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  #11  
Old 08-19-2012, 10:13 AM
coolluv coolluv is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duekster View Post
Here is my thinking. First thing I want to do is get them as a paying client. If they have over grown beds, shrubs and lot of work to do. There are many reasons for this but I try not to judge. I want to get paid to clean them up at a fair price. I want to be paid also...so I handle that with what I call an initial cleanup fee...that fee is paid upfront on the day they accept the agreement and they also pay for the first months service up front.

Additional services often generate more profit than mowing for sure. If I bundle those the price seems higher to the client. If I do it seperately then they are not as bothered. I then can go back to them and present a bundle after the site is up to standard. They are comfortable with us, we are comfortable with them ( paying) and I have not had to scramble or invest a lot up front on a contract. (See Above)

I then will offer a maintenance price but typically in the second or third season. I also like to get then rolling in mid summer.

On the otherhand, I go to an estate house or ranch and the place is well cared for, little neglected and there is only maintenance.... then I will propose a service agreement.

I have residential units that gross more than small commecial clients. We are pushing 6 to 10K a year.
BTW I love to hear your opinions and thoughts. I like a good discussion on business topics.

Dave...
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  #12  
Old 08-19-2012, 10:19 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 7,971
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolluv View Post
BTW I love to hear your opinions and thoughts. I like a good discussion on business topics.

Dave...


Same here. Not being contentious at all.

Just saying SA are not a panacea to getting paid.

I have them and even doing some experiments with EOW accounts and adding a treatment program for a low price. I want to do this cause I hate mowing weeds plus a little primo will benefit the lawn being cut EOW. I am not so big as to refuse work. I have employees and I am obligated to taking work so they can be paid.
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  #13  
Old 08-19-2012, 10:31 AM
coolluv coolluv is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Atlanta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duekster View Post
Same here. Not being contentious at all.

Just saying SA are not a panacea to getting paid. I agree and that is why I said that I don't do agreements for that purpose.

I have them and even doing some experiments with EOW accounts and adding a treatment program for a low price. I want to do this cause I hate mowing weeds plus a little primo will benefit the lawn being cut EOW. I am not so big as to refuse work. I have employees and I am obligated to taking work so they can be paid.
I'm a solo op at the moment but I would love to have employees. I'm getting too old to do the hard work anymore. Been in construction since I was 20 years old and have done every hard body abusing job there is. I was hoping to hire a guy this year but I don't have the income to support it. Maybe next year. I don't like to refuse work either but sometimes its for the best. I'm not at the level I want to be but I see people come and go every year in this business and I don't want to be one of them. I'm thankful for the work I have and bust my @ss to keep them happy. Its tough when your solo.

Dave...

Last edited by coolluv; 08-19-2012 at 10:35 AM.
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  #14  
Old 08-19-2012, 10:38 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Location: DFW, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolluv View Post
I'm a solo op at the moment but I would love to have employees. I'm getting too old to do the hard work anymore. Been in construction since I was 20 years old and have done every hard body abusing job there is. I was hoping to hire a guy this year but I don't have the income to support it. Maybe next year.

Dave...
If I were SOLO, I would be much more selective on clients for sure. I am trying to feed a machine with Shop expenses as well as make a living. I still have to work.

I just added a 3rd guy to the crew so I need to take all comers provided that pay bills.

Next step is to hire a 4th guy then work on a second truck to split the crew back to 2X ppl. Then I can start up grading clients....

It cost me dearly to add the 3rd guy but I had to do it.
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  #15  
Old 08-19-2012, 10:39 AM
seabee24 seabee24 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 619
well there are a couple things you could do. We went from a monthly billing, and waiting for a check, to a weekly billing and auto charging their credit cards. SUPER HAPPY - I was very nervious about forcing people to do it. Those that didnt want to, i still do the monthly billing but they are told that a late payment will result in stop service and then require the credit card. Im so happy about not having to go to the bank every day, great time saver.

On average I have about 2-3% that are over 90 days that may stiff me. I decided to contiune to service these clients. In the past of that 2-3% half would pay me when they were able, it might be 6 months down the road but I did get my money. the other 1/2 i would get stiffed. If it was a large amount take them to court, if its a small amount its a tax write off anyway. Now thats considering that my route is tight and im not traveling out of my way for one of these accounts. Because the route is tight and travel exppense is next to nothing, and servicing the account only really costs me $12.00 the $40.00 tax deduction is worth it. and the half that did pay i kept as a client.

