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dkeisala
02-07-2005, 03:48 PM
The vast majority of my contracts are all-inclusive and cover lawn, bed, shrub care and leaf removal including basic weed control, lawn fert applications and spring lime application. This worked well when my client base was smaller but now as I grow, I wonder if it is really wise as there are so many variables from one account to the next, especially in the area of shrub care. This one-size-fits-all approach seems to cause more problems than it solves.

I'm wondering as I go into contract renewal (contracts auto-renew in March) that perhaps it would be wise to write contracts exclusively for lawn care, leaving bed/shrub care as an as-needed, on-call service and priced per job rather than including it in contracts.

This would make routing and scheduling far easier as the primary crews function from week to week would be MTB. The time it takes to tidy up and spray flower beds each week could be spent on servicing even more lawns, leading to a higher workload and more revenue. Seasonal pruning wouldn't have to be squeezed into a few weeks and wouldn't detract from the crews primary function. When and if the customer wants pruning and/or bed services, they can call and we can schedule accordingly.

The more I listen to myself, the more I think I'm trying to re-invent my business from an all-inclusive service to a service that focuses primarily on lawn care. Besides, lawn care seems to be what people primarily want anyhow. Everything else is simply a bonus to them. Any thoughts?

Leone LawnCare
02-07-2005, 04:19 PM
the way i see it is lawn care is the bread and butter. You can base your exspenses off your lawn care. Everything else is your profit. Stuff to put in your pocket while lawncare pays the bills

Tn Lawn Man
02-07-2005, 04:30 PM
There are a couple of ways to do full service,IMO.

If time is of the utmost concern and you don't want to go out and create a custom estimate for every lawn then you can estimate the following items just by knowing the size of the lawn.

Ex: If it is a $40 fee for the cut then you know that it will cost X amount for the following items, aeration, seeding, fertilizer and lime. So you say that every lawn for $40 will cost say $60 (fake number) for full service. Then you piece meal out the shrubbery and mulching and leaf clean ups because they vary so much from lawn to lawn.

On the other hand, if time is not a concern. Then, go to every lawn and bid it according to its' specs.

I don't do complete full service with a one price fits all because mulch, shrubs and leaf clean up can eat your lunch on so many lawns and then not even be an issue on others.

PMLAWN
02-07-2005, 04:58 PM
I am not sure if you are asking about how to sell the contract or how to run your crews.
We try to sell only full service but we figure all the costs in to the contract.
Most people I deal with like to have a set price that takes care of everything and there are no extras. Very easy to budget.

Now, as far as crews try to fill a crew with full time mowing and that is all they do. The truck is set for just mowing. Another crew does the extras like shrub trimming. We also have a truck that is set up just for lawn care.
Having a truck that does everything and carries everything wastes a lot of time switching from one thing to another. Just my $.02

Green lawns
02-07-2005, 05:09 PM
Almost all of our full service customers are on a 12 month contract. Which means we get paid the same amount each month. As you are well aware of in the off months ( we do no snow removal ) in the Pacific Northwest winter is winter. Its nice to still have that monthly income. I bid each contract in and of its own, no two contracts are the same dollar amount. It just depends on how much labor and materials go into that location. The two exceptions are sprinkler repairs and to re-place plants, trees, shrubs etc. these are charge at hourly rate plus materials and are not included in monthly contract amount.

Hope this helps!

dkeisala
02-07-2005, 05:45 PM
Having a truck that does everything and carries everything wastes a lot of time switching from one thing to another. Just my $.02
This is the problem I'm dealing with - it's worked in the past but has become very inefficient. It's very time consuming. I guess part of the problem is that I currently have enough work to keep a crew busy all the time doing everything but not enough work to keep a crew busy just mowing. Maybe I'm just in a state of transistion and that is were my frustration is coming from.

Sad thing is, I have enough of everything for two crews (trucks, trailers, equipment) but the work and $$$ just aren't quite there.

PMLAWN
02-07-2005, 06:06 PM
From 1 truck to 2 is a 100% increase in overhead and yes it is hard to make that jump. Try to do it as every truck after that is a smaller % increase. Just think, If you have 100 trucks and you add one more it is only a 1% increase.
Good luck with it. Put on your salesmen cap.

Turfdude
02-07-2005, 06:10 PM
What you've discussed in your original post is pretty much how we do it. We have 1 contract for Grounds manitenance which includes spring clean-up (hourly), weekly mowings, fall leaf removal & fall clean-up (both hourly also). We have a second contract for Lawn Care (basic 6 step fertilization), with optional pre grub, or post grub, and/or fungus control. Finally, we send a sheet that clients can pick the additional services from a "menu" and can have the job(s) scheduled or a bid price on. We primarily have most of the clients full service. 2 crews do the weekly maintenance and clean-ups, we have 1 applicator to do all of the fertilization and one crew handles all of the landscape installs, mulching, pruning, etc..
This has proven to be the most efficient for us. Our applicator has the mowing schedule, so he follows up the mowing crew 2 days after their visit.

nriddle77
02-07-2005, 07:20 PM
The vast majority of my contracts are all-inclusive and cover lawn, bed, shrub care and leaf removal including basic weed control, lawn fert applications and spring lime application. This worked well when my client base was smaller but now as I grow, I wonder if it is really wise as there are so many variables from one account to the next, especially in the area of shrub care. This one-size-fits-all approach seems to cause more problems than it solves.

I'm wondering as I go into contract renewal (contracts auto-renew in March) that perhaps it would be wise to write contracts exclusively for lawn care, leaving bed/shrub care as an as-needed, on-call service and priced per job rather than including it in contracts.

This would make routing and scheduling far easier as the primary crews function from week to week would be MTB. The time it takes to tidy up and spray flower beds each week could be spent on servicing even more lawns, leading to a higher workload and more revenue. Seasonal pruning wouldn't have to be squeezed into a few weeks and wouldn't detract from the crews primary function. When and if the customer wants pruning and/or bed services, they can call and we can schedule accordingly.

The more I listen to myself, the more I think I'm trying to re-invent my business from an all-inclusive service to a service that focuses primarily on lawn care. Besides, lawn care seems to be what people primarily want anyhow. Everything else is simply a bonus to them. Any thoughts?


I'll bet Jim Lewis could be of help here. He is also in the Pacific Northwest, and seems to have a great system for his monthly contracts. You might pm him or even search through his posts.