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View Full Version : leaf cleanups and how to price them correctly


teamgreendude
12-15-2011, 08:48 PM
Hey guys Just thought I'd share my frustration/problem with you and see if i can resolve it or not. Right now I'm a freshman in collage earning my degree in turf grass management. I also own a landscaping company that has been around for almost ten years, my question to you guys is can you make good money on leaf cleanup jobs for residential homes? I learned that I'll need more guys for next year because I can't keep the solo show going. The problem with charging $200-250 is the customer can go and find someone else to do it cheaper. I guess what I'm asking is how can the bigger companies profit of of residential leaf jobs? It's not that i don't like doing them or anything, it's just some customers expect a cleanup priced at $120-250 should cost $65. Any input would be appreciated.

Jimslawncareservice
12-15-2011, 09:06 PM
My area there is very little money made doing them. I just may do my lawn customers next year. We have guys work all day on a yard for 100. I get that in an hour. A lot of companies that have been around awhile are twice as high as I am. None of us are really that busy, not like it used to be. I used to have 2 guys with me, working from 7am til way past dark. It was the same with other companies. But oh well I hate leaves anyway.
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teamgreendude
12-15-2011, 09:29 PM
My area there is very little money made doing them. I just may do my lawn customers next year. We have guys work all day on a yard for 100. I get that in an hour. A lot of companies that have been around awhile are twice as high as I am. None of us are really that busy, not like it used to be. I used to have 2 guys with me, working from 7am til way past dark. It was the same with other companies. But oh well I hate leaves anyway.
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I totally agree with you on that, One yard i worked at today filled up my 6ft truck bed and the lady goes "can we call it $65". My dad and i were talking about it and we figured that most guys make money mowing, Fertilizing/weed control, landscaping and irrigation. I guess the leafs are a way they keep the salary guys busy? Don't get me wrong I'd love to continue doing them but now i see why some guys hate residential accounts.

32vld
12-15-2011, 09:39 PM
This fall a lawn customer asked for a price to do a clean up. Told her $366. She told me she paid $150 last year. Asked could I do better.

My response was I don't appear to be a business, but I am and have costs. If I don't cover my costs what happens when I need a new truck or anything then I'm out of business.

She said do the clean up at my price.

Thing is many people will try to bluff you to drop your price. So know your costs. Plus needed profit to stay in the black ink.

No one gets every job they quote.

Jimslawncareservice
12-15-2011, 09:41 PM
I know there are areas to make money with leaves. About 2-21/2 hours nw of me a hit does over 900 clean ups at his price. All lake homes. O have a few of them around here, not as easy as them. They are just vacation homes and they find a reliable guy and just have him year after. Now you get occupied homes who talk to locals and see guys working or news paper ads it easy for them to get A cheap price. Just go down the line.
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Jimslawncareservice
12-15-2011, 09:44 PM
I don't want every job I quote, other wise I know I'm too cheap. If I don't get any I'm too high. I like to be in 50%-65% bid win rate
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metro36
12-15-2011, 09:56 PM
For regular customers, I keep up with the leaves. I blow out the beds quick and bag the lawn. I charge about 1.5x the cost of the cut and do them every other week. Then I do a final complete cleanup once all the leaves dump. Most customers dont mind paying that. I did a few cleanups for people that weren't customers this year. I didnt really make a ton of profit on any of them. Two turned into other small jobs that will keep me busy if it doesn't snow and one turned into a weekly account. I lost money on one as I under estimated the amount of leaves. All of them were complete pita's. Next year I dont plan on advertising for them and will only take them if they are next to my regular accounts.

Anyway, I try to price $120 an hour for one time cleanups. Thats me and another guy, 2x backpacks, 8hp push blower, 18hp leaf vac and dump trailer. I also charge a disposal fee based on the amount of leaves on the property. I pretty much guesstimate that. I try to get $120 for a 15 yard load. An average property in my area fills less than half the trailer so I charge $60.

I hope that helps.

GMLC
12-15-2011, 10:00 PM
Fall clean ups are one of my most profitable services. No one wants to rake leaves up here when they are a foot deep. With the right equipment you can make some serious money. My min is $250 and usually get 3-4 yards done a day with 2 guys. Leaf loaders and blowers are a must.
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mowerbrad
12-15-2011, 10:17 PM
Fall is one of the most profitable times of year (along with spring). I pick up a few customers every fall, just to handle their leaves. Some people want me to come by every week to clean-up their lawn, others want me every couple of weeks and then there are some who just want one big clean-up at the end of the year.

I was talking with one of my fall customers this year and he was asking how many new customers I pick up every fall. He was saying how good of a deal it was for him to just pay me to do the leaves instead of him doing it every weekend. He was saying that in years past, it would take him all afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday (every week) just to keep his lawn clean. He told me that once he looked at the big picture, by paying me to come by every week, he could be spending more time doing something that he would rather do instead of doing something he dreaded.

Its really all about selling your services to the potential customer. Now, there are many people out there who just can't afford your services at all, so its not just them being cheap.

mnichols567
12-15-2011, 10:35 PM
for my local area, as long as its one of my regular customers, i charge 1.5 times my reglar mowing rate. ex $30 for regular mowing, so its $45 for me to do leaf clean up. i normally mow on a 7 day rotation in the fall with 6 to 8 weeks of leaf clean up. if my trac-vac is on the mower when im on their property they get charged for leaf clean up no matter the amount. hope this will be of some use to you or others. :)

Jimslawncareservice
12-15-2011, 10:42 PM
So you charge 45 x6 or 8?
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lawnprosteveo
12-15-2011, 10:43 PM
I have found that the more years I do leaves, the better jobs and customers I get. Most of my regular leaf customers are affluent and are more concerned who is doing the leaves than they are the price.
Even the less affluent customers I work for will stick with me once they use me and become comfortable with me.
Its just a process of weeding thru the good and not so good customers. Once you do have a good one, be sure to call them back every leaf season.

teamgreendude
12-15-2011, 11:02 PM
thanks for all the tips guys, I'm really going to charge more and not let customers talk me down on price. Hopefully next year will be better when i hire more people and maybe land some good commercial accounts.

