How to Pick the Best Leaf Removal Service After Searching ‘Leaf Removal Near Me’
Autumn leaves are a blazing display of nature’s glory, right until they fall off the trees and become a test of arm and back strength. That’s why many homeowners choose to hire a professional to do pickup and hauling instead.
Homeowners envisioning the fall may picture swaths of crimson and gold against a blue sky, pumpkins, kids in Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving feasts, and football. Or, they may see heaps of crunchy, brown leaves in their yard, waiting to be raked, gathered, bagged, and hauled away. Whether fallen leaves stand in the way of homeowners’ fall enjoyment, or the task is simply too physically demanding for them to take on, homeowners may wonder, “How can I find someone to do leaf removal near me?” It’s worth looking into hiring someone to do this job. The average cost of leaf removal nationally is about $363, with a typical range of $191 and $570, but this cost will depend on a number of variables.
The Cost to Hire a Leaf Removal Service
While the average range of leaf removal services falls between $191 and $570 for an average-size yard, this cost is strongly influenced by the region. Some areas of the country have more deciduous trees than others. In some regions, the trees lose their leaves gradually; in other areas, they lose them all at one time. Also, different regulations and conventions for disposing of collected leaves can affect the cost. Leaves can be raked or blown, bagged or collected curbside to be collected and mulched, or blown into the woods nearby—each town’s ordinances will dictate which methods are permissible. In addition, costs will vary based on the size of the yard; leaf removal contractors may charge a flat or per-bag fee for standard suburban yards, but large yards may be charged by the acre and can range much higher in cost—as much as $400 to $1,000 per acre. Homeowners may need to hire the service more frequently if leaves fall gradually throughout the season, which will result in a higher overall cost. It may be possible to save on individual visits if the company has a contract or service plan. Although a one-time visit may cost an average of $525, an annual contract that includes once-a-year cleanup will cost around $325 per year. A biweekly plan will cost an average of $1,250 per year.
Leaf Removal Services
Leaf removal services come in several different formats. Many of the best lawn-care companies will include leaf removal as part of their lawn-care cost for an additional annual cost or offer yearly contracts specifically for leaf cleanup. Alternatively, there are businesses that operate exclusively for seasonal work, offering leaf cleanup in the fall, yard cleanup in the spring, and gutter cleaning or power washing in the summer. Regardless of the type of business a homeowner selects, there will typically be several services offered under the heading of leaf cleanup, and adding these to the contract can save time and energy, although they may ramp up the total cost.
The cost for leaf raking is usually between $25 and $50 per hour, with most homeowners paying around $32.50. The cost of raking tends to be higher than blowing because raking is harder labor and not as time efficient. However, raking allows for more thorough removal and is more effective when leaves are wet or decaying. Rakers will gather leaves into piles to be collected and may charge a separate fee to bag them.
Leaf Blowing vs. Leaf Bagging
Leaf blowing and leaf bagging are two separate services. With leaf blowing, the user forces the leaves out of gardens using a high-powered machine, then collects them in one place. On average, leaf blowing will cost around $30 per hour. Many companies charge a minimum of $75 to make the trip worthwhile. If the leaves are simply blown to the curb for collection or blown into the woods behind the home, that may be the only charge. If, however, the leaves need to be bagged and removed or bagged and carried to the curb, the extra labor will add to the total cost at a rate of $5 to $10 per bag, so don’t be surprised if this cost is itemized separately from the blowing or raking service. While homeowners may be able to perform leaf blowing themselves, professionals have access to the best leaf blowers and other equipment designed to get the job done quickly and thoroughly.
The most convenient way to dispose of leaves is having them collected and bagged, then scheduling a pickup. Many municipalities include this service as part of their regular garbage pickup, and some contracted garbage collection companies may include it as well. Cost for collection, if billed separately, averages between $5 and $10 per bag, so it may be prudent to schedule the pickup for the latest it could be needed to avoid paying for several pickups. Search “leaf collection near me” to get an idea of local pricing.
Some leaf removal companies prefer to mechanically collect the leaves rather than raking or blowing them around. Powerful machinery, either attached to a lawn tractor or pushed like a lawn mower, can suck the leaves up off the lawn and then transfer them into bags for collection. Leaf vacuum mulchers are most effective in dryer conditions, as damp leaves and mud are liable to clog the machinery and slow down the process. Expect to pay about $50 per hour for this service and an additional $5 to $10 per bag for leaf disposal.
