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greenscaper123
10-12-2012, 05:18 PM
This has always been one topic in lawn maintenance that completely illudes me. Some guys bag grass at no additional cost, some do, and some absolutely refuse to bag all together.

I have always personally felt that it should be necessary to charge extra because it usually takes longer (especially in the spring) and, of course, there is the cost of dumping issue. I'm starting to focus my marketing on high income areas where the lawns are a lot nicer and everyone seems to bag. I'm not sure if they are charging for this or not. I would like to give the customer the option, but I have found in some cases people are turned off to the approach of charging extra. For instance, I have one customer that signed on in the spring. I said to him it would be $25 for no bagging and $30 for bagging. His repy was, "why does it cost me more to have the grass clippings bagged?.. doesn't everyone bag?" I explained to him the additional cost in dumping and extended labor but he still didn't seem to understand. I wonder sometimes if people who own Walkers, for example, just include the price of bagging into the quote. I mean I could say it's $30 to bag, meanwhile the guy next door with the Walker might be saying it's $30 as well. But he wouldn't even be giving the customer the option because he just bags all his customers anyway.

I'd like to hear from everyone what there take on this is. Do you charge, if so, how much more? If not, why don't you?

willshome
10-12-2012, 05:27 PM
someone with a Walker is not mowing for $30
I charge $10 to bag if dumped there

phouse65
10-12-2012, 06:28 PM
We have always bagged the grass. When I have a new customer to take on for the season, I tell them the price and let them know that we bag everything. I don't tell them I charge extra, I add it into the price that I quote. I feel people would respond badly if I gave 2 prices for bagged and not bagged.

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-12-2012, 06:48 PM
I feel people would respond badly if I gave 2 prices for bagged and not bagged.

They shouldnt, its more work and a trip to the dump. The local transfer stations wont even take clippings here. So you would have to have a place to store it.

If bagging is requested I charge $10 extra dollars but it never is.

Hedgemaster
10-12-2012, 07:32 PM
In two years only one person specifically requested to have his lawn bagged.
I agreed to it only because he was willing to let me leave the bagged grass there in trash bags that he would put out for pickup.

The only time I bag is when it is necessary. I never mention the "method" to clients and nobody asks. If they did, I'd up the price slightly.

LawnBoy0311
10-12-2012, 08:33 PM
I never bag. I never will. Don't bring it up with the customer, and they won't have anything to say. Heard this saying? "You talked yourself out of a sale".

If they ever bring up anything about bagging, tell them the clippings are a natural fertilizer and will save them money in the long run from buying store brand fertilizers.

Grass Doctor
10-12-2012, 09:42 PM
i use to bag when i start mowing lawns obliviously that looks phenomenal, clean sharp, etc , then after reading several studies from different university's i found out that: mulching it more beneficial for the lawns the bagging and that bagging was a thing of the pass for conventional mowers now days every one wants to go green etc. if you see most of the lawn mower come with mulching system etc. benefits of mulching always removing 1/3 of the grass more will not do good for the grass plant.

1. makes the grass stays moist for longer periods.
2. macro-nutrients and micro nutrients return to the soil.
3. protects the grass plant in winter from winter damage.
4. it will not contribuite to the mith that it will be creating thatch in the lawns that if i dot cut more than 1/3 of the lawn at the time.
5 the lawns will require more :D that's a great one for us mowing
and i can go on end on with this.
CONS: lawn have to be dry other wise what a foooking mess
BAGGING BENEFITS .
1. immaculate cut.
2. removes the grass cleanings from the lawns.

CONS
3. stopping every freking time WHEN the bag gets full.
4 mower gets heavy.

so this what i do SOME times when i want a sharp mowing i will mow with the grass catcher not very often 1 month in spring and moth in fall maybe. and then i dump the bag in to their garbage.

here i introduce you to Graig the gardener :D:D:D:D
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RKsto2FmBzM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

greenscaper123
10-13-2012, 05:37 PM
lawn have to be dry other wise what a foooking mess

exactly... between grass being wet and growing like weeds in the spring.. how is anyone suppose to possibly not bag? i would say 60% of my lawns this year would have looked like absolute crap if I didn't bag in the spring. the grass seemed to be wet everyday for about 3 months.

greenscaper123
10-13-2012, 05:45 PM
I never bag. I never will. Don't bring it up with the customer, and they won't have anything to say. Heard this saying? "You talked yourself out of a sale".

