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DLCS
12-14-2012, 03:43 PM
What does eveyone charge for an hourly rate on leaf cleanups. This is bagging leaves and hauling away. Just curious, I know we don't give cusomers hourly rates but what is your guidline.

Darryl G
12-14-2012, 04:21 PM
What does eveyone charge for an hourly rate on leaf cleanups. This is bagging leaves and hauling away. Just curious, I know we don't give cusomers hourly rates but what is your guidline.

I do give my rates. $60/man hour plus disposal.

DLCS
12-14-2012, 05:15 PM
I do give my rates. $60/man hour plus disposal.

I'm close, $70 an hour plus disposal fee. I had a customer read me the riot act today after he got my bill for clean-up. Same price he has been paying for the last 3 years but this year he blew up about it. Said my rates are way out of touch. He has 3/4 of an acre surrounded by timber, lawn was ankle deep in leaves, took me 3 hours for cleanup. Just can't win anymore, times are so tough here that people want you to work for nothing. Just needed to vent a little. Sorry

RSK Property Maintenance
12-14-2012, 05:35 PM
i shoot for 100hr doing fall clean ups, then another 100 to haul them away, pretty standard rates in my area, probably a little cheap even, but not low balling. I'm pretty good at estimating, a i had one i bid for 250, and it took 3 hours, then another i bid for 150 and it took 50 mins, all were blow to woods, and i did those two and a third for 150 that took an hour so not a bad day but not great either. just over half a day of work with me and another guy. I think i may sell my little wonder in favor of the hurricane 314 for next year. Its gonna be a little excessive for a few jobs but i know i will need the write off, and there's only so many things i can buy, even with buying one of those, a new trailer and 3 or 4 year old truck, I still won't have much to write off....

Tharrell
12-14-2012, 07:20 PM
I'm close, $70 an hour plus disposal fee. I had a customer read me the riot act today after he got my bill for clean-up. Same price he has been paying for the last 3 years but this year he blew up about it. Said my rates are way out of touch. He has 3/4 of an acre surrounded by timber, lawn was ankle deep in leaves, took me 3 hours for cleanup. Just can't win anymore, times are so tough here that people want you to work for nothing. Just needed to vent a little. Sorry

Tell them it's union rules, they'll understand that in Il.:)

herler
12-14-2012, 07:37 PM
Normally my price is set according to the size of the job and not how long it takes as it varies depending on the equipment, realize it costs what it costs whether I use a rake or a blower doesn't really make a difference in the end the price is the same no matter how I do the work, but lets get one thing straight...

I don't bag leaves.

I don't know how much you know about categorical classifications but recycling and agriculture work close together and for starters our oceans are suffocating in garbage, my business is agricultural and we do what we can to save the environment, putting organic material inside a petrol-based product is a big no-no so no leaves inside no plastic bags, I will dispose of them properly, please.

Now, I can give you an idea about what I would charge, but I have to see the work.
Yes, the estimate is free.

yardguy28
12-14-2012, 08:56 PM
wow I better move.

going rate in my neck of the woods is $35 per man hour.

RSK Property Maintenance
12-14-2012, 09:39 PM
wow I better move.

going rate in my neck of the woods is $35 per man hour.

nope better off staying in your neck of the woods, my area is saturated with landscapers as it is, and there will probably be another 1000 or more opening up april 1st 2013 in just this half of ct. Lots of new guys think they can be a landscaper, but a lot of low ball to get work to pay for all this new equipment they just bought and they soon realize, they aren't making enough money to live....or pay for the 4.30 a gallon diesel or even 4.50 a gallon at times. It's all relative to where you live. just because someone in a different part of the country may make 150,000 to your 40,000 doesn't mean they are doing much better. I don't give a per man hour or hourly rate anyways, I actually estimate how long it might take to do the job and i give a price, I never tell a customer an hourly rate. I've lost jobs because of it, and that is fine by me.

Darryl G
12-14-2012, 09:44 PM
You never really know how a customer is going to react, even if you give them a fixed, lump sum price. I have had more than one customer claim that I was taking advantage of them when I billed them exactly what I said I would.

On the other hand, I have an account isn't all that big, 1/2 to 3/4 acre, but it has tons of mature trees, including nut trees and a big Sycamore that makes a mess with both bark and huge leaves. Lots of nooks and crannies and different yard areas. Add the hurricane mess to it (mostly sticks/twigs but a few larger branches requiring a little chain saw work) and my bill for the second service came to over $600 with tax on top of a $400 bill for the previous service. I half expected her to freak out, but I got the check yesterday with a note on it. Thank you Darryl!

