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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by G-LSCPE, May 24, 2006.

  1. G-LSCPE

    G-LSCPE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    I know that this is a common thread but I want to post this anyway.
    My problem is that I have a good customer, but a very picky customer on a 20k/yr landscape contract that was bid in January, I have been adding a 3.5% surcharge to the invoices and I received a call today because they don't understand "why" they are getting surcharged, that they don't see how we use that much fuel on their property. I can understand the question of "how" we come up with the percentage but not the "why"!! Everything we do revolves around pertroleum. I have several other contracts like this that there have been no problems or questions, I have even had some customers say"3.5% is that i?" Any suggestions on how to handle this?
  2. Matt S

    Matt S LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Well, yeah.

    Tell 'em you're adding a fuel surcharge. If they don't like it, just cut 96.5% of their grass.

  3. Let me get this straight. You bill this customer $20,000 per year for landscape maintenance? Right?
    So I'd imagine this customer's last name is "Inc."
    Sounds like your call is from some accountant or junior manager whose bottom line isn't matching what's been allotted.
    I'd say move up the chain of command to someone who has the authority to authorize these overages and their understanding of "how" and "why" is going to be greatly improved.

  4. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    3.5% is not alot. Is it in your contract?
  5. MysticLandscape

    MysticLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    its $700, which might be alot to some people...
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Like the other guy said, move up the chain of command until you find someone with the authority to override any potential issues or problems with this surcharge, and most everyone's understanding of the situation will be greatly improved.

    Somedays, I love being the president of my company.
  7. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,733

    The way I see it, is fuel went up about 15% here since 01-01-06. So the fair way to do it for yourself and the cusomer is to figuer out how much fuel is actually being used for that property which is getting there and working there at the time of the bid or contract and then add the 15%, or whatever the % is for where you are, to the fuel costs. The 3.5% you mentioned above, or $58 a week may be more than what the actual fuel costs to you are.
  8. Adam's Lawn and Garden

    Adam's Lawn and Garden LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 306

    hey g-lscpe where are you located at?
  9. G-LSCPE

    G-LSCPE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    The customer happens to be a HOA, and we all know how they are... Everyone has their own opinion as to what should be done, and how it should be done. I spoke with the management company of the property about this and they said that they have added a 5% surcharge to their workorders. He also said that he was at their board meeting and he did not see it being an issue with the members. So I think it is the chain of command issue, and I need to work it out.
  10. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    Learn from this. Next time you need to do something like this, remember that most of your clients have no problem with a fuel surcharge and a small percentage of them will balk.

    So next time, add a 5% fuel surcharge to all of your client's bills and then when one or two balks at it, you still have your required 3.5% surcharge.

    That is what we do with the skippers. We increased the number of cuts per year from 32 to 34 knowing that we needed the annual revenue associated with 32 cuts. But because a percentage of clients will call to skip cuts, we schedule 34.

    Being a bad customer actually takes effort. Calling to skip is a phone call they have to make in the spring or fall. It is easier to just let the lawn company mow it. Same for the surcharge. Calling to balk at the surcharge requires effort. It is easier to just pay the surcharge and be done with it.

    Just my two cents.

    DFW Area Landscaper

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