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Need help pricing Fall cleanups

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by peeklandscaping, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. peeklandscaping

    peeklandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 306

    Hi everyone:waving:
    planning ahead for the Fall and need some pricing advice for leaf pickups. Not asking to steal your pricing secrets or anything, just want some rough figures and some advice.

    Here's my configuration:
    backpack blowers
    leaf plow on my v-ride
    fraden truck loader leaf vac
    7 cubic yd capacity leaf box
    my expenses would be dumping fees of around $40 per visit (with a full box)

    how do you price this? By the yd? By the hour? by the box-load?
    thanks for any help... much appreciated:usflag:
  2. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,930

    I believe most guys charge by the man-hour. Thats what I do. It varies alot by region. LCO's in your neck of the woods get more than we do down here.
  3. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    just you and one other guy? or two other guys? I estimate how long i think the clean up will take and charge another 100 if i have to remove the leaves. i'm pretty good at estimating leaf clean ups. but without doing any math, i got to around 100 hour for my clean ups. now i don't tell this to the customer i keep the number in my head, while i'm doing the estimate and 4 hour clean up with me and another guy, plus having to haul it away would be 500 plus ct sales tax. which would be 31.75 i believe. if you wanted to break it down per man/hour it would be 40-60 per man per hour. now i see your in fair field area, i'm pretty sure the big guys near you use mexicans which they probably pay 10 dollars an hour or less so they might hurt you a little. good luck! so i charge by the job. I never charge by the hour or by the day for any work. i'll break it down in my head or on paper after i did the job. but I never charge the customer by the hour. i feel i would be limiting myself by doing so.
  4. peeklandscaping

    peeklandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 306

    RSK Property Maintenance, thanks for your very informed reply. Normally it's just me and 1 other guy. Yeah there are a lot of crews here running Mexicans, which can make things a bit tough, but I'm planning on getting Fall cleanup ads out early, and canvassing with door-to-door knocking, so hopefully things will go well. You run a truck-loader vac?
  5. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    no problem. I usually will bring a guy or two on during the fall, but this year i might try it myself and see what kinda productivity i can do on my own. I know I work much harder and faster then anyone working for me. Mexicans are really good workers, and definitely worth the money if you can find one and your customers don't mind them being on their property. some people do care and won't hire a company that using Mexicans. I have none so no worries for me. I bought used truck loader- vac, fall of 2011, used it for about 4 clean ups, worked great, somehow the bolt holding the impeller on came loose and it ended up snapping the crank. so i didn't use it for the rest of the season, or 2012. and its all fixed now, but it's in pieces so honestly I'm thinking about selling it. and maybe waiting a year and buying a new one from scag since they took over giant vac. I was able to do my clean ups pretty efficiently without it especially since i bought the cheetah and bought a bagger system in October of 2012. that really helped speed things up. my only issue was unloading the ground up leaves. but now i have 7x14 dump trailer with sides, so that will hold the mower, and a lot of leaves, so i'm gonna use that this year. I think it will work out pretty good.
  6. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,507

    Clean ups go alot faster with two or more people using blowers side by side
  7. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    i've done clean ups with 3 people and with two people. so i'm aware of how they go. but most of my clean ups are lawn customers and i start bagging the lawn when the leaves start to drop so there is no accumulation on the lawn, just whatever drops in a weeks time or two weeks time. so when everything is down i just have to blow out the beds and go around with the mower and suck the leaves up. so there's really not a need for two people using blowers side by side with my system. i used to do clean ups like that, go over every inch of the lawn with back packs. but now i've streamlined things and went up on my efficiency, down on quality, but its not such a drop in quality the customer notice's it even.
  8. GrassGuerilla

    GrassGuerilla LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,440

    Mid size or bigger go even quicker with one walk behind blower and one backpack. The backpack kinda hits the nooks, and the WB does the bulk. Makes it go quick. Thinking about a truck loader for this year. Lot of dough for a tool that gets 4-6 weeks of use a year. Same reason you can't rent one around here.
  9. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    yup! its best to use each tool for its designated purpose, things really move along much quicker when you have the right tool for the job. you can buy a used leaf loader for 1500 dollars that will work extremely well. or you can spend 2000 on one that used for one season usually extremely low hours. no need to spend the money on a brand new one.
  10. peeklandscaping

    peeklandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 306

    hard luck w the impeller! got the truckloader last year, and can't imagine working without it! I'd be really interested to know how a single-man leaf cleanup would go... if you worked hard, it would probably be more efficient than 2 or even 3 people! The cheetah with a bagger would sure make a difference. I have a v-ride with an accelerator bagger, so not as good as a vac system, but hopefully should work ok. How are you going to configure your trailer- leaf box in front, mower, at back? be interested because I got to do the same with my own, but don't know if I should have a box at back, and a side ramp for mower, or whatever...

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