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mower_babe
10-26-2003, 04:56 PM
Hi. As I posted less than a month ago, I was going to start raising my rates accordingly. Here is the damage report - the ones that responded - I kept all but one. The one that let me go? I raised her $2.50 per mowing. Oh-ya you read that right. $2.50. This lawn was averaging a little less than $20/hr and it had been at that rate for over 2 seasons. It was worth more, because she has all the little to-dos that needed done. She was very happpy with us, but apparently we weren't what she was needing anymore for another $50.00 a season. :angry: :(

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So, what have I learned? Well, it sucked to be dumped, but this is my job and I need to charge accordingly, so overall I am very happy that I sent out letters with last months bills with registration slips in them. I have never done it this way before and I like to know where I stand before next season. payup

Just thought I would share.

KenH
10-26-2003, 05:14 PM
One of my business creedos has always been if you get more than 50% of your estimates, your rates are too low.....if you get less than 50%, your rates are too high.

paponte
10-26-2003, 05:29 PM
Mower_Babe, when you raise prices you are more than likely going to lose customers. The thing you have to look at is the percentage that you lost.

If you were cutting 10 lawns at $20 a pop and only lost one account due to a $2.50 increase, your still ahead of the game but now only cutting 9. Always look at the revenue, not the lost houses. You just can't please everyone, but you can be a great business woman. ;)

Congrats on your raise! :cool:

tiedeman
10-26-2003, 06:01 PM
I am raising about 80% of my customers prices for next season. The contracts get sent out tomorrow and I can't wait for all the phone calls. It's going to be a fun day.

MOOSE
10-26-2003, 06:56 PM
What people don't realize is the overhead we have. Not only that but the big increase on everything. My liability went up 25% and auto went up 15% and workers comp went up 10% just this year. How about next.

We have to raise prices just to cover the increases because it would hit our own pockets if we didn't.

I too will be raising prices for the 2004 mowing/maintenance season.

People sometimes learn it's not good to go with the cheap guy. Had one client tell me that this year. Left clippings and did not edge walks or curbs.

Good Luck to all

sheppard
10-26-2003, 09:16 PM
This may sound wacky but here goes...I only raised the price of the customers I didn't want to keep or the ones that complaned every time I visited them.

Figured if they fired me that was OK. If they didn't then I just found a reason to put up with their griping.

Every time I add a new customer I price them on the higher end to make up for the ones I under bid the first year I started.

I look at the monthly bottom line of revenue- not so much how each account is paying.

Cordially,
Sheppard

AztlanLC
10-26-2003, 09:55 PM
Ooh my god!

turfsolutions
10-26-2003, 10:13 PM
I am a bit suprised at some of the replys to this thread. Generally the first 2 years in biz you are going to be a low bidder to get started. But then you realize to actually make money, you need to start raising prices, especially when its time to start buying more equipment and trucks.

This is my 8th season in business and I started contracting my customers 5 or 6 years ago, I forget. I have raised prices every year and can honestly say I haven't lost one as a result of the higher price. If you do quality work and are reliable, people will pay more money. If they don't, you didn't want that type of customer anyway. Remember, its a business. If it costs you $2500 more to be in business next year as a result of higher insurance, gas, rent etc... then you need to recover that. Not by working more hours, but by raising your rates.

Do yourself a favor and give yourself a big raise next year.

mower_babe
10-26-2003, 10:16 PM
Just say it AztlanLC - you are probably thinking the same thing as I am.

Sheppard, 2 questions---how long have you been in l c biz legitimately and how do you keep your overhead and expenses, ie- liability and equip insurance, fuel, health insurance, repairs, wages, and taxes to not increase? b/c baby - I gotta have you talk to my insurance company, the gas station, the dealers, the taxman and my employees. Please tell me your secrets.

paponte - I wasnt so surprised that I lost some. I was just reaalllyyy surprised that I lost that particular one. There were some raises that even I thought were high. I raised one of them a lot because the customer was a total pita, and I didnt want to be the one to end the relationship- and guess, what - that kinda backfired. But they will seem like less of a pita when i am getting more $$ for it, I hope.;)

MacLawnCo
10-26-2003, 11:20 PM
mower babe, what were your highest % increases that still kept your service? Im strugling with how much is too much for next year. I know what i need to charge on all mine that are low, but im afraid i cant ask for the increase all in one year.

