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  #21  
Old 10-25-2012, 10:27 PM
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RSK Property Maintenance RSK Property Maintenance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryl gesner View Post
I just thought I'd open up a discussion regarding dealing with customers and their wants, needs and perceptions regarding leaf cleanup vs the way we as lawn care/landscaping professionals see it. I'm not having any particular problem at this point, but it's always an ongoing battle every season for me to get customers to understand that I can't let every leaf fall off every tree on every property I service before mobilizing for cleanups.

Case in point: I knew we had some wet weather coming so I ran around this week servicing properties...mowing and cleaning up any leaves that were down already and dropping their cutting height down 1/4 to 1/2 inch. On some of my properties with maples and birches and white pines, there are quite a few leaves down already. The oaks are still not dropping much. The way I see it is that I got their yards cleaned up and the grass cut before the leaves got all wet and matted in long grass. I did the getting while the getting was good so to speak. The way most customers see it is that I wasted their money, because with the rain and wind we're getting now, you can hardly tell I was there. Customers seem to see leaf cleanup as an event, whereas I see it as a process that is repeated, going around to each of my properties until either they're all cleaned up or winter sets in.

I'm to the point where I have my customers "trained" relating to how I do my cleanups, but I still get them asking me to come back next week when there are more leaves down. Mind you, the grass is still growing at a pretty good rate on my nice lawns, and they need cutting anyway. On the crappy, unfertilized lawns it's no so much of an issue. So far I have just done what I've wanted...I haven't had any customers insist that I not service their lawn, but I just know that the owners of the yards I did yesterday are saying to themselves that it was a wasted effort to do their lawns right before they get dumped on again.

Thoughts?
I like your way of doing clean ups. In my previous years I had no bagger system, so I would just cut my lawns like usual until they didn't need cutting and then when all the leaves were down, I would do a fall clean up. Now I stay on top of the leaves and the lawns stay cleaner and all my customers are on the same page so far, also i'm not sure 15 dollars is enough to bag some of my lawns, especially when the leaves are thick and i'm dumping the bags 3 times for some lawns. I wouldn't think you would have any issues with customers in you area, I'm in old lyme and old saybrook 2-3 times a week in the summer. Next year that won't be the case as i'm going to send out flyers every few months to different towns to really increase sales.
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  #22  
Old 10-25-2012, 11:21 PM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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It's more than $15 at this point. I go to hourly billing after October 15th. I got 4 lawns done today and that was busting my tail double-timing it. Granted I'm not known for early starts, lol.

Yeah, keeping up on the leaves works best for me. I actually had a customer thank me today even though I'd been there 10 days ago and by tomorrow you probably won't be able to tell I was there...oaks were raining down pretty fast.

I have some accounts in Old Saybrook, not very good ones though. They're profitable and all, just all crappy bi-weekly lawns. I lost 4 of my Old Saybrook accounts this season. Two sold and the other two were for the same guy, his business and his house. I lost them because I didn't want his commercial plowing account....didn't want to deal with hundreds of feet of Main Street sidewalk and the walks and steps for 4 buildings in the complex...too much liability. I generally don't service Old Lyme...don't like taking my rig over the bridge.
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  #23  
Old 10-27-2012, 09:08 AM
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RSK Property Maintenance RSK Property Maintenance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryl gesner View Post
It's more than $15 at this point. I go to hourly billing after October 15th. I got 4 lawns done today and that was busting my tail double-timing it. Granted I'm not known for early starts, lol.

Yeah, keeping up on the leaves works best for me. I actually had a customer thank me today even though I'd been there 10 days ago and by tomorrow you probably won't be able to tell I was there...oaks were raining down pretty fast.

I have some accounts in Old Saybrook, not very good ones though. They're profitable and all, just all crappy bi-weekly lawns. I lost 4 of my Old Saybrook accounts this season. Two sold and the other two were for the same guy, his business and his house. I lost them because I didn't want his commercial plowing account....didn't want to deal with hundreds of feet of Main Street sidewalk and the walks and steps for 4 buildings in the complex...too much liability. I generally don't service Old Lyme...don't like taking my rig over the bridge.
yeah i need to adjust my bagging rate for some of the properties that get heavy leaves. I broke out the little wonder leaf blower yesterday for 25 minutes on one house, I just ran it over part of the back yard that was really thick and pushed the bulk of the leaves into the woods, then cut it and bagged it and it looked perfect. and I charged an extra 30 dollars. working solo until i do final clean ups.

