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Blades & Spades
02-05-2006, 09:07 AM
Please imagine a THEORETICAL operation..

21" Mow-Blow-Go
Utility Grass: Bent, Fescue, Rye mix
Small plots - 20 minutes In and Out
Tight routes

Challenges: Limitations of Single Operator : RAIN

QUESTION: Is it better to have x number of weekly clients or would 2x number of bi-weekly clients provide....
- Higher Price per cut
- Increased market due to perceived value of lower annual prices.
- Lower risks for "catching up" after periods of rain.

I know there are many other considerations...alternative business concepts, wear on operator and machines, mower sizes etc.....but I am just looking at one aspect of it, and really would appreciate any feedback from those who have tried it or considered trying it.

For the record, I am moving back from France to England this year, where it rains a bit more..hence the question.

Precision
02-05-2006, 09:49 AM
Please imagine a THEORETICAL operation..

21" Mow-Blow-Go
Utility Grass: Bent, Fescue, Rye mix
Small plots - 20 minutes In and Out
Tight routes

Challenges: Limitations of Single Operator : RAIN

QUESTION: Is it better to have x number of weekly clients or would 2x number of bi-weekly clients provide....
- Higher Price per cut
- Increased market due to perceived value of lower annual prices.
- Lower risks for "catching up" after periods of rain.

I know there are many other considerations...alternative business concepts, wear on operator and machines, mower sizes etc.....but I am just looking at one aspect of it, and really would appreciate any feedback from those who have tried it or considered trying it.

For the record, I am moving back from France to England this year, where it rains a bit more..hence the question.


weekly clients are always better than bi-weekly.
the extra money made on bi-weekly rarely covers the extra time / cost.

Weekly clients usually care, bi-weekly usually are cheap cheap cheap
Weekly clients have lower turn over (assuming you are doing a good job)

With bi weekly, you will not have higher market share, unless the area is full of cheap SOB's. You will be percieved by them as a sucker and by the quality clients as a subpar performer.

My 2 pence.

The Ranger
02-05-2006, 10:36 AM
mathamatical equatioin is;
less customer x higher number of cutting services per month = more money and less work
same customers x less services = less money and more work

Blades & Spades
02-05-2006, 12:31 PM
Many thanks for the replies, Precision and Ranger, and the good advice. It makes good sense.

How about Rain, please?
Would one full week of rain result in lost cuts (and income) if only serving weekly clients, or could a percentage mix of bi-weekly (with the disadvantages you already stated) give a chance to still do the bi-weekly cuts later and offset the loss?

6'7 330
02-05-2006, 12:42 PM
Many thanks for the replies, Precision and Ranger, and the good advice. It makes good sense.

How about Rain, please?
Would one full week of rain result in lost cuts (and income) if only serving weekly clients, or could a percentage mix of bi-weekly (with the disadvantages you already stated) give a chance to still do the bi-weekly cuts later and offset the loss?

No per cut period-get them on yearly contacts, figure out x amount of cuts in your cutting season divided by 12 months.

Blades & Spades
02-05-2006, 01:19 PM
Thank you 6'7 330. Good advice.

Do you state in your contracts how many cuts a year?
If so, and you can't do the contractual amount because of prolonged rain how do you handle it so you don't lose out....more frequent cuts, extended season (difficult), compensate with other services...... ?

Precision
02-05-2006, 02:01 PM
No per cut period-get them on yearly contacts, figure out x amount of cuts in your cutting season divided by 12 months.

Exactly. Charging by the cut isn't a smart idea especially if weather is such an issue.

Only thing I would change, is divide by the number of months you are actually on the property. If you season is 8 months then divide by 8. In Florida, we are blessed / cursed with a 12 month season.

Precision
02-05-2006, 02:07 PM
Thank you 6'7 330. Good advice.

Do you state in your contracts how many cuts a year?
If so, and you can't do the contractual amount because of prolonged rain how do you handle it so you don't lose out....more frequent cuts, extended season (difficult), compensate with other services...... ?

My contract states (a little prettier)

roughly 42 cuts per season.

april - nov weekly cutting
Nov -April bi-weekly cutting

Precision Lawncare is not responsible for acts of God that prohibit us from maintaining the normal schedule.

we rarely (once) in the last 2 years had to completely skip a week. Hurricane, mandatory evacuation for 3 days and 2 days of 3+ inches of rain before. Not one customer complaint.

be up front with them, tell them how you do business and explain that when it is raining like crazy it pushes back the entire schedule.

"Now understand, that this rarely happens, but if we have to skip you for an entire week due to weather, don't worry, we don't charge double for the double work. It is already figured into the monthly payment."

Blades & Spades
02-05-2006, 03:12 PM
"Now understand, that this rarely happens, but if we have to skip you for an entire week due to weather, don't worry, we don't charge double for the double work. It is already figured into the monthly payment."

