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Wright48
10-31-2010, 11:10 AM
This year has been very dissapointing for my fall clean up schedule. I sent bids to all of my customers and only about 40% came back so far. A few people said its to much money that im charging for the clean up. This person has a 6,000 sq ft. property loaded with trees and the back yard is fenced in. I gave her a quote of 485.00 to do the clean up witch means I come twice in the month of november. Am I over charging or are people really that cheap ?!:hammerhead:

Lbilawncare
10-31-2010, 02:52 PM
People start to get cheap at the end of the season, unfortunately. 6000sq ft is small for that much money, but without seeing pics you may be right on. Customers don't realize that we have to pay to dispose of their leaves, and it is harder physical work than mowing, not to mention the freaking dust !

MDLawn
10-31-2010, 09:58 PM
People are kinda cheap but its hard to say. Today I was approached by someone wanting thier lawn mowed and leaves mulched (I was doing this on a property as they watched for a minute). They started to pull out a few dollar bills, literally just a few dollar bills. I then say that I charge my customers at a certain rate which is around $XX.XX, or double mowing rate. The look was the priceless one of "What 10 bucks isnt enough for this job?" I just said sorry and told him no. Its tough because its crunch time and people need this done before the snow flies around here but their wallets are already frozen shut. I think with leaves they know they can get out there with a rake and do it but its a pita so then they try to find the first sucker to do it cheap. Work is work, time is time, and I'm not doing it for free. I want to make some money. I think there can be times when I am too high and need to adjust but I am selling a convenience service.

STIHL GUY
10-31-2010, 10:23 PM
i hate cheap people that expect you to work for $10 an hour

Big Bad Bob
10-31-2010, 11:11 PM
People start to get cheap at the end of the season, unfortunately. 6000sq ft is small for that much money, but without seeing pics you may be right on. Customers don't realize that we have to pay to dispose of their leaves, and it is harder physical work than mowing, not to mention the freaking dust !

Also, 90% of my breakdowns occur while doing leaf cleanups. It is hard on equipment.

sdk1959
10-31-2010, 11:45 PM
This year has been very dissapointing for my fall clean up schedule. I sent bids to all of my customers and only about 40% came back so far. A few people said its to much money that im charging for the clean up. This person has a 6,000 sq ft. property loaded with trees and the back yard is fenced in. I gave her a quote of 485.00 to do the clean up witch means I come twice in the month of november. Am I over charging or are people really that cheap ?!:hammerhead:

I don't do leaf removal, but mulch instead over several visits for properties with a lot of trees. One property is almost an acre I mulch and charge $85.00 a visit for 6 visits or $510.00 total. On this property if I did leaf removal I wouldn't take a dime less than $800, it would easily take a 4 man crew 7 hours for a end of season leaf clean-up including travel time to the dump. Takes me about 2-2.5 hrs per mulching visit depending on the amount of leaves. It includes blowing out the leaves in the beds, under the shrubs, all hard surfaces.

Now before you automatically write off mulching because of the predominate anti-mulch mindset on Lawnsite and the "oh my, bits of leaf mulch on the lawn, so unprofessional" mantra let me ask you this, do you talk to your customers? Do you know what THEY want out of their service? Not what you THINK they want. Did you know if you talk to your customers you will find most of your customers don't expect their lawn to look like some pristine fairway at a golf course after a fall clean-up whether the leaves are mulched or picked-up and removed.

Talk to your customers, you will find what their real expectations are, then you can truly meet those expectations, not guess at them. A lot will be open to the idea of leaf mulching over several visits if explained right and most will not notice bits of leaf mulch and the ones that do could care less. All they know is you will make regular visits, the yard will look nice when your done, and it's a little less money too vs leaf pick-up and removal.



The reason I mention all this is Salesmanship is ALMOST NEVER mentioned in these forums. Most posters on here refer to individual customers as " a account" and customers as "accounts" some even say it when talking to a customer. Little wonder they have little "account" loyalty. Your one of the few here that didn't use the term "account" but used the term "customer" and referred to that customer as "this person". Keep doing that, it's a step in the right direction.

Big Bad Bob
11-01-2010, 01:07 AM
I don't do leaf removal, but mulch instead over several visits for properties with a lot of trees. One property is almost an acre I mulch and charge $85.00 a visit for 6 visits or $510.00 total. On this property if I did leaf removal I wouldn't take a dime less than $800, it would easily take a 4 man crew 7 hours for a end of season leaf clean-up including travel time to the dump. Takes me about 2-2.5 hrs per mulching visit depending on the amount of leaves. It includes blowing out the leaves in the beds, under the shrubs, all hard surfaces.

