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GreenBlue
03-18-2013, 08:59 PM
Hey everyone, I've been looking over the forum alot and I haven't come across these questions, so I want to ask them and get some opinions for my own knowledge. First Question: If a customer calls and needs to postpone their scheduled service, should you charge them an Inconvenience Service Fee or some type of fee for this? Second Question: If the customer wants to reschedule their mowing from needing to postpone it should you charge them an additional fee on top of their mowing price to mow it off schedule if you can? Third Question: What should you tell a customer who wants their property mowed but there is excessive pet waste?

I haven't seen much discussion on these subjects, so I needed to ask them and see what others do in these circumstances. I can't learn unless I ask, and as I've said I'm trying to learn everything I can. More questions will pop into my head eventually and I'll be asking more. LOL :)

Hedgemaster
03-18-2013, 09:22 PM
The first and second questions sound identical.

Your call. Depends on how badly altering your schedule will screw things up.
I've only had one or two requests to change a mow day due to a birthday party, or something. I just did it with no extra charges.

As for dog crap, I wouldn't need to tell them anything because I've already addressed this before an agreement was made. I don't mow if the dog waste isn't picked up. Adding a fee for cleanup helps motivate them to make sure the lawn is clear before you arrive.

GreenBlue
03-18-2013, 09:50 PM
The first and second questions sound identical.

Your call. Depends on how badly altering your schedule will screw things up.
I've only had one or two requests to change a mow day due to a birthday party, or something. I just did it with no extra charges.

As for dog crap, I wouldn't need to tell them anything because I've already addressed this before an agreement was made. I don't mow if the dog waste isn't picked up. Adding a fee for cleanup helps motivate them to make sure the lawn is clear before you arrive.

Yeah I met for it to be one question and only have two questions but I didn't edit it before I posted, but thanks for your input.

MBLC
03-18-2013, 09:59 PM
If you are looking to make a few extra bucks without having to do extra driving, offer the customer your service in picking up poop. Yeah kinda gross, but you are there, you don't want it on your wheels or shoes or god forbid you hit it with a trimmer and..... ewww, and they obviously are not taking care of it themselves.
As for pricing- per dog. You are handling crap (potentially). As with mowing, you figure out what you need to make per hour to turn a profit. I personally will not do anything for less than $60 per hour, even that is LOW (imo)
Throw the poop in with your clippings and dump as usual. You make them happy with no poop, you happy with no poop, and you just added a valuable service without any added travel time, wasted fuel.

SNethercutt
03-18-2013, 11:41 PM
Definitely tell them that the waste either needs to be picked up. I had it on my mower tire one day and loaded up and went to the next house. Needless to say we left poop on the driveway every foot or so and they did t even have dogs. They were pissed. Explain to your customers that the poop is unsanitary to you and your employees. When trimming it slings all over the place in your nose mouth and on you. You cannot accept the liability of you or a customer getting ill or a parasite from the doggy waste. They can pick it up themselves, or pay you 10 each dog to pick up the poop.

And I tell me customers your either scheduled EOW or EW. If you don't want your yard mowed the day its due it is moved to the next service date. If you want it mowed on a certain day for a party or whatever, I need 14 days notice to put you in schedule. Simple as that. You can't let your customers start that on you. It will be never ending. One day you will drive to there house, unload and now a strip or two and they will come out there yelling theybdont want it done. Then you have wasted all that time. I give my customers days, your yard is due Mondays, yours Tuesday. And so on. That's the way it goes. You can't revolve your business schedule around one customer.

Try to group your customers close to each other on the same day. Give your longest running customers first choice if possible.

Steve
03-19-2013, 11:55 AM
And I tell me customers your either scheduled EOW or EW.

What is EOW or EW?

MBLC
03-19-2013, 05:23 PM
every week, every other week?

GreenBlue
03-19-2013, 09:03 PM
every week, every other week?

I was thinking the same thing Steve, thanks for explaining that MBLC.

Hedgemaster
03-19-2013, 09:35 PM
If they say they want a 10-day schedule, or "I'll call when it needs cut", run away!

Weekly, or biweekly. That's it.
(And biweekly accounts suck for the most part)

MBLC
03-19-2013, 11:20 PM
Dear lord if they are biweekly jack the heck outta that price!