mower_babe
10-27-2003, 12:33 AM
MacLawn-I reviewed the list and most increases were around 10%. I really didnt think about percentages too much when I was calculating. I mostly worked with man hours and what I was getting per job/per man hour. If it was unacceptable, than it went up more than the others. Almost everyone got raised. I think all but 2 accounts and they were residential. And I know that some guys say "calculate your operating costs...etc..."but, to be honest, my operating cost for a lawn that I must use a 21" on and one that I have to use the riders on, in my opinion, are different. We are talking about a machine that costs $800 and a machine that costs $8,000. I understand the principle, but do not think it is practical and one that you can use as a blanket calculation. I hope I helped you. (If you want to, pm me if you want to be more specific.)

GarPA
10-27-2003, 06:09 AM
I raise half of them one year and half the next. Usually its around 10%. I dont hesitate one second about price increases as just about eveyrthing in my personal and business life will cost more next year than it did last year. WHere is it written that people in the Green industry should work their butts off only to have less purchasing power year after year??

I cant even begin to understand why anyone would not raise their prices. Its no wonder why some of you guys say you are cutting lawns at prices that were in effect 10 years ago.

And next years renewals will include a clear and bold clause re: a Fuel Adjusment Fee when 89 octane exceeds X.00. If UPS can do it(and they did) Joe Blow Mow and Go sure as heck can, and should.

You gag on a $5 increase?? Here are some other companies you can call. Have a nice day.

MOW ED
10-27-2003, 08:00 AM
I think you did good by raising the rates on your terms. My question to you is did you have a conversation with this customer that dropped you?
I am not gonna say what works and what doesn't because you know this person but it seems like they dumped you and you gave up. Why not explain your reasoning to her? Mayby you can get her thinking your way and she will come back. I never advocate begging for a customer but the reason I say what I do is because you stated that she was very happy with your work. Stick to your price but give her a visit. Just a thought. Good Luck.

David Haggerty
10-27-2003, 08:02 AM
I contact customers before I raise their prices.
Explain my position and give them a chance to object without just firing me. Seem to have the best luck raising prices mid season. I give them about a 3 week notice that at the end of say, July I'm going to have to raise their rates by $xx .
Sometimes they say "That's just unacceptable" and that they will have to get someone else. I say OK and that I will be glad to continue mowing for them until they can find a suitable replacement.
Then they always ask this question: "At the old rate?"
I say No... In August it will be the new rate.

By the time either one of us thinks of the increase again they're already paying the new rate.

I don't like to raise prices in the off season. It just gives them too much opportunity to find someone else. And I don't give penny ante increases either. It's either a significant amount or I leave them alone.

Dave

mower_babe
10-27-2003, 11:00 AM
MowEd-she enclosed a sweet note in her last bill and said that she was scraping by as it was and couldn't afford any increases. It was a nice note. I have not contacted her about it. I don't really see the necessity at this point. I will still send her a Christmas card and thank her for her patronage, etc. I will not discuss the discontinue of service, ie.ask her back, on two reasons: firstly, I believe she truly cannot afford it and secondly it would be disrespectful to her for obvious reasons and to me because it is like I am begging for work. I don't mean to seem cold, but I WILL not lower my price.

David, all of my customers received a nice letter of raise notice that also included the prices for extras, ie. aerating, slit seeding, and rolling in 2004, enclosed in their bill. There is no way that I would or could personally, via telephone, contact everyone. Playing phone tag is not an option. My customers are used to receiving any information from me, besides items that need immediate attention, through snail mail and it works well. Like I said above, if they want to drop me, that is their choice. Once my prices are better, I will probably be able to raise them 5% a year and be satisfied. What percentage do you consider to be a signigicant amount?

David Haggerty
10-28-2003, 04:20 AM
It sure sounds like you made every effort to ease the shock of a price increase for your customers.
It seems that this customer is just rebelling against any price increase however reasonable it is.
I agree you shouldn't go back on your price increase. If you do the customer has made you out to be a liar. (Like "You really didn't need that money now did you?") So you must stand by your decision.


As for the amount of increase. 5% is where I would start considering it. Though personally I'd rather wait a year and give a 10% increase. I only raise a few each year. This lets me concentrate on keeping those accounts. I lost a big account for an increase that didn't amount to 4%. It's not going to happen again.
But then I only have a few large accounts. The rest get treated like Sheppard's. "If you give me any grief at all, the price goes up!"

