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1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 04:48 PM
This is a NON paying leaf cleanup customer. She has her grandkids cleanup her leaves. However, the grass still needs cut.
We don't want to have bag up all the leaves in the process while cutting, we don't want to have to mulch them to make a bunch of ground up leaves in her tiny yard, and we don't want to just side discharge them everywhere.
So we still got the cut in, we didn't leave the yard a total mess, and all leaves are contained in one area without any hassles.
Any one else ever do this??? The customer absolutely loved the idea.

fga
10-28-2004, 04:50 PM
but aren't you still going through the motions of raking and blowing them there? that's the real labor, bagging them is easy.

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 04:52 PM
Rake?? No way.
That was done in 5 minutes tops with the 48 inch walkbehind only, cutting and blowing them in like that just with the machine. No extra work involved at all.
I never see anyone mention this here about making tree rings, for customers that don't take a leaf cleanup. It's quick, fast, and simple.

MMLawn
10-28-2004, 04:54 PM
If my customer doesn't want to pay me for leaf cleanup then I 1) give them the option to clean the leaves up prior to each weeks cut 2) if not I run over them with hi lifts and let them fall where they may, but do try and make it look decent for them still. The way I see it even though what you did looks cool, they still got a partial leaf removal for free.

Up North
10-28-2004, 04:57 PM
IMO if the customer is happy with the end result, which it appears they are in this case, and it didn't cost you a lot of extra time to do it then fine. Looks like you found a solution that works for them.

Personally...I'd tell her to have the kids pick up the leaves by "x" day as I'll be there to mow the following day. Then I wouldn't have to worry about the leaves at all, and the kids still get to do their share and make a couple bucks.

Buck

jbell113
10-28-2004, 05:08 PM
This is a NON paying leaf cleanup customer. She has her grandkids cleanup her leaves. However, the grass still needs cut.
We don't want to have bag up all the leaves in the process while cutting, we don't want to have to mulch them to make a bunch of ground up leaves in her tiny yard, and we don't want to just side discharge them everywhere.
So we still got the cut in, we didn't leave the yard a total mess, and all leaves are contained in one area without any hassles.
Any one else ever do this??? The customer absolutely loved the idea.
I think it looks good and it didnt take that long to do it besides your client is happy and thats what matters.

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 05:12 PM
free leaf cleanup, call jodi

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 05:16 PM
Don't be mad Bob that you did not think of this. A couple of circles around, and bim bam boom, the leaves are corralled. No special blades required. ;)

MMLawn
10-28-2004, 05:17 PM
I know the real deal here......

Bobby and Jodi sitting in a tree...K-I-S-S-I-N-G........ :p

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 05:23 PM
face it, your customer declined to pay for leaf cleanup, so, not only did you clean them (for free) you made a nice little circle around her tree. i pulled up to a customer today, did the one across the street, started packing up, the other client came out, "where you going? arent you gonna do mine?" i said, "well, you said you didn't want leaf cleanup, there are leaves on the yard, if you move them, i'll cut the grass." then she wanted me to help her get down the front stairs with her walker. i said, "sorry lady, i can't , i got sh!t to do." and off i went. she calls like 2 pm, "ok, you can cut the grass, the leaves are all picked up." i said, "sorry lady, i'm done for the day, maybe tommorow." now jodi, had i known you were cleaning leaves for free, i could have sent you over

clovergurl1487
10-28-2004, 05:34 PM
1MajorTom,
That's the same thing I do. It doesn't take much more time, the lawn looks better, the customer is happy and the neighbors notice it. I look at it as a good way to keep customers and possibly pick up some new ones.

Ed

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 05:36 PM
I think it looks good and it didnt take that long to do it besides your client is happy and thats what matters.right now i am banging my head against the wall thanks to you jbell. what kind of a statement is that? tell you what, want to really make the customer happy? don't charge anything! hey, in your own words, "the client is happy and that's what matters." :dizzy:great idea clover girl, let's let the nieghbors in on it too, let's give them all an option, "either pay for leaf cleanup, or w'ell do it for free." :cry: you are killing me

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 05:41 PM
Maybe you need glasses bob, cause I see every leaf that was there, still there in their yard. The customer must dispose of them.

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 05:46 PM
well hell, they told me if i kept pulling it, someday i'd need glasses. jodi jodi jodi, you may as well have dumped them in a can for her, same thing. u removed them from the lawn, and made a nice neat pile, it would have taken less time to dump them in a can. you cant tell me it didn't take you any more time than a grasscut.

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 05:48 PM
You've never used your machine as a blower before? try it sometime before commenting, then get back with me. See how small the yard is? Start the machine, run over the sidewalk to blow them to the tree, circle around a couple of times, and that's it.

On edit: I'm not talking about corralling leaves around trees on large acreage, just small tiny yards.

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 05:54 PM
free leaf cleanup, call jodi. i would have charged at least $5 extra. everybody knows, bobby don't cook without that dough

Turf Medic
10-28-2004, 05:56 PM
I'm not sure how you would be able to sell leaf clean up, once your customers find out you are willing to do that for free. The big reason why your customers are willing to pay for leaf clean up is they don't want to spend a couple of hours out there with a rake, you just solved that problem. If they don't wait until the wind blows them back on the yard, you just turned their couple of hours into 10-15 minutes. If you did that for me one time, there is no way you would ever sell me a leaf clean up again.

Fareway Lawncare
10-28-2004, 06:05 PM
You're saying you Discharged Leaves Perfectly around the tree in 5 min. using only the Walk....Don't Buy it for a Second...

Would have put on a Catcher & dumped them around the tree or Mulched...

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 06:09 PM
The big reason why your customers are willing to pay for leaf clean up is they don't want to spend a couple of hours out there with a rake, you just solved that problem.

A couple of hours to clean this tiny yard with a rake? You see how small this yard is?
Anyway, look underneath the hedges, look in those ugly white rocks, there are still leaves everywhere, we did nothing but "push" the leaves to one spot. We got our cut in with no hassles, and no matter what, the lady will never take a leaf cleanup, she told us this when we signed her up and inquired about her leaves.
We never said we could sell ice to an eskimo, she doesn't need us, she has her grandkids do it for her.

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 06:11 PM
Fareway,
I have no reason to lie, I never post stuff to mislead anyone. All i'm saying is try it before you say it can't be done. The leaves were dry and fluffy, 3rd gear with the discharge shoot up. I never see anyone say they do this, that's why I made a post about it. I gain nothing by lying.

Fareway Lawncare
10-28-2004, 06:22 PM
Very Impressive....I would have had to use a BP or rake if Discharging, after the cut, to get them that Perfect....

Nicely Done !

Turf Medic
10-28-2004, 06:24 PM
A couple of hours to clean this tiny yard with a rake? You see how small this yard is?
Anyway, look underneath the hedges, look in those ugly white rocks, there are still leaves everywhere, we did nothing but "push" the leaves to one spot. We got our cut in with no hassles, and no matter what, the lady will never take a leaf cleanup, she told us this when we signed her up and inquired about her leaves.
We never said we could sell ice to an eskimo, she doesn't need us, she has her grandkids do it for her.

A couple of hours or half an hour you still cut the amount of time it will take her to clean by a large percentage. But whatever keeps you happy, if this is the easiest way to handle the situation and it works for you, it's a good deal.

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 06:24 PM
she's lying. you know she is

Turf Medic
10-28-2004, 06:29 PM
she's lying. you know she is


are you sure, did you see her blink :D

scott in the soo
10-28-2004, 06:29 PM
gedd,,

with an attitude like yours you won't last a year in the lawncare business....

stizostedion_vitreum
10-28-2004, 06:36 PM
jodi, not to be negative.....

but I'd like for you to mow my yard the 15th of October next year....don't mind the leaves cause my grandkids (lol) will take care of them.

If you could just make a couple nice piles up by the trees that would be great....ohh and by the way I'll even throw in an extra $5 for your troubles.

now all kiddin' aside, these guys are right.....no problem satisfying the customer however, she needs to have them picked up prior to your arrival or she needs to have a surcharge added. I sure hope you don't currently cut any of her neighbors....cuz next year you'll have to include the cleanups as free work news travels fastttttttttttttt.

tj

grasswhacker
10-28-2004, 06:40 PM
From what I understand, piling up leaves at the base of a tree is not recommended.

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 06:40 PM
I guess that's just one example fareway of how pictures can lie. When I reduce the picture down, it looks "perfect" according to you.
However, when it's at 100 % detail, the picture shows differently. There is a curb along the roadside. Those leaves couldn't be blown by the machine otherwise they would have been shot out in the road. So there are leaves all along the curb, and stuck down in the grass. All I was trying to show was a quick way to make a small yard look decent without any hassles, very far from perfect.
Yep grasswhacker, hopefully the grandkids pick them up.

gogetter
10-28-2004, 06:43 PM
Some wacky responses in here. Jodi, I have one small yard with a tree in the center like that, with a small mulch ring around it.

As fall comes, there are leaves on the lawn, but still a few cuts left for the grass.

I cut the lawn in circles, starting on the outside working in towards the tree. By the time I'm at the tree, there is a nice neat pile of mulched leaves in a ring around the tree. Just like yours.

The beds are still full of leaves, no extra blowing or mowing at all. Takes the same amount of time as cutting, so no extra charge.

The last cut was last week. I will wait until about mid November now 'til all the leaves are down, and I'll go back and do a FULL leaf clean up using blowers to get all leaves to the curb and suck them up, and charge them for the time. Usually about $100-125 for this lawn (little to no leaves in fenced backyard).

You didn't do anything for free, these guys just don't get it.

1MajorTom
10-28-2004, 06:47 PM
Damn gogetter, where have you been? :laugh:
It's about time.
I thought surely someone out there in the lawn world has done this and has gotten the same results as us.
Now remember ssssshhhh, don't tell anyone I paid you to say that. ;)

gogetter
10-28-2004, 06:47 PM
[QUOTE=stizostedion_vitreumcuz next year you'll have to include the cleanups as free work news travels fastttttttttttttt.
tj[/QUOTE]

Can you explain where this "free work" is???

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 06:50 PM
gedd,,

with an attitude like yours you won't last a year in the lawncare business....ok scott. next year will be 10. i probly made more when i was part time then you make full time

grasswhacker
10-28-2004, 06:58 PM
A Wealth of Leaves
With three simple methods, you can turn fantastic foliage into fabulous fertilizer.
By Edwin Marty



Fall brings a carpet of gold across the South and a chance to enjoy cool weekends outside.

If money began falling from the sky, your neighbors would probably think you quite odd if you raked the bills off your lawn and put them in bags for the trash collectors to haul away. But each fall, legions of homeowners charge into their yards with rakes in hand to do just that, throwing away the most valuable resource their yards produce--leaves.

Besides providing trees with the energy they need to grow in the summer, leaves also supply an entire forest with what it requires to thrive in the winter--fresh nutrients. Without a constant supply, most plants can't reach their full potentials and the soil will eventually become exhausted. Luckily you can take advantage of fallen leaves to keep your soil fertile and make your plants happy.

Let 'Em Lie
Using foliage as a mulch is probably the easiest way to fertilize your yard. Simply letting the leaves of oaks or maples decompose where they've fallen or raking them into specific planting beds ensures a replenishing supply of nitrogen and potassium to the soil. While the leaves themselves may not meet all your plants' nutrient requirements, they will decrease the need to add soil conditioners and organic mulches. Don't let the leaves build up too high around a tree's base, as this can cause rotting or insect damage. A good mulch doesn't need to be more than 3 inches thick. Also, prevent leaves from covering up grass for more than a few days, because the blades require sunlight for photosynthesis and growth.

