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antl160527
07-13-2012, 07:53 PM
i am located in North NJ. How do you guys price leaf cleanups in the fall. Do you charge by the hour or do you give a set price for the whole job? Each of my customers are asking me to start quoting a price for leaf cleanup. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Tony

DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING
07-13-2012, 09:14 PM
We price by the job. We will estimate our time and give them a set price.
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blakescape
07-13-2012, 09:36 PM
Everyone has there own way of bidding, but I dont give out any prices until I see the leaves on the ground ready for cleanup. The reason is that we have clients that wait until late in the season so that they only pay for one cleanup. If they want a set price then I will contract with them to do 2-3 cleanups in the seasons at a set price per cleanup.
Also, I would never charge by the hour, but thats just me. Some companies do it when they want a lot of work and don't have time to bid on every single leaf job. I invested a lot of money in a 84hp diesel leaf vacuum last year to speed up work but that should be to my benefit only. If a client wanted to pay by the hour then I would have bought a 12hp vacuum instead.

Smallaxe
07-14-2012, 07:07 AM
I always price by the hour... I do the job once and come back in 2 weeks and do it again, then again 2 weeks after that and it is always a different situation, so pricing the job doesn't make sense... I never tell the hourly rate, becuz they go nuts about that, I just say we could probably keep it UNDER $XXX.XX first time around and it should be even less on the followup...

antl160527
07-14-2012, 07:12 AM
If by the hour, is $40 per hour a far price, or am I undercutting a lot of the other guys out there. Thanks, for all the input.

Duekster
07-14-2012, 07:13 AM
Everyone has there own way of bidding, but I dont give out any prices until I see the leaves on the ground ready for cleanup. The reason is that we have clients that wait until late in the season so that they only pay for one cleanup. If they want a set price then I will contract with them to do 2-3 cleanups in the seasons at a set price per cleanup.
Also, I would never charge by the hour, but thats just me. Some companies do it when they want a lot of work and don't have time to bid on every single leaf job. I invested a lot of money in a 84hp diesel leaf vacuum last year to speed up work but that should be to my benefit only. If a client wanted to pay by the hour then I would have bought a 12hp vacuum instead.

You are allowed to consider the cost of eq and other factors when determining your hourly rates

blakescape
07-14-2012, 09:51 AM
I always price by the hour... I do the job once and come back in 2 weeks and do it again, then again 2 weeks after that and it is always a different situation, so pricing the job doesn't make sense... I never tell the hourly rate, becuz they go nuts about that, I just say we could probably keep it UNDER $XXX.XX first time around and it should be even less on the followup...

That is a good way of bidding, but that is bidding by the job per say. Just like Dependable said above: "We price by the job. We will estimate our time and give them a set price."

If by the hour, is $40 per hour a far price, or am I undercutting a lot of the other guys out there. Thanks, for all the input.
You would have to check around your area, some landscapers post their leaf prices on their websites. I know one landscaper near me charges a minimum of $56 for travel time and the first 15 minutes. Then $47 per half hour after that for a two man crew.

You are allowed to consider the cost of eq and other factors when determining your hourly rates

You are right but I like to have an agreed upon total price before starting the job. We have some properties that have two truck loads of leaves to haul away. Our dump bed is 16ft long and our vac can pack the leaves so tight that the cube of leaves won't slide out. It would be too confusing to my clients to charge hourly for trucking, crew, dump fees, etc. Way easier to give a total price.
Two snow seasons ago I had a lady call me up to remove the snow piled up in front and behind her car. I told her my rates for bobcat work are $xxx per hour, so she said "it will only take 10mins, so do I only pay $20?" I said no way, there is a minimum charge of $xxx, I'm not going to move a $50k dollar machine for only $20 of work.
The point is, hourly rates can work, but you have to be crystal clear with your client before you start any work. Otherwise, when it comes time to paying you, they will argue with you about hours worked.
Set prices aren't perfect either, you have to be perfectly clear about what is included in the scope of work and what isn't. Some clients may think that extra work like picking up fallen branches is included in the leaf removal price when it isn't. Just discuss everything with your client when giving them a price, regardless of hourly or set price, and make sure you both are on the same page.