service agreements-HELP!!!??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by yaardvark, May 2, 2004.

  1. yaardvark

    yaardvark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    this is my first spring and I am getting new customers almost every day which is great. The only problem is ALL of them are 1 timers or "as needed" (bsically bi-weekly here. Looking ahead, this is going to get hairy at end of mowing season.
    How can I start getting into service agreements? I am thinking about offering several different agreements to appeal to all customers/budgets.
    !. 12 month w/weekly service (what all should I include? pruning hedges? how many x's/yr? etc.)
    2. 9 mo/ 10 day service
    3. month-to-month
    ANY and ALL advice is welcome as well as needed!! If any of you vets wouldn't mind, I would love to know how your agreements are structured, worded.
    Not trying to "freeload" just trying to get some help nailing down some quality accounts and get away from the dirt farmers and rock breeders that want service when they think its needed.
  2. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Posts: 3,556

    tell them you come everyweek for the year with an agreement to cut, trim, edge, and blow, and you will give them a good deal, or if they want it biweekly or triweekly tell them itll be more expensive.... Example.... for all year around i charge around 13-15 and on up for the bigger lots, but say i charge 14 for someone all year around, i might charge 17 or 18 if they only want me every 2 weeks or less. ;)
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Last year, this lady who lives 3 doors down from me hired this mexican to mow her lawn. The first few times he cut her lawn, he was showing up with all of his equipment in the bed of his pickup truck. Later on, he got his truck lettered and bought a trailer. I kept seeing him all over town. He had a lot of accounts.

    But I noticed on my neighbors accont, he wasn't showing up on the same day each week. Sometimes he'd do it 10 days later, sometimes 12 days later, sometimes over two weeks later. I keep watching, because now I'm curious to see what his system is. Towards the end of the season, he's got an employee with him. So I'm guessing that what ever it is he's doing, it must be working. He had a lot of accounts all over the place. But with the random schedule he kept on my neighbors lawn, I just know that he was allowing his customer's to call him when they wanted it done. And that idiot would come running every time.

    Well, guess what? My nieghbor has been mowing her lawn herself all spring. No sign of that guy. And I haven't seen him driving around town either. I'm convinced that he landed all that business by advertising cheap prices. And by allowing his customers to dictate terms of service, he realized over the winter that he was better off just getting a job for eight bucks an hour somewhere. Either that, or he got deported.

    If you're going to be in business, you've got to dictate the terms to your customers. This part of the business is crucial. It's called contracting and it's why we're called contractors. If you're no good at contracting, you'll never be any good at being a contractor.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. venecular

    venecular LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 122

    I see what you are saying but what do you do when you have a customer with bermuda grass in the winter there isn't much work to be done?
  5. Mikes Lawn Landscape

    Mikes Lawn Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 458

    You stop cutting them but you start lining up fall work right now.

    Redoing beds, mulch jobs, clearing wooded areas.
    If a customer wants something tell them that would be a good fall project.

    Think dont just mow
  6. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    If a customer has a bermuda lawn it will start going dormant in October. Then you have your leaf cleanups to do. This will last into December. In January you get caught up on your pruning. Febuary will be slow. Then in March you start your scalping and in April it's back to weekly service again. This is how I sell a client a 12 month service agreement. It's not really a problem.
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    My contract clearly states that weekly service includes a scalp mowing in Late February/Early March, weekly service starts late March and runs to mid-October. From mid-October to first freeze, mowing is converted to bi-weekly service. It has nothing to do with whether it needs to be mowed or not. I can't control the weather. And I also charge full price for the days scheduled mowing if a customer elects to skip a scheduled mowing.

    DFW Area Landscaper

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