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View Full Version : anyone offer their services a la carte?


lawnwizards
03-01-2010, 10:08 PM
i was just jotting some business ideas down today and came up with the a la carte idea. it seems as if some people just want barebones service whereas others want the whole shebang. i was thinking about coming up with an a la carte plan. sort of a plan for everyone. does anyone use this idea? would you like to share if its working for you or what you might do different? thanks.

randy

Grass Shark
03-01-2010, 10:16 PM
The way I operate my weekly maintenance is everybody gets the same full service, nobody can say you did a shitty job, no employees saying I thought I didn't have to do that there boss. Do your clients neighbors know that your client wants a mow & blow?... no! They just say wow that company does a shitty job.

IMO

yardguy28
03-01-2010, 10:22 PM
i offer all my services ala carte if someone wants it.

i currently offer to 2 types of services

premium which includes mowing, trimming, blowing, edging, hedge pruning, mulch, clean ups and leaves in the fall. the basic service is just mowing, trimming and blowing.

people choosing basic service can get any of the other stuff ala carte if they wish.

the premium service is a way for the client to forget about there lawn maintenance needs completely letting me take care of what needs to be done. this saves me time and money from sending out letters trying to sell my services or making phone calls to sell my services. you sign up for premium and i will take care of everything that needs to be done.

LouisianaLawnboy
03-02-2010, 12:59 AM
I got three packages I offer, the customer decides which one and I roll with it.

Richard Martin
03-02-2010, 04:49 AM
My customers can get any combination of services that they want. The only difference is the mowing and trimming. If someone asks for just a mow without trimming my response is that trimming is free with a mow. I can not trim but it's still going to be the same price.

Merkava_4
03-02-2010, 05:37 AM
How about offering a sidewalk edging service? :D

CrazyBlonde
03-02-2010, 09:01 AM
We are in the Fert Service, but maybe how we offer our services might help you with your decisions.

We offer 3 packages. they all include fert service, and weed control, then we add services, such as additional winterizer, and sprinkler blowout. So we have an Economy, Standard and Ultimate care program to suit the budget of the customers.

Almost EVERY customer chooses the Ultimate Care package. Those that don't seem to end up adding the additional services anyways alacarte by the end of the season. Maybe it depends on their cashflow at the time they signed up, or maybe they just wanted to try us before they comitted to a larger package.

In addition to the packages we offer each service allacarte.

They can pick ANY service alacarte. Such as:

Qrganic Nutrition
Ornamental, Trees, Shrub and Garden Nutrition
Qrganic Weed Control
Pest Control
De Thatching
Aeration
Over-seeding
Sprinkler Blow-out
Etc, etc, etc...

The alacarte menu has worked out GREAT, We get alot of additional business, we get alot of new customers that try us alacarte, then buy the packages.

I think our BEST thing about it is customers starting out late in the season, can still put together a service program without having to buy a package that started in March. Alot of owners with their homes for sale, use our services alacarte.

So it is working well for us in the Fert biz. Hope this helps.

4man
03-02-2010, 11:16 AM
Offering ala carte services would be a good way to extend your services. Sure everyone does the basic mow and trim, but edging, shrub trimming, spring and fall clean ups, landscape bed weeding, fert, aeration, and others. Are good ways to maximize each client and tailor it to the best service you can give that one person.

Grass Shark
03-02-2010, 01:22 PM
I may have not understood your question clearly, I thought you were asking if a customer just wants a quick mow and blow, like to keep the neighbors and township off thier backs. When I do a weekly cut I do Mowing, trimming, edging and blow off standard. I will not just cut a lawn. All of my other services would be considered al a carte

CrazyBlonde
03-02-2010, 01:53 PM
The way I operate my weekly maintenance is everybody gets the same full service, ........ Do your clients neighbors know that your client wants a mow & blow?... no! They just say wow that company does a shitty job.

IMO

Grass Shark has an OUTSTANDING point there we ALL need to think about. If one customer wants the works, and after you service them, passersby are going to say, "Wow, that lawn company does a FANTASTIC job!"

But if another customer has you do the "economy package" Passersby DO NOT KNOW THAT. They just think you do a mediocre job, and leave some things undone. They have NO WAY of knowing that you did ONLY what the customer asked for. So it definately could come back to bite you guys in the mow biz if a customer doesn't let you perform the way you would like to.