Now before you automatically write off mulching because of the predominate anti-mulch mindset on Lawnsite and the "oh my, bits of leaf mulch on the lawn, so unprofessional" mantra let me ask you this, do you talk to your customers? Do you know what THEY want out of their service? Not what you THINK they want. Did you know if you talk to your customers you will find most of your customers don't expect their lawn to look like some pristine fairway at a golf course after a fall clean-up whether the leaves are mulched or picked-up and removed.

Talk to your customers, you will find what their real expectations are, then you can truly meet those expectations, not guess at them. A lot will be open to the idea of leaf mulching over several visits if explained right and most will not notice bits of leaf mulch and the ones that do could care less. All they know is you will make regular visits, the yard will look nice when your done, and it's a little less money too vs leaf pick-up and removal.



The reason I mention all this is Salesmanship is ALMOST NEVER mentioned in these forums. Most posters on here refer to individual customers as " a account" and customers as "accounts" some even say it when talking to a customer. Little wonder they have little "account" loyalty. Your one of the few here that didn't use the term "account" but used the term "customer" and referred to that customer as "this person". Keep doing that, it's a step in the right direction.

I talk to mine, when they are on site that is. I never see some of them but most of the ones I do talk to and try the mulch program on, simply want the leaves removed. I have even had them call me to tell me the last visit was unacceptable and could I please pick the leaves up from now on. I can tell them about it saving them money and most seem insulted. I have one who bluntly told me to let him worry about what he can afford. I have even done a demonstration mulch on their lawn and most still want it picked up. I guess if you can get away with it in your area, with your customers, more power to you. It's not what they want here and they are willing to pay extra for it.
I say give it a try though and see if it flies. Nothing wrong with it if you can get them to take it, I guess. I have a mulch kit for my Toro that hardly gets used after September.

MOW ED
11-01-2010, 09:39 AM
If you have customers like Bobs then remove them and get paid well for it. If you have educated the customer and they know there are options, do the option they want as long as they have no problem paying.
My customers don't complain about mulched leaves because they know I do a final vacuuming and everything looks good in the end. I will say that only one guy doesn't want them mulched and I agree as they are 90% Oaks. We blow them off and vacuum withm the Walker however the price does increase because of this and he understands.
If you don't listen to the customer eventually the customer will find someone who will. I learned this in my first early years when I did things "my way". I don't cater to every little whim of a customer but if I can do something to help out and make money then I will do it. If its a constant complainer or a person who is too picky I will not work for them and I will actually recommend other LCO's who may be able to help them. So far that has worked well for me.

MarcSmith
11-01-2010, 09:56 AM
keep in mind that any homeowner with a leaf rake and a tarp can do their own clean-up. you don't need any high dollar tools...

MDLawn
11-01-2010, 10:26 AM
keep in mind that any homeowner with a leaf rake and a tarp can do their own clean-up. you don't need any high dollar tools...


I completely agree with this and believe thats why it is such a hard sell because all they see is a 19.99 tarp, 5.99 rake, and can watch their kids, if the have any, do the work.


I think mulching leaves is definitely customer specific. If someone wants them gone then take them, if they want them mulched then mulch them and price it accordingly. My full clean ups are more expensive than weekly mulching and most people choose mulching because of that. Even with mulching I remove alot of the leaf debris after it's shredded. I do have a few customers that don't have trees on their lots but I know they would not want mulching.

This is a service idustry and we a providing a service that a customer wants and you need to follow accordingly unless you cannot provide it or if there is something that goes against a standard practice. When you get a haircut the barber or stylist doesnt just cut it the way they want it, they ask "how do you want it done?"

Big Bad Bob
11-01-2010, 11:06 AM
If you have customers like Bobs then remove them and get paid well for it. If you have educated the customer and they know there are options, do the option they want as long as they have no problem paying.


Oh we get paid well for it. I don't believe in this charging 2 or 3 times mowing price. There is a lot more to leaf removal. It is also much harder on equipment. What I usually do though, is blow out the beds, clean the eaves if necessary and then mulch, then do a bagging pass. Some of the debris stays that way and the customer is none the wiser. As long as they see you hauling leaves away, they are happy. I try to educate but many are set in their ways. The hard ones are the ones who never had a lawn service and were raised with a clover lawn and a reel mower.

MDLawn
11-01-2010, 12:12 PM
Oh we get paid well for it. I don't believe in this charging 2 or 3 times mowing price. There is a lot more to leaf removal. It is also much harder on equipment. What I usually do though, is blow out the beds, clean the eaves if necessary and then mulch, then do a bagging pass. Some of the debris stays that way and the customer is none the wiser. As long as they see you hauling leaves away, they are happy. I try to educate but many are set in their ways. The hard ones are the ones who never had a lawn service and were raised with a clover lawn and a reel mower.

