View Full Version : How do you guys get 3-4x's the price of lawn cut for leave clean up?

10-26-2000, 08:49 PM
I look at these lawns i do and ppl want to get fall clean up. Some yards have alot of leaves some not. If i charge 40$ its very ahrd to really justify me telling them 120.00 for me to mulch up some leaves!!! Is this really how you guys do it or what guidlines do you go by? What if you have light leaf fall, what if heavy? Im stuck =(. Its kind of tricky i dont feel right telling ppl with a yard i would charge 35-40$ to cut that i want 100 for leave removal. Please give me a hand.



10-26-2000, 09:04 PM
Chris the way I explain it to my customers is that it usually takes me 2 1/2 times more to mulch up leaves than it does for a regular lawn cutting. Sometimes more sometimes a little less. Nobody seems to complain about being charged 2 to 3 times the price of a lawn cutting. Everyone I know hates leaves including myself. If your customers can afford to pay to have thier lawn cut they can afford to have a clean-up. It saves them a couple of saturday or sunday afternoons of raking and bagging. Wouldn't that be worth it to you?

10-26-2000, 10:01 PM
It will only take a couple of low bids on leaf work for you to figure out why most charge 3 to 4 times regular mowing. Alot of guys here charge flat $45 per hour plus dump fee.

10-26-2000, 10:03 PM
as for mulching i charge twice as much as i mow .as for rakeing (or blowing )bagging and or removeing i charge by the hour 35 to 45 per hour .that way either the client or myself get screwed.always work for me

10-26-2000, 10:10 PM
Early on, I gave up on quoting prices for leaf cleanup. I do the job and bill according to work/time spent. (I only do cleanup for my regular mowing customers so it makes this method easier).

Tough call them leaves. Always seems that theres more than you bargained for.

10-26-2000, 10:24 PM
If it's lawn only I only get maybe ten more bucks on a forty dollar lawn. A complete fall cleanup would warrant one twenty but "lawn only" means I'm just mowing over it twice and on a ztr that second cut is fast. We never haul leaves away from the customer's property. Crunched up leaves make good organic stuff and all of my customers are trained that it should stay on their property.

10-26-2000, 10:35 PM
We do alot of fall cleanups and found our average $40 lawn we maintain will be $65.00 for cleanup and $65.00 disposal fee if they wish for me to take off property, out of that $65.00 fee $40 is for using our equipment to haul off the leaves and the remainder $25.00 is labor to load and unload leaves! We get more and more cleanups to do up here and mulching leaves up here is almost never a option!

Premo Services
10-26-2000, 11:07 PM
We never haul leaves away from the customer's property. Crunched up leaves make good organic stuff and all of my customers are trained that it should stay on their property. [/B][/QUOTE]

"trained that it should stay on their property"
THATS GOOD,all of my customers have place to put mulched leaves, or community does curb pickup,except for two customers that insist on me hauling away, I charge a very high price for this, but they still want it done. I don`t like doing leaves, but hate to have to haul them away.On all spring and fall cleanups the charge is 35-45 per hour,either by bid or per hour charge.

[Edited by mow money on 10-27-2000 at 02:25 AM]

10-27-2000, 03:04 AM
I thank the good Lord that I'm finally able to (almost) keep up with leaves now. Bobcat Z & Trac Vac work miracles I never thought possible.
I chopped up & windrowed leaves the first half of this fall. Just this past weekend (when my Trac Vac came in) did I start bagging other than with push mower.
If it's the front yard, I mow back & forth, working them towards the curb for the city to pick up. Back gets bagged & brought up front, or worked into he woods if available.
If there's a ton of leaves, I'll mow over them 3-5 times to chop them up & then vac em. can get a whole backyard in 1 barrel full that way.
I tell people up front that leaves take 2-3 times longer, & it's cheaper & easier to keep up on it every week than to let them pile up all fall then try to get them up-UGH!
I also tell them it works out the same price-wise whether we get every week, or to wait until it's too much to tackle. Plus I tell them I have $1500 invested in my Trac Vac, plus $8000 in my Bobcat. That usually convinces them why I charge more for leaves.
If that doesn't work, too bad. Adios muchachos. I got other people waiting in line behind them...... There's too much work out there to deal with tight wads. If you want to save money, DO IT YOUSELF DORK! ;)

10-27-2000, 10:29 AM
I've never charged extra for mulching up leaves. I make an extra pass or two and then blow away any extra afterwards.


I should be charging for extra time spent, and would charge a bundle to have to clean out the landscape beds, shrubs, and gutters of these leaves. It's not a service I mind providing, in fact I love a good, thorough cleanup job w/ hauling, but it's been very difficult to find customers willing to pay for that service at market rates.

Thanks to Lawnsite, I've learned not to take a job for under market, so it's been a pretty quiet Autumn for cleanup jobs as yet... ;)

Chris, my advice to you would be to only do the jobs you are getting a decent return on. A decent return, remember, is a job you don't hate at the price you quote! If you can charge less than 3-4 times a cut to clean up the leaves, make a profit and feel good, then do that. If, however, you come across a customer unwilling to pay the rate you would need to feel justly compensated, then pass on the job.

