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swstout
03-11-2009, 08:18 PM
While taking the “Lawn Care School” (I recommend it), one LCO related his procedure of walking the property first and making a list of about 20 things to look for before talking to the owner. When he did talk to the owner, he was ready to prove he was an observant, professional with list of services list he could provide the customer (if desired). He also set the stage for up selling additional services.

I am trying to make a survey form to take with me for this technique. Below is what I have come up with so far:
1. Thatching
2. Compaction
3. High/Low Spots
4. Weeds
5. Mulch
6. Flower Bed Maintenance/Planting/Installation
7. Soil Conditions
8. Gutters Cleaning and Repair
9. Trees and Shrubs in need of trimming/pruning
10. Pet Waste Removal
11. Aeration
12. Overseeding
13. Spring/Fall Cleanup
14. Fertilization
15. Hedge Installation and Maintenance
16. Irrigation Installation/Maintenance/Winterizing
17.
18.
19.
20.

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. What else should I include? What should I get rid of?

Steve

SuperiorPower
03-11-2009, 10:21 PM
This is a great idea. Maximize your business. Why not trim some shrubs and trees while you are there to mow the grass. And do some landscaping and mulching.....

What I did with my shop is call several of my competitors asking what kind of services they offer. Including, how much they charge for those same services. This does several things, a) it helps you offer services you had not thought of before, b) it helps you determine if your rates are in the ball park.

Just thinking about things I have seen discussed here, how about:

cleaning up dog feces from the yard,
power washing roofs (or for that matter even siding, decks, etc.)


Hope this helps.

Steve
03-11-2009, 11:34 PM
I am trying to make a survey form to take with me for this technique. Below is what I have come up with so

When you say a survey, would this be like a list of things with a 1 - 5 rating you would check off as you walked around?

How about condition of the fences and outdoor lighting or the overall security rating of the property. Where you could judge if bushes need to be trimmed back from windows, if motion lights are in place and will turn on properly, if landscape lighting is lighting up the area and deterring crime?

ritchiem
03-11-2009, 11:42 PM
great post and question.

When I first quote a property I always take my wheel and measure out all lawn areas, garden beds and driveway size.

That way I have everything measured to upsell;

- fertilizing
- weed control / suppressant
- aeration
- topdressing
- dethatching
- nematode application
- mulch / compost gardens
- soil amendments
- of course lawn mowing
- edging
- pressure wash walks and drive

If you have it measured you can quote it. When I prepare a quote for people I always include a short list on what we can do and the price. As well as a note on their invoice with price for a service.

This post will get a lot of people thinking...good stuff.

Steve
03-12-2009, 05:24 PM
garden beds

Richard, when you measure the garden beds, can you base your weeding price on that or is this for mulch?

swstout
03-12-2009, 06:42 PM
great post and question.

When I first quote a property I always take my wheel and measure out all lawn areas, garden beds and driveway size.

That way I have everything measured to upsell;

- fertilizing
- weed control / suppressant
- aeration
- topdressing
- dethatching
- nematode application
- mulch / compost gardens
- soil amendments
- of course lawn mowing
- edging
- pressure wash walks and drive

If you have it measured you can quote it. When I prepare a quote for people I always include a short list on what we can do and the price. As well as a note on their invoice with price for a service.

This post will get a lot of people thinking...good stuff.

Nematode application peeked my interest. All natural pest control would greatly simplify insect control here by by passsing all the insecticide control and regulation issues.

Since reading your answer to my post, I have researched the subject. I have learned what they control, how much to get for various applications, pre and after application watering, time of day to apply, sunlight and temperature conditions needed for proper application. etc. Nowhere did I find how to apply them!

You obviously have done this. What is the technique? How do you market the service? How do you price th service?

Steve

ritchiem
03-12-2009, 07:32 PM
Ok lets get right down to it. What are “Nematodes”? Nematodes, also known as round worms, are a group of soft-bodied invertebrate worms which inhabit almost all possible locations where life can survive on earth. Cobb, a famous nematologist, who tried to convey how many nematodes were present on the earth suggested that if it were possible to remove all the matter from the world except nematodes you would still see a ghost like image of the earth.

Basically, nematodes are aquatic creatures, so that wherever they live, they exist in moist or wet habitats. Most species of plant-parasitic nematodes are small or microscopic, as well as being colorless and transparent. Consequently, most people have never seen nematodes, except for the scientists who study them and the farmers whose crops have been affected by them.

Some nematodes in the soil are not plant-parasites. Some merely feed on fungi or bacteria, or on rotting dead plant tissue, so they act as recyclers. Some nematodes also are internal parasites of the soil-inhabiting juvenile stages of various insects, including some insects like cutworms or weevil larvae. So like most other creatures, there are desirable nematodes as well as undesirable. Some nematodes even prey on other nematodes, helping to keep the overall population in balance.

Nematodes are cultured on common sponges that are kept moist. These sponges can be stored for a month in the fridge so long as it is kept moist. Be sure that the nematodes are fresh! Stale, ineffective nematodes smell “fishy”…yummy.

