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americanlawn
02-07-2008, 10:50 PM
Anybody charge more per app for customers who take only 2 or 3 treatments a year?

How 'bout service calls....free? Not free? Or does it depend?

We do not charge extra per app, and our service calls are nearly always free, but we inform partial prog custs that they may be charged for service calls.

rcsvp, thanks:usflag::canadaflag:

DUSTYCEDAR
02-07-2008, 10:57 PM
i dont like partial program people i will do them and try to inprove there lawn however most tend to be problem customers.
and i will charge for a service call.

vegomatic40
02-08-2008, 06:58 AM
I try to discourage "partials" but I still do them. Since I do a 6 app. program on turf, anything 4 apps. or less is considered a partial and cost is somewhat variable according to distance from full-program customers, size of the property and condition. Generally I add 12-15% if they pay by the app. If they pre-pay, I offer them standard pricing, whereas if they are full-program and they pre-pay I take 10% off. Really helps to generate cash-flow this time of year before production begins next week. The ones to really avoid is those that only want one app. of pre-emergent, fert. and broadleaf control (it's one of the reasons I do split apps. of prodiamine), they are required to pay up front before I get a truck to the property. No exceptions. That way you aren't out a ton of $ on pre-emergents and they complain of "results" after only one app. Realistically I don't begin to make a good margin until the 3rd app. on customers. Service calls (did 27 on a customer base of 1260 last year) are free to all F/P customers. No guarantee to the others.

jbturf
02-08-2008, 09:52 AM
i think vego summed it up pretty good,

i also charge more for partial program customers,
which is fine for the legit ones.

i hate those that sign up and cancel after
3 to 4 treatments, leaving us providing the
expensive apps and not rebounding with
the late year apps. is it worth pursuing?
probably not, but i take note and charge more
the following year

boats47
02-08-2008, 10:16 AM
I would have to say vegi summed it up pretty good. We all hate to have those customers that only want half of a fert program, but it is $$.
I have found that I don't take a hit with the customers that decide to bail mid season if figure acual costs per application. My pricing is based on square footage from 0-3000 to start with and a base hour rate, plus my materials. This way for an application of insect control, which is substancially higher in cost, that particular $ reflects that app. When I give an estimate the customer sees various prices for each step, not one average price throughout the fert program. I can see how you would potencially eat some profit if the pricing was averaged out the season verses individual step pricing.

americanlawn
02-08-2008, 07:52 PM
Thanks guys. We have some customers who take just 2 or 3 apps, and most of these lawns look very nice. They tend to mow high, on a regular basis, and with a sharp blade. So by doing their part (mowing right), they get by with fewer apps and still have a nice looking lawn.

I treat my lawn once or twice a year, and it is thick, lush, and nearly weed free. I admit I have nice soil, and it's not compacted.

Some customers have lawns that are several acres in size, so many of them opt for a 2 or 3 app program due to cost.

Note: we have over 3000 lawn accounts, and most take all five apps. Many grub apps too, plus about 400 fall aerations. Bottom line is I'd rather WE treat these lawns twice a year instead of competitors. Very few of our partial program customers complain or ask for a service call, and they easilly fit into our regular routes. Our 2 or 3 app customers seem to be satisfied. Heck--we even have a handful of one app customers.

We take 'em all. It pays the bills, and we get referrals from them too.

deltascapes
02-08-2008, 09:30 PM
Partial are a headache,they would be complaining about their yard when the next application was due. I spray partials when I finish all my full service customers and payed when we start the app. with the understanding that the yard will not look as good as a full service customers.

Victor
02-08-2008, 09:51 PM
I won't accept partials. They're either on board for the whole program, or they can find someone else. There are too many problems associated with doing partials.

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
02-08-2008, 10:04 PM
I won't accept partials. They're either on board for the whole program, or they can find someone else. There are too many problems associated with doing partials.

I agree! One problem is that neighbors & others driving by don't know that the homeowner only took a partial program, and the lawn is a reflection of YOU. If they see the lawn looking less than 100%....You get blamed:cry:

When I WAS doing partials, it seemed as is I had more calls from them, then my full program customers. I don't like spending more time with people who pay less.:dizzy:

RigglePLC
02-08-2008, 10:23 PM
I am with you American. 3 treatments--even only two per year on certain big lawns. Ok with me. But...I don't want to make a special trip--they have to be fit in with my route. They don't often call with complaints--but I usually tell them up front, if you don't take the full 5 aps you lose the guarantee during the month you skip.

americanlawn
02-08-2008, 11:13 PM
Thanks Riggle. Good advice.

ted putnam
02-08-2008, 11:23 PM
I offer a 30 day guarantee on my apps....that's it for non full program customers. I tell them this up front. If they call me 60 days after and complain about poor color or a few weeds, I explain to them again that I have a program for a reason and it's not to bill them unnecessarily, it is to provide my customers with a consistently healthy, green weed free lawn. That usually shuts them down pretty quick. I have a few partial program customers. I'm straight with them from the beginning. The Chemlawn franchise I worked for years ago charged 1& 1/2 times regular app price for partials.

TSM
02-08-2008, 11:39 PM
Thanks guys. We have some customers who take just 2 or 3 apps, and most of these lawns look very nice. They tend to mow high, on a regular basis, and with a sharp blade. So by doing their part (mowing right), they get by with fewer apps and still have a nice looking lawn.

I treat my lawn once or twice a year, and it is thick, lush, and nearly weed free. I admit I have nice soil, and it's not compacted.