Kelly's Landscaping
12-15-2011, 11:48 PM
I like most do clean ups for 2 reasons one my half customers expect it and two lawns stop growing end of Oct early Nov here so I got nothing else to do. But there is no comparison between income in May - August and what we settle for in fall clean up time. And the real reason is this time is short so your income reflects it. I just finished my clean ups did 21 days of them 2 were half days and we had 3 rain days off in between. So round it 20 days then we ran a 3 man crew once a 5 man crew four times and a 4 man crew the rest of the time. So a total of 83 days we charge 60 and hour so when I punched in the numbers it meant on average we had 4.66 billable hours per man per day. We took 0 lunches and worked every min that we could and that's as good as it gets. Its no wonder why I prefer spring and summer where we put in 10-12 hours a day 8 to 10 of them are billable.

My advice would be since there is so little time to make money at this time a year do not compromise on your prices.

ralph02813
12-16-2011, 12:56 AM
With a least 4 billable weeks this November I cut nearly everyone for the first couple of weeks, some not much growth but growth, I started clean up when the first leaves begin to fall, include the cost in with my regular billing.`By the end of November I was doing second and third hits which took very little time, but my regulars really like it. I only had a couple of real clean ups I am stll torn about getting into the clean up business I think working a providing more service from March to November is a better plan and more profitable.

Ijustwantausername
12-16-2011, 06:30 AM
I got $450 for a residential leaf cleanup last week. Arrived there at 730 and didnt leave till 430 with an hour lunch. Had a college guy helping til 1130. LUCKILY I was able to dump the leaves on their property since I don't have a vac yet so it was a pretty nice deal. Just had to use a 10x12 canvas tarp to pull em.

At the same time I had a guy call (family friend) who wanted leaves moved to the curb in town. They were full and hadn't been blown all year. I said 60/hr and it'll probably take 2 hours, he said "120 BUCKS?!?, I'll have to think about it." I'd bet money they are still sitting their. You can't work for free.

teamgreendude
12-16-2011, 07:24 AM
I do appreciate the tips guys but what do you do when a customer wants a $250-300 job done for $65 ? I had this happen yesterday and it filled up my 6ft bed and spent $15 to unload it. So Should i tell her in an email that It will be more?

Jimslawncareservice
12-16-2011, 07:46 AM
Price should have been discussed before starting any job. And if that was don't and they try to negotiate after, I would tell them up front equipment and disposal fees cost a lot. And they don't budge,, tell them to find some one else. If you want to work for little or nothing you could always volunteer some where or work at McDonald's or Walmart type place. Atleast there's no over head involved.
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teamgreendude
12-16-2011, 08:17 AM
yea very true, I'll send her an email today and see what i can do.

BeachysLawn
12-16-2011, 11:34 AM
I am mostly a silent observer on here as I feel you guys know a lot more about the service than I do but I have to say this, teamgreen, it is much better to call the lady than to send an email. Email is super impersonal and is an easy way of avoiding confrontation.

Darryl G
12-16-2011, 12:39 PM
One load of leaves in a 6 foot bed? That's like a tarp full, unless you've got tall side boards or they were ground up and bagged with your mower or something.

billythekid
12-16-2011, 04:45 PM
i agree with darryl you should have just tagged and bagged with the mower if thats all the leaves you did.

FinerCutslawnCare
12-17-2011, 06:32 PM
I totally agree with you on that, One yard i worked at today filled up my 6ft truck bed and the lady goes "can we call it $65". My dad and i were talking about it and we figured that most guys make money mowing, Fertilizing/weed control, landscaping and irrigation. I guess the leafs are a way they keep the salary guys busy? Don't get me wrong I'd love to continue doing them but now i see why some guys hate residential accounts.

Mowing and turf programs pay the bills, landscaping and fall/spring cleanup is big time money for us. Depends on what kind of equipment you have. These bigger companies are running debris loaders, 3-4 blowers and a couple mowers.

Andy31
12-17-2011, 09:58 PM
I do appreciate the tips guys but what do you do when a customer wants a $250-300 job done for $65 ? I had this happen yesterday and it filled up my 6ft bed and spent $15 to unload it. So Should i tell her in an email that It will be more?
Don't do it, thats what you should do if someone wants you to work for peanuts.
I agree emails serve a purpose, but I would call and explain that to her. Since you already sent an email I would give her a follow up call at least. If she is set on $65 then thank her politely and pass her up.

Darryl G
12-17-2011, 11:17 PM
I'm still wondering how one load of leaves in a 6 foot pickup bed is a $250-$300 job.

ralph02813
12-18-2011, 05:35 AM
I'm still wondering how one load of leaves in a 6 foot pickup bed is a $250-$300 job.

Darryl - geez its easy, they where silver maples, one 6ft bed equals 8 ounces of silver once melted down, at $29 an ounce you do the math!:waving::laugh::waving:

khutch
12-18-2011, 09:49 AM
Anyway, I try to price $120 an hour for one time cleanups. Thats me and another guy, 2x backpacks, 8hp push blower, 18hp leaf vac and dump trailer. I also charge a disposal fee based on the amount of leaves on the property. I pretty much guesstimate that. I try to get $120 for a 15 yard load. An average property in my area fills less than half the trailer so I charge $60.



Does that mean you are knocking them out in about 1/2 an hour?
Not bad....

khutch
12-18-2011, 09:54 AM
I got $450 for a residential leaf cleanup last week. Arrived there at 730 and didnt leave till 430 with an hour lunch. Had a college guy helping til 1130. LUCKILY I was able to dump the leaves on their property since I don't have a vac yet so it was a pretty nice deal. Just had to use a 10x12 canvas tarp to pull em.

At the same time I had a guy call (family friend) who wanted leaves moved to the curb in town. They were full and hadn't been blown all year. I said 60/hr and it'll probably take 2 hours, he said "120 BUCKS?!?, I'll have to think about it." I'd bet money they are still sitting their. You can't work for free.

