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matt_e_o
11-04-2012, 05:21 PM
Hey everyone!

This is my first post here on the forums! My name is Matt and I'm a teenager, this was my first year starting up my lawn business. I mowed lawns in my neighborhood. The lawns are around 1/3 of an acre and I charged $30, and for bigger lawns up to $45. But now it's leaf season and I could use some tips. I have done some research about pricing and stuff, and saw some people charge $60 an hour for them selves and their equipment plus $30 per hour extra for each helper. Others have said to charge 3-4 times what they would charge to mow. But no one has said how often the do leaf clean up!

How much should I charge if people want a weekly clean up? or if they just call when ever they want there leaves cleaned up. And how often do YOU guys do leaf clean up? I know some of these big companies just come once or twice with their big truck mounted leaf vacs and charge around $200.

I have done one customer's/neighbor's (shes right across the street) leaves once a week and get $30 to $40 each visit. But now other people are starting to ask me what I charge and I don't really know what to tell them!

I have a lawn tractor with a mulching kit and also a bager attachment. I have 2 push mowers with mulching blades. I have a back back blower.

The way I was planning to clean up the leaves would be to plow out all the flower beds and get all the leaves into the yard then mulch them up and then mow back over them with a bager, that's how i did it for my neighbor/customer so far and it takes me 1.5-2hrs.

Thanks guys! :):)

Curtis
11-04-2012, 06:21 PM
Leaves are hard dirty work. If it takes you 2 hours I would charge more than 30 each time. You know what your market will bear as far as price. Don't under price yourself those people will take advantage of you . Plus your equipment will take a beating and you need that revenue to pay for belts and blades.

matt_e_o
11-04-2012, 07:08 PM
What about 45$ an hour and $15 for each additional person per hour? Ya leaf clean up is a lot more work then a simple mow...
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matt_e_o
11-04-2012, 07:22 PM
Actually considering the only expenses that I have are the ones that go into my business (I don't have to pay rent as I live at Home with my parents) I think 35$ for me and my equipment per hour and 15$ for each additional person.
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davidslawncare
11-04-2012, 07:26 PM
Consider a per-min charge. I charge $1.50 a min but that's with two backpacks two commercial ZTR's and help. Or do a per hour and just pro-rate the difference. U have to decide what you want to make an hour after ALL expenses and base your price on that. Hope this helps

ArTurf
11-04-2012, 08:53 PM
Leaves take many times the work of just mowing. Each yard is different, depends on the amount of trees and etc. It is very easy to screw yourself if you don't know how to estimate, I know I did early on. Warning, people will take advantage of teenagers and people with little business experience. I really can't give you a number without being in your shoes.

Some advice I will give you is start running your business like you actually paid for ALL of you equipment & vehichles. Obtain a business license which is usually required by your city. Report your earnings and pay taxes. Point is run it like a legitimate business. This way you will learn how to properly run a business and the real costs. I know you probably won't do these things but if you do you will be much wiser earlier in life. Don't strive to be the person who does it for the cheapest price.

matt_e_o
11-04-2012, 09:27 PM
Leaves take many times the work of just mowing. Each yard is different, depends on the amount of trees and etc. It is very easy to screw yourself if you don't know how to estimate, I know I did early on. Warning, people will take advantage of teenagers and people with little business experience. I really can't give you a number without being in your shoes.

Some advice I will give you is start running your business like you actually paid for ALL of you equipment & vehichles. Obtain a business license which is usually required by your city. Report your earnings and pay taxes. Point is run it like a legitimate business. This way you will learn how to properly run a business and the real costs. I know you probably won't do these things but if you do you will be much wiser earlier in life. Don't strive to be the person who does it for the cheapest price.

Thanks for the reply! What I plan on doing is if this year goes well then I will get insurance, and look into a business licence and taxes. I've made more money that I had first thought. I've been keeping track off all my expenses, earnings, and wages to my business partners. I've bought all my equipment myself (used) and do the maintenance my self as well.

Like "Davideslawncare "said, I'll look at all my expenses and then work from there to see how much I want to make as profit off of that.

And as for methods of leaf removal, what do you think is the most efficient? Using the truck mounted leaf Vacs would to me be the best way but right now I can't afford anything like that right now. Any experience with mulching?

Thanks again! Posted via Mobile Device

orangemower
11-04-2012, 09:40 PM
Thanks for the reply! What I plan on doing is if this year goes well then I will get insurance, and look into a business licence and taxes. I've made more money that I had first thought. I've been keeping track off all my expenses, earnings, and wages to my business partners. I've bought all my equipment myself (used) and do the maintenance my self as well.

Like "Davideslawncare "said, I'll look at all my expenses and then work from there to see how much I want to make as profit off of that.

And as for methods of leaf removal, what do you think is the most efficient? Using the truck mounted leaf Vacs would to me be the best way but right now I can't afford anything like that right now. Any experience with mulching?

Thanks again! Posted via Mobile Device

Just do it the way you've been doing it and charge what you need to make per hr and estimate the hrs to do the job.

andersman02
11-04-2012, 09:45 PM
we have 3 guys going, start with either 2 or 1 guy blowing out the landscape into the yard, the third is on a walk behind mulching, we done use mulch kits for 2 reasons, 1 we bag with the walk behinds also, 2 its much easier on the mower under high amounts of leafs (you can lift the front tires)

we go over untill all the leaves are well mulched, then go over with out 60" rider and walk behind bagging them, by this time the 3rd guy either cleans up with the blower or sits in the dump waiting for us to bring the debris over

this is very effecient for us, i cant see how anyone can just tarp leaves into trucks without mulching or using a leaf vac

next year we plan on getting a leaf vac, to be honest there are only a few places where this will be more efficient but it will pack better in the dump

Point is, for you i would mulch the leaves first, then go over just like you were mowing, leaving stripes and what not

price wise we charge a minimum of 330 to come twice
it works out to be around $50/mh, although this year we started late so most of the leaves were down 1st round, 2nd round should be 2x faster

i know some people just continue to mow and bag every week but i dont like this concept as the grass wont be growing and its easier to damage the lawn by mowing when its not growin

tammguzm
11-04-2012, 11:49 PM
Ya leaf clean up is a lot more work then a simple mow

ArTurf
11-05-2012, 06:54 AM
Thanks for the reply! What I plan on doing is if this year goes well then I will get insurance, and look into a business licence and taxes. I've made more money that I had first thought. I've been keeping track off all my expenses, earnings, and wages to my business partners. I've bought all my equipment myself (used) and do the maintenance my self as well.

Like "Davideslawncare "said, I'll look at all my expenses and then work from there to see how much I want to make as profit off of that.

And as for methods of leaf removal, what do you think is the most efficient? Using the truck mounted leaf Vacs would to me be the best way but right now I can't afford anything like that right now. Any experience with mulching?

Thanks again! Posted via Mobile Device

The way you are doing it is the good given the equipment you have. That is the way I did starting out. I now use a mower with a dump-from-seat system with a debris loader on a dump bed truck which is way more efficient but this is a HUGE investment.

STIHL GUY
11-05-2012, 09:02 AM
I would charge by the hour to make sure your getting paid enough for the time you spend there...leaves are a lot of work so make sure you charge enough
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GreenBlade
11-05-2012, 06:38 PM
I charge $80/hr. The city picks up leaves here, but when they want them bagged it's an additional $1/bag.

I have yet to find the BEST way to do leaf jobs. If I get enough jobs I will probably purchase a used leaf vac I found for $800. I have a job coming up tomorrow that has a lot of roots & I don't know if I'm going to take the mower in there. Will be mostly blowing & raking :hammerhead: