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Remsen1
11-01-2004, 04:30 PM
I had some time to kill this weekend so I did a drive-up solicitation at a house that looked like it would be the ultimate fall clean up. I've been salivating over this property. It's approx. 5 acres on a hill with huge, huGE, HUGE maple trees. Large well kept house, 4 car garage, paved driveway 200' , BMW the whole works. I pull up and, first good sign: the garage is open and I don't see a speck of lawn equipment. most of the Yard is burried in 6" of leaves. I knock on the door, a lady comes out and I introduce myself, and she says she's been hoping somebody would stop and she asks for a quote. I'm thinking "wow this is a really nice one". I ask her if I can walk around the yard, she's like "sure!". I really wanted the job, cause it is a highly visible area and would really give me a chance to showcase, plus if it turned into a full service it would be a bread and butter account. (One of those mowing accounts that would be a half day stop for two guys to mow, trim, and edge.) so I quoted what I thought was reasonable. I say "4 hours with two people $250". She was a little shocked at my price and said that she usually pays $50. She said, I'll keep you in mind if I need you, I said thank you very much. She was really nice and didn't try haggling my price so I am hoping that the putz's who've been doing it, wise-up and don't show this year. If they do, I'll probably have to tack on some more to my quote cause we had a nice wind storm and the leaves have probably doubled since I was there.

I think I will continue to pass information to this homeowner cause sooner or later her current guy is going to get sick of losing money and will quit.

Pecker
11-01-2004, 04:33 PM
Hope it works out for ya. payup

bobbygedd
11-01-2004, 04:33 PM
5 acres, covered in leaves, 8 man hrs, $250? :help:

jim dailey
11-01-2004, 05:01 PM
5 acres, covered in leaves, 8 man hrs, $250? :help:
I am going to have to side with Booby on this one. Only way is if the leaves stay on the property, in other words, they are all "blown into the surrounding woods". At that price and those hours, only if it is a premium customer, and has been for a few years. At that price, no way any leaves are going to "get picked-up and removed". You may want to re-think your quote on this one.

rodfather
11-01-2004, 05:23 PM
8 man hours huh? Let me do the math...ok, 6 bills minimum, probably more like $750 by the time we're done. Period

Cheesedawg1
11-01-2004, 05:37 PM
that sounds to low also.

rodfather
11-01-2004, 05:42 PM
50 bucks for 5 acres of leaves? Helllooo...even 250 is ridiculous IMO.

dkarol
11-01-2004, 06:02 PM
Jeez! Sounds very low for around here, anyway. We just bid $1,800 for about 8 acres of leaf removal - in the woods around camper trailers, with leaves being removed from the site. I was thinking maybe we were a little low.

MWE
11-01-2004, 06:47 PM
$50 bucks!?!?!?!? Find out who this person is that does it for $10 an acre and sub him out and just sit at home all day while he is doing all your work for you, and you just collect the checks, and give him is $10 an acre fee.

brentsawyer
11-01-2004, 06:50 PM
How do you think they got all those Beamers and acres, being honest. Huh, you called her bluff, good for you.

Tvov
11-01-2004, 07:00 PM
Is that 5 acres of lawn area, or 5 acres total? I have customers with 4+ acres, but there less than an acre of actual lawn that we have to clean up. If it is just a "blow-off", that can be done extraordinarily quickly.

osc
11-01-2004, 07:37 PM
Now I don't post a whole lot around here but I'm going to tell you guys something. I have lived all over the country and been envolved with many different businesses. You guys that say you charge 5-800 dollars for residential leaf clean up are either lying or you are about to loose that business to someone else.
You guys make waaaay to big of a deal about fall cleanup. It's not high tech and does not warrant such wages. If you are charging 800 bucks to clean up someone's lawn then the price must be burried in the overall budget or spread out over monthly payments. Not many homeowners are going to let you hand them a seperate bill for that kind of money for leaf cleanup.

With the kind of equipment we have nowadays, you don't have to bag or rake, it's easy. Get it?

I have made six figure income years, net, in this business. Never have I even heard of such pricing for fall cleanup.

If you guys are getting this kind of money, you'd better start writing books about it, you're missing the real money.

