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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

upcharge for out of town customers


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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  #1  
Old 04-24-2009, 05:51 PM
quickcleanlawn
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Default upcharge for out of town customers

Do you guys charge extra for out of town customers if so how much?
I have A customer that is posting publicly on A forum becouse I wanted to charge an extra $10 becouse she is out of town, I explained it is for the inconveniancve of haveing to wait so long to get paid, and the extra time it is going to take for good before and after photos emailed to her., but she is trying to soil my name on A forum that I have been advertising on for years.
Wait let me see if I can show you the conversation.

This is what she posted minuts after I spoke with her on the phone.

> > For those of you living out of town, thought I'd pass on this...
> >
> > I had this company that posted on the Lakeview yahoo group give me an
> > estimate to cut my grass. They asked if I was "in-town" or "out-of-town".
> > Apparently if you are living out of town, they add a $10 up-charge to their
> > service (this was a 29% up-charge on what they would normally have charged
> > me). Supposedly for the convenience of waiting for an out of town check to
> > clear.
> >
> > Just thought I'd pass that on. The lady that called was very polite in
> > explaining why they charge more, and I'm sure would be fine if you were
there
> > locally to oversee them, but just doesn't seem to be very interested and
> > cooperative with homeowners living out of town.
> >
My response
> WOW, shes complaining?
> I would have to wait 5-10 days for the check to come in the mail, and another
5-10 days for my bank to clear it and shes complaining about $10.Honestly
anybody that is going to cut that yard wont touch it for less $45.For my out of
town customer I take before and after photos and I email them to you to show
proof the work was done. So I was giving you A good price either way.But hey, no
hard feelings, If you cant find anyone to do it I'll do it for the $35, If that
is what you would be willing to pay.
> For anyone else that my need some work done, please feel free to give me A
shout. (504)779-3602
> If I am violating any forum rules please eccept my appolegy, I just didn't
want everyone thinking I'm A getover or somthing.
>

Her response

>
> Oh I am so sorry. the lady I spoke to said it would be $35 if I was in town
or $45 if I was out of town. Tha is wha I wasbasng the 29% up-charge for outof
towners. If you are saying it would be $35 for out of town and therefore $25
for in town, that is a great deal at $25 fr locals. Thanks so much for clearing
tha up for everyong..

My latest response and wait for her response.




I think your still confused. I would do it for you for $35, b/c you made it
seem like $45 was to much.the $10 upcharge is simply for before and after photos
and the incoveniance of having to wait almost 20 days before I can get paid.
Although I do some yards for only $25, There are usurally small, unless you
catch my ads for $25 Fridays.(on craigslist)
I am sorry for the confussion and hope we can do buisiness in the future.

Just thought I'd entertain you guys A little.
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2009, 06:34 PM
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Blaine, good to have you back on the forum, you must have taken the winter off.

Your question raises a number of interesting points for discussion. First off, this is a prime example of why I suggest not giving a price until you know as much as possible about the business relationship you are entering. There are often questions on this board about guys advertising prices on their flyers. If you advertise an upfront price, it is difficult to adjust the price upward after you learn more about the situation (like having additional hassle because they are out-of-town).

Secondly, looking at it from the customer's viewpoint, she may be irked because she feels penalized (like a late fee) for having to mail you the check. If she were to make payment prior to your work would that be a solution? Maybe you can present that to her...that you will complete the work only after the check clears. Or, she can paypal the money and you will do the work as soon as the paypal money hits your account.

Honestly, I bet she is agitated at feeling like she's being charged a late fee. I bet you can discover a reasonable solution by being diplomatic with her...she might turn into one of your best customers and give you great word-of-mouth advertising.

Good luck:

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  #3  
Old 04-24-2009, 06:52 PM
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Blaine,

Would it be possible to charge out of town owners up front? Maybe you don't even say it to them like that. Maybe you ask them if they live at that location. Or something like that.

Quote:
the $10 upcharge is simply for before and after photos
and the incoveniance of having to wait almost 20 days before I can get paid.
I do like the way you put it though about dealing with the before and after pictures. If they are not there, it makes more work for you and more work for you means a higher price. I think that is reasonable.

But I have a bad feeling about this potential customer. If she is going to create such a stir over this, I have a bad feeling it's going to continue.

If the yard is not completed to her satisfaction I can see it now "Oh they did a bad job and I want everyone to know."

I might try and avoid this one. She seems to be screaming 'warning I am going to be a problem.'
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  #4  
Old 04-24-2009, 07:11 PM
quickcleanlawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StartALawnCareBusiness View Post
Blaine, good to have you back on the forum, you must have taken the winter off.

