Register free!

The Green Industry's Resource Center



Reply
 
Thread Tools   Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-08-2012, 07:05 PM
grassmasterswilson grassmasterswilson is online now
LawnSite Gold Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: nc
Posts: 3,433
Full maintenance customers

Im going to try and get my customers to switch over and let me do everything. I'm assuming most of you include mowing, leaf clean up, 2-3 prunings, fertilizer and weed control. Some may include mulch.

How do you handle grubs or disease? Include it also?

What do you figure into your price for extra stuff? Maybe trimming back a few bushes that have shoots, or other small things that come up?

I would love to include everything under the sun, but we figure 48 or so weekly cuts and the price might be too high for the market.
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-08-2012, 07:17 PM
jrs.landscaping's Avatar
jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is online now
LawnSite Silver Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,431
Quote:
Originally Posted by grassmasterswilson View Post
Im going to try and get my customers to switch over and let me do everything. I'm assuming most of you include mowing, leaf clean up, 2-3 prunings, fertilizer and weed control. Some may include mulch.

How do you handle grubs or disease? Include it also?

What do you figure into your price for extra stuff? Maybe trimming back a few bushes that have shoots, or other small things that come up?

I would love to include everything under the sun, but we figure 48 or so weekly cuts and the price might be too high for the market.
Posted via Mobile Device
Extra means exactly that. Anything not originally agreed upon is an added cost. We include everything you have listed, but anything else is another service agreement. Also make sure you are very clear as to the terms and what scope of work you plan on performing. We have run into this, a customer has a landscape that they want to change. We show them that we "maintain" the landscaping and this is considered a seperate project, and therefore an added cost.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-10-2012, 05:10 AM
JimLewis's Avatar
JimLewis JimLewis is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 6,592
Over the 13 years I've been on lawnsite, I have come to realize that the majority of LCOs here just do a fairly basic service. Mow, Blow, Go and maybe a little more. There aren't too many who do the full service you're mentioning. That's why not too many replies to this thread so far.

But you're on the right track, IMO. Going full service is where it's at, if you live in an area where people can afford it. Most people in the neighborhoods we service have a landscape maintenance company (as opposed to doing the yard care themselves). Many of them have some sort of version of full-service. It's sort of expected around here. I think if you went around just offering a mow-blow-go service in the neighborhoods we work in you wouldn't get much business. You'd just get the pikers, late payers, cheapskates and price shoppers only. That's the clientele I USED to have, about 16 years ago when I first started, because I didn't know any better. But after a few years I wised up and finally realized that we could make a lot more per account per month if we would just offer a more comprehensive service.

We offer a bronze, silver, and gold service. But even the bronze service offers a lot more than just your standard mow-blow-go. You can read more about each service and what's included on our website. We only get about 5-10% of the people who chose bronze. About 70% choose Gold and around 20-25 choose Silver, which is basically full service except not pruning of shrubs and trees.

I think the best approach is to offer several service options like this. This way, you're not FORCING anyone into a more comprehensive service. You're just allowing them to choose. I find, in our area, most people CHOOSE the most comprehensive service, but your mileage may vary.

As for add'l cost, it really doesn't take a whole lot more time per week to make sure weeds are taken care of, leaves are removed, grass is fertilized, perennials are trimmed back, etc. It's easy just to spend 10-15 minutes more each week just working on one or two of these items, outside the lawn. Then the next week you work on another. And so forth. Just a little extra time each week. But it will allow you to charge anywhere from 20-50% more, depending on the property. Properties with larger trees that drop tons of leaves in fall obviously pay a lot more than a property with only a few 8' ornamental trees. Etc.

Hope that helps a little.
__________________
Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


www.lewislandscape.com - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-10-2012, 06:52 AM
coolluv coolluv is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,450
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
Over the 13 years I've been on lawnsite, I have come to realize that the majority of LCOs here just do a fairly basic service. Mow, Blow, Go and maybe a little more. There aren't too many who do the full service you're mentioning. That's why not too many replies to this thread so far.

