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Contracts for Auto Mulch, Shrubs, etc.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    I'm re-writing my residential service agreement this winter. Among a lot of other changes, I am planning to have a section whereby the customer will have the option to sign up to get automatic additional services (beyond the standard mowing service).

    For example, last year, all too often, the customer would agree to have me mulch the beds when they signed up for mowing service, but there was no commitment to get the beds mulched in the future. Now the mulch is starting to look old and grey again. I am guessing that if a customer is willing to get the beds mulched today, they could probably be talked into signing up for a re-mulch every 6 months or every 12 months just to keep the mulch looking fresh. I'm reluctant to call my customers and try to sell them products, as I fear this may lead to bad relations. I've tried leaving notes on the door asking them to give me a call if they'd like to have the beds re-mulched, but that hasn't been very effective. So on the new contract, I'll have a place for a customer to place a check mark by "automatically install new mulch each () spring () fall." It seems it's a lot easier to sell to a customer when they are signing up for service than it is to sell to them after they've already been on the service and paid a few of my bills.

    Same for seasonal color. Same for shrub trimming, but with shrubs I think I'll have the option to select () spring () summer () fall () winter.

    They're probably going to want to call me when they want these additional services done, which may be never or may be at a time that is my busiest of the year. However, if I could get them to commit to having these services done on a regular basis, I can plan for the work and probably get more work from each customer per year.

    So how do I entice a customer to sign up to have these services done automatically? Should I explain that without signing up for the automatic plan, these services cost more? Or should I offer a discount for those that sign up for automatic services?

    If so, how much of a premium or discount should I go with? Any other suggestions?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    My contracts can be set up anyway the customer wants it. Some contracts are mowing only, some are shrub beds maintenance only. My full service contract includes mowing, trimming, edging, full pesticide program, mulching twice a year, shrub pruning twice a year, spring cleanups, fall cleanups(which includes leaf removal), shrub fertilization, aerate and overseeding turf twice a year. All plantings and other items are extra charge but given at good discounts.
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    I have come to develop a lot of respect for you NCSU. You probably run a very profitable and good business. At least, you seem to know what you're talking about.

    Here is the thing I want to encourage. I want to have all my customers set up for regular additional services instead of having them call me when they want something beyond just mowing. It just makes it easier for me, though not a whole lot easier. But it does make it easier. The big deal is I want to get more revenue per customer. And I think that if a customer wants me to trim the shrubs the first time I come out to mow, I could probably easily get them to sign up for that service on a regular basis.

    I bill a la carte as opposed to a flat monthly rate.

    I was thinking of stating that rates for scheduled additional services would be those indicated on the contract, but for customers who aren't automatically taking those services, a higher charge would apply.

    Not sure how to word that in my contract though.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    Not sure how much info this will give you but i do offer 2 types of billing options on my contracts. Clients can either pay monthly as services are performed, or they can be billed a flat monthly fee for 12 months(which is what i push for each time because it gives you winter money coming in).

    The proprosal acceptance in my contract states as followed:

    Your costs are presented as part of the total package. Any additions or deletions may necessitate an adjustment to the cost of remaining services. Selection of billing method and your signiture below will serve as a contractual agreement. All work will be performed in accordance with the enclosed specifications. Please take time to review them.

    I dont put anyhting in my contract about rates are increased if you do not sign a contract, but if they choose not to sign it i then state to them that prices will be more expensive. That kinda makes them change their decision when they hear that. Of course if a customer is not satisfied or leary of binding into a contract i tell them that they are not locked in and can be taken off if they feel too uncomfortable about being in one and we will work with you to make this work well for both parties.

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