Leaf Clean up!

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by matt_e_o, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. matt_e_o

    matt_e_o LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Hey everyone!

    This is my first post here on the forums! My name is Matt and I'm a teenager, this was my first year starting up my lawn business. I mowed lawns in my neighborhood. The lawns are around 1/3 of an acre and I charged $30, and for bigger lawns up to $45. But now it's leaf season and I could use some tips. I have done some research about pricing and stuff, and saw some people charge $60 an hour for them selves and their equipment plus $30 per hour extra for each helper. Others have said to charge 3-4 times what they would charge to mow. But no one has said how often the do leaf clean up!

    How much should I charge if people want a weekly clean up? or if they just call when ever they want there leaves cleaned up. And how often do YOU guys do leaf clean up? I know some of these big companies just come once or twice with their big truck mounted leaf vacs and charge around $200.

    I have done one customer's/neighbor's (shes right across the street) leaves once a week and get $30 to $40 each visit. But now other people are starting to ask me what I charge and I don't really know what to tell them!

    I have a lawn tractor with a mulching kit and also a bager attachment. I have 2 push mowers with mulching blades. I have a back back blower.

    The way I was planning to clean up the leaves would be to plow out all the flower beds and get all the leaves into the yard then mulch them up and then mow back over them with a bager, that's how i did it for my neighbor/customer so far and it takes me 1.5-2hrs.

    Thanks guys! :):)
  2. Curtis

    Curtis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    Leaves are hard dirty work. If it takes you 2 hours I would charge more than 30 each time. You know what your market will bear as far as price. Don't under price yourself those people will take advantage of you . Plus your equipment will take a beating and you need that revenue to pay for belts and blades.
  3. matt_e_o

    matt_e_o LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    What about 45$ an hour and $15 for each additional person per hour? Ya leaf clean up is a lot more work then a simple mow...
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. matt_e_o

    matt_e_o LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Actually considering the only expenses that I have are the ones that go into my business (I don't have to pay rent as I live at Home with my parents) I think 35$ for me and my equipment per hour and 15$ for each additional person.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. davidslawncare

    davidslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    Consider a per-min charge. I charge $1.50 a min but that's with two backpacks two commercial ZTR's and help. Or do a per hour and just pro-rate the difference. U have to decide what you want to make an hour after ALL expenses and base your price on that. Hope this helps
  6. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,471

    Leaves take many times the work of just mowing. Each yard is different, depends on the amount of trees and etc. It is very easy to screw yourself if you don't know how to estimate, I know I did early on. Warning, people will take advantage of teenagers and people with little business experience. I really can't give you a number without being in your shoes.

    Some advice I will give you is start running your business like you actually paid for ALL of you equipment & vehichles. Obtain a business license which is usually required by your city. Report your earnings and pay taxes. Point is run it like a legitimate business. This way you will learn how to properly run a business and the real costs. I know you probably won't do these things but if you do you will be much wiser earlier in life. Don't strive to be the person who does it for the cheapest price.
  7. matt_e_o

    matt_e_o LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks for the reply! What I plan on doing is if this year goes well then I will get insurance, and look into a business licence and taxes. I've made more money that I had first thought. I've been keeping track off all my expenses, earnings, and wages to my business partners. I've bought all my equipment myself (used) and do the maintenance my self as well.

    Like "Davideslawncare "said, I'll look at all my expenses and then work from there to see how much I want to make as profit off of that.

    And as for methods of leaf removal, what do you think is the most efficient? Using the truck mounted leaf Vacs would to me be the best way but right now I can't afford anything like that right now. Any experience with mulching?

    Thanks again! Posted via Mobile Device
  8. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    Just do it the way you've been doing it and charge what you need to make per hr and estimate the hrs to do the job.
  9. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    we have 3 guys going, start with either 2 or 1 guy blowing out the landscape into the yard, the third is on a walk behind mulching, we done use mulch kits for 2 reasons, 1 we bag with the walk behinds also, 2 its much easier on the mower under high amounts of leafs (you can lift the front tires)

    we go over untill all the leaves are well mulched, then go over with out 60" rider and walk behind bagging them, by this time the 3rd guy either cleans up with the blower or sits in the dump waiting for us to bring the debris over

    this is very effecient for us, i cant see how anyone can just tarp leaves into trucks without mulching or using a leaf vac

    next year we plan on getting a leaf vac, to be honest there are only a few places where this will be more efficient but it will pack better in the dump

    Point is, for you i would mulch the leaves first, then go over just like you were mowing, leaving stripes and what not

    price wise we charge a minimum of 330 to come twice
    it works out to be around $50/mh, although this year we started late so most of the leaves were down 1st round, 2nd round should be 2x faster

    i know some people just continue to mow and bag every week but i dont like this concept as the grass wont be growing and its easier to damage the lawn by mowing when its not growin
  10. tammguzm

    tammguzm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Ya leaf clean up is a lot more work then a simple mow

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