Help me out on this one - $450 for 12 man hours (w/helper) comes out to about $37.50 per man hour - Not bad, but hard work.
Then you bid $60 per hour for an easier job, just blowing, no tarp work???
Seems like it should be the other way around.....

Kelly's Landscaping
12-18-2011, 10:11 AM
Ok I have a condo account that's been in play for years I get good money for the cut but anything else they try to squeeze blood from a stone. They constantly put things out to bid with out telling use. So this past month I knew from years of experience of getting beat up on our price there that I would need 1400 for the clean up. But also knew not to pursue it so sure enough the azzclown president calls up and goes why have we not got a bid from you. Because we were not asked sir, oh the management company was suppose to contact you anyways the current bid is now 900. Well we know first hand the job takes us 24-30 man hours and fills 2 leaf boxes and don't even get my started on the yards of sticks. So we told that's great we can't beat that nor will we try have nice day.

Now my little sister happens to own a condo in this place so last night I get a report on what happened. Yesterday 9 guys showed up to do the clean up and were there for 5 hours so that breaks down too 45 hours for 900. That's a mere 20 an hour of course they were not worth 60 if they work at that speed but still I bet they were wishing they got 30. What I found amusing was they hired a so called property management company this spring and they were at the clean up the entire time telling them what to do and how to do it LOL. And how did I spend my day well I am done with my clean ups so I let one of my guys borrow a back pack for his own and I invaded France playing Empire. I think I had a better day then they did.

yardguy28
12-18-2011, 10:55 AM
i strictly do residential and i make money off of them.......

i service my clients weekly, mowing up the leaves. charge them $10-$15 extra each week to do it.

first pass mulches them up a bit and the second pass collects whats left. sometimes i third pass is needed on larger properties or if the leaves happen to be thicker one week.

i can get 8-10 yards done and in my 6' truck bed at the beginning of the season. by mid season i have to empty part way through the day then again when i finished and towards the end of the season i'm back to emptying once a day.

ralph02813
12-18-2011, 02:37 PM
Ok I have a condo account that's been in play for years I get good money for the cut but anything else they try to squeeze blood from a stone. They constantly put things out to bid with out telling use. So this past month I knew from years of experience of getting beat up on our price there that I would need 1400 for the clean up. But also knew not to pursue it so sure enough the azzclown president calls up and goes why have we not got a bid from you. Because we were not asked sir, oh the management company was suppose to contact you anyways the current bid is now 900. Well we know first hand the job takes us 24-30 man hours and fills 2 leaf boxes and don't even get my started on the yards of sticks. So we told that's great we can't beat that nor will we try have nice day.

Now my little sister happens to own a condo in this place so last night I get a report on what happened. Yesterday 9 guys showed up to do the clean up and were there for 5 hours so that breaks down too 45 hours for 900. That's a mere 20 an hour of course they were not worth 60 if they work at that speed but still I bet they were wishing they got 30. What I found amusing was they hired a so called property management company this spring and they were at the clean up the entire time telling them what to do and how to do it LOL. And how did I spend my day well I am done with my clean ups so I let one of my guys borrow a back pack for his own and I invaded France playing Empire. I think I had a better day then they did.

I think you are absolutely right!!:cool2:

Turfdude
12-26-2011, 08:17 PM
In our area, most charge $35-$45/manhour. I see the signs all over 3 man crew 99 mins $99 which boils down to $21.29/manhour. Travel to/from dump and disposal is additional.

Going laborer rates around here min $10, mostly $12-$15/manhour.

Add mortgage, prop taxes, utilities, matched payroll taxes, fuel, insurance, etc... at $40/manhour, we have to keep a really tight route. We've averaged a bit over $2K/day with 6 guys all fall. It pays the bills, but doesn't set the world on fire.

We're "always so expensive", but mechanics ($85+/hr), plumbers/electricians ($125+ to come to your door), irrigation companies ($75+) are all okay because they're "skilled" labor after all. GTFO. Their laborers are not paid that much more an hour, usually not more than $20-$25/hr per employee/hr.

teamgreendude
12-29-2011, 01:19 PM
okay so there is this one very cheap customer that always bothers me, his yard is at least 8,000 sq ft. He wanted his whole property cleaned up and blow out his widow wells to. What really makes me mad is he'll try to gun my price down from $90-120 to $45!!!! He's always calling and now just left me 4 messages claiming that i blew him off. In reality I told him I could do it after January 8th, What would you guys do? This has gone on far enough!!!!

ralph02813
12-29-2011, 01:35 PM
okay so there is this one very cheap customer that always bothers me, his yard is at least 8,000 sq ft. He wanted his whole property cleaned up and blow out his widow wells to. What really makes me mad is he'll try to gun my price down from $90-120 to $45!!!! He's always calling and now just left me 4 messages claiming that i blew him off. In reality I told him I could do it after January 8th, What would you guys do? This has gone on far enough!!!!

Well when he asks me to do the job, I would tell him the price is $120 the first time he tries to bargain lower I would raise the price to $130. If is haggling after you do the work every year I would make him pay up front. I would not quote him by the hour I would quote him by the job.

Darryl G
12-29-2011, 05:23 PM
I would tell him that my minimum is $120 with on-site disposal and $150 if I have to haul the leaves off. If he complains about that I'll give him the phone numbers of 3 companies that I know have minimums of $250 or more, lol.

yardguy28
12-30-2011, 09:09 AM
okay so there is this one very cheap customer that always bothers me, his yard is at least 8,000 sq ft. He wanted his whole property cleaned up and blow out his widow wells to. What really makes me mad is he'll try to gun my price down from $90-120 to $45!!!! He's always calling and now just left me 4 messages claiming that i blew him off. In reality I told him I could do it after January 8th, What would you guys do? This has gone on far enough!!!!

personally with any service i offer the client either pays the price i quote them or they find someone else.

my prices are none negotiable PERIOD!!!

so what would i do. tell him either he pays my price or he can find someone else.

Darryl G
12-30-2011, 10:06 AM
My rates are not negotiable, but my prices are...you want to pay less, you get less.

