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View Full Version : Leaf Clean Up


clayslandscape
10-15-2012, 09:55 PM
There is a church two blocks from my business that have requested an estimate in leaf removal and also want me to begin taking care of the lawn next spring. Well, the leaf removal has me stuck... It only has 7-8 oak trees but they are VERY MATURE, extremely large trees. The good thing is they are to be dumped on the side of the street and the town picks them all up. They want them picked up in a one time deal so my typical leaf clean-ups that I do with my weekly maintenance will not be the same. I have two billy goat vacs, 2 stihl 600's, and a toro zmaster with bagger but I think this will be straight raking.

What are you all's thoughts? Thanks in Advance.

ArTurf
10-16-2012, 07:38 AM
There is a church two blocks from my business that have requested an estimate in leaf removal and also want me to begin taking care of the lawn next spring. Well, the leaf removal has me stuck... It only has 7-8 oak trees but they are VERY MATURE, extremely large trees. The good thing is they are to be dumped on the side of the street and the town picks them all up. They want them picked up in a one time deal so my typical leaf clean-ups that I do with my weekly maintenance will not be the same. I have two billy goat vacs, 2 stihl 600's, and a toro zmaster with bagger but I think this will be straight raking.

What are you all's thoughts? Thanks in Advance.

I generally will not do a "once a year" clean up if I know the leaves are going so thick they are unmanageable with the bagger. Meaning it will constantly clog & jam. I will explain to them they need to be picked up in intervals due to the clogging and possible breaking of belts. One thing you can do if the leaves are very thick is go over them with the mower without the bagger and chop them up to some degree (but not too much).

Darryl G
10-16-2012, 08:25 AM
Rake? I would use the blowers to push them into piles and then the mower to plow them to the road. You don't need a leaf plow, just drive the mower right into the pile and bulldoze them with the deck down fairly low. Some will spill off the sides but it works pretty well. Just be careful not to start a fire with leaves on your exhaust. Of course you could use tarps too and pull them with the mower. Sounds pretty straight forward to me...why would you use rakes? :hammerhead:

MOW ED
10-16-2012, 08:54 AM
As stated I would not want to do a one timer as it is worse for the lawn when the leaves sit and matt down and get wet. You will be in for a nightmare of a time doing that one and you can't even swear on the job.

Talk to them and get the job on your terms. I am not going to tell you how to price your work because you know that but I will tell you that with that equipment you can get or make a chute blocker and mulch those leaves and then bag the majority of the little pieces that are left. The volume will be greatly reduced by the mower. Contrary to popular opinion, a little bit of oak leaves is not going to tip the acid balance on the lawn. You should be able to stay seated on this job 90% of the time. Who even has a rake on their trailer anymore? Good Luck.

Darryl G
10-16-2012, 09:03 AM
I have a half of a rake (broken handle) that I use along with a plastic grain shovel for scooping up twig and nut piles. Otherwise I don't use rakes for fall cleanups.

I can't see going through the effort of grinding up and bagging leaves when the town will pick them up from the curb. I suppose it depends on how large of a property it is and how far to the curb.

I agree with the misinformation about oak leaves making a lawn acidic. When decomposed, oak leaf mulch has a nearly neutral pH.

MOW ED
10-16-2012, 02:58 PM
I just suggested the grinding if the distance is too long to push or blow them. I just did a 4 foot by 25 foot pile of wet leaves that would have been a nightmare to push or blow. I ground them up in 15 minutes and had 6 bushels of crap to pick up from it. not even a full Walker hopper. I was done in less than an hour when it would have taken me at least 3 and a bunch or blower gas.

Darryl G
10-16-2012, 07:07 PM
I agree. I call it bringing the man to the mountain instead of the mountain to the man. Flexibility and ingenuity go a long way. If you're not making progress, try something else.

clayslandscape
10-16-2012, 08:33 PM
Here is a photo of the 6 trees. The curbside is where I am standing at taking the picture.

Darryl G
10-16-2012, 08:51 PM
I'm not very good at standing on my head!

I would defintely want to break that up into 2 or 3 cleanups. I'd explain to them that it's not good for the lawn to get smothered for weeks and to let the leaves get wet and matted and that it will cost them less to do it a couple of times rather than all at once.

It really doesn't look that bad though. I'm sure you'll get plenty of leaves but it's not that far to move them. 2 guys on the backpack blowers could do that no problem.

clayslandscape
10-16-2012, 09:15 PM
I'm not very good at standing on my head!

I would defintely want to break that up into 2 or 3 cleanups. I'd explain to them that it's not good for the lawn to get smothered for weeks and to let the leaves get wet and matted and that it will cost them less to do it a couple of times rather than all at once.

It really doesn't look that bad though. I'm sure you'll get plenty of leaves but it's not that far to move them. 2 guys on the backpack blowers could do that no problem.

I was thinking $275 for the clean up job so would you split that in half for two different services?

Dave does lawns
10-16-2012, 09:39 PM
Here is a photo of the 6 trees. The curbside is where I am standing at taking the picture.

I know i have had some beers but where are the trees?

clayslandscape
10-16-2012, 10:28 PM
I know i have had some beers but where are the trees?

They are all around my GMC in the background.

Darryl G
10-16-2012, 11:03 PM
I like to do the getting while the getting is good, and the longer the leaves sit the more likely they're going to be wet and matted. Usually I do a "debulking" while the leaves are still falling, so at that point it's silly to get picky...just get as many leaves as you can as quickly and efficiently as you can. Then after they're down do a detailed cleanup of what remains. I really would and often do use my mower as a plow, as well as to pull tarps if I use them.

Personally I bill hourly on most of my cleanups and would bill my actual time. I will give an estimate and I do my best to stick to it, but my billing reflects what it actually required to do the job. I can't know where the leaves will end up, whether they'll be spread evenly across the lawn or all piled in corners, whether they'll be dry of wet, whether we'll get another freak October snow storm that will compact them all and mix in a ton of branches, sticks and twigs. At this point, it's really hard to know exactly what the job is. But if you're just responsible for getting them to the curb, all those things don't matter as much as if you have to haul them off too.