cleanups...you newbies listen up!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GarPA, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    This topic has been brought up so often that I hate to do it again but if it helps just ONE new person in the biz, its worth it.
    I've been doing cleanups partimte or full time for at least 10 years.

    Just finished one of those "cleanups from hell"..you know, the ones where there is 2 years of crapola in all the beds, sticks growing up everywhere, plants that needed deadheaded, etc.

    So THIS time, I say, I'll estimate on it the high side and then add 30% on top of that...well guess what...it still took 8 hours longer(2 person crew..8 total man hours over my estimate)

    so how did I make a 2 man day day job go to a 3 man day job? I was too lazy and stupid to dig thru the matted leaves to find that there were groundcover vines EVERYWHERE and the backpacks blowers couldn;t get at least half of the leaves out...solution?? yep...hand raking...then becuase I was so p'off, I backed the Z, with the blades running, over a $25 tarp I just bought this morning!!!! rip bang snap tear....and guess what I said to my stupid self?
    "You will never learn that cleanups usually take twice as long as your eyeball estimate tells you...you idiot!".

    So now my arms are hanging down to my ankles, I'm filthy, and I'm tired. Maybe I need a new rule..."no cleanups unless you've worked the property before"....thought you verterans might get a chuckle out this since we all know how tough it is to estimate these damn things......and you newbies out there, take heed what we're saying here...now I need to go find the Ben Gay and some Geritol...
     
  2. DUSTYCEDAR

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,134

    i hate when that happens o any new cleanup it is by the hr.
    and if they dont like it oh well:cry:
     
  3. mole

    mole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 199

    That's my motto by the hour. Live and learn. Been there done that. No more. I see people in my area giving away spring clean ups with a signed lawn contract. These fools will learn. I would rather give away on or two lawn cuttings for a spring clean up. More money in that because it's labor by the hour per man.

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  4. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Normally I use a range of cost ...from min to maximum...well this time I was SO sure I was fine on the hard number...not. Never again...going back to min/max approach.
     
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Tough day, huh Gary? Doesn't help not to be a spring chicken anymore and coming out of winter hibernation either (that I know all too well).

    Cheer up...it's only 8 months till December...lol:rolleyes:
     
  6. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    yes Rod we geezers have to start out a little slower dont we...actually the frequent snow work this winter kept the aches and pains from hitting the past couple days...plus I dropped 15lb the past 2 months so I feel pretty good for a geezer....but one would thing that by the timer you qualify for your geezer card, that you;d have enough wisdom in your old age to NEVER give hard numbers on cleanups.....its probably the early stages of alzheimers....
     
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    sorry to hear it gar. i done that soooo many times, no matter how long u been doing this, u can always screw up on a cleanup. the worst thing about doing it, is that now u have set a standard between you and the customer, and anytime you quote them a price, they will think you're porking them, cus you did do that cleanup so cheap. the good thing about it is.....it's done and over with, and now comes miller time
     
  8. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Posts: 1,405

    I think we all judged the water before us as ankle deep and found ourselves drowning once we get in!!
     
  9. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    I screwed up one last fall big time. I looked it over (a little too quickly), then bid it at $400. After all was said & done, even w/ free disposal, it should have been $525.00 I sent the bill for the $400 quoted w/ a note that if its as bad the next season, that the price would be closer to $600.00.
    The good news is that I signed them for full service this year. Spring clean-up, weekly mow, mulch, prune, fert program, they need landscaping and will want lawn renovation in the fall. Its a fairly large home in an upscale town on a fairly major road. We currently work for 4 neighbors on the same block.
    Sorry i got a little off topic, but I'd bet that GarPa would agree that you still do the job right, and maybe you get rewarded in the long run.
     
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    I really didnt take much of a financial bath...as my rates are not exactly at the low end shall we say...what ticks me off the most is I know better then to give a hard number but I went and did it anyway...I'm pretty strict about not caving on things but I did this time...but as always, I actually kind of like it every once in awhile when I screw one up because it just reaffirms what I already know...one more learning experience I chalk it up to...
     

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