Break 'Em Down
Another option is to rake up the leaves and put them on a compost pile, where they can mix with other decaying plant materials and provide next year's fertilizer. There are a number of advantages to composting leaves, such as creating a balanced supply of fertilizer and encouraging beneficial soil bacteria. Once leaves are properly composted, they can be reapplied to beds to ensure your plants have all necessary nutrients, as well as moisture-conserving mulch.

Cut 'Em Up
The final option is to use a mulching mower or leaf blower to help foliage break down on its own. On turf lawns, a few passes with a mulching mower will make leaves small enough so they don't affect the grass blades and will return nutrients to the soil.

A blower with a vacuum option can be a great help in getting leaves out of a bed or off a lawn. Most vacuum blowers will also chop the leaves, making it simple to add them to a compost pile or spread them as mulch. While leaf blowers can be helpful when clearing large areas, they tend to stir up dust in the air and can lower the air quality. Limit their use to days without smog problems.

Use these easy, inexpensive ways to get nutrients back into the soil and keep your yard looking great throughout the year.

Tips for Mulching Leaves on a Lawn


A sharp rotary blade mower will pulverize leaves best.
Chop foliage enough so that grass still receives full sun. Three or four passes with a mulching mower may be needed.
Mulched leaves don't increase the thatch layer enough to harm the grass.

scott in the soo
10-28-2004, 06:58 PM
gedd,,

seems like your competitiors are leaving you the scraps.. change your attitude, youll make alot more money bud..

dvmcmrhp52
10-28-2004, 07:13 PM
Well now there are three..............LOL!

We do that at a convent and I do it with my next door neighbors....I send them under the spruce trees and it covers the needles nicely creating mulch for the trees.
It isn't quite piled up like your small lawn though...............

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 07:20 PM
could you be more specific? what exactly do i need to change?

Avery
10-28-2004, 07:35 PM
All this trouble over a leaf post! Man I am glad we do not have many of them here. What few there are disappear when they hit the Atomics.

EastProLawn
10-28-2004, 07:39 PM
I think it looks just fine to me.

Lux Lawn
10-28-2004, 07:52 PM
If the customer is happy fine but in 10 minutes with the wind it will look like you were never there anyways.

Soupy
10-28-2004, 08:03 PM
Jodi, I am sure 99% guys on here have used their mower as a blower. They just don't do it for free.

musselman
10-28-2004, 08:27 PM
I like it, even if it took a couple extra minutes. Most succsseful companies throw in some free stuff to keep customers happy. Car dealers might give a tank of gas, mcdonalds gives a toy with a happy meal....how much do you make on this lawn during th year? Is it worth losing because you cant give a little extra. My bet the lady is a great customer and a keeper. That little extra might result in several referals rather than everyone wanting it done for free. Bobby for you to call anyone a liar is like the pot calling the kettle black...you should go back and read all the BS you write. If every thing you say is true and you make all the money you say you do...you better make alot more and have fun, because the next life is going to be hell for ya buddy. I do however get a kick out of your stories, if the lawn care ever goes under on ya you should write a book.

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 08:42 PM
hell? o my goodness. so, the lord gonna send me to hell cus i won't clean leaves for free? anyhow, mcdonalds does not give that toy away for free, in fact, ronald should be in prison, he lures little kids into his fat and cholesterol, health hazardous resturaunt by dangling this toy in front of the kids face. it's not a toy, it's BAIT! and a free tank of gas, on a $30,000 vehicle is a far cry from a free cleanup on a $10 lawncut. you guys are digging your own grave, deeper, and deeper.

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 08:56 PM
furthermore, a lawnboy has no right to give anything away, we don't make enough! there is a fine line between customer service, generousity, and pure stupidity (not directed at you moderator). i've given away a few pansies or impatients. but these were $5-$10 items on a $3000 landscape job.

Turf Medic
10-28-2004, 09:19 PM
I like it, even if it took a couple extra minutes. Most successful companies throw in some free stuff to keep customers happy. Car dealers might give a tank of gas, mcdonalds gives a toy with a happy meal....how much do you make on this lawn during th year? Is it worth losing because you cant give a little extra. My bet the lady is a great customer and a keeper. That little extra might result in several referals rather than everyone wanting it done for free.

You are very correct in your statement that companies will give some freebies, but not after they have tried to sell it to you, ie the dealership won't say "we can fill the car up for $35" and then after you say no, go ahead and throw it in free of charge. If they do give the tank of gas or the toy, you can be assured they will make you well aware of the fact that they gave you something free. "Here's the keys to your new truck, I had the back shop, go over a second time and fill the tanks."

My thought is two reasons to clean up the leaves, one, it looks nicer, this reason makes it optional, two, leaves packed on the grass can do damage, this makes it a necessity. If you do it like Jodi did that relieves the property owner of the necessity, leaves in the beds don't look nice but aren't going to cause any damage, so they can be left until spring. Blowing the leaves into a pile, kills the chance of selling a fall clean up as the leaves in the bed can be left until the spring clean up. JMO I am all for doing the occasional freebie but make sure that you note it on the invoice, but blowing the leaves would not be a freebie I would include at no charge. Like I said just my opinion and whatever keeps you happy dealing with your customers is a good deal for you.

musselman
10-28-2004, 09:53 PM
I dint say you would go to hell for not doing a leaf clean-up. I said you lie and mistreat people....maybe you dont lie and all you say is true here, I have no proof, but in reading many of your post you do mistreat people IMO. How do you know its a $10 job? Maybe she gets $35 for it and it takes 10 minutes and the few extra minutes wont matter. Maybe over the course of the season this customer does pay $3,000...now its justified to do the extra for free? As far as digging my own grave ...well ive been at tis longer than you and still making lots of money....and my customers like me. From your many problem cutomer post you write I would say your the one digging. You keep treaing your customers like crap and filling up the forum with your problem customer posts (gotta keep that post count up)
OK ill give one to you thef ree gas was a bad example...and most big companies dont give it for free they make up for it in thier prices. However the point is tat it does keep the custemer happy and buying your service...and makes for alot less of your problem post.

bobbygedd
10-28-2004, 09:57 PM
you are correct, as long as you give stuff away, work cheap, let the client dictate payment policies, schedule your routes, tell you what height to cut and what mower to use, etc, etc, then you are correct, you will never have customer problems. as soon as you show some resistance, and stop letting people screw you, you WILL have problems, i garentee it. i don't mistreat people, i just don't allow them to mistreat me.

Lawn-Scapes
10-28-2004, 11:38 PM
Looks good Jodi. Keep up the good work!

PR Fect
10-28-2004, 11:51 PM
I really hate to say this but I'm with Mr. Gedd on this one. What the heck is with you guys doing mowing's but not leaf pick up anyway? Never heard of such a thing. Its part of the job, of "mowing the yard". Next you will tel me you mow but the owner string trims and blows the walks?

Turf Medic
10-28-2004, 11:58 PM
If the customer wants you to bag the yard but you usually charge extra for this, so they say, "bag it but you don't have to haul it away just dump it in the corner of the yard, or around the tree, I'll dispose of it later". It will only take you an extra 5 minutes and the customer will be really happy with you. Do you do this? How is this different than bunching the leaves? IMO you either get paid for picking up the leaves or you just mow and they can deal with the outcome, their chioce.

shepoutside
10-29-2004, 12:07 AM
I think it looks great too! The Customer is happy, Jodi sounds happy, this is good business P/R, and it pays back way more than the $ 5.oo Bobby would have charged

1MajorTom
10-29-2004, 12:09 AM
What the heck is with you guys doing mowing's but not leaf pick up anyway? Never heard of such a thing.

The probabilty of us being able to sway all 90+ customers to a leaf cleanup is very slim. Heck, maybe we are just losers, maybe everyone out there in internet land does leaf cleanups on every one of their customers. But I doubt it. And I bet there are very few on this forum that have over 70,80, or 90 customers who would be willing to say every client takes a full blown leaf cleanup, beds, etc. The likelihood is not everyone will take one. If the opportunity arrives where we can drop a non-leaf cleanup customer though, we will.
It's just like going into McDonalds, not every customer is going to buy the supersize value meal. Some are going to buy a small hamburger and small fries instead, and McDonalds won't turn them away. All season this lady has been a good customer, she's more than welcome to take care of her leaves any way she wants.

Bagging turf medic is different than making circles around a tree. Bagging involves more work in my opinion. Start, stop, empty bagger, etc...

PR Fect
10-29-2004, 12:11 AM
I seen a story in a LCO mag about a guy who had 48- 21 inch mowers one or two big walk behinds and a single zero turn. Had something like 50 H2B workers working for him and there biggest account of hundreds was something like 9K. Do you think they do 5 min extra for free? I do not.

DuallyVette
10-29-2004, 12:21 AM
free leaf cleanup, call jodi. i would have charged at least $5 extra. everybody knows, bobby don't cook without that dough


Hell Bobby, you probably charge them for watering the lawn when you take a piss. If I was your customer I'd want you to go nickle & dime somebody else. That lawn is SOOO small that my minimum monthly maintenance fee should cover a free car wash.(but it won't)

Lawn-Scapes
10-29-2004, 12:24 AM
Let's see..

Don't cut the lawn because there are leaves on the lawn and they won't pay to remove them.

or

Cut the lawn as shown.. taking a couple extra minutes and get paid for the cut.

Hmmmmm... ?

Liberty Lawncare
10-29-2004, 12:26 AM
free leaf cleanup, call jodi


YUP :drinkup:

DuallyVette
10-29-2004, 12:43 AM
you are correct, as long as you give stuff away, work cheap, let the client dictate payment policies, schedule your routes, tell you what height to cut and what mower to use, etc, etc, then you are correct, you will never have customer problems. as soon as you show some resistance, and stop letting people screw you, you WILL have problems, i guarantee it. i don't mistreat people, i just don't allow them to mistreat me.

You must have been screwed pretty far in the ground to have so much animosity for your customers and other LCO's business practices. As for your above examples of problems...No customer ever tried to tell me how to do anything. When they first call , I ask them several questions before I see their property and try to determine whether we do what they want.

Runner
10-29-2004, 12:47 AM
I don't know...it's all just a matter of priorities and where your values are, I guess. How much is your time worth? And for what result? I'll give you a hint...it took us longer to read this thread than it did for her to please a good customer. Let me ask this...Jodi, did you do this, or did Tom? The reason I ask this, is my next question. Did you enjoy it while being out there on this beautiful day? That's all that matters. See, in the time I took typing this, that front bed could've been blown out, too.

DuallyVette
10-29-2004, 12:55 AM
I seen a story in a LCO mag about a guy who had 48- 21 inch mowers one or two big walk behinds and a single zero turn. Had something like 50 H2B workers working for him and there biggest account of hundreds was something like 9K. Do you think they do 5 min extra for free? I do not.

I don't understand ???
(1) I always thought a 21" mower was a waste of time. 48 21" mowers would be a tremendous waste of time.
(2) "their biggest account of hundreds was something like 9k." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN????

