Originally Posted by Blade Runners
If we can mulch the leaves and they disappear we don't charge extra. If there are too many to mulch they get charged for cleanup and removal. Same as mentioned above, land fill fees, gas and time to drive there add up quick.
Your competitor is probably mad because #1 you are taking his customers because you don't know how to bid work properly and #2 and most importantly, you are driving prices down for everyone including yourself. Once you do this with a customer they expect it from then on out and good luck to the next guy that tries to come in and bid the job at a fair price after you have gone out of business from lowballing, unintentional or otherwise.
If you have been doing this for 3 years and still haven't figured out what you should be bidding something is wrong. It took us about 1 cleanup job the first season to figure out we had made a mistake bidding.
Thanks for the response. I haven't done a job yet that I have felt that I was screwed. My current hourly rate is $45 per man. I typically continue to mow on a weekly basis until the first week of December and don't spend any extra time on the lawn because as someone else mentioned, there really isn;t any mowing going on so there isn't any edging or trimming either. This allows me to even sometimes go over some areas twice and still take less time than it usually does. Come December, I put the mowers away and pull out the blowers, rakes and leaf loaders for the beds and fence lines etc that don't normally get picked up with the mower.
I realize that some people feel that I am a "LowBaller" but in reality, I am actually charging more, but over a longer period. if I have a property that is $150 per cut without a clean up, then I am actually making more money than the guy who was pissed at me for losing accounts because I "Mowed" an extra 5 times = $750, while he stopped mowing 5 weeks sooner than me so he could charge the customer $450 to do a fall clean up which took way longer to blow all those wet leaves off the lawn.
Not to mention the customer satisfaction aspect where while I was continuing to "Mow" weekly and keep the leaves cleaned up, the didn't have to look at the leaves on the lawn until he arrived to do the clean up and then look at more leaves after the clean up was done because additional leaves fell. I was cleaning them up the entire time until there were no more.
I will admit I was a "Lowballer" when I first started until I needed more equipment that required more cash which ultimately led to a price increase. I think my competitor is losing business to me because of customer satisfaction, not because I am lowballing and making it difficult for other companies.