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How much will customers accept for leaf removal?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by allstar, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. allstar

    allstar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Alot of you guys have stated that your hourly rate for leaf removal is 50,75 or more dollars per man.Assuming two guys undertake a big job that takes most of the day,how do customers react to a $600-$800(or more)bill? It sounds reasonable to me,especially when you consider disposal of the leaves,but how much are customers willing to pay for this service?Just curious. Jim
  2. Cheesedawg1

    Cheesedawg1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 283

    That sounds kind of high.... but depends
  3. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    It all depend on how big of a job is.

    When I started in business I was making about $25-35 per man hour, most of the places around this area request a price before you can do the work, and lot's of times found myself bidding high, cause I was trying to get the $50 per hour everyone talk about my area, I had to scalate down my prices to get some work, then I found this site, it introduce me to doubles, red max and lots of good info, I found that for every nice piece of equipment I added to my fleet my hourly rate was increasing.

    Look at the equipment that you own, if you have couple of rakes a tarp and a handheld blower I find it real hard to charge $60 per hour. (I'm not saying you own this set up)

    Another big factor is experince.
  4. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 1,309

    I would say the majority of us that charge rates that are that high have the equipment to make the job easier. I know for me the property would have to be HUGE for me to spend a whole day. I can do all of my properties in no more than 4 man hours. They range from .25 acres to 2 acres.
  5. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    If your set-up properly for the size of the properties you maintain ,,, their bill shouldnt get much higher than 5-7 times the cost of a mowing. So if they are a $25/cut ,,, their bill shouldnt get much higher than $150 for leaves.

    Now you might be thinking ,,, Theres No Friggin Way Im About To Do All Those Leaves For A Measly $150!!! Your Not - LOL!!! Your actually doing them for closer to $300 because your still charging them for the mowing (visit) ,,, so it would work out to be more like $50 stop.

    There are exceptions to the rules of course, but most neighborhoods fell under this category for us.
  6. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    LB hit the nail on the head. One guy might be charging $35 while another guy might charge $75 hr. The guy charging $75hr will get the job done quicker, so when the job is complete, they each might make the same amount of money. I would also have to agree, a leaf job that took all day would be massive and probably worth the money paid out.

    Last year I had a rate of $45 which consisted of my Walker, blower, rake, tarp and my pickup truck. This year I have added a dump truck and leaf loader. If I continued to chage the same hourly rate I would lose money. On a property that took me 2 hours last year came out to be $90. This year it might take me 1.5 hours and @ $45hr would be $67.5. Now I might keep that property at a $90 charge....which at 1.5 hours would now make me $60 an hour.

    You might ask yourself "Why have all this expensive equipment if you are going to get paid the same, per job, as the next guy?"
    Since you can now do the job quicker, you can do more in a day which in turn is more money overall.

    Allstar....have you done any leaf cleanup? I think most people look at a property full of leaves and think that it's going to take much longer than what it actually does....IMO

  7. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    IMHO when you are using a piece of equipment to replace the hand-labor of an employee that unit should be billed out as ANOTHER employee.

    In Matts case:
    If the property would have been billed out at 4 hrs without the machines assitance, why should it be billed out at 2 when you DO have the incurred expenses of running the equipment. It still has to be paid and accounted for -- true???

    The homeowner might argue that you didnt spend as much time. This Is True. However, the amount of debris their property has really doesnt change that much year to year. So why should they pay LESS for the SAME job simply because you've become a more efficient operator???
  8. TheMom

    TheMom LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    We strongly suggest to customers that they treat leaf cleanup just like they would mowing, meaning that it gets done every week or sooner. That way it doesn't take as long for us, they don't get hit with a huge cleanup bill, and over time we probably make more on each job. We charge a little more for bagging, but otherwise the base rate stays the same.
  9. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Mom has a bulls eye on that one.
    Don't really know if some of the monster prices some post on here are reality or not, but I'll tell ya, in my area, if I tried to get big dollars for clean up, I wouldn't have any work.
    Physically easier on me, and customer thinks it's financially easier on them to just continue the 'cutting' season (doing leaves) and charge accordingly.
  10. fireball

    fireball LawnSite Member
    from ne Pa
    Messages: 172

    Well, Allstar, you propose an interesting question. The customer determines what he is willing to pay and when he tells you that he can get it done cheaper and fires you, I guess you are charging too much. After sixty years of raking leaves, the only thing that I know is that the customer complains in direct relationship to what he paid for it. If you do a poor job and charge him $10.00 he rarely says anything, do the same job and charge $1,000.00 they suddenly become experts and start to look at everything. Having said that, you have to charge what it cost to do the job plus a profit, anything less will result in your failure not the customers. I have one customer who pays $12,000 for a three acre property to clean up the leaves once a year. He has a smile on his face because it is the same amount for the last thirty years. While labor rates, gas, insurance, equipement costs, and dump fees have gone up during this time frame, the equipement has gotten more efficient. Another advantage is that with the same help every year, the TEAM knows what works and what doesn't. What took 7days 30 years ago now takes 2days today. He only pays 1400.00 to cut the grass all year.

    What you learn here is that different parts of the country have different things. Here in the Philadelphia suburbs, we have tulip popular and pin oak trees that are 100ft tall. It is not unusal to have leaves that are 1 ft deep in some areas. Mulching leaves is not an option since there is too much. Sixty years ago, you raked leaves away from the houses because of forest fires, when you got a pile of them, you burned them in place, turf quality was none existent due to shade. Today, you have no burn laws, leaf loaders and trucks haul off the leaves to the recycle centers, and with the use of fertilizers you have grass under trees. Progress

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