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premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 04:27 PM
Do you charge by the month or by the cut?

What's more profitable? and Why?

grassyfras
10-01-2005, 05:48 PM
mostly by the month. Less complaints never miss a cut therefore more profitable and easier to manage. Also I dont consider it a per month price its a yearly price $810 for a typical lawn for the year. At $25 it would be $750 for the year, but I like 810 a year. This also is only 90 bucks per month.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 05:52 PM
Thanks. Do you ever get calls from clients that you did not cut enough?

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 05:53 PM
And how come less complaints?

ed2hess
10-01-2005, 06:21 PM
One reason for having less problems with monthly is that people don't get as confused about whether they have missed June(for example). When you are chasing individual mowing payments eventually people get confused and you spend a lot of time sorting things out. This assumes that most people don't pay on time, which is usually the case.

cborden
10-01-2005, 07:05 PM
I charge by the cut. I've looked into a flat price per month, but from the response I've gotten, I think it's an idea better left alone, in this area (central Indiana). I have some customers that we cut every three days in the spring and in the fall, about half of mine got cut twice last week. Also I'm strictly a mowing contractor, so for me it's better off to just bill per cut at the end of the month. This is what works for me.

Precision
10-01-2005, 07:06 PM
Monthly.

when you go with per cut, people try to say you didn't cut, or you skipped me, or I want you to skip me or some other kind of crap. When they pay a flat rate, then you never hear them saying please skip me and rarely hear them complain when you do if the grass isn't growing.

It also has to do with your ability to sell. Sell the fact that it allows for easy budgeting, that you don't charge more in spring and less in winter so they will never have a $200 bill for spring surge, despite knowing that is what should be paid. The easier months balance out the more difficult ones and makes everyones cash flow easier.

I rarely even have to go into it. Just tell them as part of the contract review, I charge monthly paid in advance. $120 for cutting your yard so you will be writing 12 equal payments. then I cover the mow schedule and that it is about 42 mow weekly in season and EOW in slow season.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 07:32 PM
Well i guess every area is different. I am in Florida. I estimate 36 cuts a year for the average customer. But I have other things I cut hedges (big ones) about 4 to 8 times a year, palms, light tree trimming, fertilzation, weed and feed, small landscape jobs.

Would it be good to set a monthly price based on 36 cuts then bill forthe extras. Or I had an idea to make a package deal with everything included.

What do you think?

denco5
10-01-2005, 07:55 PM
I am in Florida as well and I think your 36 cuts a year is low, we figure 40-42 cuts a year. There are a couple months a year when you will cut a customer 5 times in a month

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 07:59 PM
how often do you cut now?

do you stay on a 8 or 9 day schedual all year? or is it 7 days in the summer and 12 in Jan -Mar.

Do you bill by the month or by the cut.

I charge by the cut and bill monthly.

ProLawns
10-01-2005, 08:00 PM
I bill at the end of the month for services performed for that month. Real simple.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 08:14 PM
I do the same. But I guess I am not cutting enough. How often do you cut Jan - Mar. ? and the rest of the year?. Thanks for the info. :)

Precision
10-01-2005, 08:15 PM
how often do you cut now?

do you stay on a 8 or 9 day schedual all year? or is it 7 days in the summer and 12 in Jan -Mar.

Do you bill by the month or by the cut.

I charge by the cut and bill monthly.

no offense, but that is crazy. Why deal with all that extra paperwork? sure some months you cut 5 times and its really high, but in the winter sometimes you cut once and only because you feel bad and your already there so why not. My clients all understand that, but I coach them on it and send out slow season letters reminding them of the switch to EOW service and a gentle reminder that it is the perfect time to get me to mulch or install or resod for them. Makes them feel good and I always drum up some extra business.

the basics of my contract

basic lawncare - mow,edge, line trim, blow $xxx.xx per month +/- 42 cuts per year

ornamental trimming - trimming of all hedges and ornamentals that do not require lift equipment (ladder) as needed. $xxx.xx per month

weed control - in bed areas, weeds will be kept to a minimum using chemicals $xxx.xx per month

fertilization - 4 applications of seasonally appropriate fertilizer to include turf weed and pest control $xxx.xx per month

irrigation maintenance - quarterly checks of system and adjustments for pattern coverage and labor cost on head repair or replacement $xxx.xx per month.

mulch - twice yearly mulching of bed areas (mar & Nov) $xxx.xx per month or $xxx.xx paid in advance.

8% discount if they get all services.

