Frustrating leaf season

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by lawnprosteveo, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,930

    Nearly at the end of November and I am sitting at around 50% of what I grossed last November.

    I am advertising the same. Flyers, ads...

    One thing different from last year is its warmer this year. The leaves were slow to fall this season. Ive also noticed more balking on price. I actually had a guy tell me a crew of 4 guys worked an hour and only charged $45 for leaf removal.

    Anyone else experiencing this?
     
  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    You know the answers but need to hear someone else say them.

    Leaves not falling as quick as last year.

    People and economy are still bad with people losing jobs still.

    People can't afford to pay and do it themselves. Leaf removal is a convenience not a necessity. As going to store and buy a cup of coffe vs making a pot then having to clean the pot.

    Every guy with a trailer or pickup out of work that has a rake and a box of bags is competing for the same amount of leaves.
     
  3. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,930

    Funny thing...I got a call from two people that I thought were going with a lower bid. They both want me to do it. It's like we never had the conversation about my price being higher!
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. I think the leaf removal business is declining with people going to mulching the leaves. Lots of places it's illegal to put yard waste in the landfill.
    With the eco-friendly advertisments against leaf removal it's not looked at as a premium service any more.
    So the people left that MUST have their leaves removed are less inclined to pay well.

    Maybe it's different in your area.
     
  5. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Posts: 4,203

    Did you call all your customers from last season about this year before the leaves falling. Just a call saying "Hi there, I'm working on my fall clean up schedule and would you like me to do it again this year?". I do this, price is barely ever mentioned. I have a handfull I don't like doing and leave it to them to call (and they do).

    Maintaining a customer list and keeping contact with them is key to grow your buisness.
     
  6. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,930

    I did call my existing customers. They are loyal and never question price. It's the new business I try to pick up that is the challenge. As for mulching and landfills, I take my leaves to a topsoil sales place, they turn mountains of leaves to topsoil. I used to mulch everything, but it just doesn't work on some of these small, heavily treed lawns.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    I don't even discuss fall cleanup with most of my regular customers. I just do it and bill them. It does seem that there are less leaves this year, in my area I think it's largely because a lot of them came down during Hurricane Irene. I haven't received many calls for one time cleanups, but a lot of them seem to wait until there's a major snow storm in the forecast anyway and then want it done yesterday. I think a lot of them intend to get it done themselves or with/by a family member or neighbor or whatever but when that doesn't happen it suddenly becomes an emergency. I still have a solid week or 2 (depending on weather) of final cleanups for my regular accounts before I can even think about doing one timers. Once we get into mid December around here leaf cleanups become difficult...rafts of frozen leaves don't blow very well.
     
  8. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,280

    "Nearly at the end of November and I am sitting at around 50% of what I grossed last November."

    Due to the warm wet weather we had here (and I think its now the 3rd or 4th wettest year on record since they kept records) I was able to get 2 weeks of mowing in Nov on close to half my list. And why that doesn't sound great the fact is we do not get to start clean ups here till about the 20th of Nov so that extra 6k in cuts may see me with a 50% increase in what we typically gross in Nov. Maybe its just me but I never understood guys getting excited about leaf season its a 60-70% pay cut for us from our peek months of May or June.
     
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,280

    What town are you in darryl? your schedule sounds a lot like ours accept we never ever have time for one time clients.
     
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Westbrook, next to Old Saybrook. I lived in Milford for a while...Beachside Condos all the way down Naugatuck Ave. It was nice until there was a major fish kill...OMG that was gross, lol. Also lived in the Paradise Green area of Stratford for a while. Is the Frog Pond still there?
     

Share This Page