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customers and leaves oh my!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by d.m.d., Nov 4, 2006.

  1. d.m.d.

    d.m.d. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    so one of my customers had called thursday telling my wife she would like for me to take care of her leaves on saturday afternoon.no big deal i thought.she called this morning around 9 am and said come on over this morning so i told her i could be there in a while and i was there about 10.her back yard was completely covered in leaves.so i asked her do you want the leaves taken care of?she said just cut them up.im like so you just want your lawn mowed mam you have a 6 inch blanket of leaves on your backyard i can cut it but there will be leaves all over,ok she said.well i hate doin a half assed job so i mowed and blew all the leaves to the wooded side of her yard and i ended up going over the yard twice in the whole deal.i actually was surprised that there were some decent looking stripes when i was done.so she pays me my 40 bucks and says the lawn looks great but you are to particular you dont have to do that good of a job and i told her i do yards like i would want mine done.i then dropped the hammer and told her i was given her bargain because most guys in the area wouldnt do her yard for 40 bucks being the leaves in her back yard were so deep i mean i was plowin those dudes, 3 ft of leaves building up on the front of the mower at times.her comeback of course was if your not happy i will get someone else to do it the last guy did it for 35.and i said yes but you fired him and hired me didnt you.i then told her to call me if wanted anymore cuts this season and said bye......ive read on here a lot about what to charge for leaves...nothin nobody round here wants to pay.
  2. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    dmd, its the same way here as I have posted about it many times. I just don't understand how everyone else in other area can charge for the fall cleanup and it just doesn't flush here, never has and never will. Every yard I did this week had to be gone over at least twice to mulch them up good and no I did not charge extra because no one else here charges extra. I have grown to hate the leaf season and we had one h*ll of a bumper crop this year. I guess it depends on what will go over in your area. I tried that last year charging extra for leaves and the first 2 I discussed it with told me right fast what I could do with the extra charge so I just have to eat it this time of the year.
  3. d.m.d.

    d.m.d. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    thats how it is here.i was thinking about buying a stick edger.id like to have it for my own use and offer the srvice to my customers but 500 bucks for a good one is a lot to pay and i dont see my customers willing to pay extra.same goes for aeration.i just started in august and im learning quick.i was hoping to recoup some of my start up cost this fall on leaves but that aint gonna happen.these customers that need service(and we need them of course)kill me.they cant or wont do there lawn maintainance but they wont pay either.i just have trouble doing a yard and leaving with it looking like hell.i mean your rep is kinda all you have being there is so much competition.
  4. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Would you believe in my 9 plus years in biz I have never done one aeration. That is not popular here either. I too hate to go over a yard full of leaves and leave it looking like crap but there is no extra pay for it.The way I do them is make one pass over them and then turn around and go back over them in the opposite direction and the 737 makes it look spotless! I really like the ones that ask me not to come back until April for the same price when the yard is 8 inches deep in straw,leaves and cones. These are dropped quickly now. I will not, never, no way ever bag a d*mn leaf as long as I have a mulcher on my Z. Now pine straw is another story:cry:
  5. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,163

    did almost that same thing today, just something that gets to me, i can't leave the leaves on there if i can help it
  6. pcarlson1911

    pcarlson1911 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    Got a call for a quote today. Showed up with the trailer. Quoted 260 for a 1 acre lot. Guy hemmed and hawed, I told him he could have 10% for a flier discount, he agrred, we shook, we cleaned, he smiled, wrote a check and asked if we were interested in his lawn for a yearly account.

    I think the key was he knew that I would walk away.
  7. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Messages: 2,572

    Here is my solution for my regulars. Oct 1, I change to bi-weekly visits from weekly, I charge double + a little more in some cases. This keeps the monthly bill about the same, so I go 2x in Oct and 2x in Nov.....I know that the visits in Oct will be pretty easy and that the visits in November can be alot more work. But over the 2 months the money and time work out to be pretty resonable. About half will have me come back 1x in Dec. for a final visit. Here are the benefits for me, less overhead as far as truck time/ mileage due to the bi-weekly visits, 1/2 the loading and unloading time, trimming pretty much ceases until the final visit, and I still get my regular cash flow through November.

    I have now included this program right into the yearly maintenance agreement and have had no complaints. It is not perfect. But I can live with it.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Guys, for as long as trees have had leaves, kids have raked them up for money. So why now do you do it for free. If the potential customer will not agree to pay, Just say I can not cut grass with the leaves on it, find a kid to clear them off and I will come back.
    Leaves left on the grass will matt it down and kill it over the winter, Labor and equipment cost money. Educate the customer to that. If they will not pay, why work for nothing? What is happening is YOU are paying to remove the leaves.
  9. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    If I were to set up a contract for 26 mows, how do I handle making sure the customer understand that we will clean the leaves off and then mow in mid october through mid november? Do I add a clause that says leaf removal is extra. Many lawns can just be mulched but when encountering a property with too many leaves how is that handled in terms of contract wording?
  10. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 943

    Well Guess it just depends on your area.....Everyone except for most new guys Charge for leaf clean ups.....But If we are cutting the lawn, we blow and side shoot all the leaves off the lawn...but charge extra for blowing beds.....I charge the same for a cut for a basic leaf blow, and Double sometimes triple for leaf removal.........Tried something new with all my custom customers this year, and put the leaf blowing charge in their monthly cost for the year, therefore there is no change in the cost of service, and no worries about up selling leaf clean ups......But lets not forget about when its windy as hell like last two weeks here....Its a bytch trying to blow leafs.....Mulching them is not a option, makes the lawn look horrible......We had wind gust up to 40 mph and of course changing directions every good gust.......so we wet them so that we can have a little bit better control, just takes longer having to water the entire lawn to get the leaves wet, but easier when you have lawns on both sides of you that someone else has....I dont mind the leaves too much though, just helps with my bottom line and yearly total......

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