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View Full Version : What % of us do 'real' fall cleanups?


GarPA
11-06-2002, 03:28 AM
Was wondering if any of you have a rough idea of the % of us who offer actual leaf removal...as opposed to just mowing them over. I've talked to 3 guys here in my area who choose not to do it...2 of them said it was because they have long since reduced their staff so they cant handle it...I'm guessing its at least 50%?

When I say "us" I'm referring to the number of companies listed in a phone book who do lawn maintenace...rather than just those of us here on LS since it seems most of us on this site offer this service...hope this isn't too confusing

ranger520
11-06-2002, 04:30 AM
I choose to remove them. Alot of my customers do not have a heavey enough turf to take mulched up leaves. Also to mulch a large amount of leaves, it seems that you have to run them over many times where as I can go over them once and bag them, and I am out of there. The gators alone seem to reduce the leaves to about 1/5 while I am bagging.

scott

GarPA
11-06-2002, 05:59 AM
my question is fuzzy I'm afraid...what I'm trying to get a sense of is not if each of us to this work, but based on your experience in your market, what % of your competion also offer this service.

I have never done it so I'm trying to get a sense 'supply and demand' if you get my drift...thanks

John Gamba
11-06-2002, 06:33 AM
In Connecticut i think Most remove the leaves out Of habit. I've Been working on mulching them for about two years. with the new mowers with higher blade speed and baffling It is Making it easyer to do. if you go into a property With the mulching kit on and Mulch the leaves then come back later and bag, then you will see a big difference in the amount you take away.
Or If You at Least run them over Onces You will get more In the hopper And they Will decompose faster. They do help the lawn with food they need.
John

jeffyr
11-06-2002, 06:51 AM
100% "Real" fall cleanup.
Everyone I see in my area does the real deal on a 7-10 day basis throughout the fall until the leaves are done. 2 backpacks and 1 or 2 ground blowers are the average on a fall cleanup crew here.

jeffyr

The Mowerdude
11-06-2002, 06:52 AM
Kitzy

In my area, my honest guess would be around 25% do what I would call "seroius" leaf removal. Or in other words, they use leaf service to try and extend the season.

However, virtually all of the LCOs in this area do at least a little. It really is a niche market because on the hand, we have so many leaves and on the other hand, no matter what system you come up with, it's hard, dirty, brutal work.

Of the 25% or so that offer the service aggresively, about 90% of them only mulch the leaves up with the mower. You can count the LCOs on one hand that try and vacuum everything the way I do. We are so absolutely buried in leaves that people are sick and tired of mulching them up. If it were moderate amounts, it would be fine, but there are thousands of yards here that are suffering from too much leaf material, ph imbalances that are off the scale and virtually none of the LCOs want to spend the money on equipment that they only use "part of the year." However, and this is kind of a side point, we've found that with the ability to haul the leaves away and a fast easy place to dump the leaves, our system is way faster than mulching. As a result we don't mulch anything. And since I charge by the hour, my cost to vacuum is less than others charge to mulch. I've actually had some customers switch from mulching to vacuuming, but some I've had to let go, because they insisted that I mulch. Since I charged the same hourly rate regardless, mulching became more money that they wanted to spend. That's not to say that mulching them up is not a good way of doing it, it's just that in order to do it my way, you have to come up with about another $10,000 worth of extra equipment.

At any rate, I do more gross sales in leaf removal in November and December than we do mowing all spring, summer and fall.

I've got around 100 customers that I only see the one time per year.

If you're trying to decide if you should make this jump, email me and I tell you how I started marketing the service.

pilotcoplawnboy
11-06-2002, 07:19 AM
What we do here in NC is to blow the leaves into one area and pick them up with out riding mower that has a enclosed trailer that is pulled behind it. The lawnmower itself has an attachment-
shoot that cuts the leaves up again after the blades and blows it into the bag. Then we just dump the leaves onto a large sheet of plastic, tie it up and leave it for the garbage people. Not the most appealing thing to have in front of your home but it sure saves us money and the clients don't care.

mdb landscaping
11-06-2002, 07:30 AM
pretty much about 100% of the competitors do fall cleanups. if you cant offer year round service, its going to be tough to hold onto customers. they arent going to let somebody mow their yard and then when fall comes tell them to find somebody else for cleanups.