Make sure to irrigate your lawn to 1 inch depth. Nematodes need moist soil to disperse effectively. To apply, simply soak the sponge in a medium sized pail (approx 4.5L) of ROOM TEMPERATURE water for half an hour (30 min) and squeeze the sponge to get all the nematodes into the water. This will be your stock solution, make sure to use within 2 hours or else they will die. You can use something as simple as a watering can, just dilute 1L of stock into 4.5L of water and water onto your lawn. Never apply in direct sunlight, nematodes like cool days, with protection from UV rays….ah ah me too! Apply on a very cloudy day or at dusk.

You can also use a backpack sprayer full open to avoid tearing them up. And if you need large quantities and have a truck sprayer you can apply using your hose and wand.

Pricing for nematode application varies. You need to first determine the cost of your nematodes and your application rate (per sq foot). Then measure out your area and presto!

swstout
03-12-2009, 07:42 PM
Thanks Nitchiem

Steve
swstout

Lukacs Property Maintenance
03-13-2009, 12:57 PM
When I first quote a property I always take my wheel and measure out all lawn areas, garden beds and driveway size.

That way I have everything measured to upsell;

Do you have a worksheet that you scribble measurements on? Do you just use a note pad?

Mike

swstout
03-13-2009, 02:21 PM
Do you have a worksheet that you scribble measurements on? Do you just use a note pad?

Mike

I'm in the process of making a worksheet. I have a few ideas and a few suggestions. Don't know which way I will go yet!

Steve

swstout
03-18-2009, 02:07 PM
Here is what I have come up with so far. In my walk thru, I will fill in the pertinent areas. With this I should be able to bid completely and have upsell points.

Steve

Steve
03-18-2009, 05:51 PM
Steve that is a great post.

I would like to break it down a bit so new lawn care business owners can understand why they should collect this data.

Lets start with this part.

Areas in sq. ft.
Lot __________ Driveway __________ Walks __________ Flower Beds __________
Dwelling __________ Out Buildings __________ Swimming Pool __________
Porches/Decks __________ Misc. __________ Misc. __________ Misc. __________

Why is it important to know the area of the driveway, walks, flower bed, building and pools?

swstout
03-18-2009, 06:48 PM
Steve that is a great post.

I would like to break it down a bit so new lawn care business owners can understand why they should collect this data.

Lets start with this part.



Why is it important to know the area of the driveway, walks, flower bed, building and pools?

I have the lot site areas in the form so as to be better able to calculate the job. A long dirveway will take longer to blow off than a short one. I also take the total lot size and subtract these various areas to come up with an area for mowing, aerating, fertilizing, insect control, etc. I also will know how much material. time, etc. for possible mulch, weeding, etc. jobs for say flower beds or hedge and shrub trimming.

The more information you collect, the better you can bid, and, the more you can upsell when the prospect desires it.

Steve

ritchiem
03-18-2009, 07:31 PM
that form would look nice cleaned up in a .xls (excel) sheet.

swstout
03-18-2009, 08:53 PM
that form would look nice cleaned up in a .xls (excel) sheet.

Working on it. Along with 25 other projects. Some for me - many for my wife!

After 37 years, I an used to it.

Steve :D

Steve
03-19-2009, 07:39 AM
Oh good!

Let me break this down further.

for possible mulch, weeding, etc.
How does knowing the area of the flower beds help with creating a mulch bid or a weeding bid?

How can one who knows the area come up with what they must do for mulch? Should they replace the mulch annually? Should they remove the old mulch and install new mulch or just add on top of it? How many inches of mulch should they add?

What about weeding? How can knowing the area of a flower bed help you know how much time it will take to weed it?

swstout
03-19-2009, 01:21 PM
Oh good!

Let me break this down further.



How can one who knows the area come up with what they must do for mulch? Should they replace the mulch annually? Should they remove the old mulch and install new mulch or just add on top of it? How many inches of mulch should they add?

What about weeding? How can knowing the area of a flower bed help you know how much time it will take to weed it?

As far a mulch goes, I only carry one mulch. It's high end (costly) but I sell value, future savings, and point out that shopping price usually costs more in the long run. The mulch we use is:
Made of coconut husk, which is all natural

Fights drought as it holds 5 times its weight of water and will not float away in heavy rain

It will not fade and hold its color for up to 3 years

Has a pleasant aromatic natural scent

Will not mildew or attract bugs, slugs or termites (most wood and bark mulches do)

If I do a mulch job, I remove the old mulch and replace it with mine. I let the customer choose the depth (2-4"). Often, just "fluffing" up the mulch is adequate to satisfy the customer (or client as I refer them as). Some times, just top off.

I guess trial and error comes in here. If you know the area presented and keep track of the time spent, you can better estimate future jobs. It can go either way, you may be overcharging or you may be loosing your but! Time tracking is very important.

Steve

ritchiem
03-19-2009, 05:28 PM
I am working on converting this to a spreadsheet...should have it done in the next day or so

Steve
03-20-2009, 08:42 AM
If you know the area presented and keep track of the time spent, you can better estimate future jobs. It can go either way, you may be overcharging or you may be loosing your but! Time tracking is very important.

So you mean after you do a job, you can review your times and see if you charged enough or not enough based on the time spent? Then at future jobs sites, you will know you may have a tendency to over estimate times for certain jobs while underestimating them for others?