That way you cut when needed, trim when needed, spray when needed, fertilize when needed, mulch in the slow season.

I do almost all my trimming on the same visit as the mowing. hitting 1/4 of clients on each visit. Some plants require more frequency than monthly, but I almost never have more trimmings than the bed of my truck can hold. I sub out fert aps, so no extra trips there and the two extra trips for mulching are no big deal. Helps to keep the guys busy on down weeks.

denco5
10-01-2005, 08:16 PM
I charge by the month. I figure what I think the yard is worth to cut it, times it by 40 or 42 and then divide by 12 (months). I get the same amount each month all year long. I keep a steady income that way all thru the winter. My schedule is usuall weekly cuts April 1st thru October 31st and biweekly cuts November 1st thru March 31st. I get anywhere from 75 to 90 a month and it seems to work well for both sides.

Precision
10-01-2005, 08:19 PM
how often do you cut now?

do you stay on a 8 or 9 day schedual all year? or is it 7 days in the summer and 12 in Jan -Mar.

Do you bill by the month or by the cut.

I charge by the cut and bill monthly.


oops forgot to answer your question

7 day cycle april - Nov

14 day cycle Nov - April

when it switches depends on the grass.

I also charge in advance for the month. Just get a check when they sign up and it will be no big deal. they will always be paid ahead and it will most often never occur to them. For any that question, I say it is just like your cable bill. I also keep the money if they give less than 30 days notice on cancelation. Payment for creating down time for me. Also service is suspended when 14 days late. If not made current I keep the other 2 weeks worth as severance pay. all in the contract.

Precision
10-01-2005, 08:21 PM
I charge by the month. I figure what I think the yard is worth to cut it, times it by 40 or 42 and then divide by 12 (months). I get the same amount each month all year long. I keep a steady income that way all thru the winter. My schedule is usuall weekly cuts April 1st thru October 31st and biweekly cuts November 1st thru March 31st. I get anywhere from 75 to 90 a month and it seems to work well for both sides.

good plan, I do my cuts the same way, more or less.

But I get $85 as a minimum for service and upto $120 on 1/4 acre depending on obstacles and terrain. (for basic service) I have one full service yard at $265 monthly for a 1/4 acre.

ProLawns
10-01-2005, 08:25 PM
I do the same. But I guess I am not cutting enough. How often do you cut Jan - Mar. ? and the rest of the year?. Thanks for the info.
The grass doesn't grow much in Va. Beach during Jan. and Feb. so I take a well deserved vacation. Usually an odd job or two will come up but I make sure I have enough money put aside to cover those months.

denco5
10-01-2005, 08:26 PM
I think the plan works well. I often get frustrated in the summer when it is hot and feel I am not charging enough, then the winter rolls around and it all works itself out. Most people like the payment to remain the same each month. I do make stops on my off week in the winer and blow off the driveways. Seems if they see you stop by they have no problem paying.

ProLawns
10-01-2005, 08:32 PM
Billing the same each month wouldn't work for me because of all the extra services I provide that varies from month to month.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 08:37 PM
Hey Precision, Any chance I can get a copy of your contract? Thanks in advance. This website is awesome. Also I just ordered clip.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 08:44 PM
When would be a good time of the year for me to put them on monthly contracts. April? Also, I just bought this business , 100 accounts, 2 months ago. No one cancelled because of me. 7 cancelled during the transition because they were unhappy or going to cut it themselves.

Also, He was including alot of things that he should have been charging extra for. I am making about $50 an hour so I can't complain. My first contract will be close to the same price. Some will be raised. Then after 1 year service I will evaluate using clip to see my profit.

So, again my question was when would be a good time of the year for me to put them on monthly contracts. And if anyone can email me a copy of a contract they use I will be very grateful. premierlawncare@hotmail.com

Oh by the way, I am having a great time in the business. I lost 10lbs. and feel good.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 08:47 PM
Prolawns. You could bill monthly for annual cuts, then bill for extras each month or when performed.

ex. $90 a month + $75 leaf clean up or $75 Hedge trimming.

Sky King
10-01-2005, 09:08 PM
What's to keep them from cancelling in the winter??

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 09:11 PM
Yeah, thats what I was thinking too

Envy Lawn Service
10-01-2005, 09:50 PM
All mowing services are fixed seasonal rate agreements.
Anything less is absurd. Period.

I collect the first installment of the payment agreement in advance at signing.
Then each additional installment in advance.

