header services logo masthead
The Exclusive Magazine for the Building Service Contracting Industry Since 1981

Autumnal Problems and How to Solve Them

Written by  Sam Burroughs

As we fall into the cooler months, clients nation-wide are experiencing a revolving door of needs when it comes to their janitorial services.

While BSCs are more than equipped to handle the demands of every season, adding on temporary services for your clients can increase your overall year-round value as a company.

For this issue, we will look into leaf removal. This service, typically reserved for lawn care companies, may be a good way to add on complimentary seasonal services that increases your value as a company throughout the year.


How to do this and what equipment you need will vary on location. Different types of trees, the amount of trees and other geographical factors will play into your exact costs for this service add on.

To begin, we have to asses a couple of different methods: do you want to offer leaf blowing or leaf bagging and removing? Leaf blowing involves investing the personnel and the equipment to blow the leaves off the property, while leaf removal is more time consuming and may take additional labor.

When working on industrial and commercial properties, it is always pertinent to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding leaf removal in that county. Blowing the leaves onto someone else’s property or into the street could cause more than just a headache for you and your client.

Another factor is vacuuming and mulching. Vacuuming and mulching will remove the leaves completely and re-purpose them, but the equipment to do so on a commercial level can be expensive.

Options & Costs

Equipment for vacuuming and mulching can be upwards of $6,000. Depending on the size of your client’s property, it may require being installed onto a truck to make the job the most efficient. Using existing vehicles or buying and insuring new vehicles can be a drain on your resources, so it is important to keep in mind the limits of what to offer for maximum profits.

Vacuuming and mulching may be one of the most effective ways of removing leaves from the property, but it may also have the highest equipment cost.

Bagging and physically removing leaves will require additional time and labor. The task is physically demanding and may also require additional equipment such as buckets, carts and plastic bags. All of these factors will add to your bottom line. This is what makes it important to carefully choose what level of leaf removal you would like to invest in based on your resources.

With a focus on leaf blowing, let’s take a look at that equipment. Commercial leaf blowers and vacuums can run anywhere from $300 to upwards of over $2,000. Self-propelled mechanisms can reach up past $5,000.

These estimates can help us plan ahead.

"But Why?”

So why add on a service that over steps the boundaries of traditional and industrial cleaning at all? First, leaf blowing can be an easy task. Maintaining the labor skills and equipment for this services can be a low-cost bar to clear. While the work is laborious and requires a meticulous attention to the space around you, your worth to your client may improve and employees will be able to add an additional skill to their toolbox.

Adding this service can, in a small way, simplify your client’s life, which increases your value to them. Once the leaves start to fall and autumn sets in, calling or scheduling routine leaf removal in addition to the existing, year-round landscaping needs of the property can be just one more additional hassle.

Finding the Right Fit

You’ll have to decide which level of equipment is most suitable for your clients’ needs. If you service a city office building, you may be able to provide this service with one or two machines and the power of your current staff.

For industrial or commercial sites with more land, investing in this service may require more machines, more personnel and additional considerations for storage during the off-season.

As mentioned earlier, the removal process, depending on the size of the job, will take up the most amount of time and be the most draining on your employees. That makes it important to be mindful of how you schedule this task with your client and how you assign it to your employees.

Additional Thoughts

Like any additional services, a BSC must decide if this decision makes sense for the company. Do you live in an area with burdensome foliage? What type of and how much property, such as yards or parking lots, is affected by leaves?

Once you answer these questions, it is also good to look at the long term picture: do your employees have time for the additional work? Will this require new employees? What sort of safety gear will you have to invest in? What time of day is optimal for completing this task? Are there any city or county ordinances that would prevent you from doing this lawfully?

Safety gear, such as helmets, gloves and vests could likely be stuff that your company already has, making the safety aspect of the service a low-cost issue. In addition, a dress code requiring long pants and closed-toed shoes may even complete the safety requirements to adequately protect your employees.

It is also never a bad idea to check with the county public works department on what services they perform. Some counties have curbside vacuuming of leaves that your client may have already petitioned for, so leaf blowing may be something that naturally compliments your client’s needs. This way, you are gathering the leaves for them and the county is removing them.

It is also important to note that this is a noisy task, so nighttime scheduling is almost always not going to be an option. Picking a time of day to schedule this task, such as mid-morning, will help eliminate the disruptions to your clients and the surrounding area and help you cohesively work this service into your daily operations.

There are also a few ways to make this service fit seamlessly with what you already offer. Training employees in basic maintenance of the machine could save time and money spent on troubleshooting the inevitable issue.

Overall, this diversifying service is an issue of cost versus benefit. Can you provide an additional high-quality service at a low cost to yourself?


Many companies that have begun as janitorial services have expanded into landscaping. Offering a leaf blowing to your repertoire, under the right conditions, could be a low-cost, low-risk way to increase profit and your valuableness to your customers.


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.