Catchy title ?..... Just wanted to grab everyones attention. Anyway I have been reading all the fall clean up threads, the customer is bitching about my price for clean ups threads, the it is taking too long to do a clean up threads, etc.... I figured I would share what I do to deal with the fall leaf mess. First off, here is my entire year round mowing strategy... I feel like MY customers lawns should look at least as good after I am done, as if they had done it themselves with their lawnmower with a bagger. I made that " with a bagger " bold because typically a lawn cut nicely with a 21 inch mower and with a bagger is about as good as it gets, and most people around here use baggers on their pushmowers. So from the beginning of the cutting season as I battle the fast growth of the new grass, through to mid summer when weeds and especially crab grass, I find myself having to do double cuts, sometimes even double cutting and then walking around the lawn with the blower to blow out clumps. I refuse to leave a lawn with clumps or heavy discharge on it.... it looks like crap and like I said the the homeowner had cut it with their pushmower with bagger it would not look like that. Spending this extra time does cost me more time, but that is my problem... I charge the same price for these cuts as I do for all cuts. Then as the leaves start falling I normally cut back from weekly visits to biweekly and I use the mower to just mulch the leaves across the lawn with some of the leaves ending up in a bed or wooded area if they have it. When I am done I have not bagged any leaves and I have not really added to the leaves in the beds, but the lawn looks clean, just like it would if I had bagged them. I still charge the same price for this as I do for a normal mowing. If really doesn't take much longer, and since I am not bagging or racking, I find it hard to justify a higher rate for these visits. When I first started cutting lawns years ago, I just mowed the lawn... maybe made two passes over it and what ever it looked like when I was done was what it looked like, typically it never looked all that good. In the spring and summer I would often do just a single cut on the lawns and if there was clumps then there was clumps... Not my problem right! Well I never really thought about it, but I had a lot of customers cancel, seemed like I was getting that dreaded phone call or letter a couple times a month, sometimes faster than I could replace them. One day I just decided that putting stripes in yards at the expense of skid marks or scalping was not what the customers really wanted, and that they expect the lawn to look like it would look if bagged - ie.. No clumps, no leaves on the grass when I am done. I began cutting the lawns this way a few years ago and my customer retention rate has been really good ever since. Now I see that these " Clean Ups " alot of you guys do are full blown leaf removal. I don't even mess with that.... Too much time involved, and too much seasonal equipment to do it with the big push blowers, the big truck to haul leaves, the vac and so on and so on.... I have yet to find a customer that just HAD to have the leave totally removed, usually they can be mulched over just fine. On a few of my lawns I will blow out some of the beds and I mulch that down as well, but I don't spend alot of time with it. If they were to request that I blow out all the beds then yeah I would have a hourly charge for that, but I just don't run into alot of that. Around here most people put pinestraw in their beds and you can just cover up the leaves with the straw and the leaves rot under the straw, so cleaning out the beds usually is just not needed. Anyway, long post, just wanted to share what I do this time of the year. I used to try to charge more but it was just a headache. This time of the year I know I work harder - or atleast for longer - for the same pay as the rest of the year, but it is only for 3-4 cuts and then I am done. I am happy to have a happy customer that is most likely going to be with me again in 2007 for yet another year of service.