If you don’t plan on breaking your back raking leaves this fall, then you need to hire the right lawn care company to help you out. Some landscaping and snow removal companies offer leaf removal as one of their services. But what should you expect when you hire a leaf removal service for your yard?
Leaf Removal Costs
We won’t leaf you hanging. The cost for leaf removal generally ranges between $165 and $485. The average cost is $300. But you could pay as little as $60 and as much as $740 in leaf cleanup costs.
What determines what you will pay? Not so unbe-leaf-ably, it greatly depends on the following five factors:
1. The Size of Your Yard
If you’ve always thought the bigger the yard, the better, think again. In this case, keeping up with the Joneses works against you. The bigger your yard, the more you’ll pay for leaf cleanup. It’ll cost you more for a large, 2-acre lawn ($800 – $1,600), than a smaller, quarter-acre yard ($100 – $200), for example.
2. The Type of Removal
How your leaf removal company picks up leaves also helps determine the price of that removal. Costs are determined by labor, as well as your choice to bag and dispose of fallen leaves (or mulch). And that’s on top of the average minimum fee ($70).
A lawn care company using a leaf blower for the fall leaves should cost less than manual raking. Vacuuming up those pesky leaves from your lawn comes to more than raking them. The per-hour costs for the three types of removal follow:
- Raking leaves: $25 – $50
- Blowing leaves: $15 – $45
- Vacuuming leaves: $35 – $60
Whichever method you contract, disposing of the leaves will cost $5 – $10 per bag on top of these fees. The amount can grow if you choose to have the leaf removal service chop the leaves and apply the mulch to your garden.
3. Your Frequency of Service
When? A professional leaf removal service should start doing their job as soon as leaves begin falling, says Kumar Gonzalez of Depot Lawncare in Nashville, Tenn. “Leaf removal should be done once a week depending on what trees you have, how many you have on the property, when they lose their leaves, and the area you are in.”
How often? “The frequency is dictated by leaf accumulation,” Gonzalez adds. If it rains or is windy, the leaf-falling accelerates. “In a properly designed plan, your service will come sooner on those weeks. Then it will delay services if it is early in the season or late in the season or if there are few leaves down and little accumulation.”
Hiring a pro on a seasonal autumn contract costs just about as much as or higher than if you were to hire a pro once:
- One-time job: $200 – $850
- Fall-season contract: $200 – $500
Only once? Don’t think you’ll get away with having a landscaping service come at the end of the season either. That will make their efforts much harder because there are more, and wetter, leaves.
“Many homeowners do not know this key fact about leaf volume reduction,” Gonzalez says. “If you allow the leaves to fall and remain on the ground, they will form a wet layer upon layer of leaves. Wet leaves do not mulch well.”
4. Your Lawn’s Tree Density
The number of trees in your yard likely ranks as the most important factor in what you’ll pay for a leaf raking service. If you have 20 trees compared to your neighbor’s two, your bill will be much more.
By giving the leaf removal company as much information – about the number of trees, what type of trees or leaves – could be helpful in getting a more precise estimate.
5. Removal from Your Gutters
If you don’t have leaf guards, you’ll need to have your gutters cleaned one way or another. Unless you want to climb on that ladder yourself, you’ll need to contract with your lawn care service to have it done. The average cost for gutter cleaning is $0.60 to $2.25 per linear foot of gutter or from $120 to $200 for a medium-sized home.
Keep in Mind: Leaf removal costs also vary based on the company (so shop around), and some lawn maintenance businesses charge differently depending on your ZIP code.
Of course, you may want to add other services such as the following:
- Mulching of leaves
- Baggage of yard waste
- Removal of trash, yard furniture, or other types of junk removal (not all companies offer this)
- Flower bed, garden, and yard clean-up
- Weed control
- Lawn mowing
- Shrub or bush trimming
- Hauling away of debris
Check With Your City or Town First
Before hiring anyone to pick up your leaves, check with your town or city’s leaf policies. Some municipalities offer a leaf-blowing program. For instance, the Village of Western Springs, Ill., removes leaves from residential streets starting in mid-October and ending the last week of November. They send out informational postcards to its residents.
Leaves can be raked into the gutter, but the town cautions drivers that automobiles parked near piles of dry leaves could start a fire. Wet leaves are also an issue. Because grass clippings and leaves can pose a road hazard, especially when wet, some cities and counties require that you not blow your leaves out onto streets.
