What % of us do 'real' fall cleanups?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GarPA, Nov 6, 2002.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Was wondering if any of you have a rough idea of the % of us who offer actual leaf removal...as opposed to just mowing them over. I've talked to 3 guys here in my area who choose not to do it...2 of them said it was because they have long since reduced their staff so they cant handle it...I'm guessing its at least 50%?

    When I say "us" I'm referring to the number of companies listed in a phone book who do lawn maintenace...rather than just those of us here on LS since it seems most of us on this site offer this service...hope this isn't too confusing
  2. ranger520

    ranger520 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 231

    I choose to remove them. Alot of my customers do not have a heavey enough turf to take mulched up leaves. Also to mulch a large amount of leaves, it seems that you have to run them over many times where as I can go over them once and bag them, and I am out of there. The gators alone seem to reduce the leaves to about 1/5 while I am bagging.

  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    my question is fuzzy I'm afraid...what I'm trying to get a sense of is not if each of us to this work, but based on your experience in your market, what % of your competion also offer this service.

    I have never done it so I'm trying to get a sense 'supply and demand' if you get my drift...thanks
  4. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    In Connecticut i think Most remove the leaves out Of habit. I've Been working on mulching them for about two years. with the new mowers with higher blade speed and baffling It is Making it easyer to do. if you go into a property With the mulching kit on and Mulch the leaves then come back later and bag, then you will see a big difference in the amount you take away.
    Or If You at Least run them over Onces You will get more In the hopper And they Will decompose faster. They do help the lawn with food they need.
  5. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    100% "Real" fall cleanup.
    Everyone I see in my area does the real deal on a 7-10 day basis throughout the fall until the leaves are done. 2 backpacks and 1 or 2 ground blowers are the average on a fall cleanup crew here.

  6. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372


    In my area, my honest guess would be around 25% do what I would call "seroius" leaf removal. Or in other words, they use leaf service to try and extend the season.

    However, virtually all of the LCOs in this area do at least a little. It really is a niche market because on the hand, we have so many leaves and on the other hand, no matter what system you come up with, it's hard, dirty, brutal work.

    Of the 25% or so that offer the service aggresively, about 90% of them only mulch the leaves up with the mower. You can count the LCOs on one hand that try and vacuum everything the way I do. We are so absolutely buried in leaves that people are sick and tired of mulching them up. If it were moderate amounts, it would be fine, but there are thousands of yards here that are suffering from too much leaf material, ph imbalances that are off the scale and virtually none of the LCOs want to spend the money on equipment that they only use "part of the year." However, and this is kind of a side point, we've found that with the ability to haul the leaves away and a fast easy place to dump the leaves, our system is way faster than mulching. As a result we don't mulch anything. And since I charge by the hour, my cost to vacuum is less than others charge to mulch. I've actually had some customers switch from mulching to vacuuming, but some I've had to let go, because they insisted that I mulch. Since I charged the same hourly rate regardless, mulching became more money that they wanted to spend. That's not to say that mulching them up is not a good way of doing it, it's just that in order to do it my way, you have to come up with about another $10,000 worth of extra equipment.

    At any rate, I do more gross sales in leaf removal in November and December than we do mowing all spring, summer and fall.

    I've got around 100 customers that I only see the one time per year.

    If you're trying to decide if you should make this jump, email me and I tell you how I started marketing the service.
  7. pilotcoplawnboy

    pilotcoplawnboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    What we do here in NC is to blow the leaves into one area and pick them up with out riding mower that has a enclosed trailer that is pulled behind it. The lawnmower itself has an attachment-
    shoot that cuts the leaves up again after the blades and blows it into the bag. Then we just dump the leaves onto a large sheet of plastic, tie it up and leave it for the garbage people. Not the most appealing thing to have in front of your home but it sure saves us money and the clients don't care.
  8. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    pretty much about 100% of the competitors do fall cleanups. if you cant offer year round service, its going to be tough to hold onto customers. they arent going to let somebody mow their yard and then when fall comes tell them to find somebody else for cleanups.
  9. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    I don't think picking up the leaves it's real fall clean up, it all depends on your propreties, even yought I have a lots of leaves usually just run over with doubles till about the grass stops growing then I go and blow leaves on every property, when i finish every house I star again I usully takes me 7 days to do that, but the amount it's way less than when I didn't mulch'em
  10. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    in my lawns with a lot of leaves they get mowed into the beds i use my dc because my pos exmark tthp has to much blowout to mulch them i mow forward with the ocdc closed and reverse with it open not many make it to the bed ive never had any complaints and have had requests for oak leaves to be used as mulch

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