your mistakes. You know what you need to make and what your area can afford. you must keep track of your profits on every leaf job so you can adjust your next job accordingly. ex. if you only made 25 dollars after expenses, your next job bid higher. At the end of the day your only making ten dollars an hour then close your business and get a job . My company is new and my affective rate is 52 dollars an hour (thats after expenses).


Here is Southeastern PA it's $65.00-$75.00 a ton to dump and usually $40.00 minimum for a partial load under a ton.

Hopefully on your $225.00 leaf removal jobs you only have to dump 1 ton and spend less than 3 hours on the property not including time @ the dump.

sdk1959
10-28-2010, 08:28 PM
Wow your nuts mulching 6-12 inches of leaves lol.


I mulch leaves for my accounts over several visits during the season from early October to late November, with heavily wooded lots it is usually done in 6 visits. In a way it's like a nice extension to my mowing season and I ALWAYS get side work from the continued contact with my customers.

I know a lot of LCO's that do leaf pick-up and removals only and never mulch leaves have a hard time wrapping their head around the idea of being able to mulch leaves in piles up to 12" high. Now mind you, these are isolated leaf piles, not the whole yard up to 12" thick in leaves.:dizzy:

But here's the thing, since I mulch the leaves over several visits I'm always dealing with freshly fallen leaves that have not had a chance to settle. A 12" pile of freshly fallen leaves is a fluffy pile that has like a third of the amount of leaves a 12" pile of leaves at the end of season has. That pile has had a chance to settle and accumulate more & more leaves that mat to each other and the ground. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE, those leaf piles are much, much harder to mulch and end up leaving a thick mulch layer on the lawn. That I don't do.

undercuts21037
10-28-2010, 08:56 PM
Here is Southeastern PA it's $65.00-$75.00 a ton to dump and usually $40.00 minimum for a partial load under a ton.

Hopefully on your $225.00 leaf removal jobs you only have to dump 1 ton and spend less than 3 hours on the property not including time @ the dump.

its the same for the dump fee 75 dollars a ton . 225 is the min. average house on contracts i have now are about 350dollars. and my average per house is 1/4 ton. I have a 6 by 10 dump tralier with 6 foot high sides. I can do 4 house a day( i have employees) and my grinder is 12 to 1 ratio. and I only go to the dump once at the end of the day( or morning) our dump closes at 4pm. Sounds like we r on the same page. Leaf removal is good easy money. The hard part is finding the people who actually want to pay for services. I dont like the idea of mulching 12in high pile of leaves it just seems unprofesional. look out the window and u see a guy runninng his lawnmowing into a foot pile of leaves over and over. or a guy that pulls up with 2 people blowers and a vacuum dump trailer that takes no more than 2 hrs. wich sounds better. If i was paying a guy to clean my leaves and i see him outside mowing a 1foot pile of leaves for a 100 bucks id have to ask him to leave but not b4 I took a video for you tube. id find it quite funny

sdk1959
10-28-2010, 10:02 PM
its the same for the dump fee 75 dollars a ton . 225 is the min. average house on contracts i have now are about 350dollars. and my average per house is 1/4 ton. I have a 6 by 10 dump trailer with 6 foot high sides. I can do 4 house a day( i have employees) and my grinder is 12 to 1 ratio. and I only go to the dump once at the end of the day( or morning) our dump closes at 4pm. Sounds like we r on the same page. Leaf removal is good easy money. The hard part is finding the people who actually want to pay for services. I dont like the idea of mulching 12in high pile of leaves it just seems unprofessional. look out the window and u see a guy running his lawnmowing into a foot pile of leaves over and over. or a guy that pulls up with 2 people blowers and a vacuum dump trailer that takes no more than 2 hrs. wich sounds better. If i was paying a guy to clean my leaves and i see him outside mowing a 1foot pile of leaves for a 100 bucks id have to ask him to leave but not b4 I took a video for you tube. id find it quite funny

I only have to run over the pile once since they are freshly fallen leaves in most cases. And I only get isolated piles that big on properties where their are a lot of beds and low lying shrubs to blow out.

