Flat rate per month?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by newbomb, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. newbomb

    newbomb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    I usually charge my customers by the cut, weekly. With the rain NOT coming this season I am losing big time. I think for all new business and most returning clients, next year I am going to a flat monthly charge IN ADVANCE. Do most LCO's do it this way? I hate to lose busines from people who won't like it but It is not worth the time and expense to gamble on rain. I am going to adopt the theory that the client is paying for my reliable service rain or no rain. Any thoughts or insights would be appreciated.

    P S the clients I have are reliable pay and very few are ever a PITA,
     
  2. fertguy31

    fertguy31 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    We went to this with a lot of our customers this year. Based it on 28 mows. Lost a few of the stubborn ones, but most believed our estimate of mows/season was fair. It has been mixed results. If we skip(dry) there are always a few calls that think we are "getting away with something". The best luck we have had is with the larger contracts Homeowner Associations, churches, and commercial properties that have an annual budget to plan. The best advice I can give in making the change is to communicate the new quote as much as possible to avoid confussion for both the customers who stay or those who may consider going. Best of luck.
     
  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    About 10 years ago I had 2 crews running, and we were doing 130 accounts / week.

    I decided I didn't want employees anymore, so I picked the accounts that I liked, and told them that I was going to a flat billing per month, with the invoice sent out at the beginning of the month, due by the end of the month. (I.E. July invoice sent out July 1, due by July 31.)

    I ended up with 35 accounts, which is where I drew the line. I target small to midsized commercial accounts, stuff that takes between 10 minutes and 5 hours solo. I agree with fertguy's response is that you need to sell it as a flat budget item, they know absolutely at the beginning of the year that is the total.

    Personally, I include spring and fall cleanups, since I'm already there weekly (supposedly) and if not, right now how we're not having any rain, the weeks that are skipped average out to the amount that I would have charged extra for cleanups, but then lost out on the money for the weeks that have been skipped.

    If you're doing it right, no one is getting ripped off, and you have a nice steady cashflow that you can set a budget for the year.

    There's nothing worse than going out and buying a brand new shiny lawnmower, truck, trailer, whatever, and then having 2 months of 90+ weather with no rain.
     

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