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  #1  
Old 01-07-2013, 12:09 PM
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lawnpropm lawnpropm is offline
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How are you full services accounts set up?

Alright guys, I want to hear some of the experienced business owners weigh in on this subject. Of course all of us are in search for those customers who want their landscape in showcase condition year round and are willing to pay for it. What is your definition of full service? Is it mowing, bed maint, shrub trimming/pruning, fert & squirt, fall clean up etc..... Are you guys estimating the total annual cost for these services and billing them over 12 months? Lets say for example after quoting services the annual cost to the client would be $4500, $4500/ 12 months= $375 monthly. Would this be an option or are there different methods for billing? How are you billing? I have been sending emails and hard copies by snail mail.
Here in South Carolina we generally get about 8 - 8.5 months mowing but there are a few other things to keep some what busy. Im looking for a way to create 12 months of income with customers on an annual contract/ service agreement. I am aware that every customer will not want 12 months of service and all will not want to sign a service agreement. Would like to hear your thoughts, opinions, and systems that you plan to implement or currently have in place with your company..................
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:46 PM
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Crimson Lawn Crimson Lawn is offline
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Lawnpro,
I am a small company, started full time in May 2010. At the end of that season a friend told me about level billing. Pretty much what you said, take total amount and divide by 12. That has worked great and supplied me 12 month income. As I have grown I still like it but the down side is the hrs you and your help put in during the season. And yes full service; cut, trim, edge, blow, hedge trimming, bed maint, mulch/roch top dress, plant install, color change, etc.
It took til this year for me to figure out the money cycle on level billing.
Being that I had alot of financial responsibilities(kid, house, food) I was selling everything from gutter cleanings(a lot), Christmas Decorating(none),
window washing(none), parking lot clean ups(two). One of the busiest things I sold(a big pain) was clearing out brush and overgrown chain link fences(3). The work is hard but it was a money maker. I do like those jobs in the winter because of less bugs, no leaves and if that is your only job for the week, slow down.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:55 PM
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Crimson Lawn Crimson Lawn is offline
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Also meant to tell you, the benefits of level billing. I explaned to my customers that in May, June when multiple services are performed your bill is the same, it is also helpful to remind them A/C season is kicking in and that power bill is on the rise. Some told me that" I'm paying for something in the winter and I'm not getting anything". False, I go by 2 times a month, look at everything I am going to service make notes, recommendations, pick up any small down limbs or trash. Leave a visit card and move on. Sometimes they see you but they will notice the 10 time ranover newspaper gone or the new one on the front porch. I try to set those days when its there trash day, so I can take there cans back up to the garage door.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:27 AM
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Nate'sLawnCare Nate'sLawnCare is online now
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In NC, if you do landscape contracts above a certain dollar amount, I believe $2500/year, you're required to obtain a landscaping contractor certification and license. It might be worth checking the laws in SC prior to entering into a contract, just to be safe. Good luck.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:29 AM
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lawnpropm lawnpropm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndr_lawn_care View Post
In NC, if you do landscape contracts above a certain dollar amount, I believe $2500/year, you're required to obtain a landscaping contractor certification and license. It might be worth checking the laws in SC prior to entering into a contract, just to be safe. Good luck.
I have checked around on any licenses / certifications required by the state and from all of the info I have gathered, you only need a pesticide license if you offer that service and a license for most cities that you operate in.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:00 AM
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Crimson Lawn Crimson Lawn is offline
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lawnpro,
What I mean is , you invoice everyone out at the end of the month. You have all your cost to do business for the month. There is a carry over from the previous month of invoices that have yet to be paid.
Level Billing will strech your money a bit thin during the height of the season because everything that is going on and everything you are paying for to get done. When you get Sept. and October everything is starting to come full circle, for the year, and money starts to pile up in your account.
After seeing this for 2 years in a row, I know to set up a few big jobs in the spring to help on the income because we about to be super busy for 3 or 4 months.
In other words you not collecting for 5 cuts, mulch, hedge trimming and fertilizing in the month of May, you are paying fot that but you are only collecting a Level Payment.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:56 PM
NC Greenscaper NC Greenscaper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndr_lawn_care View Post
In NC, if you do landscape contracts above a certain dollar amount, I believe $2500/year, you're required to obtain a landscaping contractor certification and license. It might be worth checking the laws in SC prior to entering into a contract, just to be safe. Good luck.
I'm not sure that's accurate. In NC we have a Landscape Contractors' Registration Board. Here are the first three paragraphs of the stature:

On and after December 1, 1975, it shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, association or corporation in this State to use the title "landscape contractor," or to advertise as such without first obtaining a certificate issued by the North Carolina Landscape contractors' Registration Board under provisions of this Chapter.(1975, c. 741, s. 1.)

§ 89D‑2. Definition.
A "landscape contractor" within the meaning of this Chapter is any person, partnership, association or corporation who for compensation or valuable consideration or promise thereof engages in the business requiring the art, experience, ability, knowledge, science and skill to install, plant, repair and maintain gardens, lawns, shrubs, vines, bushes, trees and other decorative vegetation including the grading and preparation of plots and areas of land for decorative treatment and arrangement; who constructs or installs garden pools, fountains, pavilions, conservatories, hothouses and greenhouses, incidental retaining walls, fences, walks, drainage and sprinkler systems; or who engages in incidental construction in connection therewith, or does any part thereof in such a manner that, under an agreed specification, an acceptable landscaping project can be executed. (1975, c. 741, s. 2.)

§ 89D‑3. Application of Chapter.
The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to and shall not include any person, partnership, association or corporation who shall perform any of the acts aforesaid in G.S. 89D‑2 with reference to any property, so long as that person, partnership, association or corporation shall not use the title "landscape contractor." (1975, c. 741, s. 3.)

Basically as long as you are not using and advertising yourself as a "Landscape Contractor" you can do the same work.

I think there are laws that require a general contractors license if they are over a certain amount (30K).
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:26 AM
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lawnpropm lawnpropm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimson Lawn View Post
Lawnpro
It took til this year for me to figure out the money cycle on level billing. ..
Thanks for your input. When you say it took you awhile to figure out the money cycle do you mean choosing which dates customers pay on so everyone isn't paying at the first of the month and then there isn't any cash flow at the end of the month?
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:23 AM
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lawnpropm lawnpropm is offline
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Would it be a good idea to not have all of hour customers pay on the same date? Like say have invoices due the 1st, 15th, and the 25th that way you have a steady stream of income the entire month?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:11 AM
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Crimson Lawn Crimson Lawn is offline
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That may make tracking payments a nightmare. Invoice once a month, collect throughout month. People that have not paid in 30 days, I call and remind them. They dont answer, I leave a message and inform them service will be stopped until account is paid in full. 9.8 times out of 10 you get paid in full with in 3 days.
If you got 30 customers and you invoice them in groups of 10, try to keep up with who has paid relevant to 30 days. I say this because, again, you are out your cost of doing business to there Level Amount. Bill everyone once a month, collect throughout the month.
One thing I started doing in 2012 was I started invoicing customers as soon as it was there last service of the month. That kept me from doing all of mine in one or two nights and I could track payments relative to a full calender.
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