Bidding leaf clean-up

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by cbkc, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. cbkc

    cbkc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    How do you guys bid lead clean-up? I got a call to do it and I have the equipment and time but have no idea what to charge. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!
  2. cbkc

    cbkc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    In advance I want to say I did research this topic and didn't find exactly what I was looking for. I hate how these threads sometimes turn into arguments so guys like "ALC-GregH" who do nothing but post negative comments please don't reply. Thanks again to anyone that can offer advice!
  3. redskinsfan34

    redskinsfan34 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I would say estimate how long you think it will take you total (from the time you step out of the truck to the time you put it in gear and leave). Then charge around $1 per minute. That's what i do. My .02
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    And of course figure disposal time.... By figuring time (you get good at it after awhile, as you learn just how long things take), you can't get hurt. Just don't sell yourself short when you start vamping up your equipment.
  5. CTmower

    CTmower LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Posts: 324

    My minimum is usually $200, which is roughly 2 hrs worth of work. I usually start from there and feel the customer out. If I give them a flat fee and they kind of shake their heads then ill say ok no prob, and give them a hourly rate which usually works out to more then my flat rate. I dump my leaves for free which the customers dont need to know about so they also get a $25 dump fee added on at the end.
  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Using a suggestion on rates won't do you any good because if you are charging a dollar a minute and show up with an electric blower and a rake you wont get any work, much the same were if you were to work for $20/hr you would not make any money, assuming you are at least halfway legit. You need to figure out what your rate is, and no one can tell you that with out seeing your books, then figure out how long it is going to take you. If that is not what you want to hear than by all means check the going rate on craigslist.
  7. bradseabridge

    bradseabridge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    Charge double what you originally plan to charge. TRUST ME.
  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,816

    Good advice. I would add, charge them like it is the only time you will ever work for them.
  9. RLS 2010

    RLS 2010 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    Great Advice! But I don't know about double. I've learned the hard way leaf jobs ALWAYS take longer then they look. I little bit of leaves scattered all over add up quick!
  10. bradseabridge

    bradseabridge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    Usually if I think $200 I will charge somewhere between $300-$350. Also with leaf work I give a minimum price and maximum, it will be at least $200 and no more than $350. I also let them know that I have never actually charged the high rate yet, and that the norm is somewhere in the middle. This way I don't have to tell them my hourly rate for leaves which is $60/hr I just estimate how long it will take me, use that number for the low price and then add on $100-$200. I started doing this last year, people seem to like it because when you give them two set prices they know they wont pay more than your high amount and it gives them peice of mind about the price. If I told people I charge $60/hr for leaves and didn't give a flat rate, they would laugh me out of their yard because most the people I do work for DON'T EVEN MAKE THIS MUCH! Even though I'm probably only making $40/hr realistically. Try it, people like having set limits on a price instead of an hourly quote, you gain trust and people don't worry about how much it will cost while your still working. Try it and see how it works for you.

    Matter if fact, I do this for everything now as well not just leaves.

    Also this is for big cleanups only. If I'm managing the property as the leaves fall I charge $15 more than the normal cut price. I blow leaves from beds, pick them up with the grass catcher on my walkbehind with super hi-lift blades then remove the leaves and dump them at my place of choosing. I do this probably 3 times once the leaves start to fall, and on the last time I cut the lawn short for winter. So a $45 lawn which is my average yard, would be $180 for leaf cleanup progressively through the season. If I came back one time to do it all at once on a $45 lawn I would charge roughly $250-$400 this is with my leaf vac and a backpack blower. If I didn't have my leaf vac it would be way more, or if I have to tarp the back yard and bring them through a gate. Fortunately I try to only do leaf work in the high end neighborhoods where there is at least 1 acre of property and no one has fences, the yards are almost completely flat as well. These are the best accounts. They have more money than they know what to do with, and they are in competition with their neighbors to see who can have the nicest yards. I love the feeling of backing the truck and trailer up to a big AZZ windrow and just sucking the leaves up, no more picking them up by hand and bagging them. Like the kids I see every year just trying to make a buck. Hell I used to do this when I was younger worked my ass off for little money, thankfully I wised up and learned to work smarter not harder and got the right equipment.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010

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