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I dont like the idea because some people get an attitude when you send them a bill for parts and labor after billing them for a service contract.
Yes. it confuses some people. they think they are getting everything taken care of for one price, regardless if something out of the ordinary breaks.

Now saying this, I was ASKED earlier in the week to put one together for a client. Large property. We would go out every 3-4 weeks, start up, shut down, blah, blah, blah. But I kind of pushed it too. too many people onsite playing with backflows and controllers.
 

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when i worked for a bigger company we would offer them and people would get confused and also we would get real busy and not get to somones bi monthly checkup and they would get pissed (as they should) then we would have to credit them.

this what i do now that i have my own company, they call me, i come fix the problem, they pay, every one is happy. But i do have one of my better clients that i check about once a week because he is not around much and just had a $300,000.00 landscape installed, but no contract its just something i do when i have a minute.
 

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Have toyed with maint. contracts a few times over the years, sometimes I won, sometimes I lost my tush. Will not do contract for HO's, but have been asked by several large commercial/multi-dwelling properties to send in a proposal.

I think it's doable as long as everything is clearly and fully spelled out: what's covered, what isn't. Set up a schedule of values for replacing a rotor, spray, solenoid, etc. Include the Act-of-God clause, etc.

The cemetery we just fixed is one of those who's asked. I think I'm going to offer them a trial run for 3 months, at which time we'll decide whether to continue. If I could teach their mower guys how to avoid heads and valve boxes it could be a very sweet gig.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, at least I'll make it a part of the routine landscaping for customers I have now. I always tell them that my monthly rate includes irr inspection/monitoring/adjustments as needed. But now I will spell it out more clearly as added items to my service, so they can see the value in my full-service rates.

What I do is I add up all the extra hours I estimate it will take to do routine irrigation system inspection/adjustments, plus all the other labor and materials, including fertilizer, plant trimming, weeding beds, adding mulch, etc., cutting the lawn, then I divided it all by the number of monthly payments.

I was just wondering if I should also put together a package for people that would want everything except lawn mowing. Basically, a fertilizer program with irrigation service. Hmm.

They key benefit I see with service contracts is the reduction in advertising and sales calls. I sell once in the beginning, and then manage the property as best I can without having to ask or sell extra services along the way. Customers like knowing what each month will cost them. I think that's why commercial accounts like one price for the season with a list of all the things included. No surprises unless there is something needing repair, etc.
 

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I was just wondering if I should also put together a package for people that would want everything except lawn mowing. Basically, a fertilizer program with irrigation service. Hmm.
Present each function as a line item. That lets the customer know all of the services you offer and gives them the option to mix n' match the services they want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I like the line item idea, so they see value.

I'll still push a whole-package price.

Lots of people (most not from the south) think they don't need this, don't need that, and then blame me when the property starts looking bad. So I have two plans at the moment: full service lawn, or full service lawn & landscape. No mow-n-blow crap anymore, or someone telling me every two weeks, etc.

I'll offer add-on service for repairs, renovations, new plants, etc.

For irrigation, I don't like the idea of paying for a big yellow page add to do repair calls. Maybe I'll drop off a list of my services at the sales offices where I get my lawn referrals.

Mike
 

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I like the line item idea, so they see value.

I'll still push a whole-package price.

Lots of people (most not from the south) think they don't need this, don't need that, and then blame me when the property starts looking bad. So I have two plans at the moment: full service lawn, or full service lawn & landscape. No mow-n-blow crap anymore, or someone telling me every two weeks, etc.

I'll offer add-on service for repairs, renovations, new plants, etc.

For irrigation, I don't like the idea of paying for a big yellow page add to do repair calls. Maybe I'll drop off a list of my services at the sales offices where I get my lawn referrals.

Mike
Early on I wasted a lot of time and money on advertising. Yeloow pages, brochures, flyers, menu ads, telephone book covers.

The best advertising is satisfied customers and good signage on your vehicles.
We work for the same people over and over, and their friends. Get a lot of calls that start with "I see your trucks all over the place...".

Not saying this is the best advertising model for everybody, but has worked in my market.
 

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Early on I wasted a lot of time and money on advertising. Yeloow pages, brochures, flyers, menu ads, telephone book covers.

The best advertising is satisfied customers and good signage on your vehicles.
We work for the same people over and over, and their friends. Get a lot of calls that start with "I see your trucks all over the place...".

Not saying this is the best advertising model for everybody, but has worked in my market.
I advertise in one phone book. and it's in a very small one for my "neighborhood" which is north of C. Springs. Tri-Lakes phone book. No Qwest, DEX, Yellow Book. Smaller local area book. $300 -$500 for the YEAR for a decent sized ad. I don't have signs on trucks. My work comes from word of mouth from customers, referrals from suppliers, and other landscapers and irrigation companies that I have had good working relationships with over the years. Even previous employer.

Also from my website. Google Colorado Springs Sprinklers and I'm usually the first one.
 

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I'm not really too keen on contracts either. But a friend with his own irrigation outfit is saying he's going to start, because he plans on selling off part of his business (might end up being to me, actually) in a few years, and thinks that having signed contracts will make this easier. Not sure I agree necessarily. His customers like him, and if someone he recommends takes over, and does it with care for the customers, I don't think many, if any, would be lost.
Does anyone get customers to sign multi-year contracts? I could see if you were locking in at one rate for say 3 years, it could save the customers a few bucks. Though I'm not sure how many would be willing to sign for that long. I'm assuming most contracts are just one year though, which doesn't seem to me all that strong a guarantee of ongoing business, just maybe makes some people feel better. I guess it would look better on paper for the transfer of a business. Commercial is obviously different.
 

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The couple of people that I know in Florida all have contracts for routine inspections on their systems which include reprogramming the controller when a restriction is put in place. One person told me that they get like 60-65, but I am unclear if that was per a month and there were multiple visits or 60-65 per visit. A little unclear because he later went on to say that he was building a customer base of his own and that it was a easy $15 bucks a stop [he was a guy that moved from Fla] Anyway a week later he was fired and I was left with pissed off customers, some stayed and some left. You would think that someone from Florida would know how to work with PVC:hammerhead:
 
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