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Husker1982
06-18-2003, 10:52 PM
Alright guys just wondering since I don't think this has ever been brought up. What do you charge if you do charge for double cutting if say the grass is extremely tall or wet and needs it, and you have to blow off a little even after that? Or maybe you cut it once and then have to blow off a little? To give an example say you have a 10,000 sqft lawn you get $30.00 for what would you charge to clean it up if needed? Thanks for the input.

LAWNGODFATHER
06-18-2003, 11:43 PM
http://www.lawnsite.com/search.php?s=&action=showresults&searchid=96207&sortby=lastpost&sortorder=descending

Boy you were wrong.

I don't charge for double cutting. It's built into the regular mowing price, and we don't do much double cutting.

Richard Martin
06-19-2003, 06:07 AM
I don't charge if I have to go over a lawn twice or blow some clippings off of it. Last year when everybody was all happy about breezing through lawns (because of the droughts) in record times I didn't hear one single mention about giving customers a break on the prices. If the price of gas goes up a little all I hear on Lawnsite is how much to raise the customers prices because of it. How many of those whiners will be lowering the price when gas goes back down?

Before anybody surcharges a customer they need to think about how much it actually costs to do that cleanup pass over the lawn. I hear people talk about charging double if they have to go over it twice. That's crazy! Are they trimming and blowing twice? No! Are they going over the entire lawn twice? No! If the first pass was done at 5 or 6 mph is the second pass done that slow? Of course not! A second cleanup pass is usually only done on the large open areas at top speed. It takes what? 5 or 10 extra minutes? Gim'me a break and stop gouging customers.

Strawbridge Lawn
06-19-2003, 07:13 AM
I will double of triple cut. Basically do whatever it takes to make sure it looks good when I leave. I don't even consider charging more. If it is in your original contract then perhaps you can justify it, but I would not put t it in a contract.
As a retired USN meteorologist, I will tell you this year will come close to breaking many records for rainfall (daaahhh). It also means it is rare to have seasons like this. I realixe it is tough for many with fullsschedules due to the rain, but IMO we need to suck it up as a rare and very tough season.
Weather pattern showing signs of shifting next week and that means drierand htter in the east and wet and col out west and through the west-central plains. (at least for next week)

mikesjumpingin
06-19-2003, 07:24 AM
I have a non-regular customer; I over-seeded their lawn and did some landscaping. Now that their lawn is restored and fed, their little old rusty mower can't cut it if they let it go a little because of all this rain.

So, I cut it once about five weeks ago, based on the rate I told them for regular cutting. They called me back last week to cut again, and it hadn't been cut since I last did it. I had to make three passes.

So, in my case, I think I will stick to regular rate for that cut, whine and moan about how time-consuming it was, and ask them to be my regular customer, or, they will need to cut it one or two weeks prior to me coming by. Frankly, if the guy wants to cut it, he needs a new mower, and that will be one suggestion. I will let them decide what they want.

Since I'm still taking new accounts, I know it's the season cash flow that really counts more than what I get from a single cut. However, I'm busy enough to be stressed out over triple cutting "hay".

Mike

Strawbridge Lawn
06-19-2003, 07:31 AM
Mike,
Sporadic customers I treat differently over regular routine (weekly annual/ seasonal customers). I typically do charge more for properties that have not been cut in cycle because of the homeowner (not rain). Many people get into houses and can't find time to maintain their property on a regular basis.
When I talk with them I let them know up front about how important routine cutting is. Price is cheaper per cut every week vice once every 2-3 weeks.

GarPA
06-19-2003, 08:19 AM
Strawbridge....I too thought this week we would start seeing a change in the weather pattern to warmer and drier. THey predicted mid 80's this week and only passing t storms. Well its still in the low 70's and more rain than a "passing" t storm. So what does your weather crystal ball show for the next couple weeks??? Please tell us you see a change in the pattern!!!!!

geogunn
06-19-2003, 08:36 AM
as we are mostly rural here, most residentals are on septics systems. if the rest of the yard is normal cutting height and you do one pass, chances are it's gonna be doubles or triples over the drainfield.

for a customer that lets the yard go to heck for several weeks and that I feel is trying to abuse me by taking advantage of my kindness, there is a good chance we are gonna discuss prices before I unload the mowers.

GEO

Gravely_Man
06-19-2003, 08:51 AM
For all of my regular customers (those on my schedule) no I do not charge more if I have to double cut. The only time I would charge more is if it is later in the season and it is the first time the customers lawn has been cut, but then the price would go down to the normal rate after the first cleanup/cut.



