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NateinAtl
01-25-2000, 09:44 AM
I have a question for the gurus. We recently had an ice storm here in Atlanta. Because of this, one of my customers has a bunch of limbs fall in here lawn. Here's the kicker. I'm scheduled to be at her house tomorow for a "normal visit"--Clean up, blowing, trimming. What should I do about charging her? Do I just bite the bullet and treat it as part of the normal visit? Or do I charge her a more for the extra work that I will need to do? What is considered ethical? Thanks a bunch. But the way, it sounds as if there will an extra hour of labor, and I charge her $35 per visit under normal circumstances.

geogunn
01-25-2000, 10:42 AM
nate--I suggest that if the lawn is littered with limbs from the storm you are justified to ask for an additional charge because of the extra time for the clean up above what a normal clean up is. if it's just a few limbs, you should probably eat it, but, let her know that you did the extra work as a courtesy. if you have to break out more equipment, like a chain saw, then it should be a definite extra charge. what about your cost for disposal? this response assumes, of course, that your agreement with her doesn't include the unexpected.<p>as for the extra cost to her, before you start, discuss it with her. if the storm clean up is going to double the time of the clean up the double the cost of the job.<p>I think the larger operators on the forum will probably disagree with my logic on this, but there is room here for everyone's opinion.<p>good luck.<p>GEO

AandB
01-25-2000, 11:24 AM
I agree with GEO 100%. We are not in business to give away services--unless it is something very minor. Customers understand that they have to pay for extras--even though they often pretend that they don't understand.<p><br><p>----------<br>A and B Lawn Services<br>

GroundKprs
01-25-2000, 11:35 AM
Ditto on above 2 replies. Even on our flat rate 8 mo and 12 mo contracts, any storm cleanup over 5 min is charged extra at hourly rate for that property.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>South Bend, IN

Keith
01-25-2000, 11:35 AM
We have a lawn that has stuff constently falling out of the trees, so that is part of the monthly charge. We had a pretty good deal of wind during a storm a while back, and we had to go there the next day. When we got there, it was a mess, and they were there when we got there to show us the entire mess. All we did was clean up the debris, we didn't mow or anything. They gave me an extra $50 on top of the our normal charge. I didn't have to ask for more. I think most people understand this is not a normal part of your service and will understand. <br> <br>The Exception<br>Where we tend to have a lot of trouble is with customers in the summer. We have quite a few that go up north in the summer. They are not here to see the wind damage or whatever, so it is hard to find a way to get them to pay for extra services if they are not here to see what it looked like. Actually that same customer I mentioned before went to North Carolina for a few weeks during the summer one year. We had a large thunderstorm with a lot of wind while they were gone. They arrived home on a Thursday, we go on a Friday. When we got there the guy asked &quot;what did you do while we were gone?&quot; I was like &quot;what do you mean?&quot; He said, &quot;it doesn't look like you did anything the four weeks we were gone.&quot; He thought the stuff had accumulated over the month because he wasn't there to see it.

curlawngreen
01-25-2000, 06:10 PM
I have had this problem. In my new&quot; contact &quot;<br>mother nature is covered. In my old it was not. Some old custermers understood that all those limbs would have to be picked up by someone for the regular fee, I on the other hand felt there trees should have been maintained. In the future, I will bill for <br>EXTRA clean-up.By the way some ex customers did not say thank you.

HOMER
01-25-2000, 07:31 PM
Well, I guess you will have to call me an old softy! Storms are an act of GOD! There is nothing that can stop them. I have some older customers on fixed incomes. Yes, it is more work, true it takes more time and disrupts your schedules, but how can you ask an 85 year old lady to cough up 50 more $ for something she really had no control over. <p>This to me would be a case of the haves and the have nots. I would not hesitate to ask for a little more from a guy I know is making a good salary, wife works, etc. <p>I guess it all comes down to how you feel in your heart about it. Being generous at times might benefit you more than that extra few bucks in your pocket!<p>Business is business, but the ones that can do and don't have to try and sleep at night. I fall out when my head hits the pillow!<p>Homer