Soupy
10-29-2004, 12:56 AM
I don't know...it's all just a matter of priorities and where your values are, I guess. How much is your time worth? And for what result? I'll give you a hint...it took us longer to read this thread than it did for her to please a good customer. Let me ask this...Jodi, did you do this, or did Tom? The reason I ask this, is my next question. Did you enjoy it while being out there on this beautiful day? That's all that matters. See, in the time I took typing this, that front bed could've been blown out, too.

I would defiantly charge them now. Knowing that they stoled 5 minutes of lawnsite from me on a Thursday night :)

grasswhacker
10-29-2004, 07:59 AM
Hell Bobby, you probably charge them for watering the lawn when you take a piss. If I was your customer I'd want you to go nickle & dime somebody else. That lawn is SOOO small that my minimum monthly maintenance fee should cover a free car wash.(but it won't)

ROTFL!!!!!!

Mickhippy
10-29-2004, 08:50 AM
I think it looks great. What did it take you, all of 1 minute to run around the tree 2 times?

Dont worry about these other guys. Stick to your own ethics! :drinkup:

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 08:52 AM
as long as you guys have to do freebies to keep your customers, then do what you have to do. i didn't realize you were making THAT MUCH MONEY, that you are able to give stuff away. i'm just a poor slob i guess, i'm not making $29 profit on a $30 lawn, so i choose not to give freebies. tell me what other businesses give away thier products? once again, my statement stands, lawn folk are not businessmen, you are screwing yourselves, your families, and me and mine. good day

pfifla1
10-29-2004, 09:07 AM
looks good, i have done it before, in florida, we dont have "leaf" cleanup cost, at least i have never heard of it. and yes, he did it for free, but if it only took a min, whats that cost to make a customer happy. maybe if you went the extra mile you wouldnt have to worry about us affecting your family.

Mickhippy
10-29-2004, 09:15 AM
I just figure spending an extra minute or 2 on a lawn mowing job quite acceptable. I suppose none of you lot spend a few minute picking up sticks, toys, rocks, rubbish etc. I'd rather spend and extra 1 or 2 min's pushing a few leaves than to not get payed for mowing the lawn at all.
---------------------------------------------------
Quote...pfifla1 looks good, i have done it before, in florida, we dont have "leaf" cleanup cost, at least i have never heard of it. and yes, he did it for free, but if it only took a min, whats that cost to make a customer happy. maybe if you went the extra mile you wouldnt have to worry about us affecting your family.

This is my point exactly!

Our leaves fall all year! If we didnt push/clean them up I wouldnt have a job!

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 09:25 AM
i have properties that need continual cleanup throughout the year. with oak trees and sycamores, there is some mess every week to be cleaned up. it usually takes 5-10 minutes to pick up debris before we mow. they are billed in the following manner , for every single visit: grasscut-$32. weekly cleanup-$7.50. so our weekly visits are $39.50. the competition in the same neighborhood is doing this weekly service for, yup, you guessed it....$25. you are leaving good money on the table. i started this block with only one customer. there are 3 other services in this neighborhood, yet one by one, they are booting their service, and contracting with us. i now have 5 on this block. and i charge extra for everything. if i fart, it cost them a nickle

karen1122
10-29-2004, 09:29 AM
Jodi,

Let's see........ 5 minutes, 3 times per year = 15 minutes of your time (or a 12 pack for Bobby) and one happy, good paying customer who will come back next year.

Cost avoidance to replace the revenue=
- Sales time to obtain a replacement customer including walking the property for an estimate
- Time to reorganize your route
- Time to alter your billing records
- etc.

Maintaining current customers who match your business strategy is an excellent way to reduce your overhead costs. Changes in your customer base will cost you much more than you think and it is definitely not value add to anyone.

...and, if it put a smile on your face and made you proud of your ethics, then you really won!

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 09:40 AM
why would you have to replace the customer? if you provide a good service, you are valuable to them. therefor, when you explain your policy, they abide by it, rather than take the chance of losing you. our policies are POLICIES, not options. i guess then karen, you should never raise prices either? according to your statement keeping customers is much more profitable than replaceing them, even if it means working for free. bad business karen, you'll never make your age 50 retirement goal with that mindset. and btw, i have better client retention than the little boys and girls giving away thier service. ethics? what do that mean? i may be goin to hell, but i'm goin with a suitcase full of money

cutnedge
10-29-2004, 09:41 AM
Little late here, but curious:
Was the area around the tree mowed or trimmed before the leaves were blown there?

grasswhacker
10-29-2004, 09:53 AM
as long as you guys have to do freebies to keep your customers, then do what you have to do. i didn't realize you were making THAT MUCH MONEY, that you are able to give stuff away. i'm just a poor slob i guess, i'm not making $29 profit on a $30 lawn, so i choose not to give freebies. tell me what other businesses give away thier products? once again, my statement stands, lawn folk are not businessmen, you are screwing yourselves, your families, and me and mine. good day

I do all I can to avoid freebies, and charge plenty for services. For instance I installed this week a cast aluminum mailbox and post for a client: mat.cost 212.00 charged 395.00, same client needed a border around a bed that the neighbor water flows into :material cost 52.00, charged 115.00. All of 3 hrs of time including time to buy items needed.
Another client this week I removed old wire gutter guard and installed new stuff. I had purchased the new material when Lowes changed locations and cleared out the store. Bought a bunch of the gutter guard for .50 per 3ft sec. Use 30 sections so material cost 15.00 2 hrs work charged 195.00.
A customer has to be trained that extra services have extra costs, however not every little thing needs to have a charge attached to it ( but must be kept to a minimum). I try to balance it out. I've taken garbage cans back to the garage and called the utility cos for my elderly clients, but charge 40.00-60.00 per hour for services, and even more for services not related to my field.
That being said, this time of year I will chop up leaves two or three times to make the yard look good and put nutrients back into the soil, but not do the trimming because this time of year it is not that important. The time I use on one is balanced by not doing the other and no quality is sacrificed. I will also inform my clients about the exchange stating that I am trying to save them money by not having to charge them for extra time mowing. They appreciate my effort and their savings. Moderation and balance are the keys to successful business. FWIW IMHO

1MajorTom
10-29-2004, 10:15 AM
Little late here, but curious:
Was the area around the tree mowed or trimmed before the leaves were blown there?

You can't tell in the picture, but there are ugly bricks all around the tree that stick up, I think that is what held the leaves in so nice. Nothing really in there, just some tulips, daffoldils in the spring, there was nothing in there now. The lady would hand pull any weeds that would sprout up, we do nothing to maintain that tree ring.

cutnedge
10-29-2004, 12:01 PM
hell? o my goodness. so, the lord gonna send me to hell cus i won't clean leaves for free? anyhow, mcdonalds does not give that toy away for free, in fact, ronald should be in prison, he lures little kids into his fat and cholesterol, health hazardous resturaunt by dangling this toy in front of the kids face. it's not a toy, it's BAIT! and a free tank of gas, on a $30,000 vehicle is a far cry from a free cleanup on a $10 lawncut. you guys are digging your own grave, deeper, and deeper.

In my humble opinion, I would tell her to use what little I would have charged extra to go and buy some chocolates for the trick-or-treaters; on the house!
(oh, but be sure and ask her to get the low-carb, no-fat kind. We wouldn't want to tarnish our good-guy image as being a major contributor to a child's obesity or hi-cholesterol levels, now, as Ronald has done, would we?) :nono:

PR Fect
10-29-2004, 12:38 PM
I don't understand ???
(1) I always thought a 21" mower was a waste of time. 48 21" mowers would be a tremendous waste of time.
(2) "their biggest account of hundreds was something like 9k." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN????
9K refers to 9000 sq ft of turf. Thats small. This guy did hundreds of lawns, all small 2000 to 3000 sq ft. He has very little equipment cost. $900.00 for a good 21 instead of 2 or 3 grand or more. Accounts that only take 15 to 20 minutes. If you give away 5 min, could be as much as 1/3 of your work!

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 12:40 PM
5 min per house extra, 20 houses per day=100 minutes of unbillable time, times 5 days=500 minutes of unbillable time. that's more than an 8 hr day, you just gave away for free! you are disgracing yourself, taking time and money away from your family, and setting an industry standard that will haunt us, and has, for years. like i said, there is a fine line between customer service and pure stupidity.

musselman
10-29-2004, 01:01 PM
I agree bobby stupid would be to assume we all give 5 minutes extra to every account every day of the week costing us 500 minutes...anyone who could come to this conclusion is desperatly trying to defend them selfs in a losing battle. But to give a few minutes here and there was resulted in alot of refferals for me and good customer relations. Kinda like Ive spent extra for the better mower...in the long run it pays off.
The reason you are getting all the lawns on the street ill bet is 1-you do good work 2-your on time It was nothing to do with giving freebies or not. You cant tell me the other guys do just as good of work, show up on time, give a few freebies, and charge less and people are dropping them for your more expensive service. There has to be a negative reason they dump the other guy....or maybe its your charming peronality they cant live without.

jbell113
10-29-2004, 01:18 PM
right now i am banging my head against the wall thanks to you jbell. what kind of a statement is that? tell you what, want to really make the customer happy? don't charge anything! hey, in your own words, "the client is happy and that's what matters." :dizzy:great idea clover girl, let's let the nieghbors in on it too, let's give them all an option, "either pay for leaf cleanup, or w'ell do it for free." :cry: you are killing me

Ok Blubber that was just my opinion

gogetter
10-29-2004, 02:13 PM
It's so funny how people only read the parts of a post or thread that they want to. They CLEARLY don't read everything, because if they did, they would have read the part where Jodi said "IT TOOK NO EXTRA TIME"!!!.

I'll repeat for the SLOW people here, THAT TOOK NO EXTRA TIME!

karen1122
10-29-2004, 03:31 PM
musselmann: you make an excellent point. Don't spread your efforts out across the board, spend the time and energy where you have the best opportunity for a return. Expend efforts satisfying customers who best fit your business strategy.

The referrals and satisfied customers also touch on a more important subject. It has been well documented that the largest cost for a company is that of obtaining new customers who fit the desired profile. The second largest cost - retaining them. Additionally, the magnitude of these costs are inversely proportional to the number of customers the company has if operating near capacity (i.e. the cost of obtaining a single customer is much higher for a company with a capacity of 10 customers than for one with a capacity of 10,000).

The point - if Jodi spent less than 5 minutes (as she described in her second comment) to selectively maintain a good customer, she spent her time very wisely. She can expect to receive a return on her investment either through the higher-than-market price she can command from the happy customer or through the cost avoidance of replacing the customer.

NC Big Daddy
10-29-2004, 05:38 PM
Karen you'll find that some of these guys don't understand the principles behind running a service industry business. Maybe you should start a post on standard business procedures, as I have long since given up trying to explain these very simple concepts. Again very well done Karen!!

And Jody.....the lawn looks great. We do it all the time. We stage leaves in beds until we're able to apply enough labor to take care of them.

karen1122
10-29-2004, 06:23 PM
Thanks Big Daddy

You can't get through to everyone, however, there does seem to be a group where the principals do provoke thought and are appreciated.

The LCO market really amazes me; this site included. A dog-eat-dog compilation of small competitors who band together to help each other - many with a high level of ethics and pride in the work they do. Very refreshing in today's world.