I'm not a lawnboy, I own/operate a business servicing lawns.
Therefore, I am also a lawn service, not a loan service.

grassyfras
10-01-2005, 10:00 PM
I bill for 9 months so they can't cancel durring winter. Begining of the year is best time to have them sign up. I do extras too for these people all the time and that does'nt effect a thing they just get billed extra that month for anything EXTRA they asked for. I never had them pay in advance for the month but I would do that for future clients and next year if I was staying in lawn care.

Why less complaints? 1 person told me to cut it shorter this year thats not bad at all for me. No one ever complains if I cut it when it doesn't need it -makes schedualling tons easier. I would never operate a lawn service by per cut again. I don't use a contract so i can't give you a contract. I never had problems since. If somone does cancell I can look up how many times I've estimated cutting them and go from there. This hasn't happend yet inless they movie. I lost one customer after the first year of doing this becuase he said he "didnt agre with my billing system" He was no lost to me beucase.....................PITA you got it. Make real money and charge fixed yearly pricing. You may just realize some lawns can be cut EOW and you can still get paid weekly for them$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

grassyfras
10-01-2005, 10:00 PM
OH ya if there late paying for the month Guess what???????????????????? SKIP and send bill as normal. Instant late charge of the price of one cut per week. ITs great.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 10:19 PM
I really want to thank you guys. This is awesome info. You guys are tough and that is the way you have to be. Oh , i did a search and got Precision lawncare's contract.

Keep up the good work.

I't feels good to have balls.
:cool:

Envy Lawn Service
10-01-2005, 10:33 PM
Yeah, but everyone doing this type of agreement should have a signed contract.


Oh, and yeah, once in a while I will get one on 12-pay that thinks they are "so smart" and attempts to cancel service or stop payment in the winter months when they don't need me so badly. Really dumb move on their part since I haven nothing better to do in the winter than to squeeze the money out of them by any means necessary.

By that time of year, I have always already executed 100% of my obligation in the contract.... 100% of the work complete = 100% of entire contract due.... no backing out.... leaving them without a leg to stand on.... cut and dried.

What really amuses me is the fact that this never occurs to them until you bring it to their attention at some point in the collections process... even though they thought they were "so smart".... What a riot. Once you bring this to their attention, they pay up.

premierlawncare
10-01-2005, 10:44 PM
I really want to thank you guys. This is awesome info. You guys are tough and that is the way you have to be. Oh , i did a search and got Precision lawncare's contract.

Keep up the good work.

I't feels good to have balls.
:cool:

Envy Lawn Service
10-01-2005, 10:46 PM
I really want to thank you guys. This is awesome info. You guys are tough and that is the way you have to be. Oh , i did a search and got Precision lawncare's contract.

Keep up the good work.

It feels good to have balls.
:cool:

D@mn right it does!!!!
Everything will feel better, including your wallet.

You have to be really brave to implement this as a "my way or the highway" policy and adhear to it. You'll fear you'll loose everything you have... but you won't if you are a worthy business and if you have any decent customers.

But don't be mislead... all your penny pinching PITA customers will drop you like a red hot ember. This process just keeps the honest people honest, including you, and simplifies your operation into something YOU manage.... while it rules out PITA's from the get-go. Anyone who will not sign on the dotted line and make a commitment equal to yours is not the kind of customer a professional lawn service and business man needs to do business with. Period.

olderthandirt
10-01-2005, 11:01 PM
I get payed monthly for the # of cuts that month. I have a contract and all sign it. The reason for the contract is it states when I will get payed and it has a 14 day cancelation notice with all monies due immediatly. I hate cutting and after I get the extra $$$ from mulch spring clean ups etc. it don't take much to become a pita in my eyes. With my contract set up the way I want it I can cancel anyone ay any time and be paid immediatly. So what to stop someone from cancelling me ? Nothing but I've all ready taken the easy money and the customers knows it. So it me cancelling them when I'm tired of any crap they decide to give out or my route changes or for any reason I feel like it. But my main business is not maintenece so I would not recommend doing as I do if your a cutter.

PMLAWN
10-02-2005, 05:55 AM
Most of mine are monthly contract. Covers maintenance, lawn care, shrub trimming, and leaves. Full year divided by 12. Same price each month.
We cut about 38 times and into Dec and start again in Feb. but we visit property all year and maintain.
Most of my customers (lots of commercial) expect it that way.