There can be a significant difference on some of the properties I service between doing a basic cleanup and doing a detailed cleanup, and most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference...or at least the basic cleanup is all they're really looking for...they don't expect every last twig and acorn to be picked up...they just want the leaves removed so it looks tidy and their turf doesn't smother. So I can usually work around a customer's budget, as long as it's reasonable...I'll do the best I can for what they can afford. But I'm sure as hell not doing a $45 cleanup.

32vld
12-30-2011, 10:55 AM
My rates are not negotiable, but my prices are...you want to pay less, you get less.

There can be a significant difference on some of the properties I service between doing a basic cleanup and doing a detailed cleanup, and most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference...or at least the basic cleanup is all they're really looking for...they don't expect every last twig and acorn to be picked up...they just want the leaves removed so it looks tidy and their turf doesn't smother. So I can usually work around a customer's budget, as long as it's reasonable...I'll do the best I can for what they can afford.

Good advice.

yardguy28
12-30-2011, 11:27 AM
My rates are not negotiable, but my prices are...you want to pay less, you get less.

There can be a significant difference on some of the properties I service between doing a basic cleanup and doing a detailed cleanup, and most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference...or at least the basic cleanup is all they're really looking for...they don't expect every last twig and acorn to be picked up...they just want the leaves removed so it looks tidy and their turf doesn't smother. So I can usually work around a customer's budget, as long as it's reasonable...I'll do the best I can for what they can afford. But I'm sure as hell not doing a $45 cleanup.

i perfer not to do work that way. nothing against your method though.

for me there is no pay less get less.

you want a fall clean up, i do the best job i do for all my clients. same with all other services.

everyone gets the same level of quality across the board. you can't afford it or don't want to, there's a phone book full of other LCO's.

i peform the same quality of work for the doctors and lawyers i work for as the guy who works at mcdonalds or in a factory.

ralph02813
12-30-2011, 12:34 PM
i perfer not to do work that way. nothing against your method though.

for me there is no pay less get less.

you want a fall clean up, i do the best job i do for all my clients. same with all other services.

everyone gets the same level of quality across the board. you can't afford it or don't want to, there's a phone book full of other LCO's.

i peform the same quality of work for the doctors and lawyers i work for as the guy who works at mcdonalds or in a factory.

I think it really is about choice - your customers - the better the conversations are with your customers that better the service. I have had customers tell me not to go crazy, just clean up the big stuff. From the curb the property looks nice and clean, if you start walking around, you will find a twig here or there, or maybe couple of leaves, other place get out the magnifying glass, its really not a question of whether or not the are a professional or blue collar, its a matter of what they want and how they want it.

Darryl G
12-30-2011, 01:09 PM
i perfer not to do work that way. nothing against your method though.

for me there is no pay less get less.

you want a fall clean up, i do the best job i do for all my clients. same with all other services.

everyone gets the same level of quality across the board. you can't afford it or don't want to, there's a phone book full of other LCO's.

i peform the same quality of work for the doctors and lawyers i work for as the guy who works at mcdonalds or in a factory.

The way I see it, the scope of work is always negotiable.

And like Ralph said...from the curb the property looks nice and clean.

My high end properties get cleaned up meticulously, but there generally is no discussion of price on those. In fact, for most of the properties I do there is no discussion of the cleanup itself, let alone the price...I just do it and bill accordingly.

But if a customer needs to impose a budget on me, I'll do the best I can to accomodate them. I am not, however, going to do the job unless I have sufficient budget to do it in a "workman-like manner".

32vld
12-30-2011, 02:21 PM
i perfer not to do work that way. nothing against your method though.

for me there is no pay less get less.

you want a fall clean up, i do the best job i do for all my clients. same with all other services.

everyone gets the same level of quality across the board. you can't afford it or don't want to, there's a phone book full of other LCO's.

i peform the same quality of work for the doctors and lawyers i work for as the guy who works at mcdonalds or in a factory.

Boar's Head ham sells for $6.99 lb. A nice product. Christmas we bought 1 lb of Parma ham for $26.99 lb. The best. Now some may claim the Serrano is, but they don't know better, i digress.

The point is not every one can not afford the best ham to put in their antipasto. So Boar's Head is better then no ham.

Now if a LCO is booked pretty solid during fall clean up and wants to pass so pass.

Though if would take 6 hr and make $360 but the customer wants less done so he would take 4 hr and make $240 I'd say he should go for it because he would still be making the same hourly rate. Never leave money on the table.

andyslawncare
12-30-2011, 05:24 PM
I quote the jobs at $75/hr for 2 men. I estimate hours to the client, and do the job... Usually we aren't turned down. They called you because they don't want to mess with it. Of course, my charge includes the use of powerful blowers and the ultra vac on the exmark leaves the lawn spotless and my overhead and initial investment may be higher or lower than yours. If we're not receiving at least $500 per day after materials, than I may as well stay in bed.

Darryl G
12-30-2011, 05:32 PM
Boar's Head ham sells for $6.99 lb. A nice product. Christmas we bought 1 lb of Parma ham for $26.99 lb.

Wow, that's one expensive pig!!! Hmmmm...that reminds me....I wonder how my ex girlfriend Tammy is doing........

yardguy28
12-31-2011, 12:16 PM
The way I see it, the scope of work is always negotiable.

And like Ralph said...from the curb the property looks nice and clean.

My high end properties get cleaned up meticulously, but there generally is no discussion of price on those. In fact, for most of the properties I do there is no discussion of the cleanup itself, let alone the price...I just do it and bill accordingly.

But if a customer needs to impose a budget on me, I'll do the best I can to accomodate them. I am not, however, going to do the job unless I have sufficient budget to do it in a "workman-like manner".

Boar's Head ham sells for $6.99 lb. A nice product. Christmas we bought 1 lb of Parma ham for $26.99 lb. The best. Now some may claim the Serrano is, but they don't know better, i digress.

The point is not every one can not afford the best ham to put in their antipasto. So Boar's Head is better then no ham.

Now if a LCO is booked pretty solid during fall clean up and wants to pass so pass.

