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Yard Clean-ups


LawnSite Senior Member
Raleigh, NC
Question on yard cleanups(or should I call it overhaul?)...

I had a guy call me telling me that his yard has been overgrown in areas. I went out to the house and was horrified at what I saw. Basically the guy has been away from his house for almost two years and has done nothing to the lawn. The lawn is 0.5 acres and completely fenced in. Weeds range from 2-8 feet in height and have taken over the entire yard including the driveway which has retained no orginal concrete. He has a large playset that he want us to take down, and several trees have fallen. The chainlink fence has been overgrown with vines and posion ivy to where you can no longer see the fence without moving some of the vines. He also wants us to clean out the gutters which have caved in due to leaves, branches etc and then to remove the gutters and dispose of them.

Afterwards he wants debris hauled away (which is roughly 10 loads (truck and trailer). I guess the best way is to estimate by hour which could take 25-32 man hours. What would everyone else charge for this? Thanks.


LawnSite Senior Member
I wouldn't charge by the hour, the first thing I would do is walk the property making sure theres no huge pieces of cement or rocks or something in the yard. I would use a brush hog to get all those weeds under control, then I would spray the poison Ivy and remove it completely, roots and all. I would then tackle the trees and branches unless there really in your way chop them up and remove them. don't forget to charge for dumping fees, hopefully you have something to haul all that debris. That would be my first and only estimate, tell him your not a hauling company and call someone who specializes in gutter and swing set removal, geez. I don't know your market so I couldn't tell you where you stand on price. I'ts difficult to give a price without some pics. But I do have a price in mind, just need some pics.

O'Donnell Landscape and Design

Jay Ray

LawnSite Fanatic
d"Iberville MS
I don't have much experience, only in my second season, but whenever I have reservations and an uneasy feeling, it almost always takes a lot more man hours than my estimate.

And when there is much complexity and many unknowns, that seems to be when accidents and near accidents happen.

The last nightmare I bid, a far lesser nightmare than the property in question in this thread, I began by first humoring the customer: "I don't know if you will let me off the property alive when I give you this bid, but $$$$ is the bottom line." Of course never heard from him again. I didn't want it very bad. BTW, the guy had already done the easy part of it himself. I consider it good riddance.

Also, if there were close neighbors, the guy in question was really inconsiderate of them, so it is questionable if he will treat an LCO decently.

I would figure what two years of maintenance would have cost him, add some more for the headaches, and compare that to what you are bidding.

Recently I sprayed an empty lot with half a dose of Roundup and went in four weeks later. It really made it much easier. Don't know if it will come back in spring, but there wasn't enough grass to worry about.


LawnSite Gold Member
The poison ivy alone would make me run fast from this one! However, it may not bother you. Without seeing pics hard to say. I also have a rough figure in mine but it would cause wheezing and gasping in my area:D I would esimate more than 25-30 hours because of all the unknown variables as above poster stated. Personally, I would pass on this one. Have you ever cleaned a chain link fence before? I lost my azz on an extimate not near as bad as yours sounds. That alone is a job itself. Are you doing this one by yourself? Eight or ten trips alone to the dump will eat some gas up pulling the trailor. The price I have in mind would probably be a WHOLE lot more than most homeowners want to pay!


LawnSite Bronze Member
Well if you think it is 30 hours worth of work then it might be 40. And i would bid it on 40 hours. Vines are a pain in the butt. I just did some about 3 weeks ago and it was a pain even with a bobcat and grapple bucket. If you dont really need the job i would say $3000 but if you need it then $2500. That is without seeing pics. You can also ask him what he was thinking a good price would be then you can tell if he is cheap and if he is then he will proably be a pain.


LawnSite Bronze Member
On the Toilet
Yes , by the hour , it's how you learn .
Here , it would be $ 25 an hour , that way you get the experience of knowing how long it takes .
Tell him it could be 2-3 thousand .

Lets see , $2500 divided by $25 = 100 hours
And there's the dump fee .
Time of travel at $25 per hour , too


LawnSite Fanatic
zone 7 CA
OK this is what I say bid it by the job at $1575.00 plus dump fees.But that is with no idea of how big or bad it really is.Tell him you want the dump fees and gas money up front for the dumping and to get your agreement in writeing and have someone there as well as you when he signs it.Tell him the tree's will be xtra(don't know how big they are or if you can sell the wood from them)Take the gutters down and let them fall where they may,right into the back of the truck if you can Why clean them just to take-um down?Spray the fence ,let it die and use a hand cultivator and flex rake and pitchfork to pull the vines off dead and do it last.Whats 0.05 ?How big is that really?


LawnSite Member
I am new myself. I did a small clean up for $400 and had about 7 hours in it. I kept all wood out of the trees I cut. I was very happy since I made about 55 per hour "Gross". Same cusomer has two other rental houses also. Needed the leaves removed. Looked bad, but I got reemed on this one. It rained about tree days straight before I did the job. Took me twice as long. Go ahead and figure in the unknown.