But you're on the right track, IMO. Going full service is where it's at, if you live in an area where people can afford it. Most people in the neighborhoods we service have a landscape maintenance company (as opposed to doing the yard care themselves). Many of them have some sort of version of full-service. It's sort of expected around here. I think if you went around just offering a mow-blow-go service in the neighborhoods we work in you wouldn't get much business. You'd just get the pikers, late payers, cheapskates and price shoppers only. That's the clientele I USED to have, about 16 years ago when I first started, because I didn't know any better. But after a few years I wised up and finally realized that we could make a lot more per account per month if we would just offer a more comprehensive service.

We offer a bronze, silver, and gold service. But even the bronze service offers a lot more than just your standard mow-blow-go. You can read more about each service and what's included on our website. We only get about 5-10% of the people who chose bronze. About 70% choose Gold and around 20-25 choose Silver, which is basically full service except not pruning of shrubs and trees.

I think the best approach is to offer several service options like this. This way, you're not FORCING anyone into a more comprehensive service. You're just allowing them to choose. I find, in our area, most people CHOOSE the most comprehensive service, but your mileage may vary.

As for add'l cost, it really doesn't take a whole lot more time per week to make sure weeds are taken care of, leaves are removed, grass is fertilized, perennials are trimmed back, etc. It's easy just to spend 10-15 minutes more each week just working on one or two of these items, outside the lawn. Then the next week you work on another. And so forth. Just a little extra time each week. But it will allow you to charge anywhere from 20-50% more, depending on the property. Properties with larger trees that drop tons of leaves in fall obviously pay a lot more than a property with only a few 8' ornamental trees. Etc.

Hope that helps a little.
I found that out too after the first few years of taking everything and everyone. It is because of you Jim and a few others that are not here anymore that convinced me of using contracts or agreements and offering full service.

Its a slow growth process but much more profitable.

Dave...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-10-2012, 02:16 PM
spitfire3416's Avatar
spitfire3416 spitfire3416 is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Jersey
Posts: 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
We offer a bronze, silver, and gold service.
I understand this method to a certain extent. If one guy is paying say, $250 a month for gold service, does that mean the guy down the street is getting the same deal even if his lawn is smaller? Don't you have to price estimate each individual account to know how much they have to pay? Do you set it up so they pay year round, and if it's the case, are they required to sign a contract for the year? What does each service include?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-10-2012, 02:39 PM
JimLewis's Avatar
JimLewis JimLewis is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 6,592
Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfire3416 View Post
I understand this method to a certain extent. If one guy is paying say, $250 a month for gold service, does that mean the guy down the street is getting the same deal even if his lawn is smaller?
Of course not! That would be crazy. Who said anything about that? We have some yards that are $165 for Gold Service because they're really small and some that are $500 a month. It all depends on the size of the property and how much work there is to do throughout the year - of course.


Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfire3416 View Post
Do you set it up so they pay year round, and if it's the case, are they required to sign a contract for the year?
It's a flat rate, all year round. Yes.

No contracts. I have always believed that if you did a great job of servicing your customer, you don't need to bind them down with a contract. They're going to WANT to stay with your company. Not because they are bound by a contract - but because they love your work and the service they receive. We have nearly 300 weekly accounts and not a contract for one of them. I realize that makes me atypical for Lawnsite. But I've never needed contracts in 16 years to keep business. Now for landscape construction, sure. Contracts are the norm and required by law. But not for maintenance.

The next question is usually, "Ok. Then how do you keep them from canceling in the winter if there isn't a contract?" The answer to that is more complex. But I'll try to break it down quickly. First, we do a great job from the very fist time they contact us explaining the nature of our service and that it is ONLY year-round. So we set the expectation before they've ever even decided to go with us. Second, we reinforce the year-round nature of our agreement with a letter that goes out in the fall reminding them of how our service works and what to expect during the winter months. Third, if they do call to cancel for the winter, we explain to them that we don't do seasonal accounts and they are welcome to cancel but we won't be taking them back on in the spring. We only want year round accounts. The people who aren't down with that can go to one of our competitors. And that can can starve all winter, not me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfire3416 View Post
What does each service include?
Too much to list here. You can see what we do for each level of service on our website. Choose "maintenance" from the menu and then choose "weekly service".
__________________
Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


www.lewislandscape.com - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-10-2012, 04:20 PM
spitfire3416's Avatar
spitfire3416 spitfire3416 is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Jersey
Posts: 384
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
Of course not! That would be crazy. Who said anything about that? We have some yards that are $165 for Gold Service because they're really small and some that are $500 a month. It all depends on the size of the property and how much work there is to do throughout the year - of course.




