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View Full Version : $50 first mow.....too much?


kevinlane
06-26-2007, 09:06 PM
Ok so I have some accounts now finally. But the last couple of estimates I have done were big time over-grown properties. Less than 1/4 of an acre, but knee high grass. So out of the last 3 estimates, only one ended up being a yearly maintenance. The others didn't even call back. Am I over-charging? It seems reasonable to me. Takes longer, more gas....etc. What do you guys think?:gunsfirin

THEGOLDPRO
06-26-2007, 09:10 PM
i usualy dont touch a lawn for under 50 bucks, i have one thats 40 but he's a good friend of mine.

MJS
06-26-2007, 09:11 PM
Maybe doing the customer a favor would be a good way of "securing them" for a yearly deal; i.e not charging an arm and a leg for taller than normal grass, etc. Small favors go a long way.

lurch
06-26-2007, 09:29 PM
i charge the first time their base amount...then i tack on 10-15 for overgrowth

lawnman_scott
06-26-2007, 09:31 PM
Ok so I have some accounts now finally. But the last couple of estimates I have done were big time over-grown properties. Less than 1/4 of an acre, but knee high grass. So out of the last 3 estimates, only one ended up being a yearly maintenance. The others didn't even call back. Am I over-charging? It seems reasonable to me. Takes longer, more gas....etc. What do you guys think?:gunsfirinGood possibility I have been contacted by some of those people. One thing to keep in mind. If they let the grass get sooo damn long that the city complains, they probably arent going to spend the money on it on a regular basis. I try to weed these calls out when them come in because they are a waste of time. Ever get the calls that ask hom much you charge? Without seeing it???? How can you do that? I tell them my rates start at $150, and they are gone.

jrush
06-26-2007, 09:46 PM
I just tell them it's an extra $10-20 and thats for the cost of disposal of the clippings, obviously thats not really what I pay, but it seems to somehow make sence to them. But if their good cust. that are sereious about their lawns why wait 'til it's thigh high? cause their cheap and hoping to get 3 weeks of mowings for the price of 1.

hosejockey2002
06-26-2007, 10:13 PM
Knee high grass is an unbeleivable PITA! Charge at least twice what you normally would.

kevinlane
06-26-2007, 11:09 PM
Knee high grass is an unbeleivable PITA! Charge at least twice what you normally would.

Yeah I first quoted $60 but I'm running a $10 off coupon deal.... so its actually double what I normally charge....very reasonable I think. I think I am getting those "walmart landscaping" customers:nono: ...lol. But atleast I have an idea about what's going on. Thanks for all the input bruthas.
:clapping:

Lohse's Lawn Service
06-26-2007, 11:18 PM
Maybe doing the customer a favor would be a good way of "securing them" for a yearly deal; i.e not charging an arm and a leg for taller than normal grass, etc. Small favors go a long way.

MJS, you make a good point. However, I am usually very cautious when someone calls me out of the blue (or green) to mow their overgrown yard. If you're not careful, you might be doing a "favor" for them by charging a normal price, but then they never call you back again. You risk putting unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment, all for a one time deal. There are exceptions, friends, family etc. Just keep a lookout, that's all I'm saying. Hate to see anyone get taken advantage of.

If it's a normal customer, it should never get too tall (as another person pointed out on this thread), unless uncontrollable circumstances, because that is something that should be understood before you ever touch their lawn.

If the yard is overgrown, then yes, I do charge an extra fee, sometimes $10, sometimes $20+. There are plenty of other yards out there that aren't overgrown, and I would rather take those on rather than "jungles."

Today I mowed a yard for a friend, the actual grass in the back yard was thick and probably 2 feet tall, but the nasty weeds were shoulder-high. Luckily, I was able to use my ExMark in the back, but I still had to run over the yard 6-7 times to get it short and get the clumps out. But I am going to have a talk with him and let me know I'm coming no more than every 10 days.

All I'm saying is, you have a business to run, and thicker, taller grass always takes longer, and time is money! Good luck to all those who mow shoulder-high grass.