If they ever bring up anything about bagging, tell them the clippings are a natural fertilizer and will save them money in the long run from buying store brand fertilizers.

again, how can you not bring this up? and how can the clippings be a natural fertilizer when the grass is so high and wet it leaves big nasty clumps on the grass that will create dead patches in the lawn? and if I explain to them the benefits of mulching the grass, how do you explain that you have to charge more when the grass is either wet or growing really fast if you just said that you shouldn't bring up charging more?

greenscaper123
10-13-2012, 05:47 PM
We have always bagged the grass. When I have a new customer to take on for the season, I tell them the price and let them know that we bag everything. I don't tell them I charge extra, I add it into the price that I quote. I feel people would respond badly if I gave 2 prices for bagged and not bagged.

this is what i suspected and i'm starting to think maybe i should just do the same to avoid any confusion

Hedgemaster
10-13-2012, 06:43 PM
I guess it depends on the type of grass, grass height, and type of mower used because I rarely need to bag and it doesn't look like "crap", nor are there clumps.

I'm not using anything special either - just a Toro Super Recycler.
I have noted that my 36" Ferris walk behind does not mulch as well when wet. I think it's because of the greater volume of grass being cut at once.

LawnBoy0311
10-13-2012, 06:45 PM
again, how can you not bring this up? and how can the clippings be a natural fertilizer when the grass is so high and wet it leaves big nasty clumps on the grass that will create dead patches in the lawn? and if I explain to them the benefits of mulching the grass, how do you explain that you have to charge more when the grass is either wet or growing really fast if you just said that you shouldn't bring up charging more?

I don't bring it up because they don't ask. They pay for a service...for me to mow. If they do ask, tell them you don't bag it, and they really can't tell the difference. Nasty clumps = long grass that should have been cut a week prior. I have some customers who refuse to get weekly cuts, so they pay for biweekly. When I mow and it leaves clumps, I strap on the blower and walk the yard. They of course pay extra.

With customers and sales....the more you open your mouth, the more likely you are to lose the sale. My best advice...quote them and SHUT UP!!! So when you advertise, and someone says "Hey, I want you to cut my grass. How much is it??" And you quote back "Well Sir, for me to come weekly, it would be $40." He then says "$40 a week? NO WAY!! I want it cut every 2 weeks!" At this point, its a perfect time to educate him on why its so good to cut the grass weekly. (I'm not typing why its good to do it weekly because Im lazy) You can explain to him that you cut weekly when the grass grows fast, and change to biweekly when the grass grows slow. Thats how I do it...because it gives me time to free up my schedule so I can advertise more, and take on a bunch of side projects.

You shouldnt charge more when the grass is wet. And if its raining, you shouldnt be mowing. A little damp is fine to cut.

Everyone here has a different way of doing things, so each guy/girl will have a way they do it. We all live in different areas, so everyones different. For example...I can't offer snow removal, but my cutting season is March/April to early November.

greenscaper123
10-13-2012, 11:13 PM
I don't bring it up because they don't ask. They pay for a service...for me to mow. If they do ask, tell them you don't bag it, and they really can't tell the difference. Nasty clumps = long grass that should have been cut a week prior.

i still don't think you're quite understanding me.. i do cut weekly.. in fact i refuse to cut biweekly. i see your from the east coast, where at exactly? i'm in NJ and most of my lawns grow very fast in the spring. so like i said, every week when i come to cut the lawn it's wet and really long in the spring. a lot of the lawns i have with sprinkler systems continue to grow pretty fast all throughout the year. so to not make a mess i HAVE to bag. if i were to stick to a strict no bagging system, i would have to tell the customer it's going to cost more in the spring. so again, how can you not bring this up? just bag it in the spring and throw an extra charge on there without telling them?

