Originally Posted by MDLawn
You want to talk apples to oranges who would use a mechanic for 27-34 weeks straight? You're paying them for major services not weekly routine maintenance.... And if cars actually required weekly routine maintenance I'd think a lot would sign up for a simple monthly payment plan. And with a mechanic payment is due or they keep the car, not bill you 4 weeks after the work is completed.
Also in my mind was to bill out for the actual cutting season. So if it is from April to Nov you would divide the cost between those months. I would actually offer some small discount, say 5%, to sign up for automatic payments that were paid either the 1st of the service month or the 15th. But I'd think you would need to include more things in that monthly payment than just lawn mowing. Such as once a month stuff like bed edge redefining, trimming bushes, pulling weeds, just general property maintenance that is well lined out in an agreement or contract. Basically just general good care of the property. Any big jobs are billed out seperately, just like a mechanic.
I take care of a small office of a friend of mine and we were billing out this and that and this and that. This year I'm taking that total, adding a small percent increase, and stating that I'm doing lawn maintenace and trimming & mulching 3 times per season for $XXXX amount. He'll write the check in a day. Some people don't want to be bothered with constant bills, they just want the work done.
Here's the catch though. Some new or not quite fully established person (possibly myself) cannot walk on scene and demand things such as straight monthly billing and such. If you do however have a good brand going I think you can do such things. If you're wanted enough, you can probably dictate such things. Until then most will probably shrug you off when it comes to things like monthly bills.
the only way I'd sign up for a monthly payment plan for anything is if the amount of money I would pay in a year would equal exactly what I would pay if just invoiced for work performed.
exactly why I don't expect my clients to sign up for something like that. to do a 12 month payment plan you have to have a grand total so you have to say you will definitly mow the grass x amount of times for the year.
we all know you can't predict with 100% certainty how many cuts we will do. weather is what dictates that.
Originally Posted by Landscape Poet
Again it is not a money mgmt issue that I bring up. Besides that just because you have saved well and can afford to take a year off or whatever you stated above, that is fine and dandy, but the fact would remain that income has been lost and the savings used to live on during that period has to be replaced and regained somehow - correct?
My point is that I simply do not see how anyone can create a accurate budget with the patterns that you guys can experience. How do you effectively plan growth - when you do not know what your sales will be a month from now?
If you were to go to the bank and ask for a loan - how would you explain that your potential income - may not be anywhere close to your estimated budget because there can be a drought at any minute?
I am not really dogging any of you for working the way you have - I am just questioning how you make your business work and how you plan accordingly for anything because all I would see would be a very hopeful guess. Please explain how you make accurate business plans?
no I don't make up the lost money as you say.
I tap into what I have saved when needed and replace when I can. but I never plan on necessarly try to catch up after a lower season.
I plan on around the same income each year. I'm a solo business I can and will only take on so much business a year. once my schedule is full it is full. if those clients happen to bring me more money than the previous year great. if not I make due with what I have.
take this season for example. it has not been a good one. huge drought. my only plan for next season is to make sure my schedule is full just like every other season. there is no plan to expand or raise prices and try and make up what money I lost this season. currently my schedule has openings. until I can fill them with regular business I will be doing one time jobs that come my way. aside from that its business as usual.
like I keep saying it is somewhat about money management. I know how to get by with less when needed. rarely do I ever tap into my saved money. I make it a practice to live as below my means as I possibly can. getting by with the most basic of things. anything nice I have has been given to me as a gift for a birthday or christmas.
when money is tight there isn't going out to eat, going to the movies, renting a video game, buying new clothes, going on vacation, etc.
when money is tight time is spent working to make money and when not working it is spent at home with whatever I already have. surely you've read my posts about how I get by with the basics and am happy with just having food, water, heat, etc. how I don't go on vacation, spend money on toys such as bikes, 4 wheelers, etc. how I don't have a fancy house or designer clothes, big screen tvs, or a huge DVD collection. I don't go bar hopping on the weekends or to restaurants to eat.
money management. I don't need to have clients paying me all 12 months out of the year. I can take all there money in the 9 billable months and do just fine the other 3. I make plenty of money to only charge for work performed instead of trying to get them to pay 12 months out of the year no matter how much or how little of work is done.