Full Serviced Accounts or Take what you can get?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Slcareco, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. Slcareco

    Slcareco LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    Who here has full serviced accounts and who just takes what ever work thy can get?

    How does both ends work?

    Are there really clients out there who want a complete maintenance program?
  2. DaveinSWFL

    DaveinSWFL LawnSite Member
    Posts: 178

    When I first started out I only offered the basic service mow, weed whip & blow. I quickly realized that I needed to offfer more services because that is what my customers expected. Now the majority of my customers are full service mow, weed whip, edge, trim shrubs and small trees, weed control & blow. I network with a guy who handles the fertilization for me. Most of my customers perfer to write one check. They pay me and I pay my fert guy. I do have a few customers that like to do their own shrubs. I tailor a package based on their needs and price the job accordingly. I don't do any overgrown lawns but do have customers on a per cut if they do not have irrigation. The rest are on weekly, year round service. I chose not to service customers who neglect their lawns and call when it needs to be knocked down to keep the county from fining them. Not the customer that I am looking for.
  3. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    When I started last year, I took everything I could get. I worked my tail off for peanuts sometimes hoping that it would get me a regular customer base, but it almost wasn't worth it.

    I thought I ran into some good luck when a real estate broker called me up and threw 40 lawns on my lap but when I went to estimate them I got 3/4 of them being like this:


    I sucked it up, rented a brush hog (charged him for it), got them all done and he stayed around. The bad thing was his houses sold, and he kept getting new ones, but they were all overgrown pieces of hell like this. I finally told the guy he's gonna have to find someone else because I don't have the time for these overgrown deals.

    One time service, I don't do it. Those folks are lawnguy surfers. They can't find anyone to mow their yard once a month during the summer when it needs weekly service. You get there and its thick as it gets.

    Now, if a customer requests an estimate stating they have an overgrown yard, but are looking for regular service, I'll tack on an overgrown fee, get it overwith and keep the customer.

    Some people wont even go for that. I just feel there is a difference between the two. I've had people buy a house and it be neglected and they get to me asap to get someone to take care of their lawn weekly and its all good!

    So my opinion, if it looks like working a bit harder one time is going to plant a seed for a new customer relationship, I go for it.
  4. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    Nless I misunderstand you, that could be the problem. If someone has a overgrown lawn I will charge them for a cleanup regaurdless if they want just a one time cleanup or regular service.
  5. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    Yeah. They get the overgrown fee tacked on to the regular service cost.
  6. Slcareco

    Slcareco LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    So nobody does a complete service program? you guys tailor to there needs... more like financial needs and what they can afford. I mean I think everything should be attended to weekly...lawn cutting and bed maintenance

    with extra important services like coreaeration with overseeding if needed, pruning, tree and shurb fert as well as mulching its all needed to keep a property in tip top shape and health

    any comments?
  7. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    I don't care about their financial needs. If they are looking for lawn service, they should have the money. Don't order a pizza delivery if you can't afford the tip, ya know?

    I do full service, all the way up to gutter cleaning.
  8. Lovingreen

    Lovingreen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    Back to the original question...The profit margins have gotten so thin on basic mowing, that I have had to make an effort to find more profit without adding too much overhead. I also find that the high end customers that I want to serve expect full service. So in order to land and keep large $$ customers there has been no question here whether to become full service or not.

    The question really is answered by looking at your area. What is the typical lawn customer in your area? In middle income suburban America I find very few who are interested in a full service, while the upper income areas rarely want a mow and go company on their property

    Remember this though....Successful companies have grown because they are great at one thing rather then being just OK at alot of different things. They have a focus, and many times have a niche in the market that makes them different from all of their competition. Try to keep focused on that one thing that you are GREAT at and slowly build around that carefully.
  9. Slcareco

    Slcareco LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    List the services you consider full service....
  10. Slcareco

    Slcareco LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    So how do you get the full serviced accounts? I feel I will be turning down alot of potential clients who just want mowing is that bad?

    Because I don't see a reason to waste your time stopping at 30 houses to mow and thats it when being at say 2-5 houses a day mowing, maintaining the beds, monitoring plant health, turning over the mulch keeping it looking clean and healthy seems more profitable

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