Lawnworks
11-01-2004, 07:47 PM
So four actual hours on the property. So your grossing a little more than $50 an hour. If you could get it done in 3 hours that would be some good money. I try to gross $100 w/ 3 man crew and $75 w/ two of us... but what the hell do I know?

Tvov
11-01-2004, 08:11 PM
osc, I have absolutely no idea how to respond to your post. Maybe Bobby can jump in here with a smooth, well thought out response. :)

grassworks
11-01-2004, 08:36 PM
With the kind of equipment we have nowadays, you don't have to bag or rake, it's easy. Get it?

I have made six figure income years, net, in this business. Never have I even heard of such pricing for fall cleanup.

If you guys are getting this kind of money, you'd better start writing books about it, you're missing the real money.

Well at 5 acres thats over 220,000 square feet of leaf removal ,not exactly a typical urban postage stamp. These guys are charging by the hour and bringing out a crew and equipment rig probably worth over 20,000 ( low side). Sure , anyone can pick up a tarp and rake but that's not what its going on here. The average homeowner himself could not do this job without a sizeable equipment investment (10 times the quotes provided above) unless he is just mowing over them with his craftsman.

Runner
11-01-2004, 09:44 PM
All I can say is being able to do 5 acres tha are covered in leaves is GETTIN' DOWN! I know it would take me alot longer than that running two 60" mowers and a LW blower.

jim dailey
11-01-2004, 10:07 PM
Now I don't post a whole lot around here but I'm going to tell you guys something. I have lived all over the country and been envolved with many different businesses. You guys that say you charge 5-800 dollars for residential leaf clean up are either lying or you are about to loose that business to someone else.
You guys make waaaay to big of a deal about fall cleanup. It's not high tech and does not warrant such wages. If you are charging 800 bucks to clean up someone's lawn then the price must be burried in the overall budget or spread out over monthly payments. Not many homeowners are going to let you hand them a seperate bill for that kind of money for leaf cleanup.

With the kind of equipment we have nowadays, you don't have to bag or rake, it's easy. Get it?

I have made six figure income years, net, in this business. Never have I even heard of such pricing for fall cleanup.

If you guys are getting this kind of money, you'd better start writing books about it, you're missing the real money.

I want to know more. You have had 6 figure (net) years in this business. No disrespect, but YOU should be writing the book. Please post more, when you have the chance. I am very interested, and so are my muscles and equipment.

rodfather
11-02-2004, 06:07 AM
I want to know more. You have had 6 figure (net) years in this business. No disrespect, but YOU should be writing the book. Please post more, when you have the chance. I am very interested, and so are my muscles and equipment.

I'll second that...let's hear some background info instead of just spewing off.

bobbygedd
11-02-2004, 08:04 AM
man, to clasify leaf cleanup as mindless non skilled work is pretty accurate. but, to make big money doing leaf cleanup is not mindless at all, and requires skill, the active ingrediant here is brains, not back. osc is describing, i think, almost using leaf cleanup as a loss leader. that's insane. loss leaders, if you must have one, should be quick,effortless, simple things, like mowing. being small potatoes over here, i don't have any services that fall under the category "loss leader", but if i did, it would be a 15 min grasscut, not a 6 hr cleanup. $40 an hr per man is rock bottom, and i use this hourly thing on a few properties that are just impossible to estimate. on other leaf jobs, it is really quite easy to gross over $100 per man per hour.

osc
11-02-2004, 10:13 AM
My point is this: Who pays you 7-800 bucks for fall clean up? The above average homeowner is not going to do that. I know a lot of wealthy people with sprawling estates and they are so tight they sqeak. 5 acres of actual lawn would be a good size estate. Would you guys pay 800 bucks to have say 4 acres of leaves removed? Why?
Crunch and munch is the only way to go on a large property anyway. Why would anyone attempt to bag or remove leaves when you've got plenty of room to mulch? Get out the blower and rake and get the leaves out of the mulch beds and other like areas and put on the gator blades and start mulching. In some instances you can make a final pass with a bagger at the end of the job for an extra clean appearance but by then it takes a while to fill the bagger.
Honestly, if you can clean up that way and charge double the mowing fee you are doing pretty good. My comment about income is directed at the fact I've done a few things and I have a good feel for how to be competitive and still make money.
But obviously I don't because I don't know anyone I can sell an 800 dollar fall clean up to unless you start calling on state parks.