Hedgemaster
10-13-2012, 11:45 PM
This isn't rocket science. If you're going to bag on a regular basis, you charge more for it - you have to. You spend more time dumping bags, loading into truck, driving to dump, paying dump fees...

No need to "bring it up", just charge accordingly and mow away! :)

willshome
10-14-2012, 01:09 AM
. a lot of the lawns i have with sprinkler systems continue to grow pretty fast all throughout the year.

I bid with bagging for yard with watering systems, they are willing to pay to look good

Grass Doctor
10-14-2012, 01:21 AM
again, how can you not bring this up? and how can the clippings be a natural fertilizer when the grass is so high and wet it leaves big nasty clumps on the grass that will create dead patches in the lawn? and if I explain to them the benefits of mulching the grass, how do you explain that you have to charge more when the grass is either wet or growing really fast if you just said that you shouldn't bring up charging more?

you have to charge like u are bagging all the time of course even if u are not (easy as that ) u are not going to tell the customers of this of course :confused: most of the weeds are really watery so when u mow, high grasses, that will be be a clean up here in the south TX anything over 6 inches will be consider a clean up at least for me it is. And if the grass is higher than that will require an extra pass and or 2 just to looks manicure it needs to be charge extra, just to get it to 3 inches for st. Augustine grass or 2 inches in Bermuda. not to talk about weed lawns. i have one customer like this, if i can call her customer.i only call customers to those that are willing to sign a year round contract with my rules and stipulation. i always have to tell her when she needs to cut her lawn full of watery weeds and she always says next week.

i just say OK. you know its gooig to be extra if u let it grow to high. its ok she will say.

:confused:

i am not going to mow with the bag, higher than 6 inches, the bag gets nasty if is weeds im mowing, so i charge 10 or 15 extra just because i have to wash the mower after i mow her yard and i leave all the clippings or i should say nasty clumps of weeds, hey she does not have a lawn or grass she have a yard full of clover weeds and that is not my problem, or hers cause she rents, she just live 5 houses up in my street that's no drive. and i still charge like im driving if i mow over 6 inches i have to charge extra and will tell the customer to expect a brown lawn cause his lawn haven't been service at least for 3 weeks prior and if the grass gets to freaking high we are not talking about manicure lawn and that will obviously will not benefit the grass plant if u mow all the time like that all the time it can be done once in great while.


mowing lawns is easy, knowing the type of grass you mowing, and mowing in it in healthy ways, that's where you need to go the extra mile. on understanding the type of grass u are working with Kentucky, Fescues, ray grass Bermuda etc they all look green but each plant its different i don't know i know my southern grasses st. Agustin 3, or 3 1/2 inches Bermuda grass 1 to 2 inches when it gets hot 3 inches, zoysia grass 2 to 3 inches every grass is different and required different care.

just charge like u baging and when u fill not to bag then dont do it and if they ask you something i will say i can bag for you for an extra 5 bucks.

greenscaper123
10-14-2012, 09:04 AM
I bid with bagging for yard with watering systems, they are willing to pay to look good

well yea that makes sense and that's what I'm planning on doing next year. but lets break that sentence down. "they are willing to pay to look good"

for a person to be "willing" to do something there kind of needs to be other options presented to them. because to be "willing" is to favor an idea over another. if they are willing to pay to look good, you're basically saying that the customer understands the lawn will look better if you bag it. which means the issue of bagging or not bagging is being brought up. but everyone keeps saying to not "bring it up" i'm gonna lay down a PERFECT scenario of something that happend this year with a customer.

i was asked for an estimate by a neighbor of an account I was already cutting earlier this year. i told her $35, and that I would come and bag it. she said "oh okay that's a little too high for me." next week i come back to cut the lawn and see another landscaper there cutting it without the bag. now I'm thinking to myself.. "this lady didn't even care to have the grass bagged, I could have easily told her $30 and gotten the job had I mentioned it would be cheaper to not bag." this is where the issue of not bringing it up to the customer bothers me. think about all the customers you're losing because your basing your assumption on the fact the customer wants it bagged.

