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  #61  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:15 PM
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Florida Gardener Florida Gardener is offline
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Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
Nope I western new york. Lotta snow

But yea I understand it's easier with the year round "green" maintenance.
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If you do plowing, then I could see doing monthly billing, but if your just doing mowing, probably going to be harder. I haven't read every post so I'm sorry if this has been covered already.
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  #62  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:21 PM
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Landscape Poet Landscape Poet is offline
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Originally Posted by Florida Gardener View Post
Yes, he lives in an area that requires year round maintenance. I'm assuming you live in Maryland, but I don't know what your winters are like.
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The Op is onto something thought Chris. Jim's area would require it, but as state by the OP, diversification makes Jim more valuable and able to offset some income losses because of it.

That is a option we have not discussed here. Making more money with customers you already have. I am not a Jim Lewis by any means , but if you are one of my customers you would not know that I do not offer all those services. You see I figured out awhile back that networking, is a very valuable tool, which makes you not only more of a asset to the customer, but it also has the potential to make you much more money if you find the correct network.

A example that brings me revenue every two months. L and O - I do not possess the license for lawns in Florida. But that does not mean I do not have the ability to fill the customers need. I have a L and O company does great work. I worked myself a deal to get their program at a slightly lower than normal rate per K. There work is above standard for the market but their normal price is not near what the market will bare. So I get a discount of say $12 per K I turn around and charge the customer $17 per K, which the customer is happy to pay for the quality and the simplicity of paying through one source and dealing with one company. Say the customers property is 5K - that is a additional $25 every two months I get for doing nothing more than being a contractor who has networked. What is even worth more - when the neighbor sees the lawn we service blow up and start getting deeper green and they wonder what their guy is not doing. They notice and often inquire on what we are doing different, this leads to the cycle continuing and then next thing you know I am making $25 every two months for simply networking and have picked up a new customer as well. Go along with that - The L and O sells sod - guess who does all their sod work now , that is right , this guy. Guess who subs out all his Sod work...that is right - this guy.

The possibilities are endless if you are willing to not be a normal lawn jockey and demand a deeper cut than you truly deserve. If you are able to work with other contractors, tree, irrigation etc etc and get them work because you so often will be the first contact for the customer - so if you can simply make a phone call and get the need accomplished and collect your little bit - then level billing and drought become less of a issue in the long run. Just my two cents sense everyone seems to agree that in most of your areas you are not able to provide services year around or stretch out the season with a payment option for the client. Make more with what you can. Trust me this is a very viable option if applied correctly as a larger and larger part of my business is becoming the middle man.
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  #63  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:26 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Yea I was thinking more of a package type thing. Mowing, bush trimming, weeding, etc.... I did it before with bed weeding for and extra $5 per cut and a few people signed on. So for an extra $135 per year I pulled a few weeds every couple weeks. No one would pay that up front but 5 bucks sure why not! Gotta find ways to increase revenues.
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  #64  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:35 PM
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Florida Gardener Florida Gardener is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landscape Poet View Post
The Op is onto something thought Chris. Jim's area would require it, but as state by the OP, diversification makes Jim more valuable and able to offset some income losses because of it.

That is a option we have not discussed here. Making more money with customers you already have. I am not a Jim Lewis by any means , but if you are one of my customers you would not know that I do not offer all those services. You see I figured out awhile back that networking, is a very valuable tool, which makes you not only more of a asset to the customer, but it also has the potential to make you much more money if you find the correct network.

A example that brings me revenue every two months. L and O - I do not possess the license for lawns in Florida. But that does not mean I do not have the ability to fill the customers need. I have a L and O company does great work. I worked myself a deal to get their program at a slightly lower than normal rate per K. There work is above standard for the market but their normal price is not near what the market will bare. So I get a discount of say $12 per K I turn around and charge the customer $17 per K, which the customer is happy to pay for the quality and the simplicity of paying through one source and dealing with one company. Say the customers property is 5K - that is a additional $25 every two months I get for doing nothing more than being a contractor who has networked. What is even worth more - when the neighbor sees the lawn we service blow up and start getting deeper green and they wonder what their guy is not doing. They notice and often inquire on what we are doing different, this leads to the cycle continuing and then next thing you know I am making $25 every two months for simply networking and have picked up a new customer as well. Go along with that - The L and O sells sod - guess who does all their sod work now , that is right , this guy. Guess who subs out all his Sod work...that is right - this guy.