For me the 2 or 3 times the mowing works well when you do it weekly. Most of my properties take me 10-15 minutes more than during just regular mowing so it works for me. There is never too much leaf cover week to week at the properties I have. I also only mulch whats on the turf, no blowing leaves out of beds, etc.... I give them options and if they want all the beds cleaned out its more than just the 2-3 times mowing price. For me it works because I can almost double the money per week without much extra time put into it. But I know what you are saying. It really varies per property and mine seem to workout ok.

JNyz
11-01-2010, 12:26 PM
keep in mind that any homeowner with a leaf rake and a tarp can do their own clean-up. you don't need any high dollar tools...


Hey Marc,

I usually agree with what you have to say but I have to take exception with this post.

I believe some homeowners with a leaf rake and tarp can do their own clean up but not any homeowner. First, not all townships and cities will pick up leaves curbside. Second, most of my properties have over 14 yards of leaves removed from their property and not too many homeowners want to do that. Third, most people do not like hard work and want to leave it to the contractor. Fourth, I think a $500.00 backpack is an expensive piece of equipment.

By the way, I was at the Ricky Fried 5v5 lacrosse tournament at Georgetown. The campus looked great.

MarcSmith
11-01-2010, 12:36 PM
Hey Marc,

I usually agree with what you have to say but I have to take exception with this post.

I believe some homeowners with a leaf rake and tarp can do their own clean up but not any homeowner. First, not all townships and cities will pick up leaves curbside. Second, most of my properties have over 14 yards of leaves removed from their property and not too many homeowners want to do that. Third, most people do not like hard work and want to leave it to the contractor. Fourth, I think a $500.00 backpack is an expensive piece of equipment.

By the way, I was at the Ricky Fried 5v5 lacrosse tournament at Georgetown. The campus looked great.

How about this. MOST homeowners can do with a rake a tarp. :) I too feel that a $500 blower is an expensive piece of equipment. We do not have curb side pick up here it has to be bagged and hauled away by your trash man or composted in your yard. And no burning allowed either...

The Op was posted in regards to people potentially going cheap. and the direction i was heading was that most HO's could rake their own leaves with minimal $$$$ investment provided they were willing to invest the time. IE how much is their time worth to them

I'm glad you think the campus looks good. I think it looks like chit. they keep nickle and diming us to death. we had to cut 10K tulips out of the budget this year...hard to get money to replace old equipment...Sigh...

I wish you had called we could have gone out for a drink...

Big Bad Bob
11-01-2010, 01:56 PM
Hey Marc,

I usually agree with what you have to say but I have to take exception with this post.

I believe some homeowners with a leaf rake and tarp can do their own clean up but not any homeowner. First, not all townships and cities will pick up leaves curbside. Second, most of my properties have over 14 yards of leaves removed from their property and not too many homeowners want to do that. Third, most people do not like hard work and want to leave it to the contractor. Fourth, I think a $500.00 backpack is an expensive piece of equipment.

By the way, I was at the Ricky Fried 5v5 lacrosse tournament at Georgetown. The campus looked great.

Remember too, that what takes us 2 hours to do would take the average homeowner 2 days.
Back to work. Very dusty today.

MarcSmith
11-01-2010, 02:51 PM
BBB I agree...but if the homeowner does it themselves, they save hundreds of dollars at the expense of their own time, something which cost them nothing on their day off...

I think this economy is making some people realize that cutting some "luxury" spending helps their bottom line.

Unfortunately at the expense of ours..

Charles
11-01-2010, 03:07 PM
I will gladly let a homeowner give it a shot. I had one who did that for one season of leaves. He was always complaining about what I charge. 1 acre of land with many tall oaks. Long drive way. He gave it back the next year and never said another word about my pricing.

MarcSmith
11-01-2010, 03:12 PM
Chaz, all it takes is one round of wet leaves and the HO is sold on paying someone to do it...

I'm as lazy as the nextHO. I spent 600 bucks on a walker and another 200 fixing it up...I figure it will take a few years for it to pay for itself for leaf clean up duty...but no more walking for cutting the grass either...

Hmm maybe I start low balling the neighbors on my street for leaf removal...do one for free as a nice neighbor and then jack the price...

JNyz
11-01-2010, 03:33 PM
How about this. MOST homeowners can do with a rake a tarp. :) I too feel that a $500 blower is an expensive piece of equipment. We do not have curb side pick up here it has to be bagged and hauled away by your trash man or composted in your yard. And no burning allowed either...

The Op was posted in regards to people potentially going cheap. and the direction i was heading was that most HO's could rake their own leaves with minimal $$$$ investment provided they were willing to invest the time. IE how much is their time worth to them

I'm glad you think the campus looks good. I think it looks like chit. they keep nickle and diming us to death. we had to cut 10K tulips out of the budget this year...hard to get money to replace old equipment...Sigh...

I wish you had called we could have gone out for a drink...

