How to price spring and fall lawn care cleanups.

With Spring just around the corner your lawn care business will be asked to bid on yard cleanups but head these warnings so as not to go broke while trying to make money.

One of the members of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum had an interesting experience with bidding her first Spring cleanup and she learned a very difficult financial lesson we can all learn from.

Spring and fall lawn cleanups

Spring and fall lawn cleanups

Tianna wrote “Hi guys! I need some advice. I have a very new lawn care company… It’s just me and my husband right now. I went out and gave a family a quote for lawn care and leaf removal/lawn clean up. They signed up for annual lawn care service, but needed the leaf removal/lawn clean up asap. So we went out today and I only charged them $70 dollars for the entire job. The yard was moderate size. I only thought it would take an hour….hour and a half tops. HOLY CRAP!! That was wayyyy to low! I didn’t realize until we got out there and into it that the leaves hadn’t been raked or picked up in years. We started at 10 am and didn’t get done till 1:30 We had to make another trip back to the house to pick up the 18 bags of leaves and debris. lol I wanted it to look great so we did it right, but it took a while!

So once you got past the top layer there was matted down leaves/dirt/old pine straw. I know hind sight is 20/20 but….What would you guys have charged for that job? How do I go about not under bidding next time?? I know one things for sure…I don’t know if I’ll be doing any more yard clean ups soon!”

Chris: “When I get cleanups or junk removal calls I get out my pitch fork and rake and physically turn the pile or leaves over. One of the biggest problems you may find especially where people dump grass trees and clippings is whats under them. In some cases it could be car parts, household trash even offcuts of trees and branches. Once I know this I can estimate the time. The other thing to consider when quoting is how far you need to cart the brush to load it on your vehicle.

I sometimes discount when I can drive my trailer up to the actual pile to load it. If it all needs to be bagged and carried out then add an hour for a big job. You also need to think about disposal fees
I have a price/trailer load. This is based on the landfill price /ton min (if they charge by the trailer load you can make on it) the price allows an allowance /mile for gas based on vehicle running costs with a 10 mile round trip minimum. It finally includes an hour for my time unloading. That way I say to people it will be 2-3 hours plus expenses of $s/trailer load and you don’t get trapped by having to cart more away than they pay for.”

Steve: “This is a great learning lessons! Great great stuff and you lived to try it again another day so no harm done. You initially thought the yard leaf cleanup would take 1 - 1/2 hrs. But when it was all done it took 2 people 7 hours total! Initially you were going to charge $70 for 2 people for 1 hour of work. So that would be $35 per man hour. Now knowing what you know, it should have been (7hrs * $35) = $245.”

Tianna: “That is absolutely correct! I think at $245 I would have felt much better leaving that job! LOL From here on out I will know better when it comes to bidding leaf and yard clean up jobs. I don’t think my hurting back would let me forget! I want to be fair in my pricing for my customers BUT I also want to make sure our pay for the job is fair as well!”

So in conclusion think about your bid time before you give the bid to the lawn care customer. What you may think will take one hour could easily take you seven hours. Remember this example and you will be much farther ahead of the game than someone who doesn’t know.¬† If you would like to join in on this discussion visit the post on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum here.

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