That area is still nice though. I wouldn't mind working on that side of ct.
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  #24  
Old 11-03-2012, 09:11 PM
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FerrisDiesel FerrisDiesel is offline
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It's so funny you brought this up. I too am a solo operation, and have the same system you do. I sent a letter out with the last billing saying that the final fall clean-up prices would stay the same, but I would be mowing all lawns on a bi-weekly basis to help keep the lawns looking good. This makes it easier for me as a solo operation to do the final clean-up myself, by reducing the number of times I have to dump the truck, and number of hours spent on the lawn. It's a win win for all.......they have a great looking lawn every other week, and i'm not busting my beans to get clean-ups done before the snow comes!
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  #25  
Old 11-03-2012, 09:46 PM
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4 seasons lawn&land 4 seasons lawn&land is online now
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i used to worry about the optimal way to do leaves and getting people to go along with it. Now I pretty much just do whatever they want and charge accordingly. Its not worth going through the whole spiel over and over. If an area is going to get too bad I just do them, and if they question it I say I just did those areas because they were getting too thick for the leaf equipment so it will save you money overall on the final cleanup
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  #26  
Old 11-04-2012, 07:17 PM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Funny now they're all wondering what's taking me so long to get to their cleanups....Hurricane Sandy stripped most of the remaining leaves off the trees and now just about everywhere needs a final cleanup.
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  #27  
Old 11-05-2012, 07:59 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is online now
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Originally Posted by darryl gesner View Post
Funny now they're all wondering what's taking me so long to get to their cleanups....Hurricane Sandy stripped most of the remaining leaves off the trees and now just about everywhere needs a final cleanup.
I remember as a kid when one of my buddies got an old truck and we'd run around town after a major wind storm and offer to haul away a load of branches off the yards for 20 bucks...

How do your neighborhoods look???
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  #28  
Old 11-05-2012, 08:47 AM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Inland it's a mess and the beach area is a disaster zone...houses heavily damaged, sand dunes gone (now in the road). This is the road along the town beach.

My house is low lying on a tidal river and we did ok other than having a river in my drive-under garage. I had sealed off the doors with plastic and a 3 foot berm but about 6 inches of water leaked...no biggie in the overall scheme of things. It seems like the tree/wind damage was worse last year with Hurricane Irene but the flooding was much worse with Sandy. Things are getting back to normal though...kids are back to school after a week off.
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  #29  
Old 11-05-2012, 10:59 AM
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Kelly's Landscaping Kelly's Landscaping is offline
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Mine expect a single final clean up and that's what they get. I had one complain that we did him to early last year and wants it later so we looked him up we did his clean up Dec 3rd. Never really considered that an early clean up date before. I figure I got to wait till Nov 12-15th and we should be able to start full time final clean ups on selective clients and by the 20th or so 80% will be ready. The mini clean ups end up costing us more than they are worth if the lawn looks good many can life with the beds being filled with leaves and say they are set for the year. Rather get the real deal where we average about 300 dollars per clean up and do 90-110 every year.
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  #30  
Old 11-05-2012, 06:01 PM
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FerrisDiesel FerrisDiesel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly's Landscaping View Post
Mine expect a single final clean up and that's what they get. I had one complain that we did him to early last year and wants it later so we looked him up we did his clean up Dec 3rd. Never really considered that an early clean up date before. I figure I got to wait till Nov 12-15th and we should be able to start full time final clean ups on selective clients and by the 20th or so 80% will be ready. The mini clean ups end up costing us more than they are worth if the lawn looks good many can life with the beds being filled with leaves and say they are set for the year. Rather get the real deal where we average about 300 dollars per clean up and do 90-110 every year.
That's what I did last year, just one clean up, but I am a solo operation and I was dragging by the end of the year. This year I bought a 52" Walker GHS, a new back pack and made my leaf box taller. By just bagging the lawns every other week with the walker, I have increased the capacity I can put in the truck, thus decreasing the amount of times I have to dump. Plus when I do my final clean-up I will charge them the full amount I charged them last year.
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