Time Raise Prices (How To ?)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Dan1944, Sep 1, 2002.

  1. Dan1944

    Dan1944 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    Any thoughts on how to inform customers that you are raising prices ? My situation is as follows :

    Cut residental lawns in my own development.
    Weed on request. (extra charge)
    Prune on request. (normally do not charge)
    Deliver and spread mulch on request.
    Fertilize and insecticide applications on program basis.

    I am located in West Central Florida, so lawns are cut weekly/Bi-weekly 10-11 months of the year. (February is usually my vacation time)

    I have been in business for 2 years with no price increases, but growing customer base. Newer customers (20% of base) are charged where I want all my customers at. Currently have a waiting list so if any customers balk, I can fill in. I charge on a yearly basis (Verbal contract) and bill via mail, monthly. I am thinking of sending a rate increase notice with bills 2 months before it goes into effect (January), or should I wait until Spring when things start to really grow again. I am looking at a 15% increase (too high ?). I will be purchasing my first ZTR in about a month (swore I never would, but you know how that goes) so I can justify increase to my self.

    Any help, comments positive ,negative glady accepted.

    Dan the Lawn care man
    :confused:
     
  2. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,468

    I just raised my entire customer base up to 30% not a single complaint I also cut service visits down to 42 was going 51 only have 1 complaint so far. im also starting to use contracts. some of them you can use the shrubs to increase more why trim for free I gave a 2-3 week notice on price increase 2 months is a long time to price shop I also notified every one in person
     
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    That's kind of a tricky situation for us northerners. You guys, in a sense, are at an advantage in this area, over us, because you do so much work year round. This would certainly help in customer retainment, as well. See, up here, I certainly wouldn't advise any price changes at this time of year, unless some absolute circumstance called for it, like gas prices suddenly soaring, or something. Up here, because it's so involved with the season, (actually more than 1/2 way through), it wouodn't really be fair to raise the prices at this time. You guys, on the other hand, work all year long, (I know, you have your slow season) but at this time, since you'll be slowing down in the near future anyways, it may not be that big of a difference to some customers, as there is no long "shutoff" for you, anyways. Just my thoughts, and good luck with it, with whatever you decide.
     
  4. sprout

    sprout LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    Your operation sounds good to me, in fact it almost mirrows mine.
    like Promo I do 42 visits a year. I have never done a cross the board price increase. I take each account on its own marit.
    All price increase's are done in April, with notice's sent out in March. I never go up less then $10 per month, for me every $5 will give me about $1.42 per cut. That's not much. I'm generaly
    around $15-$20 with my increase. Keep this in mind-- some people will stop service, but I never back down, if they do, I move on. Good Luck
    Sprout
    P.S. I'm in the Orlando area.
     
  5. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    as runner said, i find the best time is at the start of a new season in the spring. all customers get a letter informing them of any company changes, new prices, and their rate for THIS year.

    now is the time for us to jack snowplowing prices.
     
  6. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 900

    I think you should raise prices, if your market will allow such increases. Otherwise, leave things as they are for now; we are still in a slowing economy. Right now, my area is a tough market, due to the 2 years of drought. Who knows what next year will bring? I have always had trouble adding new accounts, due to pricing my work higher then most. The customers I do have appreciate my good work though. Next year I plan to low ball to get more work, so I will be busy all week long. Since, you have been growing for 2 years , and you have a waiting list of potential customers, I would look at a 10 percent raise. Fifteen percent seems a little high to me. Then again your market area might justify 15%.
     

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