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How many of you charge per cut vs. flat rate?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by silentbob, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. silentbob

    silentbob LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 27

    I was wondering what everyone else does regarding charging for weekly lawn mowing. I personally charge per service, but have run into some issues with that such as customers claiming "oh, you weren't here that day, so I'm not paying for that cut." Even though it would be plainly obvious if a cut was skipped.

    Now, since I'm not always with my crew, I have to trust that they are doing the job right. I can almost 100% guarantee that the lawns are getting mowed when we say they are, but how do you prove that to a customer? That's why I'm thinking maybe a flat monthly rate is the way to go. Then you (and the customers) don't have to worry about what day you were there, as long as their lawns always look their best.

    What do you all do/think?
  2. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    I charge per cut, invoiced monthly. I keep a time and mileage log for everything I do from the time I leave my house until the time I pull back in at home. Normally when someone says I wasn't there on such and such day, I simply bust out my log book and say, "I pulled up to your house at 10:54 AM, serviced your lawn as usual, and got back in my truck and pulled away from your property at 11:22 AM. Normally that stops them in their tracks and they drop the protest. You may have to start having the crew snap a picture or two each time they service the lawn for proof of service. Or have the crew leave a service note on the door from now on showing they were there and serviced the lawn.
    Of course, if you want to go to flat monthly billing, that would seem to take care of the problem. That is of course if your clients understand the nature of the agreement.
  3. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    Same here, charge per cut and bill monthly. Customers just don't like the flat rate billing all year long at least in my area.
  4. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,993

    I send out a monthly invoice that is on a per cut basis.

    I have some had some older customers claim they didnt know I was there. From then on out we agreed they would pay write a check every week and hand it to me. If they will not be there they leave it under the mat. I only do that with 2 customers so its really not that big of a pain.

    If your customers dont want to pay every week but still insist you were not there I would tell them to find someone else.

    IMO its pretty easy to tell if your grass has been cut or not.
  5. LawnGuy73

    LawnGuy73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,945

    I charge per cut and invoice at the end of each month. However, I'm looking into this season doing a pre-cut billing. It was discussed on here before, so if I invoice on the 1st of the month for the cutting that I will be doing that month its kind of like getting paid as you go though the month. I don't know I'm still working on it.
  6. grass-scapes

    grass-scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,552

    I actually do both. I have only had one or two issues with people saying I wasn't there. I tell them the day I was there and the previous date. I have also started keeping better track of the times. My log sheet has a place for it (from qxpress). I can just enter that in. Once I have a handle on how long each property should take, I can adjust the route. As long as you can put a date on each visit, the customer can't really complain too much. If they refuse to pay you for a visit, don't go back cause they know they can get away with it again. Keep billing for it, add late charges in, then take them to court.
  7. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 811

    I can almost 100% guarantee that the lawns are getting mowed. "Almost", is the word. I think it depends on how much money you are talking about here. If the customer has no history of complaints or problem with payments. If the crew has a history of complaints and is it always the same crew. Some one has made a mistake that cost you money. You need to protect yourself. Not being 100% sure you may need to take the customers word over the crew. What is the customer worth and what is the cut worth. You need to make a quick end to this. Forgive the customer and the crew and move on, or drop the customer and move on. If you forgive the customer then truely forgive him, other wise it will eat at you. Either way end it quickly and have peace of mind. Your not the first business men to take one in the exit.
  8. gringo gardener

    gringo gardener LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    Here in FLA its typically 40-42 cuts depending on which contractor u talk to ... so if its a $20/lawn that would be billed out monthly as $65 or $70 a month depending on the number of cuts ... we cut during all 12 mos down here too with bi-wklys starting in November
  9. NC Greenscaper

    NC Greenscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

  10. NC Greenscaper

    NC Greenscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

    Welcome to lawnsite silent bob

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