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Leaf Removal****BIG Yard

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  • Leaf Removal****BIG Yard

    Humor me for just a second to lead up to my question....

    I got a late start on getting my business going this year(late summer) and so my original intent- as I've posted elsewhere on forum- was just to do landscaping work. Well, then I talked to a couple lawncare guys and am convinced next year will add mowing. Then fall came and I started to advertise and get a few fall cleanup(trimming/bed cleanout)jobs, and NOW leaf removal season. For last 2 weeks me and a guy who works with me in this have advertised the heck out of leaf removal.....but guess what.....I have no leaf removal anything but the good old-fashioned raked. I have done a few jobs already this way but just got done creating a whole new set of fall cleanup/leaf removal ads AND looked at a huge leaf job today.
    Brings me to my 2 part question....
    1) Anybody here actually still hand-rake leaves?? Reason I ask is I am considering going thru to spring without buying blowers and may have to do leaf removal this way. If YES- are you/can you still make a profit if you bid right?? How much difference in price do you accomodate bids for hand raking VS blowing/vaccuuming/etc?? I have spent hours reading the threads on leaf removal and cleanup but am curious of anybody who does this way
    2) Now for the bid on the leaf job. Front yard is about 1/2 to 3/4 acre. Back is about 1/5 acre. It is one of our many houses built on an estate built in the middle of the woods. Full overhead canopy of mature, oak,maple,hickory. Homeowner has mowed and will blow all leaves from landscape areas. It truely is just removal of the leaves from grass and not off property but just dump in ravine left or right of property.
    Initial thought is 2 people @ $20/hr each x 8 =$320 - $70 for discount on disposal and drive time and difference betwee hand raking and mechanical removal = $250. How far am I off??

  • #2
    What a great post!

    Ok let's break this down a bit.

    I got a late start on getting my business going this year(late summer) and so my original intent- as I've posted elsewhere on forum- was just to do landscaping work. Well, then I talked to a couple lawncare guys and am convinced next year will add mowing.
    I would like to know your thinking on this as to why you wanted to focus on the landscaping.

    In previous discussions on here we have seen many others try to do this but not pull it off because they didn't have the marketing power to penetrate and get the continuous flow of customers they needed.

    When you have a lawn care service, it tends to feed customers to your landscaping division. You also have that continual cash flow that allows you to keep your business humming along.

    Anybody here actually still hand-rake leaves?? Reason I ask is I am considering going thru to spring without buying blowers and may have to do leaf removal this way. If YES- are you/can you still make a profit if you bid right?? How much difference in price do you accomodate bids for hand raking VS blowing/vaccuuming/etc?? I have spent hours reading the threads on leaf removal and cleanup but am curious of anybody who does this way
    I don't think we see many members at all hand raking lawns. Can you still make a profit hand raking? Well the answer to that comes down to your overhead expenses. If you can take in more than you are spending to operate, then yes you can make a profit.

    How much difference in price can you charge? I don't think you can sell a customer on hand raking as a premium service. Maybe you could try it but I don't think they would pay more for it. So if that is the case, ultimately you can't charge any different. There will be a fee that will be an average in your area a home owner will pay for that service and whether you have a mulching mower with a vacuum attachment that takes the job 10 minutes or you rake and it takes you ten hours, the customer will still only pay a certain amount for the service.

    Now for the bid on the leaf job. Front yard is about 1/2 to 3/4 acre. Back is about 1/5 acre. It is one of our many houses built on an estate built in the middle of the woods. Full overhead canopy of mature, oak,maple,hickory. Homeowner has mowed and will blow all leaves from landscape areas. It truely is just removal of the leaves from grass and not off property but just dump in ravine left or right of property.
    Initial thought is 2 people @ $20/hr each x 8 =$320 - $70 for discount on disposal and drive time and difference betwee hand raking and mechanical removal = $250. How far am I off??
    My question to you is, what is your overhead for that 8 hours?

    If you and a buddy are happy with raking for 8 hours and you both get $125 for it and have no real overhead, would you be satisfied with it?

    That comes to $15.62 an hour for your time.
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    • #3
      My thinking on the landscaping alone was originally this****- I am located in NW Arkansas which is one of the fastest growing regions in the country with more millions per capita then almost anywhere else in the nation. It has been up til mid last year when the HARDEST part of the recession hit****a construction boom. This has given way to what I call 'lazy landscaping' and I figured would keep me in business on renovations alone even if I only did a new install every 6 weeks. I still belive this BUT as you said is always a marketing issue and the lawncare is a much easier sell. I have since changed my thinking on this and will prep for mowing next season.

      Now, as for the handraking. I think I lost my question in all that typing. I was not trying to charge a premium price for hand VS machine leaf removal but rather looking to see if I needed to adjust my pricing down a little once I figured a beginning estimate. Trying to be fair to the customer and not penalize them for the fact I am manually raking.

      Moral to this story I guess ......Quit being so dang cheap and get a couple of blowers because I'm going to need them anyway.

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      • #4
        Let us know how this turns out and if you get the blowers.

        Keep up the great work.
        - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
        Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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