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WoodBrothersLC
10-17-2004, 09:58 PM
Dear Customer,

With the arrival of leaves, we feel it necessary to discuss the prices for leaf removal this year. Here is the process by which the leaves will be removed from your yard.

∑ Blow leaves into yard from hard to reach spots such as flowerbeds, gutters, corners, etc.
∑ If leaves are thin, then we will run over the lawn once with the grass catcher on. The other strategy is to mulch the leaves once, and then run over the lawn with the grass catcher on the second pass.
∑ If the leaves are to thick to make one pass, we will mulch the lawn accordingly (one or 2 times), and then run over it with the grass catcher.
∑ If the leaves are not worth mulching, meaning they are to thick for the mower to handle, we will begin to rake at that point. We will rake up most of the thick areas, and then run over the lawn with the grass catcher.
∑ The leaves from the grass catcher will be put into piles, which will be picked up at the end of the removal.

As far as pricing is concerned, we will be working with the expectation of making $60 an hour together. This is to make sure all expenses are paid for. With the addition of another worker, another $15 an hour will be added to the bill. Every bag used will be .50.
Here is an example of how we would charge a $30 yard. We show up to do a leaf removal and it takes us 45 minutes to do and we have a total of 10 bags. The charge for labor is $45 and the charge for bags is $5, which brings the total to $50.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We appreciate your cooperation.

Mark Cell: **********
Joe Cell: **********

Thanks,



Mark and Joe Wood
Wood Brothers Lawn Care

scottishmaximus
10-17-2004, 10:03 PM
Do the customers really care how you remove the leaves. I would think that they are more concerned with the price.

WoodBrothersLC
10-17-2004, 10:06 PM
I'd think that they'd like to know what they are being charged for. I think that being 17 and 14, they'd like to know exactly what they are paying us for.

Runner
10-17-2004, 10:22 PM
Too wordy, and a whole lot of "to-do" over nothing. Don't complicate matters by confusing your customers or making them analyze something to figure out if it's feasible for them to have this operation performed or not. This gives them more apprehension and can even lead to hesitation and a whole bunch of "I'll get back to you" 's. Just quote them a price, tell them that includes the beds and all turf areas, and do it. I've seen people do this sort of thing 100 times, and it most always leads to questions. I can appreciate you wanting to inform your customers, but there are certain things that are just either irrelevent, or redundant. Remember the old saying - K.I.S.S..

SodKing
10-17-2004, 10:32 PM
With prices like that could I subcontract you to do my cleanups? Otherwise I think it is fine to tell your clients how you so their cleanups and how you charge. That way there is no confusion when they receive their bill.

STAN1366
10-17-2004, 10:51 PM
Here is an example of how we would charge a $30 yard. We show up to do a leaf removal and it takes us 45 minutes to do and we have a total of 10 bags. The charge for labor is $45 and the charge for bags is $5, which brings the total to $50.

You're easily doing twice the work, so why not charge double? Don't worry about how many bags you use. If you charge per bag they might either count the bags or offer to supply them for you. Give a set price and do it the easiest way you can. Another way to look at it is what if a carpenter charged by the number of nails or screws he used?

SodKing
10-17-2004, 11:25 PM
A job that would Take 45 minutes would be charged as follows:

Labor crew of 2 for 45 minutes= #112.50
Disposal of leaves = $25.00

Total price = $185

What????Sodking can't add?? no we have a $185 minimum charge for fall cleanups.

Pecker
10-17-2004, 11:43 PM
I think you are giving them WAY too much information. You are opening yourself up to having to explain everything you do. Even if you are 14 and 17, they either trust you or they don't. Something I learned long ago - Keep it simple!

With that letter you are going to raise alot of concern over nothing and scare people, even though you mean well. Think of it this way: If, for no reason, on your first date you tell your dates parents, "Don't worry, I'm a very safe driver.". . .what would be their first response? They would wonder why you felt it necessary to bring it up, they'll interrogate you, you won't have anything defense (because you were only trying to make conversation or expend nervous energy unconsciously), and then you might end up losing your date for no reason at all. Same thing here. They don't care or need to know how you are going to remove the leaves. All they need to know is that you are going to do a good job for a reasonable price and not hurt yourself or tear something up.

