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View Full Version : I have some great questions!!!


mario543k20
08-02-2008, 04:39 PM
My question is this: If your cutting a lawn for let's say $30 etc... whatever it may be, and a storm occurs. A storm that causes sticks and etc... to fall on the lawn. You obviously can't cut the lawn with out moving the debris first. How do you go about charging extra for yard clean up? Or do you even charge them?

Next question: At one point do you start charging extra for picking up and blowing leaves. The season is coming up quickly and I'm just starting out. I really don't know. At some point of the season the grass stops growing and you will only be blowing the leaves at their request I'm sure. But I know I will have a few cuts with leaves on the ground, as I live in the Northeast. Thanks guys!!

Steve
08-03-2008, 01:12 PM
Hi Mario,

That is a great question. I am surprised more members haven't jumped on this yet.

How much extra time are you thinking would be involved with the clean up of sticks? If it is minimal, you could always leave a not that you performed this service and show a price for the service then hand write over it that you won't charge them for it this time. You could then potentially charge them for it in the future.

This is a great question to consider as well when you are putting together your contracts. Should you have a section in your contract to explain if you need to clean up around the yard an additional fee of $X per hour will be charged?


Next question: At one point do you start charging extra for picking up and blowing leaves. The season is coming up quickly and I'm just starting out. I really don't know. At some point of the season the grass stops growing and you will only be blowing the leaves at their request I'm sure. But I know I will have a few cuts with leaves on the ground, as I live in the Northeast. Thanks guys!!

I am guessing your mowing will come to a stand still at a certain point and then all these leaves will be falling so you could be marketing to your customers before hand that you offer the fall clean up service.

Very good question. Maybe someone else can jump in here and enlighten us on how they handle this.

Little's
08-03-2008, 01:21 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum.

Here is what I do, and it may be a little different than others on here, but, when I give a bid for yard service, I try to figure these things in to my bid from the beginning. I will look at the property and evaluate how many trees there are, what kinds of trees, etc. (willows are especially messy). My service charge includes the cleanup costs year round. So my price might seem a little high through the summer months, but evens out through the messy winter months. I try not to charge for cutting only, I try to charge for maintaining the yard.

Hope this helps.

Steve
08-03-2008, 02:04 PM
Brandon,

So this would include fall cleanups? All leaves falling from the trees? Limbs that fall?

Where do you draw the line of what is not included?

Also are these customers on an annual contract? With equal monthly payments all year long?

mario543k20
08-03-2008, 06:21 PM
thanks guys. that does help. I'm not getting into contracts just yet. I don't have enough clients to start, and I'm just starting out, so I don't feel comfortable creating them. I think they're a great idea though, and will no doubt provide business for extended amounts of time. I'm sure clients like the idea of contracts as well, because they don't have to worry about their yard etc... I have to browse around and see some example contracts.

Little's
08-03-2008, 06:21 PM
For my regular services, this will include everything. Since I am there every 7 days, there isnt much to clean up. This is not the same as a fall cleanup of a property that I dont manage. these people will usaully go a month or two before they call to have someone come and clean up the huge mess. I charge much, much more for a situation like this. But there isnt much I cant handle that will fall in a week.

Steve
08-03-2008, 09:07 PM
Brandon, do most of your clients end up having you perform their fall and spring cleanups or no?

Have you ever seen any other lawn care business owners that will include all of this in an annual contract price or are fall and spring cleanups always separate?

musician/lawnman
08-03-2008, 09:07 PM
I've found it different, I find if I include everything from trimming, pruning, weeding & clean ups..... I miss alot of bids, customers then also want the entire property to look picture perfect all year round & tend to nagg you to death about every little thing. Then you only get half your cut list done for the day.... this repeats EVERYDAY!..... I couldn't catch up.
My normal service is Mow, edge, trim, blow off. All extras are separatly requested/suggested, sold, invoiced & scheduled.

People understand that extra work above & beyond our agreement means an additional charge.

But when someone wants say trimming included in a monthly service bill & I look & say ok this will cost $150 to trim x say 4 times a year....Add $600 to the total for the year & divide by 12 right? So $50 a month.... nope they wont pay it for me, they want to haggle it down & add $20-30 a month & then if I agree they drive me nuts all year... "trim this up again ok Chuck?" "Aren't you gonna hit those bushes again, it's been 3 weeks..."

But if I keep it separate, most let it go til the landscaping is getting a little nuts.... so I maybe only get to trim it 3 times a year but I might charge $200 since it's overgrown. This way they are happy & I get all the "WOW, Looks much better, thank you so much" type gratitude, They get their landscape maintained when they deam it's ready to be maintained (& don't expect anything inbettween), & I still get my $600 for trimming a years worth of landscape growth. This is just what I've found in my experiance. Which way is ultimately better is up for individual decision. But separate is my vote!

musician/lawnman
08-03-2008, 09:18 PM
Re-reading my post, I find I tend to devulge too much information on how run my business when I'm just trying to give honest advice to new guys. Some of what I've just blurted is part of what differentiates me from most of my competition (some of whom will inevitably read it.... oh well).