I was only down from 9-2 for the tourn but I will take you up on that offer the next time. thx.

sdk1959
11-02-2010, 01:10 AM
I talk to mine, when they are on site that is. I never see some of them but most of the ones I do talk to and try the mulch program on, simply want the leaves removed. I have even had them call me to tell me the last visit was unacceptable and could I please pick the leaves up from now on. I can tell them about it saving them money and most seem insulted. I have one who bluntly told me to let him worry about what he can afford. I have even done a demonstration mulch on their lawn and most still want it picked up. I guess if you can get away with it in your area, with your customers, more power to you. It's not what they want here and they are willing to pay extra for it.
I say give it a try though and see if it flies. Nothing wrong with it if you can get them to take it, I guess. I have a mulch kit for my Toro that hardly gets used after September.

Well at least you tried with some of your customers to switch to mulching. I agree, you can't convince them all, some still think the only way to deal with leaves is to rake and bag.

If I go out on a estimate I ask how they dealt with the leaves before first then what usually closes them for me on leaf mulching is I give the end of season leaf collection and removal estimate first and preface it with "if your satisfied with the soil conditions of your lawn" this is the estimate for leaf collection and removal.

Then I give the leaf mulching estimate and preface it with "if you want to improve the soil conditions of your lawn" and give them the leaf mulching estimate which is 30-50% lower and done over several visits so their yard looks kept and maintained for all of fall.

If they mention bits of leaf mulch that may be visible to them on the lawn I ask when do they normally take care of the leaves. They will usually will say around Thanksgiving, to which I'll reply so having a thick layer of leaves on your lawn smothering the grass and leaf piles against your house, your shrubs and fence all easily seen from the street till late November is a better look? Really? Sometimes they laugh. The only reply I ever got is won't the leaf mulch stay on the lawn and accumulate every year? To which I reply no, it will decompose by the following May and amend your soil as well.

If they still resist the idea of leaf mulching if I have time I will pursue it further, if for anything to sharpen my sales skills, if they are stone set in their ways I let it rest and refer them to a few local LCO's I know as I don't do leaf removal.

BrunoT
11-02-2010, 01:54 AM
Hey Marc,

I usually agree with what you have to say but I have to take exception with this post.

I believe some homeowners with a leaf rake and tarp can do their own clean up but not any homeowner. First, not all townships and cities will pick up leaves curbside. Second, most of my properties have over 14 yards of leaves removed from their property and not too many homeowners want to do that. Third, most people do not like hard work and want to leave it to the contractor. Fourth, I think a $500.00 backpack is an expensive piece of equipment.

By the way, I was at the Ricky Fried 5v5 lacrosse tournament at Georgetown. The campus looked great.


I agree with this. That statement came off as a gross overstatement. You won't find too many home owners able or willing to put in the many hours it would take to do $500 or more worth of leaf cleanup themselves with a rake and tarp. Besides, you can rake away, but you have to have some place to PUT THE LEAVES when you're done. Without reduction by machines it's pointless on many properties.

I can mulch a 6,000 ft lawn area with a Lazer Z and full mulch kit so that it looks almost bagged in 30 minutes or less if visiting on a 2 week schedule mid Oct to mid Dec. That's 5 visits and under $200 for the season on a property with moderate leaf fall. Heavier falls may be a little more. Extreme properties may require more frequent visits timed carefully during the period of peak leaf falls. Rarely I use the bagger to acheive a final cleanup after mulching the leaves. But still it's a screaming bargain and for that reason NOBODY ever has complained about paying for that in my nearly 20 years doing it.

Yes, you can see fragments in the lawn if you look carefully. But the customer can also see about $500 more in his wallet every fall than if I had to remove the leaves and haul them to a dump. He can also see the full size leaves that blow in from his neighbor's lawns and the street, or that fall out of trees, within 10 minutes of my visit. A single gust can undo hours of blower/tarp work. Not being a dummy, the customer realizes you can't fight mother nature and achieve a pristine look until every other leaf on the block has been removed, so why pay tons more trying to achieve that?

I can certainly see why someone would balk at a charge of hundreds of dollars at once. It's a hard thing to swallow all at once. Doing them as they fall in controlled amounts, quickly and easily, seems to go down easier. The plus is that for a few hours at least the lawn does indeed look "maintained" a couple of times a month, rather than matted down and neglected while they wait for the big leaf cleanup day.

Maybe if you're doing really fine homes they can afford and expect a virtual lawn vaccuming. But then this thread really isn't about those type of customers (cost is no object).

sdk1959
11-02-2010, 06:17 AM
I agree with this. That statement came off as a gross overstatement. You won't find too many home owners able or willing to put in the many hours it would take to do $500 or more worth of leaf cleanup themselves with a rake and tarp. Besides, you can rake away, but you have to have some place to PUT THE LEAVES when you're done. Without reduction by machines it's pointless on many properties.