Gravely_Man

bobbygedd
06-19-2003, 12:34 PM
the question is, what is a "lawn cut?" simple, for your $30 u get: one pass with mower, trimming, and edging to be done every other visit, as well as the clippings blown off of the driveways and walkways. THATS IT! NOTHING MORE! im running a business, not a charity. when i have to make 2-3 passes, its charged accordingly, either a "surcharge' or 1.5-2x the regular rate. now, ill tell u what will happen, if u have them on a flat monthly rate, alot will pay the bill regaurdless if u made it 4 times or not. others will recieve the bill , lets say $200 monthly service fee, and they will cross it out, write "one missed cut" and send in $165. that burns me up. i was talking about this last night with my friend, hes been in the business many years. its now impossible to get rid of grass in my area, unless u dump illegally. that on top of constant rain, slowdown in production, higher costs, and less profit, and guys are LOWERING thier prices! duhhh. just to "keep the customer happy". i will never figure it out. answer to your question, once again: if u want to eat, and live indoors, and you make your living cutting grass, yes, u must charge extra for high wet grass that is the result of an act of god(rain) . now, say something unusual happens, say both trucks break down at the same time, and i cant make the cut that week, the next week i dont charge extra. it is my responsibility to keep the trucks in good running condition, but when something like excessive rain happens, something u have no control over, charge more.

Husker1982
06-19-2003, 05:33 PM
bobbygedd I totally agree. I bid my lawns based on one cut, trim, blow and once a month edge. I started charging for double cutting cause I look at it this way If someone had to stay and work overtime they want to get paid for it. So do I. It is just a surcharge for when it needs it like in spring growth. I got the idea a few yrs ago when a customer said to me "you should be charging me more if it is taking you longer than you thought." I told him no it is just that in the spring it grows so fast that you have to double/triple cut it to keep it nice. Then he said well extra work means extra pay. (Don't we all wish our customers were like this!) But anyway thanks for the replies everyone.

GarPA
06-19-2003, 06:17 PM
Bobby this is one time I totally agree with you.
This weather is not anywhere near a "normal"spring growth.

And as you mention, our productivity is way down because the ground is saturated week in week out and we dont want to tear up the turf. We're not fortune tellers who can predict the weather. It is completey appropriate that we get paid for the work we do. Like you said, this isn't a charity we're running...its a for-profit, for-real BUSINESS.

How many other service providers do not charge for the actual work they do?? None that I can think of.

bobbygedd
06-19-2003, 07:47 PM
hey, what do u mean, u only agree with me this ONE TIME?

GarPA
06-19-2003, 08:27 PM
heh heh...lets just say sometimes you get a tad INTENSE!!

bobbygedd
06-19-2003, 09:17 PM
i know, i know, but my councelor says im doing better.

deason
06-20-2003, 01:37 AM
I double cut when needed, and I dont charge for it on my regular customers.

What if they dont agree to the double cut price? Do you leave the lawn for POTENTIAL customers to see? The regular Joe that drives by and sees this, and somehow connects the lawn company with the lawn, wont call you. Can you blame him? What about the property owner? Will they refer you to thier freinds and family? Probably not. Will you get the other REAL money making jobs from this customer such as shrubs, beds, leaves, aeration, seeding, fert. ect.? Nope.

How much does it cost to advertise? More than it will cost to double cut that lawn I'll bet. Your quality will sell more jobs than all the fliers that you can pass out. If you get a referal from someone based on your QUALITY, you are more likely to get the next job at the upscale rate. Simply because half the selling process has already been done by what you left behind at your last (satisfied) customer's property, which was a quality job.

Phishook
06-20-2003, 02:26 AM
Charge for Double Cutting, Definatley.

I charge by the hour. It works, I get paid for my work and they get a nice yard.

Idealy, I would like to cut at the 1/3 rule. But, that's just not possible right now.

I don't have contracts, and I've never had a complaint about the extra charges. I trust that they will pay me for the work, and they trust that I'm not ripping them off.

rodfather
06-20-2003, 05:44 AM
Double Cut = 1.5 times the normal rate. And yes, we go over the entire lawn.

bobbygedd
06-20-2003, 07:06 AM
actually, we are writing up a letter as we speak, to remind customers that we must, and will be charging extra , as the result of rain and overgrowth. if i lose a couple, so be it, its better to lose the client than to work for free. have u ever figured out the profit on each lawn? well, ill tell u what, if u have one man that u pay $10 an hour, add about $3 an hour to that for comp and other expenses it costs to have an employee. for a $30 lawn, after wages and other expenses, i bet you only "make" about $16 on that lawn. now, double or tripple cut it, remember that high wet grass puts more wear and tear on your machinery, definitely beats on the body more, now the mower is working harder, youre blowing more, you are spending more time cleaning up, and u are wacking more. and , if u r like us, u edge every other visit, to maintain a nice edge, so when your visits are more infrequent, u end up edging every time. add it all up, now if u r charging the "regular" price cut, u just worked for about $2 on that lawn. sure, the client payed $30, but it all went for expenses, if the slowdown in production doesnt show it, the extra maintenance on the equipment will. stopping to scrape under decks, and sharpen blades, not to mention the mechanical repairs that will be needed, are all gonna add up. so what do u do? afraid to lose the customer? and that big two bucks? u need to look ahead, it will be real hard to surcharge in the future if u dont start now. what if it just rains, 3 days a week, till november? im not tellin my kids they cant have lunch today cus its been raining too much. part of being a homeowner is being responsible for maintaining your property. its thier property, its gods rain, get paid!