SpudsM15
10-29-2004, 06:26 PM
Since jodi said this job took no longer than normal... She's getting paid the same amount to do the same amount of work...
My Customers that do not have leaf clean ups...I cut till the last week in oct. so pretty much all through oct i'm choppin leaves, and theres blowout... SO i try to sell the service to the customer if they say no...I say ok I can't leave the lawn looking like sh!t sooo...I'll trade off on say string trimming or edging, But I will not spend more time that is planned for that lawn....+ on normal lawns that people don't water...the cheap ones that don't want leaf clean ups...I ussaully skip a cut or two during the year so it all works out...
In the future when I have a real customer base I will weed out these people that don't want all theservices that are required lawnmowing. spring/fall cleanups, hedgetrimming....
This is just like the thread a while back, about people spraying roundup to control weeds in the sidewalks for FREE.... Hec I'll get 50-150 a year to do that X that by 30 1500-4500 a year! and people are doing this for free....
The end of this convo should be If she's making her hourly rate than its cool
For me as a solo opp $1 one min while cutting

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 06:28 PM
every client jodi gets as a referel from this lady, will expect to not pay for leaf cleanup, but WILL expect jodi to mulch thier trees with leaves. the fact remains, i have just as good, or better client retention than the rest of you. and i give nothing away, thank goodness i don't own the oxygen in the air, the poor people would suffocate. i'm higher priced, and in no uncertain terms, i am a prick. so tell me geniuses, why am i retaining clients, at a higher price than the competition, and not giving anything away for free? tell me please. here is what i think: the working class stiff, will always be a working class stiff. not because he isn't capable of earning money, it's a mindset. once again, you DON'T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY, to be giving things away! you are all fools!

karen1122
10-29-2004, 06:34 PM
Bobby,

Would you mind sharing your retention rate with everyone? Number of customers changed out per year and the number of total customers you have (Not just the number of beers you can put down without peeing)

TJLC
10-29-2004, 06:47 PM
I don't have to deal with many leaves to speak of but what you did looks good to me. Sounds like the customer is happy and so are you. When we lived up north, I always dreaded fall because of all the leaves. Our yard had alot of trees. I can't say that I miss that.LOL

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 06:53 PM
karen, with an attitude like that, you will never get to see my "equipment." ok, beers per hr= 4 per hr for the first 2-3 hrs, then progressivly less, maxing out at about 20-24 cans, and still able to say the alphabet.anymore than that, even girls like you start to look good. customer retention: accurate to within 5 clients......i started this year full time with approx 35 clients from last year. these were steady maint customers. by mid july i think i was at roughly 65, alot on referels. today i turned one away in fact. these i mentioned are only maint customers, we still have ferts, landscape jobs, trim jobs,cleanup only jobs, thatching, aeration, etc that are one time customers. the key to MY BUSINESS, is maximizing profits by keeping overhead low, and not playing bullcrap games like giving away leaf cleanups at grasscutting rates. and you will notice my dear, i seldom work more than a 7 hr day. since you are being so damn nosey, today , i went out at about 9:40 am, solo, and pulled back on the lot at 3:45. stopped home around noon for a coffee and lawnsite, took about 30 min. in my short hrs worked, i grossed over $400. this is a take home of about $375. i am now sitting here, in my underwear, drinking beer, and eating pretzyls.....anything else?

MMLawn
10-29-2004, 06:58 PM
i am now sitting here, in my underwear, drinking beer, and eating pretzyls.....anything else?


Now you've done it BobbyG....a sight that will be enblazed in our minds for the rest of the evening....LOL :)

BTW, did Odin change the name of his business to what i suggested in his Name Contest, to "What's that hanging out from under my Kilt Lawn Care"

karen1122
10-29-2004, 07:13 PM
Bobby, Bobby, Bobby

What a great example. So you want to keep your capacity at about 65 customer to avoid the stress of an 8 hour day. Either way that's the target.

35 customers returning so that you must replace about half of your customers each year. Obviously, you have a lot of PITA customers as your: posts, skips and court trips indicate. These all add costs when compared to customers who are satisfied with the LCO services and the treatment they receive.

Even if all your prospects come to you then you still have the expenses associated with: quoting, changing routes (with each new addition), changing billing, etc. These activities are called overhead (O-V-E-R-H-E-A-D) and do not produce cash.

I would bet that it costs you more than 5 minutes to change a billing address let alone the entire cost of a customer. switchover. This is what Jodi spent to avoid the entire cost.

Since your strategy is to minimize overhead, I would assume that customer retention through overwhelming customer service would be your primary tactic.

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 07:19 PM
fool, i only had about 35 customers. that's what i started with. changing routes? wtf are u talking about? most of my work is withing a 5-7 mile radius. what changing routes? one thing i don't have, is dead weight like you sitting around all day, collecting a paycheck for nothing. court? you question my court dates now too? oh, i see, so you don't collect from dead beats? another one "letting it slide?"

Lawn-Scapes
10-29-2004, 07:25 PM
bobby.. Is that any way to talk to a lady? I know you were raised better...

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 07:27 PM
something else worth adding: when i do loose a customer, it is ME who cancels, not them. WHY? because i refuse to play the bullcrap games that YOU ARE allowing yourself to be exposed to. i can only imagine, because you are female, and old, that you are not directly participating in the hands on part of the business you operate, or are employed by. therefor, your company must be one of the ones carrying $500,000 worth of equipment, many employees, and all the expenses involved with same. YOUR type, are the ones working for less, trying to make it up in volume, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO, you have bills to pay. your kind is the kind that drives prices down below market standards. tell us karen, tell us about yourself, what do u do? i lay mine on the line, lets hear it

Turf Medic
10-29-2004, 07:30 PM
Jodi a couple of questions, how much extra time will you put into a yard before you feel it is required that you charge extra? Is there a limit as to size of yard that you would do this type of leaf bunching without charging? How did you know before you started the yard how much extra time it would take?

And a question for karen, I noticed that you have 0 years in the business listed in your profile, I personally don't think that means anything either way, but care to share your background?

1MajorTom
10-29-2004, 07:34 PM
Karen,
You're fighting a losing battle, you won't be able to educate Mr. Gedd. I've been trying for some time, he just won't listen to us women. He beats to a different drum. :laugh:

1MajorTom
10-29-2004, 07:41 PM
Turf Medic,

Ok, to try and answer your questions.
This wasn't planned. The idea was just to cut the lawn with the 48, and discharge the leaves as they lie. But after the first pass, they just shot in so nicely towards the tree, that it was a no brainer. This was a couple of circles extra around the tree. I didn't know how long it would take, as said, I wasn't thinking about doing this on this lawn. The idea came as the cutting was being done.
On a large lawn, no I don't think it would be wise to do this, then it would take time to corral the leaves. On this tiny lawn, it didn't.
We charge extra when hassles are involved. This wasn't a hassle.

Tvov
10-29-2004, 07:56 PM
We sometimes do something similar early in the leaf season, before real pickups begin. Especially if the yard is surrounded by woods, for a few customers we simple run the mowers back and forth, discharging towards the woods. We don't worry about a pattern when we do this. This is only if it doesn't take any more than the normal time for mowing (otherwise we charge extra).

Sheesh, Jodi, starting these controversial threads! :p

fga
10-29-2004, 08:07 PM
Bobby,

Would you mind sharing your retention rate with everyone? Number of customers changed out per year and the number of total customers you have (Not just the number of beers you can put down without peeing)that's really kind of irrelevant, the retention numbers. i have weeded out alot to get good customers and quality paying customers. if i put down on paper the amount of accounts i've lost, or dropped, you would think they are alot, but in reality, my bottom line is much better! If you do free work for people, ofcourse you are going to retain them year after year, why on earth would you not? if you come and cut my grass for free, i won't fire you, no matter what it looks like.

gogetter
10-29-2004, 08:14 PM
If you do free work for people, ofcourse you are going to retain them year after year, why on earth would you not?

Can someone PLEASE show me where this "free work" is in Jodi's example? Everyone keeps saying "free work", yet no one has showed me where there was free work involved. They just keep repeating like a broken record.

shepoutside
10-29-2004, 08:19 PM
fool, i only had about 35 customers. that's what i started with. changing routes? wtf are u talking about? most of my work is withing a 5-7 mile radius. what changing routes? one thing i don't have, is dead weight like you sitting around all day, collecting a paycheck for nothing. court? you question my court dates now too? oh, i see, so you don't collect from dead beats? another one "letting it slide?"

Well, if your wasting your time at court, and not out making money, then your working for , less then nothing, as you only collected for what was owing to you in the first place. Cheaper to use collection agency's, and do what you do best. You have very poor business sense, which show's through your post. But I, like most here, find you entertaining, so keep up the posts.

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 08:33 PM
the free work came, because jodi offered leaf cleanup at an extra fee. when the lady declined, jodi provided a partial cleanup, and a grasscut, at only the grasscutting rate. shep, you should kiss my freakin feet for having the balls to do what you don't do! i get my pay, my late fees, and paid for a court appearance. so, i get paid for sitting there, reading the racing form, waiting for my name to be called. if it werent for pushovers like you, i wouldn't have to go to court, the customers would know better than to even try.

fga
10-29-2004, 08:35 PM
Can someone PLEASE show me where this "free work" is in Jodi's example? Everyone keeps saying "free work", yet no one has showed me where there was free work involved. They just keep repeating like a broken record.
if there are enough leaves on the lawn that any attention at all has to be paid to them, even the slightest.......... and when you are done, the leaves are no longer on the lawn.......and you have not received a nickle, THAT'S FREE WORK. Now you have been shown. :)

Frank2
10-29-2004, 08:48 PM
This is absolutely incredible.
Bobby G is so right on about this and it is the mindset of the majority of individuals not agreeing w/ him and thinking it is ok to do this service for free that still keeps us at 1970's pricing in this industry. (yes, this was a service provided for free. I don't want to hear that it did not take any extra time so it is ok bullsh**)
Do you think this customer is ever going to pay you for leaf cleanup now? Not a chance when they know you will do it for free. She could not get a 10 year old kid to come and rake her leaves for $5, but a legitimate, professional landscaping company is going to do it for free????
Your customer is not your friend, buddy, pal......they will do anything to get more for less. If they can take advantage of you they will.
Please wake up people!!!!

Fareway Lawncare
10-29-2004, 09:33 PM
Free is a relative Term. If it Doesn't take you any Longer is it Really Free or are you Just Building Good Customer Relations ?

Turf Medic
10-29-2004, 09:36 PM
Free is a relative Term. If it Doesn't take you any Longer is it Really Free or are you Just Building Good Customer Relations ?


If it is a service that you normally charge for but don't, then it is free.

bobbygedd
10-29-2004, 09:38 PM
fareway, come on!!!!! she offered the service at a fee, when the client declined, she gave her , at least part of the service, at no charge!

1MajorTom
10-29-2004, 09:43 PM
If it is a service that you normally charge for but don't, then it is free.

When we charge for leaf cleanup, we remove the leaves... this case we didn't take a single leaf with us unless one was stuck on my shoe. ;)

shepoutside
10-29-2004, 09:54 PM
the free work came, because jodi offered leaf cleanup at an extra fee. when the lady declined, jodi provided a partial cleanup, and a grasscut, at only the grasscutting rate. shep, you should kiss my freakin feet for having the balls to do what you don't do! i get my pay, my late fees, and paid for a court appearance. so, i get paid for sitting there, reading the racing form, waiting for my name to be called. if it werent for pushovers like you, i wouldn't have to go to court, the customers would know better than to even try.