I can mulch a 6,000 ft lawn area with a Lazer Z and full mulch kit so that it looks almost bagged in 30 minutes or less if visiting on a 2 week schedule mid Oct to mid Dec. That's 5 visits and under $200 for the season on a property with moderate leaf fall. Heavier falls may be a little more. Extreme properties may require more frequent visits timed carefully during the period of peak leaf falls. Rarely I use the bagger to achieve a final cleanup after mulching the leaves. But still it's a screaming bargain and for that reason NOBODY ever has complained about paying for that in my nearly 20 years doing it.

Yes, you can see fragments in the lawn if you look carefully. But the customer can also see about $500 more in his wallet every fall than if I had to remove the leaves and haul them to a dump. He can also see the full size leaves that blow in from his neighbor's lawns and the street, or that fall out of trees, within 10 minutes of my visit. A single gust can undo hours of blower/tarp work. Not being a dummy, the customer realizes you can't fight mother nature and achieve a pristine look until every other leaf on the block has been removed, so why pay tons more trying to achieve that?

I can certainly see why someone would balk at a charge of hundreds of dollars at once. It's a hard thing to swallow all at once. Doing them as they fall in controlled amounts, quickly and easily, seems to go down easier. The plus is that for a few hours at least the lawn does indeed look "maintained" a couple of times a month, rather than matted down and neglected while they wait for the big leaf cleanup day.

Maybe if you're doing really fine homes they can afford and expect a virtual lawn vacuuming. But then this thread really isn't about those type of customers (cost is no object).

I agree 1000%, amen. Nice to hear a pro-mulch stance because there is a predominate anti-mulch mindset on Lawnsite for the most part.Thumbs Up

I also get a lot of late season side work from visiting the properties to mulch the leaves, I'm sure you do too. Haven't had to advertise for anything this year, plenty of work.

stan the man
11-02-2010, 08:58 AM
I agree 1000%, amen. Nice to hear a pro-mulch stance because there is a predominate anti-mulch mindset on Lawnsite for the most part.Thumbs Up

I also get a lot of late season side work from visiting the properties to mulch the leaves, I'm sure you do too. Haven't had to advertise for anything this year, plenty of work.
I'm not anti-mulch-er i just do what the account wants. it just like bagging grass clipping i dont like doing it but they want it done.

sdk1959
11-03-2010, 08:00 PM
I'm not anti-mulch-er i just do what the account wants. it just like bagging grass clipping i dont like doing it but they want it done.

I agree not everyone can be sold on leaf mulching, but you have to at least try is all I'm saying, especially if you don't haul away leaves.

All my mowing customers I mulch the grass and leaves, no bagging grass either unless I do it on my own accord. I ran a newspaper ad last year in the first week of October for fall clean-up, leaf mulching, Didn't get much of a response when the ad ran for 2 weeks. Would you believe I got more replies in late November because people held onto my ad and number and called then. Most had far too many leaves to mulch that late in the season but I did manage to get a few leaf mulching jobs and 2 of them turned into regular mowing customers. So it worked out.

Those late season mulching customers only had a few trees as well as their neighbors. Piece of cake to mulch.

stan the man
11-03-2010, 08:39 PM
I agree not everyone can be sold on leaf mulching, but you have to at least try is all I'm saying, especially if you don't haul away leaves.

All my mowing customers I mulch the grass and leaves, no bagging grass either unless I do it on my own accord. I ran a newspaper ad last year in the first week of October for fall clean-up, leaf mulching, Didn't get much of a response when the ad ran for 2 weeks. Would you believe I got more replies in late November because people held onto my ad and number and called then. Most had far too many leaves to mulch that late in the season but I did manage to get a few leaf mulching jobs and 2 of them turned into regular mowing customers. So it worked out.

Those late season mulching customers only had a few trees as well as their neighbors. Piece of cake to mulch.

today i went and look at fall clean up job. told the lady 600.00 got it.the lady ask me about plowing i said 40.00 got it. she ask me about spring clean up i said i have to see what it looks like. she ask about mowing next year i said 60.00 got it. the lady told me the guy that was mowing was 70.00. so i told thank you for the work. i told her that i will drop off fresh turkey from my farm for Thanksgiving for being full time account. things work out of the good

sdk1959
11-03-2010, 09:30 PM
today i went and look at fall clean up job. told the lady 600.00 got it.the lady ask me about plowing i said 40.00 got it. she ask me about spring clean up i said i have to see what it looks like. she ask about mowing next year i said 60.00 got it. the lady told me the guy that was mowing was 70.00. so i told thank you for the work. i told her that i will drop off fresh turkey from my farm for Thanksgiving for being full time account. things work out of the good

How's the weather in Maine now? We got our first frost a few days ago in southeastern PA. All or mostly all the leaves probably dropped on the trees in your area in Maine I suppose. We lost about half the leaves maybe a little more in southeastern PA, although some trees have lost them all.

