Justify the travel time cost with customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by robert payer, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    I did a search on this topic with little luck.

    Our mowing service has a residential niche. We will work on one street all day each day. Our schedule is nearly at capacity. The problem is that we have a few customers houses that sit on a street with out servicing any of their neigbors. In the time it takes us to transport back and forth from these few single houses we can cut 2 maybe almost 3 houses in the time it takes to do that one house that sits by it self. Now keep in mind that we have worked for these people for 10 or more years. The question: how is the most effective way of presenting a drastic price increase that compensates for the travel time? These lots are about 15,000 Sq. Ft. and the typical rate is $40.00. I think that we need to get these few houses up to $60.00? Ideas?
  2. matitude

    matitude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    Just be honest with the customer and let them no the situation that you are in. Also maybe you could phase the increase in over time instead of 20 dollars all at once maybe 10 dollars a year over 2 years. If the customer has been with you that long they must be happy with your work and probably dont want to lose you.
  3. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    I would first try and gain some customers on their street if you want to continue to work for them. Talk with the customer and offer them an incentive to help get you other customers on their street. Try and turn this around to help everyone involved.

  4. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    Is the business principal here.

    If you are confident in your other customers, you might have to let the 10-year old accounts go.

    You can try to charge more, but keep in mind you don't set the rate, the market sets the rate.

    It is likely one of those you hike price on will jump ship, leaving you going to an area not for two at $60 but for just the one that accepts the increase.

    Do it now before season, you really shouldn't drop people mid-year, I have tried and they are REALLY offended.

    The best way I have found to let them down is to maintain a friendly business approach with competing LCO's who do good work, and just give them the customers if it helps them. Then, when they are in your current situation they may have a few to hand to you. Plenty of work around here, so "swapping" for route compaction happens.

  5. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    I totally agree. Either way I would try and gain some new customers. either by the stray houses or in your close knit houses. If you gain by the stray you will not have to raise their prices, yet still make more. If you gain by your closer knit houses, and lose your stray your still ahead of the game. :cool:
  6. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    I understand your problem, but if I were the customer, I would have no sympathy for the fact that you are spending more time driving to my job.

    If my yard is worth 40 per cut, it is worth 40, regardless of where you are coming from.

    Try raising price gradually if you want to keep them and pick up other business in the area so that the trip is spread over more customers.

    If you can sell the customer on the fact that you should get more because you are driving too far, you have a great customer and must be doing a good job.

    Good luck!
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    I have always priced each property as if it was the only stop. If we get 3 or 5 properties at one stop, that is just easier money at that stop, less travel. But to lower prices for a multiple site stop, means that you will have to raise them in the future if some of the sites at that stop leave you.

    Better to price everything as if it was your only stop. Only time to really consider discounting for multiples is if a group of homeowners would come to you about taking on all their properties.
  8. stevo22

    stevo22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 344

    i agree w/ a few others here regarding travel time not being the customers fault..let me get this right, you are dropping the gate and cutting all day for about $40/yd..you are wanting to charge $50-$60 for relatively the same type properties...the customer should not pay for your additional travel time..my advice, take it for what it is worth, take the other customers and charge $40/cut..that is if they are $40 yds..then market heavily to their neighbors to make it worth dropping the gate..i do agree that it is sweet to have multiple yds at one stop..i think that is what we all try to do..doesn't take a scientist to realize that you can make more per hr cutting say 3-5yds per stop compared to 1yd per stop..
  9. Strawbridge Lawn

    Strawbridge Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 660

    We are providing a service to customers. At times that means situations do not always favor our business concept. If you canx customers because they don't fit into a perfect scheme than you are putting yourself above the customer(s). Be careful.. Because their are many LCO's out there waiting for customers whose LC provider has put the customer 2nd or 3rd rather than number 1.
    Prosperity is a blessing, but don't let it invade and change your ethics.
  10. I assume you buy your equipment from the same dealer. Lets say he decided to focus on selling to large LCO’s because they buy several pieces of equipment at one time. It’s not worth all the paperwork to sell one mower at a time to guys like us, so he’s going to raise our prices 50%. Sounds like a lot, but you’ve been his customer for 10 years, and you’ve always gotten GREAT service. LOL

    I believe wholeheartedly in “whatever the market will bear.” But you know you’d never go for a 50% increase, whatever the reason.

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