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Turtle II
12-16-2002, 09:48 PM
Does anyone offer package deals to their good customers???
The customers you really want in the neighborhoods you want to be in.

Example:

Say you would charge 35.00 per cut on a weekly basis, or, if the customer enters into a one season or one year contract the rate would be 30.00 per cut.

That 5 dollar difference comes out to 120.00 per month vs. 140.00 per month.


or,

Lets say its a close call on the bid,,,,,,,
could be a 35 or 40 dollar job.
at 40 dollars per cut, thats 160.00 per month. But you will do it for 140 per month if you sign up for _____________".


Has anyone tried any package type plans and offered incentives to sign up for a plan???

A plan with automatic payment. ie: 140 per month from their account to the biz account on a pre set date.......

So you might be losing 20 bucks per month by not colllecting yourself, by the job. But what about the time it takes, checks/going back more then once to get paid, going by the bank more then once per week, sporadic paying customers, etc,etc......

All that hassel and head ache and grief has got to be worth something.


Any advice for a new-bie:D from you guys that have
been there & done that or pondered the pros and cons of that would be much appericated.


Turtle II
Eastern, NC :cool:

grassdaddy
12-16-2002, 09:58 PM
you may have a little trouble getting a homeowner to sign any kind of contract.although pest control people do it.you'll never know until you try. good luck!:)

Tom023
12-16-2002, 11:07 PM
JimLewis posted this thread regarding Automatic Payment. It's called AUTOPAY, and is a pretty sweet idea if you ask me. Never used the system myself, but i'm looking forward to implimenting it from the very beginning (starting up next spring)!

Autopay Thread (http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=36542&highlight=autopay)

You can also search for Autopay or late payers, etc, and you'll get a bunch more great threads.

Good Luck!

kutnkru
12-16-2002, 11:38 PM
If a client was willing to pre-pay for lawn care for the season I would consider giving them the discounted price. Basically its number of cuts divided by number of months in operation to keep costs down for them here.

I opted to aerate one client free of charge to get my foot in the door of a sub-divsion I was quite interested in. It took two years to gain two additional accounts but the wait has been worth the initial expense.

Turtle II
12-17-2002, 06:36 PM
Jim Lewis,

You wrote a book on "AUTO-PAY" as it pertains to this Biz........

You have spelled it all out......Thanks you very much for posting that data and info...........

Hope everyone is having a great & festive holiday season!!!!!!!!!!!

bubble boy
12-17-2002, 07:06 PM
we do seasonal contracts only, so you either sign on for the season or not - no discounts just for signing.

if you pre pay or give post date chqs MAYBE a small discount, 4% to 5% say - but not 10% to 20% as you gave in example.

if someone comes on for cutting, clean up, aeration and applications, and asks for a discount if they prepay for sure i'd give them a good discount, maybe as high as 10 % . but any more than that i think is cutting margins too much.

and 10% would be a very special case. can count them on one hand.

Alan Bechard
12-17-2002, 09:05 PM
Turtle II, yes, we usually have 2 different prices, the on-call price for us and the every week normal client price. And actually there is usually about a $5 difference. If it gets ridiculous, like we do not go back there for a month or something and the grass is real high, it will be substantially more, usually 2 to 3 times normal cost, if the wife does it. The risks oftentimes on an overgrown, especially with Briars and woody vegatation far outweigh what $5 will buy, I just point at those $100 or so tires on the back of the Exmark every now and then when the wife and I discuss it.

I believe that you should charge more for the yards that you do not do as frequently, as they are slightly more difficult than when you keep up with them constantly.

Also, if you have to juggle schedules much, it sure gets to be a pain, The infrequent folks kind of have to wait till we can slot them in as best we can.

Al Bechard

kjfaulk
12-17-2002, 10:28 PM
Turtle II,
Where are you from in NC?
As far as the contracts, I have seen another company give a 5% discount to his customers that will pay for a year in advance. He does really well getting people to do this, under a 1 year contract. As far as giving a break on prices, we will give a small cut in price only, for example, we have some comerical accounts, that we do many or all of there stores, so therefore by getting all there accounts, we are able to offer them a some what lower price per store. But I would not do that for just one customer.

LAWNGODFATHER
12-18-2002, 02:26 AM
Originally posted by grassdaddy
you may have a little trouble getting a homeowner to sign any kind of contract.although pest control people do it.you'll never know until you try. good luck!:)

Dude you better wake up and get into the real world.

I don't work without a contract.!!!!!

Green Pastures
12-18-2002, 10:52 AM
I offer package deals to every customer. In fact I dont want new work unless I get everything. Mowing, fert, weed control, trimming bushes. I want it all.

Envy Lawn Service
12-18-2002, 12:58 PM
Originally posted by Green Pastures
I offer package deals to every customer. In fact I dont want new work unless I get everything. Mowing, fert, weed control, trimming bushes. I want it all.

