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Fall Clean Up

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Hidden Talents Lawn Care, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Hidden Talents Lawn Care

    Hidden Talents Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    from Livonia
    Messages: 27

    I have been delaying asking this question because I didnt want to sound stupid but here it goes. I have been mowing for about 3 years now so im still a rookie. I recently got ripped a new one by a local competitor because of my selling practices.
    Here's the deal. When I sell a mowing service, I have always just included the leaf pickup from the lawn. I always considered a fall cleanup as being the flower beds and such. Apparently this guy has been losing customers to me because he charges extra for picking up the leaves from the lawn in the fall, even when ifs still mowing season. I have always considered that part of the mowing service. Am I wrong here? Should I be charging go clean the leaves from the lawn?
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  2. Ethanslawn

    Ethanslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    The way i do it is i bid to property to compensate year round for the cleanup (minor cleanup). Doing an Extra 15 mins of blowing leaves out of bed more of a courtesy othing really. The problem with this is when the l charge extra (usually during actualy fall), the difference is i charge roughly $50/hour minimum. A majority of the time people are fine with that because I`m usually only there an 1-1.5 hours. With competitors charging $75+/hour. No i have been suggested to raise it but i never take on anything i can not handle. Plus all of my equipment is paid for and I`m also solo, which is a big cost reducer.
  3. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,411

    In my area when the leaves begin falling and need picking up & hauling off it is mulitple times the work not to mention the extra equip needed; collection system on mower $3500, Leaf loader $3000+, dump bed truck & etc. So if I charged the same as mowing I would be screwing myself big time. There are a few yards without many trees that can be mulched with no extra time over regular mowing that I don't charge extra.

    Your situation may be different from mine but if I charged the same I would be losing money during leaf season.
  4. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    If we can mulch the leaves and they disappear we don't charge extra. If there are too many to mulch they get charged for cleanup and removal. Same as mentioned above, land fill fees, gas and time to drive there add up quick.

    Your competitor is probably mad because #1 you are taking his customers because you don't know how to bid work properly and #2 and most importantly, you are driving prices down for everyone including yourself. Once you do this with a customer they expect it from then on out and good luck to the next guy that tries to come in and bid the job at a fair price after you have gone out of business from lowballing, unintentional or otherwise.

    If you have been doing this for 3 years and still haven't figured out what you should be bidding something is wrong. It took us about 1 cleanup job the first season to figure out we had made a mistake bidding.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  5. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    I agree :clapping:
    I mulch leaves till Nov Depending when trees all drop and My Fall clean up starts. My price is double the mowing + haul off fee.

    To OP you are leaving money on the table come next year you might want rethink it and should add a fee.
  6. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    It's a fair question to ask, and I don't like the monkey see monkey do side of lawn service that happens when people don't ask. Make as much $ as you can. For me on residential lawns I mowed weekly until the leaves were done falling. This got me paid through Thanksgiving the last couple years. When the leaves stop, so do I. Seems fair to both sides because if you mow once a week through the fall you keep income, and the customer doesn't get stuck with a big end of year bill. Folks who call out of the blue and only want a one time deal you should take them to the cleaners.
  7. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,411

    I don't do the "one time, wait till every leaf has fallen end of year clean up" BTW. I do them every 2 weeks or so depending on how fast the leaves are falling. Waiting till they are too thick and half rotted is a PIA, clogs machines strains belts & etc.
  8. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,469

    Time is money............If you can clean things up a bit in the same time for "seasonal" mowing, fine. Since it's the fall, I can usually skip much of the standard trimming and apply that time to the "mini" cleanup. However, when things take longer, the price goes up.
    FWIW........The customer is "always" right. Once you think your the boss and start dictating to the customer, you'll be out of business..........
  9. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,616

    i just keep mowing regularly every 2 weeks in nov and maybe one time in december. after that all of the leaves are gone. i just mulch them up with the mower. takes about the same time as a regular grass mowing. i charge the same price.

    if someone wants a one time cleanup with alot of leaves then you would charge 2 or 3 times as much as a mowing. that never happens to me though. most people don't even want their leaves mowed or cleared off their lawns around here. some have yards with no trees in them at all. there are some that get me to keep mowing though. i'm usually done grass mowing at the end of october. after that it's leaves, mulch, or any extra work. it kindof slows down and you aren't as busy but it keeps you making money til the end of the year. jan and feb i don't work at all and just enjoy life. start back up in march mowing.
  10. SRD Landscape

    SRD Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    We charge extra for Fall Cleanups. $38.00 per hour per man. We send out (4) man crews and they blow leaves over 8 hours a day in the Fall until the week of Christmas or if the snow comes early and covers everything. After the Cleanup if the lawn needs to be mowed we charge them for that service separately.

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