Leaf cleanup services. Mulching or removal?

There are a whole bunch of leaf removal services you can offer as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. The one(s) you choose really come down to what kind of equipment you have. Different equipment opens you up to offer different services. Some are easier and more profitable than others.

One lawn care business owner wrote “this was my first year in the lawn care business and I am going to attempt to keep it going through the fall by offering fall cleanups, leaf removal, and gutter cleaning.

My question is how should I deal with all the leaves? Should I blow/push the leaves into piles and mulch them, or should I remove them from the premises? Does this depend on personal preference, preference of the customer, or budget for equipment? Possibly even a combination of the options?

One thought I had was that my standard service should be simply blowing the leaves into areas I knew are safe for the mower, then mulching them, and for an additional fee, actually remove them from the property.

I would imagine to mulch them neatly may be better if I performed this as a weekly/bi weekly service as the leaves are still falling.

Maybe I should be looking to dump them into a wooded area, into the ditch for the city to haul off, or simply haul them away myself?

I have actually become more interested in the curbside clean up and would like to see if anyone else has a nice set up to just go down the street and suck up the leaves that were either put into the ditch by the home owner, another lawn company, or yourself after charging to clear them from the yard. If I went this route, how would I price such a service?”

A second lawn care business owner said “what I typically do is I keep mowing the lawns until October/November. I Bag all of it and it picks up the majority of the leaves. If it’s the final cut or the lawn care customer waits until the end of the season to call or if it’s a spring clean up and there are a lot of leaves, I use my back pack blowers and a 8 hp walk behind mower and blow it all to the street including everything from the backyard if possible.

I have a dump insert in my pickup bed and I made a plywood box on top of my dump body. I mounted vacuum on the back that I suck all the leaves up with and it throws them into the box on the truck. Making the box cost about $60 I bought the 16 hp vacuum used for $750. I bought the back pack blower for $250 and the walk behind blower for $300. This set up for me makes leaf clean-ups such a breeze!

To make the curb leaf vacuum service profitable, you have to cover your costs and make a profit on top of that. It takes me maybe 10 minutes to suck up an average pile of leaves from the lawns in my area. I bill the lawn care customer a minimum of an hour to cover travel expenses, hooking the hose up and disconnecting everything, and the cost of dumping.”

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