Leaf removal

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Ryall Landscaping, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. Ryall Landscaping

    Ryall Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I know this is quite a bit early, but I am looking to offer leaf removal in the fall, especially to my previous customers. I was just curious how you guys ran leaf removals - equipment, how many people, etc.

    I know it's different for everyone. I just wanted to see what some of you guys did. Thanks.
  2. Ryall Landscaping

    Ryall Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Also, I'm reading a LOT of people getting $50/man hour for leaf removal?

    We charge 30/man hour currently (It's me and a friend both still in high school) - We're both very happy with the money we've been making..but if we do leaf removal, would it be a good idea to up it to maybe $35/man hour? $40? Or should we stick to $30, keep our current customers, and stay busy making decent money still? We have next to no overhead..Although leaf removals is probably a huge amount of fuel I'd imagine..blowers..vac's..mowers..etc...

    I want to call around in my area and try to see what they're charging per hour for that sort of thing.
  3. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    Only you can decide what to charge and any comment from someone else is really meaningless.

    I don't disclose my rates hear on lawnsite but a lot of landscapers charge more than 50 per man hour for valid reasons. The #1 reason is we have to. When you have built your business to a point where you have accumulated dump trucks, trailers leaf blowers leaf loaders zturns skid steers, hydro-seeders, back hoe's various tools, an office a home and family, you need to pay for it their is taxes, food, mortgage on house, shop land where your business is located, insurance Workman's comp and on and on. It is not possible to support all that charging 30 perman hour. just 1 billy goat force blower is a grand a decent leaf loader can cost 4 grand and we all know what trucks cost, its a nightmare. The bottom line is your labor rates should reflect your capability efficiency and current responsibilities
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    i have me and a helper and we have a WB mower a WB blower and a backpack. we also put a leaf box on the truck
  5. Ryall Landscaping

    Ryall Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Oh..So these people charge these rates for general labor..not just for leaf removal. For some reason it seemed to me like people were charging higher rates for leaf removal, than, say, mulching labor or mowing labor. I thought maybe it was because at that time of the year a lot of people rely solely on leaf removal, and so they need to charge a bit more to make a bit more.

    Ok. The more I read I am thinking of doing it probably with me and one helper.

    I'll have one of us blow out the mulch beds and such (gutters if they want to pay for that as well) into piles and then begin to take the push-vac around the yard sucking up the piles, and emptying them out onto a tarp.

    Meanwhile the other person (probably me) will take the lawn tractor out and begin to mulch/bag all of the leaves, and empty them out onto the tarp. I think it will be easiest and most effiecient, for at least most jobs, to do it this way, and to have the tarp on our (small) open trailer. This will make hauling away/removal much easier.

    Then we will simply dispose of them at our normal dumping place on my property. I figure we will just charge per hour, plus a half hour or hour for hauling/dumping depending how much there is to haul away.

    I have a question though. I am really not sure how to go about doing the removals..Do I do them once a week and keep it in small bits? Do I do it very 2 weeks? Once a month? 2 or 3 times per season? What do homeowners seem to prefer? Does it vary from person to person? What is most efficient?

    Thanks. Sorry for so many questions..Just trying to see how everyone else has had success.
  6. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    IMO no amount is ever enough, and will always be too much at the same time.
  7. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 38,339

    I remove leaves as many times as the customer wants me to. I always try to do a final sweep in early December which will also include cutting down ornamental grasses. I discuss with the customer that it's not cost effective for me to get every single leaf if I'm going to be back. On my last trip, I make sure I do get every single leaf.

    Depending on the amount of leaves, I may raise the blades on my 21" and bag the lawn, dump in the back of the truck, etc. If there are a crap load, or the property is bigger, I use the blow and tarp method. Personally, I like sucking them up the best.
  8. Ryall Landscaping

    Ryall Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Ok. Would blowing/tarping be effective with a smaller, non-commercial blower? I only have a Troybilt 31cc handheld blower..and since it is my first year I'm working with what I have..and would prefer not to buy a backpack blower or wheeled blower unless I have to.

    So you basically meet with the customer and see what their goal is as far as how often they want you? Do you offer any sort of package or anything as an incentive to have you come more? Do you just charge hourly? Any dumping fee if you remove them?

    Thanks..I appreciate it.

  9. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 38,339

    I may have forgotten to mention that I'm a part timer and only have 5 fulltime accounts.

    One account has no trees. Nada.

    One lady must think I'm an idiot and can only mow grass. She rakes her own leaves.

    One guy gets his trees limbed before the leaves fall.

    So that leaves me 2 fulltime accounts. Also, I do my own house, my uncle's house, and my grandpa's house.

    For my fulltime accounts, I come weekly like the usual mowing. I add about $10 per cleanup to my regular mowing price. Whether I run my mower or blow and tarp, I'd chage about $10 more than cutting. Why? Not that much more effort for me. All I'm charging for is a few extra trips to the truck with the bag on my mower than usual. No big deal.

    Honestly, I couldn't imagine life without my Echo 755. It'll move big piles of wet leaves and I can also feather leaves out of mulch beds.
  10. Ryall Landscaping

    Ryall Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    $500 is a wee bit out of my price range at the moment :(. Maybe in the years to come lol.

    Ok. Thanks for being patient. I appreciate it.

    Anyone else care to chime in?

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