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1BadHawk
02-07-2005, 07:11 PM
How do you provide lawn care needs to your customers? do you provide seasonal contracts and service them once a week or do you just go month to month.

If you do seasonal contracts can you explain how your typical contract is setup, ie: whats included, how often, and for how much.

PMLAWN
02-07-2005, 07:47 PM
I try to get every one signed up as a year long, full service contract.
But you appear to be new at this so it may be easier to just go and sell a few Week to Week jobs. Get you feet wet and learn a little about you price structure and what you want to do with your business. Get comfortable doing a few small things and learn as you go. Good luck with it.

paponte
02-07-2005, 07:51 PM
We do seasonal full service contracts. The contract includes mowing once a week for x amount of weeks, spring & Fall cleanups, 2 trimmings, thatching, and aerating. Chemical programs are seperate from maintenance contracts. :)

1BadHawk
02-07-2005, 10:39 PM
I like the seasonal contracts myself, and commitment on my behalf is not a problem. Im just trying to get an understanding of what the customers expect in the way of billing with regards to seasonal contracts.

how do you all collect or bill for seasonal contracts? All due up front, half up front half at the end, or do you break it up of the number of months and just bill monthly? Or a conbination of either.

Lawn-Scapes
02-10-2005, 02:08 AM
I offer lawn maintenance, landscape maintenance, mulching, aerating, fertilizing & liming. They choose the services they want and have the option to pay me in 2, 8 or 12 equal installments.

PMLAWN
02-10-2005, 05:24 AM
I like the seasonal contracts myself, and commitment on my behalf is not a problem. Im just trying to get an understanding of what the customers expect in the way of billing with regards to seasonal contracts.

how do you all collect or bill for seasonal contracts? All due up front, half up front half at the end, or do you break it up of the number of months and just bill monthly? Or a conbination of either.

We invoice all maintenance on the last day of the month. Full service gets billed each month, 12 months of the year.

Richard Martin
02-10-2005, 09:30 AM
I do monthly billings. No contracts.

Roger
02-10-2005, 09:49 AM
I'm with Richard on this one -- monthly billing, no contracts. Over eight seasons I've had only a couple of customers who have chosen not to finish out a season. I'm more interested in working with contented customers than hostile dialog about words on a piece of paper.

rodfather
02-10-2005, 09:52 AM
I do monthly billings. No contracts.

Same here.

pgiambat
02-10-2005, 10:23 AM
Badhawk,
I do not use contracts, I only 'bill' one of my customers who likes to pay their bill once a month. All others pay me week to week or every two weeks, all have weekly service. I offer every account billing every two weeks, less checks to write or cash to get, less checks & cash for me to deposit.

I basically do whatever makes the customer happy. To me, contracts feel funny but that is from an owner/operator of a 20-25 cut/week business. I'm all about the happy customer and the consistant, full season cut.

The closest I came to having a "contract" is writing up a letter stating what the customer can expect of me and the other way around and have the customer initial it or sign it just so that we agree on the flow of things.

I put out a letter to all my repeat customers every March (one month before the cutting season). The letter thanks them for their business and outlines any "new rules" I might have (Dear Customer: I would appreciate dog-poo removal and can refer you to an inexpensive dog-poo remover if you wold like). It goes over what I do if it rains, communication information, payment options and all that blah blah. Customers love communication. I also have two blanks on the letter where I fill in cut schedule (weekly or bi-monthly cut) and price. I also write any personal notes on the letter that apply to each customer. I state on the letter that if I don't hear from them I'll show up the first week of April and cut for the price in the letter. All customers getting the same letter lets them all know the "rules" apply to all and not just them.

I make copies of the letter and hand them out to new customers so they will be aware of all the particulars in case they have never hired professional lawn care.

This sounds like a lot but it keeps it simple for the customer. Keep PERFECT records of EVERYTHING, you will need them when a customer doesn't pay you for a couple weeks and thinks that they did. You can show them the last check number you received versus the last check number they wrote... I had a GOOD one last season, but I had the proof and I won!!!

Hope this helps.