yardsmith
01-25-2000, 08:28 PM
many good points here- depends I guess on your background, convictions, & what others do in your area.<br>Myself, I would call first or talk to the customer when you pull up before you do any work. Come to some sort of agreement beforehand! That way, there's no &quot;what's THIS bill for?&quot; (you all know what I mean). Also, this may be a good time to get some word-of-mouth advertising out of this. You could go half & half on the costs (give a % off) due to the unexpected storm. That way you still make some thing, & your cust. feels good that you didn't use this storm as a reason to make money off them just for the heck of it. But I would try to come to an agreement, then everyone's happy, & no surprises when you hand them the bill.<br>Smitty ô¿ô

Charles
01-26-2000, 01:25 PM
Homer, I bet he or she gives the money they saved by not paying you for extra work to their Church. Oh well better that Jim and Tammy Faye have the money than your family. Don't be fooled by some seniors. Alot of them have more money than they have time to spend it in savings. You wouldn't know it by the way they live or poormouth or look. I have heard the fixed income speech to where I hear it in my sleep. I have one woman tell me she has to call me because she can't afford to pay me regurally. Most of the time she forgets until it gets knee deep. Or she was in Ireland on one of her many trips.<br>I charge for extra work by the hour. Because you can't never tell how much money anyone has by looking at them or listening to them. And too most of my customers are seniors. I would be working for free most of the time if I didn't charge for extra work. Everything is an act of God. The grass growing is an act of God, etc.<br>

lawrence stone
01-26-2000, 02:21 PM
Lawn mowing and the pickup of deadwood is an act of man and if you want the man to act you have to pay him.<p>List of the worst lawn care customers <p>1. senior citizens<br>2. Condo assoc. full of seniors<br>3. Condo assoc.<br>4. slumlords<br>5. renters<br>6. cemeteries<br>7. section 8 apartments<br>8. church all faiths<br>9. any lawn less than 10,000 sq ft.

Lazer
01-26-2000, 02:34 PM
Customers are what you make them. If you let them take advantage of you, it's your own fault. <p>You own the business, you call the shots.

HOMER
01-26-2000, 06:23 PM
Points (THATS PLURAL) well taken, I have to agree with a lot of what has been said and I learned from it also. In the future I am going to look &quot;up&quot; more often when giving my estimates and factor in limbs and other falling objects! I do not intend to change my views on my current customers because I still feel like a deals a deal. Since I didn't discuss it prior to shaking the hand that feeds me I will not charge the ol' geezer any extra. It is this very discussion that makes me glad this forum found me. <p>NUFF SAID,<p>HOMER

CGS
02-04-2000, 01:59 AM
Groundkprs and all,<p>&quot;any storm cleanup over 5 min is charged extra at hourly rate&quot; is that charged as a one hour minimum ([example]For 5 min or 45min worked, do you charge your hourly rate of $40 per hour [example])?<p>Thanks for your response.<p>

GroundKprs
02-04-2000, 04:14 AM
Since you are generally coming to the site to do regular service, there should be a travel charge built into your regular service. The storm cleanup is therefore billed just for the actual time taken:<p>basic labor rate = $40/hr, $30 minimum (for 30 min or less)<br>Mowing = 30 min =&gt; $30<br>Cleanup = 15 min =&gt; $10<p>You're grossing 1 hr labor in 45 min, but you have extra cost in disposing of storm debris, even if it is just your time. We charge $5/cuyd for any volume over 1 cuyd hauled away from site. Our dumping fee is $3.65/cuyd.<p>Jim

CGS
02-04-2000, 11:17 AM
Thanks. That makes good sense.

AB Lawn Care
02-09-2000, 09:57 AM
We have right in our contract that after storm clean-ups are not included in the contract pricing,so in other words if they have a storm we will clean it up but we charge extra for that.And if they are too cheap to pay us to do that and the branches are still there when we get there to cut the lawn then we will just cut around the branches until they get rid of them!<p>from:Adam<br>AB LAWN CARE