The $600.00 fall clean-up job you just got, is that small enough for you to handle it yourself in a day or will you bring in a crew too?

Those walker mowers are nice, I've never seen one in my area, does yours have the raise & dump feature?

stan the man
11-04-2010, 10:40 AM
How's the weather in Maine now? We got our first frost a few days ago in southeastern PA. All or mostly all the leaves probably dropped on the trees in your area in Maine I suppose. We lost about half the leaves maybe a little more in southeastern PA, although some trees have lost them all.

The $600.00 fall clean-up job you just got, is that small enough for you to handle it yourself in a day or will you bring in a crew too?

Those walker mowers are nice, I've never seen one in my area, does yours have the raise & dump feature?

the leaves all are dropping fast we had frost 2 day now in the morning yesterday and today. i have 2 guys and 1 girl working with me. she dose a lot of curb side leave pick up for me she is great girl. we almost have my 55 full accounts done for fall cleans. next we have my big account to do one house and 3 camps on the lake. the camps are house to me. 2 swimming pool i already closed the pools up. that is 3800 fall clean up for 2 guys 76 hrs. a lot time i will have the guy go to job and i will go to another one that can do myself. leaf vacuum help a lot. me and guys do the clean up dump next to the road and cindy will come around and vacuum it up.

abraham
11-04-2010, 08:15 PM
you people are crazy.kids are lazy and parents are busy.finally raking leaves sucks and everyone knows it,thats why few people do it.

stan the man
11-04-2010, 08:19 PM
i only rack if i have to.that is not much. i did to day

BrunoT
11-11-2010, 01:29 PM
I agree 1000%, amen. Nice to hear a pro-mulch stance because there is a predominate anti-mulch mindset on Lawnsite for the most part.Thumbs Up

I also get a lot of late season side work from visiting the properties to mulch the leaves, I'm sure you do too. Haven't had to advertise for anything this year, plenty of work.


They're just anti-mulchites. :laugh:

Big Bad Bob
11-11-2010, 02:35 PM
They're just anti-mulchites. :laugh:

Yeah. And ve are looking for a final solution to ze mulch problem. LOL

Will P.C.
11-11-2010, 04:41 PM
If you do fall cleanup, every customer should be explained about the advantages of mulching. After this, if they still want you do bag/haul, price it so you are making money. Some people have this mental image of what leaf cleanup should be and will no budge.

WJC
11-11-2010, 06:50 PM
So far this season, Fall cleanups has been so disappointing that I'm thinking of getting rid of my leaf loader. I dont know what it is about leaves, but people think they are easy to remove.

stan the man
11-11-2010, 06:55 PM
So far this season, Fall cleanups has been so disappointing that I'm thinking of getting rid of my leaf loader. I dont know what it is about leaves, but people think they are easy to remove.

fall clean up has been great 125 this year.still 45 to go.leaves curb side pick up is low this year 35 of my account of curb side wants to do fall clean up

zlssefi
11-11-2010, 07:05 PM
I would like to add to this thread. In ct for the average 1/3-1/2 acre lawns we have been charging 200.00 plus about 40-60 bucks for hauling. So for under 300 bucks all leaves, acorns sticks etc are gone. This season ive been to some acre plus lawns with out many leaves, i still give the same price and people tell me im too expensive. How can you even stop a truck and a crew at a property for less than 200 bucks?

sdk1959
11-11-2010, 07:15 PM
I would like to add to this thread. In ct for the average 1/3-1/2 acre lawns we have been charging 200.00 plus about 40-60 bucks for hauling. So for under 300 bucks all leaves, acorns sticks etc are gone. This season ive been to some acre plus lawns with out many leaves, i still give the same price and people tell me im too expensive. How can you even stop a truck and a crew at a property for less than 200 bucks?

If it's this late in the season and the properties don't have many leaves- mulch them. Blow the leaves out the beds, off the patios, driveways and onto the lawn to be mulched. The properties with the heavy leaf cover, the owners waited too long, removal is the only option, they just have to pay the price or do it themselves.

olcllc
11-11-2010, 09:15 PM
This year has been very dissapointing for my fall clean up schedule. I sent bids to all of my customers and only about 40% came back so far. A few people said its to much money that im charging for the clean up. This person has a 6,000 sq ft. property loaded with trees and the back yard is fenced in. I gave her a quote of 485.00 to do the clean up witch means I come twice in the month of november. Am I over charging or are people really that cheap ?!:hammerhead:

I'll go out on a limb here and say you're overcharging based soley on the 6000sqf information. That size lawn covered in Pin Oaks would take me no longer than it would to mow. I'm certain it could be done in an hour or less with one person. Even if it took two hours that's 121.50 per hour.