Here's a link to a thread with pictures from last year where I mulched one of my customer's leaves. Property is about 1/2 acre total. There were several 12" piles of leaves from the edges of the property plus leaves from 2 alleyways on the side of the house that were blown onto the side yard to be mulched. One Pass with the mower, professional look. Where did the leaves go? This was my 2nd visit. Did one more after that. When you stay on top of it with regular visits the mulching is easy, the yard looks kept and maintained.

Let the leaves lay till the end of the season, yard looking like crap for all of fall, no thanks I'll pass.:rolleyes:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=296207

undercuts21037
10-28-2010, 11:23 PM
look like crap? we cut grass till the last week in october. so any leaves that have fallen are mowed. Then starting in the middle of november we blow/rake flower beds and all the rest of the leaves that has fallen grinden them up and go. If you want to go to a customers house and stand there to catch the leaves as they fall that fine and very nice of you but your system is cutting yourself out of some serious profit. Say 10 house for leave removal at 300 dollars equals 3000 dollars and you could do it yourself at a week. Your system does not sound benifcial to my company. If i listen to you i would lose a lot of money. if you listened to me youd make alot of money. What if someone called you december 1st and ask for leave removal . that her grass doesnt grow so it hasnt been mowed since october1st and all the leaves are in her yard. Are you going to mulch them up with your lawn mower for 50 bucks? Or rake them on a tarp to make 10 trips to the dump for a hundred bucks. I thought this website was for buisness to discuss ideas to learn from each other. not learn how to make less in your buisness.

stan the man
10-28-2010, 11:41 PM
all my fall clean up are 1000.00 up and one that is 3800.00 i get my mowers out and bag the leaves up o i do have one 800.00 now got it Wednesday

undercuts21037
10-28-2010, 11:43 PM
I also just visited that link of yours . I agree with the leaf confetti guy because I see it in your pictures and also see leaves all in the road. And I copied and pasted this qoute that you wrote "Better to decline a job like that or give them a real work time estimate, sticker shock be damned" why would you ever decline a job because there is to many leaves because a customer didnt rake the previous year, Really? you cant run them over with your lawn mower so avoid it?

undercuts21037
10-28-2010, 11:46 PM
all my fall clean up are 1000.00 up and one that is 3800.00 i get my mowers out and bag the leaves up o i do have one 800.00 now got it Wednesday

you bag the leaves that is good and see how much money your making. This guy is just mulching them not bagging it has to look really bad and hes missing out on a lot of money

stan the man
10-28-2010, 11:54 PM
you bag the leaves that is good and see how much money your making. This guy is just mulching them not bagging it has to look really bad and hes missing out on a lot of money

a lot of guys on site mulch leaves not picking them up. it on how much you have. in Maine the places i do 6 to12 to 18 inches of leaves

sdk1959
10-29-2010, 12:39 AM
look like crap? we cut grass till the last week in october. so any leaves that have fallen are mowed. Then starting in the middle of november we blow/rake flower beds and all the rest of the leaves that has fallen grinden them up and go. If you want to go to a customers house and stand there to catch the leaves as they fall that fine and very nice of you but your system is cutting yourself out of some serious profit. Say 10 house for leave removal at 300 dollars equals 3000 dollars and you could do it yourself at a week. Your system does not sound benifcial to my company. If i listen to you i would lose a lot of money. if you listened to me youd make alot of money. What if someone called you december 1st and ask for leave removal . that her grass doesnt grow so it hasnt been mowed since october1st and all the leaves are in her yard. Are you going to mulch them up with your lawn mower for 50 bucks? Or rake them on a tarp to make 10 trips to the dump for a hundred bucks. I thought this website was for buisness to discuss ideas to learn from each other. not learn how to make less in your buisness.

Already did the math before in example of a property I currently mulch. With mulching it is more profitable. It follows below. I also only service my current customers for leaves as I get a lot of side work from them and need not waste $$ in advertising for more business.