Keep it simple. Good luck.

gogetter
10-18-2004, 12:03 AM
As said, way too much info. I don't care exactly what steps someone is going to take to paint my house, as long as it's done right and I know the price.

You're either going to bore your customers with all that, or you're going to get some of them thinking too much.

Either just give them a set price, or a price range, or give them a "per man hour" rate and leave it at that.

MMLawn
10-18-2004, 11:07 AM
I agree I think it is too wordy also and should be simpler. Also I would personally NEVER actually list the hourly rate as that will turn alot of folks off. It would be in there as a price but not shown as the hourly rate.

Precision
10-18-2004, 11:24 AM
put me in with too wordy also.

It should be if the leaves are TOO thick...

NEVER EVER tell clients your hourly rate. NEVER NEVER NEVER. Best way to not get work.

Charging for bags is ridiculous. Just add it into the charge.

Suggestion. Send out a letter stating that you will be starting leaf clean ups on 15 Nov. and you will be leaving a personalized bid at each house stating their costs for cleanup.

then print out some forms and fill them out when you do your last pre leaf mow.

then you judge the leaf problem and give a complete price for the rest of leaf season.

so it is $240 for the next 4 weeks so each weekly bill will have a $60 leaf charge.

20 minutes week 1, 30 minutes week 2, 45 minutes week 3, 20 minutes week 4 or whatever, but they have paid for the result not the time. Any time you list hourly labor rates they are paying for time. That puts you in a lose lose situation.

You buy better equipment and you are more efficient, it means you lose money. Charge by the job.

Up North
10-18-2004, 12:30 PM
one problem I see is you'll have customers telling you how they want the leaves removed vs. you deciding what's best for each lawn & your profit margin. You're the professional here, and customers expect that you'll do whatever you need to in order to get the job done right.

I think I understand what you're trying to do, but IMO I think it's best to do exactly what the others are saying and keep it simple. Too much information leads to much thought which sometimes can lead to problems or losing the work altogether.

Buck

mbricker
10-18-2004, 12:37 PM
If you are an LCO with an established reputation, I think your proposed letter would provide more info than necessary.

but since you guys are pretty young, perhaps it IS a good idea to let customers see that you have a workable plan for doing the job. Maybe condense it a little, such as, " The quantity of leaves on your lawn will determine whether mulching or picking them up is done." in place of some of the discussion of method.

I have also done some letters that customers told me were way too much info.

As a couple of posts say, your rates are low, but perhaps that is what your market will bear.

I think this type of communication beforehand can save a lot of hassle later. Good luck!

GarPA
10-19-2004, 04:58 AM
I agree that its way too wordy and the charge for the bags looks like you are nickeling and diming them to death.

Another approach is to arrive at your leaf removal fee as it relates to your mowing fee. For example: Lets say you allocate 30 minutes for a certain property to mow it and your normal mowing fee is $40. THen when leaf season arrives, you tell them that your leaf removal rate is derived from how much additional time it takes compared to the normal mowing time. If it takes 30 minutes more to do the leaves, then their fee for that week is twice the normal mowing fee of $45...i.e. $90. We've been doing it this way for a couple of years and the customers like it and its easy for us to come up with the per week leaf charge. If you are taking the leaves to a dump site, then add a weekly disposal fee also.

gogetter
10-19-2004, 05:18 PM
If it takes 30 minutes more to do the leaves, then their fee for that week is twice the normal mowing fee of $45...i.e. $90. We've been doing it this way for a couple of years and the customers like it and its easy for us to come up with the per week leaf charge.

Hey Gary. Are you collecting them weekly, or just mulching them each week? And then do you do a more detailed clean up on the last visit, and charge more?

GarPA
10-19-2004, 06:04 PM
yep Jon thats what we do. The last cleanup is the one thats very thorough but the weekly ones we do now are just quick blowouts of the beds, porches etc and then put the vac on the Z or mulch them if they're not too thick. Most of our accounts are commercial and the residentials we have we are lucky in that we can dump the leaves curbside for township pick up, or blow them into adjoining woods or creeks. We're not set up to haul leaves away nor do I ever want to get into loading and hauling leaves. No thanks.
The final cleanup is usually the highest fee since we try to leave the property immaculate.l