advice from fellow floridians

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by laylow1994, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. laylow1994

    laylow1994 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 114

    just looking for some advice on when i am bidding on residential... would it be better to price by cut or month???? best methods of advertising???? commercial or residential or both???? commercial equipment or what???? been looking at alot of equipment and every tells me a different thing???? anything helps me guys!!!! thanks alot!!!!
     
  2. GELAWNS

    GELAWNS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    Monthly billing works best for us. Average of 37 cuts a year. Many of the elderly want to pay you per cut and you have to knock on their door to collect. My experience is that they are the hardest to deal with. It can be hurricane weather and they will call you to see when you are coming. They write you down on their calendar and expect you to show up the same time each week. That can be very difficult with FL thunderstorms. Make sure all your customers understand the schedule WILL change due to weather and that mowing the grass when it is too wet or flooded isn't a good idea.

    Haven't needed to do a lot of advertising. Using ServiceMagic.com for leads. Definitely commercial equipment. We have Grasshoppers and John Deere mowers. See a lot of Exmarks around.
     
  3. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,251

    Definately go with monthly pricing. I tell them "whether we come 1 time or 5 times, the price is the price".

    Of course you gotta go with commercial equipment. eXmark is the bomb and price wise isnt too much more than other brands. It has been my experience that buying new avoids almost all problems, so its definately worth the extra cash up front.

    as far as advertising, thats up to you in your area. I would never tell a local LCO where I advertise and get the best results. Like most will tell you word of mouth works best and just being out working will get alot of jobs. In the summer, you cannot even get gas without people bothering you for an estimate. Many times neighbors will come up to you and request service.

    It does not take long at all to blow up and have more work than you can deal with...
     
  4. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    I don't do "per cuts" ... on the east coast by the Cape we do 42 services per year ... here is a sample I give all new customers

    General Cash Flow is a concern for the immediate and long-term health of any business. A true understanding of the yearlong commitment with month payment breaks down to 42 visits per year, divided the 12 months in a year. What we wish to do is spread the cost of “per visit” through out the year so in the wintertime we have steady cash flow.

    An Example:
    Mr. Doe has a normal home in Merritt Island and wishes to have lawn service; he has received a bid for $70 per month. This breaks down to $20 per cut ($20 x 42/12 = $70). This means in the Summer Months when he will receive 4 cuts yet only pay $70 not $80 and in the Winter Months he may only receive 2 services yet still pay $70. We must keep in mind that there will be 3 Summer Months when he will receive 5 cuts and 2 Winter Months when he will receive 3. November thru March he will receive bi-weekly service and April thru October he will receive weekly service, yet what he is truly paying for is 42 visits per year.

    An Example:
    Ms. Ann has a mid size home in Merritt Island and wishes to have lawn service; she has received a bid for $ 85 per month. This breaks down to $25 per cut ($25 x 42/12 = $85). This means in the Summer Months when she will receive 4 cuts yet only pay $85 not $100 and in the Winter Months she may only receive 2 services yet still pay $85. We must keep in mind that there will be 3 Summer Months when she will receive 5 cuts and 2 Winter Months when she will receive 3. November thru March she will receive bi-weekly service and April thru October she will receive weekly service, yet what she is truly paying for is 42 visits per year.

    Another Example:
    Mr. & Mrs. Smith has a larger lawn as well as more edging & weed eating areas; they also wish to have hedging performed 4 times è spring, twice-in summer than a fall trim. They have received a bid for $ 105 per month (which is $30 per cut) just for the lawn. The hedging would be $40 per event or $160 per year when added with lawn service the monthly cost would be $120 (we round numbers up to make billing & payment easier)

    We can include services such as Hedging or Spraying of Weed Killer with monthly billing or bill separate when performed. We always bill extras such as spring clean up hard trimming of hedges, crepe myrtles, ornamental grasses, mulch, flowers or palm trimming when they occur.

    EARLY CANCELLATION BEFORE FULL YEAR WILL RESULT IN A FINAL BILL PRORATED TO THE EXACT NUMBER OF CUTS RECEIVED FROM 1ST DAY TO LAST DAY OF SERVICE

    Example a $25 per cut or $85 per monthly account, if we started June 1st but customer cancels Nov 1st .... 5 Months @ $85 per month is total of $425 .... but in this time frame they received 22 cuts @ $25 is $550 so they would receive a final bill of $125
     
  5. Rhinox29

    Rhinox29 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    I have commercial and residential accounts. My commercials are all on a yearly contract and get billed every month. Residentials are by cut but I bill at the end of month. I leave a bill at the door stating service has been done and they will be billed at the end of the month. I have tried contracts but have found that in my area most people drop in the winter months. I had a 30 day notice of cancelation. So I just started doing bill as I go and it has worked great on my residentials. I have one lady who pays me a lump sum and when it runs out I call her and she mails me another check. My commercials get me through the slow time. You have to find what works best in your area. The only problem with this way is you must keep up with the paper work. I have a program on the computer to help plus I keep a seperate billing journal by hand. As for equipment get what you can afford to get started. Then go commercial as soon as possible. You will get a lot of opinions on what is the best. Get what you feel works best for you. Advertising ? again you have to see what works in your area. It took me a while to find what worked best. Oh and flyers door to door work great. I still carry flyers with me everyday. Never know when someone new moves in the neighborhood your working in. last word of advise, keep an open mind and have patience. Just because it works for so and so does not mean it will work for you. Good Luck
     
  6. Grass Kickin

    Grass Kickin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    whether we come 1 time or 5 times, the price is the price

    Amen to that! For residential contracts you must stipulate that the monthly price is lower than the per cut price because they are signing on for a year. I give them a yearly total and explain that they are payingf it over a 12 month period so every month the bill will be the same. Believe me it is much easier than trying to have them follow the 27 or 40 cut per year rule.
     

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