Though if would take 6 hr and make $360 but the customer wants less done so he would take 4 hr and make $240 I'd say he should go for it because he would still be making the same hourly rate. Never leave money on the table.


well in my business the scope of work is NEVER negotiable no matter how full i am.

either you pay the price i'm asking for the quality of work i do or you can hire someone else.

your work is a form of advertising. people driving by don't know that the client was on a budget and could only afford so much. they see what you did and judge you by that job. so i want things looking there best.

there is no, well i can only afford this much so just remove the leaves from the turf. if you can't afford to have me blow the mulch beds and remove all the leaves then hire someone else.

ralph02813
12-31-2011, 12:36 PM
well in my business the scope of work is NEVER negotiable no matter how full i am.

either you pay the price i'm asking for the quality of work i do or you can hire someone else.

your work is a form of advertising. people driving by don't know that the client was on a budget and could only afford so much. they see what you did and judge you by that job. so i want things looking there best.

there is no, well i can only afford this much so just remove the leaves from the turf. if you can't afford to have me blow the mulch beds and remove all the leaves then hire someone else.

Hold on kiddo, I think what guys are saying is that everyone tries to do the best job possible, for some folks like I said before every twig gets removed, more than once and they pay dearly, other properties, the worse they can say is, gee doesn't so and sos yard look nice.:cool2::cool2::cool2:

Darryl G
12-31-2011, 01:01 PM
well in my business the scope of work is NEVER negotiable no matter how full i am.

either you pay the price i'm asking for the quality of work i do or you can hire someone else.

your work is a form of advertising. people driving by don't know that the client was on a budget and could only afford so much. they see what you did and judge you by that job. so i want things looking there best.

there is no, well i can only afford this much so just remove the leaves from the turf. if you can't afford to have me blow the mulch beds and remove all the leaves then hire someone else.

Wow...makes me wonder if you even know what a scope of work is!

The customer is the one that defines the scope of work...the contractor is the one that executes it.

There are always judgement calls to be made when servicing a property...different standards that can be applied. Is the standard getting every last leaf out of the Pachysandra...getting on your hands and knees and picking them out...or is it getting the majority of them out so that it looks neat, tidy and professionally maintained? Do you hand pick every leaf out of the lawn thats been pulled into a wormhole. Do you get every last piece of pinestraw? Remove every last acorn? There needs to be a finite endpoint. There has to be a point where you say "well that looks good."

Did you even read what I wrote...the place will look neat and tidy...not everyone is looking for their yard to be perfect. Maybe what I consider a quickie low budget cleanup exceeds your best work...who knows.

Give the people what they want! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGcwpJgge6g

yardguy28
12-31-2011, 03:37 PM
my point gentlemen is that i don't have various qualities of work i do.

if my quality is to get every acorn, every piece of pine straw, hand pick every leave off the property, thats what everyone gets.

in my business there is no changing that for me. you can't pay me to just get the majority of leaves. i won't do it.

if you hire me to do a fall clean up, every single leaf will be gone. and the price i give will be appropriate for that.

if you hire me to mow. i will always mow, trim, edge and blow. there is no getting the price down if i don't trim or if i don't edge.

i'm not that flexible. its my choice for my business. your not the first to question me on it. i've turned away plenty of work because i wanted to do more than what the client could afford.

i've people try and hire me for bi weekly mowings and get a cheaper price if i just leave the clippings lay, i've had people try and get me to just mow up the leaves and leave the bed alone or mulch the leaves and not worry about hauling them away.

either you get my services the way i do them or you don't get them. if you want a fall clean up, you get the whole package, every leave removed out of every shrub, hole, etc. if you want mowing you get a perfectly cut yard, no clumps or grass clippings laying around afterward, everything trimmed and edged.

my work is not negotiable. there are no levels of quality. one level of quality for everyone.

124 Spider
01-04-2012, 08:02 PM
In our area, most charge $35-$45/manhour. I see the signs all over 3 man crew 99 mins $99 which boils down to $21.29/manhour. Travel to/from dump and disposal is additional.

Going laborer rates around here min $10, mostly $12-$15/manhour.

Add mortgage, prop taxes, utilities, matched payroll taxes, fuel, insurance, etc... at $40/manhour, we have to keep a really tight route. We've averaged a bit over $2K/day with 6 guys all fall. It pays the bills, but doesn't set the world on fire.

We're "always so expensive", but mechanics ($85+/hr), plumbers/electricians ($125+ to come to your door), irrigation companies ($75+) are all okay because they're "skilled" labor after all. GTFO. Their laborers are not paid that much more an hour, usually not more than $20-$25/hr per employee/hr.

AMEN!!!!:clapping:
I keep a laptop and printer in the back seat of the truck to give instant quotes. I recently had a leaf clean-up and the guy baulked at the price. I had originally set up quickbooks to itemize labor, gas, transit(to County dump), estimated cost of the dump, consumables and Uncle Sam's Taxes. After all was said and done he took the bid. He is now a recurring customer with no questions asked (even get a xmas bonus from him.). Some customers get sticker shock. I am not high on my prices but I need to earn a living. The customer only sees the price. They do not realize the labor involved nor do they respect the trade. If you set the down and make them realize that "yes" if they did it themselves it would only be a short ride to the dump and $35. But it would take up almost there whole weekend and then some. So in the end how much is two @ss breaking days worth to them? 9 out of 10 Go for the guy that comes in with a crew and the proper equipment and knocks it out in a few hours!! P.S. tarps and dump trailer rule in fall cleanups! Sorry about the rant but this thread pinched a nerve! I need a beer!!!! Good luck to you guys out there!!

FoghornLeghorn
01-04-2012, 08:15 PM
if you hire me to do a fall clean up, every single leaf will be gone. and the price i give will be appropriate for that.

if you hire me to mow. i will always mow, trim, edge and blow. there is no getting the price down if i don't trim or if i don't edge.

either you get my services the way i do them or you don't get them. if you want a fall clean up, you get the whole package, every leave removed out of every shrub, hole, etc. if you want mowing you get a perfectly cut yard, no clumps or grass clippings laying around afterward, everything trimmed and edged.
.

