H-A-T-E is not a strong enough word

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tom-N-Texas, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Tom-N-Texas

    Tom-N-Texas LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    to describe how much I hate leaf cleanups. Every year I tell myself I'm never doing this crap again. Then...like the freaking wimp I am, I get sucked right back into it...only to regret.

    I know there are tons of outfits around town running from leafjob to leafjob....but I honestly don't know how they're making any money.

    First of all pricing is unbelieveably fierce, with everyone wanting to make a last buck before Christmas. But even if you get the job there's tons of negatives:

    1) You have to work your ass off harder than ever...not to mention throwing your back out and filling your lungs with leaves and dirt. Also you have to work twice as long for half the money as regular mowing.

    2) Leaf jobs quickly RUIN 21" mowers -- or at the very least -- clog their carbuerators, despite regular filter cleanings. Blowers are aged as well.

    3) Hazardous....the potential for running over something hidden under the leaves is incredible. (Can you say 3" tree stump? I knew you could!)


    Most potential customers just have NO IDEA how long it take to clean leaves up. Often when I give a price I'm met with a startled, insulted look. To ease their shock, I look at them in the eye and ask them how much they'd honestly charge if they were bidding this job! Usually this leads to them saying that they're "getting quotes and will get back to me." This, of course, is just code for "you just wasted your time and gas driving over here."

    I could go on but I won't. Merry Christmas everyone! Tom
     
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Why not only offer services to your existing mowing customers ONLY then?

    That's what I do. Am I leaving money on the table with others? Sure I am, but...
     
  3. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,232

    I love them. We have a $125 minimum, most jobs take around 1-1.5 hrs. Our best was 11 in one day. Good money maker, just have to be efficient.
     
  4. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    Yes Sir, there's some money in it, but here it is pretty much just like Tom said above, miserable dirty work. Except I haven't seen anyone using 21" mowers on leaves here.
     
  5. CLARK LAWN

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,526

    if you make enough no matter how dirty & miserable it is all is good on the way to the bank . I've never seen anyone use a 21" mower for leaves either i use backpacks and push blowers to make pile then truck loader into dump with leaf box
     
  6. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    You got it right Tom. I usually do most of my accounts for about $10 to $15 more than a usual cut on leaf job if they let me come several times during the leaf season so they don't pile up. And it usually just involves blowing them out and mulching. I can get by with this amount since I rarely pickup the trimmer or edger. Today though, I had an unusual amount of leaves in one of my regular accounts yards. When I finished I was trying to figure how to charge her when she came out with the check already made out. She paid me double what I usually charge.

    This is the exception though I know. Some people just seem to have enough common sense to see the extra work you are doing and pay fairly.

    But, yes Tom, you are exactly right that it is dirty, nasty, dusty work, probably not worth the effort except to keep your customer happy so you will still have them next season.
     
  7. gorknoids

    gorknoids LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 316

    Ya definitely hafta gear up to handle leaf jobs. The big deal with leaves is the volume they occupy. The sooner you can grind them up, the better, as this makes them easier to handle and greatly increases your storage/hauling capacity wrt what was laying on the property when you arrived. For the larger jobs, we use a Re-Vac and catch the grindings in 6' mesh bags which find their way to one woodlot or another.
    The average yard gets blown out and ground using either a Walker or Z-Master bagging mower. Days being as short as they are, the rates have to be astronomical. In February they come way down.
     
  8. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,267

    Yes it is a dirty job but it is one that has to be done if you want to keep the customers happy.I would much rather do them in the fall then in the spring(whats left over that is) any day.
     
  9. gorknoids

    gorknoids LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 316

    Yeah, they're still fairly dry and crisp now!:drinkup:
     
  10. flam41

    flam41 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    this is nuts. I am so busy now & makeing good $$$.
    Dont charge what you would to mow, more work= more $.
    I can't convince you to like it, but once you find a better way maybe you'lll like it.
    Do a great job & you'll get costemers for life also.
     

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