leaf cleanup rate

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by DLCS, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I don't know what rates are like in your area but seeing your work and equipment it seems like you're a baragin at those rates.

    BTW, how did the new leaf rig work out?
  2. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    On our dump fees, our dump fee cost is very affordable for what we can fit into the box... we may have (6) 10-15$ dump charges in the box which is making a bit on what we pay. We're not gonna kill people on the actual dump fee.

    Darryl, we are probably going to raise it a bit next year... after realizing what we can do and how fast we can do it. But with that said, there's a price comfort level that I think we are pushing and most people may shudder at any more than what we are currently charging. We just need to add volume, and we certainly can with our set-up.

    ...which is AWESOME by the way, thanks for asking. The box is beautiful. Taking the vac off the truck tailgate to go to the dump isn't bad at all. And no complaints about a new Billy Goat.
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I don't know...seems like you're selling yourself short to me to be honest...but again I don't know your area. I mean your work is damn near perfect and you seem to have great high-end customers. Usually premium quality comes with a premium price...you know.

    Glad to hear the rig worked out well.
  4. H & M Yard Improvements

    H & M Yard Improvements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    I just bid on the job at hand. I don't do by the hour. I also don't bag. I don't have a leaf vac yet so I line the bed of my truck with a tarp (depending on leaf volume ill layer the tarps) and haul everything away! Go to the dump and we pull the tarp off the truck. Bagging takes too long.
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  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Do you have an hourly rate that you use to base your bid from?

    How long bagging takes depends on what you're bagging with. If you're just using a walk behind it can be very time consuming, especially if you're not mulching the leaves up first. I mulch them up first and bag them with the Lazer on most accounts. The bags can still fill up quickly, but I have yet to ever have to dump more than once in a day doing it my way (I did have to come back once to get my mower). I have one account that I have to do with a walk behind and I put a 60 gallon green barrel on top of the mower deck to dump into so I don't have to run out to my rig as often.

    The problem when you haul leaves in bulk is that you really can't fit that many per load, and it can take a while to load and stomp them down and all. Running to dump my load and get back would take about a half hour, time that I could be working. I don't like leaving my tools on a job site either, so I'd have to load them all up too before leaving and then unload when I get back...just too much time mobilizing/demobilzing and traveling to me. My dump has very limited hours too....Mon, Wed and Sat 8:30 to 3:00.

    It's nice to be aware of all the different methods, but I think we all end up doing what is best with the accounts, equipment and labor resources we have. What works for one may not work for another. I do agree that the layered tarp trick works well if you don't have a dump truck or trailer, but I find pushing a button is faster and easier :)
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  6. dtford

    dtford LawnSite Member
    from 02338
    Messages: 96

    Ok, the guys who've been doing this for a while, sometimes we forget when we first started out, we were all lugging tarps. We would go to Alaska to mow a lawn.*(obviously kidding, but you know what I mean) Everything's a process. If you're a guy doing it on the side, this isnt for you. If you're serious, take it one step at a time. Don't go out and buy the $65,000 bad ass truck to let everyone know how great you're doing,and have mowers that are 20 years old. I've been doing this for 25 years, get a good truck,trailer and good mowers,keep your debt as low as you can. Over time, *(if you're any good at this) you buy this this piece of equipment, the next piece, then who knows. I walked behind a mower for 15 years before i bought a Walker. Patience is key. Don't get married, kids, until you're established. You and your girl save every penny, don't take vacations,hunker down and save your dough.Work your ass off, good things will come
    Just ones mans view.
    Good luck
  7. I don't hit people on the dump fees either. I mean, I charge for time and fuel, but if the actual fee is $10 for example, I charge the client $10 plus time and gas. I don't think your rates are too low at all. I don't know where you live, but it's not like collecting leaves is rocket science. I know there are expensive machines involved, but if you account for that cost along with the rest, what's wrong with your rates?
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  8. H & M Yard Improvements

    H & M Yard Improvements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    The layered tarps thing was something that I saw someone post here on Lawn Site last season and I tried it. I couldn't believe how much time it saved me and how much more money I made compared to last year. I am currently averaging about $400-$600 a day. Much more than last year.

    The dump in my area is open Monday-Friday 7am-2:30pm & Saturday 7am-12pm. I'll load my truck even after the dump closes and dump my load first thing in the morning and then meet my guys at the job site.
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  9. TuffWork

    TuffWork LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 506

    Yikes, I only charge $30 per man hour here, and I still get balked at. I have to go through a whole spiel about how quick we are, but yet thorough at the same time to get people to pay that. That $30 includes a 8.25% sales tax that I back out as well.

    However, the cost of living here is very very very low. One of the lowest in the country. For example, the apartments here are $400-$500 a month for a one bedroom - bills paid. Even a pack of smokes is still 6 or 7 bucks.

    Much of the demographic here is elderly. Which means they still expect pricing from the 70s. I could make more money counting dimes if I got one for every time I heard the words "fixed income".

    It's not all that bad. With a few guys to work for me and the right equipment I can still make a pretty good living. Also, drive time is not bad at all. So some times we can hit many properties in a day, and the high end ones want it done several times to keep the clean look. So we get to come by and spend less time than we do mowing but still charge a little more than we do for an average mow. (usually based on the perception that if they were doing it with a trash can and rake it would take much longer)

    Last thing I have to add is that we get to dump in large trash bins that are placed in the alley every couple of houses. We can usually fit a TON of leaves in one, and rarely fill up two after they are good and mulched/shredded.
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    That's pretty cool about the trash bins for leaves...never seen or heard of that.

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