okay now a situation that occurred where i based my bid price on not bagging a customer. I told the customer it would be $25. two weeks later he comes out and says, "hey can you bag the grass from now on, i don't like the mess it makes." sure i said, but it's going to be $30 if I bag it. he had a FIT about it. and i had many other customers this year that didn't seem to like it either.

i would love for somebody to still come on here and tell me that you shouldn't be bringing it up, when this kind of stuff constantly keeps happening. you're either bidding too high for the customers that don't care if it's bagged or you're bidding to low for the customers that do want it bagged. if i were to just explain to them up front on the price difference, then there would be no confusion later on..

Hedgemaster
10-14-2012, 09:22 AM
This has always been one topic in lawn maintenance that completely illudes me. Some guys bag grass at no additional cost, some do, and some absolutely refuse to bag all together.

I have always personally felt that it should be necessary to charge extra because it usually takes longer (especially in the spring) and, of course, there is the cost of dumping issue. I'm starting to focus my marketing on high income areas where the lawns are a lot nicer and everyone seems to bag. I'm not sure if they are charging for this or not. I would like to give the customer the option, but I have found in some cases people are turned off to the approach of charging extra. For instance, I have one customer that signed on in the spring. I said to him it would be $25 for no bagging and $30 for bagging. His repy was, "why does it cost me more to have the grass clippings bagged?.. doesn't everyone bag?" I explained to him the additional cost in dumping and extended labor but he still didn't seem to understand. I wonder sometimes if people who own Walkers, for example, just include the price of bagging into the quote. I mean I could say it's $30 to bag, meanwhile the guy next door with the Walker might be saying it's $30 as well. But he wouldn't even be giving the customer the option because he just bags all his customers anyway.

I'd like to hear from everyone what there take on this is. Do you charge, if so, how much more? If not, why don't you?


It doesn't really sound like you want to hear anyone's take on this at all actually.

LawnBoy0311
10-14-2012, 10:12 AM
It doesn't really sound like you want to hear anyone's take on this at all actually.

I agree. Your over thinking this whole thing. Good luck finding an answer to your question.

greenscaper123
10-14-2012, 11:23 AM
It doesn't really sound like you want to hear anyone's take on this at all actually.

no i do actually.. thats why i posted the thread. it's just that everyone is contradicting themselves. and i don't believe i'm over thinking anything. this is something that can greatly have an effect on the profits you bring in. but yet there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it like in MOST other business. i mean i just read a thread where guys were saying they don't charge more if it's 3 ft tall or 3 inches tall haha. unbelievable.. probably why everyone says this industry is going down the crapper...

dpld
10-14-2012, 11:25 AM
i don't really see the need to discuss all the little details with a customer.

you charge accordingly when it is tall you bag it and when it is not you don't, it is really that simple and it works out in the end.

also, the biggest problem is putting out bids on a individual service to begin with and i know nobody wants to hear me say this but you should really start targeting customers that want their property to look their best at all times.

when the grass is tall you can waste just as much time and money blowing the whole thing off then just bagging it and doing it once as well as people with kids and pets don't want their dogs or kids dragging clippings into the home.

it is not really a issue of what is better for the lawn, bagging or mulching.
it is more of a issue of what is better for the customers needs and from a commercial landscapers prospective that is what matters.

there are many types of customers out there, there is the ones that are too lazy to do it themselves that pinch every penny and there are the ones who want it to be done right and look professionally maintained and are willing to incur the cost to do so.
the latter is the obvious choice of a customer you want not the penny pinching type.

i understand it varies from region to region and you got to make a living but if need be when starting out it is better to work a second job then build up a bunch of tightwad customers.

it gets too taxing to have a list of 50, 60, 70 or more accounts and sit there at the end of the month and figure out that this guy gets two cuts per month and this guy gets 4 cuts.

