Who else is doing mostly gutter cleaning? We have 1,500 accounts now.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Alan Oncken, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. Alan Oncken

    Alan Oncken LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Anyone else?
     
  2. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    So help me out with the math.

    You do 1500 accts. you charge less than $45 per
    I am going to assume $35 is a typical house.
    I will assume that your average price is $42 since some will be higher
    I will also assume once annually is pretty standard but say with one timers and occasional anal people you get 1900 jobs annually.

    That is $79,800 gross.

    now with 1900 accts and a full work season of 200 days, you are doing 9-10 per day every working day.

    Or is the work is seasonal, which I imagine. So in season you are doing 25+ per day and in the offseason doing nothing. If this is the case, then $79,800 for a full-time (part year) job, solo is pretty good. If this requires full time (full year) and /or requires a helper, then this stinks in my opinion.
     
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    I hate doing gutters but love charging people $75 for 15 minutes worth of work. payup
     
  4. Rons Rightway Lawncare

    Rons Rightway Lawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,163

    I rarely do Gutters anymore, most of my customers homes have roofs way too steep to walk on, and I have just not been asked to clean gutters on almost all my customers homes.

    In the past, back when I operated as "Rons Affordable Lawn and Landscape" Alot of my customers were in neigborhoods with homes 30 + years old.... Not dumpy little shacks, most were big homes, but they were older for the most part. These older houses almost always had shallow pitch roofs, very easy to walk on, some you could just about run on without fear of slipping off.... Also alot of these home had many big tall trees in the yard so the gutters were clogged often. These customers would need gutter cleaning 3-4 times per year.

    For these customers, I would do them, almost in all cases... I simply would bring a ladder with me as I cut the lawns, and take the ladder up to the house with my backpack blower idling on my back, Climb up to the roof and walk around the house blowing the gutters clean. Usually took no more than 5 to 10 minutes tops. Then back down the ladder and back to the truck to get back to mowing the lawn or simply leaving to go onto the next lawn.

    I charged between 25-30$ for gutters blown clean. Every once in a while I would have a house that needed gutters cleaned by hand with the ladder, so it was up and down a ladder every 3-4 feet of gutter, This would take a hour or two and was messy... for these I would charge 75-100$

    If I got back into doing alot of gutters today, I would charge 75-100$ like I used to for hand cleaning - or more if the house is huge or very difficult to do- and probably 35-50$ for walking the roof with the blower, just due to the risk to myself for being up there. A fall from even a single story roof can kill you, so I risk my life up there to blow them clean... got to charge a little more for that risk!

    This season I have only blown 3 homes gutters, and that is counting my own gutters!
     
  5. green horizons

    green horizons LawnSite Member
    from zone 5
    Posts: 144

    I clean gutters and I don't like it one bit! I advertised early on to fill in
    my autumn schedule. I swore to myself that as soon as business was
    up and running with the jobs I enjoy that I would stop offering the
    service. Well... I still clean them, but I'm much higher priced than I
    was, and much more picky about the job. I won't bid every job like I use to.
    The earlier post regarding death from a fall is very real.
    Jumping from a one story on purpose can be done with little harm.
    "Slipping" from a one story is totaly different. As for pricing, it's by the job.
    Yes, I count downspouts, linear footage, disposal, etc., but I don't
    have a specific equation.
     
  6. Alan Oncken

    Alan Oncken LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Oh wow, a mathemateician who knows my business better than I do.

    To help everyones math; 90% of our customers clean twice per year and 50% clean 3 to 4 times per year. I run more than 1 crew and crew members earn $20-$25 per hour, $30 on some days. MOST of the crews income comes from tips so I am not saddled with high employee costs and we only need to work approx. 6 months of the year. Its about how one markets yourself and your business to generate that kind of tip income! Oh, your $42 average is way off too!!! By the way, the other HALF of the business is condo-apartment complexes, hotels, motels, large commercial buildings, real estate agent referrals, and all of the schools and post offices.

    The reason for this post was to find other businesses through out the country like mine but can see from the posts that everyone here is mostly lawn care. I wish no offense to anyone, but most all of the replys to this post have been from lawn care peoples haphazard attempts at gutter cleaning and no real vision to think (or be) a fairly large business, again like mine. Who knows, when my "guide" is published in the spring, I just might sell the business and concentrate on that, although I do enjoy being out with the crews (they do the work) socializing with the customers and sometimes teaching a new crew member on what to do but more important, what NOT to do. Good luck to everyone.
     
  7. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Sounds like you've got a pretty good "Niche" market. Although you seem to have posted it on the wrong forum, its nice to see this, because I think we all like to have our own little Niche, and it shows us that we can still make a little money thinking outside the box in a very competitive field. Thanks for the post.
    Matt
     
  8. TJLANDS

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,669


    We do gutter cleaning for high end costumers(residential and commercial)
    Average yearly price per costumer is $500 for 2X per year, (125 or so costumers).
     
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    I would love to do more gutter cleaning if they were all 1-story houses. I am not real excited about being 2 or more stories up on a 40' ladder. The problem is most of the homes in our area are 2 stories or more. So it really isn't something we've wanted to get into. But I am intrigued at your success.
     
  10. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    If its really a success.

    He won't go into detail about crew size, I'm guessing he pays them piecework since he definitely isn't paying a $25 hourly for a gutter cleaner.

    I'd like to know the size of each crew, how long on average it takes to do one house, and what his average charge is.

    Next, I'd like to know how he is calculating in vehicle costs, as well as equipment.

    1500 accounts over 6 months (5 day weeks) means he needs to average 22 a day (assuming he is really doing 3,000 cleanings in that 6 month period).

    I'm going to assume two crews, so each crew will do 11. This means he has about an hour and fifteen minutes per job, counting unload/load and drivetime.

    The only way he could pull this off is with an incredibly tight route, however, since he isn't doing this as a weekly service, I have a hard time believing he is able to make a route that does all 1,500 customers with the least amount of drive time.

    BTW, You pay your guys on average $25 an hour, I'm assuming with 4 people (2 crews of 2) your paying out $800 per day, not counting ANY overhead. At 22 cleanings a day, charging $35 (Since you said $45 was waaay to high) you bring in $770 a day, not counting ANY overhead.

    So your at a net loss just trying to pay the guys, let alone pay for trucks, insurance, gas, advertising, equipment, accounting, taxes, and last but not least your own salary.
     

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