Dave

Hawkeye5
10-28-2003, 09:25 AM
"I wasnt so surprised that I lost some. I was just reaalllyyy surprised that I lost that particular one. There were some raises that even I thought were high."

Never fails. The one you think will be a piece of cake blows up in your face and the one you anticipate will be a problem turns out not to be a problem at all.

Randy Scott
10-28-2003, 12:08 PM
All you procrastinators that are wishy-washy about raising prices because of being afraid of losing customers, are the ones who keep the industry shallow for profit. Just raise the stupid prices that you need to get, if you don't, you will eventually get behind. If you can't get the money you need to survive, you may need a higher profit career, or YOU are doing something wrong with your services. The customers that will keep you alive in business are the ones that understand the value of a dollar.

I don't know how you will ever get caught up if you keep spreading your price increases out over multiple years. Inflation occurs every year, every year. So as you try to get increases over two years, you are falling further behind as inflation keeps on rolling forward.

It's called "balls" people, and in this case, they are not gender biased. Now let's all go out there and get more money. Giddy-up!!!!

geogunn
10-28-2003, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by mower_babe
Hi. As I posted less than a month ago, I was going to start raising my rates accordingly.

m_b--you could raise my rates any time you want and I'd stay with you. :D

GEO;)

Gr grass n Hi tides
10-28-2003, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by turfsolutions
I am a bit suprised at some of the replys to this thread. Generally the first 2 years in biz you are going to be a low bidder to get started

I could not disagree more. This is my first year building toward full time & I put a LOT of time and money into a professional image as well as researching the heck out of lawnsite and posting some questions here. Did I make a couple of bidding mistakes early on? Yes. Did I weed them out? Yes. I am a quick learner. I get $1/min. & more for all work I do, I am pleased to say.

mower_babe - So she dumps you over such a tiny sum..........I may not be the most experienced person here but I can say that the low priced and/or problem clients I had......their slots were filled with profittable accounts almost as soon as they were gone. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts you fill that slot with something much better.

turfsolutions
10-28-2003, 08:35 PM
A little harsh, but well said Randy.

turfsolutions
10-28-2003, 08:47 PM
Gr Grass n High Tides: In regards to your disagreement.

To get started in this biz you have to bid on the low end of the scale, period. If you have no name recognition, no references, no jobs where you can say here, this is the quality of work I can give you, that how can you bid high?

Yes Mr. Smith I know my bid is higher than those other landscape companies in your neighborhood, and I know those larger more reputable companies have newer trucks and more equipment than me. Oh, and I can also see that you are a bit skeptical paying more money for my services being that you and everyone you know has never heard of me and have never seen my work because, well I am new to this business. But aside from all that, I still feel my higher price is worth it, you just have to take my word for it.

Yeah... Come on back to reality. You start at the bottom and work your way up until they will pay top dollar for your proven reliable, qualified service. Unless you buy a name, thats how it goes. Period.

mower_babe
10-28-2003, 10:52 PM
Originally posted by geogunn
m_b--you could raise my rates any time you want and I'd stay with you. :D

GEO;)

and you all call "ME" the tease?;)

Shawn-yes, I have more than made up the loss with all of the other increases. So, I am more unhappy with the loss of the rapport than the money. She was scraping by the last year anyway, which makes me feel badly.

Hawkeye-exactly. exactly. exactly. It is like you can't shake some people. They give you chit all year long and harass you, but never let you go. I raise their rate, not overpriced, but they still keep me. I don't get it. It is like secretly they like me, but they have to have something to b1tch about or something. Hey-as long as their check is good, I guess.

Turf, yes unless they are so sick and tired of a crappy mower person and are willing to pay and aren't going to quibble - or they just don't know any better. Few and far.

Randy, I agree with 99.9% of what you said. There is a fine line between being ballsy and throwing complete caution to the wind. Fine line.

Likestomow
10-28-2003, 10:52 PM
I raised some of my accounts this spring, but I did not give any notice. I just billed them $2 or $3 more per cut. One got a $5 increase. None of them squawked and none quit. I think people expect their cost to go up some from time to time.

mower_babe
10-28-2003, 10:54 PM
see, I would consider THAT to be not a good plan. JMO

lawnmowermannh
10-28-2003, 11:01 PM
This is what I think customers will pay for quality work. I had a customer drop me one season to go with the low baller. The next season I got her back and have been mowing her for about 5 years now and even with increased rates. I choose my customers very carefully. So the moral to this story is if a custmer drops you bcause you go up on your rates a little bit, don't be surprized if she call you back.