no real successful company deals with that type of customer and building a solid business takes years to do and not every phone call or inquiry you get about your services is a job you should take.
the only way to make money in this business is to do it quickly and do a lot of it and do it well.

the best way to deal with the bagging issue is to use contracts and let that do the talking for you and put in your contracts that you will bag only when the need arises.

when i did homeowners i used to have contracts with every detail of the service listed as well as my contracts were all inclusive and i got plenty of jobs that i was not the lowest bidder in because when the customer read the contract and seen what they were getting for the money it puts better clarification to the number.
contracts do the talking for you and if properly written and spelled out with every little detail of the service you provide it explains your point of view in a consistent format for each and every one you hand out.

sometimes you are tired or have a bad day or might not be in a good mood for making a good sales pitch and if you use a contract to your advantage and adhere to its contents it will act as a fail safe to sell better on a more consistent bases.

then when mrs jones calls you for a quote you can go there and introduce yourself and keep the conversation cordial take some measurements and fill in the blanks and hand her the bid and tell her if she has any questions to feel free to contact you and you will gladly answer them.
if your contract is well written and very detailed whether she likes your price or not she will have all the answers and most people do business with the person who comes off as the most professional that satisfies all the questions whether they are talking to you or looking at your contract.

you can not price a job based on what everyone else is going to price it for you have to price it based on what you want for it and use your contract to show what the difference is and what makes you the better choice.

that is my two cents, flame away.

greenscaper123
10-14-2012, 11:41 AM
also, the biggest problem is putting out bids on a individual service to begin with and i know nobody wants to hear me say this but you should really start targeting customers that want their property to look their best at all times.



no i agree with this completely, as i stated in my opening post. i'm beginning to advertise in high income areas only and hoping to see a lot less fickle customers that way. i would rather have customers that care more about the appearance of their lawn than penny pinchers..

greenscaper123
10-14-2012, 11:44 AM
it is not really a issue of what is better for the lawn, bagging or mulching.
it is more of a issue of what is better for the customers needs and from a commercial landscapers prospective that is what matters.



so do you think it's better to give them two prices? one for bagging and one for not bagging? that's what i was also asking in the beginning but everyone kept saying to not bring it up. i feel like giving the customer options is the best way to meet their needs like you stated here

dpld
10-14-2012, 12:54 PM
so do you think it's better to give them two prices? one for bagging and one for not bagging? that's what i was also asking in the beginning but everyone kept saying to not bring it up. i feel like giving the customer options is the best way to meet their needs like you stated here

no i would give them one price and keep it in the middle and i would only bag when it needed to be bagged and what you lose in the bagging months you gain in the non bagging months.

but in the end i don't price that way. i add up the number of cuts in a season multiply that times how much per cut and then i figure a spring clean up price, fall clean up price, shrub trimming price and a 6 step lawn app price and then add up all the numbers and divide by ten and that is what they pay per month.

the only exceptions are if they call me in july i deduct the spring clean up, the amount of cuts that would already be done and the amount of lawn apps that would be done to date and take it from there.

this way every week i go there and do something and if the grass is not growing we trim the shrubs, weed, edge beds in lieu of the cut and the property looks good at all times and every month i get the same money.

i explain to them in a polite manner this is how we do it to provide the best service possible without anything on their property ever looking as if something needs to be done.
a property that looks perfect and needs nothing is a by-product of staying on top of it and shrubs need to be trimmed at different times and they all don't need to be trimmed at the same time they all grow at different rates depending on the species and in some cases if you did it at the wrong time you could be cutting the flowers off before they bloom as well as some plants can get stressed out if you pruned them at the wrong time of year.

i am completely ok with my services not being a good fit for some customers because i target a specific type of customer and not all customers are the ideal candidate for my company and there are plenty of other companies that will gladly bend @ss over backwards for 30 bucks a week.

greenscaper123
10-14-2012, 01:18 PM
but in the end i don't price that way. i add up the number of cuts in a season multiply that times how much per cut and then i figure a spring clean up price, fall clean up price, shrub trimming price and a 6 step lawn app price and then add up all the numbers and divide by ten and that is what they pay per month.



