$20 trip charge

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Just thought I would post this. Last summer, I was really getting sick of the phone calls for clean-ups and shrub trimmings. And every time it would ring, I'd have to go over the hourly charges, the disposal policies, etc with each client, even if we'd done hourly work for them in the past. And even worse, when they'd call, they'd want us out immediately AND they'd normally mention some little ticky-tack piece of BS that would require a walk through, which also meant an appointment that we could screw up and lose a good client over. Not only that, a typical phone call for a clean-up or shrub trimming could easily eat 10 minutes out of my day.

    So, last summer I invented the $20 trip charge for our shrub trimming crew, along with a new program of automatic shrub trimming & clean-ups. As of today, I've got over 160 clients (about 28% of the entire client base) on this program. If the client will sign up for the automatic program, we automatically send our shrub crew out to their home every 3 or 4 months to clean the beds and trim the shrubs. We also make a winter visit to clean leaves, prune crepe myrtles, etc. As long as the client is in the program, they never pay the $20 trip charge.

    The program has really worked well to reduce phone calls and increase revenues. Each month, I just copy all the current shrub jobs and presto, I've got over 50 jobs for my shrub crew. We don't have to be there on a certain day, we just do them when we get around to them. If they won't commit to the program, then I get an extra $20 just for adding them to the schedule and taking the client's phone call.

    Not sure how will this would fly with clients if your still a solo operator...a trip charge when you're already there. That said, initially, I created the program without a trip charge. After getting told no too often when I offered the program, I invented the $20 trip charge. That's helped steer a lot higher percentage of one-timers into the program. Before the $20 trip charge, I was probably getting 50% of clients to agree to the program. After creating the $20 trip charge, I'm guessing I'm getting 85% into the program.

    Interestingly, none of my client's ever get mad when they learn of the $20 trip charge. It's very common in other industries. If I've got a repeat client who's always called when they want it done and they've never paid the trip charge, I offer the program and explain the trip charge but I also waive it the first time. So far, I haven't had to defend the trip charge to a single client.
  2. salandscape

    salandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 168

    Interesting. I'm always interigued to hear of little things like this. An ethical way to steer more business into the automatic column.
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220


    When I started reading your post I was thinking A GREAT he's complaning

    but it sounds like a wonderfull ideal and it's been GREAT for you...

    thank for posting
  4. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    Good idea DFW. Some of you guys give me so much inspiration. I really want to take my business to the next level. It would be great to actually have a shrub and cleanup crew. It would be great just to have one decent employee. :laugh:

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