End of season leaf clean-up and removals are one shot deals, everybody wants them done in a 2 week period when daylight is at a premium so scheduling can be a nightmare if you don't have the capacity to do them all.

I don't know the size of the lots your servicing but in my area it's not uncommon for a homeowner to get up to a $1000 estimate for a heavily wooded 1 acre lot.

Let's use for example a 1 acre wooded property I currently mulch the leaves for $85.00 a visit for 6 visits working by myself taking me 2hrs a visit 12 hours total vs letting the yard go till the end of the season and charging $800.00 for total leaf collection and removal.

First let's look at the extra equipment to get the end of season never touched yard done most efficiently.

New Leaf Loader- $3000 Used if you can find it- $1500

Used Dump Truck $10,000 -$25,000 depending on age OR
a large dedicated trailer with sides AND another used pick-up truck to pull it to carry the leaves $15000.00

2 extra backpack blowers for crew $800-$1000

Tarps misc. $150

Labor:

3 man crew plus myself

Costs:

Dump Fees

$100.00

Labor $12.00 Per man hour x 3 man crew

Total man hours including windshield time and time at the dump 7 Hours x 3 = 21 total man hours x $12.00hr = $252.00

Total Gross Profit
$800-$252 labor-$100 dump fees = $448.00 gross profit- not bad for 7 hours my time but look at all the equipment I need to purchase above first.

Leaf mulching 6 visits @ $85.00 a visit = $510.00 gross profit 12 hours my time- less $$ per hour but need no for additional equipment and labor.

Did you notice something about the total man hours for leaf pick-up and removal vs leaf mulching? Yeah, that's right, 12 man hours for mulching vs 21 man hours for leaf pick-up and removal. Part of that extra man hour time is because the more volume of leaves the less efficient it is to move them. More leaves means bigger piles, which means more resistance & time to move them. Also factor in that usually the bottom layer of leaves that has been sitting for about 2 months is damp and matted adding more time to move them.

The other part is windshield time driving to the dump and time spent at the dump.

As far as your example of saying someone could do 10 $300 leaf-removal jobs by their-self in say a 35-40hr week is pie in the sky thinking. That would be about $100.00 a hour including drive time to the dump and time at the dump. In my example above one person could easily spend 25 hours trying to do work by themselves. The customer is not going for a $2500.00 estimate. And if you charged only $300 you would make less than $10.00hr after paying the dump fee.:dizzy:

sdk1959
10-29-2010, 01:03 AM
I also just visited that link of yours . I agree with the leaf confetti guy because I see it in your pictures and also see leaves all in the road. And I copied and pasted this qoute that you wrote "Better to decline a job like that or give them a real work time estimate, sticker shock be damned" why would you ever decline a job because there is to many leaves because a customer didnt rake the previous year, Really? you cant run them over with your lawn mower so avoid it?

Do you read? Apparently not. First off this is not a one time visit, plus I mentioned the day was windy and the leaves are still falling, hence the scant few leaves in the road. Also about leaf confetti, leaves are not plastic- THEY DECOMPOSE, people who get leaf mulching done don't expect their lawn to look like some pristine fairway on a golf course. Any remaining leaf mulch is gone come the following May.

See what that other poster Stan from Maine gets for leaf clean-ups and removals. A 100' tree in Maine is a Pygmy tree. The trees are huge the leaves serious & he has some serious equipment and manpower to deal with them. I can easily see him making $100.00Hr or more because he is making money off the labor working for him on the large jobs. But one guy trying to get $300.00 estimates approved for leaf job and removals that would take one person less than 3 hours to do. Must not be very many leaves and small properties, won't get that price.

sdk1959
10-29-2010, 07:29 AM
And I copied and pasted this quote that you wrote "Better to decline a job like that or give them a real work time estimate, sticker shock be damned" why would you ever decline a job because there is to many leaves because a customer didn't rake the previous year, Really? you cant run them over with your lawn mower so avoid it?

