still struggling with quoting a leaf removal rate

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GarPA, Sep 1, 2002.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    I asked a couple of you privately about a competitive yet adequate rate for leaf removal...still would like a few more opinions b4 I do the first big flyer dsitribution next week. I have a an Ex Z with an ultravac. I did a search on this but it wasn't very helpful. I'm thinking of a rate in the $75/hour range. Too low?
    My concern is that this is the only work I have ever, or will ever quote hourly and that since I'm doing cold call marketing I'll be getting phone calls from Tom Dick and Harry...will they slam the phone down when I tell them that hourly rate?...whats been your experience when you quote your leaf removal rate??Obviously this rate is higher than any other rate they pay a service provider (blue collar)...thanks for your input
  2. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    They best way for ME is to go look at the job and earn my keep by bidding the right price. Trial and error will tell you what you and your equipment can do in an hour. Just jump in and learn the hard way like the rest of us. It is as much an art form as a science in bidding work. When I'm busy I bid high. In the start of the leaf season you may want to line up some jobs ahead of time to get some secured work. The only thing I'm sure of is you tell a guy $75 per hour and you'll be talking to mister CLICK on the phone! In thier minds they take all weekend to rake leaves. If you tell them $150 to do the job they don't know it will only take you 2 hrs with all your toys. If they had someone else do thier leaves before I ask them how much they paid. Sometimes they will tell you. I love the negotiation process!!!!
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    jeffex...your point about Mr CLICK is exactly my concern. Yet I hear many guys hear say its too busy a time of year to look at every leaf job they get a call on...and many, most?, seem to quote an houry rate...but like you, when I tell someone that kind of number I think most will say I'm nuts...on all other work I do I bid the job, not an hourly rate....but many advise against that here I guess because they can't/choose not to look at each leaf job..
  4. wrtenterprises

    wrtenterprises LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 331

    $75.00 per hour is quite a good return for leaf removal IMHO. If you are hauling the debris away and that includes your hauling and disposal fees, the price seems fair. I wish I could get that rate on a regular basis for moving leaves to the curb!!

    Just like all other price quotes here on Lawnsite, they are location and market sensitive. Also, it's all about your cost to do business...
  5. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    Jeffex made a good reply. I never let the customer know what I get per hour. How else do you get ahead??
  6. dancom

    dancom LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I have a grasshopper mid deck with a bagging system that has a blower that blowes the leaves back to the bag. i usualy go over the lawn once with the mower with just gator blades. the second time i go over it with the bagger. i charge about 5.00 more than i do for a regular cut and i do it every week until all the leaves are gone. this keeps me cutting into the first week of december. my employee that usualy trims, blows the leaves out of beds and areas i can't get into with the mower.

    I found that cutting once without the bagger greatly decreases the amount of leaves i have to drag off. For example on one yard i started off just bagging and i would fill the bed of my 8' Chevy 3/4 ton pick up. after i started cutting once with out bagging i decreased that down to about 4 bushels of powdered leaves. wich meant i could do about 6 lawns without empting my truck. and i took only a couple minutes longer to do this than to cut the lawn regular.

    If I have someone call me in the middle of the leaf season I usualy figure what I would charge to cut it and triple the price, this works well for me. Then I will give them a price to maintain the removal on a weekly basis and they will usualy keep me doing it weekly. I have picked up several mowing customers through this method. Good luck.
  7. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    I think Im gonna have the same problem, too. This will be my first full-time fall/winter. I don't have a leaf vac or even a z yet. Im gonna use my wb, blower, and tarps, and my 16' trlr w/4' mesh sides. Gotta do whatcha gotta do, unless I could find a good deal somewhere. On my regulars, I don't know whether to go 1 time a month of more often. Some don't want any leaves on their lawn for any length of time. they still want me weekly through the fall.
  8. Maddog

    Maddog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Kitzy, you've got the right idea. I started doing clean ups 7 years ago. I live in MI so the clean up season is from Oct- Mid Dec. Therefore you have got to get busy ASAP. With price I do An hourly rate in my head, but give the customer a set price. This way you do (2) things, first do not sell yourself short, second do not tell the customer your hourly rate. You have no benefit to tell them an hourly rate. Either way the number is to high, it's more money then they make (per hour), they think it will take all weekend to do. Bottom line I charge $60-$75 depending on the job, location, and customer. This is your business, make it happen.

    Good Luck,

  9. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    I double the mowing price if there are "Many" leaves (in New england that would be about every week for 2 weeks) with "Some" leaves (about 3-5 weeks) I multiply by 1.5.
    More simply said:
    Reg mowing price 40
    Some leaves 60
    Many leaves 80

    I just sent out an info sheet about this to remind all my customers, and none of them have complained yet. This is what I did last year and it worked very well for me. I DO NOT PICK UP NEW CUSTOMERS IN THE FALL. People always say "oh yeah, come do my leaves and I will use you in the spring too" SURE BUDDY, you wont be returning calls in the spring. My schedule is too full with my regular customers. Here in NE i could mow every 2 days to keep the lawn looking nice, (but i dont) but every seven days is tough because of how many leaves pile up. I will take pics this fall to show you folks just how bad it can be :)
  10. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,909

    I charge for residential removal $50.00 per hour + the charge of dumping usually a full load at our dumps is $28.00 (10yrds) and for commercial I usually charge $75.00+ dumping. Average residential half acre lot with numerous large trees will run the customer at the least $130.00 and runs normally in the $200-300 range. Did a large commercial job last year took 4 guys 16 hours + 5 loads a day of leaves it was a large job. We use 16hp billygoat leaf vacs hopefully not this fall but next fall we will have a pull behind 80+hp diesel trailer vac.

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