Another option is mulching. A professional service will pull the leaves through a vacuum or draw them in through a leaf mulcher, where they’ll be chopped into small pieces. Leaf mulch can be bagged for removal, spread on gardens, or poured into compost (and most neighbors would likely be delighted to take any that’s leftover!). This option helps the environment and is close to the cost of hiring one of the best lawn mowing services—usually between $40 and $60 per hour. Lawn mowing services will typically use only the best leaf mulchers, so customers can feel confident the job will be done effectively and efficiently.
A lawn is not the only part of the home that requires leaf removal—gutters tend to need clearing out around the same time. Most often it costs between $120 and $230, or around $160 to have leaves, dirt, and debris removed from gutters. Leaving gutters clogged can result in a host of problems, such as leaks and water damage. Some homeowners opt to have gutter guards installed for about $500 to $1,500. Gutter guards keep gutters clear year-round and eventually save homeowners money on the cost of gutter cleaning services.
As long as the leaf removal service will be in the yard, homeowners may wish to have them perform a yard cleanup as well. Weed control, disposal of dead plants, and generally cleaning and preparing the yard for winter is a service that many leaf removal companies offer for $50 to $700. The landscape professional can let the homeowner know if there are any issues that require the services of a different professional, such as the need to hire one of the best poison ivy removal services to remove poisonous plants.
Fall is one of the best times for landscaping. Landscaping professionals may be less busy and available to work, and homeowners’ own work on their landscape and gardens has slowed. This allows homeowners to see the real condition of their garden and yard and identify areas where they want to add plantings, sod installation, or hardscapes. They can also see any additional maintenance needs, such as hedge trimming. Depending on what options they choose, landscaping installation costs can run between $1,400 and $5,300 on average, and cleanup will be included as a part of those costs. Some additional landscape maintenance can be added on, regardless of whether it’s related to the selected installation, such as tree removal ($400 to $1,200) and lawn aeration ($75 to $200).
Garden and Flower Bed Cleanup
Gardens and flower beds require a gentler approach than raking and blowing and usually need to be dealt with separately from the lawn. Landscapers often charge around $45 to $75 per hour to remove leaves from flower beds and tidy them up.
Yard Waste Cleanup
Over time, junk can accumulate in the yard—plastic pots and planters that aren’t allowed in the municipal waste stream, a compost bin that’s cracked, old timbers that used to hold the garden back—and there’s no way to dispose of them, especially without a truck. Many landscapers and removal companies offer yard waste cleanup and removal as a service. The cost will depend on how much waste needs to be removed and how accessible the yard is for the removal truck, but it should cost between $150 and $400.
A complete fall cleanup, which includes leaf collection and removal, yard and some garden cleanup, lawn care and winterizing, and waste removal all in one contract, can cost between $200 and $500 or more, depending on the size of the yard. Hourly labor costs are higher in the fall than at other times of year, because professionals are limited by weather and under pressure to get leaf cleanup completed before winter weather sets in, so homeowners may save on lawn-care costs by scheduling leaf removal alone in the fall and saving bigger cleanup jobs for the spring, when rates are lower (typically around $100 to $300).
Do I Need Leaf Removal?
Paying for leaf removal may seem like an extravagance, but there are a number of reasons it’s beneficial to hire a service.
- Efficiency. Professional leaf removal teams have the expertise and equipment to collect and remove leaves efficiently and completely, allowing the lawn to breathe and build deeper roots before the winter begins.
- Time. Professional teams can expertly perform work that would be backbreaking for the average homeowner. Hauling leaves around isn’t light work, especially if they’re wet, and blisters and thrown-out backs can happen quickly. And professionals can do it much more quickly than homeowners will be able to carve out time for, especially as the days grow shorter in late fall.
- Safety. It’s impossible to know what’s nesting in piles of leaves. Snakes, spiders, and other potentially dangerous pests are tucking into warm leaves for the winter, and ticks are still active in the fall. Letting a leaf removal service handle the yard protects homeowners from bites and scratches, and it doesn’t endanger the pros, who have heavyweight gear to protect their feet, legs, and hands.
‘Leaf Removal Near Me’: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Some people relish the opportunity to spend time outside as the air grows crisp, raking in the sunshine and enjoying the physical activity of tending to their lawn. For those homeowners, full-service leaf removal isn’t necessary—although having someone else haul away the bagged leaves might be a nice luxury. For others, though, finding the time to dedicate to the project, threading it between work, school, and inclement weather, is just too difficult. And for others it isn’t physically possible—bad backs, bad knees, bad balance, and aching hands can make the work of collecting and hauling leaves painful, dangerous, or impossible. Still others want to enjoy the fall weather in other ways, such as attending harvest festivals or spending time by a fire pit, rather than bagging leaves or fiddling with a leaf blower that won’t start. For those who don’t enjoy the process or can’t do it, hiring a professional who knows all the best leaf-raking tips is an easy way to hand the task to someone else who can accomplish it in short order.
