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  #11  
Old 01-17-2014, 11:10 PM
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FishandSon FishandSon is offline
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I also should have stated that these are not all full service accounts, but I do see almost all of my customers on a weekly basis. These letters wouldn't be mailed. I would go over it with them during the explanation of the spring clean up or the spring property walk around I do with all of my customers. I do that because it gives me face to face with them to talk about their season long goals on what they may want done.
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2014, 11:30 AM
205mx 205mx is offline
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I think for mowing only, this I over kil. But I would use something like this to sell clients on more services
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2014, 01:13 PM
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I do agree with have an agreement between you and your clients. Most will read but some will not as long as they sign it that's all that matters. In my agreement and estimate forms it states that "cleaning up of additional debris caused by acts of mother nature may incur an additional charge." I have never had anyone complain when I charged them extra for the additional time we spent for have to cleanup after a hurricane or wind storm. Granted this usually only happens once or twice a season. If there are a couple of branches we will not charge and just haul off.

As far as gates and dog crap goes I just skip the area for the week until it is taken care of. Most people get it. I do not charge for moving hoses, children's toys, etc.

For renewals I would not mention anything in the spring letter about cancelling. I would state that we will continue with the same services from last year and give them an approximate start date. This way if they want to cancel then they have to contact you. This also helps so you are not calling people when you do not receive anything back from them asking them if they want you to continue service and having say "oh we figured you would just start."
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2014, 12:03 AM
PK Mows PK Mows is offline
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I just don't like service agreements on residential accounts. Did it in the past, but decided it's a hindrance. Your overall pricing structure should account for things like toys in the yard, occasional locked gates, irrigation running, birthday parties on mowing days, etc.

Service agreements are a necessity when dealing with some types of commercial accounts and they are expected, but for residential, all you're doing is creating operational friction.

Operational friction is anything that interferes with being a profitable, growth oriented company. Putting up roadblocks by saying all the conditions you have before you will service their property and get paid with their money is not helpful. Make it easy for people to spend their money with you. Landscape maintenance is a service business, our answer should always be, "Yes, we can make this happen", not "Well, we can probably do it, but this and that has to happen first".

Price for your overall business structure, not individual properties, and be the company that gets the job done. You'll make more money. Assume you will have delays in servicing properties. Assume you will have to pick up toys, hoses and chase down dogs you accidentally let out of the backyard. Assume your Crew Chief will hit 3 baby bunnies with a lawnmower and spend half an hour burying them while crying his eyes out, (yes, I have had this happen on more than one occasion). And build your pricing structure to cover these issues. Too many people base their prices on perfect conditions. Yes, my guys can cut $140 an hour, sometimes, but not everyday of every week of every year.

At the end of the season we send out a letter thanking everyone and telling them the last cut date. We tell them about off-season services available and we tell them our estimated start date for Spring. A few weeks before mowing season we send out a letter stating the estimated start date and that's that.

First rule to sales is make it easy to say yes. And the easiest yes is when someone doesn't have to say anything. Just tell 'em when you're coming and aside from a few people moving you'll have almost 100% retention. People are programmed to say NO, even when they want to say YES!! Remove the friction and life is so much simpler.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2014, 09:39 AM
205mx 205mx is offline
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As far as restarting in the spring, I always try to make our first mow the week grass begins to green up or grow. That way we already are mowing before try have a chance to either mow themselves or get other prices. Make it easy for them to use you again.

For new customers I think when they first become customers, I'm going to try to sell them on bushes and mulch, all at a monthly price. If all they want is mowing- no service agreement. If they want additional service, then give them an agreement.

My service agreement is not a display of grievances. Mine is much more " friendly"
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2014, 10:51 AM
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jsslawncare jsslawncare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. W. Landscapers, Inc. View Post
Why are you charging and billing a flat monthly fee when some months you will cut the lawn 4 times and some months you will cut the lawn 5 times?