SNethercutt
03-19-2013, 11:28 PM
Bi-weekly yards aren't that bad, provide them with a free fertilize, $15 out of your pocket later they wonder why there grass is blue and 2 ft tall between mowing haha....

Just kidding but I do advertise my fertilization super hard to EOW (every other week) customers). It helps them migrate to weekly!

GreenBlue
03-22-2013, 07:37 PM
Dear lord if they are biweekly jack the heck outta that price!

I have bi-weekly as a service I will be offering, but on a $40 lawn that's weekly, I plan on charging $50-$60 on a bi-weekly...not sure if that's a good idea or if I should just forget it on bi-weekly's.

jymie
03-22-2013, 08:07 PM
My biweekly charge is always 1.5 times the weekly rate. When I tell them that on an estimate most times they will go with the weekly service.

MBLC
03-22-2013, 11:12 PM
My biweekly charge is always 1.5 times the weekly rate. When I tell them that on an estimate most times they will go with the weekly service.

You and me both, I have bagging as optional for additional fee. Normally I charge a quarter the price of the whole of the property. If it's a biweekly with bagging I double the bagging price. that's mean wear on my blades and belts plus time.

CDLAWNCARE
04-03-2013, 11:51 AM
A couple years back I started contracts with my customers so they know it will be cut every week regaurdless rain or shine we are always there. If your only cutting weeds every couple weeks in the summer it isn't so bad but if you get a little rain in that time those weeds harden off sooner and your moving slow again. I use the summer time cuttings to help make up for any short comings with the faster growing grass in the spring. Its a big drawback for some people but there lawn looks good all the time and we actually make some money. Try to encourage your customers to water and fertilize, even fertilizing in the spring will keep the grass green and growing longer into the season.

GreenBlue
04-03-2013, 10:03 PM
A couple years back I started contracts with my customers so they know it will be cut every week regaurdless rain or shine we are always there. If your only cutting weeds every couple weeks in the summer it isn't so bad but if you get a little rain in that time those weeds harden off sooner and your moving slow again. I use the summer time cuttings to help make up for any short comings with the faster growing grass in the spring. Its a big drawback for some people but there lawn looks good all the time and we actually make some money. Try to encourage your customers to water and fertilize, even fertilizing in the spring will keep the grass green and growing longer into the season.

I won't be able to offer fertilizing until down the road, because its not an easy process to get certified in Kansas and Missouri. Going to do other services until I can take on fertilizing, but that doesn't mean I can't tell them to do it themselves, but not sure how that would go in terms of their opinion of me not offering that.

SNethercutt
04-03-2013, 10:06 PM
Option, look in to buying the fert at wholesale and delivering it to them and selling it to them cheaper than Walmart or whatever?

LawnBoy0311
04-04-2013, 12:18 PM
Jacking up prices for biweekly service only gives you a bad name. Charge accordingly. If the grass grows slow and isnt bad every 2 weeks, then charge a little higher if you want. Over pricing jobs makes customers not hire you. Those customers will most likely talk to friends who in turn won't call you because the heard from their friend your rates were high.

GreenBlue
04-05-2013, 10:07 AM
Jacking up prices for biweekly service only gives you a bad name. Charge accordingly. If the grass grows slow and isnt bad every 2 weeks, then charge a little higher if you want. Over pricing jobs makes customers not hire you. Those customers will most likely talk to friends who in turn won't call you because the heard from their friend your rates were high.

Where I live though everyone charges extra for bi-weekly service, so its well known you'll be paying extra if that's what you want.

LawnBoy0311
04-08-2013, 06:44 AM
Where I live though everyone charges extra for bi-weekly service, so its well known you'll be paying extra if that's what you want.

Exactly- paying a little extra for biweekly is fine. But giving a quote of $75 when you know damn well it should be $45 isn't good business. People will talk....

Customer: I called XYZ Landscaping and would you believe he quoted me $75 to cut my grass?!
Friend: Thats crazy, what the name of the company? I was looking for someone but I won't be calling them!!

grass guru
04-08-2013, 07:36 AM
Schedule ew, or eow. If you show up, and customer runs out and tells you they don't want it mowed, charge them a fee to at least recoup costs. I charge anywhere from $15 to $30 if they do that. If I get there, unload my mower, and they run out, I charge them at least half the service price. If I do any mowing at all, even if its just one strip, they are charged full price. They know this going into the agreement, and I remind them when they request it. Most times, the customer doesnt mind the fee. Its thheir fault they didnt call or text in the required call ahead time. Even if I'm mowing their neighbors lawn first, and they run out to postpone, I will charge. Why? Because had I known ahead of time, I may have scheduled another job that day that could have been done, or squeezed in another lawn. Again, if A customer is able to call the shots every week, they will do whats best for them, and not whats best for the lawn.

