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  #1  
Old 12-26-2005, 09:58 AM
HighGrass's Avatar
HighGrass HighGrass is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Z5 MA
Posts: 1,240
Lessons Learned from Fall C/U's

This was the first year that I really sold fall clean-ups. Usually for the customers that wanted it, I normally just mulched the leaves into the woods nearby or Blew out the heavy areas.
But now I have about 35 accounts and since more people were asking about it this year, buying a new Scag Wildcat (with bagger) in August made alot of sense at least for me. The other purchase I made was the biggest Echo BP Blower I could find. Here are a few tidbits of what I learned. Maybe it will help some one else.
-I advertised this year which was fine this year, but I had enough to do with my own customers that next year I won't advertise. Although. it was a good way to pick up some plowing customers.
2-Because I work solo, the most I could do in any given day was about three lawns. Enough for me. The last one I did was a day before it snowed, Dec 2nd.
3-I'm getting lights on my machine next year to help lengthen the work day. It seemed there were plenty of times I was chasing the sun at the end of the day!
4-If you think you're charging too much, you're not.
5-The BP Blower I bought was the single best tool I've bought in years. Pound for pound this baby made me more money in a given length of time than anything. The Echo PB-750 http://www.mayberrys.com/echo/blowers/backpack.htm
was awesome. I had one lawn that all I had to do was blow the leaves into the woods. Took me 40 minutes and I made 300 bucks! But man, can it drink some gas!
6-If you're going to bag leaves, you have to mulch them first (Gators worked best for me) this cut down the volume by about 40%. I say that becasue I made 40% fewer stops to empty the bagger if I mulched them first.
7-I don't have access to a leaf loader but a quick scan in the paper helped me hook up with a guy that does. He doesn't mow lawns so he made a nice compliment to my service. Usually, I made about 50 bucks on every lawn that just needed a pile of leaves picked up. Sweet!
8-People are nuts. When parking on the street late into dusk, the more lights on you vehicle, the better. I now have hide-away strobes installed (for plowing)so that should help.
9-Oak leaves don't break down as well as others so, charge more for em!
10-All estimates have a 4-5 day expiration. I also am going to put a note on every estimate that I do that basically makes it usless if it rains.

Best lawn clean-up. 400 bucks for about an hour. Dumped on site.

Worst lawn clean-up. 300 bucks for about 4 hours of work. dumped on site but it was a nightmare. I'm sure I covered equipment costs but I'll never make the mistake of under quoting that lawn again. Oak leaves were a big factor here.
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2005, 01:15 PM
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nobagger nobagger is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Pa
Posts: 3,068
Biggest complaint I had this year was not enough time to do them all. Next year definetly hiring at least 2 more guys. I left about 1500-1800 on the table. Weather was not very friendly this year one week it was in the 50's next in the 30's and snowing ever since. My newest addition was an Echo BP also a 651, losts of power, also a Little Wonder 10hp w/b blower and finally a 12' flex tube for my Little Wonder HPV. The tube alone has cut my time almost in half! it sucks leaves and debri out of beds in seconds were as last year we used hand held blowers and rakes.
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J and B Lawncare:

On our own as of 2003. Proud to be a full time, legitimate company.

Equipment we use:
Ford trucks
Pro Line and GatorMade trailer's
Gravely, Exmark, Honda and Snapper mower's
Echo trimmer's and blower's
LittleWonder equipment
BillyGoat equipment
New Holland and Dresser loader's (snow removal)
Fisher snow plow's
DownEaster and Fisher salt spreader's
TurboTurf fertilizer tank

http://jandblawncare.net
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2005, 05:28 PM
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lawnprosteveo lawnprosteveo is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 1,929
My lessons learned...
1. My first yr to do leaves solo...I can only get three done in a day...unless they are really tiny.
2. I'm not fricking charging enough!!!
3. I really really didnt charge enough....
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  #4  
Old 12-26-2005, 07:25 PM
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geogunn geogunn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: TN
Posts: 3,049
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighGrass
Lessons Learned from Fall C/U's
1. don't make posts so long no one will read it, and

2. on my last clean up I learned to watch out for the water hose because I mulched two of them.......both MINE.......

