A spring cleanup happens here in CNY starting about mid april when the chance of snow is gone. Every spring cleanup is different, so walk the property and learn the expectation of the clients. Most of my customers ask for the following:
1. Trim all dead and diseased branches on shrubs/trees.
2. Prune out all dead plant material (annuals/perennials) and rake out of bed.
3. Blow out all leaves and debris that has accumulated in the bushes as they act like velcro, (yes get in there with your hands and pull leaves out!).
4. Pull all weeds/debris
5. Edge all the beds with a nice sharp v shaped edge made by my brown bed edger.
6. Use a weed whipper and trim the edge short near the newly created v edge for a crisp look.
7. Apply a fresh coat of mulch usually 2-3" in depth over entire bed areas and smooth till a glass like finish. (use the back of a plastic rake)
8. Smooth mulch bumps out near foundation.
9. Rake up, clean up, sweep street areas and collect check.
I only use organic fert as I am unlicensed to apply chemical fertilizers so I upsell clients on a compost application under the mulch or I apply an organic fertilizer called sustain which is a 4-6-4 on the turf and ornamentals.
My cleanups cost $200-1000 on average. My larger properties require 8+ yards of mulch. I would say my average cleanup is 4 yards of mulch and about 4-500 dollars. I usually am there for 4-6 hours if by myself.
Buy a backpack blower when you can to simplify cleanup.
Rent a bed edger for larger properties until you can afford a brown or similar.
Charge for haul away of debris.
Make your cleanups downright perfect, every clipping taken, every stick picked up etc, this will lead to tremendous amounts of work.
Get a small dump trailer when you can to unload debris and bring soils and mulches.
Talk to the customer, get to know them, their kids names, what they do. Be genuinely interested. Ask them about themselves, let them talk 80% of the time. Listen to them and you will have a customer forever.
Don't leave mulch on driveways, it will stain.
Always try to upsell clients on fall cleanup and pruning.
Look for areas of their landscape that needs work. I always offer 2-3 suggestions for next time on my invoice.
Some clients will ask you to plant annuals, repair plow damage, etc. so be sure to walk with them on their property and write down everything they want and produce a contract spelling out exactly what they want. Learn their preferences and don't waste time doing something they don't notice or appreciate.
PM me if you have further questions. Spring cleanups are bread and butter for us because they get us out and in constant contact with clients. Spring cleanups lead to more landscaping and hardscaping jobs than any form of advertising.
I have an elderly woman and I have done her cleanups for 10 years almost and she has sent me referrals to many others and I bet if I connected the dots she is almost responsible for 70,000 in gross sales just from her referring people to me. Never under estimate the power of a customer!