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thinking ahead to leaves

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rosolar, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. rosolar

    rosolar LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 172

    How does this sound to you guys?

    Weekly mowings continue until Oct. In oct I would arrive at each proporty everyother week to mow and bag leaves. Each visit in October will be double the regular mowing cost due to the removal of leaves on the lawn. In November I will show up at each proporty once to do a final clean up of lawn and beds.

    Lawns avg about $45 for a regular cut so I'd be getting @ $90 to mow and bag the leaves to date.

    2-3 oct. cleanups = $180-270
    final cleanup = $200- 350.

    Am I under bidding?
    any thoughts. How do others do it?
  2. Ax Man

    Ax Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

    If you don't have a contract which allready states the price, I would go by the hour.
    You know how a massive storm can strip all of the leaves first week of october, then you're screwed.
    I've had years where the wind blew just right, it was dry and prefect, got all my work done by the week before Thanksgiving. Other years you still have some to clean up in the spring
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I have a friend did it by the first method (original poster) and it worked great for him. He did it exactly that way: Double the price but I think he did it weekly during the heavy part and every 2 weeks the rest of time.

    As for me, that crap didn't work. The true problem was the customers plain didn't latch on to the idea, it didn't go over, they looked at me like 'whatever.'
    So I bought a 10-hp Billygoat push-blower and way I do things is I keep cutting grass while the leaves are light, use the wb's side discharge strategically to herd the leaves either into the woods or chop them up.
    Once the leaves get too thick, it's time to use the billygoat and that's $40/hour.
    The only thing I'm missing is a leaf-suction trailer, man I hate hauling leaves on a 6x12 - pile them, tarp them... Do about 20 or 30 big tarp loads, arrrrggg.... Then you gotta unload it, too... grrrrr....

    That and the low-balling is the WORST during leaf season.
  4. rosolar

    rosolar LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 172

    any others want to comment
  5. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,511

    if you get bagged your price will increse upoon the amout of waste and time imcrease due to leaves. If you get a cut and no bag then you get nothing unless you request leaf removal whcich we will charge accordingly.
  6. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    For me, bagging and removing leaves, even every other week, is more than twice just mowing. Probably at least 3 times the price. Also as mentioned earlier you run into one week with virtually no leaves, and the next 6" of leaves on the grass.

    We usually work by the hour in early fall with the partial leaf cleanups. An extra charge is added for use of the leaf vacuum truck.
  7. GreenscapesofWestMichigan

    GreenscapesofWestMichigan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    We stop cutting all of our lawns the begining of october. we do 2-3 cleanup in the fall, usually 1st and 3rd ones are pretty light, and the 2nd one is where you get all th e leaves. we use all little wonder 11 or 13 hp blowers and use 4 odb trailer vacuumes to get everything out. no rake or tarps to slow us down. i broke enough rakes and ripped enough tarps that when we got rid of them it actually saved enough $$ to amek first two payment on first vac. and finnally we charge for the total season here. ill use your numbers so you can compair. 45 per cut, times 24 weeks is 1080. spring cleanup on average 125 plus a cut of 45 equals $170. 3 fall cleanups, usually double the spring price $750, plus a cut on each $135 for 3. for the whole year of maintenance we would charge $2135. plus extras but this is long enough...people here love and eat it up...plus you can get more people to pre pay for the whole year which eliminates alot of billing.

    Erik Green

    Owner Greenscapes of West Michigan
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    The original idea (by resolar) wouldn't work for me either. My experience: (a) Don't fall at even pace through the Fall months, (b) Rain and wind can change the requirements dramatically. If I know rain is in the forecast, I look ahead to find those yards with heavy leaf cover, regardless of schedule. I want to get as many leaves up and out before getting wet. Also, wind may blow many leaves off my customer's properties before I arrive -- OR, wind may blow many leaves from neighbor's yards onto my customer's property.

    I charge by the time and disposal fees, so each customer sees a different amount each year. For some, this is a problem. But, when I point out that the previous year they may have gotten off easy for xxxx reason. Of course, the only time anybody ever says anything is when their invoice is higher than the previous year, never when it is less. In the past 3-4 years, nobody has said anything about leaf fees -- which makes me think I'm not charging enough.

    To sum up: I would never put anybody on a fixed schedule/fee.
  9. rosolar

    rosolar LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 172

    thanks, I might charge double for bagging the leaves during oct aslong as the bulk of the leaves haven't fallen. For the lawns which the bulk of the leaves fall during october, I will skip the mowing with leaf removal and do the final cleanup a bit earlier then the rest. Sound ok?
  10. rookie03

    rookie03 LawnSite Member
    from OK
    Posts: 184

    Does anyone have a leaf vacuum setup? Like the pull behind type with trailer? If so, where can I find one? And how much do they run? Thanks!

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