I have never had a problem, collecting, thank's, but if I did, I wouldn't waste my valuable time sitting in a court room, rather be out making money. You said you got a extra 30 bucks, if I'm correct? That's not much, at least at the rates I charge, and collect. I wish I had the time to sit around reading the race rags, but unlike you, I have a successful business to run.

Soupy
10-29-2004, 11:02 PM
When we charge for leaf cleanup, we remove the leaves... this case we didn't take a single leaf with us unless one was stuck on my shoe. ;)

If a potential customer called you and said. I just moved into this house, The grass needs cut but I have leaves everywhere. I don't want to have a leaf cleanup because my grand kids like to do that. Can you come and just put the leaves in a pile for me and cut the grass. I will let my grandkids play in the pile for awhile and then have them put the leaves in bags. I will also have them rake out all the flower beds, so don't worry about leaves in those areas.

What do you do? Charge the same price as a regular cut for that size lawn? or Charge more then a regular cut?

I don't have a problem with a few minutes here and there to help a client out. But not on a service we charge for. If they ask me if I could change a light bulb real quick in the hallway or something. Then I do it.

Sometimes I have been known to cut and aerate (using a tow behind) at the same time. It ends up only taking a few extra minutes to complete both jobs, but they get charged full price for both services.

I'm sorry everyone, but Bobby is right on this one.

musselman
10-29-2004, 11:18 PM
I think an occasional freebie to a good customer is good buisness. It does not mean I give to everyone. If because I do it once, does not mean I will continue to do it every year or let the neighbors think I will give it to them free ethier....If thats your experience, and it must be, you are the pushover.
Bobby why did you have to take people to court? I thought your grand buisness practices never allowed dead beats? Many companies dont take dead beats to court it is concidered by most to be bad buisness and a waste of money.(thats for minimal amounts owed) You spend two hours in court to get paid for work already done...u do that 5 times 10 hours thats a whole day+ gone not getting work done. Profit+ $0 per hour. Kinda like your 5 minute free to every customer example. You hire a collection agency you go to work make alot of money, and still get your money from the deadbeat. According to your example of your day I make as much if not more than you yet in 11 years never a court date, got stiffed for $30.00 once that I can remember. ya I given some freebies over the years o well never had to pay a cent to a lawyer or a collection agency...Id say money saved.

shepoutside
10-29-2004, 11:39 PM
We keep saying freebie, but it's not really. At least in my case. I'm a contractor, they get a price, in that price, I have a mark up, based on many things. I have an extra factor built in, so if something happens, it's cover'd. If the customer, say ask's for something small, I have that already paid for. Just like I have equipment breakdown, it's factored in too. If your that close to the line, then like bobby, you have no room to do anything. In his case, it cost you money, in mine, it's already covered. A little p/r goes along way, and if you include that in your price, then your laughing. We all forget the price we paid for something in the past, but remember the "free" hat, or Tote, or whatever. The best advertising is word of mouth. Also the cheapest too !!!

fga
10-29-2004, 11:44 PM
We keep saying freebie, but it's not really. At least in my case. I'm a contractor, they get a price, in that price, I have a mark up, based on many things. I have an extra factor built in, so if something happens, it's cover'd. If the customer, say ask's for something small, I have that already paid for. Just like I have equipment breakdown, it's factored in too. If your that close to the line, then like bobby, you have no room to do anything. In his case, it cost you money, in mine, it's already covered. A little p/r goes along way, and if you include that in your price, then your laughing. We all forget the price we paid for something in the past, but remember the "free" hat, or Tote, or whatever. The best advertising is word of mouth. Also the cheapest too !!!
if i factored in leaf clean ups into my weekly service, but didn't let them know it... my prices which are already in the ball park would double. how could you possibly factor that in? unless the leaves were just a small handful? If you have a $40 per cut house normally, and gave a quote for $65 to factor in an extra 25 for leaves... you would not get the account, they would say you're way above average.

shepoutside
10-29-2004, 11:56 PM
if i factored in leaf clean ups into my weekly service, but didn't let them know it... my prices which are already in the ball park would double. how could you possibly factor that in? unless the leaves were just a small handful? If you have a $40 per cut house normally, and gave a quote for $65 to factor in an extra 25 for leaves... you would not get the account, they would say you're way above average.

So let them know it, your not hiding anything, just that your giving them a FULL service. You say it's what, 4 extra , so $ 100.00 for the season, so over average 28 weeks ( my area) that's only 3.57 per week. Which is a better sell, 40.00 a week, or 45.00 a week, with free fall leave service? The later works very, very well for me, plus you get the money before fall too :)

DuallyVette
10-30-2004, 02:51 AM
9K refers to 9000 sq ft of turf. Thats small. This guy did hundreds of lawns, all small 2000 to 3000 sq ft. He has very little equipment cost. $900.00 for a good 21 instead of 2 or 3 grand or more. Accounts that only take 15 to 20 minutes. If you give away 5 min, could be as much as 1/3 of your work!

OK...now I know what you meant. If a small lawn can be cut in 15 or 20 minutes with a 21" push mower, It can be mowed in 5 minutes with a 48" walkbehind mower. I use to own a house with a 20' x 60' front lawn. I usually mowed it (along with the back yard with a 50" WB) one day I had a 21" push mower sitting there (left over from another era), so I cranked it up made two passes, and then went and got the 50" out. It felt like such a WASTE OF TIME, like eating a plate of peas with a toothpick. I felt the same way one day when I took a 36" WB for a 2 pass demo across a friends (LCO) back yard.

DuallyVette
10-30-2004, 02:55 AM
musselmann: you make an excellent point. Don't spread your efforts out across the board, spend the time and energy where you have the best opportunity for a return. Expend efforts satisfying customers who best fit your business strategy.

The referrals and satisfied customers also touch on a more important subject. It has been well documented that the largest cost for a company is that of obtaining new customers who fit the desired profile. The second largest cost - retaining them. Additionally, the magnitude of these costs are inversely proportional to the number of customers the company has if operating near capacity (i.e. the cost of obtaining a single customer is much higher for a company with a capacity of 10 customers than for one with a capacity of 10,000).

The point - if Jodi spent less than 5 minutes (as she described in her second comment) to selectively maintain a good customer, she spent her time very wisely. She can expect to receive a return on her investment either through the higher-than-market price she can command from the happy customer or through the cost avoidance of replacing the customer.


WELL SAID Karen

DuallyVette
10-30-2004, 03:02 AM
Bobby,

Would you mind sharing your retention rate with everyone? Number of customers changed out per year and the number of total customers you have (Not just the number of beers you can put down without peeing)

Karen.. I think I'm in love with you !!!

I think that Bobbie doesn't charge enough. The time it takes him to spit drives his budget into the red (he said that he charged $7.50 for some type of add on service) When I bid a job I take into account that the time spent on a job varies slightly from week to week, season to season. I take ALL this into account when bidding. I wouldn't think of taking the time to chase down a customer to nickle and dime them.

DuallyVette
10-30-2004, 03:21 AM
the free work came, because jodi offered leaf cleanup at an extra fee. when the lady declined, jodi provided a partial cleanup, and a grasscut, at only the grasscutting rate. shep, you should kiss my freakin feet for having the balls to do what you don't do! i get my pay, my late fees, and paid for a court appearance. so, i get paid for sitting there, reading the racing form, waiting for my name to be called. if it werent for pushovers like you, i wouldn't have to go to court, the customers would know better than to even try.

The courts can give you a judgment. The judge won't write you a check. In 26 years, I've had three "rich" customers go broke over a business failure. Each time it was substantial $$ they owed me. I sued, got judgments. Once I got my money. This person lost their house and needed to clear their debt with me, in order to be allowed to rent an apartment at one complex. Other apts wouldn't rent to him at all.

The time spent in court is not compensable ( you could learn this if you watched "judge Judy" or any other court TV show.

DuallyVette
10-30-2004, 03:40 AM
So let them know it, your not hiding anything, just that your giving them a FULL service. You say it's what, 4 extra , so $ 100.00 for the season, so over average 28 weeks ( my area) that's only 3.57 per week. Which is a better sell, 40.00 a week, or 45.00 a week, with free fall leave service? The later works very, very well for me, plus you get the money before fall too :)


BINGO !!! We do several small lawns -$800k homes- big trees.
10 minutes a week (x2 man crew) to mow weekly ( 36 to 39 times a year). 3 man hrs to vacuum the leaves twice a month Nov & Dec. $200.00 per month 12 months a year. Then we bill them for fertilizer applications, seed, pesticides, annuals, and mulch. They will pay more than Bobbies $32.00 per cut...Its all in how you present your proposal.

DuallyVette
10-30-2004, 03:50 AM
Sometimes I have been known to cut and aerate (using a tow behind) at the same time. It ends up only taking a few extra minutes to complete both jobs, but they get charged full price for both services.

I'm sorry everyone, but Bobby is right on this one.


Soupy. Mowing and aerating ARE two diffrent tasks and both ARE compensable. This means you can still be disagreeing with Bobbie.
Once I read on a forum that someone charged his customers for fertilizer , pre emergent weed control ,. and post emergent weed control He thought this was a WONDERFUL business, " you can charge a customer $65 for fert, $65 for pre, and $65 for post-e = $195 for a 10k sq ft lawn, and it only cost him $12 for one bag of material"
ps. grandular post emergent & fungicide chemicals have a low rate of control

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 07:48 AM
don't tell me what my customers will, or will not pay. i didn't start this yesterday. and, how on earth can you factor in the price of rain, leaf cleanup, heavy dew periods, etc, into a fee when a customer wants grasscutting only? i'm already higher than the rest, i should add these factors, and my $30 cuts would be $45. considering most of you would do it for $25, i'd be gone in a minute. ok, so now you fine people say that you should not pursue money from a deadbeat? once again, thank you for screwing me, and everyone else in the business. i've taken 5 people to court, and have had to collect otherwise on dozens of others. i'm not the only one getting stiffed, i talk to other lawnboys, i see it on here, people try to stiff you all the time. now, if YOU ARE NOT GETTING STIFFED, i can only assume you are giving your work away dirt cheap, and you have no payment policies(due dates, etc). i've seen it a million times, you guys are all the same. i do, btw, get paid for my court appearances. and shep, if you can't spare 2 hrs, 8 hrs, 2 days, then you don't have a succesful business, you have a job!

fga
10-30-2004, 08:45 AM
So let them know it, your not hiding anything, just that your giving them a FULL service. You say it's what, 4 extra , so $ 100.00 for the season, so over average 28 weeks ( my area) that's only 3.57 per week. Which is a better sell, 40.00 a week, or 45.00 a week, with free fall leave service? The later works very, very well for me, plus you get the money before fall too :)

what do you mean 4 extra??
in this thread, Jodi stated that the customer DID NOT WANT A LEAF CLEAN UP, DID NOT WANT TO PAY FOR IT. now you're advising that we factor it in AND tell them about it?? thay don't want to pay for it. to them its the same money being spent spread out or not. in the case stated in this thread, if the lady was told, i'm sure she would say, " please take that off my monthly bill, i told you my grand kids would do it." you can't have your cake and eat it too.

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 09:02 AM
adam, don't try and rationalize with these people, they are wacked! thier traditional way of doing business is what keeps lawnboys down. like the guy said, insanity is doing the same thing, the same way, and somehow expecting a different result.

dishboy
10-30-2004, 09:52 AM
Twelve pages of posts over a handful of leaves that might fill one catcher. So Gedd would add 1.25 to his bill and I say BFD and thanks for the $50.00 Chrismas bonus.

