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Spring/Fall Clean Up Cost

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by smitty108, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. smitty108

    smitty108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I agree. I'm starting a small to learn the ins and outs of running a small business. I'm not sure what the attitude is about but my experiences here and with others in the industry has been positive and informative.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    If you are talking about client's you are already servicing, you should already be familiar with the needs of the individual properties you service so you should know how to price the job in the spring to cover the work you do every fall.

    If it is a new property, you should be able to estimate the approximate man hours needed to complete the leaf job based on visual inspection of the property and comparing it to past experiences with other similar properties.

    Here in Texas, I mulch everything into the lawn so "leaf jobs" usually take place over several weeks. When the grass stops growing, I'm still mowing (mulching leaves).

    If someone wants a one time service, I take a look at the property and estimate my time and multiply by my hourly rate and that is the price I will charge to do the job.

    Having lived most of my life in Northern New Jersey, I'm quite familiar with making an educated guess as to the approximate amount of leaves a property will get based on the type/size/quantity of trees on and around the property (this one is similar to ______ property). Then it is just a matter of estimating your time to handle that approximate amount of leaves and multiplying by your hourly rate.

    Hope that answers your questions.
  3. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    No one here can answer that question for you without first having an intimate knowledge of every aspect of your business. As the owner of your business, it is your job to know how much your company needs to charge in order for you to make a profit for your business.

    What my business charges and what anyone else's business charges doesn't mean squat to what YOUR business needs to charge to make your company a profit. What I consider to be a "fair price per hour for spring/fall cleanup" may or may not be what you need to charge.

    You need to learn what your market will bear and charge a rate that is somewhere at or below that amount. Then you need to figure out if your company can be profitable if it were to charge that particular bearable rate. If you don't know how to do this yourself, I'd suggest hiring a qualified CPA and contacting your local S.C.O.R.E. chapter score.org
  4. arl250

    arl250 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    this is very well stated, I worked with two different companies before going full time with my business, and let me tellyou this there are many things i learned that made me more sucsessful than them. Had I not worked with them id clueless about the things going on behind the scenes.. I must say theres nothing more aggrivating than seeing a trailer load of homeowner equipment though
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    If you do not know how long it will take you to clean a 1/4 yard we will not know either.

    For a 1/4 acre I would say a good guess for you working solo will take you 6 hours. Your were given a $60 an hour starting point. So see if you can get $360. Record the time it took you including the dump run. You will then start to build data to be able to do estimates.

    If you get no takers then ask $300. If you get every job you bid at $360 then raise your price.

  6. bamp

    bamp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    This is true,Not ignorant!
    Put in your years,get experience,
    then if you still love the business.Start one!
    It seems Everyone buys a truck,Lawn mower
    & trimmer,As a second job.
  7. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,253

    Basically it would be difficult to charge a flat rate (unless you had a townhouse complex and each yard was about 100sq ft). You generally don't want to charge per hour either.
    Estimate how long it will take you, add a little more time and multiply by your hourly rate. Be sure to include any extra fees like a disposal fee, etc..
    Say your spring cleanup you have to remove a lot of leaves, trim some shrubs, and rake the lawn of sticks that fell. You have a substantial amount of leaves that will fill you trailer. You think the job will take 2hours. Driving to the dump takes 30 minutes and will cost you a fee of $15. SO say 2.75 hours X $40 (or whatever your hourly rate) + $15 = $125.
    Good luck
  8. JonesLawnCareWV

    JonesLawnCareWV LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    You know, I had the same feeling coursing through my veins when TPendagast hit me with the same sort of advice. Suggestion, take it as advice, because that's what it is. The more time you take to read into an LCO's profile on Lawnsite, the more of their posts and threads you read, the more you realize they have experience and are giving you quality advice, rather than trying to deter you.

    He was simply informing you the hardships you might face and some info about why starter companies fail.

    If you have the passion and determination to push the company regardless of zero or negative gross, then go for it. I've made the same decision for this year; getting licensed, insured, new gear and all. I'm putting a lot of money into it and am not expecting any significant gross profit. But I've already accepted that. My company has been a thought in my mind for a couple years and I'm very determined to make it work. If however, I lose that determination, or it literally just doesn't work out, then I'll reconsider.

    I guess what I'm getting at is:

    Take the info/advice these guys give you as advice, and not criticism or deterrence. They have been there and done that, know the ins and outs, the do's and dont's, and they are only trying to help you.

    P.S. - I don't think being in the law enforcement field makes you any manlier than anyone else here or in a pick-up truck. It's a profession like any other. Yes you may have put your life on the line every day, but that was your choice. Every guy out mowing a lawn daily is in just as much risk as you were (considering thousands of $ sitting on a trailer, which probably looks mighty tasty to someone with sticky fingers); especially considering they don't have a gun on their hip (Some LCO's do) and a radio to call for back-up.

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014

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