Leaf Removal?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by J.R. Services, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    Does anybody do this? If so, how do you charge? On one of my large contracts the idea came up but no one is 100% how to contract it and I'm not sure how people usually charge for it. So far, I'm looking at doing 2 seperated removals in the fall. There is about 6 acres of common area and then 18 split units for a total of 36 residences. The residents would be given the option to either but the leaves in bags/loose pile along street or leave them. This house community is located in mountains so there's plenty of trees but its not completely wooded. I have guys charge 3-4x what they charge to mow, does this sound right?
  2. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    Joel, it depends on what you have to do with the leaves. 3-4x the mowing fee is usually related to whether or not you have to remove them. If your just pushing them to the curb then it would be less. Mainly you want to charge for the time it takes to clear them off the property.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    i usually do a cleanup in the beginning to middle of november and then a final one after thanksgiving. i charge by the hour
  4. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,054

    I don't blame you, most lawns get too crazy. I just bag them till it takes too long with the mower and then I wait till they all fall down.
  5. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    3-4x the mowing price could be pretty close, but it really depends on the property. Some properties I have are just surrounded by trees, so they get a ton of leaves every year, which mean that their cleanup price is more than 4x the mowing price. But other properties I do hardly get any leaves in the fall, so I blow out a few leaves and mow the lawn and I'm done, it takes a little more time than normal mowing so their price might just be 2x the typical mowing price.

    Being that these cleanups would be some of your first, you probably won't be able to bid these very accurately. You could bid it buy the hour, but I don't really like to, I like to give the customer a number or range (ie, $250-$300), I know what I need to make hourly and I know about how long the account should take to cleanup. It does take a little experience to bid these jobs, so the first couple probably won't be right on, and you may end up not making as much as you thought. But once you get good at it, then it will be like nothing to you. I used to hate bidding large accounts but over the years I have gotten pretty good at it.
  6. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,470

    I have done this for several years.Here are some guidelines. I would insist on doing them on a regular basis. If the leaves get too thick they are very difficult to deal with. It will take about twice the amount of time, depending. Are you dumping onsite or hauling off, a lot of difference in labor/time. I use 2 mowers, 1 with a mulch kit and another with a collection system. We blow them out of tight areas to where we can mow(mulch) & collect. You might be thinking I am wasting time going over the same area twice with 2 mowers but the majority of time is spent emptying the bags/hopper. By mulching the leaves first you will be dumping 1/3 of the time you would have.
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Yes...100% correct.
    But DON'T pick up the leaves!
    Mulch 'em!

    Get out on the customers' lawns on a more frequent basis during leaf fall & concentrate not on the turf but on the leaves. Often this means not all of the property has to be gone over with the ZTRs.
    (Yeah, I know this can be a tough concept to swallow! :laugh:)

    But if you're there frequent enough the use of standard gator blades along with wind-rowing will shread most leaves out there with relative ease (with the exception of some of the waxy oaks like pin oak leaves.)
    All you've got to do is have your crew blow leaves out of the landscape & into the turf so they can be shredded, too.

    The extra drive time & labor having to hit the yards 1 or 2 extra times during peak leaf fall is EASILY washed by the money & time saved not having to mess around with crap like bulky ZTR leaf catchers, sidewalk vacuums, leaf hauling time & dumping fees.

    And besides, rotted leaves are great food for the lawn, right? :)
  8. WGLandscapeMaintenance

    WGLandscapeMaintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,549

    For the guys who don't have dump trucks with leaf boxes, what do you do to get rid of the leaves if you do not mulch them?
  9. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,470

    The yards I do there would be too much build up of leaf mulch and be detrimental to the grass in the long run and the appearance would not be acceptable. I do not have a dump trailer so I spread a tarp on the trailer and put the leaves on. I usually use 2 tarps on a 16' trailer to spread out the weight. It takes 2 men to pull the tarp off and flip it. This is the most efficient way without a dump trailer. I would love the dump just can't justify at this point. Do not put the leaves on the trailer without the tarp and then rake/pitch fork them off. This is a huge waste of time.
  10. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    I would definitely perfer to bid by the hour but it is an uncle sam contract and they need to have an actual price. Like I said it is in the mountains but it is not all trees, it has a fence row surrounding the property which is full of trees, along with numerous trees throughout the property. I was also thinking about giving two sepearate prices, one for mulching and one for removal. I was planing on blowing/mowing the leaves into a couple of piles where i could then come by with my trailer and load them on. I was also planning on building a 16'x7'x4' box on my trailer with a tarp for a roof and a floor leaving me with enough room on the beavertail for my zturn and using a truck (trailer) mounted leaf vacuum/blower, and then turning the chute around to unload them. I would also be dumping them on my property. Thanks for the replies!

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