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Suggestions for keeping accounts in the winter on a weekly bais

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jay, Dec 19, 2000.

  1. jay

    jay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    Do any of you live in a area where you don't get snow or freezing temperatures? I do and some of my weekly accounts that I overseeded with rye or the ones that have Fescue lawns like to change service to twice a month. I would like to keep them weekly still, but I know there lawns arn't growing much because photosynethis is slowed down greatly under 60% and it gets about 35-55 degrees in the winter here. Do you have any suggestions for me that I can tell my customers, to keep there service on a weekly basis?
    Thanks for all your help on my other threads.
  2. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,491

    Why keep them weekly? Where I'm at (central Florida) we have sporadic cold spells that last a few days and the temp dips to the low 30's. The lawns really slow down because of the lower temps and lack of rain over the winter months. I mow bi-weekly from Nov thru Mar then weekly Apr thru Oct. All my customers are under contract and pay the same amount every month of the year. Just figure the number of cuts per year, multipy by your cost per cut, then divide that amount by 12 to arrive at your monthly charge. The customers happy because he can budget his lawn maintenance over a years time. And you're happy because you have a steady income year round. Most of the pay per cut operators around here starve or go out of business and find other jobs during the winter. Me, I'm happy as a pig in you know what, 'cause I'm getting paid the same as in the summer without all the expense and work, and as a bonus I can schedule trimming, renovations, landscape jobs, etc on my off weeks. Just get all your customers on contract paying you every month, year round, you'll love it. But make sure they sign a contract.
  3. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    Ditto Ed's reply.

    Shoot man.............take a break. Part of the fun of being self employed, especially in this biz, is being able to actually make more in the winter sitting on your butt than you do in the summer running it off. I cut twice in November and December and once in Jan. & Feb. The same money rolls in but I ain't done much at all. I get to "piddle" in the winter. I really get very unmotivated to tell you the truth, kinda hard some days to get cranked up, but hey....................I LIKE IT! I'll lose the extra weight come spring so I eat like a horse!!!!!!!!!

  4. jay

    jay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I bill my customers on a monthly basis, but your contracts sounds interesting. I was reading some of the yearly contracts people came up with and it sounded like if they breached the contract in a year all thay would need to write a notice thirty days in advance to not recieve any penalties. It seems alot of them might end up breaching the contract in the winter time and signing a new one in the summer. Do you handle yours like this or do they get pentalized for the whole year? What do you do when leaves are falling real bad? Do you just tell your customers that with your contract during Nov.-march youll just go out as needed? Do you have them sign yearly contracts for fertilizing and such or do you add that in each service contract/Whats your incentive for signing up yearly with you that you present to your customers? Down here were I'm at alot of companies are still working weekly and almost all the commerial accounts want you out each week its just mostly the residential ones that don't. Do you make these contracts with both residential and commercial customers?
    I work all year around but not as hard during the winter and still make about the same net because my expenses greatly decrease. This is my time to go fishing and get ready for next years services. Sorry for the great length.
  5. tslawn

    tslawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    I'm in agreement with mowerman90. I've just started the monthly maintenance agreement (to commence 01/2001) with most of my customers. They're more than happy to pay a flat monthly rate all year, and it's going to make my billing easier on me. The bonus for me is that I'll have some $$$ coming in January through mid-March when things are slow for me. It won't be what I bring in during the Spring and Summer but at least I'll have some cash flow to pay the bills. Work is too sporadic here in Maryland during the winter months so I'm going to try this method for this winter and see what happens. Good luck.
  6. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,491


    I'll try and answer all of your questions one at a time. Concerning custs canceling contract during the winter - in 12 years of doing this I have never had a customer do this to me. Once they realize the quality they're getting for the money, they know they can't find anyone better out there. Besides, I'm sure they understand that I'd be an idiot to work for them next summer if they canceled in the winter the first time.
    Leaves - Here in central Fl the leaves don't drop all of a sudden like up north. They just seem to gradually fall over a period of several months. So there's not a thick carpet of them at any one time if you maintain a regular 2 week schedule. However, if a customer is having a wedding reception, etc. I will mulch the leaves for that special occassion for no additional cost as a gesture of good will on my part. (talk about gaining a liftime customer!!)
    Commercial Custs - I only do residential customers. Why? Because they don't ask for 60 day terms, they don't cancel you because some mow and blow is $5 cheaper per month, etc., etc. In short they pay their bill on time EVERY month!
  7. jay

    jay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    Thanks for the reply I think all try to get some contracts signed for next year. I don't think It'll work for all my jobs though, because it's like you said things are a little different here. It should work pretty well for new homes with new landscapes, it will be a little easier for me to predict these. Thanks for your help, and happy holidays.

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