I'm not set up to remove leaves nor want to be. But if it's the end of season and someone calls & wants a rough estimate of what they'll pay for pick-up and removal for a wooded lot I tell them what they can expect to pay. They are surprised in most cases, but if you snooze with leaves it isn't cheap to collect and remove them at the end of the season. High volume = high prices.

MDLawn
10-29-2010, 10:31 AM
All arguing aside :) I think the main problem that plagues this industry and I have said it in many other threads is the fact that many people just get bullied by customers. I'm not saying be a jerk but have some stones to set prices and stand by them even if a few think they are high. With such an easy entry into this people are desperate for customers so they take any one they can get. They may have good intentions with good pricing but when a few people start saying no they get nervous and just drop their prices without any thinking just to have customers. Then this drop in prices requires them to increase the volume of customers to a point where all they are doing is working just to make ends meet. Why not make ends meet with half of those? Why, because its hard for most to walk away from people that just say no. They take it way too personally (I did when I started). Then people think that everyone should price the same as the guy with crappy service and thats tough to change until you show them what you can really do.

As I said a few pages back these are convenience services. Convenience cost more. Example: Supermarket vs. Convenience store. Gallon of milk may be $1.80 at a supermarket and $3.00 at the convenience store. Why? Its more convenient to walk to the corner than drive to the store. You are paying for that. Customers are paying for the convenience of having you perform maintenance tasks with great equipment to make their lawn/landscape look great (convenient store). Or they can choose take out the 21" murray and take 1hr+ to mow the lawn, the electric hedge trimmers that arent sharp to destroy the bushes, put up a retaining wall that falls down the next day, etc..... to save money (supermarket). Odd perspective but i like to look at it this way. With the crazy low prices I am ready to hire someone to mow my lawn. Heck, for $15 its worth it for me not to spend that time doing it myself :dizzy: Nah I wouldnt do that b/c they'd butcher my lawn. :hammerhead: All joking aside these are my thoughts. If your pricing works for you and makes you happy....great. If not get it together and start doing things right. The one thing I notice when I read a certain puplication that has insights are great landscape companies they are share one similar phrase "My customers know I am not the cheapest, but they say I do great work and refer me to everyone they know". Everytime I see this, so why then would you want to be the cheapest and get all this cheap work? No way can you be successful. Rant done, enjoy the rest of fall, and for those with kids Halloween!!

sdk1959
10-29-2010, 07:57 PM
All arguing aside :) I think the main problem that plagues this industry and I have said it in many other threads is the fact that many people just get bullied by customers. I'm not saying be a jerk but have some stones to set prices and stand by them even if a few think they are high. With such an easy entry into this people are desperate for customers so they take any one they can get. They may have good intentions with good pricing but when a few people start saying no they get nervous and just drop their prices without any thinking just to have customers. Then this drop in prices requires them to increase the volume of customers to a point where all they are doing is working just to make ends meet. Why not make ends meet with half of those? Why, because its hard for most to walk away from people that just say no. They take it way too personally (I did when I started). Then people think that everyone should price the same as the guy with crappy service and that's tough to change until you show them what you can really do.

As I said a few pages back these are convenience services. Convenience cost more. Example: Supermarket vs. Convenience store. Gallon of milk may be $1.80 at a supermarket and $3.00 at the convenience store. Why? Its more convenient to walk to the corner than drive to the store. You are paying for that. Customers are paying for the convenience of having you perform maintenance tasks with great equipment to make their lawn/landscape look great (convenient store). Or they can choose take out the 21" murray and take 1hr+ to mow the lawn, the electric hedge trimmers that arent sharp to destroy the bushes, put up a retaining wall that falls down the next day, etc..... to save money (supermarket). Odd perspective but i like to look at it this way. With the crazy low prices I am ready to hire someone to mow my lawn. Heck, for $15 its worth it for me not to spend that time doing it myself :dizzy: Nah I wouldnt do that b/c they'd butcher my lawn. :hammerhead: All joking aside these are my thoughts. If your pricing works for you and makes you happy....great. If not get it together and start doing things right. The one thing I notice when I read a certain puplication that has insights are great landscape companies they are share one similar phrase "My customers know I am not the cheapest, but they say I do great work and refer me to everyone they know". Everytime I see this, so why then would you want to be the cheapest and get all this cheap work? No way can you be successful. Rant done, enjoy the rest of fall, and for those with kids Halloween!!