I don't think you read what you type before you hit submit. "Every single leaf"??? And what's an "appropriate" price to remove "every single leaf" from a 0.5 acre property? For me, it would be about $4,000.00 to make sure every single leaf was removed.

Come on, that just sounds ridiculous.

yardguy28
01-04-2012, 08:26 PM
I don't think you read what you type before you hit submit. "Every single leaf"??? And what's an "appropriate" price to remove "every single leaf" from a 0.5 acre property? For me, it would be about $4,000.00 to make sure every single leaf was removed.

Come on, that just sounds ridiculous.

the point was there is no inbetween work for me.

the discussion was that some people will do a certain degree of work based on what a client can afford. for example. maybe a client says they want there leaves cleaned up and can only afford $200. the guy will do what can be done for $200, if thats leaving some leaves here and there so be it.

i don't work that. you want a fall clean up it's "x" amount. if your reply is you can't afford "x" amount what will "w" amount get me, i leave. because "w" amount won't get you anything from me.

either i do it all, or i don't do any of it.

Darryl G
01-04-2012, 10:31 PM
Yeah...he'll get every single leaf but won't cut the dead flower heads off...I recall that from another thread :p

yardguy28
01-05-2012, 10:34 AM
i don't recall that from another thread.....

i just do what i'm hired to do. if someone hires me to remove the leaves, that what i do. nothing more, nothing less.

if you want more you need to let me know before the work and price is agreed upon.

Darryl G
01-05-2012, 01:28 PM
Here's a reminder. I sometimes wonder if you make this stuff as you go because what you say is inconsistent and you can't seem to remember what you say. If you truly have policies and do things the same way every time, I would think your replies would consistently reflect they same mode of operation.

i know depending on the location, not every is ok with just mulching the leaves up and leaving them lay.

in my neck of the woods leaves get removed from the property. either by mowing them up with a mower and grass catcher or blowing them in a pile and loading them on a trailer.



i don't include prunning in my fall clean ups. my fall clean ups strictly consist of removing the leaves from the entire property. prunning is done seperate and at another time.

but yes i would turn down a job depending on how long it was going to take. i don't like to be at one property all day or even half a day. depending on what the work actually is, if i can't get in and out in 4 hours or less, i don't want the job.

i'll throw mulch for up to 4 hours max and i'll prune shrubs for 4 hours max. mowing is a different story. i will not mow for 4 hours and i'm not just talking about the actually mowing part, i'm including trimming, blowing and edging as well. i will not service a property that requires me to be there for 4 hours or more each week.

yardguy28
01-05-2012, 03:31 PM
Here's a reminder. I sometimes wonder if you make this stuff as you go because what you say is inconsistent and you can't seem to remember what you say. If you truly have policies and do things the same way every time, I would think your replies would consistently reflect they same mode of operation.

well darryl yes what you highlighted in red is true and not made up as i go.

if you call up and ask for a fall or spring clean up all that includes is the leaves removed out of the mulch beds, bushes, flowers and leaves removed from the turf.

you want shrubs pruned or dead heads removed from the flowers, you need to specify that with me before i give a price and do the work.

i know some guys include more than just removing leaves in there spring and fall clean ups. its all stuff i will do but not unless asked.

if all you do is ask for a fall clean up and i give you a price and you hire me all your going to get is the leaves removed.

Kelly's Landscaping
01-05-2012, 07:00 PM
I am assuming sticks are included in that generalization on what is and isn't included in a fall clean up. I agree about the pruning that's not something we typically do in fall but for other reasons as well. We have so much equipment with us for clean ups there really isn't a safe place to keep hedge trimming stuff so the risk of it getting damaged is much higher then we would like. I do carry a small 24 inch set of hs 45s for cutting down decorative grasses on a hand full of accounts but extension trimmers are something I prefer to leave at home. So for us its the wood line the beds the small stuff imbedded in the lawns. And any sticks or leaves in those areas are our problem. Now if its dump on site they get put there if its take off site well then we get to pay to dump it. And while we deal with 200-500 shredded yards of leaves each fall we also remove 50 yards worth of sticks. Which sucks because it isn't enough to justify a wood chipper but its more then enough to feel it at 10 dollars a yard to dump sticks.

Darryl G
01-05-2012, 07:19 PM
I was referring to dead heading flowers, raking out the Hostas and that type of thing. I just think it's kind of silly to pick up every leaf and leave the beds a brown ugly dead headed mess...that's all. I do a lot of the dead flower heads with an extended hedge trimmer...just takes a minute. But to come back and do that another time and/or only if the customer specifically requests it is just silly to me. Now if it's something requiring a lot of time then sure, I'll check with the customer first.

Darryl G
01-05-2012, 07:36 PM
i don't recall that from another thread.....

i just do what i'm hired to do. if someone hires me to remove the leaves, that what i do. nothing more, nothing less.

if you want more you need to let me know before the work and price is agreed upon.

But, but, but...that would be negotiating the scope of work, and you said the scope of work is never negotiable.

You're like a moving target dude!

DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING
01-05-2012, 07:46 PM
Play nice.
Posted via Mobile Device

Darryl G
01-05-2012, 08:25 PM
I am playing nice :P Now if I typed what I was really thinking...hehe.

Green Industry Pro
01-06-2012, 02:19 PM
Ok I have a condo account that's been in play for years I get good money for the cut but anything else they try to squeeze blood from a stone. They constantly put things out to bid with out telling use. So this past month I knew from years of experience of getting beat up on our price there that I would need 1400 for the clean up. But also knew not to pursue it so sure enough the azzclown president calls up and goes why have we not got a bid from you. Because we were not asked sir, oh the management company was suppose to contact you anyways the current bid is now 900. Well we know first hand the job takes us 24-30 man hours and fills 2 leaf boxes and don't even get my started on the yards of sticks. So we told that's great we can't beat that nor will we try have nice day.

