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  • New and need advice

    Hello from Oklahoma. I'm just starting out with my lawn care business this year. Fortunately, I still have a full time job in an unrelated field, so I don't have to depend on my lawn care income to pay the bills, though I would love for the lawn care business to eventually become my full time job. So far, I've gotten a few clients through spring clean-up jobs. Everyone has been super happy with my work which has resulted in a couple of referrals. However, the problem I seem to be encountering is that everyone would like to use me for lawn care service, but so far no one wants to commit to weekly or bi-monthly service. They all just want to call me when they think their lawn needs mowing, like every few weeks. Seriously? During the growing season here, most lawns need to be cut at least every two weeks if not every week. Does this just go with the territory when you are first starting out? I figure that through the infrequent nature of cuts, I would need ridiculous amount of clients to ever make any significant money. I've been kind of afraid to pressure people to sign up for weekly or bi-monthly service because I don't want to lose a client being that I have so few. Kind of curious if anyone else has encountered this?

  • #2
    However, the problem I seem to be encountering is that everyone would like to use me for lawn care service, but so far no one wants to commit to weekly or bi-monthly service.
    How is this coming up? Are you walking door to door handing our door hangers and this is the response you are getting or is this response from friends and family?
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    • #3
      I have an ad in the local paper, sign in my yard, and magnets on my truck. First couple of clean-up jobs were from people that saw my ad in paper, while servicing their yards, I was approached by their neighbors that liked the work I had done, and also wanted spring clean-up. So far, only one customer has signed up for bi-monthly service and rest all claim that they plan on calling me for periodic service (basically when they think their grass needs to be mowed).

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      • #4
        Perceived Value

        Cost is what your clients are looking at. Say you charge $30 per service. On an over grown lawn it should equate to that service plus growth.

        When I get to a new client with an over grown lawn I tell them I need to charge them double for this first time for the service. If it's really nasty I belch out a large figure for clean-up of say $350 and watch there jaw drop. Then I will suggest that for $10 more than my regular service, every other week, I can pick at the big stuff over time. So I would charge $40 per service, they feel they have saved $350 and no one can under bid me.

        It's kinda sneaky but in these tough times, people appreciate the installments on what they know is a big job. Now, if doing this, you need to plan your way around there property and be honest about it. give em 15 minutes of cleanup every time. If it's not enough to get ahead of it after a few months hit them for another $10. So many people want something for nothing, remember, you back is worth it's weight in gold.

        This gives you a solid client, looking forward to your next stop and a few cents more per stop then you expected.

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        • #5
          When I get to a new client with an over grown lawn I tell them I need to charge them double for this first time for the service. If it's really nasty I belch out a large figure for clean-up of say $350 and watch there jaw drop. Then I will suggest that for $10 more than my regular service, every other week, I can pick at the big stuff over time. So I would charge $40 per service, they feel they have saved $350 and no one can under bid me.
          So for overgrown lawns that are not too bad, you charge double for the first mow but you also offer them the option of not having to pay double the first mow if you can bill them a little more per cut throughout the year? Or does that only apply if the yard is really nasty?

          Also how do you get them to want weekly service instead of bi-weekly or whenever they want to call you?
          - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
          Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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          • #6
            So for overgrown lawns that are not too bad, you charge double for the first mow but you also offer them the option of not having to pay double the first mow if you can bill them a little more per cut throughout the year? Or does that only apply if the yard is really nasty?

            Also how do you get them to want weekly service instead of bi-weekly or whenever they want to call you?
            When they want to call me is easy, I charge double to discourage that. Reasoning to the client that it costs me in office time, scheduling headaches and based on the condition of the property when I get there will be the final charge decision. I want to discourage unscheduled stops at all cost, even if it means the account. The head ache alone will cost you a couple Advil $$.

            As for double, that means a $30 lawn will be $60 the first time, no payments on that. It's just to get the yard under control to be a $30 lawn.

