How do you deal with leaves until the final pickup?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MacLawnCo, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847

    This last week, it seems like all the trees are starting to let loose. So i have put on my doubles and have been double cutting to reduce the leaves to about nothing. Only problem is that i have been, on average, on the properties about 30% longer than i bid them. I have a hard time just giving them a single cut due to the after cut appearance, but i dont like loosing so much time solely to benifit the customer. How do you deal with this situation?
     
  2. 2 man crew

    2 man crew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 403

    We mulched this week, seemed like only 30% down and charged for normal cut. We ran gator blades with ocdc's. ocdc open for non leaf clean up customers. Double cut with the ocdc closed for leaf clean up customers. We ran average labor hours. We are starting full clean ups (landscape blowout & baging) Monday.
     
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Hard as it may be at times, you have to separate the leaf work from the regular mowing service. I'm probably robbing myself of earnings, but until the regular scheduled mowing visits are spent, any leaves I can mulch without slowing down or double passes fall in the freebie area.

    Once it begins to require more time and work I charge seperately and accordingly, per pass/hour using mowing rates as a gauge. This seems to work OK for me, goes over well and is easy for the customer to understand the charges. Plus I get to go take care of them a little at a time each week as opposed to the customer waiting until they are really piled up in an attempt to save a buck.
     
  4. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    I know the exact time each property takes(down to the minute). If I'm able to mulch the leaves in the course of mowing, then there is no additional charge. On a couple this week. I had to bag them after i mowed in order to get the the large amount of shredded leaves picked up. Each property took about 10 minutes extra. Each of these properties normally take 40 minutes. So 10 extra minutes is 25% more than normal, so for example sake only, if the fee is $40 normally, then there is an additonal charge of $10 for the leaf cleanup. I list the leaf pickup separately, by date, on the invoice.
    Never any complaints doing it this way...in fact one guy told me I;m not charging enough. But as the leaves get heavier, and they will in the next couple weeks, we will do actual leaf cleanups(separate from mowing) on all the properties. Most props take about 3 cleanups for the season. I do not wait until there is a thick, wet mess to do the cleanups...hope this helps
     
  5. naturescape

    naturescape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,695

    It takes me longer to mow because I mulch all the leaves that are on my properties (not in the beds). Usually takes 2 - 3 passes with the mower. However, when the leaves are coming down hard, I don't edge any longer, and trimming is at a minimum, if any.

    So I'm actually off the property in the SAME or LESS time than I would be in summer.
     
  6. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 824

    I do it the same as naturescape just mentioned. Depending on the property, trimming isn't needed anymore. Just mulching the leaves and a few passes with the bagger.
     
  7. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,069

    Go out and get the mulch kit for your Exmark. I have one on my 52 TT and when im done with most lawns right now it looks like I bagged it. Untill more leaves fall on my newly mulched lawn :mad:

    I am running a single exmark wavy blade. I tryed double wavys but was getting to much blowout. if the leaves are really dry they turn to dust if they are a little wet then it takes 2 pass's sometimes
     
  8. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Posts: 2,574

    I find that I can go over the lawn twice with my 48" Proline and make them look good. I am currently running doubles with gators and high lifts. It seems to work better when the leaves are a little damp.....less blowout.....

    I typically charge double the mowing charge to go over the lawn twice. For the final cleanup I will either go over it 1 or 2 times and then bag the rest.

    That is triple the charge or sometimes a little less depending on how much bagging is needed.

    Derek
     
  9. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    THis week we've had a big leaf drop, and it's taking forever at each yard. And I'm booked pretty solid to begin with. I just do what I can, and I don't expect to finish every customer this week or next. Growth has slowed, so people aren't complaining, but it does screw me outta $$. Leaves are different every year, you never know what to expect, when they are going to fall, what the weather is, and when the grass stops growing. Crazy.
     
  10. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847

    Thanks for the responses all.
     

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