DLCS
12-14-2012, 09:54 PM
It just sucks, he knew what a charge and I lost him as a customer. Certainly not everyone charges what i do in my area, some more, some less. I look at it this way, I'm here to make profit, not just a wage.

RSK Property Maintenance
12-14-2012, 10:25 PM
You never really know how a customer is going to react, even if you give them a fixed, lump sum price. I have had more than one customer claim that I was taking advantage of them when I billed them exactly what I said I would.

On the other hand, I have an account isn't all that big, 1/2 to 3/4 acre, but it has tons of mature trees, including nut trees and a big Sycamore that makes a mess with both bark and huge leaves. Lots of nooks and crannies and different yard areas. Add the hurricane mess to it (mostly sticks/twigs but a few larger branches requiring a little chain saw work) and my bill for the second service came to over $600 with tax on top of a $400 bill for the previous service. I half expected her to freak out, but I got the check yesterday with a note on it. Thank you Darryl!

I could imagine that since you are billing hourly, you probably clean all of your accounts to perfection? unlike me someone who gives a set price and really does everything in my power to go in clean up the leaves and get out within the time i had estimated or faster. I really crack that whip if we end up going over the allowed time, but when i finish on time or faster, people really are amazed at how fast and how clean everything is for the money. I go through my clean ups with speed over quality now. I used to do them with only back packs, much better job but unless you are billing hourly its not worth imo, and even if you are billing hourly I think most of my customers would feel very strongly against billing them 50 or 60 dollars per man per hour. especially when there are 2 or 3 of us on a single clean up. they would want to know how long it will take and whatever time i say they would try to hold me too it, some anyways. So i just give them a fixed price.

yardguy28
12-14-2012, 10:56 PM
nope better off staying in your neck of the woods, my area is saturated with landscapers as it is, and there will probably be another 1000 or more opening up april 1st 2013 in just this half of ct. Lots of new guys think they can be a landscaper, but a lot of low ball to get work to pay for all this new equipment they just bought and they soon realize, they aren't making enough money to live....or pay for the 4.30 a gallon diesel or even 4.50 a gallon at times. It's all relative to where you live. just because someone in a different part of the country may make 150,000 to your 40,000 doesn't mean they are doing much better. I don't give a per man hour or hourly rate anyways, I actually estimate how long it might take to do the job and i give a price, I never tell a customer an hourly rate. I've lost jobs because of it, and that is fine by me.

I know believe me I know.

I never give my rate either unless pressed and even then I try my hardest to stick with just the price I gave them take it or leave it doesn't matter what my hourly rate is.

H & M Yard Improvements
12-15-2012, 05:44 PM
I try to give just a flat rate if possible. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't! I've noticed that the customers don't care that u are trying to run a business. They just want it done cheap as possible! I had one call from someone wanting his property cleaned and he only wanted to pay $30. I told him no way and walked away and left!
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Darryl G
12-15-2012, 06:28 PM
The standard of detail I apply is based on the particular property and even different areas of the property. I am going to do it in a "workman-like" manner no matter what and I'm not going to milk it. Some properties I'll break out the shreder-vac at the end and get the last bit of leaves from corners, window wells and ground cover but on most I don't take it that far. The smaller the property the pickier I'll get, in general. Whatever standard I apply is usually more than the customer expects...most have done leaf cleanups themselves and leave a fair amount of debris behind when they rake.

RSK Property Maintenance
12-16-2012, 12:26 AM
The standard of detail I apply is based on the particular property and even different areas of the property. I am going to do it in a "workman-like" manner no matter what and I'm not going to milk it. Some properties I'll break out the shreder-vac at the end and get the last bit of leaves from corners, window wells and ground cover but on most I don't take it that far. The smaller the property the pickier I'll get, in general. Whatever standard I apply is usually more than the customer expects...most have done leaf cleanups themselves and leave a fair amount of debris behind when they rake.

I wasn't implying that are milking the fact that it is hourly, i just figured since you are being paid hourly you would get very very detailed. milking it in my opinion is working slow to get paid more. From what you have said in other threads it seems like you move at pretty quick pace. I agree with standard of detail, you can't polish a turd, to say it lightly, when a customer has a crappy lawn full of weeds, moss everywhere and just wants it cut 2x a month or less, I'm not gonna go out of my way, or even spend any extra time trying to make it look nice, I'm gonna cut it as fast as possible and trim as fast as i can walk, and blow the driveway off as fast as i can and leave. vs a nice account, i'll go a little slower so it looks nicer.

