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Question 1: Per application or per season?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by eruuska, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    This is Question One of the day.

    I'm gearing up to start my first season. I just passed my 3b category exam, completed the 2 day workshop that substitutes for the experience requirement, I'm getting my insurance policy tomorrow, and mailing the license application right away.

    I went out to give fert estimates today, and I have to say I'm absolutely flummoxed by the big question of whether to charge for the application or for the season. :help: It seemed like such a stupid question yesterday, but today it has me stumped.

    I'm pushing a 5-visit program (5 ferts, plus broadleaf, grub and crabgrass control).

    Thoughts, anyone?

  2. ns400r

    ns400r LawnSite Member
    Posts: 110

    well does it matter, Im mean, if you do the per season price, does that mean you tell the customer, either pay all in advance or you dont become a customer?

    If thats the case, I wish my competition did that, especially the new guys that have no experience and know how. Whats gonna be the customers incentive to choose you over the next guy?
  3. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    I guess I was looking at it as which philosophy of payment do you adhere to?

    On the one hand, you can bill the customer for the application of chemicals, with the invoice generated at the time of application.

    On the other hand, you can bill the customer for the end result of a beautiful lawn, with a monthly charge applied evenly over the year, or over the growing season.

    I wasn't implying any sort of "either prepay or take a hike" thing. More of a differentiation of whether the customer is paying for the service provided, or for the end result of said service. I know this might sound the same, but there is a subtle difference.
  4. ns400r

    ns400r LawnSite Member
    Posts: 110

    In many states you are required by law to leave a invoice at the time of service, I would check that first.

    What we do is offer the prepay, if not then we give every customer 30days terms after the service, that way they see results from the treatment before they pay, but the invoice is always left at the door when treatments are done, it also gives us the opportunity to up sell with notes

    KY GRASSLANDS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Plain and simple Charge per application. Nobody going to go for the year thing. And 1 more thing, have you priced grub control products? Not saying that it not a good thing to do for your customers but its very expensive to put it in your lawn care program. We use it as a supplemental treatment sevice. those who want it will pay for it but not at there regular application price we would all be out of business. Just a little advise.
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    sell the program, not the aplication.
  7. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    Hey BG,

    I have to say that I'm honored to have the Great One reply to one of my threads. I figured you'd be chiming in, seeing how you have a well-known opinion in this one.

    It's actually your philosophy that I've been toying with, and I really believe it is a true philosophy. We're selling a product, but what is the product? Is it the chemicals? Is it the application of the chemicals? Or is it a beautiful lawn? I believe that we're selling a beautiful lawn.

    Now all I have to do is figure out exactly how to sell a beautiful lawn when people are used to being sold chemicals and their application.
  8. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    My programs are normally 7 applications per year. From a selling standpoint, the sound of $40 per application seems a lot cheaper than $280 per year. Most people think in the short term. It is also easier to upsell an additional application such as lime, when you are doing pay as you go.

    I feel that by offering the full season payment option, the customer feels bound to your service whether he likes it or not. You are asking for a commitment in this case. Even with a discount I'm not comfortable pushing that yet.

    I have considered offering full season pricing without a specified number of applications. That way it is $280 per season with the number of apps at my discretion. By using the the right product mix, I could actually produce the same results in 5 applications and most likely enjoy higher profits. The program would say X pounds of N per season, delivered in an unspecified number of apps. They won't see you as much, but that detail does matter to some folks.
  9. Macvols

    Macvols LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Charge per app. No binding year contracts. I have found customers don't like anything binding! Leave a bill at the door with x amount of days to pay!
    You could offer a pre-pay for the year giving them a 5 or 10% discount!
    I have learned , you make customers-you don't find them!
  10. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    you don't sell a beautiful lawn. if you claim to sell a beautiful lawn, you will lose your butt. you sell your experience, your experties, along with a program and advice, that over time, will create a lawn that is pleasing to the eye, and healthy enough to make it through periods of drought, and fend off fungus and insects/disease. you'd be shocked at the response i got on my new sign ups this season when i told them we need to aerate. they'd all had many services over the years, and not one of them recommended aeration. any ahole can read the bag and apply the chemicals. the pro is able to troubleshoot, and be crafty. he becomes one with the lawn, learning its every ailment and treating it accordingly BEFORE it becomes a problem. if you sell aplications, you will get this: "i'm not paying, cus i still have weeds. i want you to skip the next app, it's too hot out. i want you to skip the next app, my dog will be staying outside for the next 3 weeks. i don't want to pay the bill, the lawn is brown. i will not pay the bill, for the last app,till you get rid of the nutsedge(you didn't sell them nutsedge treatments, it's a new client, there was no way to know they WOULD HAVE nutsedge). and then you have those that want to cancel because it's your first year there, it was screwed up when you got there, and in 2 months you werent able to produce a picture book lawn. i learned years ago that playing thier games will kill you. if you want to hire me, it's a season long commitment, i need to do, what i need to do, DON'T tell me my job! I WILL reach our goal, but the time frame depends on where we were when we started. i need 2 things, your patience, and your money! oh, and for you to keep your mouth shut!

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