I saw a catch phrase, "Your lawn is my resume...and business is growing!"
That pretty much sums it up! Great statement. I wish I knew who had said that so I could tell you all. But I remember that every time I do a job.

But as for OTHER services being alacarte, such as aerating, De Thatching, Over-seeding, and all the other things you guys offer, I think that would give you great add-ons, and additional income.

I believe customers would prefer a One-Stop-Shop for all their lawncare needs, just so long as you perform ALL the services you offer very well.

I know all the lawns we Fert always ask us to do the mowing too, but we have to refer it out, because we don't do it. And the guys who we refer the mowing to, always say their mowing customers ask them to do Fert too, so they wind up referring their customers to us.

Grass Shark! I just checked out your web site! It is SOOOOOOOOOO Cool! Awesome job!

Vogel-Landscaping
03-02-2010, 02:18 PM
i offer 1 service as well. Most of the time the people that want the cheap job done are the ones that have trouble paying their bills at the end of the month. i dont want any dead beats. I offer quality service all the time. I dont offer deadbeat service to deadbeats. just not my companys direction. I dont take work just to get work. Im busy as hell and when i go out on an estimate i am interviewing people to see if i want them as a customer. :laugh: Im in this business to make money not do favors and dumb down my work because someones broke.just my way though i guess! but thats with maintenance. landscaping i do exactly what the customer wants and charge accordingly and i offer 2 packages for pest/fert etc.

FourTrees
03-02-2010, 02:35 PM
Weekly yard care is one service: mowing, edging, trimming grass.

Other services are al le carte.

□ Fall Leaves (added when removal requires longer service times and extra debris)

□ Lawn Fertilization / Weed Control

□ Aeration

□ Tree / Shrub Prunning

□ Seasonal Cleanup

□ Sprinkler Work

□ Pest Control

□ Snow Removal

□ Rain Gutter Cleaning

□ General Labor per man hour

□ Other jobs per bid

Agreement is set up to let client pick and choose services according to needs, but weekly mowing is the same for everyone.

atouchofnature
03-02-2010, 10:53 PM
This post may be a bit longer than the answer you are looking for, but I made some mistakes and hope that maybe I can save someone else from making the same ones.

I have gotten myself into trouble more than once trying to offer something for everyone. examples:

A) Customer goes out of town frequently and asks if I can "fill in" mowing when he is out of town. I quote the price to him, then, every time he goes out of town, he conveniently "forgets" to call me until he has been out of town for 2 or 3 weeks so I wind up mowing 12" high grass. Since I mow his neighbor's lawn, I also notice twice that he has not left town, because his truck is in the driveway and his front door is open, but he still calls me and says he is out of town.

B) Customer wants mowing only, no trimming, blowing or edging because she wants a lower price. I quote a price for cut rate work and get the job. A few weeks later, I am putting out flyers in the neighborhood and a neighbor tells me she would never consider hiring someone who does such crappy work. Luckily she allowed me a chance to explain, but that only clarified the story with one single neighbor. Eventually, the neighbors start complaining to the homeowner's association about the customer's less than great lawn. To save face the customer tells the homeowner's association that she had hired a crappy LCO and hadn't fired me because she didn't want it on her conscience that I could have financial hardship if she fired me. I nearly got picketed by the neighbors before the neighbor I had spoken to told me what had happened. I had a flyer printed out with photos of my lawns and testimonials from customers complete with telephone numbers & email addresses, but still have only 2 customers in that subdivision which is probably the 2nd or 3rd nicest and 2nd largest in the city.

I could name a few more examples, but you get the idea.

Now I offer 4 lawn care packages, 2 mowing packages (both include trimming, edging & blowing; the difference is that 1 has scheduled visits and the other mows as needed making sure to never cut off more than 30% of the grass blade in a single cut), 2 tree/shrub packages, and 1 "everything" package.

Both mowing packages have a minimum of 2 mowings per month March - November, because even during a drought some areas of the lawn will continue growing and if those areas are left to grow just because most of the lawn doesn't need to be cut it makes me look bad and is bad for the lawn. Typically, for "spot mowings" during droughts I use 21" push mowers to mow only the area where it is needed and discount the invoice by 20 - 30%. When I switched to the twice monthly minimum, I lost a total of 2 customers and 1 of those 2 returned the following spring.

