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Leaf cleanup and a decent leaf vacuum

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by CJ's Mowing Service, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. CJ's Mowing Service

    CJ's Mowing Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 158

    what do you charge for leaf cleanups? Do you go hourly, by square footage?

    Also, what is a decent leaf vac that isn’t a bank killer??
  2. RLeClair

    RLeClair LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I charge my standard rate of $50 per man-hour. Cleanups can be unpredictable and difficult to bid, which is why I give ranged estimates to customers. Lot size has some meaning when bidding cleanups, but it is more about the size of the trees on and surrounding the property. The other day, I did a .6 acre lot that took 8 man hours and a .115 acre lot that took the same amount of time due to the presence of 80' scarlet/pin oaks.

    Far as leaf loaders, if you're trying save money, go for a used one. New ones at my dealer cost between 3K-5K. Don't skimp on power. 18HP minimum engine size.
    dplawn likes this.
  3. RLeClair

    RLeClair LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Also, it's worth noting that the time it takes to do a cleanup is highly variable on the skill level of the crew and crew leader. If you are new to this sort of work, after a couple seasons, you are likely to notice great increases in efficiency. Make sure that you take into account your experience level when making estimates and pad them accordingly.
    hort101 likes this.
  4. tiner

    tiner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Many variables in pricing leaf cleanups. Charging an hourly rate is the safest way to do it,if the customer will agree to that. (and not ask immediately afterwards how many hrs. is it going to take you) Granted, your not going to get rich doing it that way, but typo won't get burned either. I am lucky,most of my c/up jobs are longtime customers that we have done many times, but even the same c/up jobs can,and will very from year to year.
    Are you doing multiple c/ups and keeping up w the property as the leaves fall?
    Are you cutting the lawn in season,and making sure lawn is kept cut at a reasonable height so you can move the leaves over the lawn?
    Do you need to remove or Vac the leaves and hall them away?
    If its a onetime c/up, how wet and matted down are the leaves?
    If your giving a "set" price, especially for a non customer, Do Not be shy about giving a price that assures you will make a decent profit.
    Have the neighbor"s w adding yards done a c/up yet?
    The weather can also make a big difference on how long it takes to do a c/up, no matter how good your equipment is.
    As far as a leaf Vac, we have been using a 16hp leaf loader on a hinge mount on the back of Isuzu dump, w a fiberglass leaf box. Wrks out great,
    Leaf box is very easy to get on and off,and at the time I bought the leaf loader,it was around 4k.
    hort101 likes this.

    JLSLLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,358

    Gotta spend money to make so that you can work smart. I am solo and suited for large or small clean ups.. I’ve bought 4 “bank killers” over the years.. Always made my money back and some.. Spring too..

    Big back pack blower(s) and a leaf vac or two makes the day when doing a full clean up
    dplawn, Doc8406 and Walker56 like this.
  6. Green Industry Pro

    Green Industry Pro LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Tyler Texas
    Messages: 465

    I'm looking into getting a leaf loader as well. General consensus on here is bigger is better. Get the biggest one you can afford or wait until you have the money. Generally guys say 16-18HP minimum and brand doesn't matter.
    dplawn likes this.

    GRANTSKI LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,547

    If you are solo it’s a tough call. I owned a leaf vac last yr but didn’t have a Ztr and bagger. Got rid of leaf vac this yr - but got a ztr.
    If I had to choose between the 2 id take the Ztr w bagger. But a lot of my properties are dump on site / in the woods so that makes a big difference.
    Nick Gillard, oabdu123 and hort101 like this.

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