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 09:56 AM
$1.25, if it was dry. $3 bucks if there was dew on the leaves

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 10:20 AM
btw, i don't rely on tips and handouts, i just charge accordingly for the work. that's probably why you work 80 hrs a week, and i go fishing 4 days a week. to each his own i guess

dishboy
10-30-2004, 10:49 AM
btw, i don't rely on tips and handouts, i just charge accordingly for the work. that's probably why you work 80 hrs a week, and i go fishing 4 days a week. to each his own i guess


Your assumptions are as narrow as your insight.

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 11:01 AM
in your own words, you give freebies in hopes of a xmas bonus. that's pathetic. you are making a mockery of the lawn service business

dishboy
10-30-2004, 11:08 AM
in your own words, you give freebies in hopes of a xmas bonus. that's pathetic. you are making a mockery of the lawn service business

I never said that, my point is one bag of leaves is not worth the time to invoice. Every lawn I do is now on the clock, and every leaf gets billed in dump fees, but for one catcher not worth my time to bill. As I said you make a lot of assumptions.............

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 11:18 AM
you are invoicing for the visit regaurdless. by not charging for leaves, and only charging for a grasscut, you are limiting your product line. just like applying weed and feed, and not charging for the herbicide. you are providing 2 different products, you are responsible for the effects of both of them, you charge accordingly. if u don't charge for 5 min extra worth of leaf cleanup, then you can't charge for 5 min worth of bed weeding, or the 5 min it took to prune the branch off that tree, or the 5 min it took to clean the snow off the back walkway, when you're only supposed to do the front. and so on, and so on. all of our customers, who are not on a full maint package, are scheduled for mowing thru october, with the understanding that , during the month of october there will be a surcharge if there are leaves on the property. no exceptions. you give a little here, a little there, it adds up. you are not making enough money to give free stuff away. giveaways are for big companies, and thier motive is promotional, not kind hearted giveaways

dishboy
10-30-2004, 11:25 AM
you are invoicing for the visit regaurdless. by not charging for leaves, and only charging for a grasscut, you are limiting your product line. just like applying weed and feed, and not charging for the herbicide. you are providing 2 different products, you are responsible for the effects of both of them, you charge accordingly. if u don't charge for 5 min extra worth of leaf cleanup, then you can't charge for 5 min worth of bed weeding, or the 5 min it took to prune the branch off that tree, or the 5 min it took to clean the snow off the back walkway, when you're only supposed to do the front. and so on, and so on. all of our customers, who are not on a full maint package, are scheduled for mowing thru october, with the understanding that , during the month of october there will be a surcharge if there are leaves on the property. no exceptions. you give a little here, a little there, it adds up. you are not making enough money to give free stuff away. giveaways are for big companies, and thier motive is promotional, not kind hearted giveaways


BOOBY, I am the boss, I can charge for anything I want.......... or not. Stop assumimg things.

LIGHTEN up man, isn't that Herb doing the trick for you anymore?

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 11:28 AM
must of got a bad batch

1MajorTom
10-30-2004, 11:30 AM
You get too technical Gedd, there are always little ways to make up for a few extra minutes that may have been spent on any job. There are better ways to go about getting the money, than how you make it sound.. which is nickle and diming the customer. Next aeration, tack on an extra 5 bucks, next hedge trimming tack on an extra 10 bucks.
It's just my opinion that nickle and diming a customer for a few extra minutes spent is not good business practices. Customer relation skills are a part of this business you know..... you lack in that area. Need lessons?

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 11:34 AM
it's a nickle and dime business, that's the nature of it, big companies pulling up with 100k worth of equipment, cutting the grass for $25. i see, so you should mark up the next service, to make up for not charging for the first one? ok, let me get this right: you mislead mrs. jones by telling her you cleaned her leaves for free, she smiles, pats you on the head, then you dishonestly mark her $200 hedge trimming job up to $220, to cover the cost ? how do you sleep at night?

Turf Medic
10-30-2004, 11:42 AM
You get too technical Gedd, there are always little ways to make up for a few extra minutes that may have been spent on any job. There are better ways to go about getting the money, than how you make it sound.. which is nickle and diming the customer. Next aeration, tack on an extra 5 bucks, next hedge trimming tack on an extra 10 bucks.
It's just my opinion that nickle and diming a customer for a few extra minutes spent is not good business practices. Customer relation skills are a part of this business you know..... you lack in that area. Need lessons?

Curious now.....do you do other services for this customer ie hedges, aeration, fertilizer, or is she only mow and blow?

dishboy
10-30-2004, 11:45 AM
it's a nickle and dime business, that's the nature of it, big companies pulling up with 100k worth of equipment, cutting the grass for $25. i see, so you should mark up the next service, to make up for not charging for the first one? ok, let me get this right: you mislead mrs. jones by telling her you cleaned her leaves for free, she smiles, pats you on the head, then you dishonestly mark her $200 hedge trimming job up to $220, to cover the cost ? how do you sleep at night?


Let me explain this nice and simple for you Bob. In your annual price increase you raise "Mrs. Jones" rate one dollar over what you would any way and now for the 10 extra minutes you spend every year on that one bag of leaves your time is covered. Will $35.00 cover her pissass leaf removal? If not add two dollars.

1MajorTom
10-30-2004, 11:49 AM
Nickle and dime away all you want bg, I would be embarrased to say, "hey I picked up two branches for you, that will be an extra $2.00." It sounds bad... real bad.........
We charge too for extra work that is performed, who wouldn't? But we draw the line at charging for 2 minutes of extra work, as stated if it's that big of deal, the extra two minutes can be made up somewhere else on another job. Are there any customer relation skill workshops in Jersey that maybe you could attend over the winter? ;)

Turf Medic:
Those ugly hedges in the front, a few along the side, and a small garden tilling, that's all.

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 11:49 AM
now THAT is nickle and diming. but no thanks, no "hiding" the cost here, just good honest legitimate fees. see ya, goin to the track. don't you have work to do?

Turf Medic
10-30-2004, 12:42 PM
IMO bobby posts a lot of bs, but in an earlier post he mentioned that he has a surcharge during the months that leaves can be expected if they don't purchase the fall clean-up deal. I think this makes a lot of sense, not nickle and diming, not doing freebies hoping for more later, just a surcharge that both parties are aware of, how is that wrong.

Doing freebies for customers IMO is a good public relations that can reap huge rewards, but not giving your services away. Changing the occasional light bulb, pulling the trash cans up from the street, picking up the newspaper, helping load something, etc, non-business related items.

Any time you give something away that you normally sell you devalue the item. That is why for referrals I would rather give a $30 meal than a $30 cut even though the meal will cost me the whole $30 but the cut will only cost a little time and fuel. You don't ever want the customer or your employees to get it in their head that you can GIVE your services JMO.

1MajorTom
10-30-2004, 12:47 PM
$1.25, if it was dry. $3 bucks if there was dew on the leaves


This is where my nickle and diming comment came from Turf Medic.

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 12:48 PM
what do you mean 4 extra??
in this thread, Jodi stated that the customer DID NOT WANT A LEAF CLEAN UP, DID NOT WANT TO PAY FOR IT. now you're advising that we factor it in AND tell them about it?? thay don't want to pay for it. to them its the same money being spent spread out or not. in the case stated in this thread, if the lady was told, i'm sure she would say, " please take that off my monthly bill, i told you my grand kids would do it." you can't have your cake and eat it too.
Wow, you related to bobby? I'm just saying, that I sell a service, not just one, but many. Yes I have just cut/trim/blow customer's, but they pay my quoted rate, which has a 20 % Mark-up factor, to cover rain, or any little extra's we do. It's standard, and we don't need to cry, if we work 2 min's over. You think when you get a new furnace installed, they say, Hey, I need 2 more feet of wire, that will be 4.50 ! No, that's all in the quoted price. That's the difference between cutting lawns, and ruining a business!!

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 12:54 PM
don't tell me what my customers will, or will not pay. i didn't start this yesterday. and, how on earth can you factor in the price of rain, leaf cleanup, heavy dew periods, etc, into a fee when a customer wants grasscutting only? i'm already higher than the rest, i should add these factors, and my $30 cuts would be $45. considering most of you would do it for $25, i'd be gone in a minute. ok, so now you fine people say that you should not pursue money from a deadbeat? once again, thank you for screwing me, and everyone else in the business. i've taken 5 people to court, and have had to collect otherwise on dozens of others. i'm not the only one getting stiffed, i talk to other lawnboys, i see it on here, people try to stiff you all the time. now, if YOU ARE NOT GETTING STIFFED, i can only assume you are giving your work away dirt cheap, and you have no payment policies(due dates, etc). i've seen it a million times, you guys are all the same. i do, btw, get paid for my court appearances. and shep, if you can't spare 2 hrs, 8 hrs, 2 days, then you don't have a succesful business, you have a job!

I can spare that time, but like you, I'd rather be at my cottage fishing. I pick up the phone, fax over the bill, AND AT A COST OF 15%, the collection company dose all the work. ( I've had to use them in my other business) then, I go about what I do best, to generate more deal, business, whatever, or go fishing. I doubt very much you see any CEO's in court, trying to recover 300 bucks, just not smart business !!!

Turf Medic
10-30-2004, 12:57 PM
And where do you say whoa, if the lady wants her flower bed weeded she declines your services at $10 and it will only take an extra five minutes, but you want the yard to look nice. And how many times do you throw in the extra 5 minutes?

It is up to the individual business owner to determine if the extra 5 minutes will be a hassle or not. It's all about defining hassle. Weeding to us is definitely a hassle. Making a few extra circles around a tree was not a hassle.

Turf Medic
10-30-2004, 12:59 PM
I can spare that time, but like you, I'd rather be at my cottage fishing. I pick up the phone, fax over the bill, AND AT A COST OF 15%, the collection company dose all the work. ( I've had to use them in my other business) then, I go about what I do best, to generate more deal, business, whatever, or go fishing. I doubt very much you see any CEO's in court, trying to recover 300 bucks, just not smart business !!!

What is the name of your collection company 15% is all they charge are they national. The collection companies around here get at least 50% and they get theirs first.

grassaholic
10-30-2004, 01:07 PM
I can't believe there are this many posts on this! To me leaf cleanup is a very simple process. When the leaves are falling I just continue to cut my accounts like I normally would and let the leaves fly. When they start to get thick I let my customers decide what they want me to do and I don't do anything extra without being paid. Most of my customers pay me to clean up there leaves. Every time I show up they get charged for a grasscut and $35 per hour for the other 2 guys on my crew that are running backpack blowers while I run my Walker and collect and cut at the same time. I also have another truck with a 16Hp Billygoat leaf loader and charge a dump fee to each and every customer that I haul the leaves away for.[ In some of my neighborhoods the city collects at the curb] If the customer doesn't want to pay for this service I just continue to cut the lawn on an as needed basis and let them worry about the leaves. In response to the person that started the thread. If you want to blow the leaves around trees like that for a customer then thats great. I wouldn't do that because I would look at it as taking extra time.[ even if its only 5 min.] I've got too many other customers to get to that need a leaf cleanup and are willing to pay.

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 01:08 PM
But if they need to clean the ac coil after they get started, they will charge extra.

