yea, i'm cleaning leaves for the fee as a grasscut

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    this drives me nuts. it's either cutting grass, or cleaning leaves, it can't be both. talked to my friend, long time lawn care. i'm watching him cut a property i used to mow. it's covered in leaves, he drives his walker back and forth, round and round, back and forth. i was doing a leaf cleanup only client across the street. i said, "mark, how much you get for that lawn?" he says, "$35". i said, "well, how bout for leaves?" he said, "$140". i said, "how often you come?" he said, "i come every week, for the same $35 as i would to cut the grass. so, i just charge $140 for the month, as usual." so now of course the argument starts. he says it's justified because, "i'm not weedwacking." hmm, ok, so, you are cutting grass, cleaning leaves, blowing walkways etc, but skipping the 3 minutes it takes to wack, and THIS makes up for the fact that you;'re cleaning and hauling leaves????? i thanked him for screwing up the industry, and went on my way. some people never learn
     
  2. Branchland

    Branchland LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    Charging the 35 to mow every week should be the same. But speading extra time mulching leaves should be extra. Bagging, raking or blowing leaves should be extra. Hauling leaves off should be extra. There's no way subtracting trimming time could make up for time dealing with leaves. You're right, he's one of those that are keeping the cost down. No way he could be turning a profit.
     
  3. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Bob, I know guys that run the same way and are happy doing it. Whatever makes them happy, I guess. I stopped doing regular cuts about 2 weeks ago. Did a week long install job last week, and started clean-ups this week. I make 2 or 3 visits as part of the clean-up.
    On the other hand, I am still shaking my head about a telephone conversation I had yesterday. This guy is a congressman here in NY, pretty well known but I'm not going to say. Really nice guy, bought the house back in July, I got the contract for mowing, but the place needs a lot more. I left off by giving him a ballpark price for cleaning up, pruning, and getting the place in shape. OK, he would let me know. He called yesterday to say the place was covered with leaves and where we coming this week. I said weekly maintenance is over, we were in clean-up mode now. He said, "Oh, picking up the leaves is extra? I thought that was included in the weeekly price"
    Was this guy just playing dumb, or just didn't realize more work=more money. That is the way it works in this world!
     
  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i know what you mean, but, sometimes i think these guys are so stupid, they are unaware of thier own exsistance. ok, is "being happy", always right? i had this dog, he used to crap in the back yard, and then roll around in it. this made him happy. but i still thought he was a dumb dog for this. this is the worst time of the year for arguments with clients. they insist they want "the grass cut", and i insist they should move every freakin leaf off of the lawn before i do it. it really is a problem. in fact , just a little while ago, i drove up to the post office. on the way back i see mark stopping at one of his stops. it's covered with leaves, and i know he's doing it for $30. so i just HAD TO stop and heckle him. i walked over, stuck out my hand and said, "i just want to thank you." he goes, "for what?(as he's shaking my hand)." i said, "for ruining my future in the lawn business." i have a grass customer i just got mid season. she calls 2 days ago, "bob, next time you come, i'd like you to clean the leaves in the back yard." i called her back, "mrs. jones, just so you are aware, i'll be happy to do a cleanup, but cleanups on a property like that usually start at $150, and can range up to $300." she damn near died. i said, "just out of curiosity, what would you expect to pay for a job like that?" she says, "no more than $40." this is easily 2-3 hrs work solo, no disposal. unbelievable
     
  5. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,318


    I agree with you 100% Bob Almighty...........
     
  6. Fareway Lawncare

    Fareway Lawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    from Canada
    Posts: 2,222

    Seasonal contracts are set price per Month Regardless of Leaves....They Pay The Same in Aug., When We do Mabe 2 Cuts, as May, When We do 5 cuts, as Nov. When we do Leaf clean-ups...

    If you're Dealing w/Alot of Customers it's the Only Way to Go....Pricing Individual Customers for Individual Aspects of Weekly Lawn Maint. Means you're giving Individual Customers Too Much Attention & your Operation is Likely Mickey Mouse or Very close to it.
     
  7. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,297

    set contracts do help for that reason. the fact is, most customers FREAK when they hear what leaves are actually costing them, but if you kinda squeeze the cost into the rest of the seasons billing, its not as noticable nor is it as much of a shock.
     
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i have customers whos grasscutting is estimated at $30 a cut. thier leaf cleanup is $400. you think i should knock that $400 down to just $120 for the month of november? ;) THIS IS WHY you need so many customers. i'd rather just get paid what the job is worth from a small client base, than lowballing it, and trying to make it up in volume. you have to cut the grass weekly for more than 3 months, to make what i do in 3 visits doing leaves
     
  9. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    What I do is... in november I only clean off leaves from turf and whatever is easy to get out of shrubs so that it takes the same time as weekly mowing and I charge regular price. All leaves go to street for village pick-up and I don't try to get every last leaf. I'll use the mower if it's faster.
    Then...in December I tidy up, lime, last mowing blah blah blah, full fall clean-up and charge a lot for that. So, in Nov I'm getting paid weekly rate, but also getting most of the leaves out which sets me up real nice for the final cleanups. Sometimes I'll spend extra time in Nov at a house because it will make it much easier in dec when the village stops collecting leaves and I have to haul. Works well for me, I just charge a lot for the clean-up at the end, even though some is really done each week........
     
  10. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    Al, i bet that that congressman did not know. Many people dont know how much a fall cleanup or leaf pickup is. I was unaware until i came to this forum, trust me.

    here is what i do. When there are leaves on the ground, i still do my cut. I dont bag or anything, just do a regular cut and charge them for it. If they come out and say, "Can you pick up the leaves also"? i say, "If you want that, it would be extra and we would have to do it next time. They say, "Ok, do it next time". It makes no difference to me if i will cut with leaves on the ground or just grass with no leaves.

    george
     

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