Time to Make some Calls

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tiedeman, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    Well, it looks like I might have to start making some calls for one-time fall clean up non-regular customers tomorrow and tell them there might be a chance that I won't get to their clean ups this fall.

    Just with the wet weather, high winds, and the fact that we are in a winter advisory, looks like this week might be the last week for the clean ups. I am hoping to maybe work a couple of days next week before THanksgiving, but I am not crossing my fingers.

    This will be the first year ever that I have not completed all of my fall clean ups that we requested and/or scheduled. I don't like that feeling at all
     
  2. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    More snow to plow!
     
  3. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    As I read all these post about fall cleanups, it kind of amazes me that people would pay for a leaf cleanup BEFORE all the leaves fall. Why wouldn't people want to wait until all leaves fall first? I usually don't start scheduling my leaf cleanups until the very end of November or the first of December, AFTER all the leaves have fallen. I will state that this business is not my primary source of income yet (plan on going full time next spring), but to me it just doesn't seem to wise to make 4 visits to one property to pick up leaves when you can spend a little extra time and do it all at once. Maybe once I go full time I will understand more and maybe it's just a scheduling factor because we only have a certain size of "window of opportunity" to get them done.

    Do you make multiple visits because of scheduling reasons?
    Maybe it's the fact I am further south (south Kansas) and we don't get a whole lot of snow here.....I don't know.
    Thanks
    Matt
     
  4. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I can understand your concern Walker, and some customers feel that way as well, but there are a few reasons that I schedule multiple clean ups.

    1. It's actually cheaper for the customer sometimes to have multiple ones instead of just one

    2. I do it just in case snow comes and then the leaves are sitting there all winter long causing snow mold amoung other things

    3. It's easier for me to do multiple clean ups compared to just one

    4. Leaves start falling here usually the end of September the first part of October, so customers want their lawns to look clean and leave free for October and November

    5. Customers that have multple clean ups have first prority compared to one time clean up customers
     
  5. northeastpropertymgmt

    northeastpropertymgmt LawnSite Member
    Posts: 52

    some people like to have there yards looking nice and clean. for the weekly custermers we will mow like any other time with the walker but blow out the beds some nothing really major. we do about 3 trips like this and then do one very detalled clean up once most of the leaves have fallen then 1 more after that. if u are going to be mowing there yard anywhay u what as well get the leaves 2. also makes it easer not as long cuz there arnt that many leaves to get each time.
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Oh I learned the feeling of having more work than I can finish is when business is as good as it gets. See I learned the hard way, maybe for you guys things are different but around here SOME folk don't want to pay SQUAT to get their leaves done. Crazy, NOBODY wants to do them, but yet a LOT of folk don't want to PAY standard industry rate, so there has to be a solution...

    From my point of view, MY estimate is THEIR bid. It would be nice if I could go in and quote prices like I do, which is tell them the best price I can give them is if I can do the job first, then I will know how much it will cost. MOST don't go for it (thou more than a few of my regulars do), so then I HAVE to quote high due to variables which I'm no longer willing to eat, and of course then some proceed to bargain and drive down the price and at this point, MY estimate has become THEIR bid!
    Thus highest bidders always get the job done first, then once ALL my higher bidded jobs are done, I'll consider the low bids, thou usually there is this problem, yes, more work than I could finish. I used to feel bad about it, until one too many times someone got me to do a real pita leaf clean-up for around $15/hour and after I did more than a few of those, I got this attitude about it all.

    Far as visits...
    I schedule my leaves in 2-3 visits because the 10hp goat can handle piles several feet tall but beyond that, things get a bit rough. In the end, 2400 cfm is 2400 cfm and the amount of leaves to be MOVED takes the SAME amount of time whether this amount is moved in 1, 2, or 3 visits because it's all in VOLUME and so whether I move 20 thousand cubic feet 3 times or 60 thousand cubic feet once, it's all done at the rate of 2,400 cfm... BUT:
    Leaves move EASIEST during the earlier part of fall, and get progressively harder as the rain (and sometimes snow) drives them into the ground. As things get cooler, frost further frustrates efforts AND as more leaves fall, the windier it gets because there's less COVER from the trees.

    But to each their own, I've done all-in-one and I've done 2 and 3 visits, it's all the same to me, it started a week or so ago and it won't be over until mid January or thereabouts, so it just don't matter. Some my cleanups invariably will be all-in-ones, hopefully I can keep up with most but no, not all will get done, that's just the way it goes when some folks feel 35 dollars is a fair rate to clean a 1/2 acre prop surrounded by trees, that to me is a LOW bid and is considered much later when I got folks willing to pay $50/ hour, I unfortunately have to prioritize a bit around the 'money talks' scenario, not to mention $50/hour is WORTH an hour's worth of 2,400 cfm is MORE leaves than what the most dedicated raker could move in TEN HOURS, it's 4-6 times more than the high end backpack blowers can move, and once you feel the PAIN of pushing a mid-frame blower around as if it was self-propelled, I'm sure you'll agree it is WORTH it.
     
  7. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    ya, thats the other point. Most lawns are mowed all the way up to the first week of November, so customers want the leaves bagged when mowing the lawn as well
     
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I guess my situation is a little different. I normally use a discharge deck for the regular mowing season. For leaf removals I change decks and also take out my 2 ton Chevy C50 with the leaf loader mounted. I don't change the decks until the regular mowing season is complety finished.
     
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I just use the same equipment for the leaf clean up as with the mowing. The other thing that I change really is my technique on the property and the blades on the mower
     

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