I feel that's really the best way to build a solid business and make a great image for your company. If you don't have it "all" there are times that just mowing a particular lawn can make you look bad.

Mow & go's are quick money. But sometimes quick dollar signs in the eyes keep you from seeing the big picture.

I want it all too :blob3:

etwman
12-18-2002, 04:35 PM
The only thing we do is packages. You have to have a five acre site or larger for us to even consider your property. No price per anything. No subcontracting. It's all inclusive... mowing, weeding, mulching, pruning, 5 applications to the turf, shrub and tree fert, and leaf removal. All into one package price divided out by 12 equal installments. If you do what you say you are going to do, and do it right, the world is yours for the taking. We are at least 20-30% over the competition but our image is gold in the community. These sites are "ours" and we can come and go whenever we please. The customers love the package. They know what they are paying before the season even begins. It takes alot of homework to bid it right and get the right numbers. If done right you can turn a good profit and get paid all winter long. If your wrong it will be the longest season of your life.

etwman.

Equipguy
12-18-2002, 07:49 PM
We only offer a complete package of service. Mowing, trimming etc, fertilizer and pest control. Our pricing starts at $125 per month and yes thats for 12 months. We don't take customers without a signed agreement and Mastercard/Visa is payment method of choice. You can pay by check but we must have it by the 5th of the month for service to continue that month. We do not send out invoices for monthly charges. Having a pest control lic is almost a requirement in our area if you want the best accounts and year around residential customers. Doing good work and taking care of the customer helps too.

bubble boy
12-18-2002, 07:49 PM
do you plow et? you don't mention it as part of the package.

i wonder about the five acre policy...unless you were just making a point. really none under five acres? cause for me, or anyone , we all have minimum pricing. so say a 3 acre place is willing to pay the amount that your "smallest $" prop pays right now. you turn them away?

i'll take any matchbox if they pay my minimum.

etwman
12-18-2002, 09:13 PM
Well, first about plowing. Yes we do plowing but under certain circumstances. First, you have to sign with us under contract for grounds care for the upcoming season before we will even discuss snow removal. Secondly, in December we require a fairly large retainer fee (ie $1400-$2,000) when you sign up with us for snow removal. Now, we will credit all storms against their retainer. Once the retainer is used up then we will bill them. If no storms you lose the $$. The way we look at it is who wants to invest tens of thousands of dollars in very iffy weather. The retainer at least cover cover a portion of our salt, equipment, etc. That's the price you pay. Our snow removal is all on hourly rates ranging from $45-$110/hour. We only plow two commercial lots, that's it, and that's enough. Its nothing out of the ordinary on a 10" storm to rack up $5000.00 in snow removal for them. By the time you do sidewalks, move snow, salt, resalt, etc. it adds up. Plus we really don't need snow removal since we are getting paid through the winter with our packages anyway. We look at it as a transition service for our good customers. They are very pleased with our grounds care so they want to work with just one company all year round.

Second question you had. No unfortunately I'm not blowing smoke for you. Throughout the past 15 years I have worked for many companies while I was growing up and throughout college. I have seen many lawn care companies come and go. For two main reasons. One--lack of quality. Two--their too cheap. If your going to be in this business you have to be in it too make money. And to do that you have to provide something few companies out there can--good quality work. I started this company four years ago. When I decided what I wanted to go after I did. Large Scale Commercial and Extensive Landscape Build Projects. Our equipment (the smallest of which is a 60" deck) is really only set up for large scale work. We run a Toro 580-D as well measuring out to a 16 foot cut. With that rig it's hard to get it into most small sites. The trailer is set up like a nascar trailer on wheels, with every spare part imaginable. Compressor, welder, grinder, generator, lights, heater, tires, belts, etc. If you can't fix it in there -- throw it out. Down time is too critical. The smallest site we handle is 10 acres. We do get approached about smaller stuff frequently but it tuff to make money on the smaller accounts. Not that you can't -- you can. But when we pull onto a site with $150,000 in turf equipment it better pay for itself, and quick! We refer the smaller stuff to a friend in the area.

This whole business strategy didn't happen overnight --trust me. But what did happen is now we service 7 large scale sites totalling over 300 acres. Our landscape build division requires a $10,000 minimum to work on your project. We don't do a lot of running around, 45 hour workweeks, only 6 guys, good equipment and sales that topped the 7 digit mark this year. Can it be done? Sure, don't let anyone tell you it can't, you just have to believe in yourself. Stand your ground, deliver promises, and watch it grow. Our mission statement is: "To wholeheartedly commit to setting the highest possible standard in total grounds care management without sacrificing honesty, reliablility, or quality." I have quote on my office desk that says "The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of cheap price is forgotten"

Hope some of this helps, if you have any other questions write back. Good luck with your business.

etwman.

etwman
12-18-2002, 09:21 PM
Bubble Boy this was our new 2002 rig. Our 2003 is being put together now.