Your question raises a number of interesting points for discussion. First off, this is a prime example of why I suggest not giving a price until you know as much as possible about the business relationship you are entering. There are often questions on this board about guys advertising prices on their flyers. If you advertise an upfront price, it is difficult to adjust the price upward after you learn more about the situation (like having additional hassle because they are out-of-town).

Secondly, looking at it from the customer's viewpoint, she may be irked because she feels penalized (like a late fee) for having to mail you the check. If she were to make payment prior to your work would that be a solution? Maybe you can present that to her...that you will complete the work only after the check clears. Or, she can paypal the money and you will do the work as soon as the paypal money hits your account.

Honestly, I bet she is agitated at feeling like she's being charged a late fee. I bet you can discover a reasonable solution by being diplomatic with her...she might turn into one of your best customers and give you great word-of-mouth advertising.

Good luck:

Keith
Lawn Care Business
Hey, Keath hows life trating you?
I used to make out of town customers pay up front, but got alot of complaints that way too.
I can see her agrivation with the penelty, but thats just the way thing are. honestly,I think she was just looking to stir up A mess.I called on site with the estimate, and before I could finnish she hung up, by the time I got home she had already posted on the forum.
I agree with Steve, those are red flags. I meen I offered to do the lawn at the discounted rate, but if you ask me it wouold be trouble to pursue any work from this person. I simply entertained her becouse she posted publicly on A forum I get lots of good customers from.
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
... I might try and avoid this one. She seems to be screaming 'warning I am going to be a problem.'
I agree. Complaining before you even start is just a bad omen. Also, calling someone from 'out of town' can mean she already got dropped by everyone in her town and they won't touch her now.

About her sullying your name online, you could explain that your policies are yours to make or if you want to be nicer state that your prices are always negotiable within reason.
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Last edited by musician/lawnman; 04-24-2009 at 10:25 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-24-2009, 10:22 PM
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I'll be honest man, Yeah, She sounds like trouble so steer clear.

My per cut clients pay at time of service or are invoiced net 15 after the service is done. My monthly clients are invoiced in the middle of each month & due on the 1st for the month to follow. I explain to monthly customers.... If you pay per service & I miss you this week, big deal we'll catch up next week or whatever. If you are monthly I cannot bill after the fact & here's why. When I started I had several customers stick it to me. The signed up in the spring, I cut the lawn 4 times on month #1, Send an invoice net 30, mow 4 more times in month #2 & now the payment for month 1 should be coming in right? but it wasn't here yet? So I figured well thier just a little late, I mowed it for another week or 2 before realizing this jerk is never going to pay! Now I am over-extended 10 wks service. NO MORE, So monthlys pay in advance, I am here, I've lived in this town for 20 years, everybody knows me or my family (well... a lot of em' do) If I were to not show up they can track me down easy, If they skip out It's too hard to track them & can provide refferences. If the client has problems with this.... ask them for refferences, DL#, & the names & numbers of 2 closest relatives.... If they want credit?.... Fill out an application!

As far as waiting for checks for the per cuts, That's business brother!
That's the way it goes. Count on it, there is a pay lag.
I have 3 different property management companies I maintain vacant rentals for, The lag ranges from 2 weeks with one company, to about 120 days with another. Now that is a little extreme, but they told me there was a paper work lag time right from the beggining of our working relationship & they pay a premium for that. But in my opinion, a week or two wouldn't be enough for me to charge extra for. If you paid your employees every 2 weeks, should they get more because they had to wait for the money? Everybody wait's for their money. My accounts recievable is over $10 grand right now. & will be next month, & the month after, & the month after that. You do work, send invoices, & the money (eventually) is coming in as steady as the out going invoices all-be-it with a lag time.
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2009, 10:59 AM
quickcleanlawn
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I dig what your saying Chuck, But your account recievable are normally for comercial properties right? This is just some woman with no credibilty. I have A few comercial properties where I wait 2-3 weeks to get paid becouse there is paper work lag time and such, but I know how to find the client if there is ever A problem. Yeah if she where going to be weekly, and I billed her monthly, I wouldnt bother with any extra charges,but this is for $35 one time not $140 month after month. So I feel its not worth waiting 15-20 days for $35 so I add A $10 up charge. I used to make them pay up front if they live out of town, but alot of people had problems with sending money to me before the work was done,And I dont blame them, so I came up with this as A solution, and it has worked fine until now.
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