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How to make the change

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by HPI_Savage25, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. HPI_Savage25

    HPI_Savage25 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 192

    Ok so I have always just done yards as a "Call when you need me" type of thing. I have been telling new customers from this past year that I do weekly or bi weekly to keep from customers wanting to wait 3 weeks or more. I am wanting to get ALL of my accounts on a schedule. Whether the schedule is weekly or bi weekly I don't mind, I just want them to all be on a schedule. I'm just trying to figure out how to notify the customers in a polite way as to hopefully not lose any due to the change.

    Anyone else done the same ?
  2. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,037

    I've never done the "call when you need me" thing, but I would just tell those customers that you need to put them on your schedule in order to give them a fixed price for mowing, to ensure that their lawns are presentable at all times and to allow you to properly schedule your time.

    Here's the thing though....you can't worry about losing them. If they don't want their lawns maintained on a regular basis they aren't customers you want to begin with. If they insist on the "call when you need me" thing and you want to keep them as customers, I recommend you go to hourly "shop to shop" billing, where the clock starts when you leave your shop and ends when you return, or you bill hourly with a 2 hour minimum or something.
  3. HPI_Savage25

    HPI_Savage25 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 192

    The "Call when you need me" started when I was in middle school and high school. I was always relying on my dad to bring me to the yards and such. Some of these yards I have been doing since I was about 13, currently I am 19 so I have had some yards for quite a while. I am in school but next season I want to make things easier on my part. Have them all on a schedule and not worry about those that call asking to be squeezed in.
  4. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,082

    years ago, we looked at the average number of mowings people had performed over the years--biweekly and weekly and then came up with a number of mowings that we thought we could include in our contracts--

    then, we carefully drafted a letter that we sent to each customer educating them on the benefits of regular mowing (health of turf etc.) and also the need to keep a regular schedule to avoid delays in service and provide a more consistently beautiful lawn-(two types of folks, those who want their yard knocked down when it gets tall an those which like to keep the lawn looking nice--we marketed toward the latter)

    we also offered that they could call in 48 hours prior to the scheduled date and cancel and we would skip their yard--

    The 'call in' price was slightly high than the contract price--also we added a surcharge if the grass was overgrown and went beyond two weeks to account for the additional work--most all folks opted for the contract--though, most all our customers already had been on a tentative schedule for several years-
    your problem will be that it seems as though most of your folks are people who don't necessarily like to keep the lawn looking nice, so you will havee some growing pains-
    good luck--
    fyi--no 10 day mowing schedule, that will be a nightmare to accomplish week for week--weekly or biweekly on the same day each week--
    contracts and the regular mowing day will make your life so much easier and more consistent and easier to plan for other work--
  5. Blades Lawn Maintenance

    Blades Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Baton Rouge, La
    Posts: 1,233

    I had kinda similar situation this year. I had a lady move then toward the end of the year call me when she moved into a house. At the time I was cutting her house I was going just EOW but when I talked to her to cut her second house I just told her "I do things a little bit differently since I last cut for you, I now come on a weekly basis" and she was cool with it.

    So my advice would be to contact them and tell them this year you are doing things differently and and you come on a weekly or EOW schedule.
  6. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 702

    I too mow on an "as needed basis" for most customers and it is NOT the best option. I would like to switch over, but have some questions that maybe yall can help with.

    Here in west texas, weekly would be no problem in the spring, but last two years has been excessivly dry, and we are on serious watering restrictions. This causes the grass to stop growing during the summer months. How do yall account for this? Still mowing the grass weekly even though its not growing? There were a few customers whos lawns probably didnt get mowed more than 4 or 5 times the whole season.

    I have a few customers that have wells, so they can water when they want and those have been my only weekly customers. I guess what yall are saying is drop customers that dont pay weekly, and find more customers that water regularly...but here in this area, that isnt as easy as it may seem.
  7. Luke Reedy

    Luke Reedy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    once i went full time and started growing, after college, i converted our customers over to weekly by explaining to them that
    1) i want to keep their yards nice and neat
    2) if it rains on the day i was going to come then it would be tough to get back into shape
    3) it's a scheduling nightmare to do it on any other time frame
    4) any longer than a week makes it tough on the guys and equipment
    5) an extended time frame other than once a week i'd have to charge more so let's just keep it nice and neat all the time

    do you see how that is just one big circle?

    for new customers i tell them that we come once a week on a certain day and in a nice way tell them that that is the way it is. we have not gotten some yards bc of this, but for the reasons above, that's ok. someone else will cater to those folks. not us.

    I also explain to them that in the late fall winter and early spring we come as needed and i may be calling alot during this time to check with them. you never know who has company coming over for the holidays. people appreciate that. you get to know your clients after awhile and you can pass by and take a look and may or may not do the yard. i tell them that i'm a pretty good judge on if it needs it or not and am not out to take advantage. not had any complaints doing it this way.

    you just need to decide what works best for you.
  8. 205mx

    205mx LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,355

    Try a monthly rate ?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Puddle of Oil

    Puddle of Oil LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,203

    Must be a southern thing......
  10. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,674

    I think so too.

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