Fall Clean-up Questions

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by lawnsaspire, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. lawnsaspire

    lawnsaspire LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,687

    It's only halfway through September but we're already having a lot of falling leaves already. I think I'll be doing leaf cleanu-ups at the beginning of October rather than the end this year. That being said I have 3 questions:
    1. Do gator blades really work well for bagging the leaves?
    2. How do you clean leaves out of rock and mulch beds? Using a blower I always have problems blowing rocks and mulch peices into the yard. Using a vacuum I end up sucking wood or rock up into the blades.
    3.Is it unwise to charge by the hour for fall clean-ups w/ a customer who's used to paying by the job?
    Any help would be grealy appreciated.
  2. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    1. I swear by gators for leaf clean-up, they work great. You will notice a huge difference in the size of the leaves with gators compared to regular blades.
    2. I always use a blower or rake. If you are using a blower just make sure the tube is far enough away from the ground as to not blow the rocks or mulch. You could also try letting up on the throttle.
    3. I always charge by the job. I will estimate how long it should take to complete the job and then multiply that by my hourly rate to come up with the price for the job. Usually I will give the customer a small range that the price should be in (ie $150-$175). I hate giving the customer an hourly price and just charging by the hour.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Mulch as long as you can.

    I usually double mow and mulch existing leaves into the lawn until we get the first "large" drop of leaves.

    Even then I'll blow out the beds mow once without the bagger to chop them down, and then suck up what's left.

    Your comment about the blower. I hate to say it, but buy a smaller blower for those areas that have loose mulch and small rocks.

    Even some of the larger blowers at idle will still move 2 inch river rock.
  4. sven1277

    sven1277 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    Gator blades aren't high lift blades. I don't like them when I have the bagger on a scag tt. Reg. blades for that.

    Adjust the angle of attack with the blower. You are going to lose some mulch, but if you angle the tube less and throttle down some, you'll be better off.

    Keep pricing structure the same for existing customers.
  5. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    1. I always keep my regular blades on for the fall season. I go around and mulch all the leaves up once or twice. After that I bag em all up.

    2. As for the beds, I normally use my handheld blower, backpack blower for the large, open places.

    3. Like mentioned before, I normally just charge by the job. I can't honestly think of one time where I charged by the hour for a job. I'm not sure what it is but I just can't stand to charge a customer by the hour. Its a rip-off to them in my opinion, and it probably makes them feel the same way I think about it.
  6. dependablelawn1

    dependablelawn1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I've always charged buy the hour. The reason being if I give an estimate today, and do the job in a few days the wind could have loaded the yard up, or the neighbors could have them now. Ether me or the customer is going to come out on the short end of the stick on a flat price. I just explain this to them and tell them it will be x number of guy's working flat out because I have other things to do. I've never had a problem doing it this way and that is how most people do it in my area.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    The problem with charging by the hour around here is that the market value for leaf clean-ups is set by high schoolers and low-ballers.

    I charge by the hour, but, I've lost many bids for leaf cleanups because of that. It doesn't bother me though, only because I try to line up more profitable work in the fall.

    The customers I do have for cleanups have no problems paying by the hour after they see the quality of work I try to perform.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    gators work great for mulching leaves. they are alright for bagging too. for mulch and rock areas i idle the blower so i dont blow too much extra stuff and i charge by the hour for cleanups
  9. TrashBagPopper

    TrashBagPopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    If you have to bag and price by the job, you will want to use The Trash Bag Popper. www.trashbagpopper.com
    It overcomes all the challanges of using a trash can to keep the bag open.
    It protects the sides of the bag from puncturing while loading
    "allows you to work smarter, not harder"
    maximizes bag capacity!
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I suppose people who have highschoolers clean up their lawns in the fall, just toss the leaves over their, 'vinyl' fences. :laugh:

    Leaves need to be cleaned up b4 they suffocate the grass, especially the newly overseeded stuff. Weekly cleanup is part of regular maintenance by lawncare professionals.
    Charge extra for mowing now. Add in overseeding costs. But save the perennial beds and mulched/rock areas, until the final cleanup in the spring.

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