There's another waiting...


Lawn Cruiser
10-27-2000, 11:31 AM
Do you all just do your regular customers leaves, or do you try to soliciate just people who want leaves picked up?

10-27-2000, 12:21 PM
I agree with TGC. What I do is mulch three times, the first two I do not trim, etc. and do a partial job of blowing out beds and bushes. The final mulch I get the beds thoroughly and trim. On the last mulch I am mainly mulching the debris from beds and leaves blown on property from neighboring lawns.

If I have to remove leaves or bag then I explain to customer that price will be based on a hourly rate.

Lawn Cruiser,
Due to unpredictability of snowfall I only cleanup current customers, they have paid me all year and my loyalty belongs to them. If you have a small account base then taking additional work would be wise.

10-27-2000, 09:39 PM
Did 5 cleanups today, bagged all leaves with our Walker mower's and finished them in 3.5hours and made $400.00 and didnt haul anything away. Got lucky dumped on site or would have been at least $200.00 more. Here comes next week, at least 15 more next week and then it will slow down I hope!

10-28-2000, 08:30 AM
I have been charging $25 per man hour curbside. I'm going to have to jump up quite a bit next year though. I just bought a high output blower that has me cleaning up in much less time than before. Also, it only pays to do charge like this if you have another 1 or 2 guys with you. On another post, someone had a sliding price scale.....$35 per hour with 1, $55 per hour with 2 guys. Sound like a better plan.
The average $35 dollar house is costing about double to cleanup and cut. The final bed blowout will be longer and more $ though.

What do you guys think ?


John DiMartino
10-28-2000, 08:38 AM
So far I havent done a cleanup yet-as in complete.I have been adding a bagging charge,the customers are happy with that,since leaves are still falling,next week they should be mostly gone with the high winds/rain/snow we will be getting this weekend.

lawrence stone
10-28-2000, 09:56 AM
Yesterday I mulched up the leaves at a 1/2 acre homesite "up the mountain" at 2000 feet. This home has woods on three sides by. All the oaks had dropped and I just double cut the front with a 44" Toro and single gator blades. This particular machine (a $600 investment) has a new 12.5 OHV Tecumseh that must turn 4000 rpm.

For the life of me I can't understand why thelawnguy has so much trouble with oak leaves for he has a $5k hydro turf tracer. It must be the design of the Toro deck I guess.

10-28-2000, 10:12 AM
I just tell people I do leaves by the hour and not by the job. If they don't agree I go to the next job. MOst of the time I mulch. Sometimes I vacume them up and dump somewhere on their property or in the street for the city to pick up. It all depends on the type of leaves and the volume and what the customer wants. A large volume of leaves on a dirt surface will most of the time leave piles of mulch. If I see this is going to happen I switch to the vacume. I did one last week where the leave were knee deep. Especially after I blew out the beds. And the leaves have just started to fall. I vaced that lawn and it was probabably faster than mulching. Dumped it into the woods. Because I have a 36 bushel bagger. Like having an elephant in your yard lol. Well I had to have the biggest toy :). I get plenty of huge leaf jobs. If you havn't had any experience in doing this it can be overwhelming for you some times. You have to know where to start and where to move the leaves. i don't like leaf season but it can be challenging sometime. And Its fun to see the amazed look on customer face that you were able to take care of a hard job for them so fast. It pays to keep your blades sharpe during the leaf season as with any other time

10-28-2000, 12:04 PM
what kind of bagger is that 36 bushel!? what kind of mower do u use with it. thanks

10-29-2000, 09:45 AM
Toddman, it is an Easy Vac. Has a 8hp briggs-n-stratton Vanguard com /indust. engine. I pull it with a B9200 Kubota 4 cyl 22.5hp deisel. The bin gets pretty heavy once it is full of leaves. I have had the bagger for 3 years and no problems. Except the tubing cracks. Solution: ducttape of course lol. I had to make an additonal baffler made of screening to deflect the leaves better and keep them from shooting out of the top. The vac is very noisey with the wind volicity and I bet neighbors hate to see me coming.

10-29-2000, 10:16 AM
I just work for my weekly customers but I have picked up some good big money jobs from non-customers. The grass still grows a little on some of these properties and I charge the regular cut price until the end of October for these. The invoice shows a weekly mow and partial clean. I show up 2 more times depending on the leaf volume and the final trip I blow all the leafs out of the beds. The final invoice shows a charge which is 3 to 4 times the weekly rate and about 6x if I have removed the debris to the dump. Most jobs get me between 125 and 200 but I have 1 that is worth about 500. Its just me , my Husky backpack blower and my Walker.

10-29-2000, 10:22 AM
I do about the same routine as mow ed. It's a good plan. For houses that I charge 17-18 a week for maintenance (keep in mind, property size incl house is about 60*80, takes 15 minutes solo) I will get 125 and up for the fall clean up which I do after Thanksgiving. This does include lime, light fall fertilizer app, and all leaves removed, plus the spot seeding if needed in September. Have 94 scheduled, all regular customers, and should gross over 10,000. Do 6 a day for 16 days and done.