How to Save Money on Leaf Removal
Hiring a service for leaf removal saves homeowners valuable time and energy that they can apply elsewhere. That being said, leaf removal costs can add up quickly, so it’s smart for homeowners to do their due diligence to find the best price in order to make hiring worthwhile.
- Find out if the service has a contract option and whether it is more affordable to schedule several visits at once.
- Ask if the company has any referral programs.
- Find out if there are any aspects of labor homeowners can do themselves such as bagging.
- Ask about leaf removal equipment—some companies will use the homeowners’ own rakes, leaf blowers, or leaf bags for a lower price.
- Try to schedule service when leaves are dry since wet leaves are heavier and more costly to remove.
- Compost the leaves to eliminate the cost of removal.
- Get multiple quotes.
How Can I Find the Best Leaf Removal Service Near Me?
As with any contractor, hiring a leaf removal service requires doing some research to avoid hiring disreputable workers. For basic raking and bagging, the teenager next door could be a great option. Otherwise, it will be necessary to dig a little deeper to make sure the work gets done well and completely.
- Talk to neighbors and friends about which service they use, and find out what they’re pleased and displeased about.
- Check local online discussion groups and referral pages.
- Contact several recommended companies, ask questions, and ask for a quote for the work.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints. Take these with a grain of salt, though, and remember that many complaints are made because people were upset or misunderstood a contract. Look specifically for complaints about work not being completed after payment was made.
- Ask if the company uses written contracts, and ask to see one before making a decision.
Questions to Ask Your Local Leaf Removal Service
After identifying a couple of good options, homeowners will need answers to some questions before hiring a leaf removal service. Too often these matters are discussed casually while standing outdoors, but consider asking for some documentation for protection.
- What is included in the leaf removal service you’ll perform?
- Who does the actual work?
- Do you have regular employees, or are they new hires each year?
- Do you perform a background check on your workers?
- What is the payment structure for the work?
- Will I pay a retainer and then the balance when the work is completed?
- Is this price per visit, or is it for all the visits it takes until the leaves are fully down and removed?
- What’s the time frame in which you expect to do the work?
- If the leaf collection isn’t complete by the time my city stops collecting leaves, will you haul them to the dump? Is there an extra fee for that?
- Will there be a written contract, and may I have a copy for my records?
- If you’re in a northern climate, ask what happens if it snows or freezes before the leaves are fully removed.
Leaf removal companies offer far more services than they used to and have more tools and methods to accomplish the work; this job doesn’t just involve common leaf removal tools like a rake and a tarp. The following are some of the questions most commonly asked by those just starting to search for a leaf removal professional.
Q. How much does leaf cleanup cost?
For an average-size yard, leaf cleanup will range between $191 and $570, or about $363 on average.
Q. What is the best way to get rid of leaves?
There are several options, depending on each town’s ordinances. Once they’re bagged or vacuumed and at the curb, a waste service can haul them away; they can be bagged and taken to the local dump or blown into the woods; or a landscape company can handle the whole process. One method that has fallen out of favor (and is illegal in many areas) is burning them. While many people fondly recall the smell of burning leaves in the autumn, the danger of an errant spark igniting a pile of dry leaves is too great, and burning the leaves pollutes the air. Nostalgia for the scent aside, it’s better to pick a different method.
Q. Do landscapers pick up leaves?
This is a regional distinction. In some areas of the country it is standard procedure for landscapers to dispose of leaves, while in other areas leaf collection is an add-on service to a contract. In some cases it may be included, but in others it may be less expensive to add on to an existing contract with a landscaper than to hire separately for the job. Check with a few local landscapers to see how they have the service listed, or search for “leaf pickup near me” to determine what’s typical for the area. It’s important to remember that the cost for leaf removal in Orange County, California, will be very different from the cost in Burlington, Vermont.
Q. Why do I need to remove leaves from my lawn?
In addition to the aesthetic benefits, keeping leaves off the lawn is vital to lawn maintenance and can keep plants and grass healthy. An excess of leaves may block grass from getting sufficient sunlight and rain. This weakens the grass just before winter and makes it less likely to bounce back the following spring.