Fall Clean Up

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

  1. Laurel Leaf

    Laurel Leaf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    It probably also depends where you are. Leaf collection can keep your accounts going as scheduled for over a month in the Northwest. In many scenarios you'll make more by continuing to make scheduled visits and taking care of leaves instead of the turf. Depends on disposal as well, which for me would be free.

    You should just do what ya do, if it is working. It doesn't matter that you are offering a better deal then the other LCOs. Thats what being competitive is.
  2. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    Very well said.:clapping:
  3. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    Not sure which state your in but I'm assuming a southern state or have very few trees. Leaf cleanups are extremely lucrative and can be time consuming but if you're able to just mulch or bag them up(however you do lawn service)without losing any/much time there must not be many leaves. If there are a bunch of leaves you're definitely leaving money on the table. If not and you're making a good living doing what you're doing, I'd tell the guy who approached you to pound salt.
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  4. AllBrad

    AllBrad LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

  5. Hidden Talents Lawn Care

    Hidden Talents Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    from Livonia
    Messages: 27

    Thanks for the response. I haven't done a job yet that I have felt that I was screwed. My current hourly rate is $45 per man. I typically continue to mow on a weekly basis until the first week of December and don't spend any extra time on the lawn because as someone else mentioned, there really isn;t any mowing going on so there isn't any edging or trimming either. This allows me to even sometimes go over some areas twice and still take less time than it usually does. Come December, I put the mowers away and pull out the blowers, rakes and leaf loaders for the beds and fence lines etc that don't normally get picked up with the mower.

    I realize that some people feel that I am a "LowBaller" but in reality, I am actually charging more, but over a longer period. if I have a property that is $150 per cut without a clean up, then I am actually making more money than the guy who was pissed at me for losing accounts because I "Mowed" an extra 5 times = $750, while he stopped mowing 5 weeks sooner than me so he could charge the customer $450 to do a fall clean up which took way longer to blow all those wet leaves off the lawn.

    Not to mention the customer satisfaction aspect where while I was continuing to "Mow" weekly and keep the leaves cleaned up, the didn't have to look at the leaves on the lawn until he arrived to do the clean up and then look at more leaves after the clean up was done because additional leaves fell. I was cleaning them up the entire time until there were no more.

    I will admit I was a "Lowballer" when I first started until I needed more equipment that required more cash which ultimately led to a price increase. I think my competitor is losing business to me because of customer satisfaction, not because I am lowballing and making it difficult for other companies.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    I have a few lawns where the leaves can be mulched with the mower which I don't charge extra for but the majority of lawns require large cleanups to get rid of all the leaves in the beds as well as in the lawn
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  7. TTS

    TTS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    That is playing the game and in this particular game you're winning. You have found out how to sell the work in a way that makes you the most money. Tell your competitor if he's worried about losing business to you, you can save him some time and hassle and offer to buy his business.

    The customer isn't always right, the customer is almost always un or undereducated. By providing education in the right manner you can dictate the terms and make them feel like they did.
  8. Hidden Talents Lawn Care

    Hidden Talents Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    from Livonia
    Messages: 27

    I agree completely. I educate my customers and set clear expectations right from the beginning. For example, if you do not need mowing this week, call me and let me know prior to me scheduling the Fay and I will not charge you. I do not bekive it is fair to charge when I don't do anything. But if you font call me and I arrive, then I have to charge you and I will. Time is money but I am fair.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    I do not know where Livonia is.

    Where I am lawns will grow to the end of October. Some may need a final cut in November or the First or second week in December.

    Leaves start to fall in October. The amount of leaves is not much and I mulch when I mow.

    I do weekly fall clean ups. The beds blow out easier when the leaves are not left to pile up and the lawn does not get smothered an could die.

    So starting with the first week in November I do 5 weekly clean ups. I skip Thanksgiving week, so I do the first two weeks in December.

    Even if you use a mower and bag the leaves you are doing a clean up. That means you blow out all the beds, patios, decks, etc, onto the lawn then you pick up the leaves.

    I get twice the price of mowing to do a clean up. So the $35 mow customer will be told that his clean up is $350. Each time I do a weekly service I bill out for $70. So Nov's bill will be $210, Dec's $140. I explain that the agreement is for $350 for the service. I am not charging by the week. This is to protect myself from some wise ass saying most of the leaves are gone I do not want to pay for the last visit or two and then canceling. I am charging to remove all of the leaves. Though it allows for the business to have cash flow to cover operating expenses.

    If clean up season is already underway and there are only three weeks left in the schedule they still get charged the full price of $350.

    So to the OP you are leaving money on the table which is never good.

  10. tyler_mott85

    tyler_mott85 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    I would much rather service a property weekly until all of the leaves have fallen and have been mulched up with the equipment I already own than to have to spend thousands of dollars on specialized equipment to service the property weeks or months between visits. The only thing I would charge "extra" for is to do some seriously clean up in the flower beds. If there are imbedded leaves or plants that need cut back for winter that is beyond the "walk around the property with a blower" method I prefer.

    I understand that KS doesn't exactly have the sheer quantity of leaves that the NE part of the country has so maybe just how fast the leaves fall out that way you could not just simply keep up with weekly mulching mowings.

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