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Trying to figure out how to charge for LEAVES!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by thefed, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. thefed

    thefed LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 350

    We've tried different things in the past, but this year I want to do this. Let me know if you have done something similar and how it worked.

    Instead of one big cleanup at the end of the year, charging after we see it, I want to keep up on them moreso before that big push. To charge though, the customers will want to know what they are getting

    I'm thinking of a charge roughly 4x their regular payment. So my avg $30/week mow job would be $120 for season long leaf control. That's mulching or bagging thru the fall with each cut, and one final cleanup once they are all down. Some yards will be easier than others, but I think they will cancel out when looking at the standard rate of say 4x regular mowing charge.

    Anyone do it like this to simplify things?
  2. Andrew's Lawn Maintenance

    Andrew's Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

  3. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    confusing for sure
    our leaf season is october thru december, they would be getting a heck of a deal if you charge for for 1 months service.

    I do the normal cutting and mulch leaves during october, november and charge regular price
    then in december do a final cleanup and charge accordingly.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Look I'ma tell you my racket, then you do as you please ...
    1) Leaves are a royal PITA, it's hard, dirty work. There's no magical solution, many people myself included, customers and Lco's alike have attempted and still attempt to invent the easy way out, but it does not exist. There's only the hard and dirty way to do it, or if you don't like doing them that way then you can do it the hard and dirty way LOL.
    2) I find it impossible to accurately estimate leaves. Sometimes it takes half as long, other times twice as long, you might think it adds out in the end but it doesn't (ex: Estimate 2 hours = 120, half is 1 hour= 60 (+60) but 2x is 4 hours (-120), see how you lose?). So, no estimating and if I am forced to estimate then I go high, real high.
    3) It boils down to cubic feet x time, you can do it all at once or in 3-4 visits, but if the trees dump 800 cubic feet of leaves on the ground then it takes as many hours as cfm's you put out that it takes to MOVE those 800 cubes, whether in 1 hour 200 cubes 4 times or 4 hours all at once it's all about the same in the end, that's been my experience.
    4) Generally speaking, customers have NO clue as to how much it should cost to do leaves, the less experience they have with our type of business, the worse it gets. AND:
    5) EVERYBODY will call you for leaves, people who never call you for anything the entire rest of the year WILL call you for leaves, and then some lol.

    For these basic reasons I do leaves foremost for customers who have been with me at least the ENTIRE season first! Everyone else comes after my regulars, and only those customers who have been with me since early spring or before come first and if those are the only ones who's leaves get done, so be it.

    DO know, rain and frost come around, the first rain isn't so bad but every time it rains or freezes (snow is fun too) the leaves get less and less cooperative. So the sooner you get to them, the better.

    Hence that's been my solution, regular customers who have been WITH me all year first.
    They're already used to my prices, they trust me.
    There are no surprises, I don't pull stupid stunts on them, but I charge for leaves AFTER I am done, no upfront guessing.
    Saves me a lot of headache.
  5. Andrew's Lawn Maintenance

    Andrew's Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    I charge a min. of 200 dollars to cleanup beds, walkways, and the lawn
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh yeah...

    If I only use the br-600 backpack, 35-40 an hour. (700 cfm's)
    If I use the br-600 and the handheld simultaneously, I get 45 maybe 50 pmh. (1,000 cfm)
    And if I use the 10hp pushblower, 60 per hour. (2,400 cfm's)
    The br-600 + handheld is almost as good as the push, due to maneuverability...
    I tell you those blowers make a short afternoon out of some of the worst jobs, never once has it taken me more than 4 hours.
    Back in the old days it would take 2 visits sometimes, but then I was charging less (closer to $30 an hour, 40 with the push).
    That's assuming there's a place to leave them on their property, like in the woods.

    If I have to haul them, $200 the first trailer, $180 each for 2 loads, 175 for 3, 170 each 4+.
    Which gives me the incentive to fit as many as possible in each load, the more trips it takes the more I lose.
    And yes, the haul price includes everything, that's the grand total per load, cleanup and unloading and haul fee and labor and tax and gas and rake + tarp and everything.
  7. Andrew's Lawn Maintenance

    Andrew's Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 83

    Remove the leaves? Why?

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