Remsen1
11-02-2004, 10:38 AM
I am going to have to side with Booby on this one. Only way is if the leaves stay on the property, in other words, they are all "blown into the surrounding woods". At that price and those hours, only if it is a premium customer, and has been for a few years. At that price, no way any leaves are going to "get picked-up and removed". You may want to re-think your quote on this one.

Yes, they do stay on the property. This is lower than my normal rate, I was considering the upside of getting my foot in the door.

Remsen1
11-02-2004, 10:42 AM
Is that 5 acres of lawn area, or 5 acres total? I have customers with 4+ acres, but there less than an acre of actual lawn that we have to clean up. If it is just a "blow-off", that can be done extraordinarily quickly.

I wasn't very clear. There are two acres in front, absolutely loaded with leaves. But these can be blown to the curb and left for municipal pickup.

Then there are approximately 2 acres in back with light leaves that can be blown into the woods. There is around 1 acres total that nothing would need to be done.

Remsen1
11-02-2004, 10:47 AM
man, to clasify leaf cleanup as mindless non skilled work is pretty accurate. but, to make big money doing leaf cleanup is not mindless at all, and requires skill, the active ingrediant here is brains, not back. osc is describing, i think, almost using leaf cleanup as a loss leader. that's insane. loss leaders, if you must have one, should be quick,effortless, simple things, like mowing. being small potatoes over here, i don't have any services that fall under the category "loss leader", but if i did, it would be a 15 min grasscut, not a 6 hr cleanup. $40 an hr per man is rock bottom, and i use this hourly thing on a few properties that are just impossible to estimate. on other leaf jobs, it is really quite easy to gross over $100 per man per hour.

Bobby, you must also keep in mind that I don't live in NJ. The average 3 bedroom house on a one acre property in a nice neighborhood still goes for well below $100k in my area. Rent for the same house would be around $700-800/month. My $25/hr is probably equal to your $40/hr.

chevyman1
11-02-2004, 11:05 AM
I agree with Bobby. That has to be at least a $500-600 job!

gogetter
11-02-2004, 11:23 AM
Now I don't post a whole lot around here

Maybe that's best. ;-)

Seriously though, why is it so hard to believe that people will pay $500-$800 for a leaf clean up?

I have a few smaller ones that are only $100-125, but most were over $200 for lawns that are between 1/4 and 1/2 acres.
The highest one being $400 for about a 3/4 acre lawn.

So you can bet that if I'm bidding on a 2 acre lawn with a lot of trees/leaves, it's likely going to fall in the $800 range. It just so happens that I haven't had the occasion to bid a property that large as of yet. The largest was a little under 2 acres and only half of it gets covered with leaves (the back half of course!). Told her $600 and she didn't even flinch. Only reason I didn't get it was because she then asked if I can do plowing too. Unfortunately, I don't plow. She wanted one person that could do both leaves and plowing.

Maybe you just haven't been around many large properties with lots of trees on them???

And it's really not just about the size, it's the amount of leaves and even more importantly, the layout of the property.
Also, all then ones I ever did wanted them to the curb for the township to take, or taken away by me, or blown into the woods. I've never had someone that just wanted them mulched, they wanted them off the lawn.

chevyman1
11-02-2004, 11:29 AM
and to piggy back on gogetter's comments, if people balk at the price or you need to justify the costs, I tell them how many people are going to help and the equipment I'm going to use. Hey, some guy who wants to do a couple places with a tarp and rake for $50 might just like the outdoors and that's ok. When you are bringing a 3 person crew, blowers, tarps, debris cans, baggers, vacuums, etc, well a 10 hr job became a 2 hr one. And does the customer have all of those toys? no way. Explain your service, and they will understand. If not, knock on the neighbors door.