WHIPPLE5.7
06-26-2007, 11:56 PM
This just happened to me. I did a 1/3 acre that was knee high for $50 thinking I could get it as atleast a every other week customer but the lady complained about how $50 was so high.

cpel2004
06-27-2007, 12:13 AM
No, Kevin your not charging to much. Start to ask your customers when was the last time their lawn was cut. Ask then how much the normally pay for their services. They will think you asking them that to set the current monthly price. ask them what was their prior schedule Take the amount that used to pay multiply that times how many cuts minus your price for clean up and that what they are saving. One time cuts arent worth it. There usually no money to be made based upon the risk. It throws your schedule off, you dont know the landscape and usually most allow their lawns to be out of control They can always find somebody cheaper allow then to do just that AND MOVE ON!

GarPA
06-27-2007, 01:03 AM
I know you are starting out so all of us in the beginning did things we would not now touch with a 10 ft pole. I wont even now go out and look at properties where this kind of hay field is involved but look at it as a learning experience. All of these experiences will make you a better business person in the long term.

Another real downside of mowing grass thats a foot tall or more, is that you will likely have to crawl under that machine and clean the deck.....so there goes another half hour of your time and a few more scraped knuckles. So at $50 they are getting a real bargain

charmill26
06-27-2007, 01:08 AM
chances are alot of times these people wont want to pay what they should to have it mowed down. they dont care about their lawn so therefor they dont want to pay alot of it. there are exceptions though like if they just moved in or something

MeadowsLawnCare
06-27-2007, 01:17 AM
I made the mistake once of bidding normal price on an overgrown to gain the customer, he let me mow it one time, than never called me back. Now the only way i do overgrown for regular price if they sign the contract up front for weekly. Otherwise I charge $2 min instead of $1.

DuraCutter
06-27-2007, 11:23 PM
Ok so I have some accounts now finally. But the last couple of estimates I have done were big time over-grown properties. Less than 1/4 of an acre, but knee high grass. So out of the last 3 estimates, only one ended up being a yearly maintenance. The others didn't even call back. Am I over-charging? It seems reasonable to me. Takes longer, more gas....etc. What do you guys think?:gunsfirin

Too much?? NO. We're taking over a condo that has been abandoned by a local lco. I saw their price and I can see why.

This weekend we'll be cutting it(it's about 8" or more and 3 acres with 78 townhomes) and I'll probably charge well over a $1,000 or about $70/hr for each and every guy I have there.

Don't price yourself into poverty. You need really healthy profits to diversify you business. Just lawncare means just a "job". Get more money and start doing real landscape work and make "real" money. Sometimes, you'll make over $100/hr per man and more in landscape.

Don't be shy...ask for what you need.

:)

kevinlane
06-27-2007, 11:30 PM
You guys rock....that is some really good advice. Yes obviously they never called back, so I move on. No worries, I nailed a major account today. This guy owns 10 rentals. He wants me to do all of them. So I guess I'll be doin ok. Thanks for all the input, I really appreciate the advice. Thanks bruthas!

KTO Enterprises
06-27-2007, 11:34 PM
Maybe doing the customer a favor would be a good way of "securing them" for a yearly deal; i.e not charging an arm and a leg for taller than normal grass, etc. Small favors go a long way.

Wrong. Try again. People dont remember crap. There is no such thing as customer loyalty anymore. There used to be a saying that "You can shear a sheep several times, but you can only skin them once." Well I now say skin them while you got them because you will probably get the shaft from them if you try to be nice.

Novaowner
06-28-2007, 07:29 AM
Wrong. Try again. People dont remember crap. There is no such thing as customer loyalty anymore. There used to be a saying that "You can shear a sheep several times, but you can only skin them once." Well I now say skin them while you got them because you will probably get the shaft from them if you try to be nice.

You sure about that? I remember in some earlier post where you stated that once another LCO put a flyer on one of your customers mailboxes, or something, and you handed it over to your customer and they laughed and balled it up or threw it away. If they didn't like you, I'm sure they would've gotten rid of you by now. Doesn't that show customer loyalty?

KTO Enterprises
06-28-2007, 08:32 AM
You sure about that? I remember in some earlier post where you stated that once another LCO put a flyer on one of your customers mailboxes, or something, and you handed it over to your customer and they laughed and balled it up or threw it away. If they didn't like you, I'm sure they would've gotten rid of you by now. Doesn't that show customer loyalty?