And where do you say whoa, if the lady wants her flower bed weeded she declines your services at $10 and it will only take an extra five minutes, but you want the yard to look nice. And how many times do you throw in the extra 5 minutes?
yes, you do draw the line somewhere, just in this tread, we are talking a bout 5 min's. Nickle 'n dime'n. I Have happy customers, and my quotes lay out many services that is included, so if it's time consuming, or need outside sourcing, then yes, we can quote on any extra services. Pick up a limb, is different than cutting down a tree. I'm charging enough, that it really covers 1:14, but is down at one hour. Not every day you do extra, and not everyday, you need all the time, but we sure don't give back a refund, if it's dry, and it didn't take the full time to service. I look at the big picture. My main mission, is to have happy customers, and provide them the service They want, at a price I set.

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 01:20 PM
What is the name of your collection company 15% is all they charge are they national. The collection companies around here get at least 50% and they get theirs first.
Sorry, that was My fault, and misleading. That was based on a Very large amount, and my wife, (the brains) corrected me. I really have no ideal what it would be on 300 bucks, I'd rather just right it off as bad debt, as that's the better financial option for me, but even if you only got 150 bucks, and worked that time, your still ahead of the game. I don't sit, and prepare my tax forms, is why I have a accountant. I don't waste time, doing things that cost me less out sourcing. I just paved a parking lot this week, But I source it out. I'm not into paving, and no nothing about paving. I called in a company that dose know, and who I've used before. They do great work, and give me a break on the rate, so I can charge the normal rate, and is how I do business. Do what you do best, and let other do what they do best. My accountant, for example, saves me, more than what he bills me, so is smart business.

bastalker
10-30-2004, 04:49 PM
I just spent 45 minutes readin the biggest bunch of crap I have read on here in a long time...Kept thinkin it would get better....It didn't!

Jodi piled up some leaves around a tree for a customer and it turns into a free for all.

If this took extra time or not who cares? If a few of us on here, including myself, want to give a few minutes of our time to satisfy or help out a good customer, who cares? The amount of money the customers have paid me throughout the year will far out weigh the few extra minutes I spend at a customers house making it look good. It definately wont put me in the poor house..

If some of you would rather hurry home to go fishin or start drinkin beer..WHO CARES!!!

Bottom line...Treat customers the way you would like to get treated!!

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 05:15 PM
this is how i want to be treated by all the businesses that i patronize: i want to go to the gas pump, top off the tank, have it come to $32, and have the manager say, "$30 is good enough, just give me $30." i want to go to my favorite resturaunt, order the main course, and have the manager bring me a shrimp coctail on the house, "here you go bob, this is cus you come here often, and you always pay your bill." i want all my customers to include an extra $5 bill with thier payments. i want the dot head at the convenience store, when i run up there for a loaf of bread cus the kids want a sandwich to say, "here you go my friend, instead of $1.49, you give me just one dollar, cus i been humping you on these prices for 20 years." but guess what, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, EVER!. i ordered chinese food last week, i asked the creep for a little container of that hot oil, you know, the kind that burns the eyeballs out of your skull just smelling it. he charged me 50 cents! trying to compete against people who give things away is just as bad as competeing against people who don't carry insurence or pay taxes. this aint a game, it's my livelyhood

bastalker
10-30-2004, 05:55 PM
OK Bobby...

I think your missin the point here. This is one example. I have several, I just dont feel like typin..

I have 2 yards side by side. I charge $50 for one, an $60 for the other. It takes me a little under an hour to do the both of them. I look to get a $100 an hour with a helper an myself. I have cut them 22 times this year. I made $2420. During the fall, there is not as much weed whackin, if any, so about 4-6 cuts only took me 45 minutes. I would have been happy with the $2200. They paid me $220 more than my hourly rate. Do I have a problem with a few extra minutes here an there? No I dont..Did I give anything away? Nope..

I also got another property. I charge $125 per cut and it takes the 2 of us an hour. The customer really liked the way I striped it last fall after I did the leaf clean up. I charged him $250 for the leaf cleanup. It took us 2 hours, but I went over the lawn 3 times with the rider an the uv, an striped the crap out of it. They were so impressed that the wife sent the hubby out to see what I would charge to cut the lawn the following year. I told them the price, an sure enough he called this spring trying to haggle the price. The other lco only charged $80 he says. I informed him I couldn't go down on the price, an apoligized. A week later he called me back ready for me to cut.

I have cut him 26 times this year for a total of $3250. Cash in an envelope every week.I would have been happy with $2600. So this fall I have kept up with the leaves for the most part. Takes about an extra 15 minutes, but hey, he has been payin me $25 extra all year. Am I gonna charge him? Nope! Am I doing this extra 10-15 minutes for free? Nope! I garantee I will be back there next year charging $50 more than the next guy.

I have 2 other houses with a house in between the two. I charge $45 per cut. Small yards that take 25 minutes to do them both!! $90 for 25 minutes worth of work. I just cut them yesterday, an yes I sucked up the leaves. Damn I was actually there a little over an hour!!

Am I givin away free work?? I think not. There are scenarios exactly like mine all over the lawn care biz. The customers are fallin over happy with the thought of you doin all the extra work in "thier" minds for "free".

So what does a few extra leaves here an there really matter?? ;)

fga
10-30-2004, 06:03 PM
Wow, you related to bobby? I'm just saying, that I sell a service, not just one, but many. Yes I have just cut/trim/blow customer's, but they pay my quoted rate, which has a 20 % Mark-up factor, to cover rain, or any little extra's we do. It's standard, and we don't need to cry, if we work 2 min's over. You think when you get a new furnace installed, they say, Hey, I need 2 more feet of wire, that will be 4.50 ! No, that's all in the quoted price. That's the difference between cutting lawns, and ruining a business!!
related to bobby... no. thinking that doing a service for free that i usaully charge is wrong ... yes. Might as well throw in fertilizer for free if it only takes 20 seconds to run across the lawn. why not trim that one little holly for free, will just take a minute. maybe since i've got another minute, i could change her cat box.
if someone turns down your service fee, you do not accomodate them with free alternatives that come from any extra effort on your part. the only other option would be to just cut them up if there were only an insignificant handfull, and leave them chopped up. But if that's the case, the fee for pick up wouldn't be too much anyway.

Turf Medic
10-30-2004, 06:09 PM
Bobby I don't even want them to discount the gas, just would be nice when the snow is blowing if they would come outside and pump it for me, even though I pulled up to the self serve island. Doesn't cost them anything, and they are already there, looking out the window while I freeze my butt, doesn't even cost them any extra time.


And bastalker, your missing the point, you admit you are already over charging, you aren't giving them freebies, you "owe" them the work. I think the big problem bobby had with was Jodi offered to do the leaf clean up the lady said no, didn't want to pay for it, so they did it for free. And I realize there are still leaves under the bushes, but good chance they will still be there after the grand-kids get done to.

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 06:13 PM
in example #1, you quoted them a price, and they paid the bill. you are making it sound like they paid you extra. all they did was pay your agreed price. "looking to make" $100 an hour, does not mean, if you exceed that, you give some of it back. you became more efficient, as a result of experience, motivation, and good equipment, that's good, that's for you and your family. looks like you have some big properties. the picture jodi showed was a tiny property. i have many that are priced at $20-$35. the $20 lawns take maybe 12 minutes with just me. the larger ones maybe 25-30 minutes with just me. if i'm able to knock the times down to 8-9 minutes, and 20-23 minutes, i DON'T OWE THE CUSTOMER anything. this efficientcy benefits me and my family, not them and thiers. and on tiny lawns, btw, a few minutes here and there, a few extras here and there, can cost way too much. now, because the lawns here are so small, it is important to group as many as possible. i do one little favor for one of them, they all talk, before you know it, they are all asking for favors. i've had it happen. please tell me where i can go, and get extras for free? the examples i gave, the gas station, chinese resturaunt, etc. i will get nothing free, but i will still use them, they provide a good product. my customers get nothing free from me, and to be honest, sometimes i get down right nasty. guess what? i have no cancellations. and, i get referells.

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 06:29 PM
related to bobby... no. thinking that doing a service for free that i usaully charge is wrong ... yes. Might as well throw in fertilizer for free if it only takes 20 seconds to run across the lawn. why not trim that one little holly for free, will just take a minute. maybe since i've got another minute, i could change her cat box.
if someone turns down your service fee, you do not accomodate them with free alternatives that come from any extra effort on your part. the only other option would be to just cut them up if there were only an insignificant handfull, and leave them chopped up. But if that's the case, the fee for pick up wouldn't be too much anyway.
So how much would you have charged, to do what Jodi did? She didn't remove them, just blew them around a tree. I understand major service, but to just aim the chute a certain direction !!

fga
10-30-2004, 06:38 PM
So how much would you have charged, to do what Jodi did? She didn't remove them, just blew them around a tree. I understand major service, but to just aim the chute a certain direction !!
what if she said, don't cut the whole lawn, my grandson will do the other half? do you just charge less, or driveaway?

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 06:39 PM
Gee, I guess Bobby never got a "free" bamboo calender with his Chinese food, poor guy, or the "free" fortune cookies too ! :dizzy:

fga
10-30-2004, 06:41 PM
Gee, I guess Bobby never got a "free" bamboo calender with his Chinese food, poor guy, or the "free" fortune cookies too ! :dizzy:
would they give you a free bamboo calender right after they offered to sell it to you for $10... no. its complimentary. leaf clean ups are not.

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 06:44 PM
what if she said, don't cut the whole lawn, my grandson will do the other half? do you just charge less, or driveaway?
You didn't answer the question, How much would you have charged to aim the chute around the tree? Doing a contract service, isn't the same thing, of course they pay the normal fee, as per agreed on.

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 06:46 PM
would they give you a free bamboo calender right after they offered to sell it to you for $10... no. its complimentary. leaf clean ups are not.
Look at the pic again, she didn't clean up the leaves!

bastalker
10-30-2004, 06:47 PM
Hey Bobby, I know what you are sayin... I aint sayin yer wrong, its just the way the thread was goin. Kinda hit me the wrong way. I just saw a bunch of needless slamin each other goin on. Guess I aint as familiar with the smaller yards an the profit margins as I should be. Hell all Jodi did was spend a couple minutes at the most makin the yard look good. I mean how free can couple of minutes here an there actually be?

Everyone in the biz has there way of doin buisness. Some want to get paid for every minute, some dont care. They are comfortable with the money they are makin,they like the customers they have, an vice versa.