I would double check on the fertilizer. Some places its ok to just apply fert. You only have to be certified to apply pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
If you can't/don't want to deal w/fert right now, sub it out to a company that only apply's fert. I use numerous companies to do my fert, and it pays to have a relationship w/one of their sales reps. The national company that I use has sales reps that go door to door all year long. When one of those people he is targeting, asks him who he would recommend for lawn care he hands them my biz card. Imagine, if he knocks on 50 doors a day, how many of them just moved in, and want "the whole package". He gets the sale for fert, I get the call for a quote, and the customer gets his lawn serviced. Free word of mouth advertising. Even if he only refers 2 or 3 people a year to me, why not? He scratches my back, I scratch his.

kslawn
04-08-2013, 11:38 AM
I charge extra for every other week cuts..what I here mostly is that they just cant aford getting cut every week, but they still want there lawn to look as good as it can so I have to go over more or takes longer to make it look nice,than I have to charge extra...a 30$ lawn every week would be about 40 or so but depends on growth of the grass etc...you allmost allways have to go over it twice in some areas of the lawn b-cuz of two weeks growth between cuts..

CDLAWNCARE
04-09-2013, 11:59 PM
I charge extra for every other week cuts..what I here mostly is that they just cant aford getting cut every week, but they still want there lawn to look as good as it can so I have to go over more or takes longer to make it look nice,than I have to charge extra...a 30$ lawn every week would be about 40 or so but depends on growth of the grass etc...you allmost allways have to go over it twice in some areas of the lawn b-cuz of two weeks growth between cuts..

I dont know where exactly your at, but I am in Upper Michigan too. I know alot of people cant afford weekly around here, but I also know I cant afford to loose money. 2 weeks on lawns that grow fast enough your going over them twice is just to hard on equipment unless your gonna charge them double. I've done it, but most of the time you tell them you gotta charge double for every other week they will just let you mow it weekly like it should be. If they dont like it let them go, they are usually the problem customers anyway.

kslawn
04-10-2013, 09:39 AM
I dont know where exactly your at, but I am in Upper Michigan too. I know alot of people cant afford weekly around here, but I also know I cant afford to loose money. 2 weeks on lawns that grow fast enough your going over them twice is just to hard on equipment unless your gonna charge them double. I've done it, but most of the time you tell them you gotta charge double for every other week they will just let you mow it weekly like it should be. If they dont like it let them go, they are usually the problem customers anyway.
I'm in the eastern end 20 miles east of Newberry & 45 miles west of Sault Ste Marie... Most of my jobs are in the small town of Hulbert & I have some in Newberry, so the ones that are every other week dont grow all that much & most of my lawns are not that big, so example:average lawn takes about 30 minutes to do (mow & trim etc) & I charge around 40$ or so..But I dont mow everything twice (should have been more specific) just the thicker places if needed & they only need it in the early summer,& get dryer/thinner in mid to late summer, but I still make good time & there close together & for the most part they are mostly customers that live in lower mich. & have cabins or homes here....where are you located in the western end somewhere??

CDLAWNCARE
04-10-2013, 11:59 PM
I'm in the eastern end 20 miles east of Newberry & 45 miles west of Sault Ste Marie... Most of my jobs are in the small town of Hulbert & I have some in Newberry, so the ones that are every other week dont grow all that much & most of my lawns are not that big, so example:average lawn takes about 30 minutes to do (mow & trim etc) & I charge around 40$ or so..But I dont mow everything twice (should have been more specific) just the thicker places if needed & they only need it in the early summer,& get dryer/thinner in mid to late summer, but I still make good time & there close together & for the most part they are mostly customers that live in lower mich. & have cabins or homes here....where are you located in the western end somewhere??

