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Do you charge extra?!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by scottb, May 16, 2002.

  1. scottb

    scottb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    I have been working for a friend of mine on my slow day's. Anyway's today we were on a job today that had a zillion limbs down on the lawn from the storm's that went thru NC on monday evening. It is a 45.00$ lawn in a nice neighborhood on Lake Norman. We spent about a half hour picking up limbs so I say that we should charge extra because this set us back and time is money. We are lawn guy's not gardners. I dont mind picking up the ocasional stick or limb but when It set's you back in time I think you or we deserve compensation even if it is minmial. Maybe the homeowner would learn to help out a little.
  2. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 902

    :blob3: scott, i charge when the limbs are excessive as well, if you did'nt pick them up and mowed over them they would complain about that, so let them complain about the charge. tony

    BRIAN GALLO LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    That's a tough call sometimes. If I see it before I start to mow, I'll point it out to the customer and ask if they want me to pick them up for a charge. If they say no, I ask when they will be picked up so I can come back to mow. Either way it's a pain, and there is always some loss of time and $$$. You would think the homeowners would pick them up when they see them laying out there?????:confused:
  4. scottb

    scottb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    That is what I think that the home owner would help out. Too me its kind of like picking up toy's and such. But the guy Im helping out doesnt agree. I think he is just job scared.
  5. kjfaulk

    kjfaulk LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 80

    I have found out that most customers, depending on the neighbor hood, but most of the time if you point it out or they see it they will call and tell you on your next visit can you come prepared to clean up a tree that has fallen or limbs. That same storm came thru on the coast of NC and the next day I had customers calling telling me on the next service to please take care of it. Just nicely say sure for an additional charge, as long as it is not in you contract. Most people will understand that we all have to make a living, BUT, never everybody sees it that way. Just my .02 cents.
  6. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    We charge... but we explain it on the bill.
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,035

    Scot - I include picking up sticks in my contracts and allow a little extra time in the budget if there are lots of big trees. I did one lawn today and it was a little windy. I picked them up before I mowed and I had to pick them up again before I left. I almost got my hard hat out so many limbs were falling out of the trees! If it's anything too big to get rid of without cutting it up I would charge extra. Some LCOs around here just mow around them!
  8. ADMowing

    ADMowing LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 175

    Here in Florida, we have lots of windstorms in the summer. There is spanish moss, oak and pine limbs all over people's yards. We do charge extra if it is excessive. If it takes us more than a few minutes to pick it up, we charge. We got stuck with a nice lawn two summers ago when some people went on vacation. We didn't realize all the clean up there would be on their 2 acres of oaks and pine trees. One time, we spent nearly 3 hours cleaning up debris (two people). We can't run over the stuff and then expect to continue mowing St. Augustine grass effectively and we don't have a blade sharpener with us. So, we hiked up the price the following year and they took someone else -- who was a deadbeat (family came and checked on them and the people never mowed). This year, they asked us back and told us not to mow the part of the yard where all the debris falls. We still only charged them a little less than our high price -- $200 per month. We probably have 1 acre or less to mow this year and are charging $150/month. We know there will still be some pick up, but not under the bulk of the trees.

    I'll tell you what I'm hearing here though. You and your partner are having disputes over charging customers for work that you do. My partner and I argue about this ALL the time. I'm a believer in charging for everything that we do over and above what our contract says. He thinks we should do extra things that make our business stand out as special and a quality service. The problem is that we are both right and we are struggling all the time to find a happy medium. We have gotten in trouble, though, by "spoiling" customers. When you do stuff for nothing, they have a tendancy to expect it all the time. Then we have some little old ladies who are extremely grateful for stuff we do and never complain when we don't have time to do the same thing again. It is really difficult to decide what is the best thing to do and I think it takes some discernment from one customer to another. Ultimately, I think our time is as valuable as anyone else's. Lawyers charge by the hour for every little thing they do, why shouldn't we? And... the tug of war goes on.....
  9. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Considering it took a half hour, and the fact that it was an unusual circumstance because of a storm, I'd say charge them.
    If it was a regular weekly thing, it should have been built into the price.

    I have a small lawn that has a huge old tree that drops limbs all the time and I have to spend about 5 minutes every visit picking up sticks before I cut. It's annoying, but it's only 5 minutes.
  10. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    I don't mind picking up a FEW things but if it's excessive I'll usually point it out to the customer and MOST of the time it seems to work out ok. It also depends somewhat on the customer status (good customer or not so good.) CERTAIN customers I will make exceptions for.

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