How to make leaf removals quicker and more profitable?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by smallstripesnc, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    I don't snap many work shots as its hard to do when you have your mind on your job. I did a vile clean up earlier this week where I maxed out a empty 16 yard leaf truck on this one property. Then climbed up top got inside and compacted what we could filled it again then climbed up did that again. Then filled it to capacity and still had to use my second leaf box truck to finish the pile. I wish I had some pics of that stick infested nightmare. But I do have a few of my gmc in action or my ram about to eat a pile 2 lawns long or about 250 or so. You can even seen my second leaf truck the gmc in the pic that's where the pile ends.

    Fall 2011.jpg



  2. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,649

    Because mulching with a mower would take longer, it wouldn't work, and it would make a mess. We do it in October before the leaves get thick. But by the end of November, the leaves are so deep you can't run a mower over them.

    The volume of leaves is different in my part of the country. Mulching is not an option.
  3. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    We had seven truckloads from one 5 acre property. Imagine trying to just mulch those and leave them.
  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I'm in the northeast too and even large amounts leaves can be mulched into healthy turf. It just takes dedication to stay on top of it...mulching kit and frequent mowings. Not something I try to do any longer though.
  5. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,649

    Right, if you mow it weekly or more frequently.

    But all sorts of customers call for cleanups, not just contracted mowing customers. A typical scenario: Mr Customer stops mowing in October because there are too many leaves, then calls me on November 20 for a leaf cleanup. At that point the leaves are a foot deep, wet, maybe frozen, or rotting, loaded with acorns, pine cones, sticks and branches. Probably 1/2 my leaf business is like that. Those are the people that spend $300 to $600 on a leaf cleanup.
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Yeah. Especially this year I've had a lot of properties that needed to be cleaned up before you could even put a mower on them or risk running over firewood-sized branches...lots of stuff down from the hurricane. In fact I snapped the deck belt on my Lazer getting a stick jammed into my pulley area.
  7. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    if you market your services differently you won't have a problem like that.

    I don't give my regular clients the option to wait. I either do the leaves on a weekly/bi weekly basis or I don't do them at all.

    I also don't advertise in the fall so all I'm really doing is my regular clients. I don't get calls from these homeowners who do everything themselves but the leaves and wait until there a foot deep to try and get someone to do them.
  8. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,649

    You are correct, I could pass on all that business. But I don't.
  9. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Well I finally got a truck loader and boarded up the back of my truck. Its a billy goat I believe 12HP but man does it make my life easier! Now getting the leaves to the curb in the front yards is always easy but its definitely not easy getting leaves from the back to the curb especially if the lawns have a gate.

    Any tips? We have been blowing into piles in the back yards with gates and tarping to the curb and sucking them up. But there has to be an easier way.

    Any advice?
  10. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Messages: 1,390

    I have do leaf clean up off and on for some years. Really trying to do a lot this fall. Learning curve is tuff on the pricing side. Right not only getting about $35 per man hour while at the job site. 1/4 lots i am only charging $150 on average. I feel like I should be charging more but really want the work for now. Any advice?

    Oh and I have a 6x10 dump with 6 foot sides, 14hp walkbehind blower, stihl 600 back packs.

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