Branches in the way: cut for free or charge?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 730

    What to do if customer has many tree limbs that are very low and require u to duck down and walk like a hunch back ( which is hard on the back)? If it's just one tree, that's not too bad maybe, but what if they have like 5 or six? Should I just go ahead and cut them and put them into the customers brush pile for free? What if it will take like an hour? I'll probably just do it for free this time but only cause of this drought and I'm struggling. However I could see why ( once I did it ) the last lco stopped comming to her place. it's really an annoyance and wearing to do all that ducking and turning as she has lots of obstacles like a pool ( odly placed), trees in middle of yard, limbs growing through the fences, and misc decorative items in it. I charged her $35. Took me about 45m so it's ok $ and I really need it now, but for the future, should I tack on some sort of fee to "clear" the area for easy mowing by cutting limbs in the way?
     
  2. Your Lawn First

    Your Lawn First LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    I had a customer like this once when I went to give the estimate I told them this needed to be taken care of before I started cutting, they had no problem with it and It took me over two hours to do and made $100 of it too. Point in hand look at the yard before your first mow to see these things. But to answer your question tell them about it and tell them you will do it for $50 if they say no then just cut them anyway free of charge. more then likley they will pay you for it.
     
  3. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Posts: 213

    I have a few yards that have a few tree limbs in the way. Here's what I do: if there are only a few branches here and there (maybe 10-15 minutes worth of work) then I will probably trim them back at the least. I would always try to charge for it, considering it being a small job, and if they say "no," then use your judgment. Sometimes, trimming a few tree limbs back will make your job easier, which will help you get done faster. If it is a long-time customer that I've had and they want a few limbs trimmed back, then I usually don't worry about charging. You need to realize though how much work is involved before saying you will doing anything for free.
     
  4. irishsoul

    irishsoul LawnSite Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 71

    I have an account that is more like a mortar field than a yard. It has 30 plus trees all of which needed pruning pretty bad. I explained that I had to trim them in order to mow over half of his property. I picked up a quick $175 bucks for the pruning job and my customer was all warm and fuzzy when he saw how it opened up a huge portion of his property which had gone unused for years. All in all a sweet little side job with a very happy customer at the end.
     
  5. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,253

    I'd say charge them if it's anything major. Maybe give them a good price, since your gonna be there already. Especially if your gonna be doing a lot, charge them. It's their responsibility that their property is kept up nice for you to mow. I mean, you don't wanna loose your head over a mowing job, from a low branch. But if it's just a little you can do it for free and they will be happy.
     
  6. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,083

    The idea of "free" work continuously amazes me.
    Why give your business away?
    Estimate the work load properly and charge according to your cost structure.
    For instance, your business model requires you to make $35/hour - this job will take a minimum of one hour and a half = $52.50 you walked away from - not including clean up fees, dump fees, and anything else this job may require.
     
  7. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    If it's just a branch here or there I'll just cut it and no charge there. Any work taking much more than a minute of time I will charge for.
     
  8. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    But if it causes you to take 10minutes more on the lawn, then by doing it you come out ahead after 9 cuts.
     
  9. OMG

    OMG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 275

    The point I haven't seen addressed is legally, you shouldn't cut any limbs without the owners consent.....preferably in writing.
     
  10. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220


    Have you thought about walking around the lower tree limbs, and taking a line trimmer to the grasses that the mower cant get too ?


    Or would this be too hard on you ?
     

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