Darryl G
12-16-2012, 09:33 AM
I wasn't implying that are milking the fact that it is hourly, i just figured since you are being paid hourly you would get very very detailed. milking it in my opinion is working slow to get paid more. From what you have said in other threads it seems like you move at pretty quick pace. I agree with standard of detail, you can't polish a turd, to say it lightly, when a customer has a crappy lawn full of weeds, moss everywhere and just wants it cut 2x a month or less, I'm not gonna go out of my way, or even spend any extra time trying to make it look nice, I'm gonna cut it as fast as possible and trim as fast as i can walk, and blow the driveway off as fast as i can and leave. vs a nice account, i'll go a little slower so it looks nicer.
I just do what I think is right for the particular lawn and customer. I used to say that you can't polish a turd too...until MythBusters ruined it for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ9fy1qSFI

But this is a lot of the reason I charge my cleanups hourly. What is the standard? What is the end point of a fall cleanup? What happens when your standard and the customer's don't match? What happens when you bid it as a lump sum price and you think you're done and the customer doesn't. When billing hourly the solution is simple....fine, I'll go spend more time on it.

RSK Property Maintenance
12-16-2012, 12:07 PM
I just do what I think is right for the particular lawn and customer. I used to say that you can't polish a turd too...until MythBusters ruined it for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ9fy1qSFI

But this is a lot of the reason I charge my cleanups hourly. What is the standard? What is the end point of a fall cleanup? What happens when your standard and the customer's don't match? What happens when you bid it as a lump sum price and you think you're done and the customer doesn't. When billing hourly the solution is simple....fine, I'll go spend more time on it.

i always exceed customer expectations. always, I used to be really anal about my clean ups like I would get every single leaf out of everywhere, every little twig, acorn, nut or berry, almost every grain of sand, i used to clean my lawns to damn near perfection, then i realized I was doing too good of a job for the money i was getting paid, and over a 5 year time frame i have lightened up and go a bit faster but with the newer equipment i have i can still be very detailed and exceed the customers expectations every time.

dtford
12-16-2012, 04:36 PM
The bottom line is, this equipment and repair costs us a fortune. If Im running 2 backpacks,2 Walkers and a leaf loader, I'm charging a whole lot more than I would for 3 guys and wheel barrels. We spend a fortune for labor saving devices*(which we beat the crap out of and has to be replaced fairly regularly) so we can do more more jobs in a shorter amount of time. For a job that takes 2 guys 1 hour with thousands of dollars worth equipment as opposed to 10 hours for 2 guys with rakes,brooms and tarps. Its difficult to convey that to a customer.I'm always glad when they go off to work.

PerfectEarth
12-16-2012, 06:08 PM
Two man crew, 45.00 per man hour so 90.00/hr billed to the quarter hour + dump fee of usually 10.00-15.00. That's what we tell all our leaf calls over the phone. We do not do leaf estimates. And of all the calls this year, maybe 2 people didn't call back.

Everyone else wanted to hug us after we finished the work.

Our average bill per yard seemed to be right at 190.00 (2 hrs typically)

dtford
12-16-2012, 07:11 PM
I got no issue with that, way higher on the dump, even if in your back yard

Darryl G
12-16-2012, 08:25 PM
Two man crew, 45.00 per man hour so 90.00/hr billed to the quarter hour + dump fee of usually 10.00-15.00. That's what we tell all our leaf calls over the phone. We do not do leaf estimates. And of all the calls this year, maybe 2 people didn't call back.

Everyone else wanted to hug us after we finished the work.

Our average bill per yard seemed to be right at 190.00 (2 hrs typically)

I don't know what rates are like in your area but seeing your work and equipment it seems like you're a baragin at those rates.

BTW, how did the new leaf rig work out?

PerfectEarth
12-16-2012, 08:36 PM
I don't know what rates are like in your area but seeing your work and equipment it seems like you're a baragin at those rates.

BTW, how did the new leaf rig work out?

On our dump fees, our dump fee cost is very affordable for what we can fit into the box... we may have (6) 10-15$ dump charges in the box which is making a bit on what we pay. We're not gonna kill people on the actual dump fee.