Thats because I have worked hard to get my core group of people. I have had to go through 50 accounts to get 2 or 3 really good ones. I could have easily 200 lawns but I am the type If I smell something fishy with a customer Im out. They also know that anytime I do something extra, they are paying for it. But to do somebody a favor to help gain the account for long term is a risk. Most people are all about price. Look at all the people on here that talk about buying mowers strictly based on the price.

Ive been through the whole "we found someone cheaper" gig. I think I have finally gotten rid of all the people that would bounce strictly on price.

Each area is different.

Novaowner
06-28-2007, 08:52 PM
Thats because I have worked hard to get my core group of people. I have had to go through 50 accounts to get 2 or 3 really good ones. I could have easily 200 lawns but I am the type If I smell something fishy with a customer Im out. They also know that anytime I do something extra, they are paying for it. But to do somebody a favor to help gain the account for long term is a risk. Most people are all about price. Look at all the people on here that talk about buying mowers strictly based on the price.

Ive been through the whole "we found someone cheaper" gig. I think I have finally gotten rid of all the people that would bounce strictly on price.

Each area is different.

I think I understand. I've just started this year and only have about 11 regular customers....if you can call them regular. There are only 2 that have me cut every week and don't ever try to lengthen the times between cuts. They water as needed, and take pride in their lawn.

I have about 4 that change constantly, I mean I'll have them scheduled for a certain day and they'll call up the night before or the day of the appt. and reschedule because they feel they can wait another week before I need to come out. It's really hard when you are counting on money from them...I'm sure every LCO here has had to go through this. The rest are mediocre (spelling?). They'll change the schedule every so often.

I understand customers really don't want to have an LCO cut "air" and spend their money, but I wish they would take the time to think about how it's affecting us. The ones that have me cutting 6" tall grass because they want to get their money's worth really gets on my nerves.

I'm tolerating this for now, cause I have to. But if I stay in this long enough, I'll weed out the bad ones. One customer who wanted an estimate in this really nice neighborhood asked me, "Can you keep the weed eater clippings out of the mulch?" I said sure. Then I gave them a $75 dollar quote for a 1/3 acre yard. Never heard from them again. There would've been no satisfying that customer.

jrush
06-28-2007, 09:58 PM
how the hell do people call the night b4 and cancell? It's YOUR scedule, their prob throwing everything else you have scedualed as well. Just tell them, I'll be here every-days your not on call for them. And I'm sure when they need it done is well b4 they tell you which means bagging or xtra labor. I have a couple people like that, need it cut every 7 days but tell me every 10, screw me out of a mowing a month, and it takes me longer to get it to look good. Can't wait to tell them I'm cancelling them!!!

GarPA
06-28-2007, 10:15 PM
It took me a few too many years to finally take a hard line on:

1. a customer who is obsessed with price is a customer you dont want and likely wont have for very long......and good riddance
2. a customer who wants to run your schedule is a customer who needs to hire JohnnyTheMowerKidFromtheNeighborhood because I'll fire them after they pull this the 2nd time
3. Any customer, regardless of what revenue they generate per year, who is "high-maintenance" and is a constant pita won't be renewed for the following year
There are enough challenges in this business without having to tolerate people who do not respect the fact we have a business to run like any other business.

Cathman
06-28-2007, 10:25 PM
In response to your original post. A couple of lawns i have gotten were DIY projects for the homeowner. Well i take pride in my work and as so many have said...it is a reflection of you when your gear and marked truck are sitting there during the work.

In the cases of the overgrown folks, i take a look, charge them a first time clean-up fee....based on how long it will take me to get it into the shape i desire to leave it each time. Usually that means some heavy trimming, bag mowing, and edging some well overgrown curbs and doing manual cleanup. I make sure it was worth my time the first time pay wise, that way if they do call and say forget it, i am out nothing and know they will be calling a few weeks later and getting hit with the same initial fee again. I do give them a weekly maintenance price which will leave it looking nice each time and take me much less time due to the consistency of the maintenance. If they agree, great, i have a new lawn getting paid what i asked.

So, i guess dont go low trying to get the house and then get hosed after you do all the hard work. Make sure it is worth your time and if they pass, oh well, you will get more work if your other jobs are always nice.