It's a flat rate, all year round. Yes.

No contracts. I have always believed that if you did a great job of servicing your customer, you don't need to bind them down with a contract. They're going to WANT to stay with your company. Not because they are bound by a contract - but because they love your work and the service they receive. We have nearly 300 weekly accounts and not a contract for one of them. I realize that makes me atypical for Lawnsite. But I've never needed contracts in 16 years to keep business. Now for landscape construction, sure. Contracts are the norm and required by law. But not for maintenance.

The next question is usually, "Ok. Then how do you keep them from canceling in the winter if there isn't a contract?" The answer to that is more complex. But I'll try to break it down quickly. First, we do a great job from the very fist time they contact us explaining the nature of our service and that it is ONLY year-round. So we set the expectation before they've ever even decided to go with us. Second, we reinforce the year-round nature of our agreement with a letter that goes out in the fall reminding them of how our service works and what to expect during the winter months. Third, if they do call to cancel for the winter, we explain to them that we don't do seasonal accounts and they are welcome to cancel but we won't be taking them back on in the spring. We only want year round accounts. The people who aren't down with that can go to one of our competitors. And that can can starve all winter, not me.



Too much to list here. You can see what we do for each level of service on our website. Choose "maintenance" from the menu and then choose "weekly service".
okay this makes sense but what if the lawn is not cut one week, because of drought or road blockage or whatever. Do they get a credit? What about when they quit? Surely, you must have customers that quit. Do they get a credit? If your including work to be done in the fall into your monthly rate, what if they quit in september? I would think the customer would want credit for work that hasn't been done yet.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-10-2012, 06:25 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 7,971
GMW,

How do you figure 48 weekly services as a norm in your area? That would pretty much be a commecial account that is over seeded down here in Texas.

I think Jim gave some great advice. I only include what is routine and normal.

I often exclude insect or disease control. Tree work over 14 feet and clearly state the goal is to do light pruning to remove low limbs, crossing limbs and things touching the house.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-10-2012, 08:03 AM
grassmasterswilson grassmasterswilson is online now
LawnSite Gold Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: nc
Posts: 3,433
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duekster View Post
GMW,

How do you figure 48 weekly services as a norm in your area? That would pretty much be a commecial account that is over seeded down here in Texas.

I think Jim gave some great advice. I only include what is routine and normal.

I often exclude insect or disease control. Tree work over 14 feet and clearly state the goal is to do light pruning to remove low limbs, crossing limbs and things touching the house.

We would normally start mowing in March(warm season starting to green and fescue already growing) mowing would slow around October and the leaves would start falling and go into december.

So we are visiting a property either mowing or leaf removal from March - December. I then stop some customers completely or my monthly people get every 2 week services in Jaunuary and Feburary.

So I usually figure on 48 stops a year if they are weekly. It could be less if someone has bermuda and no trees. We may stop in October.
__________________
GrassMasters, LLC
Wilson, NC
www.grassmasterswilson.com
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-10-2012, 08:14 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 7,971
Quote:
Originally Posted by grassmasterswilson View Post
We would normally start mowing in March(warm season starting to green and fescue already growing) mowing would slow around October and the leaves would start falling and go into december.

So we are visiting a property either mowing or leaf removal from March - December. I then stop some customers completely or my monthly people get every 2 week services in Jaunuary and Feburary.

So I usually figure on 48 stops a year if they are weekly. It could be less if someone has bermuda and no trees. We may stop in October.
I would love to push weekly mowing March ~ Dec but the reality is in my area we start slowing down in Oct and go to bi-weekly in most cases. We are lucky to get a full 38 mowings in even with a Monthly visit in December, Jan and Feb.

I would count on 44 visits but that would include shrub triiming, leaf clean up and such. Try to do the shrubs on the shoulder season but you always have to touch them up in the early summer.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump





Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:31 PM.

Page generated in 0.13901 seconds with 7 queries