Am I asking for trouble?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fairwayCuts, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. fairwayCuts

    fairwayCuts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    The leaves are starting to fall in northwest ohio and I've been thinking about how I'm going to handle fall clean-ups. Really the only equipment I've got for leaf pick up would be a backpack blower from echo(260 prolight), a rake and a tarp :help: . I see a lot of guys on here talking about huge leaf boxes, cyclone rake and that stuff. I was thinking of putting an ad in the local paper, but am getting a little worried about the work load and my equipment. I know really all it takes is a little hard work but :dizzy: . Any input would be helpful.
  2. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    Last year, I took a fall first and last. The reason was I was ill prepared. I had only my mower (EXmark lazer HP), a hand blower, rake, and a tarp. Thought it would be a cake walk until the 500 year old maples dumped about 12 tons of leaves all over the property. It took pretty close to 7 hours to finish the job and I coould have slept for 3 days. Ok, so lessons learned...

    1-If you are going to do it equiped as you are, get some help and don't kill yourself.
    2-Look into renting some equipment
    3-Look into farming out the leaf pick-up to another contrator and then pay them (Roll cost onto the customer)

    Good luck
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, for the most part I've gotten away from the leaf business, just as a personal choice. But in hindsight I can see that it's somewhat of a necessary evil for extending the earnings season and maximizing the bottom line.

    But when I used to do them, tree canopy made up almost half of my work. This worked out sweet because about half of my work load would fall off before heavy leaf coverage would begin. So I had double work on about half the area/accounts.

    In other words, what I would do is mow and mulch up the leaves on a weekly basis as they started to fall. I would only start to surcharge when it started to get more time consuming, which cost me nothing and benefited the customer. But as fall progressed, so would the surcharges, based on the mowing rate. So when I started to have to slow down, blow a bit out of beds, ect, I would go to 1.5x the mowing rate, 2x, 2.5x, 3x and so on, based partially on time and or number of passes across the property mulching.

    This made it easy to handle for me and my equipment. Priced fairly, profitable, and most of all, easy to sell because the logic of 2x (or whatever) the mowing rate was easy for the customer to understand.

    Leaf removal... forget it, not me, not equipped.

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