Competition is healthy. I know a lot of contactors in my area and talk to many of them. The people that gives us a bad names are the ones that are really low balling us professionals. To be honest can't see how they are doing it. Unless they are not paying taxes, buying Insurrance and only charging 1/2 what the job is really worth. I hear more often from protential new customers the last guy said $40 and I came in on $65 I just say sounds like you got a good price and hope you get your moneiy's worth.
Well sorry for venting a bit just had some thoughts on my mind.

turfsolutions
10-28-2003, 11:35 PM
I am not sure what it is like in other markets. Here in s.e. Pa. there is a little of all. There is the blue collar neighborhoods, the white collar neighborhoods, and some pretty rich neighborhoods. Regardless of the customer and the job, you need to set your hourly rate, estimate the jobs based on that, and stick to your guns.

You can't worry about losing a customer. You can please some of your customers all of the time, all of your customers some of the time, but never all of your customers all of the time. If you lost this customer, BIG DEAL. There are plenty of prospective customers looking for quality work. But it does take work to find them.

By the way, mower babe, I am not saying that your raise your rates 25%. $2 or $3 per cut is fine if you have been underbidding.

I said I raise my prices every year, but only $10 per month per customer (full service contract) for example, which is about the rate inflation increases. That should be expected as a professional.

GarPA
10-29-2003, 05:56 AM
well said TurfS...I factor in a few things when I raise prices...

1. is the property priced property based on the prior years production data(avg time it takes on the property for the entire season).Also, does the property have a "hassle factor"...such as: a wet area, problem parking, slow pay, steep slopes, etc etc...sometimes we dont see a "hassle factor" until we work the property a few times.

2. how will, my business expenses change in the next seaon.

3. what is the rate of inflation as it pertains to my personal income taken from the business

I can count on one hand how many customers even questioned the increase, let alone cancelled.

I also started doing something last spring new customers...I include a statment in the agreement that says we will review each account on a yearly basis to determine if a modest fee increase is needed due to inflation and the cost of doing businss. Some asked right up front how much their increase might be...when I tell themn in most cases not greater than $20 per month (residential), almost to a person they say..."not a problem".

Gr grass n Hi tides
10-29-2003, 07:15 AM
Originally posted by turfsolutions
Gr Grass n High Tides: In regards to your disagreement.

To get started in this biz you have to bid on the low end of the scale, period. If you have no name recognition, no references, no jobs where you can say here, this is the quality of work I can give you, that how can you bid high?

Yes Mr. Smith I know my bid is higher than those other landscape companies in your neighborhood, and I know those larger more reputable companies have newer trucks and more equipment than me. Oh, and I can also see that you are a bit skeptical paying more money for my services being that you and everyone you know has never heard of me and have never seen my work because, well I am new to this business. But aside from all that, I still feel my higher price is worth it, you just have to take my word for it.

Yeah... Come on back to reality. You start at the bottom and work your way up until they will pay top dollar for your proven reliable, qualified service. Unless you buy a name, thats how it goes. Period.

So, I'm a liar?????????? You need to get a grip, sir. I have no trouble getting these rates & as I said this is my first year building toward full time - 3rd in it overall. My condolences to you if you have trouble with your bidding. As I said I'm not pulling around a wooden trailer that looks like sh@, I'm insured, licensed, have company hats & polos, business cards, truck lettering, yellow page ad, and professionally prepared door hangers. I learned a lot from this site and some local LCOs befroe I launched so I could AVOID all of the probles you are describing and obviously still going through & it has worked very well.

I am staight-up and honest on this site.

I don't know what else to say to you.

That's how it goes.......period. Have a nice day, a nice life Mr. turfsolutions. :)

GarPA
10-29-2003, 07:42 AM
Shawn...I agree with you 100%. I too put hundreds(most likely thousands) of hours into researching the issues/costs/rates of this business b4 I put the sign up. From day one, my prices were actually in the top third of providers in this area....but I knew I could make it work because of the high level of quality and dependability we provide.

