Figuring curbside leaf removal

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by FerrisDiesel, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I'm gonna say he did not mulch first. I know the Walker is good at vacuuming but I have found that my Toro 62 with atomic blades are better at mulching. Then I take the Walker and pick up. I found a reduction of at least 10:1 if not greater depending on leaf moisture. That 63 hoppers would be 6 or 7 after a good shredding. I found it takes less work doing that and its easier on my old Walker which is still up to the task but I like preserving it.
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    We provide optional curb-side pick up in the small town I live in.

    The only other option is to burn the leaves.

    I pretty much charge 1.50 a minute. So far there has been no charge above 25 bucks to pick up someones leaves from the curb.

    So ultimately I can gross about 80 bucks to load the truck and with the leaf loader and just picking up piles, it takes about an hour to load the truck.

    Now, it might be cheap to some, but my whole thought process was to give people a cost effective alternative to burning leaves in our small town. Ultimately I'm just trying to help out the community.

  3. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    No, I didn't mulch first. My buddy is busting me all the time for that. I did try it on an area with poor grass, left the hopper door open for a while and ran over the leaves. The walker chops them up guit well and I had a mess. In order to pick up the small pieces I had to drop the deck to the ground and I don't like that. I don't like to see scalped grass. I prefer to just go over the lawn one time. I have onsite dumping on all the properties that I do and it doesen't matter how well everything gets chopped up.
  4. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    I know, really. Lets try to mulch up 4" of leaves on a 1/2 acre with 10 mature trees on it and have it looking nice.
  5. CTmower

    CTmower LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 324

    In CT I advertise "Curbside leaf removal" and Fall cleanups. I always go to the property to view and kick the pile before I give a price. My first year in business I gave way too many quotes over the phone or did a quick drive by. Too many piles look fluffy and easy on top, only to find 1 month old drenched leaves underneath!!
    My curbside pickups start at $50 and I've done one this year for $150 (3 full loads hauled to my local compost farm). It takes gas to drive to the property, gas to operate the leaf loader, gas to drive to dump the haul, and most importantly it takes your time. Add in wear and tear + insurance + MONEY IN YOUR POCKET. No curbside pickup is worth $20 to me. I figure most jobs cost minimal $10-15 just for my gas expenses. If someone thinks your prices are too high hand them a pile of leaf bags and tell them to have a great day!!!
  6. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I service weekly at have always charged 2.5-3x their current rate for mulching leaves, ZERO complaints. It may only take me an extra 10 minutes the first time or two but then its up to 30-40minutes extra. I may take more in the begining but it evens out in the end. Works for me and ZERO complaints. Then a final clean up is done and $300 is just a start.....

    I also started a thread on curbside removal. The thought of pouring money into a nice loader to have it destroyed because of the junk in the piles is not worth it.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    In our case, we sent out 500 mailers locally to offer the service. In there it explicitly states that all debris and garbage must be removed. So far so good, the piles have been clean of debris.

    As of right now, out of 15 households, only one was a waded mess of leaves that took more time to load.

    Overall, yes, we're probable not charging enough for the service, but it was more giving back to the community type of deal as the local village can't afford leaf pick-up services.

    Where we make our money with the leaf loader is fall cleanup work. We charge per man hour and come out pretty good knowing that others are out there charging half of what we do to do cleanups.

    Ultimately too, we live in the lowest part of the town. When everyone burns and the air settles at night, then our house smells like a big fire even with the windows closed.

    All the debris also goes to a local organic farm where they compost and re-use the leaf debris for animal bedding.


  8. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    well you live in a different state than me where the market is different for one thing.

    another is it takes me 10/15 min extra each week all fall long. I never need to spend more than that.

    each week the property is left virtually spotless so there really isn't a final clean up that's more than the weekly clean ups.
  9. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    So you're calling out people for charging too much yet state that one area can support those rates..... Why call out someone in the first place when you admit it could be acceptable?......
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    Personally we charge 330 MINIMUM to do fall cleanups, we come out twice, one mid leaf fall and one final cleanup.... This year sucked as we started later and basically had about 3/4 the leaves already down because of the crappy summer and early spring. BUT this makes the 2nd round much much faster, we also mulch a bit first then suck'er up and dump into our 550

    I dont see much of a price difference to be honest....if we did like you do, we would have minimum of 5-6 weeks of cleaning up, 35$/ mow MINIMUM (our starting mowing price) plus $15 = $50 times 5-6 and your already at $250-300, plus your LOSING more money for drivetime in addition to increasing possibility of lawn damage (mowing grass thats not growing over and over again without much leaf cover)

    As for this thread, im interested also in the leaf pick-up service as well, we get some new customers bauking at our prices (Customers we havent done work for) before seeing how much work we actually do and itd be nice to give a cheaper alternative. But first we need a leaf loader, seeing how money is short now, were waiting till next year and hopefully laying some serious cash down on a 20+ hp model giant vac

    For the junk situation in the leaf piles, i would for sure put a clause in our contract thoroughly explaining that any trash found in the pile is subject to an extra charge.

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