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Fall Clean-up, Right Around The Corner

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by opher, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. opher

    opher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    How do you charge?
    This will be my first fall clean-up season, does anybody have any helpful ideas,suggestions,tips ect...? Do you guestimate how long it will take to remove all the leaves and tell the customer how much the fall clean-up will be and send them a invoice upon completion. Do you think it will be faster to blow leaves onto tarp and put in trailer or to pick up with 3 bushel bagger? we have '06 EX-MARK TT 48" and a ECHO PB650.

    Thanks in advance for the help,
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    You'll have to figure out how long it will take you, what it's going to cost you in gas and other expenses, your time to haul and dump the stuff, and know how much you want to make in profit and go from there.

    Really, this is such a repetitive question. Use this site's search feature and you can read all day about it.
  3. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,508

    hourly per man 45.00 blowing raking tarping

    sucking up with z charge for grass cut plus 35 per dump from z

    25.00 dump fee

    and if i got to suck up piles 45.00 min.
  4. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,642

    I have grown to hate leaf season. Per hour is the way to go. I don't give estimates for leaves. I don't even want to think about it lol
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Two (no three, arrrg FOUR) things that have helped ease the pain for me:
    1) ALWAYS save your winter money first thing (yes, right off the bat in spring). Once I have my winter money, leaves become considerably more optional. To say the least, I can and do cherry pick.
    2) I ONLY do leaves for regular customers that have been with me at LEAST all year! (at least since may but really april). The reason for this is EVERYBODY will call you for leaves and they are hard to estimate so you will lose more than you win: At least with regular customers, the loss is easier to swallow (it still frustrates, but the edge is gone from the anger). Even with regulars I find it a challenge to quote even fair prices, I have and will lose some customers, every year, because of leaves. And that's with regulars, the turn-down with new customers is real high, at least 19 in 20 say no, so bad in fact that I worry when one says YES that I must've underbid lol.
    Also there is one other thing: Some customers get wise to this tactic and start to call you for 'year-round grass-cutting service' around september... Watch out for this, you will only get 1-2 maybe 3 grass cuts in and now they consider themselves your 'regular' and they will pull your teeth to get you to do their leaves for CHEAP, oh of course year-round grass cut service but come next spring, they will NOT want you to cut their grass, guaranteed.
    3) Remember this: Leaves ARE a seller's market (it's on our side). The demand is SO high because a lot of people hate them as much as we do, so much in fact many Lco's flat out refuse to do them while many more do them only for regulars and refuse any new business (or they quote really high), guess who these people call next? Yes, people who will not call you for anything at all the entire rest of your life WILL call you for leaves (guess who has no clue to pricing).
    4) On these notes, leaves can be a bonus way to lose certain year-round pitas, which is one reason I tolerate the nonsense while cutting grass but come leaf time, watch out because my fuse gets a lot shorter with the bs.

    Some failsafes (like if you don't got your winter money): Do a LOT of core aeration in september / early october. There is about a month long window for this, use it and earn as much as you can, this can help ease the financial issue.
  6. 2nd Chance

    2nd Chance LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 86

    MULCH THEM BABY , or tell customer to build a compost bin or better yet build one for them ,I quit bagging leaves 5 years ago .If modern day mulch technology is not good enough for some of these brain dead people we deal with then rake them up and put them in trash bags for 50.00 bucks an hour !
  7. LawnmanJ

    LawnmanJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    Sounds like a good plan to me man right there. :clapping:
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,288

    I am with you on this point, mulch them into dust and then if if they need to come up you can easily bag them. But after reading this lawnsite for over 2 years that don't seem to work up north??? I can't image blowing and blowing leaves until you have a mountain then sucking and sucking until you get them on a truck. I tried to straight bag them with our Walker and Scag units that have dump bins and until I mulched them all I was doing was running to dump....
  9. 2nd Chance

    2nd Chance LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 86

    Icannot imagine the cost of bagging and hauling off ,then paying disposal fee at landfill! My local landfill charges up to 50 bucks a cubic yard for "yard debris" nobody in East Texas will pay that kind of rate <at least none I have met > I would not do it anyway . It always blows my mind when i see people fertilize their lawns then bag the grass and throw the clippings away a week later . MULCH MULCH MULCH MULCH GET IT ?
  10. westwind

    westwind LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    we charge 175.00 an hr. 175.00 minimum. all depends on equip. # of guys etc..

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