Yes in the first year I took on ugly properties, problem mowing accounts, and of course, too often underestimated job times....but not once, did I knowingly go in low to get the job. I made 2 promises to myself when I started:

1. NEVER cut corners just to get home a half hour early...and
2. ALWAYS charge what my work is worth ...

and after 3 years I can honesly say I have not diverted from these promises

Gr grass n Hi tides
10-29-2003, 07:52 AM
Originally posted by GarPA
Shawn...I agree with you 100%. I too put hundreds(most likely thousands) of hours into researching the issues/costs/rates of this business b4 I put the sign up. From day one, my prices were actually in the top third of providers in this area....but I knew I could make it work because of the high level of quality and dependability we provide.

Yes in the first year I took on ugly properties, problem mowing accounts, and of course, too often underestimated job times....but not once, did I knowingly go in low to get the job. I made 2 promises to myself when I started:

1. NEVER cut corners just to get home a half hour early...and
2. ALWAYS charge what my work is worth ...

and after 3 years I can honesly say I have not diverted from these promises

GarPA - Thanks, man. We obviously went down similar paths getting up and running. Your formula is simple and on point with the way I want to be. I can only guess at how many pages of lawnsite threads I read before I put money into my business. It goes to show what an phenomenal resource this site is. I have said it before, this site and a number of folks here have put me in business. The less profitable, problematic clients I had......those were MY fault, not because of my business. Like I said, I learn fast and it won't happen again.

GarPA
10-29-2003, 08:07 AM
Shawn.. I think I remember when you were starting out because I LOVE the Outer Banks and thought, "what a neat place to live and work". As I recall, from the beginning you wanted to run your new biz like a for-real business. Good for you

Re: LAWNSITE:
Would I have been able to start the full time business without this site...sure

Would I have been able to be as successful without all the help from the people here??? no way......

This site is invaluable not only for the new-bies, but for the old-bies as well

There's a small core of "veterans" here who were here when I started and are still here today...these guys/gals seem to never tire of helping others...kudos to them all

turfsolutions
10-29-2003, 10:22 AM
Shawn,

I don't think we are as different as you think. Maybe you think I am encouraging people to be lowballers when starting out, not the case. There is a difference between bidding on the low end of your personal scale, and being the low bidder.

I was saying that when you start out trying to build a business you can't be the highest bidder without name recognition. Not to say that you should be the lowest bidder, just on the lower end of the scale.

Then once you have proven your top quality service, start charging top dollar rates. I am sure you fully understand that people will pay top dollar as long as they feel they are getting their moneys worth.

Just to put your misconceptions about my business to rest. Just like you, I am fully legit. I carry all necessary insurance, have lettered trucks, a yellow page ad, uniforms for my employees, and have done my homework.

Don't get so defensive, you were the one that couldn't disagree more with my opinion. Why was I not entiitled to defend my opinion?

If in your first year in biz you were the high bidder for all your new customers and built your business that way, then I take my hat off to you. I just think thats a tough way to build up a customer base.

turfsolutions
10-29-2003, 10:25 AM
By the way, I didn't call you a liar, and I have no problem getting my rates on my estimates. I have been in biz for 9 years. My work, my reputation, and my name allows me to bid on the high end of the scale.

AztlanLC
10-29-2003, 10:45 AM
If in your first year in biz you were the high bidder for all your new customers and built your business that way, then I take my hat off to you. I just think thats a tough way to build up a customer base.

But is not imposible

The main problem with people starting out is that they focus on having more and more customer, no matter if the price is low, often see people in this forum, " I got mrs. daisy this year and I'm charging $15 because she lives right next to a current customer of mine"

do you prefer 100 customers paying $20 per cut or 50 paying $30.
100 x 20 = 2000
50 x 30 = 1500

You'll be working twice as much, your equipment will be use twice as much, your billing will take a twice as much.
Are you making twice as much in this example?

All this comes from a guy that was lucky to find this site and listen to people like, ELM, jimlewis, garpa, agla, stonehege, paul, pelican, homer, and many more that I don't recall at this moment.
me

Gr grass n Hi tides
10-29-2003, 06:46 PM
Originally posted by GarPA
Shawn.. I think I remember when you were starting out because I LOVE the Outer Banks and thought, "what a neat place to live and work". As I recall, from the beginning you wanted to run your new biz like a for-real business. Good for you

Re: LAWNSITE:
Would I have been able to start the full time business without this site...sure

Would I have been able to be as successful without all the help from the people here??? no way......