            No, I mean car parts and big hauls, trailer loads and such. That's when you hit them with the big bill. Define it to them in terms of extra man power, time, equipment (trailer and such). Let them know that they would be paying for all that.

            Now, there is always some *** that will dump the garbage in local dumpsters or off the highway and will charge allot less. I just bid a $350 job and the client said I was just quoted $170 for it. Instead of lowering my bid, I increased my bi-weekly fee to $45 per service. "I will pick at it over time. It's going to take me a year of throwing crap in the back of my truck and I won't be letting go of that $45 per service when it's clean.

            By that time she will see the quality of my service and won't care. Sell yourself, provide quality and you will have loyalty.

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            • #7
              When they want to call me is easy, I charge double to discourage that. Reasoning to the client that it costs me in office time, scheduling headaches and based on the condition of the property when I get there will be the final charge decision. I want to discourage unscheduled stops at all cost, even if it means the account. The head ache alone will cost you a couple Advil $$..
              So when you say you charge them double, is that based off of what you have priced them before for regularly scheduled service? Do they know they are being charged double and the reason why, or are you just giving them a high quote?
              I like the idea of charging higher or double for non-regularly occurring service, however, where I'm located, I think the competition is too great to be able to do that. Right now, I'm a little discouraged, because I've been losing out on some bids because of price. On the last job I bid, I bid it lower than I normally would because I was trying to gauge where the price floor is in our area, an evidently I still came in too high. I mean, there is just no possible way I could cut it for less and have it pay for my time. I'm really trying to market myself as a high quality, dependable, and professional service.

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              • #8
                So when you say you charge them double, is that based off of what you have priced them before for regularly scheduled service? Do they know they are being charged double and the reason why, or are you just giving them a high quote?
                I like the idea of charging higher or double for non-regularly occurring service, however, where I'm located, I think the competition is too great to be able to do that. Right now, I'm a little discouraged, because I've been losing out on some bids because of price. On the last job I bid, I bid it lower than I normally would because I was trying to gauge where the price floor is in our area, an evidently I still came in too high. I mean, there is just no possible way I could cut it for less and have it pay for my time. I'm really trying to market myself as a high quality, dependable, and professional service.
                I quote a price for weekly, bi-weekly and monthly services, depending on what they want. If they tell me that we will go as an as needed basis, I make it clear that there service will be priced as to the conditions of the property when I get there (usually double the quote to discourage this behavior). I tell them that the quote is a minimum fee for me coming out and they will be notified by phone of the actual price when I get there. If they don't agree to the price when I get there? I send them a bill for the quoted price and don't do anything. The bill is for the stop, time wasted. If they don't pay it? I just lost a bad client that I didn't want anyways.

                Now, I want the double stop so I stress to them that 2 stops on a regular schedule would be the same but they would always have a nicely manicured lawn. This time, it's over grown and I will have to charge you (whatever is double).

                You have to do the lawn the first time to show them your quality. After that? it's unscheduled and you don't want them.

                Okay, so tell yourself you don't want the non-regular customer. They are a hassle to deal with and do cost you more. Time in scheduling, time in making that unprepared (sometimes out of the way) stop.
                ******** (I'm a bit long winded, lol)
                When dealing with the low ballers, ask if the competition is insured (customer may be responsible), if they are disposing of there waste properly (customer may be responsible), do they guarantee there work (customer is responsible)? Stress your knowledge and quality of your work. If after all that? they still want the low ball price? Wish them luck, hand them a business card and tell them when you need it done properly to give you a call.

                If your just looking for a job to do, then low ball them and make peace with it. Either way your going to have to make peace with it. Have 10 customers at $50 a stop or 50 customers at $10 a stop. Same money but greatly different time spent and effort.

                I hope I covered everything! Good luck and stick to your gunns!

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the response, very informative. I'm definitely going to stick to my guns.

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