I agree. If being the cheapest is your tag-line you won't be in business long or will be working your a$$ off for next to nothing.

Another thing I noticed with any business whether offering a product or service is if the company is constantly running newspaper ads, TV commercials, full page phone book ads, etc it usually means their product or service is poor & they get little or no repeat business or referrals. They constantly have to find new customers.

If you think about it probably the best products or services you ever used were either referred to you or from past good experiences.

mowZ06
10-29-2010, 09:11 PM
Anyone have jobs where they drag the leaves with big tarps with backyards far from the street. This yard is full of hickory and oaks. Im lucky the city takes them away from the curb. I filled the whole island completey around out front this time. Still not done they have a pool area that is fenced in and its covered also.
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1110.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1111.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1113.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1114.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1117.jpg

Sorry made a mistake and for some reason my new post went here. O well.

stan the man
10-29-2010, 09:16 PM
Anyone have jobs where they drag the leaves with big tarps with backyards far from the street. This yard is full of hickory and oaks. Im lucky the city takes them away from the curb. I filled the whole island completey around out front this time. Still not done they have a pool area that is fenced in and its covered also.
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1110.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1111.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1113.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1114.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc178/1fstws6/000_1117.jpg

that going to be money job and no fun. it good that you using the mower to put them out

MDLawn
10-29-2010, 11:16 PM
I agree. If being the cheapest is your tag-line you won't be in business long or will be working your a$$ off for next to nothing.

Another thing I noticed with any business whether offering a product or service is if the company is constantly running newspaper ads, TV commercials, full page phone book ads, etc it usually means their product or service is poor & they get little or no repeat business or referrals. They constantly have to find new customers. If you think about it probably the best products or services you ever used were either referred to you or from past good experiences.


I've always thought this too. I see plenty of really large landscape companies that never run ads besides the phone book. Others are advertised everywhere. I mean you have to start somewhere but that may hold some truth. Some of these companies may only cater to commercial accounts so they may not need the advertising. Interesting thing to think about though.

MOW ED
10-30-2010, 11:06 AM
Not to beat the dead horse but I have had very good experiences with mulching and have been doing it for many years. SDK1959 has very good points. This is a man who isn't Bull S4ittin anyone. His words are worth reading again. I know that he is speaking from experience and in my book is a credible source.
I do my share of leafs here in N.E. Wisconsin and have tried many methods but time and time again nothing beats the profit for time spend better than mulching.
I can back up my experience and if you search you can find pictures of my past jobs on this site. We have mulched leafs 2 to 3 feet deep. Now obviously we had to vacuum up the debris and do a little creative dispersal with the blowers however we spend much less time at that than if we would have tarped or even tried to bag full size debris.
I used to do things the conventional way and thought people were crazy for mulching until I did it and I will never go back. But to each his own, if tarping and pulling works and you make money, go for it. But I would say to be open minded and try something different. I know that leaf work is hard and I deserve to put as much money in my pocket that is possible for the work. Mulching is key for me.

stan the man
10-30-2010, 11:34 AM
Not to beat the dead horse but I have had very good experiences with mulching and have been doing it for many years. SDK1959 has very good points. This is a man who isn't Bull S4ittin anyone. His words are worth reading again. I know that he is speaking from experience and in my book is a credible source.
I do my share of leafs here in N.E. Wisconsin and have tried many methods but time and time again nothing beats the profit for time spend better than mulching.
I can back up my experience and if you search you can find pictures of my past jobs on this site. We have mulched leafs 2 to 3 feet deep. Now obviously we had to vacuum up the debris and do a little creative dispersal with the blowers however we spend much less time at that than if we would have tarped or even tried to bag full size debris.
I used to do things the conventional way and thought people were crazy for mulching until I did it and I will never go back. But to each his own, if tarping and pulling works and you make money, go for it. But I would say to be open minded and try something different. I know that leaf work is hard and I deserve to put as much money in my pocket that is possible for the work. Mulching is key for me.