Midwest Lawn Services
06-28-2007, 10:31 PM
Knee high grass is an unbeleivable PITA! Charge at least twice what you normally would.

I do. Its a 100% markup if the client only wants a once monthly or if the grass is way out of control (5"+.) Its a good way to keep the PITA's looking for someone else to hassle with the crappy jobs.

Novaowner
06-28-2007, 10:40 PM
how the hell do people call the night b4 and cancell? It's YOUR scedule, their prob throwing everything else you have scedualed as well. Just tell them, I'll be here every-days your not on call for them. And I'm sure when they need it done is well b4 they tell you which means bagging or xtra labor. I have a couple people like that, need it cut every 7 days but tell me every 10, screw me out of a mowing a month, and it takes me longer to get it to look good. Can't wait to tell them I'm cancelling them!!!

I feel your pain! I'll be dumping them as soon as I can.

topsites
06-28-2007, 10:55 PM
50 too high whatever, my 15hp Kohler is like THREE regular lawnmowers going at it, and if my engine is going to choke and gag and sputter and cough, it costs payup payup payup

I quote 3-4 times regular for knee high crap 1/4 acres, 50 is a reasonable rate, it's not lowballing but it's a deal because you could get 70! I run into this time and again, you didn't give it to them for free so it wasn't good enough. Yeah, I know, you needed the work, I'm cool with that, sad it wasn't good enough is all.

I got tired of it, they wait until now to call, get their ONE cut for the season at a HUGE discount, then they promise that if you do a good job they'll keep you on, and the first stupidest excuse of a reason they can fling your way, they drop you... The exception to that rule keeps you around for more of the same, a LOAD of work for cheap.

Forget it, I've been known to quote $100 for 1/4 acres knee high, sure have.

This just happened to me. I did a 1/3 acre that was knee high for $50 thinking I could get it as atleast a every other week customer but the lady complained about how $50 was so high.

Yup, been there, done that :laugh:
Now I like to quote high enough to where I don't gotta hear it, so at least 120-140.
If someone thinks it is fair to complain about my prices being too high, then I find it is fair to give them a good reason.

Wrong. Try again. People dont remember crap. There is no such thing as customer loyalty anymore. There used to be a saying that "You can shear a sheep several times, but you can only skin them once." Well I now say skin them while you got them because you will probably get the shaft from them if you try to be nice.

It's a sick world we live in, I know my own attitude is horrible more often than it should be, but I learned much the hard way. I started out trying to be the nice guy, I swore I would be the exception to the rule, after watching how other Lco's would just pull this crap (and crap it is, even I admit it)...

But I am amazed how many, and how often folks try to pull the wool over my eyes.

I'm tolerating this for now, cause I have to.

That's right, we all do what we have to, for as long as we have to.

But I patiently wait for the day I can drop and dismiss and reject offers and customers left and right. I do it now, it doesn't feel good during hard times, but I can't do it for less than what it costs me, and that includes the profit.

They call me, too, what can you do?

I tell you one thing that helps is banked money, nothing beats having 10 or 20 grand sitting in the account, absolutely nothing says "see ya" faster.
I keep preaching, save your money, always save your money.

50 was a great price, stick to your guns, it's either the customer's loss or some other poor sob will get stuck.

Vikings
06-28-2007, 11:38 PM
I made the mistake once of bidding normal price on an overgrown to gain the customer, he let me mow it one time, than never called me back. Now the only way i do overgrown for regular price if they sign the contract up front for weekly. Otherwise I charge $2 min instead of $1.

Just happened to me today:laugh:

I had them down as weekly, she phoned me to make sure I was coming. We got there at about 7:00 pm (long day), two of us, left at 7:30 with $25 dollars...

We had to bag it cause it was so thick, wet and muddy, 6 bags of grass and then I say it will shape up over the next couple weeks. The husband says we'll let you know, I just haven't been feeling good lately.:rolleyes:

I told him if it's like this next time then I charge as a one time cut and it's $45. I really have got to get it in my head that I am not obligated to do anything that I quote over the phone.

kevinlane
06-29-2007, 08:50 AM
Thanks for the tips bruthas!