Full maintenance customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassmasterswilson, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 520

    I understand this method to a certain extent. If one guy is paying say, $250 a month for gold service, does that mean the guy down the street is getting the same deal even if his lawn is smaller? Don't you have to price estimate each individual account to know how much they have to pay? Do you set it up so they pay year round, and if it's the case, are they required to sign a contract for the year? What does each service include?
     
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,835

    Of course not! That would be crazy. Who said anything about that? We have some yards that are $165 for Gold Service because they're really small and some that are $500 a month. It all depends on the size of the property and how much work there is to do throughout the year - of course.


    It's a flat rate, all year round. Yes.

    No contracts. I have always believed that if you did a great job of servicing your customer, you don't need to bind them down with a contract. They're going to WANT to stay with your company. Not because they are bound by a contract - but because they love your work and the service they receive. We have nearly 300 weekly accounts and not a contract for one of them. I realize that makes me atypical for Lawnsite. But I've never needed contracts in 16 years to keep business. Now for landscape construction, sure. Contracts are the norm and required by law. But not for maintenance.

    The next question is usually, "Ok. Then how do you keep them from canceling in the winter if there isn't a contract?" The answer to that is more complex. But I'll try to break it down quickly. First, we do a great job from the very fist time they contact us explaining the nature of our service and that it is ONLY year-round. So we set the expectation before they've ever even decided to go with us. Second, we reinforce the year-round nature of our agreement with a letter that goes out in the fall reminding them of how our service works and what to expect during the winter months. Third, if they do call to cancel for the winter, we explain to them that we don't do seasonal accounts and they are welcome to cancel but we won't be taking them back on in the spring. We only want year round accounts. The people who aren't down with that can go to one of our competitors. And that can can starve all winter, not me.

    Too much to list here. You can see what we do for each level of service on our website. Choose "maintenance" from the menu and then choose "weekly service".
     
  3. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 520

    okay this makes sense but what if the lawn is not cut one week, because of drought or road blockage or whatever. Do they get a credit? What about when they quit? Surely, you must have customers that quit. Do they get a credit? If your including work to be done in the fall into your monthly rate, what if they quit in september? I would think the customer would want credit for work that hasn't been done yet.
     
  4. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    In our case we do extra work if the lawn doesn't need to be trimmed. This year we started a month early and lost July to the drought. So it evens out, some years will have more mowings than others. I can't say for the customer quitting, but I'm pretty sure there last monthly service would be their last invoice. I think Jim explained why his customers don't leave and go with the competition.
     
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,835

    Drought??? In Oregon? We don't even know what that means here. No drought in Oregon.

    As for road blockage, that almost never happens. But sometimes a client is having siding installed or whatever and wants us to stay off the property for a week. We'll do it. But no credit. Because the grass and weeds will be 2x as tall when we come back the next week. No change in the price.

    We have a 30 day cancellation policy. So they can quit any time. We terminate their service at the end of the month when they call. So then there is no credit given and no additional amount owed.


    No credit. We were mowing every week until September. We were fertilizing, controlling weeds, trimming hedges, trimming perennials, raking leaves, edging, blowing, etc. They got their money's worth. Nobody ever asks for a credit when they quit. They usually just call saying they are very sorry to have to cancel but they lost their job, are moving away, getting a divorce, etc. and just cannot have us do it any longer. The issue never comes up.
     
  6. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 520

    cool, I'm going to have to implement this next year. Seems like there are so many angles to making it work to me. It all comes down to estimating I feel. I'm so used to just billing for hours worked, so that I know I'm always getting paid for my time. Definitely going to start doing this
     
  7. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    I pretty much agree with Jim on this. I often add an early termination clause the first year because I put a lot in it to make it right. Then go month to month after that. I do much of the same with commercial accounts too.
     
  8. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Jim,

    Love the way your setup, I am taking a few plays out of your book, hope you don't mind.
     
  9. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,607

    My contracts or service agreements have a 30 day cancellation in them. If they want out or I want out no problem. I don't do agreements to bind anyone to me or my business. You hear it all the time people say "well I don't want to bind or force someone to stay with me so I don't need an agreement or contract.

    Again... that is not the reason. The reason for the agreement is so there is a clear understanding of what work is to be done and what is included. (Scope of work).


    I also have an initial clean up fee. For instance if someone calls to have a quote and the property is a mess...then it is going to cost X then X per month for 12 months.

    That way you don't clean up the place and then they cancel and your screwed. One more thing...when you bundle everything your in control and you would be surprised what you can sell when its all bundled into one monthly payment.

    Dave...
     
  10. boneslawns

    boneslawns LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 30

    Jim or any one else, what do you do in the winter to service your accounts biweekly when grass isn't growing or weeds? Do you just blow every thing off and tidy up or do you run a nagger over the yard or any thing?
    Posted via Mobile Device
     

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