This site is invaluable not only for the new-bies, but for the old-bies as well

There's a small core of "veterans" here who were here when I started and are still here today...these guys/gals seem to never tire of helping others...kudos to them all

GarPA - Thanks again. Obviously you pay attention to what goes on here. So do I. After a while you get a real feel for folks. Yep, I really did go at this thing as professionally as I possibly could right from the beginning, and that includes pricing. I know a number of guys around here that use the $1 = 1 min. rule & when I started out I told them right up front that I didn't want to low-ball and create problems.

One client of mine told me the girl that cut his lawn for two years just quit showing up. He said he paid her $35/cut. Was that the truth? I believe it was. I told him I couldn't do it for $35, it would have to $40 but he would never have to worry about me not showing up. He said fine, we built our relationship on trust (and hard work) and all is well.

I've already culled out my mistake accounts on advice of folks here & now I know what to look for.

Gr grass n Hi tides
10-29-2003, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by turfsolutions
Don't get so defensive, you were the one that couldn't disagree more with my opinion. Why was I not entiitled to defend my opinion?

If in your first year in biz you were the high bidder for all your new customers and built your business that way, then I take my hat off to you. I just think thats a tough way to build up a customer base.

Turfsolutions - I re-read the thread and after doing so I don't think I was being defensive. I have apologized to folks on here a time or two before when that was the case. I have no problem doing so when it's appropriate.

I'm not trying to instigate or stoke any fire, if there is one. However, what I see sometimes are people on this site that like to "lump" and/or frown upon another simply because they are a newer start up or part timer.

In your original post (which I quoted) you did make some "lumping" type statements and also told me to "come back to reality", among other things. These "lumping" type statements - I don't have much tolerance for it and will speak up. As far as reality is concerned, hey I'm sitting right here knowing what that is. You can take what I say at face value or not.

As I said, I went about starting my business with the idea that I didn't want to wait 3 years to figure out what advertising worked, etc. So, I poured a ton of time into research. It has paid off. As far as real life experience is concerned, like I said I've had some bad clients & worked one or two of those situations out right here on ls in an effort to learn but also try & help by letting others see the problem.

As far as pricing high as a slow way to build customer base: I respectfully disagree. I say start with what satisfies you from the beginning or else you'll be culling those low priced accounts later on & thinking to yourself "geez I could have been doing this all along." In the end, each of us must do what we find to be rewarding. Just don't short change yourselves. I did make some bidding mistakes right out of the gate, but after those I told myself NO MORE and if someone does not want my price then I don't need them on my route.

Let's face it, lawn care is not rocket science. It can be done extremely well by a 1st year full timer, or even part timer. It only takes a small amount of time to learn to put a razor edge on your trimming & operate a 48 wb hydro with great efficiency. Put that together with a professional image, good people skills, and properly pricing your work = monster steps toward success regardless of tenure in this work.

So, I say to all those out there thinking of getting into the business, come on in the water is fine. Do your research, ask questions here at ls and work hard. You will be fine. Your dreams can happen. If you're solo the work is hard so you must be able bodied. Take the time to learn the personalities here and then decide who to take advice from. And yes, dive in with a post. Don't lurk forever.

Gr grass n Hi tides
10-29-2003, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by mower_babe
Shawn-yes, I have more than made up the loss with all of the other increases. So, I am more unhappy with the loss of the rapport than the money. She was scraping by the last year anyway, which makes me feel badly.

Sorry, I got so side tracked I forgot to send a return note. Good for you on the biz end & yep I feel your situation on the other. I had a lady this year that started as a weekly cut, then went to every two weeks (sparse growth so no big deal - not a glamour account), then she actually told me she wanted to go to every 3 weeks! I told her that was just about impossible for me schedule-wise & then told her what the price would be to cut a thigh high jungle once every three weeks. We parted ways in a nice manner, but still I felt a little bad because the last time I was there a for sale sign went up in her yard and I got the feeling she fell on some difficult times.

It bothered me a bit, but come on I did accomodate her to a point (even let her pay late a couple times without giving her grief). She was one of my very first accounts.

turfsolutions
10-29-2003, 10:34 PM
Shawn,

Like I said, we are more similiar than you think. I am not frowning on a new comer to the biz at all. I have helped my friends in the biz understand what it means to recover your overhead by charging correctly from the get go.

