How do charge for leaf cleanups?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by smcunningham, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. smcunningham

    smcunningham LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 775

    For example do you just look at the yard and say it will be x amount of money to do this yard. Do you come with x amount of money by figuring how long it will take you to do the job?

    Say you look at a yard and you figure it will take you 2.5 hours to do the job.
    Your using a big backpack blower, tarps/rake (to get the leaves into the trailer) and have a leaf trailer ( trailer that has sides and a top).

    1)How much would you charge for the 2.5 hours of time?
    2)How much would you charge for the haul away fee?
    3)Would your price be any cheaper if it is one of your current customers, if so how much cheaper?
    4)Would you take away the haul away fee if you can dump the leaves in the woods on customers property or only take a portion of the haul away fee off?

    As far as haul away goes do you charge for that by determining how much your taking? what I mean is if you have 5 houses that you can do that will make a full load compared to the one house that you have to do that will make a full load.

    Or do you charge by a completly different formula?? if so how...this will help everyone and myself stay competive.....
    Would like to hear everyones thoughts on leaf cleanup pricing
  2. smcunningham

    smcunningham LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 775

  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh you can do it any number of ways, I tried a lot of ways and kept getting burned...

    Nowadays I do leaves first and foremost for regular customers who have been with me at least the entire season, this prevents a lot of headaches. Then I simply do the job and the price I determine after I am done.
    Wow that fixed it for me.

    As for the questions:
    1) 35-40 for a single backpack + rake + tarp.
    2) I charge 200 per 6x12x2 trailer load flat fee, all included, thou 2 loads is 180-185 each, 3 = 175 ea., 4 or more 170 each.
    3) No but it could be extra for anyone else AND regulars come first always.
    4) No haul fee if it's not taken away from their property (the woods isn't considered hauling away to me), just labor.
  4. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 915

    we charge a flat hourly fee. We do not haul them away for two reasons one being that we dont have the leaf loaders or enclosed trucks, and the second being that the township around here picks up the leaves on a weekly basis so we just blow them into the street
  5. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    I charge by the hour, I don't do estimates on leaves because of all the variables. I go in telling people my minimum and what the average clean up takes but I tell them thats just a number and theirs will be more or less then the average. You'll find out that you can very easily shoot yourself in the foot by estimating leaves. I don't care how good or how long someones been in business you just cant put a good number on them.

    As for price, figure out what your price should be. I can tell you I charge $70 an hour, but does that mean you should? Nope. It's all about the set up. When I used a back pack, tarps and a leaf loader on my truck I was getting 35 per man hour. With my current set up I'm getting 70. Just because of effeciency and the cost to run the set up. Do yourself a favor and figure out your price.

    I normally tack on $30 for a truck load, that covers time to dump and gas to get to and from. If it's my customers (i use the vac to do the turf areas each week) I'll tack on $5 per account only because I can get the whole days worth in one truck load. If you blow the leaves in the woods, just charge your hourly rate for the work and no hauling fee since your not hauling.

    I wish all the places I did were able to be blown into the woods, thats so much easier.
  6. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    btw, I don't have to pay to dump leaves where I dump, thats why my hauling fee is cheap.
  7. smcunningham

    smcunningham LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 775

    thanks for the replies so far lets keep em coming....
  8. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Tell us what you would do?
    How are you gonna clean the leaves? Mulch, tarp, bag, rake, How many of you? What kind of equipment? How much overhead do you have? What do you pay for insurance, gas, advertising, workmans comp, taxes, supplies, lunch, replacement cost, storage, rent?
    I am not being a smart azz, I just cannot tell you what you are supposed to charge and be sincere. I may cost you money if I do that because you may bid too high or too low based on those numbers.
    The process of leaf control is intense at best. It can cost you plenty if you are wrong, and believe me in the past I was wrong. You have to know your business and your customers along with what potential you have for leaves. Are you working on a weekly clean, bi weekly, one time? What happens when you charge the guy 350.00 and are done and three days later a 45mph wind makes that yard look as if you were never there? All things to consider. You are correct in asking for help, figure your rates and how you are gonna do it then go at it on a limited basis because it ALWAYS takes longer than you think. Good Luck.
  9. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    Strictly per man hour. Say you give a customer a price of 300 bucks, 2 days before you get there the lawn is twice as full and takes you twice as long, they dont want to hear the bill is going to be twice as much. Oh, plus a dump fee.
  10. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    Amen....very good post. Also consider how the property sets in reguards to the prevailing winds. I have had a couple properties where the neighbors up the street didn't clean and when a good wind blows, thier leaves end up down on your customers yard .

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