Leaf cleanup idea

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by mowerbrad, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I've thinking a lot lately about investing in a dump trailer and leaf vac for my a new leaf clean-up rig. I use my mower now and just mow up all the leaves...works pretty well for most of my accounts but then there are some where a truck loader and dump trailer would be way better.

    My main thought with this though is sucking up leaf piles for people. There are tons of people who don't want to spend $200+ for a fall clean-up, so they will do the clean-up themselves but won't have anywhere to go with all the leaves. So my thought is that the people can rake their leaves to the street or next to their driveway and then I can come by and suck them up.

    Obviously the price would reflect the amount of leaves I'd be sucking up, but for say $50 (or what ever I decide on) the customer would have all their leaves sucked up and not have to pay tons of money for me to do the full clean-up. And doing this won't take too much time at each job and if I plan tight enough routes, I could get a 3 done an hour plus the time to dump.

    I have a good dump site that is quick and easy to get to. I figure if I get a 6x12 dump trailer, build a leaf box that would be an extra 6' tall over the already 2' tall sides...that'd give me a 16 yard capacity.

    So what do you guys think? Do you think there is any market for a service like this?
  2. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,255

    It works around here, we have no city pick-up. I would also market this service to other LCOs that don't have the capital to buy a leaf rig and sub the pick-up for them.
  3. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Thats not a bad idea to market to other LCO's that can't afford the leaf vac system. I'm sure I could "team-up" with a couple of the smaller outfits around me.

    One of my biggest things is getting a price-point that would be appealing to the average homeowner. Obviously chargeing $75-$100 is probably not going to be appealing to most homeowners. But to charge $40-$50 for most piles (assuming I could fit at least 2 customers in each trailer full) would probably be more appealing. I want it to be something that many people can afford so I can market this many people.

    Only one city in my area has the curbside pick-up and the trash companies will only take a certain number of leaf bags. My township has a place to dump in the fall but you have to be able to get all your leaves there and if you don't have a trailer/suv/pick-up it is pretty hard to bring your leaves there. But for all the people who don't have a means to bring their leaves there, they would normally have to figure something else out to get rid of their leaves...that's where I come in.
  4. Meg-Mo

    Meg-Mo Inactive
    Messages: 1,020

    Take a look at what the MEG MO blades can do with leaves.
  5. jdutcher003

    jdutcher003 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    some guy around me did that and I know he charges $30 for most piles. you would be there for like 10 minutes or less on most piles I would think so I dont see how you can charge much more than that. you are still making close to $100 per hour if you did 3 in an hour
  6. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,255

    I would charge at least $75 per pick-up to cover the cost of equipment, and time going to dump. You should be able to get 3 or 4 lawns per trailer if you have a good loader. I would also let them think that you have to go dump after every pick-up as well, don't lie about it, but let them know that is what they are paying for. If you come in there and load up and are done in 20 minutes, its hard to justify $75, make sure they know you're not done untill the load is dumped and that could be an additional hour. I have delt with this before on clean-up jobs where I charged out by the hour and added another 1.5 hours to the bill to go to the dump, cutomers don't think about these things. Around here I've seen quotes for $50 to $150 for leaf pickup, and as a LCO without a leaf rig have been quoted $40 to $75 per pick-up. I for the most part haul my own but will sub out on larger jobs.
  7. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I think if I start to charge too much people won't be interested. I will only be at their house for a minimal amount of time. Plus my dump site is within my service area (about 10 minutes or less from most of my accounts). And with a dump trailer I will have minimal time spent at my dump site. Obviously if the pile is going to fill my trailer, it will cost more than the pile that will only fill 1/3 of my trailer. I'll have to have a minimum charge as to make it worth my while, but prices will be greatly dependant on the size of the pile and how much it will fill my trailer.

    That's kind of what I'm thinking, I can't charge too much otherwise I wouldn't get as many people. Afterall, my goal with this is to give people a more affordable alternative to the full fall clean-up. And like you pointed out, if I'm able to do 3 an hour at say $30-$40 per pile, I'll still be grossing $100+/- per hour.
  8. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    i can see where this would work in a market that doesn't have curb side pick up from the city.

    in my neck of the woods the city comes twice a season in the fall to pick up people's piles of leaves. there tax dollars pay them of course. so getting people to pay an lco to come by is out of the question here.

    you even see the lco's dumping the leaves at the curbs when people hire them to remove the leaves from there property. i always haul the leaves away. otherwise whats the point. the wind will just blow them back onto the property. and who wants unsightly piles of leaves at the end of there property.
  9. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 42,118

    My elderly customers always tell me to leave the leaves by the curb. I tell them I can't do it, I just have to haul them away. They don't understand, but I'd actually charge MORE to leave them by the curb then haul them away. I can dump for free, and let's be honest, I like to make it look like I actually did something other than what the average homeowner can do.
  10. Mowbizz

    Mowbizz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 970

    Be careful about curbside pickups for the simple fact that homeowners will throw other junk in the pile...sometimes hidden! Plan for this "extra" debris in your pricing!

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