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  #1  
Old 10-04-2013, 06:53 PM
Hidden Talents Lawn Care Hidden Talents Lawn Care is offline
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Fall Clean Up

I have been delaying asking this question because I didnt want to sound stupid but here it goes. I have been mowing for about 3 years now so im still a rookie. I recently got ripped a new one by a local competitor because of my selling practices.
Here's the deal. When I sell a mowing service, I have always just included the leaf pickup from the lawn. I always considered a fall cleanup as being the flower beds and such. Apparently this guy has been losing customers to me because he charges extra for picking up the leaves from the lawn in the fall, even when ifs still mowing season. I have always considered that part of the mowing service. Am I wrong here? Should I be charging go clean the leaves from the lawn?
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:51 PM
Ethanslawn Ethanslawn is offline
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The way i do it is i bid to property to compensate year round for the cleanup (minor cleanup). Doing an Extra 15 mins of blowing leaves out of bed more of a courtesy othing really. The problem with this is when the l charge extra (usually during actualy fall), the difference is i charge roughly $50/hour minimum. A majority of the time people are fine with that because I`m usually only there an 1-1.5 hours. With competitors charging $75+/hour. No i have been suggested to raise it but i never take on anything i can not handle. Plus all of my equipment is paid for and I`m also solo, which is a big cost reducer.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:19 PM
ArTurf ArTurf is offline
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In my area when the leaves begin falling and need picking up & hauling off it is mulitple times the work not to mention the extra equip needed; collection system on mower $3500, Leaf loader $3000+, dump bed truck & etc. So if I charged the same as mowing I would be screwing myself big time. There are a few yards without many trees that can be mulched with no extra time over regular mowing that I don't charge extra.

Your situation may be different from mine but if I charged the same I would be losing money during leaf season.
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:12 AM
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Blade Runners Blade Runners is online now
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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.
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Last edited by Blade Runners; 10-05-2013 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:24 AM
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Snyder's Lawn Inc Snyder's Lawn Inc is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blade Runners View Post
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. 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.
I agree
I mulch leaves till Nov Depending when trees all drop and My Fall clean up starts. My price is double the mowing + haul off fee.

To OP you are leaving money on the table come next year you might want rethink it and should add a fee.
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2013, 12:05 AM
Hidden Talents Lawn Care Hidden Talents Lawn Care is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blade Runners View Post
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.
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  #7  
Old 10-05-2013, 03:24 AM
twomancrew twomancrew is online now
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It's a fair question to ask, and I don't like the monkey see monkey do side of lawn service that happens when people don't ask. Make as much $ as you can. For me on residential lawns I mowed weekly until the leaves were done falling. This got me paid through Thanksgiving the last couple years. When the leaves stop, so do I. Seems fair to both sides because if you mow once a week through the fall you keep income, and the customer doesn't get stuck with a big end of year bill. Folks who call out of the blue and only want a one time deal you should take them to the cleaners.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:19 AM
ArTurf ArTurf is offline
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I don't do the "one time, wait till every leaf has fallen end of year clean up" BTW. I do them every 2 weeks or so depending on how fast the leaves are falling. Waiting till they are too thick and half rotted is a PIA, clogs machines strains belts & etc.
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2013, 07:41 AM
Doc Pete Doc Pete is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidden Talents Lawn Care View Post
Should I be charging go clean the leaves from the lawn?
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Time is money............If you can clean things up a bit in the same time for "seasonal" mowing, fine. Since it's the fall, I can usually skip much of the standard trimming and apply that time to the "mini" cleanup. However, when things take longer, the price goes up.
FWIW........The customer is "always" right. Once you think your the boss and start dictating to the customer, you'll be out of business..........
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2013, 10:34 PM
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weeze weeze is online now
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i just keep mowing regularly every 2 weeks in nov and maybe one time in december. after that all of the leaves are gone. i just mulch them up with the mower. takes about the same time as a regular grass mowing. i charge the same price.

if someone wants a one time cleanup with alot of leaves then you would charge 2 or 3 times as much as a mowing. that never happens to me though. most people don't even want their leaves mowed or cleared off their lawns around here. some have yards with no trees in them at all. there are some that get me to keep mowing though. i'm usually done grass mowing at the end of october. after that it's leaves, mulch, or any extra work. it kindof slows down and you aren't as busy but it keeps you making money til the end of the year. jan and feb i don't work at all and just enjoy life. start back up in march mowing.
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