hello every one

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by chadwhick, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. chadwhick

    chadwhick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    hey ya'll I'm a new guy here and I have a question. I've been in the lawn business about 2 years and have about 17 accounts. about 5 of those are on yearly accounts and the others I just mow and then give them a bill at the end of the month depending on how many times I mowed. I would like to get everyone on yearly acconts. how do you guys suggest doing that? go to each person and talk to them, call them, or write a letter explaining what I would like to do. any advice I'd appreciate
     
  2. plateau lawn care

    plateau lawn care LawnSite Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 195

    whatever mulch they use pinestraw or whatever, I know we dont like to give stuff away but you can tell them that you would throw in (free) mulch once a year and come out weekly even during the winter. As long as the mulch stuff wasnt going to cost more than 100 bucks or maybe a little less it would pay off with the extra 10 or so weeks you would get out of it. I dont know what the cutting season is in florida only about 36 to forty here. Or you could just talk to them about it and they will probly say they cant afford it
     
  3. ProSvcs

    ProSvcs LawnSite Member
    from MD
    Posts: 84

    I am thinking about the same thing...

    My mowing season is only about 30 weeks, So I am thinking of estimating all Chem Apps, Mowing, Shrubbery, Spring - Fall cleanup, overseeding, top dressing, gutter cleanouts, etc.

    Add all of this up and divide by 12 months and add 3% for financing the work. This will actually give them a lower payment because it will spread the payment over 12 months instead of 9.

    Any thoughts on my thinking would be greatly appreciated

    Jim
     
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Here's a trick you should learn early - learn how to force the other person's hand!!! That is, make them feel like they are chosing freely but actually, you're forcing them to chose what you want them to.

    People want choices. They respect choices. But people don't want to be forced into doing things. And if they aren't given any choices, they will be the ones making demands on you. You need to turn that around.

    Here's how you do it;

    Whatever it is you want them to do; make it significantly cheaper. I am telling you, I've been doing this for years and it works! If you want people to pay you the same flat rate every month all year - make that an option and make that option the cheapest option!

    For instance; on your estimate sheet, you outline two programs. The first program is weekly mowing, no commitment, bill as you go. Etc. That service will cost you $32 per cut. (just an example price).

    With the second program you come every week, all year long, and you charge a flat fee. The fee is $25 per week, all year.

    Now, the second price - the lower one - is whatever you WANT to make per week for that property. The 1st price is an elevated price. It's kind of like a penalty. But you don't present it to the customer that way. You present the second price as a "discount".

    Given these choices, you'll find that 90% of your new customers will chose the second price. You'll get paid what you want to make and 90% of your new customers will be year-round customers. Everyone's happy.

    Believe me, it works.
     
  5. ProSvcs

    ProSvcs LawnSite Member
    from MD
    Posts: 84

    That is essentially what I would be doing...

    Most people do not look at the overall cost. They look at what the monthly payment is (Same reason people refinance or use credit cards). With what I was thinking, I wont visit in the winter inless it is snowing (I will also include snow removal in the contract).

    What I am thinking is that I should be able to perform a complete solution for the customer while reducing their monthly payments.

    Add all services together and billing over 12 month period, the monthly bill should be just about equal to what they would pay for just mowing if they were on a pay as you go type plan.

    Thoughts??
     
  6. plateau lawn care

    plateau lawn care LawnSite Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 195

    i think jim has the right idea not to say its the best theirs alot of good ideas but his does sound good
     
  7. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    Jim,

    Just out of curiosity, do you ever have any problems with customers not happy with paying for a service thta they are not visibly seeing a return on during the offseason? If so how do you deal with that?
    I like your idea and plan to put it to use going into this season, so don't misunderstand I'm not knocking it but would like to know if you have encountered this and your method of dealing with this.

    G-P
     
  8. ProSvcs

    ProSvcs LawnSite Member
    from MD
    Posts: 84

    I have been doing LC for the last 5 years part time. Last year I was out of it all together due to traveling for my nice secure job. My nice secure job did not turn out to be all that secure so I am going full time this year. :)

    I have been doing a lot of reading and am trying to think of ways to get customers, retain customers, build Cust Loyalty, as well as help the customers see the benefit of full service property maintenance along with keeping the lowballers out of my backyard.

    This is an idea that I have come up with over the last fewq months of researching and I am just throwing if out for discussion.

    By providing full service during 8 months and billing for it over 12 months, the price will be reduced to just a little bit more than just a standard weekly service.

    It will help the customers to budget

    Lowballers can come in and underbid the price that they are paying monthly, but the customer with then have think about everything else that they are giving up.

    I will still see the customers through the winter when I drop off their gift baskets at christmas as well as everytime it snows or is icy.

    I would like to hear what the more experienced have to comment about this plan.

    Thanks
    Jim
     
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    BINGO!

    ProSvcs, my thoughts are that regardless of how you structure your payments, people are going to be uncomfortable with paying in the winter when you are not coming by. You'll want to make it REALLY CLEAR that during those months, they are paying you for work you did earlier in the year - you're just spreading it out over 12 months rather than 8 or 9. That will be difficult because some people will still resent paying when they aren't getting any service. I am not saying it's not possible. I know several guys on lawnsite do just what you are describing. But you need to understand make it very clear when they sign up and then probably send out reminder letters in November each year again - reminding them of why they are "paying for nothing" during the winter.

    Yes, we do run into that sometimes. First, understand that we still do come by all of our customers' homes 2-3 times each month during the winter. And even though we are not mowing, we're still providing other important services. Sure, the amount of work goes down in the winter. Probably by 60%. But they still see "something" being done in their yard and that suffices most of our customers. Second, I make it real clear how our service works - that it's a flat rate all year round and that service definitely does decrease during winter months. Most of the people who have a problem with that are weeded out at the time I give the estimate. They just go find another company. Which is fine by me, because I am at the point where I can be a little choosy with which customers I take on. So if they don't want to pay year-round, they can go find another LCO. I realize that I don't land as high of a percentage as I could, but then again, 100% of the ones I do land pay me year-round. It's a trade off I gladly take.

    So for the few people who I explain it to clearly when they sign up and yet they still complain when winter arrives, I just re-explain it again. 75% of our customers are full service. So that means we're caring for their plants as well. And a big part of the winter service for Full Service customers is the winter pruning we do. We send out 1 or 2 well trained pruning guys out to do selective hand pruning on all of their plants and shrubs for one day during the winter. That's a pretty valuable service right there. So I remind them of that. Once I remind people of what they are getting, that usually settles them down.
     
  10. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    Jim, you mentioned further down in that post that you do winter hand pruning. I was just curious what other type of services do you for them in the winter?. I suppose picking up any trash that's there when you come, maybe pick up any sticks/branches that have fallen, but is there anything else you do?
     

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