ProLawns
10-02-2005, 08:47 AM
Again my work varies so much from lawn to lawn and from month to month. Some crappy lawns I stop mowing first of Nov. others with leaves and decent turf I'm there till christmas. Plus some months have four mowings, some have five and if it gets dry I skip a week on some. There's no way to predict the year in advance and devide by twelve for equal payments. I have for the fertilization program given the option of equal payments over ten months only because I know what apps. I will be doing during the season. Otherwise I find it best to bill at the end of the month for the services performed for that month. I've only had a few late payers and they are gone, and have only been stiffed about $200 in fourteen years. The only contract I have is with one commercial account. I have a good relationship with all my customers and new accounts I get are from word of mouth I come highly recommended from my customers and they wouldn't consider not paying. I do good work, charge a fair price and have developed my on little niche. Yes if you're aggressively trying to grow your business and your getting new customers frequently that you or your current clientel doesn't know I would agree that some type of signed contract is needed, but with an established long term customer base it's not required. It all depends on your business goals.

PMLAWN
10-02-2005, 09:31 AM
Billing the same each month wouldn't work for me because of all the extra services I provide that varies from month to month.
This post and the last one say about the same thing that the work varies each month. Still after a few years you know what you will be doing at each property and should have a plan for the year. As far as dry lawns, we still trim and edge, pick up debris, and manicure the grounds. we always stop each week. We also stop every other week Dec and Jan.
It is very easy for us to predict the year and that is all written out in the scope of work that each contract has attached. Have never had a customer cancel mid term unless they were moving. And that is just homeowners as most of the businesses will not move.
Now we do provide "enhancement" service that will be an add on. (this is not seasonal color as that is part of main contract)
Some of our HOA's need weekly visits all year because we change out the dog waste cans and take the garbage out of the common area cans. But again all in the scope of work and PAID for.

bblouie
10-03-2005, 02:39 AM
You monthly guys might be missing some money vs. by the cut...there are months that you get an extra cut in. For example, in 2005 the months of Jan, May, Aug and Oct have 5 Mondays. So, if you cut 20 lawns at $35 each on Mondays, you gross an extra $3500/yr...on Monday alone!!

PMLAWN
10-03-2005, 06:53 AM
You monthly guys might be missing some money vs. by the cut...there are months that you get an extra cut in. For example, in 2005 the months of Jan, May, Aug and Oct have 5 Mondays. So, if you cut 20 lawns at $35 each on Mondays, you gross an extra $3500/yr...on Monday alone!!
I believe you are missing the point.
We are not billing for a month of work. The number of days in a month have nothing to do with anything. We know what is being done for the whole year and we charge for it all. We just divide it into 12 equal payments. Than send bills out on the 1st of the month.

Your house payment does not change every month or your rent even though you are borrowing the money or using the apt. for a different # of days.
Or if a person gets paid a salary the bi weekly check is the same no matter what month it is.

Precision
10-03-2005, 01:23 PM
You monthly guys might be missing some money vs. by the cut...there are months that you get an extra cut in. For example, in 2005 the months of Jan, May, Aug and Oct have 5 Mondays. So, if you cut 20 lawns at $35 each on Mondays, you gross an extra $3500/yr...on Monday
alone!!

No, you are missing the point of monthly contracts. figure out your number of cuts provided yearly multiply by price per cut then divide by number of payments.

Here: 42 cuts x $30 cut = $1260 / 12 months = $105 monthly

Now how did I leave money on the table?

What I did is balance out my cash flow and allow myself the ability to INCREASE my income in the winter months when I go EOW. I get paid the asme for grass cutting, but can do mulching, clean ups or whatever without incurring any overtime for my employees.

Precision
10-03-2005, 01:27 PM
What's to keep them from cancelling in the winter??

a couple of things. One in my contract they have paid a month in advance and if they cancel I keep that prepay. Nice to get paid to find out someone is a dirtbag.

Self confidence when bidding. I don't accept people or accounts that are sketchy. If the yard will not need service in the winter, I don't want it in the summer and price my bid accordingly. 30-50% above the market.


Bottom line is if you are going after good clients you will have very few who try to duck out in the winter. If you are bidding on price alone and taking the accounts that others don't want, then you will have a lot more trouble.

bblouie
10-04-2005, 07:07 AM
That's why I made sure to write "might".

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 08:01 AM
That's why I made sure to write "might".
No problem, just making sure you understand so you don't leave money behind. That would not be good.

Precision
10-04-2005, 09:22 AM
No problem, just making sure you understand so you don't leave money behind. That would not be good.

Yup, obviously there are different ways to do this, but with a well thought out monthly plan you can remove a lot of the time involved with invoicing, and perhaps even make more money.