The only things that I offer "a la carte" are mulching & tree/shrub trimming. If I mow on an "on call" basis, the price quoted goes up by 20% if the grass is less than 7" tall. If the grass is over 7" the price increases by another 20% for every inch over 7" tall. I don't surprise them with the increased price, as it is printed on my bid sheet in bold red print With so many different packages, I typically have something for everyone & have very few misunderstandings.

Green Industry Pro
03-02-2010, 11:07 PM
This post may be a bit longer than the answer you are looking for, but I made some mistakes and hope that maybe I can save someone else from making the same ones.

I have gotten myself into trouble more than once trying to offer something for everyone. examples:

A) Customer goes out of town frequently and asks if I can "fill in" mowing when he is out of town. I quote the price to him, then, every time he goes out of town, he conveniently "forgets" to call me until he has been out of town for 2 or 3 weeks so I wind up mowing 12" high grass. Since I mow his neighbor's lawn, I also notice twice that he has not left town, because his truck is in the driveway and his front door is open, but he still calls me and says he is out of town.

B) Customer wants mowing only, no trimming, blowing or edging because she wants a lower price. I quote a price for cut rate work and get the job. A few weeks later, I am putting out flyers in the neighborhood and a neighbor tells me she would never consider hiring someone who does such crappy work. Luckily she allowed me a chance to explain, but that only clarified the story with one single neighbor. Eventually, the neighbors start complaining to the homeowner's association about the customer's less than great lawn. To save face the customer tells the homeowner's association that she had hired a crappy LCO and hadn't fired me because she didn't want it on her conscience that I could have financial hardship if she fired me. I nearly got picketed by the neighbors before the neighbor I had spoken to told me what had happened. I had a flyer printed out with photos of my lawns and testimonials from customers complete with telephone numbers & email addresses, but still have only 2 customers in that subdivision which is probably the 2nd or 3rd nicest and 2nd largest in the city.

I could name a few more examples, but you get the idea.

Now I offer 4 lawn care packages, 2 mowing packages (both include trimming, edging & blowing; the difference is that 1 has scheduled visits and the other mows as needed making sure to never cut off more than 30% of the grass blade in a single cut), 2 tree/shrub packages, and 1 "everything" package.

Both mowing packages have a minimum of 2 mowings per month March - November, because even during a drought some areas of the lawn will continue growing and if those areas are left to grow just because most of the lawn doesn't need to be cut it makes me look bad and is bad for the lawn. Typically, for "spot mowings" during droughts I use 21" push mowers to mow only the area where it is needed and discount the invoice by 20 - 30%. When I switched to the twice monthly minimum, I lost a total of 2 customers and 1 of those 2 returned the following spring.

The only things that I offer "a la carte" are mulching & tree/shrub trimming. If I mow on an "on call" basis, the price quoted goes up by 20% if the grass is less than 7" tall. If the grass is over 7" the price increases by another 20% for every inch over 7" tall. I don't surprise them with the increased price, as it is printed on my bid sheet in bold red print With so many different packages, I typically have something for everyone & have very few misunderstandings.



Good one. SOOOOOOOOOOO many people need to read this post and others like it. I actually had the same things happen to me as did you(except on much smaller scale lol---I didnt have an entire neighborhood upset lol)

DONT cater to hard to deal with clients or it will ruin your business. You choose who you want to work for(a different view, but an important one). I pretty much agree with everything "A Touch of Nature said".:usflag::usflag::usflag::usflag:


GOD BLESS AMERICA

FourTrees
03-02-2010, 11:19 PM
As many have said, make the weekly stuff one service. You can get into to some crappy situations otherwise. Mow, trim, edge --- that is that. Anything else and it leads to problems. One rate every week simply as that. (Adjusted weekly,bi, and 10day for drought areas and such, as I don't wanna get a fight rolling on the weekly / bi-weekly again.)

Then offer everything else you can according to clients needs. I have some clients that love puttering around trimming shrubs and such so they have no need for me to do it but mowing is a service they need.