Darryl, we are probably going to raise it a bit next year... after realizing what we can do and how fast we can do it. But with that said, there's a price comfort level that I think we are pushing and most people may shudder at any more than what we are currently charging. We just need to add volume, and we certainly can with our set-up.

...which is AWESOME by the way, thanks for asking. The box is beautiful. Taking the vac off the truck tailgate to go to the dump isn't bad at all. And no complaints about a new Billy Goat.

Darryl G
12-16-2012, 08:43 PM
I don't know...seems like you're selling yourself short to me to be honest...but again I don't know your area. I mean your work is damn near perfect and you seem to have great high-end customers. Usually premium quality comes with a premium price...you know.

Glad to hear the rig worked out well.

H & M Yard Improvements
12-17-2012, 06:38 PM
I just bid on the job at hand. I don't do by the hour. I also don't bag. I don't have a leaf vac yet so I line the bed of my truck with a tarp (depending on leaf volume ill layer the tarps) and haul everything away! Go to the dump and we pull the tarp off the truck. Bagging takes too long.
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Darryl G
12-17-2012, 07:09 PM
I just bid on the job at hand. I don't do by the hour. I also don't bag. I don't have a leaf vac yet so I line the bed of my truck with a tarp (depending on leaf volume ill layer the tarps) and haul everything away! Go to the dump and we pull the tarp off the truck. Bagging takes too long.
Posted via Mobile Device

Do you have an hourly rate that you use to base your bid from?

How long bagging takes depends on what you're bagging with. If you're just using a walk behind it can be very time consuming, especially if you're not mulching the leaves up first. I mulch them up first and bag them with the Lazer on most accounts. The bags can still fill up quickly, but I have yet to ever have to dump more than once in a day doing it my way (I did have to come back once to get my mower). I have one account that I have to do with a walk behind and I put a 60 gallon green barrel on top of the mower deck to dump into so I don't have to run out to my rig as often.

The problem when you haul leaves in bulk is that you really can't fit that many per load, and it can take a while to load and stomp them down and all. Running to dump my load and get back would take about a half hour, time that I could be working. I don't like leaving my tools on a job site either, so I'd have to load them all up too before leaving and then unload when I get back...just too much time mobilizing/demobilzing and traveling to me. My dump has very limited hours too....Mon, Wed and Sat 8:30 to 3:00.

It's nice to be aware of all the different methods, but I think we all end up doing what is best with the accounts, equipment and labor resources we have. What works for one may not work for another. I do agree that the layered tarp trick works well if you don't have a dump truck or trailer, but I find pushing a button is faster and easier :)

dtford
12-17-2012, 08:28 PM
Ok, the guys who've been doing this for a while, sometimes we forget when we first started out, we were all lugging tarps. We would go to Alaska to mow a lawn.*(obviously kidding, but you know what I mean) Everything's a process. If you're a guy doing it on the side, this isnt for you. If you're serious, take it one step at a time. Don't go out and buy the $65,000 bad ass truck to let everyone know how great you're doing,and have mowers that are 20 years old. I've been doing this for 25 years, get a good truck,trailer and good mowers,keep your debt as low as you can. Over time, *(if you're any good at this) you buy this this piece of equipment, the next piece, then who knows. I walked behind a mower for 15 years before i bought a Walker. Patience is key. Don't get married, kids, until you're established. You and your girl save every penny, don't take vacations,hunker down and save your dough.Work your ass off, good things will come
Just ones mans view.
Good luck

Florida Gardener
12-17-2012, 08:36 PM
On our dump fees, our dump fee cost is very affordable for what we can fit into the box... we may have (6) 10-15$ dump charges in the box which is making a bit on what we pay. We're not gonna kill people on the actual dump fee.

Darryl, we are probably going to raise it a bit next year... after realizing what we can do and how fast we can do it. But with that said, there's a price comfort level that I think we are pushing and most people may shudder at any more than what we are currently charging. We just need to add volume, and we certainly can with our set-up.

...which is AWESOME by the way, thanks for asking. The box is beautiful. Taking the vac off the truck tailgate to go to the dump isn't bad at all. And no complaints about a new Billy Goat.
I don't hit people on the dump fees either. I mean, I charge for time and fuel, but if the actual fee is $10 for example, I charge the client $10 plus time and gas. I don't think your rates are too low at all. I don't know where you live, but it's not like collecting leaves is rocket science. I know there are expensive machines involved, but if you account for that cost along with the rest, what's wrong with your rates?
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H & M Yard Improvements
12-18-2012, 11:01 AM
Do you have an hourly rate that you use to base your bid from?

