How do you guys answer this question when quoting an estimate for weekly lawn care?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by bigw, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    Question----" What about when the lawn does not need to be mowed " i wont have to pay for those weeks right?.... I have been getting this question like crazy and i am just wondering what do you guys say?
    To be honest i dont know what to say during that time so i end up saying if it dont need mowed i wont mow it but i know this is going to kill me aint it? How about some help on this guys!!
    I am quoting weekly price's based from end of march to end of november " weather permitting" By the way my post cards got deliverd today and so far i got 2 phones calls,landed one at 60$ a week and quoted another that the lady said she has to talk to her husband about.
    Oh and this lady also asked me the dreaded question..."what about when the lawn dont need cutting'' ?? Give me some advice so i dont lose my shirt please! Now mind you i do not want to quote yearly prices,people in my area will not go for it! Thanks guys.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    most companies r contract cut 30 cuts a year or so and if u skip they still pay
    most of the biz in my area is like this
  3. jdmcat

    jdmcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 439

    if it doesn't need to be mowed, don't mow it. but don't let someone tell you it doesn't need to be cut if it does.
  4. LushGreenLawn

    LushGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,121

    In my area, people also don't go for the yearly contracts. I have an agreement that states the payment policy, when I'll be there, ect., but they pay per cut.

    If it does not need to be cut I do not charge them. We had a bad drought last year and it did hurt, and a few guys went out of business. Luckily we were able to survive due to our lack of debt. and we made up a little in the fall pushing overseedings due to the drought damage.

    Also, one thing that we do is we specify in the agreement that the customer must call to let us know if they do not need to be cut. If they do not call, we cut.... Some people forget, some people a to lazy to call. I do not feel that we are ripping people off this way, when we first started we would skip if it did not need it, and got calls asking why we did not come to cut, even though it had not grown at all. I just tell people that I don't know their preference unless they call to tell me.

    Hopefully this year will not be as bad as last year. Good luck this season BigW
  5. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    thanks this does help!!
  6. kleankutslawn

    kleankutslawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,185

    i explain that your business is based on the average cuts needed n your area,tell them that it may not look that bad after a week.but will look worse if they wait two weeks &it will put more strain on your equipment
  7. mowing grass 1111

    mowing grass 1111 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 433

    what always worked for me when a resid asked that question .. was to tell them if the lawn dried up we would do something like light shrub trimming , gutter cleaning or some other type of small job to cover the cost of the cuts they were billed for when the lawn was dry.... worked every time
  8. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    i sell as needed service... my customers know if it needs to be done... i will be there...

    if not unless i have some pruning or trimming i wont be there...

    i invoice at the end of the month for my services... and only for what I did...

    i don't have a service agreement or contract with any residentials
    just easier this way for me

    i know my customers and they know me... no worrys for the most part
  9. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    As usual, I agree with my NY buddy, Barefootny. I tell my customers to budget for 29 cuts. if we have an early spring, there might be an extra in April. An ealry fall, one less in October. I tell them if it needs to be cut, I'll cut it, but will contact them when I don't think it needs a cut.

    I have a slogan. I will maintain your property as though it were my own. I don't cut my lawn when it doesn't need it. I won't cut theirs either. I charge by cut. They might have to pay for an extra, they might save a week.

    I think that is what us solo guys have over the big outfits. Flexabilty. More customized, personalized service. I was knocking snow off the ornamentals at two house I just signed up, haven't made a dime yet. The owner comes out and is like what ARE you doing? I explained how the weight of the snow was seperating and opening gaps in the shrubs. I didn't want to lose any branches. Guy was FLOORED! I told him I did this at my house yesterday... and I'm here now.

    I have a customer for life. In fact, he called two neighbors, and now I have to quote them.

    I really like offering a superior level of service. Customers love it too. Be honest, go the extra mile. Charge for work performed. Don't charge for work not performed. In the long run, it's better practice I think. Now, when I suggest a fall over seeding, I'll get it. No questions asked. Everyone wins. Honesty, a work ethic, and giving a chit is the only way I know how to do this.

    One thing is.... I have a VERY tight route. So far, every customer within a mile of my home. Very easy to cruise by and make an assessment. With bigger territories, not so easy. In that case, I might work the phone a little more, but if you know the property, you will likely know if it needs a cut.
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

    I like this approach ... it seems like it would work out best for both parties !!

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