Not many helped me out & I learned the hard way on this one. So unless you can get a fair price to include all the extras, steer clear or it WILL bite you in the ***. I hope this helps.

I suppose posts like this are what got me the member of the month thing.!
If I help one of you guys keep from losing hard earned money, then I' glad I could help!
-Chuck

Steve
08-03-2008, 10:46 PM
Chuck,

That really is some fascinating insight! I am glad you shared that with us. It should make us all think.

Human nature is human nature no matter what you are doing and I can see how your system should work really well from having customers harp on you all the time for every minor thing.

Do you think this is the way to go with or without a lawn care contract? Does it work regardless?

Nice job.

Little's
08-04-2008, 12:10 AM
I can see what Chuck is saying, but my angle is a little different. I do get much more money per month from my customers, but I give them a complete service. I serve the customers that want a complete service done year round, so they dont have to deal with paying extra for this and that.

I tell my customers up front that I will take care of everything, and they wont have to do anything or get charged any extra throughout the year. This doesnt work for everyone, but it works for me and the type of customers I have.

I would say that I average about $195 per month from my customers. I do less yards, but also less traveling. It all allows me do spend the extra time I need to get everything done.

Hope this helps. You see there are several different ways you can go withg your business, just make sure it is the right way for you.

Steve
08-04-2008, 12:14 AM
I do get much more money per month from my customers, but I give them a complete service.

Just to make sure, did you mean you DO get much more or you DONT get much more?

Little's
08-04-2008, 02:59 AM
Just to make sure, did you mean you DO get much more or you DONT get much more?
I DO get much more money than most other people per weekly service naturally because I spend more time, and do a complete job. They pay me monthly for services that I do so I dont need to charge more for in the future, I just collect it in my monthly price.

I average about $195 per month from each of my customers, where as most people who just do the basics average $100-$125 per month. But I spend a little more time doing them, so I dont do as many services, so I would say it averages out. Just depends on how you want to go about it.

musician/lawnman
08-04-2008, 07:48 AM
Steve,

Works for me with or without a contract. yes, some attempt their own trimming & I don't get it but that's ok. I try to get everyones property in good shape just before summer hits, Do what I need to through the grass growing months & then boost up my advertisements for trimming & clean ups to all my existing customers again in the fall when things slow down.

Little's,

At those kind of average numbers I can see where that is working for you. Around here, I'd never get that per month. If I had been able to it would have been worth my while. NIce job, It sounds like it's working for you. Like you said, there are many ways it can be done. & everyone out there approaches this business a little different. I've always found that so weird.
There is no right, no wrong, & no "standard" way to do it in this industry.?

Some say I only accept customers by contract.....
Some advertise "NO CONTRACTS!"

Some bag, Some mulch, some discharge.
Some treat for weeds, some don't.
Some bill weekly, others monthly.
Some bill ahead of time, others wait for their money.

Strange that with so many of us out there, even with forums like this where we exchange ideas..... We haven't collectively found one way or another that works best for everyone (or at least the vast majority).
Maybe that's a good thing? Maybe not?

Little's
08-04-2008, 04:27 PM
Chuck you are very right about how differently people do things (largely based on the market in their area). One standard that I have found MUST be followed, is being reliable. Your business is only as good as your reliability.

mario543k20
08-06-2008, 12:20 AM
Wow, I'm loving this forum more and more! You guys provided me with a ton of great information. I was talking to a friend today who referred me to another friend that use to be in the business. He sold his business, but is working part time for the person he sold his business to. He offered to show me around tomorrow for a couple of hours. So I'm waking up at 8am tomorrow and going to get some hands on experience. I'll let you know how it goes!

Lukacs Property Maintenance
08-18-2008, 12:23 PM
Hi guys,

I would like to add my insight to the questions.

When something that i think needs to be done to my customers property, i check with the customer to see if they want me to take care of the job on Monday.This is my day that i keep open just for the extra odd jobs? They ask me how much it would cost them and ill usually have a figure in my head before i even ask the question. 99% of the time the customer will be very happy to get the job done so soon because of the Odd job Monday. When the Monday gets slow, there is always machine maintenance to do .
Mike

Little's
08-18-2008, 10:22 PM
Having a dedicated day is a good idea for the odd jobs. I usually have 2 or 3 days that I dedicate for random jobs I get. I have a lot of work orders for this and thats. Sometimes the 2 days isnt enough, and I have to do a little schedule magic to make it all fit. Most of the jobs are random things like replacing valves, trimming trees, yard clean-ups, etc. I try to get my regular customers done in the other 2 to 3 days of the week.