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Leaf Clean-Up

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Utah Lawn Care, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,403

    How do you go about charging for leaf clean-ups? Do you tell them you will wait till all the leaves have fallen then you will get it taken care of for XXX amount? Do you charge hourly? Do you tell them you will come every couple weeks till they are all fallen? What are your strategies?

  2. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,855

    It really depends. I usually do multiple clean ups, but the final one I really get everything good. No reason to spend an hour blowing out difficult areas more than once, when they'll be full of leaves again before the next morning.

    I never charge hourly, I just give a price based on my hourly rate, and just tell them that. Usually if I'm doing weekly to every other week quick clean ups, its just a double mow, just depends on how many trees they have and if the wind blows onto their property or away from their property generally. They'll get two to three hours of my time, and I'll blow out areas and bag it up. But I only do this for about half my customers, the rest its mulch it in until the grass stops growing and the leaves stop falling, then one shot clean up.
  3. skorum03

    skorum03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    I also say it really depends, and by that I mean it really depends on what the customer wants. I like give customers the option to do a few quick clean ups as the leaves fall and then do a bigger one when they're done dropping or just do one big clean up at the end. I usually offer a cheaper price to people if I do the quick clean ups a few times because its really just mowing the yard. I just double my mowing price for the quick clean ups (this isn't always the case but in general this is how I do it). Even though I offer the cheaper price for a few quick clean ups as opposed to one big one which is always more expensive I sometimes have people just opt for the one clean up. So, who knows. Fall clean ups are a nice addition to our businesses and a great way to gain future customers. Just make it look good when the customer gets home from work and you'll be set. I like to use the vacuum system on my mower for clean ups. I don't have a giant leaf box on a dump truck or trailer so I have to make do with what I have. It works for me.

    YardBros Outdoors
  4. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Customers do not want to hear that you charge $60 and hour to "rake leaves" so always best to price by the job. If you feel the job will take you 4 hours then you quote $240.

    I have been coming across more people wanting weekly leaf clean ups. What I have done is double my mowing price then multiply by 5 times. A $35 mow is a $70 weekly clean up. So a customer then gets the choice of one clean up for $350 or 5 weekly clean ups for $350.

    Cash flow is steadier spreading out the work.

    I start the first week November. Leave the option to skip Thanksgiving Week. So I would get done the first week of December or the second week if I skip TG day week.

    This works well for me because I still have some lawns that get there last mowing during the last week of October
  5. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    I just mow till the yard does not become managble with the amount of leaves. Some customers don't need much of a clean up at all, the others I do I wait till November or if they request it before hand and do final service/clean up.

    I find cutting back all the perennials takes more time than dealing with the leaves. I'm fortunate where I can blow all my properties back into the wood line.

    I have never found a general formula for me. I have basic $35 dollar yards where the clean up takes 1/2 hour and other $35 yards where the clean up takes all day 8-10 hours.
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  6. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,884

    I don't like Job pricing for leaves because it is really just a guesstimate. Not a educated estimate for a known quantity. You guess too high then the customer is upset at the end. Guess too low then you are upset. I tell them what equipment I have to get the job done faster than raking. Some will pressure you to give an idea of how long it will take. I give them a range of hours but I don't lock myself into a definite price or time. This also keeps them from being really picky ie you didn't pick up every leaf etc. You could estimate the small jobs but the big jobs are what you have to watch out for. Many wait until all the leaves have fallen and in many cases there are a lot of limbs buried under those leaves. The wind had usually blown piles of leaves against the home. The wind could add a lot of time to the job.
    For some, price quoting works. For me, it just doesn't work. The whole time I am worrying if I under priced the job or if the customer will be satisfied with the finished product. A lot of times the leaves are still falling while you work... May cost me some jobs but then again if they were over priced.....
    There is not much money in the leaf business around here anymore anyway. Seems that everyone knows someone that has a rake and they know how to use it:laugh:
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Tell the client that they need to: Keep the grass cleaned up every 2 weeks or the leaves will likely suffocate the grass and you have dirt next Spring... Period...

    My clients are full service so if they try to cheap out on cleanup and let the grass die I have long since moved on... Plan for the future rather than scrape for nickels today... :)

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