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  • Need Fall Cleaning Up 101 Help/List

    I am scheduled to do my first fall clean up quote tomorrow morning was hoping the masters here would share what steps you/they take to do the best clean up possible.

    ie questions

    Do you aerate?

    Do you weed?

    Do you clean gutters?

    Do you fertilize the lawn?

    Do trim hedges?

    Do you plant flower bulbs?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    To me clean up means clean up. We do a final cut then take care of the leaves. We would weed if necessary but any of that other stuff would be extra.

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    • #3
      Just pick up the leaves, charge extra for everything else.

      Or do you want to provide all of that for a certain client? Doing it for everyone if it's included in your package will swamp you if you can't keep up with it.

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      • #4
        Just pick up the leaves, charge extra for everything else.
        Yes I agree. In the fall, the clean-up is just leaves for me. I get some of the loose acorns off the property as well, but that's just incidental. Weeding is extra. Aeration is definitely extra.

        In my opinion, a more thorough clean-up should be done at the beginning of next season in your Spring clean-up. That's when the lawn should be completely cleared of acorns, twigs, and everything else.

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        • #5
          fcu

          Gutters are an exception. You will find some that want that done, especially in the northeast because gutters full of leaves will prevent melting snow from properly getting channelled. Usually packing an 8' stepladder suffices.

          We also cut down all perennials and pull all annuals. We call this our "Fall Prep." Sometimes we'll do it all at once, go from property to property and JUST do fall prep (or do it at last mowing) to save time during fall cleanup, where getting the most done as quickly as possible is paramount due to impending snow.

          Hope this helps...
          Kenneth LaVoie III
          LaVoie's Landscape Mgmt. Inc.- Winslow, Maine

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          • #6
            Thanks for the thoughts/advise...

            I went to check out the home place is a mess I gave two quotes $250.00 for 5 hours to cleanup everything including trimming/cutting the lawn/wedding/removing leaves etc and $250.00 more to trim cedars in front yard and cedar hedges in the back yard which would include coming back in two weeks to remove the maple leaves off of the huge maple tree again.

            Called with a price then sent an email with a proper quote just waiting to hear back woman said she was having a couple of compaines quote her.

            I need the cash but this place is such a mess I would prefer to pass on the job.

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            • #7
              Will you also follow up with her in a couple of days to see if she had any further questions?
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              • #8
                More fall cleanup data

                Sounds like you have a plan. I know I let my "guard down" in fall. Suddenly my attitude is, "it's going to snow soon, no more money coming in ... take what I can get..." But luckily fall doesn't last too long for me to get in trouble with this attitude!

                I'm curious though if any of you have found certain multipliers or metrics for fall or spring cleanup . Example: I've found my cleanups almost invariably range from 7-12 times "fair" mowing price. Most range 8-10 with the rest being 7,11 or 12x. We do live in Maine where our entire fall cleanup takes place from Nov 1-Nov 20th after which time the ground is frozen. It's very quick up here. I've heard some areas of the country where you vacuum up the leaves on the last 3-4 mowings for a few bucks extra ....
                Kenneth LaVoie III
                LaVoie's Landscape Mgmt. Inc.- Winslow, Maine

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                • #9
                  Will you also follow up with her in a couple of days to see if she had any further questions?
                  I would have emailed/called her back by Wednesday at the latest but she emailed me yesterday saying that she was still waiting for another quote.

                  So now I'll respond Monday or Tuesday to her email thanking her for keeping me in touch and saying no problem take your time...

                  I'll throw in your suggestion on if she has any other questions which was a good suggestion.

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                  • #10
                    questions...

                    Always give the potential customer a few days and then follow up by asking if they have any questions about the quote. 9 out of 10 will have a question, concern or just want some more info. Most will ask if the price will include this or that (usually something there was no mention of) or their concerns are light but surely rational and some will want to know crazy stuff like where do you dump your leaves or whats the best way to wrap my boxwoods for the winter?
                    Again, the key is to stay in touch. Let them know you are interested in helping them out but, don't be a pest.

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                    • #11
                      She called this morning I have the job...

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                      • #12
                        That is fantastic! Keep us posted on how it goes and how the actual hours compare with the estimated hours. Also take some pictures!
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                        • #13
                          I did the job this afternoon took before pics but it was dark when I finished so didn't take after pics.

                          We had a super wind storm over the weekend = all of the leaves from the freaking huge maple in the backyard had now dropped.

                          It took 2 hours just to blow them into the slough behind the property I can just imagine the nightmare it would have been if I had to rake them onto a tarp and hawl them out to my trailer.

                          Anyway I have to write up the bill and email it to her so she can send a cheque.

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                          • #14
                            Excellent! Do you feel there were any learning lessons from this job that stand out?
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                            • #15
                              Here is her response.

                              Hi Cam,

                              I'm sure it is a little deceiving on the volume of leave that tree can produce! Thank you for all your hard work. I will forward payment before Friday.
                              Because I am so knew at quoting and doing this kind of work everything is a learning experience...

                              It would have been a nightmare if I would have had to remove all the leaves in my trailer it is only a 4'X8' with high sides would have been at least 3 - 4 trips to the green dump.

                              Same as yesterday I did another yard clean up mostly for leaves just the driveway filled my trailer fortunately all I had to do was back up down their driveway and dump the leaves over the bank.

                              So two lessons are standing out for me...

                              1) is get a trailer that can do the job unfortunately that is going to have to wait until the spring.

                              2) quote by the job not by the hour.

                              I quoted Mondays job with a finished price unfortunately due to all of the freaking leaves dropping of that huge tree it took an extra hour to get the job done so it ended up taking me the entire time I had allotted instead of scoring an extra $50.00.

                              Yesterdays job I lost out I was done in 3 1/2 hours but that is because I work extremely hard and race myself to get the job done so but I had quoted an hourly rate so I could only charge for 3 1/2 hours.

                              If I would have quoted the job instead I would have charged an extra $80.00 - $100.00 = my financial loss again.

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