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leaf cleanups and how to price them correctly

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by teamgreendude, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. teamgreendude

    teamgreendude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 747

    Hey guys Just thought I'd share my frustration/problem with you and see if i can resolve it or not. Right now I'm a freshman in collage earning my degree in turf grass management. I also own a landscaping company that has been around for almost ten years, my question to you guys is can you make good money on leaf cleanup jobs for residential homes? I learned that I'll need more guys for next year because I can't keep the solo show going. The problem with charging $200-250 is the customer can go and find someone else to do it cheaper. I guess what I'm asking is how can the bigger companies profit of of residential leaf jobs? It's not that i don't like doing them or anything, it's just some customers expect a cleanup priced at $120-250 should cost $65. Any input would be appreciated.
  2. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Messages: 4,143

    My area there is very little money made doing them. I just may do my lawn customers next year. We have guys work all day on a yard for 100. I get that in an hour. A lot of companies that have been around awhile are twice as high as I am. None of us are really that busy, not like it used to be. I used to have 2 guys with me, working from 7am til way past dark. It was the same with other companies. But oh well I hate leaves anyway.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. teamgreendude

    teamgreendude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 747

    I totally agree with you on that, One yard i worked at today filled up my 6ft truck bed and the lady goes "can we call it $65". My dad and i were talking about it and we figured that most guys make money mowing, Fertilizing/weed control, landscaping and irrigation. I guess the leafs are a way they keep the salary guys busy? Don't get me wrong I'd love to continue doing them but now i see why some guys hate residential accounts.
  4. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    This fall a lawn customer asked for a price to do a clean up. Told her $366. She told me she paid $150 last year. Asked could I do better.

    My response was I don't appear to be a business, but I am and have costs. If I don't cover my costs what happens when I need a new truck or anything then I'm out of business.

    She said do the clean up at my price.

    Thing is many people will try to bluff you to drop your price. So know your costs. Plus needed profit to stay in the black ink.

    No one gets every job they quote.
  5. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Messages: 4,143

    I know there are areas to make money with leaves. About 2-21/2 hours nw of me a hit does over 900 clean ups at his price. All lake homes. O have a few of them around here, not as easy as them. They are just vacation homes and they find a reliable guy and just have him year after. Now you get occupied homes who talk to locals and see guys working or news paper ads it easy for them to get A cheap price. Just go down the line.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Messages: 4,143

    I don't want every job I quote, other wise I know I'm too cheap. If I don't get any I'm too high. I like to be in 50%-65% bid win rate
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. metro36

    metro36 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,417

    For regular customers, I keep up with the leaves. I blow out the beds quick and bag the lawn. I charge about 1.5x the cost of the cut and do them every other week. Then I do a final complete cleanup once all the leaves dump. Most customers dont mind paying that. I did a few cleanups for people that weren't customers this year. I didnt really make a ton of profit on any of them. Two turned into other small jobs that will keep me busy if it doesn't snow and one turned into a weekly account. I lost money on one as I under estimated the amount of leaves. All of them were complete pita's. Next year I dont plan on advertising for them and will only take them if they are next to my regular accounts.

    Anyway, I try to price $120 an hour for one time cleanups. Thats me and another guy, 2x backpacks, 8hp push blower, 18hp leaf vac and dump trailer. I also charge a disposal fee based on the amount of leaves on the property. I pretty much guesstimate that. I try to get $120 for a 15 yard load. An average property in my area fills less than half the trailer so I charge $60.

    I hope that helps.
  8. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Fall clean ups are one of my most profitable services. No one wants to rake leaves up here when they are a foot deep. With the right equipment you can make some serious money. My min is $250 and usually get 3-4 yards done a day with 2 guys. Leaf loaders and blowers are a must.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Fall is one of the most profitable times of year (along with spring). I pick up a few customers every fall, just to handle their leaves. Some people want me to come by every week to clean-up their lawn, others want me every couple of weeks and then there are some who just want one big clean-up at the end of the year.

    I was talking with one of my fall customers this year and he was asking how many new customers I pick up every fall. He was saying how good of a deal it was for him to just pay me to do the leaves instead of him doing it every weekend. He was saying that in years past, it would take him all afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday (every week) just to keep his lawn clean. He told me that once he looked at the big picture, by paying me to come by every week, he could be spending more time doing something that he would rather do instead of doing something he dreaded.

    Its really all about selling your services to the potential customer. Now, there are many people out there who just can't afford your services at all, so its not just them being cheap.
  10. mnichols567

    mnichols567 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    for my local area, as long as its one of my regular customers, i charge 1.5 times my reglar mowing rate. ex $30 for regular mowing, so its $45 for me to do leaf clean up. i normally mow on a 7 day rotation in the fall with 6 to 8 weeks of leaf clean up. if my trac-vac is on the mower when im on their property they get charged for leaf clean up no matter the amount. hope this will be of some use to you or others. :)

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