Best way to sell your leaf service to exsisting clients

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SpudsM15, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    This is my first season in the biz. after working for someone else i know what is involved in clean ups but have no idea how to estimate, I was thinking just use the same month cost of mowing to charge. The guy i worked for did clean-ups 3 times a year once in oct. nov. then dec. of coarse he had good clients.

    I'm afraid that my clients will not want to pay for the service 3 times.(they whined about the time i came and cut during the 2 week period we didn't have rain!)

    Stupid me forgot to add this into the season agreement at the beginning of the season.
    Anyways I was thinking of writing a letter explaining the cost and when service will be performed (in the form of a second agreement)

    My main question is what do you look for while estimating a leaf cleanup?
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    We charge hourly. they can have as many or as little as they want done. It pretty much works out to be the same amount of money. :cool:
  3. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    Ok so you just give them a rate before you do the job?
    I assume this works good but i have had some people freak out after doing a landscaping job! The type of clients want to know the price before i do anything its annoying I would have to say i have a 90% price complaint rate.
  4. cklands

    cklands LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 360

    I give them a price for their "Fall Clean Up". Which means I give them a price to get rid of all their leaves. To me it doesn't matter if I go twice for 4 hrs at a time or once for 8. The price was for the 8 in the first place. This works great for the accounts that you mow every week. We start cleaning them when we mow.
  5. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I tell them my hourly rate. I have a high demand for service so weekly customers get first crack and others are if I can get to them.
    We will never give one price for a clean because of too many variables, weather being the biggest.

    Make sure you get enough to cover your time and expenses, it is nothing like mowing and the dust beats holy hell on you and your equipment. Good Luck. Don't lowball.
  6. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    First of all you realy don't want to have any of them waiting till all have fallen and then go cleanup.


    Your now past Thanksgiving. Weather changes with the breeze, it may become to cold, or worse snow. That is only part of the scenario. Waiting till the end all the leaves are more than likely wet through to the bottom. It's heavy, takes up much of the time, and of left on the lawn you now have damage where the leaves were left to lay.

    If it all possible you will want to follow your route from start to finish and do 2 or maybe 3 rounds till your done. Done meaning all leaves have fallen (except Oaks) and you have left the property as clean as possible. This saves you a great deal of work in the spring.

    Charging. A good rule of thumb would be about 2x your monthly. More if the homes are covered with trees. Now if you can discard the leaves in wooded areas around the property then much of your work is easier so you can fluctuate withe price. But if your carting away and paying for dumping then don't shoot yourself in the foot.

    With what I described you can figure 1.75 x to 2.25 x of your monthly.

    Myself I am charging 1.9 to 3x, most average to around 2.25x I would guess. But we cart everything and pay for dumping. Oh, I will be increasing the fee for fall cleanup this year anyway. So that % goes higher......... :)
  7. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    humm.. interesting...
    I wonder what tell will say when i give them a 300 estimate...

    I think i'm gonna stick with an hourly rate....
    Lowball?is $35 an hour by myself lowballing? If my helper is with me it goes to $60 i think thats about $3-5 under my markets standard...
  8. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    $45/hr is the absolute minimum i'll work at with anything that sucks down gasoline.
  9. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Last year my existing clients said just do I did and billed them $45 an hour. I think that was a little low. I think $60-$75 would be more appropriate. Last year I tarped and threw in the back of my pickup truck. This year I will be able to do much more efficiently. I have a grain truck with a leaf box that will hold 21 cubic yards and a debris loader. I lost a lot of estimates last year because I had figured on some that I would have to dump my truck 3 or 4 times, so estimates were high. With my new truck this year I won't have to do that thus won't have to estimate so high. Having the right equipment will get you more jobs.

    Good luck
  10. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    I was thinking of turning my trailer into a leaf box with a leaf loader. Think thats a good idea oposed to bagging it by hand which i hate doing!
    Of course i'll have to unload it by hand but that shouldn't be a problem...
    I need to get some prices on leaf loaders...
    What do you guys think make the box or not?

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