Equipment and trucks being used, maintenance on them, fuel for them, etc. How much you pay yourself and/or employees per hour, Dumping fees, etc.
That should give you X amount of dollars per hour, what it costs you to work per hour.
Now add in your profit, what you want to make as a profit per hour.
Add those too together and thats how you charge!! Simple as that. You can price anyhting from mowing, to landscape jobs, to gutter cleaning (Bill's Favorite!!) All the same way as above!! People always ask how do I price this or that......its all the same method of figuring out your overhead and adding a profit.
For more in depth info on this method, check out Tips by Bill Phagen. He has some great books out, and is currently offering a discount for Lawnsite members. There is a link on my site if you don't have it already.
leaf pick pricing example ,men per hr $35+truck $20 per hr+truck loader $25 per hr. so $80 per hr. now here is the trick to making money. you need $80 per hr. but in a 10hr day you can only bill out 8 hrs at the job site. so you really need to bill 80x10hrs=800 divide by 8 hrs= $100 per hr at the site. that will cover the setup time and shop time,travel time etc. have a min for each job and cluster the jobs. always charge for equipment! once you know how long it takes for fill a truck, you could charge per truck load or by the hr. make a profit and leaves are fun lose money and leaves suck. hope this helped this is only an example, you need to know your own numbers.
and don't charge a price because thats what everybody else charges, most of the others don't have a clue.i don't mean the guys at this site, i mean the guys around you. the guys at this site have it together over about 90% of the market. good luck and good growing.
Ive been thinking about this, if you plan on picking up leaves curbside for any customer who calls you will do good to get a large tow-behind vacuum. Ive seen what people will rake out to the curb with their leaves, and it will make toast out of a 16hp tailgate loader within minutes.
The town I live in uses a truck loader with a seat on the back and one guy drives the other controls the 18 inch hose with a joystick control. Other setups require minimum 3 men, one driver one to hold the hose and one to rake up the extra stuff that gets matted down. He is also responsible to wipe off the radiator every few minutes with a snow brush, after it becomes clogged with debris.
If it happens to rain on the leaf piles good luck, count on 4x the time it takes for dry leaves.
Last year we ran a couple of suckers between two F-350 Rack dumps. 1 tailgate loader, 1 trailer model. We charge about $60.00 per hour (wholesale to landscapers - a little more for homeowners) for good clean vacumming (like Bill said watch the homeowners- they like to pile leaves all fall and then call in late November). Our system works well when other landscapers are making piles near ours. It sort of makes nice full days for the suck trucks. When it rains or in a pinch, our 580SL has a four-in-one bucket that can pack quite a few leaves into a dump truck ($75.00 per hour). This is a necessary backup plan, because wet leaves suck (or don't suck as the case may be). We have good dumping arrangements, so this hasn't been a problem, but I am sure with the cost of fuel, and overhead the hourly rate will increase. If you can, develop a list or a pre-determined fall route, so your pickups are close to one another. Also - factor for safety. Fires from hot exhaust is a problem with dry leaves, noise and flying debris also need to be covered. Equipment maintenance - leaf equipment runs full out for about 2 months out of the year - last year we had to rebuild a housing mid season because it just couldn't take the abuse. PIA charges - sometimes (usually around Thanksgiving in our area) leaf pickup stinks. Make sure as the weather gets colder and or wetter you budget more time for vacuum jobs.