Fall cleanup workload

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by r_snowrider, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. r_snowrider

    r_snowrider LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    How much business do you guys get in the fall cleanup time during the year? On just the cleanup not the landscaping.
     
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    It's not an exaggeration to say that you can do as much in cleanups as you can do in a season of mowing.
     
  3. r_snowrider

    r_snowrider LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    I'm not involved in the landscaping portion. I do junk removal, which often consists of yard debris. I also load a lot of junk from inside homes as well as construction debris. But most of my work comes in the spring, for spring cleanup (people cleaning out their homes and yards). But with business decreasing in the winter I need to go out and make a lot of money to hold me over. I figure many people will not only need their leaves piled up, but removed as well, which is what I do. I already have a 15ft dump w/4ft sides, so I'm setup as far as that goes. Now all I think I need is a couble blowers and a leaf loader to hook up to my trailer. I figure it will work out good going door to door with my equipment parked in front ready to go. I also plan on doing newspaper inserts. I will give all my customers business cards, refrigerator magnets, etc, so in the spring they will call me for their refuse removal. It seems like it should work out with some hard work. I contacted my city today and they said that they pickup leaves and other fall waste for a couple days in October, but they have strict rules for their collection. And I doubt (I'm not sure though) that people will only cleanup once, that they will want to bag all their leaves, as well as keep all the leaves around till cleanup. I'm investing about 3500-4000 dollars in equipment. And hopefully it will pay itself off alright, and I will make some $ and future customers in the process.
     
  4. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 805


    What exactly is the definition of a fall cleanup? Leaf removal?

    Thanks.
     
  5. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,414

    We work till the snow comes and ends the season that can be early or that can be late I cannot do clean ups when the ground is covered in snow. That said I hate that time of year you bust your ass and make less for it I always have more work then I have time to do but the days are very short in fall those 4 hours less light hurts and you can be forced to call it for rain snow and oh yes WIND! The reason we do it is to keep our accounts for next season. Fall my monthly income drops 30% or more and labor doubles not a whole lot to love about that.
     
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Wow! That's not GOOD! There is a breakdown, somewhere. It is either in your pricing structure, or MO. We are always behind, too, but it is picking up extra work that puts us there. you should be able to walk through these things, and charge well to do that. Maybe by your method, it id just taking too long, and that is eating up all your profit. It depends on what you are using, how it's being used (efficiency), and time on task for the employees. I see many companies on these jobs with guys just standing around. This adds up all too fast.
     
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,414

    Nay I use better equipment then most of the guys that have posted about the subject I think it’s just my market place they freak at $35 an hour and I will not go lower then that. And were talking 20hp truck vac leaf plow trac vacs and all my backpacks and push blowers. I have what it takes in fire power I have just found there to be little money in this sadly I have no choice as with nearly 170 accounts I can bet I will be asked to do at least 125 clean ups this fall. I would need to hit around $150,000 in clean ups to be able to say I made what I did in a season of mowing I will not come close to that 40k if I am lucky. And that will be for both Nov and Dec that’s not a good month when I just hit 32k for July.
     
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Wow....yeah, your numbers are a bit different than many...myself includwed. How about this..don't mention the 35 per hour bit. Just quote a flat rate. That's what we do...our customers would FLIP if we actually told them we need to get 40-50 per man hour. Just quote it as a given price...it is none of their business that you have equipment to come in there and make the money (that is basically necessary) that you do. Roofers quote the job...not the hour. Tree services quote the job, not the hour. Brake shops quote the job, not the hour (even though teir hourly rate is posted many of times), people don't know HOW long it will take.
     
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,414

    New ones I have to quote and I do hate it as things can go wrong as in losing the good employees as they do not like fall and now you got newbies that’s hell. I think I will have my 2 boys now for a while so that’s a good thing. But my older accounts there is no quote I just do it and charge accordingly my biggest gripe is there is just not enough hours in those 2 months to really make any money I know I can have guys work 7 days in a week in fall and only hit 45 hours some times my guys hit 40 hours each just on our 3 days a week of cutting alone. I think if we worked a lot fewer hours in the main season we might not see the difference as much but since we do the long days when you get to fall its quite a shock how little of it there is.

    As for workers and performance you are quite right you can do a 5-man crew and have 2 bums and take some serious time hits. This season I will be running 2 fall crews for the first time there is no choice and I do plan on keeping them small and tight 3 men each I found the bigger crews just can not do jobs efficiently on the smaller lawns so when ever we switched to our small ones we took some hits. Say we have a 4-man crew and we are in 150-200 dollar clean up neighborhoods. If we do 5-6 a day we did ok but if things went bad and we only did 4 or worse you really see how much you can lose and how quick with the larger crews. Last year I got to run 2 men just me and my partner for 4 of the 7 week season that was such a pleasure yea we did not get the numbers done fast enough but we did not even need to talk about the work we just knew what to do and did it and we did 600-700 a day not great but there was only gas to pay for. Sadly we have way to many accounts to do it that way so we need to use employees this year and I get to add this to the cost of fall another truck we want a second dump truck which will be our 4th truck we will be looking used but in the 20k price range. And then we need another vac and we need to build another box and then we need more blowers and such. Add in employees and we aren’t making much this fall. Granted we want the truck for other reasons then fall but it is nice to blame the leaves isn't it
     

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