What to Expect When You Hire a Company to Rake Your Leaves

If you don’t plan on raking leaves yourself this fall, then you need to hire the right lawn care company to help you out. Some landscaping and snow removal companies do offer leaf removal as one of their services.

Before choosing a company to help you with leaf pick-up dilemma, you should ask a few important questions, says Kumar Gonzalez, owner of Depot Lawncare in Nashville, Tenn.

  1. Are you charging me by the hour or by the job?
  2. What areas and surfaces of my property will you be clearing (such as lawn only, hard surfaces, landscaping beds, under low lying trees and brush lines)?
  3. Are you offering a one-time service, a cyclical service or both?

Removal efforts must involve as much mulching of leaves with a lawn mower as possible, says Gonzalez.

“Many homeowners do not know this key fact about leaf volume reduction,” he adds. “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.”

The Cost of Removing Leaves

Gonzalez’s company offers many options and levels of services with a complete cost guide listed on his website. He charges by the size of the lot and the number of services chosen. His business also gives discounts if you get the service done before certain dates with fallen leaves.

For instance, if you have a half-acre lawn and need Gonzalez for mulching and vacuuming and do it before Nov. 10, it will be $100. The earlier you choose to get your work done, the less expensive it will be.

For his company, a decision can be made over the need to perform a full blow out of the garden beds and other nonmowable areas. With high winds, these fall leaves seem to just collect under bushes and in corners of fences.

A lawn service that uses a blower begins with a “cutting-in” with the leaf blower by blowing all perimeter leaves toward the centers of the lawn areas. Then a mower mulches the leaves. A final blow-off clears the hard surfaces to a leaf-free appearance.  Any small particles may remain in the lawn and allowed to decompose, or the company could return and mulch the following week.

How You Are Charged

If you want someone else to get rid of your leaves, it will cost you. And how it is figured out depends on the company. Also, these lawn maintenance businesses charge differently depending on your ZIP code.

Leaf removal costs will vary, largely depending on how leafy your lot is. Credit: Marc Falardeau, CC2.0

Most companies with less than 6-10 employees will charge by the job. They will simply eyeball it with experience and provide a few optional services to upsell the job,” he says.

Most do not have standardized pricing strategies, he adds, from the ones he has known. Larger companies that have an individual on staff who only estimates jobs will employ a pricing strategy based on mathematical metrics.

Cost Varies With Leaf Volume

The volume of your leaves and the size of your yard will go a long way in determining what you’ll be paying that company for leaf removal services, according to Fixr. If you have 20 trees compared to your neighbor with only 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 of your bill.

The method in which the lawn service removes those leaves can also vary your price. For instance, Gonzalez’ uses vacuuming, bagging and raking, depending on what the owner or circumstances need. A lawn care company that uses a leaf blower for the fall leaves should be 10% to 30% less than manual raking, says Fixr. When vacuuming up those pesky leaves from your lawn and flower beds, the cost grows 30% to 50% more than blowing. Plus, the cost grows 30% to 50% if you choose to have the lawn removal services business chop the leaves and apply it to your garden as mulch.

The national average cost for yard clean-up services range from $200-$600 for leaf clean up without hauling the leaves away. At the high end, the cost with mulching and hauling can be from $600 to $1,000 a season.

When? How Often?

The optimum time for professional services to remove your leaves is as soon as they begin falling from the trees, Gonzalez says.

“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 particular climate and area you are in,” he says. The frequency of removing the leaves is dictated by the leaf accumulation,” he adds.

You can only allow the leaves to accumulate so much but not to the point of huge leaf piles. And if it rains or is windy, it will accelerate the leaves falling faster, he explains.

“And 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 if there are few leaves down and little accumulation,” he says.

Check With Your City or Town for Rules

Before hiring anybody to clean up your leaves, check in with your town or city’s leaf policies. It might surprise you that they actually offer a leaf removal program.
For instance, the Village of Western Springs, Ill., removes leaves from all the residential streets in late October and ending the first week of December. They do send out informational postcards to its residents early on. Leaves can actually be raked into the gutter, but they caution drivers who park on those streets that hot automobiles could easily start a fire by parking on or near large piles of dry leaves.

Wet leaves are an issue as well. Since 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.

Main image credit: Dean Hochman, CC2.0

Lee Nelson

Lee Nelson

Lee Nelson, an experienced freelance writer and former award-winning newspaper reporter, writes for National Association of Realtors and many state Realtor magazines. She lives in Illinois with her high school sweetheart and loves cooking, swimming, traveling and spending time with her grandchildren.