I'm always amazed at the price the folks on the East coast feel is cheap. Is the cost of living there that disproportionate from the rest of the US.

For example: I have a property that is three acres covered in large mature White Oaks. 5 hours, two people blow, mulch and vac = 540.00.

That's 4.16 per 1000sqf to your 80.00 per 1000.00sqf.

My OCPH is 23.00 per person. That includes all fixed and average variable costs. So 230.00 covers all my expenses and 310.00 is profit. That's a 57% profit margin. Since i'm one of the two people working, that's 310.00 to the business. I'm ok with that.

WJC
11-11-2010, 09:41 PM
And it has been dry this year in our area, which makes wonder if more homeowners are doing their own leaves because usually its kinda wet here in the Fall. I'm always picking up wet nasty leaves, but now its dry and very few cleanup calls.

sdk1959
11-11-2010, 11:54 PM
And it has been dry this year in our area, which makes wonder if more homeowners are doing their own leaves because usually its kinda wet here in the Fall. I'm always picking up wet nasty leaves, but now its dry and very few cleanup calls.

If your advertising for it you'll get the fall clean-up calls at the very end of the season when everybody & their brother will want a fall clean-up crammed into a 2 week period. A scheduling nightmare. You should be contacting your regular customers if your not already.

When you advertise for fall clean-ups it seems the only replies come from people who wait till the last minute, and want a bargain price which is why it is better to save your advertising $$ and just work with your regular customers.

WJC
11-12-2010, 08:54 AM
If your advertising for it you'll get the fall clean-up calls at the very end of the season when everybody & their brother will want a fall clean-up crammed into a 2 week period. A scheduling nightmare. You should be contacting your regular customers if your not already.

When you advertise for fall clean-ups it seems the only replies come from people who wait till the last minute, and want a bargain price which is why it is better to save your advertising $$ and just work with your regular customers.

I am advertising and taking care of leaves for my regular customers, but a lot of my regular customers have very few leaves so its not enough to keep me busy. In past years, I would get a lot of calls for leaf cleanup or removal, but so far not this year. Maybe it's gonna ge at the end of the season like you said, If thats the case, I'll do what I can.

topsites
11-12-2010, 09:09 AM
I completely agree with this and believe thats why it is such a hard sell because all they see is a 19.99 tarp, 5.99 rake, and can watch their kids, if the have any, do the work.

That's a load of crap too thou, when you know dang well it will take them their
entire family ALL day to get the place half spiffy, we're talking wife and husband and
maybe two teenagers out there for a good 3-4 hours what we have?
4x4 = 12 man hours worth of labor even at $10 an hour = $120

But I come out there and git'r done in just under 2 hours and y'all talking about a $500 bp blower,
try a thousand dollar push blower and still there's friction over the $60 bill because for some reason
they think it's too much, and don't tell me it ain't so lol

Bastards, they'll call me talk about the "lawn needs mowing" and I know full well the leaves are about ankle deep,
but "oh no we don't want that, just cut the grass," like yeah right, y'all mulchers I want to see your mower "mulching"
this stuff, it's so deep the skirt of the deck pushes the stuff like a plow, you ain't mulching this stuff if you spend all DAY.

So then, much headache, frustration, aggravation and many years later... :p
I have my customers, those who let me do the work without giving me too much grief and those who pay on time.
I think my prices are very fair.

Everyone else unfortunately and I hate to say it, but they can probably feel free to join the KMA club.

sdk1959
11-12-2010, 06:28 PM
I am advertising and taking care of leaves for my regular customers, but a lot of my regular customers have very few leaves so its not enough to keep me busy. In past years, I would get a lot of calls for leaf cleanup or removal, but so far not this year. Maybe it's gonna ge at the end of the season like you said, If thats the case, I'll do what I can.

Did a leaf mulching job for one of my customers today. I converted them from leaf pick-up to leaf mulching this year. As the husband was writing my check I asked when did they want me to come back for a another mulching visit and I suggested Thanksgiving weekend or the week after for the last visit of the season. He said they are having a lot of family coming over for Thanksgiving and want the yard looking good and so wanted it done again next Saturday then again 2 weeks after that. So I got a extra mulching visit from him and some of my other customers too this year.

It's like my cutting season has been extended to December from all the mulching visits I do, plus the extra side work I get from my customers is nice too!:walking:

Big Bad Bob
11-12-2010, 08:02 PM
Did a leaf mulching job for one of my customers today. I converted them from leaf pick-up to leaf mulching this year. As the husband was writing my check I asked when did they want me to come back for a another mulching visit and I suggested Thanksgiving weekend or the week after for the last visit of the season. He said they are having a lot of family coming over for Thanksgiving and want the yard looking good and so wanted it done again next Saturday then again 2 weeks after that. So I got a extra mulching visit from him and some of my other customers too this year.