Some customers have lawns that are several acres in size, so many of them opt for a 2 or 3 app program due to cost.

Note: we have over 3000 lawn accounts, and most take all five apps. Many grub apps too, plus about 400 fall aerations. Bottom line is I'd rather WE treat these lawns twice a year instead of competitors. Very few of our partial program customers complain or ask for a service call, and they easilly fit into our regular routes. Our 2 or 3 app customers seem to be satisfied. Heck--we even have a handful of one app customers.

We take 'em all. It pays the bills, and we get referrals from them too.

bingo!!
I cant understand NOT taking on a partial program customer, in fact most of the customers who initially requested a partial program with us end up going with a full program either that same year or the next year.

Heck, generally you're gonna have a truck in the neighborhood anyway so why drive by a potential customer's lawn just because they want fewer apps??

We do however, let them know we cant get the same results from 2 apps as their neighbor's lawn who takes a full program.
And we do add 10% to the app price

garydale
02-11-2008, 10:05 AM
Our standard lawn program is 6 appl.
If a customer wants to cut back, we add 10% for each dropped appl.

Jason Rose
02-11-2008, 11:09 AM
You ever had this happen? Had one last year that wanted a bid for the "program", I do 5 apps usually, 4 fert and one weed spray. I gave them the bid the day I was in the neghiborhood doing the others. She said go ahead. Ok, so I did round one, a "split app" of Dimension+ fert. and they paid on the spot.

A week later I get a letter in the mail from them. She's taken my bid sheet and circled the apps that "they want" and then wrote on there, "we would like numbers 1 (that you already did) and 5, the broadleaf weed spray, and the free spot spraying."

wtf? That list wasn't a pick and choose, that's the applications, the numbers are just the sequence in which I apply them. If I had KNOWN that's what they wanted from the start I would have used a single app. pre-em product and the price would have been HIGHER. (I average my prices for each app so each is the same price, so I got burned on the deal) Plus they only got 1/2 the needed pre-em, and then no fert the rest of the year till fall. I blanket sprayed the weeds but did NOT do any spot spraying.

This year they are either getting the 5 app. program or I'm letting them know that those prices are NOT good for pick and choosing what they want!

humble1
02-11-2008, 10:43 PM
Sort of like plowing snow if you are going to shovel the small storms you can shovel the big ones. I either do all or none, that gets rid of the sharks that only use you for the first one or two rounds

Runner
02-11-2008, 11:34 PM
You HAVE to charge more if you are going to do a partial program. I was going to explain this, and then I read Jason's post...which is basically it. Much like Jason said,...first, people don't want crabgrass, right? Then,...they don't want dandelions and other weeds, right? Then,...of course in the fall, they aren't going to want fall weeds coming up either, right?
Well,...when I devise and price an estimate for a season's program,...I figure up all the prices together. Whether I am putting down a $16 a bag product AND spraying, or I am putting down an $11 a bag product with no spray, it is all averaged out and set as a uniform price per ap. - the same all season. So,...if they ask ME if they can just get 2 or 3 applications, I just answer them. "Sure! What do you want to do without, the crabgrass control, or the broadleaf weed control? Or both?"

whoopassonthebluegrass
02-12-2008, 12:25 AM
I'm sure it's different when you're bigger and have multiple rigs out getting the job done.

I, on the other hand, am a one man show. And it's not worth the scheduling hassle to deal with those who don't want to do what I offer. I explain to people (in gentler words, of course) that I don't do what THEY want. I offer a package and, just like a magazine, they're welcome to subscribe to MY WAY.

On very rare occasions I do a favor for someone and will cut them a deal on # of treatments. But when I do, I tell them flat out that there is no warranty whatsoever. Because they're not worth my time. Of course, I don't tell them that last part...

Where I live, one application isn't gonna do squat. So why waste their money and my time?

In the end, though, it's really for the simplicity.

steve's total lawn care
02-12-2008, 01:02 AM
We do not under any circumstances do partials we go with a full weed and feed program for the entire year partials become headaches i know this from having to deal with partial customers about 5 years ago when i first started out after the first year i was like i cant do that any more plus you lose money if they arent on a full program.

americanlawn
02-13-2008, 06:01 PM
I am with you American. 3 treatments--even only two per year on certain big lawns. Ok with me. But...I don't want to make a special trip--they have to be fit in with my route. They don't often call with complaints--but I usually tell them up front, if you don't take the full 5 aps you lose the guarantee during the month you skip.

Thanks Riggle.:waving:.......I've seen lots of nice lawns that get only 2 or 3 app's a year. They rarely complain cuz they know some LCO's sell up to eight app's. Most of our customers know what program they had last year, and they usually just say "Do the same as last year", cuz they are happy with what they ordred and the results they received. (that's a nice thing about using slow-release fertilizer).

Question I have...............When guys do estimates, how do they know up front that a person will end up as a partial program customer??? :confused:Do they call the person back and say "By the way, your price NOW is $_____". ?????

How 'bout large commercial properties that take two app's a year? How can you be competitive if you apply a surcharge? Keep in mind that many commercial properties get several bids.

rscvp, thanks

ted putnam
02-13-2008, 06:30 PM
My pricing and application structure is set up so that I make money every app...maybe not as much on that first app, but I make money. They are in my scheduling so they're automatically added into whatever that round is with their matching route. As long as you make it understood what you are doing and your level of service meets their level of expectation, I really don't see what the big deal is...communication is the key. Besides, it's more money at the bottom line. That's what I'm in business for! I've got no problem taking partials.