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$400 for Fall cleanup....am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by JeffW0011, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. JeffW0011

    JeffW0011 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Mistake in title...this quote was $525

    One of the most difficult things I have found this first year has been pricing. I have finally got comfortable with pricing routine maintenance. Every time I add or start to perform new services I struggle with pricing again. I am getting quite a few calls about fall cleanups. I am trying to price jobs based on a variety of factors...time being the biggest. I looked at a job today, that was on a fairly rustic property. There are at least a dozen mature trees on the property and several more that overhang it. I figure it will take me the better part of a weekend with my current equipment. I may invest in like a Billy Goat vacuum if I get a few more big ones, which may reduce my time substantially, but would do the same for my bottom line. At any rate, I quoted the guy $525.00 to remove all leaves and fall debris from the property....Dude looked at me like I was high (as in STONED)...what do you guys think?? Also, any advice on most effective ways to perform fall cleanups?
  2. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I'm still trying to figure this all out too, but I do know that there are a lot of penny pinchers out there. Did you ask him if he got any other quotes, if so, what were they? Chances are is that he was just seeing how much he could save by doing it himself. Did you ask how much he thought it was worth? How long do you think it will take you? If you think around 10, then you were probably pretty dang close. That's around 50/hr you quoted. Good luck
  3. JeffW0011

    JeffW0011 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    I am kind of approaching it as how long it will take them. It would take me a while using my current equipment and maybe a little less if I decide to invest in a $2000 Billy Goat. But lets say I have the equipment to do a job in 5 hours it would take the customer 20 hours to do? With his push mower and rake. Whats fair?
  4. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    Depends on the property size. I have several yards in the $400 - $600 range around the lake and they usually take 8-10 hrs to do. Most of the cleanups for fall are in the $150-$250 range there just standard size yards 100x150 with several trees. I wouldn't waste your time buying a lawn vac, I have one but its more trouble than its worth. I do use it on small fenced in yards where burning isn't permitted or customer doesn't want burning. I would get the hose if its comes with one, there great for sucking leaves out of stairwells where blowers won't work. For the most part we use Echo's 755 and 403 backpacks the 403s do ok but are mainly used during the lawn mowing season on bigger properties the 755s are are powerhouse fall cleanup blowers. Again I would suggest you get the biggest backpack blower you can afford you will be happier in the long run and besides blowers get some help you will need it unless you want to be there all weekend. Your price may be a little high but with knowing how large the property is and what it looks like its hard to say. Once you do a few you will realize just how much work it is and your pricing will get better. $525 depending on what it looks like may be in the ballpark.

    THEGOLDPRO LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,222

    well i charge failry high for fall cleanups, but it all depends on the customer really, i usually charge by the customer not the job if that makes sence. but usually i charge $35 per hour per guy. and have never really had anyone complaine, the biggest cleanup we do i charge roughly $1,100 bucks, as it takes 4-5 of us all day, usualy 3 on backpacks and two on toro grounds masters with leaf blowers.
  6. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,534

    Your pricing is not to high but unfortunately most people think leaves should cost less than mowing. Don't know why but we get it all the time where they cal and say your flyer says this much for cutting my yard so how much for cleaning up my leaves and we tell them we don't know but we will have to see the leaves after they are down. and they say well what about half or so of what it would cost to cut and we try not to die from laughing and hold it in till we get off the phone.
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    First thing I can tell you is save your money on th Billy Goat thing. Approach this business like a pro, not a homeowner. These have been discussed many times here, and if you did a search, you would find that the vast majority of the guys agree they are a big waste of money. You want to get in there and move the leaves...not play in them. As far as pricing goes,....you're probably not that far off. Don't let one customer throw you off. Oh,...he will find someone cheaper...As a matter of fact, if he searches long enough, he will find someone to do it cheaper than what it can even possibly be done for. There are always those.
  8. Proline Man

    Proline Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I started fall clean ups 4 years ago..blower and cans and tarps throw in back of truck with 3 foot sides. now I just picked up a trav vac for my walk behind. I charged 55 an hour before trac vac now ill be doin it 65 hourly. always do it by the hour.....say 5 hrs then multiply by x amount an hour. then add 10 percent on top of that for gas ......I have never had somebody say no to me...guess its cuz that's the going rate round here. even if they say no..go down no more than 5 percent of the total....say 30 bucks off...even if they say no again.......fooorrrrrget about it...then move onto the next
  9. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,808

    $500 for a cleanup, depending on big it is, is not unreasonable. as far a Vac, if you small you can pick and choose your work, no need to buy a big dollar ticket item if you can pick work that doesnt need it. i have one but do alot of hauling.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't know what your quote is like because I could not tell you what it's going to cost if I looked at it, and I'm in my 6th year. Leaves fool me time and again, I don't do no leaf job with upfront estimates, the money I charge is determined after I am done.

    Now it doesn't work with these Johhny-come-latelies who call me all of the sudden, they never call for anything else the entire year but sure enough I get slammed come leaf season, EVERYBODY calls me for it...

    Not entirely true, I have two regulars for whom I do ONLY leaves, but they are an exception to the rule.
    Like was said don't play with the stuff. If you got a grand get yourself a 10hp pushblower, that's what I bought my 1st year.
    Now I can MOVE some leaves, you can stand 100 feet away from the goat and feel that rush of air, it blows everything but cars and houses and rooted trees out of the way, nothing stands up to the 10hp push blower when it comes to leaves.
    You can even be a bit of a prick and only do leaves you don't have to haul, no joke.
    You bet, that's how high demand is for leaves, I made it through at least one season with just a backpack and push blower, even today those are my favorites, thou I've added a handheld, and a rake and a tarp to teh arsenal :laugh:

    The rule is, leaves are done first and foremost for regular (grass) customers who have been with me at least the entire season. These people trust me and I don't play stupid tricks with them, it costs what it should cost, but I quote them my price after the yard is finished, clean, and thank you.

    Now I will consider the new customer who is willing to go with that system, pay me after I am done, the price I could not tell you but I'm not going to rip you off, I just haven't a clue in advance. Yeah I can ballpark it, say 50-100 or 200-400 but the spread is wide for sure.

    Last I take on those who have to have an upfront estimate, usually with the demand as high as it is I find I simply run out of time here.

    Oh yes, I know.
    That guy was told 500 was probably thinking 50-60-70 bucks.
    I get anywhere from that for the simplest jobs all the way to 600, my 2400 cfm 210mph billygoat BLOWER demands $60 per hour.
    I doubt that 500 quote was for a simple job, I would not hesitate to stick to my guns, let them know it ain't gonna be cheap.
    If you DO find yourself short on work you can always do leaves cheap for your grass customers, way I see things if you have to take a beating then take it from your regulars first.

    Because I tell you one thing, this ain't my first hard time season,
    so I know if I HAVE to let them ride me, then regular customers get first dibs :laugh:

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