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Lawn-Scapes
08-05-2001, 11:03 PM
Hey all,

I would like to add more services as a package deal to the customer... but am unsure as to what to add to the package. Or whether or not it is a good idea to add these services into a total package price and then offer a monthly price. I mean, a lawn and landscape maintenance (w/o fert. program) package makes sense because it is all basically labor charges. When you have mulching, fertilizer, top dressing, core aerating, etc. Would you offer these 'extras' as part of a package deal and devide the costs into a monthly payment plan? Why or why not? Would you offer a package discount... how much?

Thanks!

kutnkru
08-06-2001, 12:01 AM
Here is basically how we breakdown our services for our clients:

LAWN PROGRAM
[...] Pesticide Applications
[...] Fertilizer Only
[...] Lime Application
[...] Grub Control

MAINTENANCE PROGRAM
[...] Power Rake/Dethatching
[...] Mow and Trim
[...] Lawn Aeration
[...] Overseeding

PRUNING and SHEARING
[...] Beds Raked Clean of Debris
[...] Beds Vacuumed

SEASONAL
[...] Spring Clean-Up
[...] Fall Clean-Up
[...] Mulching
[...] Weeding

What we do is after discussing the advantages of these services with our client and they have checked off which ones they want we divide the total cost by our work season (8 Months).

What this will do is guarantee us as LCOs a steady monthly income, and also "pre-set" our work schedules for us. If we know that we are going to be booked solid with Fall Over-Seedings, then we know enough not to push for extra Fall services such as shearing or additional mulching jobs.

As for the DISCOUNT if they are going to Pre-Pay for the entire season I would think that a 5-10% discount would be sufficient. :D Many in past discussions have leaned more towards the 5% end of the table.

Hope this helps.
Kris

HBFOXJr
08-06-2001, 07:50 AM
I have done basically the same thing over many years, but found in recent years, the residential market looking at that big number did not always work well. Nickel, dime was easier to swallow. Sell them the service but don't bundle the prices.

When I bundled prices, residential or commercial, I got a downpayment of 10-25% and payments of 8-10 months usually ending in a December billing.

The downpayment was at least the value of the spring clean up and mulching. First monthly billing is now always March 1 and last one is Nov 1, even though the contract is open and work is being performed through Dec.

It is important that a prominent statement to the effect that the monthly billings are not tied to actual work performed in a given month but are a simple division of the annual price.

Your must also have a clear and fair cancellation agreement and must maintain excellent work records in case a cancellation for any reason occurs.

lawrence stone
08-06-2001, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by HBFOXJr
I have done basically the same thing over many years, but found in recent years, the residential market looking at that big number did not always work well. Nickel, dime was easier to swallow. Sell them the service but don't bundle the prices.



Great post HBF!!!

Do not add the total yearly price on your proposal. This might scare some away. Let them do the math.

You have a good idea there about collecting all the spring services up front at 20-25% of total job.

This way you can give them an easy out of the contract will little or no penalty. You could then give yourself an out with the statement either party may cancel with a 30 day written notice. Since you got your money let them go by the wayside.

By mowing (double cutting w/doubles) 7-10 days from start of leaf drop until Thanksgiving I do not remove any leaves, which makes my seasonal services less than those who remove leaves.

Finecut
08-06-2001, 02:26 PM
Stone,

Your doing twice the work for the cost of mowing? If your charging $60.00 per hour and double cut...your now charging $30.00 dollars per hour? I suspect that we're talking about 20% of your mowing season? Are you also cleaning out behind bushes and cleaning off patios, sidewalks, driveways, flower beds and other mulched areas, for no pay?

LoneStarLawn
08-06-2001, 02:43 PM
He didn't say he didn't charge them for the double cut...he is just stating that he actually doesn't remove the leaves...he just mulches them. With this he can charge a little less for fall cleanup and do it alot quicker..giving more time for other services to other customers.

bubble boy
08-06-2001, 02:49 PM
maybe he doesn't charge for two cuts. he is already there (no drive time) and the second cut, no trimming or border, just stripe it.

Finecut
08-06-2001, 06:37 PM
Stone,

Do you charge twice as much when you double cut?

kutnkru
08-06-2001, 06:49 PM
We keep accurate records throughout the season as to how long services take to perform, and we are able to price for fall clean-ups accordingly.

Hope this helps.
Kris

lawrence stone
08-06-2001, 06:50 PM
Originally posted by Finecut
Stone,

Do you charge twice as much when you double cut?

At least!! You have to figure in at least one triple cut also at the time of the "big" leaf drop.

You don't have to trim every time that late in the season. That's a push for the few mins. you would be using a hand blower in the landscape beds.

By the time of Nov 20 after a few heavy rains you will be hard pressed to find any big leaf parts left in the turf.

To help the breakdown of all the leaf bits I apply 32-5-7 with 25% Poly coated at a rate of 1/2lb of N at my last visit of the season.
This also keeps the turf green all winter long.

kutnkru
08-06-2001, 06:58 PM
Im just askin so please dont rip me a new one Stone. :confused:

Isnt the Fall Application suppose to have the higher p and k so that it helps in the root development for the next season???

Or is this attained thru the decomposition of the leaves???

Thanks.
Kris

lawrence stone
08-06-2001, 07:15 PM
Originally posted by kutnkru


Isnt the Fall Application suppose to have the higher p and k so that it helps in the root development for the next season???

Or is this attained thru the decomposition of the leaves???



Agronomy is not exact science. I do what gives the best appearance at the lowest possible cost of material. In fact next year I will be down to 1 1/2 lbs. of dino fertilizer in 3 apps for the
entire year. Two apps of top dressed compost are in between.

You don't have to put a lot of compost down. You are using the compost to add organic matter to the soil, green up the turf, and to keep leaf growth in check so you can mow every 10 days vs. 7. Less mowing means more profits when on the budget plan.

Of course you need to core aerate 3-4 times and tine rake twice a season to get professional results with such little material.

kutnkru
08-06-2001, 07:21 PM
Thank You for the insight.

Kris

HBFOXJr
08-07-2001, 07:08 AM
Originally posted by lawrence stone


Agronomy is not exact science. I do what gives the best appearance at the lowest possible cost of material. In fact next year I will be down to 1 1/2 lbs. of dino fertilizer in 3 apps for the
entire year. Two apps of top dressed compost are in between.

You don't have to put a lot of compost down. You are using the compost to add organic matter to the soil, green up the turf, and to keep leaf growth in check so you can mow every 10 days vs. 7. Less mowing means more profits when on the budget plan.

Of course you need to core aerate 3-4 times and tine rake twice a season to get professional results with such little material.


But "budget plan" and "lowest cost of material" are words that don't seem to fit with all the labor input here. What am I missing? Tell me more.