If most of them are vacation homes you can also explain to them that they get peace of mind with weekly services. In the event of a storm or burglary you are around more and can report the damage sooner to prevent further damage. Plus with more activity on a propert it is less likely to get robbed if it looks like someone is around. Ultimately its your company so you decide whats best for you, but just remember that long grass that has to be cut twice puts alot more strain on your equipment.
I am in the Baraga area on the western end of the U.P.

kslawn
04-11-2013, 09:32 AM
I'll have to try & sell that to them,we have had some robberys with some cabins way out on the tahquamenon river, I only do 3 out there & get paid pretty good for those b-cuz of travel time etc...the other ones are right here in Hulbert & a few more out of town that I do charge more for...what I am going to do this year is try to sell the benifits of aerating/de-thatching/& firtilizing etc... I dont get a lot of calls for that,but have done it before,just not steady & I think a lot of my customers just dont know the benifits of having it done...I havent looked into getting certified yet,so I have to do that too.I heard a while ago that you dont have to be certifide to put down granular firt if you are not selling the firt for profit,just the labor ,but sounds a little scetchy to me...I think I'd be better off to just get my certifications anyway! What do you think ..& do you firtilize alot on that end?

CHEESE2009
04-11-2013, 10:50 AM
I assume you are charging per visit, which is a problem in itself.

You can't charge an inconvenience fee if they want to reschedule, because they would be nagging you for a refund every time you don't show up (things happen). You don't want that.

It's a complicated situation, and I think your best bet is to charge your clients in advance for at least one month of service, and if they don't want you to show a few times at least you'll still have the money. They have the option of wasting their money, or allowing you to mow - no refunds.

Your clients should pay you for a full month of service, regardless if they hire you on the last day of a month. Their money does not carry over to the next month. In business, you're looking for stable income; clients with sporadic payments are a waste of time.


Here's an example

Client: I didn't want you to show up once last month, but I paid for it already. I wanted to know if you can give me a mowing for free this month?

Me: I'm sorry but I can't do that. As annoying as it may be, my company needs to make consistent income; if all of my clients had me mow when they wanted, I'd be mowing grass up to my neck and be out of business within a month.

kslawn
04-11-2013, 08:11 PM
Cheese, are you refering to the cabins that I cut way out on the river? If so,I only cut them 4 to 6 times or so a year between end of May & begining of October, but they just want them knocked down for the most part so they dont get to out of hand...I charge extra on those b-cuz of growth between cuts but also about 1 hour drive one way & 1/2 of it is two track road on the one lawn & bent the trailer jack on the tounge of my trailer & another time lost my wiring to it..& the beavers had the road washed out about 300ft from the cabin...so it is an inconvenience to a certain point ..but even though they are doing well at keeping the (shared) road in fair condition now, its still a long way to go for a lawn that takes about an hour at most to cut when you get there...& I try & do them on the same day too. Also,you cant forget about the bug factor here & for them,its an inconvenience to come up here & have to mow a lawn thats a foot high while being eaten up by the bugs......

CDLAWNCARE
04-12-2013, 12:02 AM
I do apply fertilizer around here, when I can talk people into it. But like most people in the U.P. the majority dont care. I dont think you need to be certified to apply fertilizer up here. I am currently working on getting my applicators license for applying chemicals and have seen nothing about granular fertilizer.

I hope you charging at least double for them lawns way out in the sticks, with washed out roads and all the other foolishness. Remember to charge travel time on those properties that are off the beaten path or you could find yourself loosing money in a hurry.

kslawn
04-12-2013, 06:26 AM
I do apply fertilizer around here, when I can talk people into it. But like most people in the U.P. the majority dont care. I dont think you need to be certified to apply fertilizer up here. I am currently working on getting my applicators license for applying chemicals and have seen nothing about granular fertilizer.

I hope you charging at least double for them lawns way out in the sticks, with washed out roads and all the other foolishness. Remember to charge travel time on those properties that are off the beaten path or you could find yourself loosing money in a hurry.

Yep, I get the same around here with firt! The lawns out there I do charge well, like I said before Its more of an inconvenience for them to cut it for themselves when they get here so they dont mind the extra cost & understand it too! couldnt ask for better customers than that..Did you get snow on that end? Got 8 inches here & still coming!

CDLAWNCARE
04-12-2013, 09:14 AM
You can have it, haha we only got an inch maybe two. I am ready for this snow to melt. Contracts are suppose to start May 1st.

Humberto
04-13-2013, 12:27 PM
Yes i agree with mblc and hedgemaster. Im just startin out and i know about bi weekly and the come when i need you ppl. They very much do suck!! Raise the price on em and they wont bug u again.