i have a question? you are mulching 2 to 3 feet of leaves. meaning you do over them mowing them up. then going over them picking them up after. if yes i have done that. my account don't like the leave left on the lawns mowed up

MOW ED
10-30-2010, 12:23 PM
Yes Stan when there is that much debris it will choke the lawn out so I use a Toro 62 Z with Atomic (similar to Gators) and a chute blocker and turn them to dust. Here is a pic on another thread with us using the 42" Toro WB with Atomics http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=252056&highlight=dust
Afterwards I will pick up the debris with my Walker. The volume is reduced by an unbelievable amount. We will then use the backpack blowers if necessary to touch up the area where we mulched the big piles. It may seem like alot compared to tarping and pulling but it is really fast and efficient. On top of that people love the mulched up leaves as they decompose over the winter so they use them around some of their planting beds. We don't vacuum every piece up and the lawn looks great when we are done.
We don't have many areas with 3 foot piles but there have been some. We mostly visit each property every week and have 6" cover mostly in the heavy spots. Now it also depends on the tree. Our silver maples can virtually turn to dust in dry conditions, even when wet they reduce nicely. On lawns with oaks we may mulch a light cover but will at least once (usually the last visit) will use the Walker to pick up the pieces.
Mulching is done every week unitl the last few clean days of the season. The lawns are not picture perfect but the broken up debris will decompose over the winter. I have had no probems with disease, acidity, dead spots or any other negative from mulching. I also have had no complaints from any of my customers. Take care.

stan the man
10-30-2010, 12:32 PM
Yes Stan when there is that much debris it will choke the lawn out so I use a Toro 62 Z with Atomic (similar to Gators) and a chute blocker and turn them to dust. Here is a pic on another thread with us using the 42" Toro WB with Atomics http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=252056&highlight=dust
Afterwards I will pick up the debris with my Walker. The volume is reduced by an unbelievable amount. We will then use the backpack blowers if necessary to touch up the area where we mulched the big piles. It may seem like alot compared to tarping and pulling but it is really fast and efficient. On top of that people love the mulched up leaves as they decompose over the winter so they use them around some of their planting beds. We don't vacuum every piece up and the lawn looks great when we are done.
We don't have many areas with 3 foot piles but there have been some. We mostly visit each property every week and have 6" cover mostly in the heavy spots. Now it also depends on the tree. Our silver maples can virtually turn to dust in dry conditions, even when wet they reduce nicely. On lawns with oaks we may mulch a light cover but will at least once (usually the last visit) will use the Walker to pick up the pieces.
Mulching is done every week unitl the last few clean days of the season. The lawns are not picture perfect but the broken up debris will decompose over the winter. I have had no probems with disease, acidity, dead spots or any other negative from mulching. I also have had no complaints from any of my customers. Take care.

ok thank you. i have two walker 2006 and 2008 and 1 exmark navigator 2010. thinking about getting a wb mower thank you again.

undercuts21037
10-30-2010, 10:58 PM
I agree. If being the cheapest is your tag-line you won't be in business long or will be working your a$$ off for next to nothing.

Another thing I noticed with any business whether offering a product or service is if the company is constantly running newspaper ads, TV commercials, full page phone book ads, etc it usually means their product or service is poor & they get little or no repeat business or referrals. They constantly have to find new customers.

If you think about it probably the best products or services you ever used were either referred to you or from past good experiences.

We dont have a lot of leaves at all. no where near what those pictures that just posted. And the customers around here have 500k to 1mill homes. you cant leave leaves. any way your right what works for you works for you. but I have to agree with your advertising comment. We have a company that sends two sided glossy high dollar cards. newspaper ads etc all the time every week but I hardly ever see the truck. I always thought they were big ad had a lot of money for advertisement. I never thought that they didnt have any work . very interesting