Now my little sister happens to own a condo in this place so last night I get a report on what happened. Yesterday 9 guys showed up to do the clean up and were there for 5 hours so that breaks down too 45 hours for 900. That's a mere 20 an hour of course they were not worth 60 if they work at that speed but still I bet they were wishing they got 30. What I found amusing was they hired a so called property management company this spring and they were at the clean up the entire time telling them what to do and how to do it LOL. And how did I spend my day well I am done with my clean ups so I let one of my guys borrow a back pack for his own and I invaded France playing Empire. I think I had a better day then they did.

I absolutely agree! Way to go man!:usflag:

yardguy28
01-07-2012, 08:58 AM
But, but, but...that would be negotiating the scope of work, and you said the scope of work is never negotiable.

You're like a moving target dude!

Play nice.
Posted via Mobile Device

no darryl's right, i think he got me on that one.

it's a gray area i'm thinking....

my scope of work is not negotiable in the sense that i won't do less than what my services already are just so the client can afford me. like mowing. when you hire me for mowing i will always trim, edge, mow, blow and if needed bag the clippings. there is no, skip the trimming or skip the bagging and charge me less.

when you hire me to do a fall clean up. i remove all leaves from the property. there is no, leave the leaves in the mulch beds or don't worry about this section here and charge me less.

but yes darryl is right. he got me on that one. but as far as it being silly to remove dead heads or rake out hostas. well some clients just get the basic service from me. not all my clients are full service clients. some either take care of that stuff themselves or they let it go.

while my services are "all or nothing", i do offer service packages. basic or premium.

DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING
01-07-2012, 03:45 PM
Boy looks like a good hug coming up. Two people on lawnsite actually came to a compromise without calling each names. Good luck to all this upcoming season.
Greg
Posted via Mobile Device

gonewiththeleaves
01-07-2012, 09:33 PM
Hey guys Just thought I'd share my frustration/problem with you and see if i can resolve it or not. Right now I'm a freshman in collage earning my degree in turf grass management. I also own a landscaping company that has been around for almost ten years, my question to you guys is can you make good money on leaf cleanup jobs for residential homes? I learned that I'll need more guys for next year because I can't keep the solo show going. The problem with charging $200-250 is the customer can go and find someone else to do it cheaper. I guess what I'm asking is how can the bigger companies profit of of residential leaf jobs? It's not that i don't like doing them or anything, it's just some customers expect a cleanup priced at $120-250 should cost $65. Any input would be appreciated.

Happy new year,
this was my second yr at leaf cleanup.. I was retired and took on this new endeavor... it has been great.. maybe it's the area.. my area of ct welcomed my new service and specialty.. the equipment that I invested in needed a lot of modifications and if I wasn't handy , it would be a problem... Giant Vac was no help.. and the distributor shouldn't be allowed to be in busness.
but I survived them and am doing fine.. I have over 50 accounts already and it's a great business for me as a retired business owner

lawn care St. Cloud, MN
01-25-2012, 12:21 AM
Doing weekly fall cleanups is the way to go with customers instead of doing one final cleanup..Charging rates for weekly cleanups are usually 10-15 dollars more than the weekly mowing price or 20-25% more than the weekly mowing price.

LawnXperts St. Cloud, MN http://www.saintcloudlawncare.com

Kelly's Landscaping
01-25-2012, 11:36 AM
Doing weekly fall cleanups is the way to go with customers instead of doing one final cleanup..Charging rates for weekly cleanups are usually 10-15 dollars more than the weekly mowing price or 20-25% more than the weekly mowing price.

LawnXperts St. Cloud, MN http://www.saintcloudlawncare.com

Doesn't work here the cut times increase significantly the last 2 weeks of Oct. And even with the skipped crab grass lawns the 190 accounts we do that takes about 3.5 days starts to take 5-6 days by the last week of Oct. But that's with skipping 50-80 of them now by Nov those numbers would take 10-14 days to get through the list once. And the Second pass even worse and the 3rd even worse then that. So lets assume its 35 dollar lawn cut and I get 3 more cuts in plus 15 extra. That's only 150 dollars but our average is 250-300 per clean up. The income hit to our bottom line would be unacceptable. Plus final fall clean ups are what people expect here to show up when the trees have half their leaves only serves to set allot of people off who assume they are being cheated.

yardguy28
01-25-2012, 03:25 PM
i still don't follow kelly's reasoning for not doing weekly clean ups.

the only thing i follow is the money. because i will admit sometimes you end up making less money coming a on weekly basis then if you would do 2 or 3 visits during the fall season.

personally though, i'd rather come weekly saving the client a little money because it's much easier to bag up the leaves with a grass catcher on the mower than it is to try and move weeks of leaves doing it 2 or 3 times during the season.

depending on where you live leaves can accumulate rather quickly and be pretty thick if not done on a weekly basis.

petscanning
01-25-2012, 03:30 PM
I have a customer that I do his house and his sister. She is a lawyer and a backyard full of trees. I go there and spend 4 solid hours blowing, mowing and mulching it all up. I had 10 full bags probably weighing in at 65lbs each. She asks how much which she already knows I charge $35 a hour plus 15 for dump. So I tell her 150 just to round it off. She looks at me devastated and had no clue it would cost so much and so on. I explain to the time gas, wear and tear and cost of bags and she looks at me like I'm stupid and it should have only been like 35 dollars. Most guys here charge 50 to a 100 hour. She pays me and I told her check around and let me know if I'm high.

2 weeks go by she needs it done again and she apologizes to me and tell me I'm way cheap for the area after calling around. Hell I only charge her $25 for her lawn since her brother is such a great customer.

I wouldn't pay that to have my yard cleaned up but I can also do the work myself......

Mahoney3223
02-09-2012, 07:27 AM
i still don't follow kelly's reasoning for not doing weekly clean ups.

the only thing i follow is the money. because i will admit sometimes you end up making less money coming a on weekly basis then if you would do 2 or 3 visits during the fall season.

personally though, i'd rather come weekly saving the client a little money because it's much easier to bag up the leaves with a grass catcher on the mower than it is to try and move weeks of leaves doing it 2 or 3 times during the season.

depending on where you live leaves can accumulate rather quickly and be pretty thick if not done on a weekly basis.



