If you’re a young person looking for extra money, or someone with some extra time, with little investment in equipment, learning how to start a leaf raking business might rake in the cash. In many parts of the country autumn means that every yard is covered with fallen leaves. Busy or elderly home owners do not have the time or ability to rake up all those leaves. Having someone else handle this is where the opportunity lies to start a leaf raking business.
What you will need
When it comes to the equipment you will need to start a leaf raking business, having the highest quality rakes that will not break, work gloves, shovels, and large, heavy – duty disposal trash bags are essential. Flimsy bags can rip and all your hard work blows back into the lawn. In some communities leaves are required to put in clear trash bags so that the garbage collection will pick them up on the regular pick-up day. Check out the garbage collection rules in the city(ies) in which you will be operating. Some areas allow you to sweep the leaves into the gutter for a street sweeper machine to take. This means no bagging but timing your raking close to the pick-up day will keep the leaves from blowing back into the yard.
To save time, make your job easier, and decrease garbage bag purchases, consider buying a leaf blower. Even a used one to start out will pay for itself in the time saved. You can take on more clients, handle more jobs, which means more money in your pocket! In areas where snow can fall in October, you want to do as many jobs as you can before the first snow falls. Raking wet leaves is hard work and takes twice the bagging.
A reliable truck or van to haul all of your equipment and take away bags of leaves would be an asset. It can also be your best advertisement too, if you put a magnetic sign with your business name, phone on the side or have it vinyl-lettered so potential clients can see what you are doing and call for your services.
Proper disposal of leaves
A little research in the communities where you will be working will save you a lot of work, keep you legal and your clients happy. By calling the city’s waste management department (usually in the city section of the phone book) they will tell you what is required for the proper disposal of the leaves, any special days or a deadline in the season for be picking them up. They will also tell you the location of the dumping or composting area if leaves and refuse need to be taken there for proper disposal. If there is a charge for this type of disposal, it should be considered in your pricing to the client plus the gas and time to get there. Some cities, lawn and garden shops will take leaves and use them for mulch. It’s also common in many communities to have public sites for free drop off composting material. You are recycling and cleaning up the community. Do your homework about city’s rules for proper leaf disposal leaves prior to starting a leaf raking business.
Spread the word
When thinking of how to start a leaf raking business, some sort of marketing campaign is needed. Flyers posted in the neighborhood and store bulletin boards as well as parking your lettered van or truck in visible areas. During the spring and summer months, schedule as many appointments as you can for the upcoming fall months. Once fall arrives, be sure that your customers have a way to contact you on your cell phone, a message machine or have a person take calls for you. Return those calls promptly before the client calls the next guy. This allows the customer to know that you are a professional and will respond to them when you’re available. Let your relatives and friends know about your new business and ask them if you could rake their leaves. Make you own cards or have them printed and distribute them freely. Wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt with your company name and wear it like a uniform. Your company name should reflect what you and be easy to remember for clients.
When deciding what to charge, check our any competition with lawn or leaf raking services and set your prices to ensure that you’re making a profit especially if you have to haul the leaves away. Try to secure your jobs with a a quotation and invoice/receipt when the raking is completed. Punctual, courteous service is what will get you business and all important referrals. Clients will also remember you when they’re in need of other services and ask you if you provide these offering you the opportunity to grow your business into a year-round business.
Learning how to start a leaf raking business usually thought of as a seasonal job. Adding other services to your business can turn your leaf raking business into a well-paying, year-round job. Some services to consider are:
- Mowing lawns
- Clearing debris from gutters and down spouts
- Snow removal from sidewalks and roofs
- Hauling items to the dump in your truck
- Weed control and seasonal fertilizing
- Tree trimming/pruning
- Power washing decks , driveways, sidewalks, mossy roofs and dirty siding
- Window washing
Planning your work ahead of the changing seasons will allow you to schedule your business and have jobs all year long. Even if you do not have certain equipment like a power washer, you can rent it. Your best clients will be repeat customers. When the seasons change they will always have a “to do” list that will grow your business. And it will have all started with learning how to start a leaf raking business!