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Charging for not mowing?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MN Wildwood, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. MN Wildwood

    MN Wildwood LawnSite Member
    Posts: 80

    If any of you travel to a customers property and find it to be too short to mow; due to drought or colder times, how do you charge. Drive time is still incurred. If the lawn does not need mowing do you pass and not charge? Charge a small fee? or Charge for the full mowing? Likewise if your customer calls you and asks for you not to come out due to lack of growth, you incur no drive time, should a fee still be charged and what should it be.

    I am considering for 2004 to charge a full mowing price if we drive by and find the lawn not to need mowing, this will exclude Oct. when mowing only occurs every other week and leaves are falling. If the customer calls us ahead of time we would not charge because we can plan accordingly and therefore not waste time driving by.

    Thank you for your perspectives. MN Wildwood
  2. ChadsLawn

    ChadsLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,110

    most of my clients pay by the month no matter how many times im there.. I have 2 clients that pay per cut..If I drive by and it doesnt need cut, then there is no charge..Its your job to drive to there home, So I dont think there should be any charges...Unless of course its like 30 miles or more..

    My 2 cents

  3. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    mn w...I am rearely blindsided by the rate of growth being the factor as to whether or not to cut.

    but the fact that someone else has cut before me without my knowledge has happened too many times.

    a courtesy call would be appreciated. (not really. hacks me off everytime it happens. real bad!:angry: )

  4. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,045

    I have two words for you

    Yearly Contract

    That is pretty much the only way we can survive in this type of business.
  5. MN Wildwood

    MN Wildwood LawnSite Member
    Posts: 80

    All of our customers are on a weekly schedule and pay by the mowing. The hardship I have faced this year is lack of water and growth on yards w/o irrigation. We still incur expeses whether we mow or not. A possibility would be to charge a set fee for 22 mowings/year (roughly this many in a season) and spread it out over a monthly billing. Suggestions - Thank you
  6. bigdaddyspags

    bigdaddyspags LawnSite Member
    Posts: 157

    I'm curious as to how you bill people for yearly contracts. Up here it is something like a 7 month season. Do you get an installment for seven months of the year, or do you spread it out for 12?
  7. MN Wildwood

    MN Wildwood LawnSite Member
    Posts: 80

    If I would go to yearly contracts I would have it set for April-Oct. Mowing (~22times/yr) and Fert/Weed control if desired would be a set price divided over these months and charge seperatly for all additional services such as Clean-up, aeration, overseeding, etc.
  8. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Posts: 554

    I charge 90% of my cleints by the month, They pay a set rate all 12 months of year weather there lawn gets mowed 2 times in a month are 5 times. Either way Im on there property every week unless its raining alot, are a holiday falls on there set day. Last year I had lawns I only skiped mowing 4-5 times the whole year.
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I charge X amount per week reguardless. As an example I had one today that did not need to be cut this week (cool weather). I stopped anyways, tied up some loose ends on some oddball stuff that needed doing and collected $160 (full price for one cut).

    I have always done it that way because well....honestly it usually all works out about right in the end. Several weeks of hard cutting, several weeks of easy cutting and a skip-a-cut here and there.

    Usually I try to do a little something if there is anything to do. But with a season like we have had here this year, next time I stop and it doesn't need cutting I'll be collecting my $160 and jumping back in the truck. This is the first time I have skipped a cut anywhere all year long.

    In years of drought conditions where a whoile lot of cuts are skipped I try to do something to earn my keep. Labor on extra services, outdoor chores ect... Also on some I will sort of keep track of what I don't do and still get paid for during dry weather. Then I will sometimes offer a credit to the customer towards labor on repairing drought damage. This gives the customer incentive to overseed the lawn in the fall to keep it looking nice.

    I have also been known to tell customers "listen, I really hate to see your lawn burning up so bad. If you want to go pick up some sprinklers and water the lawn that would really help things out. Just keep the reciept and give it to me next week. I refund you the cost of the sprinklers out of this weeks service fee."Then I'll share a little info about how and when to water for best results.

    No big deal. I'm making money and everybody is happy.
  10. MN Wildwood

    MN Wildwood LawnSite Member
    Posts: 80

    Envy - Thanks for the long detailed description. You have a good marketing spot by paying for the sprinklers. It costs you a little of your mowing fee, but make it up in the long run. A continued thanks to all who have written and will write.

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