charging more for the mowings due to leaves?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by RonWin, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. RonWin

    RonWin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 659

    How does one go about dealing with the excess clippings caused from sucking ups leaves ? How much do you charge extra? Do you charge extra? It obviously takes longer to cut lawns when your bags fill up 5 times faster, is there a method to this madness as far as charging maybe 10-20 dollars more per cut when there is a substantial amount of leaves on the lawn? Should you also be blowing out the beds? Or should you try to push the envelope for mini fall clean ups? Help!
     
  2. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    I dont charge extra I mulch them as I cut the lawn
    Only time I charge more is when I do the fall clean up and other return visits
    We are at 10% leaves fallen mostly Ash some maples drop there leaves
     
  3. RonWin

    RonWin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 659

    Up here in the northeast the leaves are coming down pretty decent right now. Its about at the grey area where it isn't enough for a fall clean up but it is enough for filling up your bags extremely faster than before. So far i have been asking/informing home owners that for only a additional 10-20 bucks i will bag the leaves instead of mulch the lawn/leaves. So far it has been ok with most home owners but i just wanted to know how others do it. As far as contractrs do you guys put anything in there about bagging leaves while cutting lawns before you get into the fall cleanups themselves? Because it is inevitable that the leaves are going to come down and cause you to spend a lot more time and energy to take care of it.
     
  4. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,485

    i just charge an extra 15 per lawn, 5 dollars a bag, and i have 3 bags on my scag, but i feel its not enough, but i'm not sure how much more i could really get. maybe 7 dollars a bag but that little increase may cause some customers to freak out so i guess 15 extra to bag isn't too bad.
     
  5. RonWin

    RonWin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 659

    Do you put that in a contract before the season or do you bring it up when your at their place to have them take a look at how many leaves are on their lawn and upsell the extra $15? I have upsold bagging the leaves with the lawn mowing for around 15-20 dollars extra but then they turn around after and retort "Is this one the last mowing ? Just wait til fall cleanups now?" I hate that because there is still atleast 1-3 more mowings where im at since the grass will continue to grow , even at a slower pace. So in essence i want to get the extra money for the extra time + work of bagging the leaves with the cut but i DO NOT want to have to hear them asking me if it is going to be the last cut just because im am charging a little extra for the services rendered in bagging AND cutting the leaves. Any thoughts on this?
     
  6. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,485

    i do no contracts, i don't want any customer of mine to feel trapped into using my services, if they want to leave, they can leave. I keep my customers because they are happy with my professionalism, they like the high quality of work i provide and the price works within their budget. I have had a few customers who want me to stop mowing in september when the grass clearly grows past october 31st but they are cheap and don't want to pay for it. I bring up the extra charge once the leaves start accumulating on the lawn, either in person, via text, email or i give the customer a phone call or if I am not able to get in contact with them by the time i cut their grass and i know they will probably just have me bag the leaves, i just do it and tell them the 1st one is on me, because they didn't know and that way they see how well it works and agree it is worth the extra 15 dollars to have me just bag the leaves weather they have me do a fall clean up or not, they all agree their lawn looks nicer after i cut it and bag the leaves which is what i am after, the ones who have me stop cutting in september can switch to someone else in the spring for all I care they are lousy customers anyways and only have me cut the lawn every other week....
     
  7. RonWin

    RonWin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 659

    You operate exactly how i do. This ismy first year, and i only had one person sign a contract and that was only because i thought it would make me seem like a other lco's who are established. looking back i really dont think i even care to do contracts with others because i am honest, show up, and do a great job (and in doing so my customers seem to stay with me AND ask me to do more work for them). I also have cut a few lawns alreayd and didnt ask for more money when bagging there leaves. I do think that i will inform them that i will be charging a little extra next time if there is a ton of leaves tho. I was also thinkingabout charging more ( because i am a little on the low side as it is) if they decide to cancel the last few cuttings early because they are being cheap. I see no problem in charging them a little extra (which is really not a little extra at all with the base line price that i have alrdy gave them) when doing the fall clean ups. I like your style, as it is also my own! :usflag:
     
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    On a lot of my accounts I just blow the heavier accumulations of leaves to the woods and time how long that takes and bill that in addition to the mowing price. On two of them I did today I just skipped the trimming and they won't be charged anything additional at this point since overall the lawns took the same amount of time as usual. As of tomorrow, the 16th of October I go to straight hourly billing for all mowing and cleanups for my regular customers. I make a couple of exceptions for lawns that really don't get any leaves or it's so minor that it doesn't add a significant amount of time. If I have to haul the leaves away I charge $3 per bag, but that's in addition to a labor charge usually. I don't discuss my billing with my customers in advance unless they're new customers. I just try to always be fair and there's rarely a problem.
     
  9. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,485

    i only bagged one lawn for free, all the rest i was able to notify the customer of the extra and they all happily agreed to pay it, and i only haul the leaves away if there is absolutely no where to dump them on site. one customer is giving me a running and driving 2000 ford winstar minivan with no dents, no rot or rust and only 130,000 miles in exchange for the fall clean up, she is thrilled about this deal because she said the leaves are too much for them. little does she know, her leaves are no match for my scag cheetah and bagger system, along with my leaf plow, 9hp little wonder ground blower, two commercial back blowers, and my 15hp giant vac leaf debris loader. lol so i plan to sell the mini van for 1500 for a quick sale, should be a nice bonus :usflag:
     
  10. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,485

    i blow what i can into the woods, after all the leaves are down usually in november. while the lawns still need cutting every week or every other week even, i just bag and charge an extra 15 on top of the mowing, and dump them in the woods. but its quicker to push the leaves from the back into the woods and the front to the curb where i just suck them up and go. before i had a bagger and leaf vac clean ups took a long time....
     

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