Smalltimer1
11-02-2004, 11:36 AM
I don't even bother with moving them, I just blow them in the ditch or in the woods. I just ask if I can burn the leaves in a location of their choice, and they agree to a good spot in the back yard, or like most people at home, in the ditch. Of course, I use my riding mower to blow the leaves in the general direction I want, and then I take my trusty freebie Craftsman blower and get the leaves where I want. Some times I have to burn them at a small amount so as not to create a big burn spot, but I've found if you layer tin foil on cardboard that keeps the grass from burning underneath, and makes cleanup a breeze.

MMLawn
11-02-2004, 11:43 AM
I don't even bother with moving them, I just blow them in the ditch or in the woods. I just ask if I can burn the leaves in a location of their choice, and they agree to a good spot in the back yard, or like most people at home, in the ditch.

Except that most all bigger Cities and Towns in NC have No Burn Laws.....and I lived in Raleigh for 10 years

Tvov
11-02-2004, 11:59 AM
osc, you obviously have different customers than I do. Most of my customers don't want any leaves on their lawn, mulched or not. They also don't want them dumped or blown into the woods, they want them removed from the property. That is why we have the blowers, mowers with vac systems, and a dump truck set up with a leaf vacuum. And they pay for all the work required. I have gotten many customers over the years because their existing lawn service kept trying to mulch the leaves into the lawn.

If your way works for you and your customers, great.

Smalltimer1
11-02-2004, 12:04 PM
Except that most all bigger Cities and Towns in NC have No Burn Laws.....and I lived in Raleigh for 10 years


At home in Butner--it's not a town or city, so there is no "no burn" ordinance.

Shuter
11-02-2004, 12:21 PM
If you are working for $250.. for 5 acres I have plenty of work for you. For Fall clean-ups I average $300 - $400 for 1/4 to 1/2 acre lots.

Remsen1
11-02-2004, 12:42 PM
If you are working for $250.. for 5 acres I have plenty of work for you. For Fall clean-ups I average $300 - $400 for 1/4 to 1/2 acre lots.

I'm not doing it for $250 cause I didn't get hired ..!.. (_Y_) ..!..

Obviously your market will bear much higher prices. If I charged $300 for a 1/4 acre in my area, I would gross $0 per week.

chevyman1
11-02-2004, 12:45 PM
even in the Utica Ny area you are in, you could get more than $50 dude!

Remsen1
11-02-2004, 12:51 PM
And yes even in my area $250 is less than what I would like to get for this size property. But I am in a situation where I spend more time looking for work than doing work, so I was hoping to get my foot in the door on a nice property.

Gravely_Man
11-02-2004, 01:09 PM
All I can say is wow! I couldn't even imagine doing a clean up of 4 acres for that price. Even if you can just blow 2 acres worth of leaves to the curb for the town to pick up that will take a lot of time. You also stated the leaves were 6 inches deep but you thought the recent high winds would have made for more leaves.


Best of luck to you,
Gravely_Man

gogetter
11-02-2004, 01:51 PM
But I am in a situation where I spend more time looking for work than doing work,

What kind of advertising do you do?

Remsen1
11-02-2004, 02:23 PM
All I can say is wow! I couldn't even imagine doing a clean up of 4 acres for that price. Even if you can just blow 2 acres worth of leaves to the curb for the town to pick up that will take a lot of time. You also stated the leaves were 6 inches deep but you thought the recent high winds would have made for more leaves.


Best of luck to you,
Gravely_Man

You're right I did say that. The price would be higher now.

Remsen1
11-02-2004, 02:27 PM
What kind of advertising do you do?

I've got a nice classified 2x2 display ad. The only calls that I got from it were the yellow pages trying to sell me a yellow pages ad. I've got signs on my truck. I have been putting color postcards on local bulletin boards and I have been going door to door. My website is in all of my advertising. My site has received some hits, but not nearly as much as I'd hoped.

bobbygedd
11-02-2004, 04:12 PM
$250 could very well be a good price then if the cost of living is that much different. i took a pic with my polaroid today, of course it looks like crap, but i bid this cleanup at $250, and got the job. it's about 5k property, with an even layer of maple leaves. the homeowner raked and bagged like 12 bags of leaves, then decided to call me, i need to do the cleanup and dispose. i bet i'm in and out in 2 hrs solo. i'll post the pic, as well as how much time it took, and how much disposal i hauled. my guess, with my meg mo's, i grind it up to 2 garbage cans