It's like my cutting season has been extended to December from all the mulching visits I do, plus the extra side work I get from my customers is nice too!:walking:

Hard to mulch with snow on the ground.

sdk1959
11-13-2010, 12:05 AM
Hard to mulch with snow on the ground.

Hard to blow leaves with snow on the ground too.

If we have snow before December in southeastern PA it's big news here. Be done leaf mulching by 1st week of December, most customers by end of November.

Most of time here the first snow is in late December early January. A White Christmas is rare. The first snows are usually of little accumulation & very wet, gone by the next day. We had a lot of snow last year, this year they say we won't have as much.

MDLawn
11-16-2010, 09:54 AM
That's a load of crap too thou, when you know dang well it will take them their
entire family ALL day to get the place half spiffy, we're talking wife and husband and
maybe two teenagers out there for a good 3-4 hours what we have?
4x4 = 12 man hours worth of labor even at $10 an hour = $120

But I come out there and git'r done in just under 2 hours and y'all talking about a $500 bp blower,
try a thousand dollar push blower and still there's friction over the $60 bill because for some reason
they think it's too much, and don't tell me it ain't so lol

Bastards, they'll call me talk about the "lawn needs mowing" and I know full well the leaves are about ankle deep,
but "oh no we don't want that, just cut the grass," like yeah right, y'all mulchers I want to see your mower "mulching"
this stuff, it's so deep the skirt of the deck pushes the stuff like a plow, you ain't mulching this stuff if you spend all DAY.

So then, much headache, frustration, aggravation and many years later... :p
I have my customers, those who let me do the work without giving me too much grief and those who pay on time.
I think my prices are very fair.

Everyone else unfortunately and I hate to say it, but they can probably feel free to join the KMA club.


Oh I completely agree with you. All I am saying is people forget that you have this expensive equipment that gets the job done faster. I also agree witht the KMA club. Did that to a few(well didnt actually say it) that approached me this fall and said the whole "how much do you charge to mulch my leaves?" Gave them a starting price and they gave me the whole small yard, its just leaves, etc.. talk.

sdk1959
11-17-2010, 01:22 AM
That's a load of crap too thou, when you know dang well it will take them their
entire family ALL day to get the place half spiffy, we're talking wife and husband and
maybe two teenagers out there for a good 3-4 hours what we have?
4x4 = 12 man hours worth of labor even at $10 an hour = $120

But I come out there and git'r done in just under 2 hours and y'all talking about a $500 bp blower,
try a thousand dollar push blower and still there's friction over the $60 bill because for some reason
they think it's too much, and don't tell me it ain't so lol

Bastards, they'll call me talk about the "lawn needs mowing" and I know full well the leaves are about ankle deep,
but "oh no we don't want that, just cut the grass," like yeah right, y'all mulchers I want to see your mower "mulching"
this stuff, it's so deep the skirt of the deck pushes the stuff like a plow, you ain't mulching this stuff if you spend all DAY.

So then, much headache, frustration, aggravation and many years later... :p
I have my customers, those who let me do the work without giving me too much grief and those who pay on time.
I think my prices are very fair.

Everyone else unfortunately and I hate to say it, but they can probably feel free to join the KMA club.

I agree you can't mulch the leaves when they are 3" deep over the entire yard especially when the beds, patio, driveway leaves are blown out to be mulched too. It would leave a thick mulch layer over the whole yard. If the leaves are only thick in a couple of areas a thick mulched leaf layer can be easily dispersed with a blower or blown under shrubs or woods if nearby.

Leaf mulching for heavily wooded lots has to be done over several visits- that's the key. Not only are there less leaves to mulch per visit but easier too because they are not matted to each other and to the bare spots on the ground. Much easier to move them with a blower too.

Leaf mulching can be done with your regular mowing customers, it doesn't pay to run a ad for it as everyone will wait till the end of the season to call. By then unless they have few trees and their neighbors do too it's too much to mulch all at once. If they waited too late expensive leaf removal is their only option. In my area a heavily wooded 1 acre lot end of season leaf clean-up mostly runs $1000 or more. Unless you know a farm that will take your leaves there's no free dumping around here.

Darryl G
11-17-2010, 08:27 AM
I do spring and fall cleanups on all properties I service unless it is clearly not necesary or the customer makes other arrangements and informs me of them in advance. I bill hourly with a one hour minimum.

I have three customers who do some or all of it themselves. Bascially I don't mind some help but it's my responsibilty to do the cleanups and it is stated as such in my agreements. If I show up for a mow and it's not done, I'm going to do it and charge accordingly.