GEO
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  #5  
Old 12-26-2005, 07:33 PM
QualityLawnCare4u's Avatar
QualityLawnCare4u QualityLawnCare4u is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Waycross. Georgia
Posts: 3,761
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighGrass
This was the first year that I really sold fall clean-ups. Usually for the customers that wanted it, I normally just mulched the leaves into the woods nearby or Blew out the heavy areas.
But now I have about 35 accounts and since more people were asking about it this year, buying a new Scag Wildcat (with bagger) in August made alot of sense at least for me. The other purchase I made was the biggest Echo BP Blower I could find. Here are a few tidbits of what I learned. Maybe it will help some one else.
-I advertised this year which was fine this year, but I had enough to do with my own customers that next year I won't advertise. Although. it was a good way to pick up some plowing customers.
2-Because I work solo, the most I could do in any given day was about three lawns. Enough for me. The last one I did was a day before it snowed, Dec 2nd.
3-I'm getting lights on my machine next year to help lengthen the work day. It seemed there were plenty of times I was chasing the sun at the end of the day!
4-If you think you're charging too much, you're not.
5-The BP Blower I bought was the single best tool I've bought in years. Pound for pound this baby made me more money in a given length of time than anything. The Echo PB-750 http://www.mayberrys.com/echo/blowers/backpack.htm
was awesome. I had one lawn that all I had to do was blow the leaves into the woods. Took me 40 minutes and I made 300 bucks! But man, can it drink some gas!
6-If you're going to bag leaves, you have to mulch them first (Gators worked best for me) this cut down the volume by about 40%. I say that becasue I made 40% fewer stops to empty the bagger if I mulched them first.
7-I don't have access to a leaf loader but a quick scan in the paper helped me hook up with a guy that does. He doesn't mow lawns so he made a nice compliment to my service. Usually, I made about 50 bucks on every lawn that just needed a pile of leaves picked up. Sweet!
8-People are nuts. When parking on the street late into dusk, the more lights on you vehicle, the better. I now have hide-away strobes installed (for plowing)so that should help.
9-Oak leaves don't break down as well as others so, charge more for em!
10-All estimates have a 4-5 day expiration. I also am going to put a note on every estimate that I do that basically makes it usless if it rains.

Best lawn clean-up. 400 bucks for about an hour. Dumped on site.

Worst lawn clean-up. 300 bucks for about 4 hours of work. dumped on site but it was a nightmare. I'm sure I covered equipment costs but I'll never make the mistake of under quoting that lawn again. Oak leaves were a big factor here.
I still dont know how you folks do this!! In my area for 400 bucks it better take 2 days, wash both their cars, blow off roof, trim shrubs, and the client better see a BIG pile of leaves, and thats for a very wealthy client that can afford 400 bucks!! BTW, my worst was my first year in biz on a yard that took 9 hours to clean up for 45 bucks! Man, did I remember that one for a loonnngggg time. I underestimated for starters and the azzhole blowed the roof off the day before I was to come.Straw was over 1 foot deep. But thanks to LS I dont have no crap pulled on me like that anymore. I cant believe the crap I put of with the first few years in biz. But also thanks to my changes dont have a lot of clients left anymore either
__________________
John deere 717A
Echo 200 edger
sthil 85 hand held blower
echo hedge clippers
echo long pole hedge clippers
Redmax weedeater
echo 650 BP blower
6 x 16 trailer
5 x 8 trailor
2001 Chevy LS Silverado
Polaris Sportsman 500 AWD ATV
last but not least, TWINS!

Last edited by QualityLawnCare4u; 12-26-2005 at 07:37 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2005, 08:00 PM
DistLawns DistLawns is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Midwest
Posts: 120
Wow, quality lawn care4 you, It sounds like business is tough down there in Georgia, what keeps you going?
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2005, 09:10 PM
QualityLawnCare4u's Avatar
QualityLawnCare4u QualityLawnCare4u is offline
LawnSite Gold Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Waycross. Georgia
Posts: 3,761
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistLawns
Wow, quality lawn care4 you, It sounds like business is tough down there in Georgia, what keeps you going?
Stupidity and determination, dont know which yet I hate the thought of working for the man again and having to be under some jerk for a boss, Im a bigger enough jerk as it is! Have actually considered bankruptcy this past year but refuse to do that yet.
__________________
John deere 717A
Echo 200 edger
sthil 85 hand held blower
echo hedge clippers
echo long pole hedge clippers
Redmax weedeater
echo 650 BP blower
6 x 16 trailer
5 x 8 trailor
2001 Chevy LS Silverado
Polaris Sportsman 500 AWD ATV
last but not least, TWINS!
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  #8  
Old 12-26-2005, 10:26 PM
cookedonphonics's Avatar
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Reading, PA
Posts: 47
The main thing I learned...

Don't start the cleanup if you're not going to have enough time to finish it in the same day....
Had a pretty good sized one that I thought I could get started on and then finish up the next day.... BAD MOVE.
Had to redo everyting I did the 1st day because the winds picked up overnight. Total waste of 4 hours.
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