The possibilities are endless if you are willing to not be a normal lawn jockey and demand a deeper cut than you truly deserve. If you are able to work with other contractors, tree, irrigation etc etc and get them work because you so often will be the first contact for the customer - so if you can simply make a phone call and get the need accomplished and collect your little bit - then level billing and drought become less of a issue in the long run. Just my two cents sense everyone seems to agree that in most of your areas you are not able to provide services year around or stretch out the season with a payment option for the client. Make more with what you can. Trust me this is a very viable option if applied correctly as a larger and larger part of my business is becoming the middle man.
Sure, networking is great, but there are guys taking about monthly billing for mowing in areas where you may skip cuts, as I understand it. Jim Lewis does all the work himself(meaning no subbing) so his guys are always doing the work. If you are subbing people out, I would think the customer would ask why they are paying you for work that someone else is doing, which doesn't always need to be done. I agree with you that networking works well, but I also think it is hard to sell someone on something that will be a continual bill for stuff that you may not be doing or may not need to be done. Again, if the customer knows that if mowing won't be done, but weeds will be sprayed, cool, no problem. But what kind of L&O work would be required in a severe drought? I really think that as it is said on lawnsite all the time, that every area is different. Heck, Florida is its own thing. What other state has rain for 6 months out of the year? Idk, just throwing some stuff out there.
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  #65  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:38 PM
Mikegyver Mikegyver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
I'm going to assume you mean 12 equal payments over the year?
Yes.
Most people will go for a contract if you sell it right. Here in the south you are pretty much doing something every month of the year. I could see customers having issues with signing a contract for 12 months of the year when they are only getting service half of those months.
I include mowing, bed maintenance, hedges, and irrigation checkups in my contract. This also includes cleaning up leaves/pine needles if applicable. I do not include mulch or annuals; however in the contract they do sign up how how many times a year they want services like that done. That way if the price of materials goes up I am not eating the price increase. I just bill it as needed. Also there's no need to contact the customer to see if/when they want it done, its right there in the contract.
I am indebted to the people that helped me figure out how to do a contract. Most of these ideas are not original to me. Thanks to all who have helped me with this.
Mike
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  #66  
Old 12-04-2012, 11:04 PM
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Landscape Poet Landscape Poet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida Gardener View Post
Sure, networking is great, but there are guys taking about monthly billing for mowing in areas where you may skip cuts, as I understand it. Jim Lewis does all the work himself(meaning no subbing) so his guys are always doing the work. If you are subbing people out, I would think the customer would ask why they are paying you for work that someone else is doing, which doesn't always need to be done. I agree with you that networking works well, but I also think it is hard to sell someone on something that will be a continual bill for stuff that you may not be doing or may not need to be done. Again, if the customer knows that if mowing won't be done, but weeds will be sprayed, cool, no problem. But what kind of L&O work would be required in a severe drought? I really think that as it is said on lawnsite all the time, that every area is different. Heck, Florida is its own thing. What other state has rain for 6 months out of the year? Idk, just throwing some stuff out there.
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For sure Florida is it's own thing and I am sure that California areas have their own issues as well as texas , but what I guess I am not understanding is if they sell snow plowing accounts without knowing if it will snow, and they do snow plowing and lawn maintenance and leaf clean ups. Why not ensure the customer is yours buy taking their yearly cost - for leaf clean up, lawn service, snow plowing? The customer could rest assured knowing that all services are taken care for the year and that the payment is broken down into easy budget friendly payments.
Again we have talked about watching our spending and budget in this thread but if you ask me, most customers like dealing with known facts such all these services will only cost X amount per month and that fits there budget. I don't know I could be wrong but as stated I think there is a reason when you look at cars they do not show the price first, they show how much the payment is estimated to be per month, the same thing with big box retailers and large items - they usually show the price per month if financed. There is a reason for that - most Americans like knowing exactly what it will cost and how much room they have in their monthly budget.
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  #67  
Old 12-04-2012, 11:07 PM
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Florida Gardener Florida Gardener is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landscape Poet View Post
For sure Florida is it's own thing and I am sure that California areas have their own issues as well as texas , but what I guess I am not understanding is if they sell snow plowing accounts without knowing if it will snow, and they do snow plowing and lawn maintenance and leaf clean ups. Why not ensure the customer is yours buy taking their yearly cost - for leaf clean up, lawn service, snow plowing? The customer could rest assured knowing that all services are taken care for the year and that the payment is broken down into easy budget friendly payments.
Again we have talked about watching our spending and budget in this thread but if you ask me, most customers like dealing with known facts such all these services will only cost X amount per month and that fits there budget. I don't know I could be wrong but as stated I think there is a reason when you look at cars they do not show the price first, they show how much the payment is estimated to be per month, the same thing with big box retailers and large items - they usually show the price per month if financed. There is a reason for that - most Americans like knowing exactly what it will cost and how much room they have in their monthly budget.
Yea, I agree with that. I was under the impression that we were talking mowing only....
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  #68  
Old 12-05-2012, 12:52 AM
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DA Quality Lawn & YS DA Quality Lawn & YS is offline
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IDK, having FL guys telling northern guys to bill warm season services over 12 months in equal installments is a bit absurd. The way I bill works just fine for me. We don't have a year round warm season here FL dudes. What you do works for you thats fine, but total different deal up here. I'd tell you to try it sometime but wearing shorts in below 0 temps might be tuff on ya
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  #69  
Old 12-05-2012, 02:03 PM
yardguy28 yardguy28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
I guess the thing for me is getting people to part with their money sooner vs weeks after service. Even if it was the 15th of the service month. And if you needed to credit them at the end for any skipped weeks. If you're a solo op (I am but would like not to be) operating money may not be as important as the guy who needs to pay employees and other bills a solo op doesn't not have. Solo guy can budget to have "drought money". A large business can't go without payments as you then cannot pay or retain employees. This is the problem with some of these discussions. A solo and and employee business are two completely different business entities and I feel the solo guys provide 95% of the opinions on this board vs the true businesses.
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personally I'm not concerned with getting the client to part with there money sooner rather than later. as long as they pay on time is fine for me.

as for any credits. that never happens with my business as I invoice for only work performed. this is done to avoid ever having to credit an account. this is one reason I will never switch to a payment plan option.
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  #70  
Old 12-05-2012, 02:17 PM
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TriCountyLawn TriCountyLawn is offline
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I do my monthly stuff over 7 months. I bill the full service stuff at the beginning of the month and the weekly and bi-weekly stuff as well as any extras at the end of the month. Im really wanting to bill the weekly stuff (ie tacky customers) via their credit card per service to avoid getting strung out over a 25-30.00 cut.
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