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Old 10-24-2007, 10:09 PM
Down2EarthLawns's Avatar
Down2EarthLawns Down2EarthLawns is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Spring Hill, Florida
Posts: 191
I also charge monthly....throughout the year. Flat rate for mow, edge, trim, and blow. I mow EVERY week in the growing season, even on 5 week months for the same rate (this leaves room to play with when the grass doesn't grow). Soon I will be cutting every other week. In some cases, it will be every 3 weeks. But my rule of thumb is that I will edge and blow at least once a week until the edging shows no growth at all. This way I am still going by the property weekly until the growth truely stops. I will have a few customers come up to me during slow growth and ask whats up with no decrease in their bill. I simply state that I give them 5 cuts for the months that contain 5 weeks without charging extra, then I come by every week to see if it needs to be cut. If you over-cut, it will compromise the health of the lawn. After all of that, they usually have no doubt that I am fair.

Last edited by Down2EarthLawns; 10-24-2007 at 10:10 PM. Reason: Poster had situation change before I replied.
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:17 PM
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fiveoboy01 fiveoboy01 is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Southern WI
Posts: 2,987
Well, he got what he wanted - something free.

This is why if you're going to charge a flat monthly rate, you MUST get the customer's signature on a piece of paper that specifically states what services are included for that monthly price, and what services are extra...

Originally posted by SLR:
you really got off fortunate and lucky 5-0boy1!..imagine if you an her created a little 5boy1,now there's a nicely entangled chaotic toranado vise!
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Old 10-25-2007, 01:11 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,659
What I do when a question like this comes up is audit the account.

It's really not as rough as it sounds, you just have to:
1) Add up ALL the services for the year, figure 1.
2) Then, add up ALL the payments, figure 2 (I use bank deposit slip copies for this).
3) Do it in printable format.
4) Do it at least twice, make sure the figures match.
Then If Fig.1 - Fig.2 adds out, you send him the results of your audit, it shows he has received what has been paid for.

But IF Fig.1 - Fig.2 = + balance <- You owe him, credit this to his account and work it off or work it into the leaf cleanup.

Of course IF Fig.2 - Fig.1 = -balance then it could be you're doing something wrong, this helps pinpoint that.
Either way, the results of the audit will tell you how to proceed.

It helps to have a running total per account throughout the year, can save yourself from having to do an audit.

Last edited by topsites; 10-25-2007 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 10-25-2007, 04:40 PM
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daveintoledo daveintoledo is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: northwest ohio
Posts: 2,587

it seems many people are fine with the flat monthly rate... in my area, farm country and lots of elderly, they arent paying for what they dont get... so i bill at the end of the month but on a per cut basis

i know that makes it tough during lean months, but this is when i work on selling them other services to make up for the lost income mowing
owner operator of lawn care, landscaping, and snow removal company
completely legal and insured
7 years in business
6 full time
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:40 PM
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Patriot Services Patriot Services is online now
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tampa FL
Posts: 11,928
Nice job, sometimes all it takes is a little communication to clear things up. Clearly he has been holding this in for some time. I went through the same learning curve with customers early on. I explain to them I will come once a week if the grass does not need cutting (it does happen for a short period in Florida) I will still spend the same amount of time doing something to maintain the yard. I have had great success with this as most of my customers have been with me at least 3yrs or more. For you guys that visit less in winter, just put it in writing and make it clear to your customer at the start. Lastly do not allow yourself to be corralled into a specific day and time of service. The customer should never be allowed to dictate your schedule.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:21 PM
Stillwater Stillwater is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: The United States
Posts: 4,633
Originally Posted by LawnMan883 View Post
Well, i have a customer that i have had for about 2 years now. the first year i was on a per cut basis with him. this year i began a monthly maintenance package. i performed the mowing when needed all year, meaning most months was 3 visits, during the heavy growing times 4 visits a month and this month i have done 2 so far. i sent him a letter about fall cleanups specials i am running and he sends me an e-mail saying he is upset he paid the monthly fee to only recieve 2 or 3 cuts this month and then have me charge extra for the other services such as lawn aeration and leaf vaccuming. He told me he feels he is getting ripped off and if he decides to use me again next year he will want a set day of the week it will be cut and he wants it done every week or else he wants it on a per-cut basis again.
He was always very happy with my services in the past and has been trying to help me get my name out there via word of mouth. I am sort of suprised by this all of the sudden. i do not feel i have done anything in error as his lawn is actually one of the best looking lawns i do. he even said it looks a lot better then it ever did when he used to do it. i just don;t knwo what to say to him.
this is one of the reasons I do not do monthly flat fees, customers feel Jipped.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:24 PM
Stillwater Stillwater is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: The United States
Posts: 4,633
Originally Posted by Clear-Cut View Post
did u have him sign an agreement saying "this is how much it will cost no matter how many times i cut the lawn each month"?
Justin you are missing the point. it doesent matter if an agreement is signed or not some customers will always feel ripped off.
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Old 10-26-2007, 09:39 AM
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Sammy Sammy is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Southern-Lower-Michigan
Posts: 1,734
Originally Posted by LawnMan883 View Post
.......... if you take my monthly rate divided by 4 it ..........
You need to figure your rates at 4.3 weeks per month, NOT 4 weeks.
Quality Is Good !
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Old 10-26-2007, 06:56 PM
grassnazi1 grassnazi1 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Memphis TN
Posts: 73
Ya i think that was a good idea. I kinda agreed with the customer on this, I would definitely itemize your work and be crystal clear in EVERY other agreement you make from here on out. The free lawn aer was a good step in pleasing him and I think you did the right thing.
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:00 PM
loom-gen loom-gen is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: kansas city, kansas sone six
Posts: 150
Do anything you can "legally" to please the client because its not only them you are trying to please. Its the countless thousands of people they know. When I hear a lawn company tell me they got bad seed from a supplier, I don't buy grass from them. I spend thousands of dollars on seed. How many other people has this person told that spend thousands of dollars on seed? even worse, now I'm telling other lawn companies. All because one batch of seed was poor quality.
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