AztlanLC
11-06-2002, 07:36 AM
I don't think picking up the leaves it's real fall clean up, it all depends on your propreties, even yought I have a lots of leaves usually just run over with doubles till about the grass stops growing then I go and blow leaves on every property, when i finish every house I star again I usully takes me 7 days to do that, but the amount it's way less than when I didn't mulch'em

ProMo
11-06-2002, 07:37 AM
in my lawns with a lot of leaves they get mowed into the beds i use my dc because my pos exmark tthp has to much blowout to mulch them i mow forward with the ocdc closed and reverse with it open not many make it to the bed ive never had any complaints and have had requests for oak leaves to be used as mulch

AL Inc
11-06-2002, 10:31 AM
Almost everybody here does leaf clean-up. There are a tremendous amount of trees so there is plenty of work during the months of November and December. I think that's true what MDB said, most guys offer full service to keep their customers. Mike

dr grass
11-06-2002, 10:36 AM
ill take a stab at it and say roughly 60 - 75% of the lco's in the area offer fall cleanup. i dont see how the others get away with it. i guess they have a deal with all their clients that they have to remove their own leaves!?!?!


shep :confused:

Bill Davis
11-06-2002, 11:32 AM
I would say just about everyone offers it here. I do both removal and mulching it just depends on the weather and the amount of leaves.

Randy Scott
11-06-2002, 11:48 AM
Actually, to me, "real" fall cleanups include perennial cutdown and shrub trimming. Your just talking leaf removal here, that's not my idea of fall cleanups. Anybody can remove leaves. Proper shrub trimming and perennial cutdown, and mulching the proper plants to prevent winter damage is a fall cleanup. This includes proper techniques of how to trim "opposite buds" and "alternate buds" when pruning, removing mature wood to allow the center of plants to breathe and take in sunlight. That to me is a "fall cleanup".

Also, there are so many companies in my area there is no fricken' way I'd be able to know what percentage do this work. I'd have to make bets that 99% of them do or offer it because if they don't they'd be morons. The season is short enough here to try and make a living without cutting out the last month of cleanups and leaf removal. :)

The Mowerdude
11-06-2002, 10:32 PM
Originally posted by Randy Scott
...Anybody can remove leaves.....

So, do you have many leaves up there in Wisconsin? I mean if anyone can do it, it must be really really easy. I've said this before, but we have so MANY leaves that it's very overwhelming. Also, Nashille doesn't provide any kind of curbside service for leaves. So, we've got a real niche.

[i] Also, there are so many companies in my area there is no fricken' way I'd be able to know what percentage do this work. I'd have to make bets that 99% of them do or offer it because if they don't they'd be morons. :) [/B]

The only way that I know that not many LCOs do leaf work is that I see them all summer long, but when the leaves fall, I never ever see them. I've been around here long enough that I know most by their trucks.

But I agree, they are morons if they don't offer it. I'm not sure if I understood you, though. Are YOU offering leaf removal?

gogetter
11-06-2002, 11:36 PM
Hard to say really, but I do see a walk behind blower on most trailers around here in the fall if that tells you anything.
Several trucks with leaf loaders on them.
But I don't think I could give you an accurate percentage that actually remove leaves.

I did just get a call for an estimate on leaf removal because the guys regular lawn company doesn't do leaves. :confused:

strickdad
11-07-2002, 01:54 AM
we do leaf removal and our yellow page ad indicates the same, but its not our favorite service. it is however an essential part of being a full service company..

65hoss
11-07-2002, 03:16 AM
From my experience dealing with leaf customers around here, many guys that run w/b's only do NOT do leaf cleanups. I've done several leaf jobs over the last few years for people that have someone else that cuts the grass for them. I always assumed that many people did them. But based on conversations with a friend that owns a pretty large company tells me that a good bit of his customers have problems finding someone for leaf removals. Guess where we will be in the next few weeks? Leaves are just starting to let go around here. Usually just before Thanksgiving is when it picks up for us.