Thank you Precision. Thats exactly the kind of answer I was looking for.
I've thought (and searched) for how to deal with rain without losing income.

"Annual Contracts and Carefully-worded Honesty" That seems to be the way.

Many thanks Precision, Ranger and 6'7 330 for pointing me in the right direction.

LwnmwrMan22
02-05-2006, 03:23 PM
We do our "agreements" the same way as Precision.

People have to realize that if there's a week or rain, you're either going to double cut or bag the grass the following week, but they're not getting charged extra for it.

That's how you've got to sell it.

Blades & Spades
02-05-2006, 03:48 PM
Hi Lawnmwrman22, and thanks.
May I ask you...
Do you use other methods to make them realise in addition to contracts/agreements and in conversation?
Perhaps by putting it in your Marketing material, Flyers, Doorhangers etc.?

I can see they would have to realise and fully understand the terms before even considering them as a client.

LwnmwrMan22
02-05-2006, 05:11 PM
Hi Lawnmwrman22, and thanks.
May I ask you...
Do you use other methods to make them realise in addition to contracts/agreements and in conversation?
Perhaps by putting it in your Marketing material, Flyers, Doorhangers etc.?

I can see they would have to realise and fully understand the terms before even considering them as a client.


No, I just tell them 2-3 times when quoting them. I don't have any marketing material, flyers, doorhangers.

I just explain to them that it's a flat fee, so they can budget each month.

Where I'm at, we have about 24-26 weeks of mowing. Some guys run 7 month "agreements", some guys run 6 month "agreements".

I run 6 month, from May through October. I tried 7 month, but usually we don't get started until the end of April, and I send all my invoices out at the beginning of the month, for that months' work.

This way, when I send the first invoice for the first installment, usually I've already been there and done a spring clean-up and put down pre-emergent for the crabgrass, so my customers can feel like they owe me money.

YardPro
02-05-2006, 05:27 PM
we charge at least $5 more for a biweekly. most are an extra $10.00 for a bi weekly..

bobbygedd
02-05-2006, 05:53 PM
i know of no PROFESSIONAL services, that offer biweekly

6'7 330
02-05-2006, 06:20 PM
I base on the our average number of cuts .98% of our residentials are full service accounts,fert/weed control, spring/fall cleanup, fall leaves, bush trimming, etc. I also make sure the customer understands, that any other service like renovations and landscape installs, are completely different services and will be invoiced as such.

Blades & Spades
02-05-2006, 06:30 PM
Hi bobbygedd,
I've followed your posts for a couple of years now, always taking you seriously, and I'm honoured that you've replied.
I agree with your comment.

I was just exploring how to guard against lost income on weekly cuts if it rains for a week.
It crossed my mind that only half the customers would be affected if they were bi-weeklies.
I know that is over-simplifying reality, but it was just a thought.
As I said earlier, I know there's many other considerations that would make it impractical.

The replies so far have convinced me....
Good Honest Service is still the way to go.
Promoting customer confidence to a level where they will sign an annual agreement protects against the rain issue.

Does it work for you?

Blades & Spades
02-05-2006, 06:42 PM
Sorry, I should have said "good honest WEEKLY service".

What about the "JustMowit" operations, who I equally admire, where the service is less personal.
Would a one week period of rain result in lost income, or do you have it covered by contracts.
What do you do if you can't provide the contracted number of seasonal cuts due to the weather?

LwnmwrMan22
02-05-2006, 07:03 PM
Sorry, I should have said "good honest WEEKLY service".

What about the "JustMowit" operations, who I equally admire, where the service is less personal.
Would a one week period of rain result in lost income, or do you have it covered by contracts.
What do you do if you can't provide the contracted number of seasonal cuts due to the weather?


You have to sell the service, not an exact number of cuts.

6'7 330
02-05-2006, 07:12 PM
Sorry, I should have said "good honest WEEKLY service".

What about the "JustMowit" operations, who I equally admire, where the service is less personal.
Would a one week period of rain result in lost income, or do you have it covered by contracts.
What do you do if you can't provide the contracted number of seasonal cuts due to the weather?

Blades,

It is my understanding justmowit is basically a mow only service, maybe bush trimming.They are doing volume business.It is my understanding they charge per cut.

Howard Roark
02-05-2006, 10:03 PM
There's plenty of money to be made with Bi-weekly service, provide YOU set up the guidelines and rules.

I know a few professionals who do quite well with Bi-weekly accounts. These same people don't stress out about every little thing in their day, and play by their own rules, not the customer's. Remember to look for the niche.

I should add these people are mowing only operations. If you're dumping fert and encouraging watering on your bi-weekly's you're planning your own demise.

Blades & Spades
02-06-2006, 06:43 AM
Gentlemen,
I wish to thank each and every one of you for your replies.
Every reply contained good advice.
My questions have certainly been answered, and in addition you have given me plenty to think about.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences. I hope I can find ways to do the same for others.