I think we are both on the same theory when it comes to our biz. The one thing we do disagree on is bidding lower (Not low bidder) to build up a customer base when starting out. In the first year of a one or two man operation an owner may be forced to bid lower to make ends meet.

On a similiar note, I have employees that count on me to provide work for them. If I feel that lowering my bid by 5%-10% may get me the job and will keep my employees busy during a slow period, than bidding lower is justified. As long as I still recover my overhead, make a profit, and my employees collect a paycheck, all is well. Of course the following year I would then raise my price by that 5-10% to bring my profit to the level it should be.

I am not suggesting that either of these situations should be the basis of your bidding, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do to provide.

Gr grass n Hi tides
10-30-2003, 08:02 AM
Originally posted by turfsolutions
Shawn,

Like I said, we are more similiar than you think. I am not frowning on a new comer to the biz at all. I have helped my friends in the biz understand what it means to recover your overhead by charging correctly from the get go.

I think we are both on the same theory when it comes to our biz. The one thing we do disagree on is bidding lower (Not low bidder) to build up a customer base when starting out. In the first year of a one or two man operation an owner may be forced to bid lower to make ends meet.

On a similiar note, I have employees that count on me to provide work for them. If I feel that lowering my bid by 5%-10% may get me the job and will keep my employees busy during a slow period, than bidding lower is justified. As long as I still recover my overhead, make a profit, and my employees collect a paycheck, all is well. Of course the following year I would then raise my price by that 5-10% to bring my profit to the level it should be.

I am not suggesting that either of these situations should be the basis of your bidding, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do to provide.

Yep, doing what you have to do to make ends meet is something else altogether different. Like you said, just make it happen however you must. I could see situations during a slow time or maybe where a Co. loses 10% of their accounts for whatever reason then maybe you are left with no choice but to take on some less lucrative accounts, even if you are an established business. I would do that if I had to.

The out of gates/lower end of bid spectrum situation: If there's absolutely no other way, then again make ends meet however you must. However, I don't think one should make the mistake of being on the low end of the spectrum just because you are new in this line of work. In my opinion that would set the tone for your operation and it could take some time to recover from those type consumer expectations. It does not have to be that way.

I'm trying to see the big picture with my start up. I'm setting the tone.

mower_babe
05-08-2004, 04:35 PM
Originally posted by mower_babe
Here is the damage report - the ones that responded - I kept all but one. The one that let me go? I raised her $2.50 per mowing. Oh-ya you read that right. $2.50. :(

UPDATE***

This lady called a few weeks ago and wanted to be put back on the list. I told her I would call her back in a day or two to let her know if we could make room for her. Of course, I took her back, but she lost her Friday spot. But, we retained her, which makes me happy. Thought I would share.

mtdman
05-08-2004, 09:29 PM
I hope you raised her rate more than that original $2.50.

:D

Gr grass n Hi tides
05-09-2004, 07:05 AM
Good for you m_b!!

PMLAWN
05-09-2004, 08:17 AM
That makes 100% on the price increase, Right? Way to go!
Please refresh the mind-- Did not you give up mowing to go back to school or am I mistaken? Anyway, good for you and have a good mom's day.

Titans Fan
05-09-2004, 11:23 AM
Went up $5.00 on five accounts this week. All five customers seemed fine and said that they understood.

I told them with the raising prices of fuel and insurance, this change had to be made.

Good luck with all your customers!!:)

mower_babe
05-09-2004, 04:51 PM
I did not raise it anymore than the original increase. Her calling me back was vindication enough for me.

Originally posted by PMLAWN
That makes 100% on the price increase, Right? Way to go!
Please refresh the mind-- Did not you give up mowing to go back to school or am I mistaken? Anyway, good for you and have a good mom's day.

Thanks! I am back in school for nursing, but I didn't give up the mowing. In fact, we have picked up more than last year, several larger commercial accounts. It is a definite time struggle, and I could never do it by myself without great employees and a wonderful hubby. I will go on a one month break after this week (finals week) and then full blast again with school. I cannot wait for this one particular class I am in to be done. It is much harder than I had thought, either that or I am much more stupid than I had thought. We started out with 45 people and are down to 23. Of the 23 that remain, 5 have taken this class before and failed. Makes me really nervous as this is finals week and I have 3 tests just in this class this week. Yikes. Oh-well, life will settle down for a month that is all I care about right now.

:)