GarPA
11-07-2002, 05:23 AM
thanks guys...Eric...what you said is what I'm seeing here....seems like alot of the walkbehind guys are done for the year...fine by me...I'll be humping until Xmas the way it looks....but oh I cant wait for those 8 weeks inside...oh shucks...I forgot about the snowblowing I signed up to do....hmmm...my body says it wants a break for a month or so

MOW ED
11-07-2002, 07:18 AM
I guess if a "real clean" entails leaf removal from the premesis, then I don't do a "real removal".
I used to. I used to pack a 8x14 trailer 6'+ full and haul it to the compost site. The compost site (city run-no fees) used to be open all day, every day. Some people abused the site as it wasn't staffed. Site now has limited hours so it is closed most of the time. There is no where for me to dump anymore except on the site.
The upside for me is that I tell the customer that I can remove the debris and the price is 60 per man hour for the work. I can only show up on Mon or Weds or Sat. during the fall. Or I can do the work for 40 per man hr and dump it at the curb for city pickup anytime. (not the fastest removal but it saves me time).

I have not removed any leaves further than the curb for anyone. I like it better. Less wear on me. More time for me to service more customers and really it is a major PITA to remove them without the vac and big dumper that would be needed. There are 2 companies that I have seen hauling leaves on a regular basis and they are set like LGF. These are the big hitter companies that have 5 crews out picking up and a truck and vac riding job to job picking the leaves. BTW , side note they use all Walkers.

awm
11-07-2002, 07:41 AM
i do a pretty good fall cleanup. but i dont pick a leaf up.get call backs every yr.:)
we can get away with it cause here in carolina,the leaves are not as heavy as up north;) ;) not. if u know how to do it u just dont have to pick them up. but theres nothin wrong with pickin up, if thats how u are set up. your customer probably wont let me show them the result of mulching ,because they just cant see how it can look as clean.
they ever do tho and i may have u customer.
i also agree that fall cleanup consist of a lot more than leaves.:)

Randy Scott
11-07-2002, 09:47 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by The Mowerdude
[B]So, do you have many leaves up there in Wisconsin? I mean if anyone can do it, it must be really really easy. I've said this before, but we have so MANY leaves that it's very overwhelming. Also, Nashille doesn't provide any kind of curbside service for leaves. So, we've got a real niche.

Of course we have alot of leaves here! And yes, it is really really easy if you have half a brain and the equipment. I'm not getting into a pissing match about parts of the country that have leaves 2 feet deep or not. Sounds like I don't know any more about your area as do you about mine, so trying to compare leaf amounts is foolish. I service properties that are pretty much solid oak trees and maples, they all drop their leaves and its a mess. So do your own analogy from there. All properties have the leaves removed except one, they get blown or bagged and dumped into the woods upon customer directions. None of the properties I maintain have curbside leaf pickup. Some areas in the heart of the city and villages do but not where I service.


I'm not sure if I understood you, though. Are YOU offering leaf removal?

Of course we offer leaf removal. Do I advertise JUST leaf removal? No. I only have 2 customers that are leaf removal only. The rest I was able to sell the whole package. I like the touch of properties that are freshly trimmed, cutdowns, and leaves removed.

Everybody here from what I can tell, offers every service that a maintenance provider can provide for the most part. It appears to be the only intelligable thing to do, because if you can't provide a particular service along with something you may already perform, eventually you will be replaced with someone who can and will. Not all, but most customers appear to like to work with one service. Makes it easier for eveyone. Even the guys that I think are primarily mow guys, you'll eventually see running around with a tree or shrub, or doing some cleanup or something. They don't rely solely on mowing revenue. Same with fert guys also, they do the aerating and dethatches.

greenman
11-07-2002, 09:23 PM
I would think probably 75 to 80% of the companies around here offer and do fall clean-up.

LAWNGODFATHER
11-08-2002, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by The Mowerdude

At any rate, I do more gross sales in leaf removal in November and December than we do mowing all spring, summer and fall.

I've got around 100 customers that I only see the one time per year.

Amen brother.

dschulte
11-10-2002, 05:57 PM
I do strictly retail and we do the leaves every 10 days but get the real money once the frost hits. We do a final "fall" cleanup at each site which mainly consists of garbage pickup along with other junk that laying around. Get twice the weekly mowing rate. By the way, who cares if your competition offers it or not. You offer it and if they want it great. If not, drop it from your bid.