right, a full service flat rate. this is ultimately where i'm trying to get to, offering a variety of different comprehensive packages. but 10 months? i've been figuring 9 months.. march-november. what are you doing in that extra month exactly? pruning and shrub trimming in dec? what consists of your 6 step fert? sorry for all the questions..

dpld
10-14-2012, 02:32 PM
right, a full service flat rate. this is ultimately where i'm trying to get to, offering a variety of different comprehensive packages. but 10 months? i've been figuring 9 months.. march-november. what are you doing in that extra month exactly? pruning and shrub trimming in dec? what consists of your 6 step fert? sorry for all the questions..

the 10th month just works out as another month to divide the money by to make the payments lower as well as gives me income for 10 solid months.

the 6 step is just 1 pre-emergence, 2 weed and feeds, 1 grub and fert app followed by two ferts.

the 6 step is just a basic program to keep things under control and looking lush but i do have other services that i can and do add on like aeration and overseeding and spot treatments for weeds.

i am also a arborist by trade and we also take care of the trees as well because i learned long ago that i do not want anyone else servicing my customers and try to keep everything in house to have better control in the overall appearance of the property.

willshome
10-14-2012, 11:07 PM
for a person to be "willing"

Most people that spend the money on watering are willing to spend a little extra on mowing

CHEESE2009
10-15-2012, 01:25 AM
If you give the option for clients grass to be bagged or mulched, you're going to have a bad time.

Nothing is more annoying to our fellow man, than having to waste a second more on crap like replacing a plug with a bag every time you unload the trailer, vice versa for some anal client.

-

My clients don't have that option. I make the decision whether or not their lawn needs to be bagged or not. Sometimes what is best for a lawn, is not what's best for your company.

In the spring, I will only bag the grass to slow the rate at which the grass is growing - which would be FAST and also very annoying.

So if you find you can't keep up with your lawns, sure, bag em! It doesn't matter if mulching is good for the lawn at this point, what matters is your ability to prevent yourself from doing more work the following week. :D

-

If my clients had the option, some would choose bagging just so I can waste my time picking up the leaves that fell early (October). That's not going to happen, it's us being cheated out of money for another service which they should be paying for: Leaf Removal.

My clients wouldn't hire me for leaf removal if they knew I'd be picking up 70% of the leaves anyway for the cost of regular mowing visits.


I hope I brought some insight.

greenscaper123
10-15-2012, 12:13 PM
Most people that spend the money on watering are willing to spend a little extra on mowing

this is true..

greenscaper123
10-15-2012, 12:16 PM
If my clients had the option, some would choose bagging just so I can waste my time picking up the leaves that fell early (October). That's not going to happen, it's us being cheated out of money for another service which they should be paying for: Leaf Removal.

My clients wouldn't hire me for leaf removal if they knew I'd be picking up 70% of the leaves anyway for the cost of regular mowing visits.



wait, so you don't charge to pick up the leaves as they fall early in october? i've been picking them up since late september for some lawns. i mean if a lawn that i charge $40 takes me 30 min, you better believe I'm charging them $60 if it takes 45 min to pick up the leaves.

and yes it was insightful.. thank you

wat5150
10-15-2012, 04:42 PM
so, what is this thread about???........:D

LawnBoy0311
10-15-2012, 06:25 PM
wait, so you don't charge to pick up the leaves as they fall early in october? i've been picking them up since late september for some lawns. i mean if a lawn that i charge $40 takes me 30 min, you better believe I'm charging them $60 if it takes 45 min to pick up the leaves.

and yes it was insightful.. thank you

Read what Cheese typed again. You must have taken it wrong. I have no idea how long you've been in business, or how much you know. But you may want to read a lot more threads in the forum.

CHEESE2009
10-15-2012, 07:23 PM
so, what is this thread about???........:D

It's about our undying romance we have together, that you made me promise not to speak of.

http://speedcap.net/img/46af9adcaece444ab8a61e63ab295476/36ec979f.png