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A Quick Question About Spring Clean

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by prox445, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. prox445

    prox445 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    A neighbor of a client asked me to do a clean up. I went to his house to give him an est. When I got to the house to take a look I was in shock. This place is a mess. Here's the question. The lawn and beds haven't been cleaned in the fall and still have stacks of leaves and old mulch. The lawn is 1/4 acre and has around 1200 sq/ft of beds. I gave him the est. but he asked if I could burn the waste on his property would I knock off a few buck? I'm not to excited about that idea. I worry about liability and the extra time it would take to wait for everything to burn. I figure to clean and haul would take me and an asst. bout 3 hours.
    What do ya'll think? Should I stick to my bid and maybe loose it or sould I take a risk and make a few bucks.
    Thanks for the help.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Leaving the beds till spring, makes perfect sense. Otherwise, you clean them twice, whereas, the leaves blowing in, are - good - for winter cover.

    What do you mean. Wait to burn?

    If the neighbor has money, and worth the trouble, I would try to keep him, because 2 houses together are better than one, in the long run.
    Don't step over a dollar, to pick up a dime. JMO.
  3. ygim

    ygim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 300

    I wouldn't burn it for him.
  4. JohnnyRocker

    JohnnyRocker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    Yeah, something about starting a fire on a customer's property brings up a red flag!!! Does your insurance cover intentionally set fires? I doubt it!!!
  5. prox445

    prox445 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    Well I don't want to ask my insurance about it. And as far as leaving the beds till spring, I have never heard of that. I have always blown lawn and beds every fall then go in the spring to finsh any cleaning. I also at this time cultivate and add pre-emerg. fert. w/weed stop. I know this potential client has a mowing service but I don't know if the do any other services. I think I'm going to stick to my bid maybe take a few buck off and try like heck to sell the whole service. I am going to stop by the house today if I don't go out and plow. I will keep you all posted
  6. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,746

    Leaving the leaves in the beds has been a technique of us older master gardener types, whom know that survival of plants depends on insulation layers. Mulch in excess of 3-4 inches provides this protection from winter cold and ice. Some of our less hardy plants can utilize a natural mulch layer of leaves if left all winter then removed at spring and replaced with natural mulches. Case and point; Leaves that have been left on the beds will create the thermal effect thus allowing the roots protection. If you suddenly remove this thermal layer, the roots will go through a shock period and sometimes will cause overfreeze and sudden loss of moisture. Tender new rootlet growth under the subsoil freezes. I have seen devestation from leaf removal before frigid temps and after. This method is highly debateable but we still utilize this method on some customers. After the leaves have decayed by spring time, the non removed matter is left and mulch applied on top. All Naturale! This technique isn't taught in the school of sales and repleneshment, it is learned at nurseries. Plants, trees are healed under during the winter!
    As for the customer wanting you to burn the debris at a lesser price?? I just love those types of people, because they don't even consider that burning takes more time for you than taking the hauloff to the recycling centers. Burning and some city ordinances won't allow this without a burn permit. Then insurance matters are something to consider. Wind can attack at any time leaving you holding potential liability. I often have customers wanting us to bag the material instead of loading and hauling. The bags cost us .45 cents each...........the good commercial grade material that will hold the bulk from the Walker GHS. I charge them for the bags and the extra time of handling. More times than not, the cost of bagging is more than the two evils. So, I don't offer it!!
    Don't get me wrong..............leaving leaves doesn't look appealing at all, and we only do this on loyal and old fashioned customers. During the spring cleanup period all of the leaves are blown and removed then after the temps have settled out and then mulches are placed as a backup.
  7. glaciator

    glaciator LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    I don't think your insurance would like you to burn on a customer's property. And, as a contractor are you allowed to burn per city/county ordinances? I wouldn't do it.
  8. prox445

    prox445 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    Think Green,
    Thanks for the help. I'm a bit lost with this way. So I should leave them in the bed. But when spring comes should I clean the beds or leave it? I understand the purpose and would keep me from puting straw on the beds. To be honest I have never seen this done but I am going to steal your idea.
    Anyways, I held my ground with my bid. I told the guy it was a problematic issue and I would have to haul it out. I even worked with the price and took 20% off. I'm glad I did this because now I can add $45 a week to my gross and I hope he will tell his buds that I am the company to use for your lawn and snow services!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Well written... :)

    I would add, that another purpose of overwintering mulch, is the process of freezing/thawing that takes place as temps fluctuate. This can severely damage unprotected roots. Especially, during the January thaw and the Springtime.
  10. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060

    Nice job on the info, Thanks...:)

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