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Spring cleanup . . .?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Exact Rototilling, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    I'm not 100% sure what would be included on spring clean up. :rolleyes:

    For my own lawn I bag the first few mowings in spring preferably with a hi vac mower, rake up lodge pole pine cones out of the grass. Trimming and basic tidying up around planet beds, planter etc. Possibly lawn dethatching?

    What do your customers expect to be done? Seem to me Spring clean-up would be a check list based custom service.

    Roughly how are these priced compared to mowing alone?
  2. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    Ive been wondering the same thing...what exactly is a spring clean up? Is it a fall clean up that never got done?
  3. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I do spring cleanups. As far as pricing, my rule of thumb is the price of my fall cleanup for that property, minus two cuts. So, if I charge that property 175 for fall, and I charge 30 per cut, spring CU is 115.

    What I do is very property dependent. I remove all debris, leaves, branches, trash, plastic bags stuck in the trees, etc. If they have a deck, I get under it and get the debris out of there too. I might do some light pruning, and I will edge everything from beds to turf that borders walkways. I'll pull any winter weeds that popped up, I remove any burlap that I used for winter plant protection, do some pH testing, cultivate all the beds, scout the property for any signs of pests that may need some controls, straighten up any garden bed borders that may have been disturbed, like 12" high slate or rock "fences".

    I remove any branches from trees that got any winter storm damage, clear the driveway and street from sand, and generally make the place look ship shape, but it is SPOTLESS when I leave. Some ornamentals will have a bit of die back over the winter, and I remove dead growth. I'll even turn the compost pile if the customer has one. Basically, whatever I would do on my own property, I do on my customer's. If they have a removable vegetable garden fencing of some kind, I will put it back up.

    It's also an oportunity to start preselling other services... annual plantings, soil testing and the soil amendments that I hope will follow, shrub fertilization...
  4. scooterdayton

    scooterdayton LawnSite Member
    Male, from Wisconsin Rapids
    Posts: 46

    in my opinion:
    My Spring cleanup is basically fluffing the lawn with a power rake/bagger and pulling out some thatch. then run over it with the mower/bagger. helps get growing faster rather than being all matted down from snow. i also offer over seeding which is great in the spring, more grass=less weeds.
    i would never dethatch. core areating in the fall months every 3 years or so should take care of any thatch buildup. dethatching is very stressfull on the lawn and in the spring is just asking for weeds to come.
    spring cleanup about $135 a acr itall depends usually triple your price of mowing
    and overseeding is price of seed x 2
    hope this helps
  5. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I agree, dethatching is an idea whose time has come and gone. It does more damage than good. However, I stick with aeration only, and price that out seperately. Over seeding is seperate for me too. I don't see either service as part of a "clean up".

    In this area, spring cleanups are an accepted service, even expected. I'm not about to run my brand new 32 Quick over twigs and branches. It almost sounds like most guys just do that? just plow through whatever the winter has left behind? For those that do, do you edge the beds and walkways as part of your first regular maintenance service? That costs time, and what I charge for a cut doesn't cover that time.

    There will always be left over leaves blown into every corner of a property. Removing debris from under decks takes habitat away from potential pests. I've never seen a maple get through a winter without some broken branches hanging in it somewhere.

    Might be a geographic thing. It's an accepted expense around here. But, it generally isn't a labor intensive visit, and I offer $50 off spring cleanups for new customers. I will say this though, when I do a spring cleanup it takes at least as long as it takes to do two cuts. Last year, I even regraded a corner of one customer's house where she had a basement flooding problem. Took about 20 minutes. But, that is the sort of thing I do, as my motto says, "we take care of your property as if it were our own."
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Spring cleanup for me and my regular customers means that so long I got to clean up their yard in the fall I pretty much bite the bullet in spring and take care of them, end of discussion, it's usually really not that bad neither.

    Now I really don't care if I did not get to clean up the leaves, so long someone took care of them.
    But it does not mean I am cleaning up what I never got to do or what never got done.

    Also have to watch new customers, I don't get many like this but I always WALK the lawn before I quote!
    It only takes a few minutes and can save a slew of headache later, but specifically in the spring I watch out for leaves that never got done, because these leaves are nasty... They've had enough time to start decomposing, they're buried down in the turf so I can't hardly see them at first and most are a wet heavy mess, my take on it is they should have been cleaned up a long time ago.

    I personally simply refuse to give a quote to someone who conveniently forgot to mention the leaves and calls asking for "lawn mowing." I've never had much luck with this type of customer, I tried but I always felt like I got jewed.

    I've also quoted $100+ an hour for leaf cleanups in the spring, the main reason for this is because I get to run my leaf blower off season, meaning it hasn't had an oil change since last October. This isn't as profitable as it may sound, my blower just blew an engine this last December, I am sure it wasn't all because of this but the extra cost really just helps cover for it, too.

    As for regulars trying to get cute, if it's that bad they can find someone else, usually by now I either know or suspect the ones who might try it, but if it didn't get done I am not doing it... Actually I would, but they had their chance and skedaddled out of it some kind of way, and now the assumption is I'll do them for the price of the mow, no way.

    That's my take on things.

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,778

    Spring clean-up in my area usually is just cleaning up the remaining leaves from the winter. Pick up any branches and neaten up the yard. If they are a fertilization customer they usually get their first fertilizer.
  8. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    Topites " I tried but I always felt like I got jewed."

    You seem like a nice guy and allways have something to add but this one kind of pisses me off. I'm going to take it as a slip of the tounge sterotypical saying that gets thrown around a lot.

    I'm a jew and i'm not offended, but for the record my jewish customers never try to haggle once an price has been agreed on, never have to chase them for payment and generaly are less of a pita then some of my WASP customers.

    Now onto spring cleanup

    everything is to get the property ready for the growing season.

    everything raked and blown out, Sticks road garbage and trees cleaned up.
    Plow damage/ to the yard fixed and gravel back in the driveway where it belongs( for new customers or plow your owns) Maybe some new mulch or fluff up the old.

    Sure i'm forgeting stuff, just walk it out and try to make it perfect if its yours for the rest of the year

  9. bill8379

    bill8379 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 778

    This will be my third year for advertising for spring clean up.

    This year I'm only going to put out 10k flyers, last year I put out 30k and got too much work, I couldn't do it.

    I'm also going to charge separately for Power Raking. I'll price out the power raking and if they want bushs blown out it's extra. I've always included this as one package.

    Basically what I do is power rake. Vacuum or rake what ever is on the lawn and Depending if I made my money I'll cut it with a bagger. I dump it all into plastic bags and leave it at the curb. I usually have two people helping me. I like to hand rake so I can hear the phone ring.
  10. bill8379

    bill8379 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 778

    Have you even gotten Paki'd down? I have.

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