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AJ Lawnscapes
08-05-2008, 09:42 PM
Do you charge a Trip Charge?

When I show up to a lawn that does not need mowed, due to weather being dry or the customer mowing it, I charge a trip charge.

I think it is common courtesy of the customer to look at their lawn and say "hey, I don't think this needs mowed, why don't I save some money and advise my LCO to skip me this week"

Well, I just lost a customer because of this trip charge. She refused to pay it on her last invoice, and canceled service today because I advised her, when I sent her another one, that when I figure out the price, I include employee hourly rate, insurance, fuel prices, etc.

Her letter wrote " I told you to mow it when it needs it "

There are only 3 ways to find out if it needs it.
1. Show up and Mow
2. She calls and says it doesn't
3. I call to ask.

So I showed up, it didn't need mowed, she didn't call, so I didn't mow and charged a trip charge. Payment for wasting my time basically.

Oh well, I didn't care for her to begin with, should have a paid attention to my warning bells in my head. Her last LCO just quit coming so she says. Then she didn't want to pay a disposal fee nor my company's full hourly rate for us to come out and take care of her landscaping. So I did it myself to save her some money, and she complained about a disposal fee. Saying if I had asked, I could have dumped it locally in her borough. Even though she was there, she didn't mention this.

Blah. good riddance.

Abe

MowHouston
08-05-2008, 09:47 PM
I don't think it is her responsibility to tell you when her lawn does and does not need to be done. Unless you state that in some sort of contract.

The only time I charge this type of fee is if some customer decides he wants to stop service and doesn't tell me, mows it himself, or hires someone else to mow it. My customers agree to this charge when signing up.

There has only been a few exceptions when a new customer has had problems with their previous lawn service refusing to stop service lol.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
08-05-2008, 09:48 PM
Good thread - I don't do this BUT I do count on my customers to notify me in advance if mowing isn't needed that particular week (due to dry weather mainly). My commercial accounts...those I just call the shot based on recent weather and mow when I show up regardless. Just not sure how a trip charge would go over, haven't had to deal with that.

MowHouston
08-05-2008, 09:56 PM
I guess I dont worry about my customers telling me because I have some fairly tight routes. Even then, this rarely happens to me. Houston doesn't really get into those drought type conditions. The humidity alone is enough precipitation to keep the St Augustine growing. :laugh:

mybowtie
08-05-2008, 09:59 PM
90% of my customers are weekenders..If I charged them a "trip charge" because it didnt need mowing when I showed up, I'd wouldn't have to mow them ever again....:usflag:

topsites
08-05-2008, 10:07 PM
No but that BS about them mowing it themselves doesn't fly with me either!
Watch it!
DO find out what is the deal first, some customers simply want you to come out more often!
Do need to find out, if that's all it is then it's an easy fix, a few other things might fly as well.

But any other reason that stuff comes up on me like "HA gotcha, SURPRISE!"
Like yeah hahaha, how about I take a dump on this here front porch then?
See I can leave nice little surprises too, maybe stick a marker flaggot in it.

It might not bother me as much if they would at least call to let me know,
but they never do and I don't care too much for that. Why, if you already
HAD to get out and do it, why not have the courtesy to call and tell me?

Now if I drive up and it doesn't need it, that's cool, no problem.
Also if they want to call to tell me, that's absolutely fine.

But I pull up and this crap looks freshly mowed, that sends me the message my
services here are no longer needed, and I usually say as much too.

I just don't care for it, feels like the customer is playing games with me.
So trip charge or not either way it's a goner, never had much luck with it once that bs starts.
Once or twice I can let it go, but watch out because...

C4chris70
08-05-2008, 10:39 PM
We never charge a trip charge for a lawn that does not need mowing. The customer is not expected to know if their lawn could be damaged due to cutting it when it is too dry, that is the job of the LCO. A trip charge in that instance is just bad business and a recipe for losing customers. We will charge for the service visit if we show up and are unable to mow due to a lawn being covered in equipment because the customer is having a roof installed or something of that sort. Those things are scheduled, and a courtesy call is expected to rearrange a visit.

MImower
08-05-2008, 10:58 PM
I tell all of my customers up front I will be cutting once a week and if they want to save a few dollars by skipping a week when it is really dry, they have to call me before I show up.

If I don't get a call, and spend time and money to get there, I cut it and charge for cutting it just like my contract says. If the grass is too dry and has not grown I will just touch it up by maybe cutting a few shaded areas and trimming or edging a little.

This way I make money, and the customer does not see a charge for a week that I did nothing for them.

Icepuck72
08-05-2008, 11:22 PM
I always send an email or call them before I show up regardless.

bigclawn
08-06-2008, 10:51 AM
It's amazing that customers will pay 'trip" charges for every service contractor that comes to their door except us! sears, the locksmith, plumber elctrician, cable guy etc etc all have 'trip" charges right on their bills.....which people blindly pay with no comment!!!!!

BartonLawn
08-06-2008, 11:01 AM
I tell all of my customers up front I will be cutting once a week and if they want to save a few dollars by skipping a week when it is really dry, they have to call me before I show up.

If I don't get a call, and spend time and money to get there, I cut it and charge for cutting it just like my contract says. If the grass is too dry and has not grown I will just touch it up by maybe cutting a few shaded areas and trimming or edging a little.

This way I make money, and the customer does not see a charge for a week that I did nothing for them.

This is reasonable and should be spelled out in the contract they signed.

ALC-GregH
08-06-2008, 11:11 AM
I decide when my customers lawns need cut, not them. I mow weekly and a few bi-weekly but they know this up front when they agree to the terms discussed prior to starting.

CoopersLandscaping
08-06-2008, 05:58 PM
I don't , but I do want a nnotice

dishboy
08-07-2008, 08:09 AM
If I show I mow, service is weekly April 1 to Sept. 30 if it needs it or not. Around here irrigation is standard. If somebody else mowed it it gets mowed twice.

mowerbrad
08-07-2008, 09:58 AM
The only time I charge a trip charge is if the customer stops service without notifying me. If really bugs me when the customer comes out when I get there and unloading the trailer to tell me that they don't need me anymore and have already done it. If they would have called me to tell me I wouldn't be so angry about it.

david shumaker
08-07-2008, 06:19 PM
When it's dry and the grass isn't growing much, I call first. I also tell them to call me if grass needs cutting before I call back the next week. I can check out most customers houses enroute because they are close to each other, but anything that's any driving distance, I call first to save time and gas. That deal where the customer wants to cut their own grass when they feel like it and want you to cut it when it's tall has never worked out for me and I won't do it anymore. I'll do vacation cuts, but not anymore of the guessing game of when it's my turn to cut their lawn.

willretire@40
08-10-2008, 11:24 AM
I cut it anyway. Havent had a problem yet.

Genlandscape
08-10-2008, 11:50 AM
If you were charging flat monthly rates, you would'nt have to worry about skips. I charge about 90% of my customers monthly, and do not accept new per cut properties. Here in Florida, our service is based on 38 cuts per year, and I have never had a client count how many times thier lawn was mowed. I understand that different climates require different business strategies, but here we mow year round, and if a lawn is too dry or covered by another contractor we skip or reschedule w/ the customer. They still pay the same amount twelve months a year. I understand that the areas that have true winter weather cannot bill all year, but you may be able to create a flat monthly rate billed 9 or 10 months. This will prevent any miscalculation in charges. We do add a trip charge to any landscape, hardscape, or irrigation call, but we still provide FREE estimates. There are exstensive costs involved being in the lawn care business, but trip costs should only be assesed with calls/trips outside regular scheduled service. Just my opinion.