I have stopped service on customers before...but lawn service is much like cell phones, if they owe and cant pay their cell bill...they will just go get another phone with another company....the orginal company will never get paid
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  #16  
Old 08-19-2012, 10:52 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 7,971
Quote:
Originally Posted by seabee24 View Post
well there are a couple things you could do. We went from a monthly billing, and waiting for a check, to a weekly billing and auto charging their credit cards. SUPER HAPPY - I was very nervious about forcing people to do it. Those that didnt want to, i still do the monthly billing but they are told that a late payment will result in stop service and then require the credit card. Im so happy about not having to go to the bank every day, great time saver.

On average I have about 2-3% that are over 90 days that may stiff me. I decided to contiune to service these clients. In the past of that 2-3% half would pay me when they were able, it might be 6 months down the road but I did get my money. the other 1/2 i would get stiffed. If it was a large amount take them to court, if its a small amount its a tax write off anyway. Now thats considering that my route is tight and im not traveling out of my way for one of these accounts. Because the route is tight and travel exppense is next to nothing, and servicing the account only really costs me $12.00 the $40.00 tax deduction is worth it. and the half that did pay i kept as a client.

I have stopped service on customers before...but lawn service is much like cell phones, if they owe and cant pay their cell bill...they will just go get another phone with another company....the orginal company will never get paid
You have added 1. to 1.25 cost to each client by billing weekly. Why not just pre-bill monthly instead?
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  #17  
Old 08-19-2012, 10:56 AM
coolluv coolluv is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 2,344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duekster View Post
If I were SOLO, I would be much more selective on clients for sure. I am trying to feed a machine with Shop expenses as well as make a living. I still have to work.

I just added a 3rd guy to the crew so I need to take all comers provided that pay bills.

Next step is to hire a 4th guy then work on a second truck to split the crew back to 2X ppl. Then I can start up grading clients....

It cost me dearly to add the 3rd guy but I had to do it.
I understand completely. I was going to run my business the way you are running yours..but I had a problem with turnover....for many reasons. None of which were my fault. Just terrible customers.

My customer base would fluctuate so much it was crazy. So I felt something had to change. I'm much happier now and the stress level has actually gone down. My worry was trying to feed the machine on junk customers.

I wanted to take the route you are taking but I could not make it work. I also feared that if I did hire someone with the customers I had...I wouldn't know form one month to the next whether I would have enough work to support him. My growth now is slow but steady. I hope my body can hold out until I can hire some help.

There is a lot of competition around these parts from newbies and Illegals that are willing to pay folks to work their @ss off for them. I'm sure your area is no different.

Dave...
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  #18  
Old 08-19-2012, 11:10 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 7,971
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolluv View Post
I understand completely. I was going to run my business the way you are running yours..but I had a problem with turnover....for many reasons. None of which were my fault. Just terrible customers.

My customer base would fluctuate so much it was crazy. So I felt something had to change. I'm much happier now and the stress level has actually gone down. My worry was trying to feed the machine on junk customers.

I wanted to take the route you are taking but I could not make it work. I also feared that if I did hire someone with the customers I had...I wouldn't know form one month to the next whether I would have enough work to support him. My growth now is slow but steady. I hope my body can hold out until I can hire some help.

There is a lot of competition around these parts from newbies and Illegals that are willing to pay folks to work their @ss off for them. I'm sure your area is no different.

Dave...
I could I was stress free. Particularly this summer with the extra labor cost. The orginal guys want their hours. The work slows down accordingly too.

Needless to say, I was taking on work so they did not get lazy taking too much time on jobs. I shifted one account around too. Instead of a day and a half of time, I made it one day with the extra MHs.

I do not have much trouble getting paid but some times cash flow is crazy. You have to invest money in some jobs. Takes money to make money they say but then there is a race to cover.

Turn over is a concern always too. I am lucky to have two guys with me for the last 5 years or more. They are getting older too. Hence one reason I needed to hire another guy soon.

I am not physically able to do the work. I got into this business purely by accident. I might be able to do the work now, some 10 years after my second neck surgery. I would likely just go out and get a job somewhere if push came to shove.
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  #19  
Old 08-20-2012, 10:37 PM
recycledsole recycledsole is online now
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: MD
Posts: 1,845
how did you get your clients?
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  #20  
Old 08-22-2012, 05:26 PM
pete edwards pete edwards is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: hubert, nc
Posts: 9
I found some of my clients thru a small service ad in the local newspaper but my best results came from flyers. This season I'm finally starting to pick up the neighbors which helps quite a bit on fuel and travel time. I also bid everything cheaper than anybody else.
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