Personally, I would never sign an agreement that gives you the ability to applying one or more random "extra fee(s)" which

"may be incurred for the following reasons.
locked yard gates
excessive animal droppings
excessive yard obstacles
Debris from severe weather"
Most LCO's do this as an average for 12 month billing.
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  #17  
Old 01-19-2014, 11:20 AM
205mx 205mx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. W. Landscapers, Inc. View Post
Why are you charging and billing a flat monthly fee when some months you will cut the lawn 4 times and some months you will cut the lawn 5 times?r"
Not "some" months.

Certain months. Use a calendar, look ahead add up the total cuts. You will make out really well during droughts and be able to pay your guys to come in and work on other things
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  #18  
Old 01-19-2014, 11:38 AM
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Exact Rototilling Exact Rototilling is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PK Mows View Post
I just don't like service agreements on residential accounts. Did it in the past, but decided it's a hindrance. Your overall pricing structure should account for things like toys in the yard, occasional locked gates, irrigation running, birthday parties on mowing days, etc.

Service agreements are a necessity when dealing with some types of commercial accounts and they are expected, but for residential, all you're doing is creating operational friction.

Operational friction is anything that interferes with being a profitable, growth oriented company. Putting up roadblocks by saying all the conditions you have before you will service their property and get paid with their money is not helpful. Make it easy for people to spend their money with you. Landscape maintenance is a service business, our answer should always be, "Yes, we can make this happen", not "Well, we can probably do it, but this and that has to happen first".

Price for your overall business structure, not individual properties, and be the company that gets the job done. You'll make more money. Assume you will have delays in servicing properties. Assume you will have to pick up toys, hoses and chase down dogs you accidentally let out of the backyard. Assume your Crew Chief will hit 3 baby bunnies with a lawnmower and spend half an hour burying them while crying his eyes out, (yes, I have had this happen on more than one occasion). And build your pricing structure to cover these issues. Too many people base their prices on perfect conditions. Yes, my guys can cut $140 an hour, sometimes, but not everyday of every week of every year.

At the end of the season we send out a letter thanking everyone and telling them the last cut date. We tell them about off-season services available and we tell them our estimated start date for Spring. A few weeks before mowing season we send out a letter stating the estimated start date and that's that.

First rule to sales is make it easy to say yes. And the easiest yes is when someone doesn't have to say anything. Just tell 'em when you're coming and aside from a few people moving you'll have almost 100% retention. People are programmed to say NO, even when they want to say YES!! Remove the friction and life is so much simpler.
Excellent points. How do you handle requests for mowings on Thursday or Friday only.

Do you also do fert and applications...?

Also wondering what your thoughts are on monthly flat rate plans?
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  #19  
Old 01-19-2014, 12:01 PM
jc1 jc1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 205mx View Post
Not "some" months.

Certain months. Use a calendar, look ahead add up the total cuts. You will make out really well during droughts and be able to pay your guys to come in and work on other things
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These 12 month flat payments sound great but.
Is it believable that if there was a drought or some other disruption to service that a customer will not challenge the invoice. If the grass is burnt up you better be doing something else productive for that customer. Very few people will agree to pay a flat fee based on the Calander if service is not being provided.

If you pay 60 dollars a month for your phone but only have access 20 days are you going to sit and pay 60 or ask for credit or a refund?
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  #20  
Old 01-19-2014, 12:11 PM
205mx 205mx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc1 View Post
These 12 month flat payments sound great but.
Is it believable that if there was a drought or some other disruption to service that a customer will not challenge the invoice. If the grass is burnt up you better be doing something else productive for that customer. Very few people will agree to pay a flat fee based on the Calander if service is not being provided.

If you pay 60 dollars a month for your phone but only have access 20 days are you going to sit and pay 60 or ask for credit or a refund?

I have found the "very few people" part unture
8 or 9 month level billing for mowing only.
12 month only when multiple services are asked for.

Oh and guess what? I've use monthly rates for 3 years now. Very little issues. More revenue. Better and more predictable budgeting.

What is one of the main issues we face? Cash flow due to weather variance.
Solution? Level rate.

Sure there are issues with it. As with any way. And neither way is correct. I also have several that are per service prices.

The level rate for me is my mandatory. It is what I sell first however.
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Last edited by 205mx; 01-19-2014 at 12:17 PM.
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