Before You Hire
Gather Information for the Leaf Removal Company
Who will pick up your leaves? Before choosing a vendor to help you with your leaf pick-up dilemma, you should ask yourself a few important questions, says Gonzalez. These include the five factors formerly referenced:
- What is your yard size?
- What removal tools would you prefer the service provider to use?
- How frequently do you want the service to remove your leaves?
- How many trees do you have in your yard?
- Do you want the service to remove leaves from your gutters?
What other services (mulching) do you want your service to perform? According to Gonzalez, you may want to consider the areas and surfaces of your property you need cleared. This may include only your lawn or may involve hard surfaces such as your driveway or sidewalk, landscaping beds, areas under low-lying trees, and bush lines.
Question the Potential Leaf Removal Vendors
You’ll want to give your potential vendors the information you gathered; for example, they’ll need to know your yard size and the number of trees. After surveying your property, they’ll likely have ideas about the most efficient way to perform the services you wish. Other things to ask about include the following:
- Do they have experience? How long have they been in business? Do they hire subcontractors or have a trained staff ready to perform the work?
- Can they provide references? According to Spider Lawn and Landscape, “Not all landscape companies have professional affiliations, but the most well-respected businesses will.” This could include customer service award “stickers” on the website, a good Better Business Bureau rating, and other customers’ endorsements.
- What insurance and licenses do they have? Your potential vendor should have “workers compensation insurance and general liability insurance, bonded workers and appropriate state licensing….Otherwise, the onus [from any worker injuries or other problems] is on you.”
Have your potential company break down the costs for you, service by service, and get it in writing.
During and After the Contract
You’ll want to record when the service is done – and what services are done – each time to ensure that the leaf removal vendor is fulfilling their contract – and in case something happens to your property. You’ll also want to look for red flags, such as missing spots or not mulching or disposing of leaves, and report them.
After all is said and done, leave a review – pun intended – of the vendor’s services. This could be on their website or on social media sites. Spread the word. Other potential customers will thank you.
Decomposing leaves help add moisture to your grass and soil (especially during drought), inhibit weed growth, and provide nutrients for your soil and plants. Mulches can also be used in vegetable and flower gardens and around your trees and shrubs. Better still, they’re an easy source of free mulch — no pickup truck required.
Mulching also provides food for earthworms, whose tunnels help with soil aeration and drainage and create spaces for roots to grow. More important, perhaps, to you is that mulching can help you avoid weeds, especially dandelions, in your yard.
Need more inspiration? Check out our article: What to Do With Leaves: 7 Things
That’s another question to ask your leaf removal vendor. You don’t want your leaves to wind up in the garbage dump, especially in bags that aren’t biodegradable.
Leaves picked up by some cities, including Indianapolis, do end up in a landfill but in a different area of it. After the leaves are run through a machine that separates the bags from plant life, the landfill workers place the bits and pieces in large piles that decompose. The next spring, gardeners can pick up mulch from the landfill.
Trees losing their leaves is natural. It’s been happening since before homesteads were invented. So you shouldn’t have to deal with picking leaves up. Right?
If you have only a few trees, you might be able to get away with that; however, extensive leaf coverage can damage your lawn and cause some other problems, such as the following:
● Leaf piles become excellent places for ticks, rodents, and other pests to take up residence.
● Leaves block sunlight and oxygen from reaching the grass, smothering new spring growth or causing the grass to die.
● Wet piles of leaves can grow mold, which can cause lawn damage and spread to structures such as your vinyl fence.
You might also want to avoid the time and back-breaking labor of removing fall leaves yourself. In that case, you’ll need to hire a professional leaf-removal company to take care of it.
How to Find a Leaf Removal Service
Do you like the workout you get from DIY yard work? Or even enjoy using your mower, bagging leaves, and then placing the mulch on landscaped areas? Then having someone else remove your leaves isn’t for you.
But if you’d like to turn over a new leaf this fall season and gain the time that mowing or raking takes from you, then you should hire someone to rake your leaves, use a leaf-blower, or use a leaf vacuum. Contact LawnStarter for reputable lawn care and leaf removal services near you. Your back and your schedule will thank you.