GarPA
06-20-2003, 03:08 PM
Amen to that...Today when I decided to park the mower for a couple days I got to thinking about this thread and this touchy subject. Started to compare it to guys who remove snow. Granted comparing grass to snow contracts is not exactly apples to apples...but....the logic of needing to be paid for the actual work done is absolutely no different..Last week alone I went thru four sets of blades...and we dont mow as many days as most of the guys here. I actually have 2 customers who see how much more time we have been spending on their properties and asked if they were paying enough...true story. One of them came right out and said, "if you need to mow every 4 days then do it...."I dont want you to dread coming to my house to mow"...her exact words. Reasonable people understand what we're going thru is way beyond a normal spring growth pattern.

cos
06-20-2003, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by Richard Martin
I don't charge if I have to go over a lawn twice or blow some clippings off of it. Last year when everybody was all happy about breezing through lawns (because of the droughts) in record times I didn't hear one single mention about giving customers a break on the prices. If the price of gas goes up a little all I hear on Lawnsite is how much to raise the customers prices because of it. How many of those whiners will be lowering the price when gas goes back down?

Before anybody surcharges a customer they need to think about how much it actually costs to do that cleanup pass over the lawn. I hear people talk about charging double if they have to go over it twice. That's crazy! Are they trimming and blowing twice? No! Are they going over the entire lawn twice? No! If the first pass was done at 5 or 6 mph is the second pass done that slow? Of course not! A second cleanup pass is usually only done on the large open areas at top speed. It takes what? 5 or 10 extra minutes? Gim'me a break and stop gouging customers.

I highly agree!!!

The price for doing a lawn is just that, for you to cut it and do it right. You wouldn't cut it once and charge the going rate if it needed double cut? If you get paid one rate for the month, would you double cut? YES. You want to be invited back to do the work again the next year, and want more work to arise from an expert looking lawn. Double cutting doesn't take double the time. Alot of things have to be in consideration when setting your rates and this is one of them.

Ed Ryder
06-20-2003, 09:29 PM
I am screwed with a ton of super fast growing lawns. A double or triple cut won't fix it, so I don't bother. Everything needs to be bagged, but I have no time for that and I'm not buying a vacuum attachment thing. So I have lots of lawns that look like **** when I'm done. I have too many customers. I will not hire employees. A few have left me. And I could easily add more, but I am overwhelmed. It has been 2 months since I cut all my lawns in one week! With all the rain and equipment problems with my brand new 60" Lesco Z2, plus other equipment problems... Geez! I'm so frustrated!

But the worst thing are those lawns that apparently were treated with the same kind of fertilizer that some people use to grow that 1200 pound pumpkins. Man, I can't believe how fast some of these lawns are growing!

My pricing per cut is for a lawn growing at normal conditions. But now I've got way too many lawns taking me like 50% longer because the high grass justy takes longer. That really adds up to lost business. I can't cut it all. It's so frustrating.

I'm great at getting customers, but I am constantly behind. It sucks.

Just venting here. We had a big flood today in the Philadelphia suburbs. There's a car floating in the water right down the road from me. So much rain! It's costing me a lot.

Ed:cry:

chitwood
06-20-2003, 09:59 PM
Yall should live in sunny Florida it rains here every day this time of year. You have to take that into consideration when you bid a job and if the have irrigation for the dry season.

GarPA
06-21-2003, 05:20 AM
Chitwood...you hit the nail on the head. Cos is right that we had it easy last summer becuase of the drought...but...we did not mow them until they got shaggy here and there...and by then the actual time was not that less than "normal" I think most of us are kind of sayind the same thing. At the end of the year, I went over all of the actual times it took us on each property for the entire season. THen I based this years prices on that data. As Chitwood says we need to factor both extremes into our pricing. However....2.5 months of this abnormal growth was not in any historical data. Cos we're not ripping off anyone on our end. If it doesn;t need cut, we skip that week even though we have contracts on every job. Like I said before, it cuts both ways (pardon the pun). Some of you are suggesting we should swallow the loss in droughts as well as in this monsoon season....there's something very wrong with that picture. Nearly every one of my neighbors is mowing every 4 days between rain events....because it is clearly needed. Now if I base next years pricing on this very abnormal year, according to some, we'd be screwing the customer again....and we would be. But taking a loss at both ends of the drought/monsoon scenarios is just bad business practices. Just my opinion. I'll bet many of you are getting calls from businesses homeowners wanting you to cut for them because they are not satisfied with their current guy. We have gottne a dozen calls the past 2 weeks because the other guys can't keep or their equipment broke down etc etc. We cherry pick a few of them but are careful not to get over committed like many guys are right now.

KLMlawn
06-21-2003, 01:47 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by bobbygedd
[B]if u have one man that u pay $10 an hour, add about $3 an hour to that for comp and other expenses it costs to have an employee. for a $30 lawn, after wages and other expenses, i bet you only "make" about $16 on that lawn.

So you are saying that normally it takes two guys one hour to cut a $30 lawn ???

bobbygedd
06-22-2003, 01:26 AM
no, it does not, however if u take into account traveling time, stops for gas, taking stuff out and putting it away, pee breaks, equipment maint, etc. what im saying is try to figure out exactly what your profit per lawn is, then start subtracting when u r double/tripple cutting