Leaves: Customer vs Landscaper Discussion

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Darryl G, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,493

    I like your way of doing clean ups. In my previous years I had no bagger system, so I would just cut my lawns like usual until they didn't need cutting and then when all the leaves were down, I would do a fall clean up. Now I stay on top of the leaves and the lawns stay cleaner and all my customers are on the same page so far, also i'm not sure 15 dollars is enough to bag some of my lawns, especially when the leaves are thick and i'm dumping the bags 3 times for some lawns. I wouldn't think you would have any issues with customers in you area, I'm in old lyme and old saybrook 2-3 times a week in the summer. Next year that won't be the case as i'm going to send out flyers every few months to different towns to really increase sales.
     
  2. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    It's more than $15 at this point. I go to hourly billing after October 15th. I got 4 lawns done today and that was busting my tail double-timing it. Granted I'm not known for early starts, lol.

    Yeah, keeping up on the leaves works best for me. I actually had a customer thank me today even though I'd been there 10 days ago and by tomorrow you probably won't be able to tell I was there...oaks were raining down pretty fast.

    I have some accounts in Old Saybrook, not very good ones though. They're profitable and all, just all crappy bi-weekly lawns. I lost 4 of my Old Saybrook accounts this season. Two sold and the other two were for the same guy, his business and his house. I lost them because I didn't want his commercial plowing account....didn't want to deal with hundreds of feet of Main Street sidewalk and the walks and steps for 4 buildings in the complex...too much liability. I generally don't service Old Lyme...don't like taking my rig over the bridge.
     
  3. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,493

    yeah i need to adjust my bagging rate for some of the properties that get heavy leaves. I broke out the little wonder leaf blower yesterday for 25 minutes on one house, I just ran it over part of the back yard that was really thick and pushed the bulk of the leaves into the woods, then cut it and bagged it and it looked perfect. and I charged an extra 30 dollars. working solo until i do final clean ups.

    That area is still nice though. I wouldn't mind working on that side of ct.
     
  4. FerrisDiesel

    FerrisDiesel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    It's so funny you brought this up. I too am a solo operation, and have the same system you do. I sent a letter out with the last billing saying that the final fall clean-up prices would stay the same, but I would be mowing all lawns on a bi-weekly basis to help keep the lawns looking good. This makes it easier for me as a solo operation to do the final clean-up myself, by reducing the number of times I have to dump the truck, and number of hours spent on the lawn. It's a win win for all.......they have a great looking lawn every other week, and i'm not busting my beans to get clean-ups done before the snow comes!
     
  5. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Posts: 3,599

    i used to worry about the optimal way to do leaves and getting people to go along with it. Now I pretty much just do whatever they want and charge accordingly. Its not worth going through the whole spiel over and over. If an area is going to get too bad I just do them, and if they question it I say I just did those areas because they were getting too thick for the leaf equipment so it will save you money overall on the final cleanup
     
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    Funny now they're all wondering what's taking me so long to get to their cleanups....Hurricane Sandy stripped most of the remaining leaves off the trees and now just about everywhere needs a final cleanup.
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    I remember as a kid when one of my buddies got an old truck and we'd run around town after a major wind storm and offer to haul away a load of branches off the yards for 20 bucks...

    How do your neighborhoods look???
     
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    Inland it's a mess and the beach area is a disaster zone...houses heavily damaged, sand dunes gone (now in the road). This is the road along the town beach.

    My house is low lying on a tidal river and we did ok other than having a river in my drive-under garage. I had sealed off the doors with plastic and a 3 foot berm but about 6 inches of water leaked...no biggie in the overall scheme of things. It seems like the tree/wind damage was worse last year with Hurricane Irene but the flooding was much worse with Sandy. Things are getting back to normal though...kids are back to school after a week off.

    530739_4452066311736_1923853061_n.jpg
     
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

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

    Mine expect a single final clean up and that's what they get. I had one complain that we did him to early last year and wants it later so we looked him up we did his clean up Dec 3rd. Never really considered that an early clean up date before. I figure I got to wait till Nov 12-15th and we should be able to start full time final clean ups on selective clients and by the 20th or so 80% will be ready. The mini clean ups end up costing us more than they are worth if the lawn looks good many can life with the beds being filled with leaves and say they are set for the year. Rather get the real deal where we average about 300 dollars per clean up and do 90-110 every year.
     
  10. FerrisDiesel

    FerrisDiesel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    That's what I did last year, just one clean up, but I am a solo operation and I was dragging by the end of the year. This year I bought a 52" Walker GHS, a new back pack and made my leaf box taller. By just bagging the lawns every other week with the walker, I have increased the capacity I can put in the truck, thus decreasing the amount of times I have to dump. Plus when I do my final clean-up I will charge them the full amount I charged them last year.
     

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