Turtle II
12-18-2002, 10:43 PM
etwman,

I must confess, as I read about your Rig, Crew, Set-up, etc. in your post and then looked at your name and saw you've only made 10 post, I thought to myself, "yea this is some one blowing pipe dreams of the *Ultimate Lawncare Set-up* through his brain and out onto this thread...."

And then to scroll down and see your rig ----Holly Cow----
As I can say is congradulations on building a great business.......
That is awsome.........

Thanks for all the thoughts and opinions posted here. Really good points to ponder. It seems like package deals and establishing proper payment plans are two keys of success.

etwman
12-19-2002, 01:46 PM
Turtle II-

Another thing if your going to put together packages is make sure you don't cut yourself short. We are further north than you are and plan about 35 "site visits" a year. After we cut the lawn, trim, blow, we walk through all the beds and pull weeds. Let's face it no one likes to weed. But if you stay on top of it it'll work. Factor it into your pricing.

Second piece of advise. It will be hard to try and get a customer who was been doing things on a "per cut" basis to go to a package deal. You are better off starting this approach with a new one. Old customers don't like change. New customers like new ideas.

Third thing. Once your installments start coming in you have to discipline yourself not to spend foolishly. You'll be one of the few that will have some serious cash coming in during the winter. You'll have minimum expenses. Your startup expenses can be high in the spring until your cash flow catches up. If you want to spend it do what I do. Go to your fertilizer suppliers, mulch sources, etc. in January. CASH deal right now!! Before the season even begins. I walk into Lesco the day after a blizzard and say I am ready to buy my first three apps. -- Cash. Trust me you'll get some deals. With mulch too! If they don't work with you go to the next guy. Your going to have to spend it anyway. Nobody's buyin' in Winter. You quoted your customer based on your regular price. What you can save you can pocket. Or buy equipment once the season begins. Remeber Cash is King. If you don't have CASH your only a bystander. Have Cash then your a player in the game.

Just some extra thoughts for you.

etwman.

stslawncare
12-20-2002, 12:51 PM
great advice etwman, thank you very much. awesome setup, and sounds like you have an awesome business. where abouts in PA are you? is it possible for you or rather would you mind making a new thread with all your equip pics/list. many of us are probably still drooling from that pic.

etwman
12-20-2002, 02:28 PM
Scottie -

We are located just outside of Lancaster, PA. Midway to Reading. No problem for the advise. The way I look at it there is so much business out there that its not even funny. Do it and do it right and you'll be turning it away.

About the pics, let me see what I can drum up for you. I really didn't want to go off on a .... well .... what some may see as a bragging tangent. But let me dig up some of our '02 photos and I'll start a new page for you.

Good luck with the business. Where are you down there? I have family just south of Dover but don't get down there too often..

etwman.

stslawncare
12-20-2002, 02:38 PM
im in wilmington de. i think with the setup u have u deserve the right to brag. you give us i guess inspiration, goals etc. also many of us enjoy looking at otyhers setups and get good ideas etc.

etwman
12-20-2002, 02:40 PM
Alright scottie if you say so give me a half hour or so and look for the new thread. I'll put up about five pics or so.

bartlc
02-11-2005, 05:37 PM
The only thing we do is packages. You have to have a five acre site or larger for us to even consider your property. No price per anything. No subcontracting. It's all inclusive... mowing, weeding, mulching, pruning, 5 applications to the turf, shrub and tree fert, and leaf removal. All into one package price divided out by 12 equal installments. etwman. What if the customer requests additional services that might be outside of your package. How would you charge for this? A tree that needs to be taken down, storm cleanup, etc. Let's say IF!

etwman
02-12-2005, 08:10 AM
Additional services are usually done on a time and material basis but usually at a slightly reduced rate. Make sure you "additional services" and the rate in the package quote at the beginning of the season. Extensive tree pruning, overseeding is a drought occurs, plantings, storm clean up etc. If it's extensive enough (like a new landscape addition) we will quote it for them. If your regular work on their site is done well expect that they will ask you about additional work.

In additional snow removal is a separate ball all in itself. Never include that in a package price. We require a retainer of around $2000/site at the beginning of December. This allows us to prepurchase salt, equipment, etc. All storms are credited against that retainer until the retainer is used up. Every piece of equipment is on an hourly basis from the time it leaves our shop until it returns. We even charge a wash out fee for the salters and a wash fee for the trucks.

bartlc
02-12-2005, 07:52 PM
I've read that you do all large scale stuff. When you started out in business, How did you establish those first couple of commercial accounts. I've taken 1 large commercial but I think I might have bid too low. I know, you got to know your s**t. Any suggestions?