Leaf Cleanup pricing for this lot??? Help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Smithers, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    I have a client with 1/2 acre lot, in a fairly wooded area. All the trees are mature and the yard is covered with leaves. I mean, you can't even see the nice lush grass under the leaves. There are quite a few flowerbeds as well. The city does not pick up the leaves, and the road elevation is the same as the yard (no curb) so i can't just blow the leaves on the street.

    I just did this yard today (the intermediate fall cleanup with no flower bed cleanup) for $85. It took me 4 hrs (2 people) and i filled up 21 bags with my UltraVac. Unfortunately, it was very windy and as i was leaving, i looked back, and it did not seem like i had spend there 4 hrs cleaning that yard.

    Now, the client knew that that was going to happen and he had told me that i would have to come back and do a final cleanup (with the flower beds this time) in a few weeks.

    Did i underprice the job? It sure felt like it. The leaves were so many that each pass with the UltraVac filled up both mower bags (52" mower with 2 bagger), which in turn filled up one paper bag.

    How much should i charge the next time? Help. Thanks

  2. Lawnchoice

    Lawnchoice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 781

    I get 120 an hour. It's just me, my Scag 52" Hydro with doubles/gators and a 52" Tiger Cub with a triple bagger. I also have a EBZ8000 to blow everything out into the lawn.

    I chop up the leaves with the WB and then go over them with the rider and suck them all up.

    Works great!
  3. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    you---- 8 man hours / $85= $10.62 hr.

    me----- 8 man hours x $40 =$320.00
    After you consider your equiptment costs,gas,bags,misc. business costs, the kid at McDonalds that handed you your lunch made more per hour. I'm not trying to be a smart ass, just giving you some perspective. Weather you charge by the hour or just a flat rate, you have to realize the final outcome dollar wise.
  4. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Are you being serious???!! You have all that commercial equipment and you made $10.62 per man hour, and you're asking us if you were underpriced???!!!
    :rolleyes: :dizzy: :cry: :mad:
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    your fee was not only low, it was more like charity. tHere are numerous posts here on what to charge for leaf removal. Just do a search for "leaf" or "leaves" and you'll get allot of info on pricing. BUt...your problem here is that your customer has now been "trained" that you will do leaf removal for almost nothing. So good luck when you go back to them and tell them what was $85 before is now $400. Hopefully you'll learn from this disaster so the next time you'll be paid for what the work is actually worth. I'm also not trying to be a smart arse rather we're just trying to help you get the price you deserve.
  6. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    Yeah, i am being serious. The guy was really nice and actually paid me $125, instead of what i was asking ($85). So, at the end, that made it feel better. but i agree with you, guys. I made a big mistake and i will learn.

    In my defense, this is my first year doing this and also this was my first time doing a fall cleanup as well. I honestly thought that i'll collect only 2-3 paper bags of leaves from the whole yard. I thought the UltraVac shreds them really fine. Instead, i had to stop and unload after each pass with the mower and filled up 21 paper bags.

    When i first decided to do the leaf cleanups, i honestly thought "why are they charging so much? Isn't is just like cutting grass, just fill up two bags?". I see now how missinformend i was....:angry:

    You are right....i will not be able to go back and ask for much more than what i asked for this time with this customer. But my next customer will get a more accurate estimate. I just can not imagine anyone paying $200-$400 for a fall cleanup, when some clients are having hard time paying $25 for a weekly mowing.

    It's true what they say.....live and learn.

    Thank you very much.

  7. No Lawncares

    No Lawncares LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    Over here in Jackson Michigan I charge 40 and hour for a two man crew. I never gets complaints and if I did I'd laugh and tell people to pick up their own leaves.
  8. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    We did one job today and filled the truck 5 times. The box is 6'6" wide x 8' long and 6' high and loaded with a 11 hp loader. The job took about 4 hours with my wife, myself and our two kids. It would have been quicker but today's sunday so we took it easy.
  9. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    So you're not doing much better then the original poster at $20 per "MAN" hour.

    Whether you have ONE helper or TEN, you charge your hourly rate for EACH MAN HOUR worked.

    Too many guys here post "I charge $40/hr for me, and $10/hr for my helper". So you make no money off of your employees?. Imagine if McDonalds or WalMart did that?!?

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