What Do You Charge For Fall Cleanups?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Right Touch, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. Right Touch

    Right Touch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    I Just got off the phone with a customer complaining about their fall cleanup bill. We charge $45/man hour for cleanups. The charge is stated on the contract they sign when they start the service and the charge (as well as the description of how we perform our fall cleanups) is stated in at least 3 mailings prior to the leaves falling. I ask if there are any special requests (like having us wait until all the leaves fall before we perform any cleanup) to please let us know ahead of time; otherwise, we will be out approximately once every two weeks. Even with all the advance notice about the charge AND A SIGNED CONTRACT STATING THEY UNDERSTAND THE CHARGES, people still call to complain. My guys work hard so its not like there is lost time at houses, and yes, we have the most powerful blowers and equipment that is out there. I charged him for 4 man hours ($180) for one cleanup in October, he is just calling now to complain even though the bill went out November 1st, and we have done 2 cleanups since that he wont get billed for until the end of November and he says he is not paying those bills. He told me the guy he had last year charged him $220 for ONE CLEANUP at the end of November. I would lose money doing it at that price. He also said he used to be a landscaper 5 years ago and said the price was outrageous. So I ask, what do you guys charge for fall cleanups and what do you think is the most effective way to get a cleanup done?
     
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    This should be an interesting thread.
     
  3. Green Team Landscaping

    Green Team Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    As a 15 year old, I do mine by the weekend(Saturday). I let my clients pick which weekend in a certain month and I get it done then. I ususally only do one per weekend because by myself it's a lot of work, and I work hard. And since it's a flat rate, I dont need a kid in my grade slowing me down. I work far harder, since it's my own company, than anyone else my age would, and hiring a Mexican is out of the question. But charging ,now, after I just did my first clean up, I think that $125 for a 2.5hr job is fair. I don't dilly dally either. I get right to work.

    Hope that can give you an idea coming from a kid. I'll try taking pics this weekend to prove it too.
     
  4. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    They are complaining cause you aren't charging enough. Seriously though its tough to get money for the Oct routes when 95% of the leaves will fall after. To the homeowner its like you are sticking them for an additional $180 for no reason. Up here the leaves start first week of Oct, but dont get heavy till last week usually. I know your charges are fair, but the homeowner is usually looking to end the season when you are looking to enhance it. My suggestion is mow as long as you can whether by grinding or bagging, and then the moment you hit the wall, stop. Call your non cleanup accounts and thank them for the opportunity to serve them and start scheduling for your cleanups. Make sure your equipment is ready and then take a few days off or catch up on some labor jobs you were putting off. Then hit them hard in Nov.
     
  5. VAMower

    VAMower LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Posts: 78

    I charge $40 an hour in conjunction with a mowing and bill my the mowing time at $40 an hour as well(on top of the mowing charge).

    Example
    We (me and 1 helper) arrive at 10am, I do leaf work until 11:30 and mow the last half hour. We leave at noon. This would come to a total of 4 hours (two people for two hours each) @ $40 and hour, plus the mowing charge, $35 - $40. $195 - $200 total.

    Have one of your friend go over and knock on this guys door. Have your friend ask him for his business and then have your friend tell him he charges $65 per man hour for leaf clean up plus a $100 set up fee. That should solve the problem.
     
  6. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 721

    I try to bill $40.00 -$45.00 per hour. I couldn't get away with doing more than one fall clean-up with my customers. They would also go nuts if I came back 2 or 3 times during the fall. Most customers want their leaves done only once after the leaves have all fallen.
     
  7. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    Tell him what happens to people who don't pay their bills. It's time people start getting tough on clients who try to bully the LCO around. I have no patience or tolerance for deadbeat a-holes who think they don't have to pay their bills and it chaps my ass to read 5-10 new threads about this same topic on this site every day. If more LCO's would grow a pair and fight back for their money and take the measures necessary to make deadbeats ay, then the industry as a whole would be better off. The common perception among homeowners is that lawn care guys won't press the issue very far or take the same measures as a phone company or a credit card company. Sometimes I just want to drive to a deadbeat's house with a copy of their invoice, knock on the door and staple the damn thing to their forehead when they open the door.
     
  8. WALKER LANDSCAPE

    WALKER LANDSCAPE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,415

    We charge around the same "Per man hour" he is just trying to get you to wheel and deal. If you have "Contract" in hand make him pay. My two cents. You are allways going to have a few out of the bunch.
     
  9. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 721

    I know your parents are proud of you. When I was your age I earned my own money doing odd jobs, but it seems alot of kids these days want everything handed to them. Keep up the hard work and be sure to save for the future.
     
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

    I agree !!
     

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