Bingo. Doing them bi weekly is better for me $$ wise.

yardguy28
02-09-2012, 05:41 PM
Bingo. Doing them bi weekly is better for me $$ wise.

you missed the point of my post though.

i personally choose whatever method is easiest for me. not necessarily what makes me the most money.

i could probably make the most money just coming 2 to 3 times during the fall to remove the leaves. thats probably $140 each visit.

coming weekly it takes me 3 to 4 visits to make $140.

Darryl G
02-09-2012, 10:43 PM
I don't get it....2 to 3 visits would be $140 each but 3 to 4 is $140 total? Huh?

Personally, I just keep going through my list which ends up being 2 to 3 times for each property. I just can't get around to them all weekly. A few just get a on-time cleanup.

yardguy28
02-10-2012, 10:12 AM
I don't get it....2 to 3 visits would be $140 each but 3 to 4 is $140 total? Huh?

Personally, I just keep going through my list which ends up being 2 to 3 times for each property. I just can't get around to them all weekly. A few just get a on-time cleanup.

if i just show up 2 to 3 times during the fall i charge $35 per man hour. i'm generally there 4 hours each visit, thats $140.

if i show up weekly, lets say i mow there lawn for $25 a week. i add an additional $10 to bag the leaves each week and blow out the mulch beds. thats $35 a week at 4 weeks in a month, which is $140 for the month.

theres a lot less leaves if you show up weekly, which is a lot less work. i think you've read my posts on how i do my fall clean ups on a weekly basis.

now obviously not every one of my lawns are that cheap. i have some that pay $45-$50 a week for me to come and remove the leaves. so for each client it would be different. for some clients it's cheaper to have me come weekly and for others it would probably be cheaper to have me just show up 2 or 3 times during the season to remove the leaves.

but i haven't been able to remove leaves any quicker than 4 hours on any of my properties if i just show up 2 or 3 times during the season.

ralph02813
02-10-2012, 12:22 PM
if i just show up 2 to 3 times during the fall i charge $35 per man hour. i'm generally there 4 hours each visit, thats $140.

if i show up weekly, lets say i mow there lawn for $25 a week. i add an additional $10 to bag the leaves each week and blow out the mulch beds. thats $35 a week at 4 weeks in a month, which is $140 for the month.

theres a lot less leaves if you show up weekly, which is a lot less work. i think you've read my posts on how i do my fall clean ups on a weekly basis.

now obviously not every one of my lawns are that cheap. i have some that pay $45-$50 a week for me to come and remove the leaves. so for each client it would be different. for some clients it's cheaper to have me come weekly and for others it would probably be cheaper to have me just show up 2 or 3 times during the season to remove the leaves.

but i haven't been able to remove leaves any quicker than 4 hours on any of my properties if i just show up 2 or 3 times during the season.

I do kind of the same for most clients but, and I will use you $25. customer, I only have one of those - it takes me longer to get the ferris off the truck. If I did the leaves when they started falling I would charge a minimum of 1/2 so total would be $45, if I went over the 30 minutes, I would go to the next 15 min which would be $55, full hour would be $65.00 and every 15 min increment after that.
I understand where you are coming from, but you are short changing yourself on the extra work. In my opinion if you want to stay with the $35/hr, you should set it up the way I do with a 1/2 minimum.

yardguy28
02-10-2012, 11:20 PM
guess i don't feel it's short changing myself because the way i do things i'm only there an extra 5 or 10 min. in the first place. so charging them $10 extra is a dollar a min.

Kelly's Landscaping
02-12-2012, 03:10 PM
guess i don't feel it's short changing myself because the way i do things i'm only there an extra 5 or 10 min. in the first place. so charging them $10 extra is a dollar a min.

This is why you didn't have a clue what I was talking about. They do not take an extra 5 or 10 mins here they take an extra 30 mins or more sometimes they can take an extra 2-3 hours and you just gotta run away and wait till its all down. If it was as simple as you made it out we would be doing that but its not in my location.

yardguy28
02-12-2012, 07:02 PM
This is why you didn't have a clue what I was talking about. They do not take an extra 5 or 10 mins here they take an extra 30 mins or more sometimes they can take an extra 2-3 hours and you just gotta run away and wait till its all down. If it was as simple as you made it out we would be doing that but its not in my location.

i don't know CT but i find it hard to believe that if leaves were done on a weekly basis it would take an extra 2 to 3 hours each week.

i'm talking residential properties, not commercial properties. i don't do commercial properties.

Darryl G
02-13-2012, 07:51 AM
Larger yards in my area of CT = significant amount of time for cleanups. Most of my residential accounts have lots in the 0.5 to 2 acre range because that's what the zoning regulations require, as a minimum. I do have some smaller ones down near the beach.

yardguy28
02-13-2012, 05:13 PM
Larger yards in my area of CT = significant amount of time for cleanups. Most of my residential accounts have lots in the 0.5 to 2 acre range because that's what the zoning regulations require, as a minimum. I do have some smaller ones down near the beach.

see i'm doing at most properties that have half to 1 acre. those would be my larger yards. most are smaller than that.

DOlandscape2011
02-29-2012, 12:49 AM
I used to charge by the job but It was hard to estimate the amt of leaves and degree of difficulty especially if they were wet or in spots hard to get to (takes more time) So I started charging by the hour, it really only makes sense to have a 2 man crew or more so you can minimize time and maximize pay rate. We started charging 35 per man per hour and 3 per bag although prices are going up. Leaves can be hard to estimate time, lost several times charging by the jobs so went hourly. We dont make a killing bc its a 2 man crew and we dont have a mass amt of yards but it seems to work alright make pretty good money. Hope that helps some.

petscanning
02-29-2012, 09:56 AM
Same I wont estimate by the job anymore. They always take longer than you think. My rule of thumb is whatever leaves you see there are three times as much that you don't see

DOlandscape2011
02-29-2012, 10:11 AM
Yeah exactly seems to work well for me most bigger companies charge 50 per man hr or 60 for first 15 minutes then 50 hr after that. You'll notice a lot of people will think that's a lot to pay per hr but they don't realize, so there's usually some explaining to do.
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