Yes I do have an hourly bid that I base my bids from. I just figure how many hours it may take. Sometimes I'll add an extra hour or 2 when I bid depending on the property just to play it safe. My first year (last year) I shot myself in the foot on several clean ups. This year was a lot better.

How long bagging takes depends on what you're bagging with. If you're just using a walk behind it can be very time consuming, especially if you're not mulching the leaves up first. I mulch them up first and bag them with the Lazer on most accounts. The bags can still fill up quickly, but I have yet to ever have to dump more than once in a day doing it my way (I did have to come back once to get my mower). I have one account that I have to do with a walk behind and I put a 60 gallon green barrel on top of the mower deck to dump into so I don't have to run out to my rig as often.

The problem when you haul leaves in bulk is that you really can't fit that many per load, and it can take a while to load and stomp them down and all. Running to dump my load and get back would take about a half hour, time that I could be working. I don't like leaving my tools on a job site either, so I'd have to load them all up too before leaving and then unload when I get back...just too much time mobilizing/demobilzing and traveling to me. My dump has very limited hours too....Mon, Wed and Sat 8:30 to 3:00.

It's nice to be aware of all the different methods, but I think we all end up doing what is best with the accounts, equipment and labor resources we have. What works for one may not work for another. I do agree that the layered tarp trick works well if you don't have a dump truck or trailer, but I find pushing a button is faster and easier :)

The layered tarps thing was something that I saw someone post here on Lawn Site last season and I tried it. I couldn't believe how much time it saved me and how much more money I made compared to last year. I am currently averaging about $400-$600 a day. Much more than last year.

The dump in my area is open Monday-Friday 7am-2:30pm & Saturday 7am-12pm. I'll load my truck even after the dump closes and dump my load first thing in the morning and then meet my guys at the job site.
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TuffWork
12-25-2012, 12:44 PM
Yikes, I only charge $30 per man hour here, and I still get balked at. I have to go through a whole spiel about how quick we are, but yet thorough at the same time to get people to pay that. That $30 includes a 8.25% sales tax that I back out as well.

However, the cost of living here is very very very low. One of the lowest in the country. For example, the apartments here are $400-$500 a month for a one bedroom - bills paid. Even a pack of smokes is still 6 or 7 bucks.

Much of the demographic here is elderly. Which means they still expect pricing from the 70s. I could make more money counting dimes if I got one for every time I heard the words "fixed income".

It's not all that bad. With a few guys to work for me and the right equipment I can still make a pretty good living. Also, drive time is not bad at all. So some times we can hit many properties in a day, and the high end ones want it done several times to keep the clean look. So we get to come by and spend less time than we do mowing but still charge a little more than we do for an average mow. (usually based on the perception that if they were doing it with a trash can and rake it would take much longer)

Last thing I have to add is that we get to dump in large trash bins that are placed in the alley every couple of houses. We can usually fit a TON of leaves in one, and rarely fill up two after they are good and mulched/shredded.

Darryl G
12-25-2012, 09:21 PM
That's pretty cool about the trash bins for leaves...never seen or heard of that.

agent walker
12-25-2012, 10:21 PM
I try to get $105/hr for 2 man crew. Which probably isnt enough for the equipment i have , but people sure dont wanna pay much to have there leaves cleaned up! I have 10k in a dump truck and leaf loader i use almost exclusively for leaf cleanup. And i usually run 1 Walker and a backpack blower. We do try to be as fast an efficient as possible . Wish i had more accounts for leaf cleanup to make the investment more worthwhile, tho i no the reason i have kept some customers is because i do leaf removal when a lot of others dont

yardguy28
12-26-2012, 07:15 AM
yeah mulching the leaves up first is a GREAT space safer.

I have a 6 foot bed and I can fit roughly 8 houses worth of leaves in it at the beginning of the season doing them weekly.

by the middle I have to empty the truck twice a day and by the end I'm back to emptying once a day.

next fall I'm gonna talk more people into letting me dump at the curb. our city picks leaves up twice during the fall season and tax payer dollars pay for that. so they might as well get that benefit.

Smallaxe
12-26-2012, 09:28 AM
That is the biggest drawback to investing in that much equipment... there is generally not enough money in it to expect an adequate return...
Sometimes by going larger you price yourself right out of the market...