I have questions about Leaf Clean-Up!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by aflawncare, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. aflawncare

    aflawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I am fairly new in the business and have had trouble so far this Fall finding leaf clean-up jobs. I've ran advertisements but have had very little success. Just wanted to hear some suggestions on how I might could find some more work (Commercial or Residential). Also, I'd like to hear how some of you estimate Leaf Clean-Up jobs. Thanks!!!
  2. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,470

    I would think most people use their regular mowing company to do this if they are able to perform it. Some low budget companies do not have the equipment to do this so you might pick these up.

    It depends on the yard, # of trees and etc. I will warn you it is easy to underestimate the amount of work & time it takes. In the early days I screwed myself on leaf estimates. I normally do clean ups on a regular schedule usually every 2 weeks depending on how fast they are falling. On a non-regular customer I can give them a rough estimate but will charge according to actual time letting them know up front.
  3. XC skier

    XC skier LawnSite Member
    Messages: 216

    There is another thread that you might find helpful- search: leaf season in review and pricing. Other threads about equipment and pics may be helpful for you. There is no secret formula to estimating leaf removal because there are so many variables. What you can do is keep detailed records and don't be afraid to charge a fair amount.
  4. Busybee Lawns

    Busybee Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    Hi. Well lets hear what you gave as an est for a leaf clean up? and what did your ad say? what percentage of jobs you did win when giving an est, for leaf clean up's?
  5. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    i've found that most people aren't willing to pay what a leaf job requires. at least in my area. i only do my regular mowing customer's yards from now on. i just charge them slightly more than a regular mowing and i do it every 2 weeks during nov and dec which is about 3-4 times depending on the yard.

    if you do it this way the yards don't get too bad between mowings and the leaves don't buildup.

    there's people that will call you up after letting all of the leaves fall in their yard and they will want you to do a $250 job for $75. i just tell them to call someone else. i've learned not to even go give an estimate for a non regular customer anymore during the fall.

    anyone that calls you in the heat of the summer or in the fall for an estimate is usually 100% of the time someone you don't wanna work for. they don't wanna pay what the job is worth.

    i only do new estimates in the spring and i only do them for people that want service the whole year. don't waste your time and effort on 1 time cuts. it never pays off.
  6. cantinadriver

    cantinadriver LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I agree my customers have not complained when mow and shred the leaves on their property. I do charge a little more for the job usually about a third to half more than a regular mowing. Its extra work and time to haul debris to a landfill or recycling area.
  7. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,631

    Getting that way myself, Iv under bid leave jobs so bad in the past I don't really like doing them anymore.
  8. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    i got burned bad this year. it was a friend of one of my older lady customers. she had another friend that had hired me earlier this year and that one turned out to be the best customer i have. the one that wanted the leaf job done was the worst customer i've ever had. :laugh:

    the job was a huge yard that took twice as long as i thought it would. so obviously i underbid it. i figured it would be 1 1/2-2hrs and it took 4hrs. i had estimated $75-$100. i even helped her out by blowing the leaves off of her roof for her which only took about 10min or so. she seemed like a sweet old lady in need of help. i knew i was screwed about halfway through the yard. i couldn't just quit so i finished up hoping for the best. i asked the older lady for $100 and she was like no that's too much. i told her really that's about half price so it's a great deal. she ended up paying me only $85 and she was even complaining about nit picky stuff. i think some older ladies use people sometimes. they act like they need help so much and they are so helpless and have only a little bit of money. they are probably rolling in the dough to be honest. needless to say i blocked her number from ever calling me again. :laugh:
  9. olajoe808

    olajoe808 LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5b
    Messages: 221

    You have to start smaller and gain more experience. I think you are looking at starting off on jobs that might be over your head. You also need to know your customers. Everything about them as much you can. I've worked in my a/o for about 10 years, construction, landscaping, as an i/c for myself, for other contractors, for the city, state, and have been in hundreds of homes, properties, and there are some days I feel I can connect with anyone and still there are days where you feel like there is so much yet to pick up. You have to negotiate and be able to read the client, know what questions to ask. Be able to distinguish your service from anyone else and be able to explain the difference quickly, and to the point. One of my selling points is I do it the best for your money, no joke and then I go on to explain the how and what. Show them the pictures, and either they like it and it's a done deal, they are on the fence and they could use some persuasion, or they go do it themselves. This past season was non-stop. I worked my butt off, it paid off. Not a day goes by that I'm not thinking about next season. You may have to low ball one or two jobs to gauge yourself, your setup etc...but if you are serious about doing this then you should already have the right equipment and maybe you might just need to fine tune your technique. Picking up leaves is the easy part, getting somebody to pay you to do it and to pay you what you feel is right only you can figure that part out. I wish there was an easy answer but every job is different and every client is different. But that's what makes this not just a job, but an adventure. :) Good luck.
  10. TuffTurfLawnCare

    TuffTurfLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 667

    I work with another solo op on leaf clean up since he has a loader etc. He charges $130/hr and never runs out of work. Most yards 1/4-1/2acre are done in 30-60 min with 2-3 people.

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