Hell... I have had customers call me an say, "Hey Mark, I got a huge party this weekend, hook us up." No Problem! I'll go over there an stripe the crap outa the lawn, take twice as long, smile an wave as I take off sayin "see ya next week". Thats just me. I wont go broke over it either...I can assure you though, the next few years or more, they will be puttin plenty a money in my pocket. I dont have to get nasty with any of :) ;)

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 07:08 PM
the fortune cookie is included in the meal, just like the weedwacking is included with the cut. a couple scenerios: i got 3 clients in a row. crappy location, by this i mean a bit messy, oak trees, etc. one of them comes out, asks can i blow out the beds(this is in like june) i say sure. i blow them out, cut the lawn, etc. i do the other two as usual. i get an email from one of the neighbors, "i see you took the time to blow the beds out at my neighbors, but not at my house. we are paying customers too you know." this infuriated me. it is not a 2 minute blowjob, the area can get very messy, and could take 10 minutes extra, every week to clean out the beds. who's fault was this? my fault, i should have never done it for the one. so, i tell #2 i charge extra for this. she claims #1 said i didn't charge her extra. i went back to #1, and asked, "is this something you want done regularly?" she said yes. i told her it would be $300 a year extra for this. a $30 a month increase in her monthly fee. she says fine. i told #2 the same thing, she said forget it. #3 ended up dropping me, cus he thought these "mini cleanups" should be included as part of the grasscutting fee. 2 yrs later, #2 got tired of her neighbors property looking better than hers, and requested the mini cleanups, at an additional rate, #3 got tired of the crabgrass his lawn was infested with that the new guy just couldn't seem to take care of, and resumed service with me. now all 3 are on "mini cleanups" at the additional fee. if i get referels, i want them to be based on my good work, and ability to troubleshoot, etc, whatever. i don't want referels based on the fact that i give extras for free. and i don't in any way hide the price, or put an increase somewhere else to make up for anything, that's just dishonest. when i charge them an outrageous fee, i like to look them right in the eye

Fareway Lawncare
10-30-2004, 07:18 PM
Many times a leaf clean-up will take less time than a Spring Mow. If the customer's not on a Monthly Contract, they will Actually Be Charged Less for a Weekly Leaf Clean-Up than a Weekly Cut ! Mowing a Few Leaves Every Week takes Less Time than Mowing Thick, Long, Wet, Spring Turf !

Leaf Clean-up Times are 50% Having the Right Toys & 50% Knowing How to Use them. 90% of Guys don't Have the Right Toys & 80% don't know how to use the Toys they Got.....& the customer suffers their incompetence.

fga
10-30-2004, 07:23 PM
Look at the pic again, she didn't clean up the leaves!
so all those leaves fell neatly under the tree like that.. they weren't cleaned off the lawn by any type of method? call it what ypu want... but when we "move" leaves in a process of making the property look better... we call it a clean up.

1MajorTom
10-30-2004, 07:24 PM
now THAT is nickle and diming. but no thanks, no "hiding" the cost here, just good honest legitimate fees.


Really?? Since when did you become so honorable?? ;)

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 07:49 PM
so all those leaves fell neatly under the tree like that.. they weren't cleaned off the lawn by any type of method? call it what you want... but when we "move" leaves in a process of making the property look better... we call it a clean up.
Third time you ignore the question before you, How much would you have charged this nice little old lady, to aim the chute toward the tree?

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 07:49 PM
so, fareway, you suggest that i purchase a machine that's capable of cleaning leaves, so that i can clean the leaves, at the price of a grasscut, or even less? ;) you are getting wierder and wierder

bobbygedd
10-30-2004, 07:53 PM
shep, i would have charged her $15 bucks extra. i would have blown out the beds onto the lawn, and cleaned them with the mower. job would have been done properly, and i would have been paid. period. what is this crap, the client doesn't want to pay for the service, so, you still provide it, but in a half assed manner. there are leaves on the lawn. we dont cut grass when there are leaves on the lawn. do you want the leaves cleaned or not???? instead of giving back $2-$3 to each client, i try to squeeze out $2-$3 from each client. it adds up

fga
10-30-2004, 08:17 PM
Third time you ignore the question before you, How much would you have charged this nice little old lady, to aim the chute toward the tree?how could i give you an accurate dollar amount over the internet by looking at a picture... that's just rediculous, and its easy to ignore a rediculous request like that. i would have to look at it first, give a price for the season leaf clean up (one charge on the last bill for all the leaves), then if they didn't want to go that far, i would base what jodi did on that price. a half.. 2 thirds.?? all that's left to do in this case is take a minute, litteraly, and scoop those leaves into a bag. the labor involved is in clearing the lawn.

you ignored me... if you don't call it a clean up, what do you call the "removal of leaves from a lawn" to leave it presentable?

grassaholic
10-30-2004, 08:38 PM
Bobby,
Why won't you cut someones lawn that has leaves on it? As long as they don't care what it looks like why should you? I'm half agreeing with you. I wouldn't take the extra time to get the leaves aroung the base of the trees like that on a little rinky dink lawn like that. The customer either wants you to clean the leaves up and pays for it or they don't. If they don't just continue to cut the lawn. At least if you continue to cut it the leaves will be mulched up some by the mower. Thats better than saying you can't cut the lawn because it has leaves all over it. :dizzy:

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 08:40 PM
how could i give you an accurate dollar amount over the internet by looking at a picture... that's just rediculous, and its easy to ignore a rediculous request like that. i would have to look at it first, give a price for the season leaf clean up (one charge on the last bill for all the leaves), then if they didn't want to go that far, i would base what jodi did on that price. a half.. 2 thirds.?? all that's left to do in this case is take a minute, litteraly, and scoop those leaves into a bag. the labor involved is in clearing the lawn.

you ignored me... if you don't call it a clean up, what do you call the "removal of leaves from a lawn" to leave it presentable?
See, Bobby knows his cost, wonder why you don't.

fga
10-30-2004, 08:50 PM
See, Bobby knows his cost, wonder why you don't.
what does that even mean??? i said "accurate" if you step a little closer to the screen... and that would be based on the seasonal leaf charge...i know my costs, that is not a picture of my costs being that i am not partners with Jodi, standing there in front of the property looking at it.

this is the third time you have ignored my question... what do you call the removal of leaves "from a lawn" for the purpose of leaving it presentable? i put it in color, maybe you didn't see it.

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 08:52 PM
what does that even mean??? i said "accurate" if you step a little closer to the screen... and that would be based on the seasonal leaf charge...i know my costs, that is not a picture of my costs being that i am not partners with Jodi, standing there in front of the property looking at it.

this is the third time you have ignored my question... what do you call the removal of leaves "from a lawn" for the purpose of leaving it presentable? i put it in color, maybe you didn't see it.
Ok, balkpark figure then :)

Tvov
10-30-2004, 08:56 PM
Okay, okay. Enough with this thread!

fga
10-30-2004, 09:00 PM
this is the fourth time you have ignored my question... what do you call the removal of leaves "from a lawn" for the purpose of leaving it presentable? let me try a louder color....

fga
10-30-2004, 09:01 PM
now that's a loud color..

shepoutside
10-30-2004, 09:04 PM
this is the fourth time you have ignored my question... what do you call the removal of leaves "from a lawn" for the purpose of leaving it presentable? let me try a louder color....
ahhhhhhh, Walker Yellow :blob3: well, I don't think there are removed, as I see them, but to each there own. BTW, if it wasn't a customer of mine, would charge 20 bucks, plus 7% tax, or $ 21.40

fga
10-30-2004, 09:07 PM
ahhhhhhh, Walker Yellow :blob3: well, I don't think there are removed, as I see them, but to each there own. BTW, if it wasn't a customer of mine, would charge 20 bucks, plus 7% tax, or $ 21.40
once again buddy, and i'm not trying to be "hostile"... look alittle closer, i even put in quotes... "removed from the lawn". if you don't think they were removed form the lawn.. to each his own,.

Turf Medic
10-30-2004, 09:16 PM
If bunching them around the tree is not removing the leaves, then is bunching them at the curb, (if the city allows you to pile leaves at the curb for pick up) removing leaves?

crawdad
10-30-2004, 09:37 PM
this is the fourth time you have ignored my question... what do you call the removal of leaves "from a lawn" for the purpose of leaving it presentable? let me try a louder color....

now that's a loud color..

I wouldn't call that loud, I can't read it without highlighting it.
Crawdad

Soupy
10-30-2004, 09:45 PM
She did the clean up, she just didn't bag them. Now when little johnny shows up to do the work for granny. All he has to do is bag them. I bet he still gets paid the same price granny always gives him.

Jodi, I would just stop cutting her grass this time of the year. That's probably what she really wants you to do anyway.

1MajorTom
10-30-2004, 09:53 PM
Nah Soupy, she'll get one more cut.
What I'm really wondering is if I should ever post a picture again, it seems to cause a lot of dissension. Then I realized, that's probably why very few post pictures here of their work. ;)

fga
10-30-2004, 09:53 PM
I wouldn't call that loud, I can't read it without highlighting it.
Crawdad
that's so loud it makes you squint :) ... it wouldn't let me change it after with the edit??

fga
10-30-2004, 09:55 PM
Nah Soupy, she'll get one more cut.
What I'm really wondering is if I should ever post a picture again, it seems to cause a lot of dissension. Then I realized, that's probably why very few post pictures here of their work. ;)
Jodi, you've posted several great pics of work you did. like the bushes that got trimmed around that house, and the chiminea.... made me go out and get one :drinkup:

Eric 1
10-30-2004, 11:01 PM
Looks good......till the wind comes and blows them all over the yard, then you have twice as many leafs to mow into a circle, ect. ect. ect.

PR Fect
10-31-2004, 01:12 AM
The better half is interested in the Gopher software. What do you think of it overall. Can't seem to print certain reports on the trial "pro" version (chemical reports, etc.). They fixing that in an update soon? Otherwise she likes it.

crawdad
10-31-2004, 06:15 AM
Nah Soupy, she'll get one more cut.
What I'm really wondering is if I should ever post a picture again, it seems to cause a lot of dissension. Then I realized, that's probably why very few post pictures here of their work. ;)
You're probably right. If the picture isn't run into the ground as "the wrong way to do it," it is stolen and put on a website, and used, without permission, as an example of some one's work. But hey, points are gone, PM's are back, it's something to whine about.
Crawdad

gramps
10-31-2004, 02:23 PM
ok scott. next year will be 10. i probly made more when i was part time then you make full time
Sure Bob. You lost more customers then we all had.

karen1122
11-01-2004, 04:35 PM
don't tell me what my customers will, or will not pay. i didn't start this yesterday. and, how on earth can you factor in the price of rain, leaf cleanup, heavy dew periods, etc, into a fee when a customer wants grasscutting only? i'm already higher than the rest, i should add these factors, and my $30 cuts would be $45. considering most of you would do it for $25, i'd be gone in a minute. ok, so now you fine people say that you should not pursue money from a deadbeat? once again, thank you for screwing me, and everyone else in the business. i've taken 5 people to court, and have had to collect otherwise on dozens of others. i'm not the only one getting stiffed, i talk to other lawnboys, i see it on here, people try to stiff you all the time. now, if YOU ARE NOT GETTING STIFFED, i can only assume you are giving your work away dirt cheap, and you have no payment policies(due dates, etc). i've seen it a million times, you guys are all the same. i do, btw, get paid for my court appearances. and shep, if you can't spare 2 hrs, 8 hrs, 2 days, then you don't have a succesful business, you have a job!


This thread just keeps spinning in different directions and they all point back to the same place - determining who your target customers are and providing an appropriate service level.

Let's start off with one simple fact I think we can all agree on. If a customer has to be taken through the collections process, either in court or through an agency, that customer is not a good customer. The only time it is acceptable to take credit risk is when the business is severely under capacity and here the risk needs to be closely balanced with the benefits derived from the incremental business. It appears from most of these post that the contributing LCOs do not have a severe capacity issue, therefore, any customer who requires collection activity is a non-desirable customer.

The next Pandora's box - market pricing

crawdad
12-01-2004, 08:02 PM
Hey, lets flog this dead horse a while... Did the grandkids pick up the leaves yet? Were they gonna do it on Thanksgiving weekend?
Inquiring minds need to know...
Crawdad