Full maintenance customers

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

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,835

    We do a lot of valuable services during the winter. But the main thing is to just make an appearance every two weeks and do a few things. So we'll always blow off the driveway, sidewalks, decks, patios, etc. every visit. Then we'll go around and weed. Weeds still grow in the NW during the winter, albeit a little more slowly. We apply winter fertilizer every 2 months. Limestone applications for the lawn twice each winter. Treat for European Crane Fly if needed. Rake leaves as needed. Rake beds just to make them look freshly raked / freshen up the mulch. Apply pre-emergent weed control. We do usually mow and edge once a month, if it's not TOO soggy. Just because the grass does actually keep growing all winter here - albeit only a half inch or so a month. And for all of our Gold customers, we do pruning of all of their shrubs and trees (up to 15'). So we're doing a mixture of any of the above items each visit.
     
  2. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 520

    So do you think this would work in places like the north east? Grass and weeds stop growing here end of October and don't start back up until April. I would like to start doing this but I just don't understand how I can justify this to customers. Fall clean ups are done in November and spring clean ups in march. What do I do in dec,jan,feb to justify sending them a bill for those months?
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  3. Sounds a lot like my area. We cut every other week in winter unless hit with a freeze. I show up to all but 2 accounts weekly in winter and blow, spray weeds, clean up, etc. there is always something to do.
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  4. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    I would drop the fall and spring cleanups they aren't needed on full service year round accounts, it saves the customer from two large bills each year, although some people just don't agree with the year round service concept, but most of the higher end folks "Get it" I always emphasize "There is ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE DONE"
     
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,835

    I don't know. I'd have to spend a winter there to see what it's like in the winter. People say our grass doesn't grow all winter either. But that's not true. It actually grows a good 1/2" or more each month. People are just in denial because it's so dreary outside nobody wants to go out in it.

    If I were you, I'd do some "creative research". By that, I mean investigate what your competitors are doing. Go on the web, make some calls, go to the yellow pages and call your competitors and see if any of them do the year-round thing. (Press *67 before you call.) If you find that absolutely nobody offers a year-round service then I guess it's going to be an uphill battle. But if you find a few that do, ask them what they do in the winter. Then start with that and over time see if you can figure out a few more things that are needed to add to your service.
     
  6. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,387

    You have two options in the snow belt if you want year around contracts. Offer snow removal services in the winter, or simply get your customers to agree to one monthly payment averaged out that covers lawn/landscape maintenance during all seasons that need it. Most offer snow removal. Grass is about 8-24inches under the white stuff most of the time here in Maine. We sometimes can mow one last time in Nov then cleanups.
     
  7. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,512

    Thanks for all the responses and tips.

    I'm mostly a mow/blow/go business with an application side. There is a lot of mow/blow go work available here and that is mostly what people ask for.... Someone to mow and spray beds/drives/sidewalks with roundup. As I grow I'm leaning towards looking into keeping fewer customers that want multiple and higher end services. So maybe instead of having 50-100 mow/blow/go accounts you only had 25-50 full service accounts.

    I'm going to use the fall and winter to really look into what type of pruning should be done in this area. I'm also going to try to get better at id'ing plants. I've thought about talking with a local nursery and see if they would be interested in taking on my pruing work.

    I know every location is different, but any idea how much time beyond mowing you allow for a property per week or cut? I was considering just adding a fee to the cut and that would include bed maintenance and 2-3 pruinging a year. With a weekly account we might get 42-48 cuts(mows and leaf cleaups). So maybe you add $10-20 per cut to get a price that would include everything.
     
  8. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,512

    I'd love to konw what everyone includes in their full service programs.

    If I was to try this. I would include weekly mowing and leaf cleanup(48 cuts), our 6 round weed/fert program, aeration on warm season and aeration/seeding on cool, bed maintenance(weeds), and some type of pruning(maybe spring, fall, and then had clipping in the summer?)

    More than likely I would need different levels to keep customers. Very few around here would pay 400-500 per month.
     
  9. If very few are willing to pay 400-500/mo, your going to have a hard time selling what you want to do. I don't know how big of properties you service and how much plant material, but an acre or so here with decent landscaping is easily 500/mo. That doesn't include fert or pest control, larger trees/palms, or hard cutbacks. On the other hand, if your a good salesman, you can tell people why it's important to prune and when to prune.
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  10. I just factor how much time it will take. Some jobs that are bigger should just be bid at a job rate vs hourly. Why would you give the work away to someone else?? Learn for yourself and YOU do the work.
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