Bi weeklys and their worth.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Kelly's Landscaping, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    I am sorta on the fence with the bi weekly lawns. The belief that they are all cheap does describe most of mine but not all.

    I was looking at the dollar income of the 30 I have this year and I come up with $16,400. So at first glance my partner and I were not that enthused then we looked closer and 5k of that came from 5 accounts. Which makes the typical gross per account even worse when you look at the remaining 25.

    The year had some curve balls at the end the hurricane followed the week after with 8 inches of snow cost us the last 2 weeks of lawn cuts. Even so it looks like we will fall just a little short of last year and end around 218-220k. So minus off the bi weekly's and the remaining 150-160 accounts generated 202-204k so roughly 1200-1300 per account.

    So I am looking at this from a few different angles. Income is certainly one but the other has to be scheduling of extra work and the effect this type of account has. The 30 bi weekly's had 1 perhaps 2 fertilizer accounts for us. You can forget about mulching all together and they produced a few bush trimming jobs. So they do not clog up my other days with any notable requests. I am neither happy nor unhappy with that. But the one area I did see a positive in was spring and fall clean ups and in this case I did add them together. So the 30 accounts which could have been as many as 60 clean ups only produced 11 total for the entire year. My remaining accounts produced 121 total for the entire year. So I only have a 36% chance of getting work I hate doing from bi weekly's but I have about a 78% chance of getting either a spring or fall clean up from a weekly account.

    And so I am wondering if its worth taking on the lawn cuts meaning filling in space I want filled in with accounts that do not fill in space on my very limited spring and fall clean seasons. As long as they are priced high enough and are not hyper growth over ferted nightmares I am thinking there is reason to believe with the right ratio of them in the list it may be more profitable to keep them they cut them loose.
  2. KeystoneLawn&Landscaping

    KeystoneLawn&Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    In todays economy, I try and keep as many income streams as possible. Bi week mowing being one of those. Like you, they do bring some other maintenance work as well.
  3. LHS Lawns

    LHS Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    Yes most of them are cheap but speaking of just the grasscutting mine really only need it bi-weekly except maybe the Spring and then they let me cut every week until it slows down.

    I've got as much additional work out of them as any of the weekly clients so its working for me.

    I know some guys that wouldn't touch them in the past but they're probably singing a different tune since the economy tanked.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  4. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,128

    Well, one way to look at them is whether they are in an area you are wanting more business in. If you are being seen in that area, maybe it is increasing your chances of gaining more clients there. Another way to look at it, is if you don't particularly think your return on those lawns is quite worth the time they take up on your schedule, you could consider raising your prices substantially for bi weekly work. It would most likely weed out the clients who weren't interested in tossing extra work your way, and you wind up keeping the clients that are still happy with your work for the increased amount. It ups your bottom line for that particular category.
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Good topic. I do all of my bi-weekly accounts on alternating Wednesdays...we call it "crappy lawn Wednesday." I do reserve the right to cut them as-needed in the spring. My cleanup numbers differ greatly from yours though. I did spring and fall cleanups on all but 1 of mine. I really don't give them much of a choice. My service agreements state "We perform spring and fall cleanups on all properties we service unless it is clearly not necessary or you make other arrangements and inform us of them in advance. The lawns we service need to be free of debris in order for us to safely maintain them."

    I have 19 bi-weekly accounts (actually one is monthly) that ranged from $640 to $1,892 in total charges for the year with a total gross of $20,966. They were serviced between 11 (he does the first couple and last couple himself) and 16 times with the norm being around 14. My average per account was $1,103. The montly one is actually invoiced together with a bi-weekly for the same customer and I didn't calculate them seperately because I'd have to go through my actual invoices to seperate them. Total billing on those two together was $2,597.24 for the year. These numbers include the cleanups and anything else I did for them, including snow plowing, but that was minimal last winter (maximum 2 times) and I only plow about 1/3 of them, so most of that is lawn care/maintenance. I don't do applications so none of that is fert/pest. Two of those accounts are fertilized, one by the homeowner and one by TG.

    It's interesting to me that with 58% less bi-weekly accounts (19 vs 30) I billed 28% more than you did on them Kelly ($20,966 vs $16,400). Mine are priced from $25 to $80 per service with an average of $49.31. 10 of them were billed $1,000 each or more.

    Do you charge extra for bi-weekly service? Do you go ahead and mow them more often in the spring during peak growth? I do? How do you do the mowing in the spring if they aren't getting a spring cleanup? Do they do it themselves or does it just not get done? What about in the do you mow them without doing a leaf cleanup?
  6. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    I dropped many biweekly accounts last year, I still kept a few if they met certain criteria. Here are a few items which will allow me to service or turn down EOW yards.

    1. I will not accept lawns EOW in higher end neighborhoods.
    Perception is reality, I do not want residents seeing an
    overgrown lawn with my name attached to it.
    2. Payment is due at the time of service.
    3. 50$ minimum for EOW.
    4. I will not double cut, height of mower will be adjusted to
    prevent an unsightly finished product.
    5. Option to go 10 days if growth is fast in the spring.

    I am down to 3 or 4 EOW yards. They are all close by my house. Bigger yards that sit by themselves with minimal trimming. The 50$ minimum was established so they would meet the required amount of total revenue on an anual basis needed to be a customer. These accounts can be very profitable if ground rules are established and they fit into the schedule. Otherwise they can be hard on equipment and a scheduling nightmare on weeks where there are rainouts.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    Yea a bi weekly tends to only be about 12 weeks and some cap you at 10 cuts and of course you can add them late season so the numbers aren't always true.

    But my bi weekly's tend to always be small lawns. Doing half an acre or more bi weekly doesn't sound to good to me thus the prices reflect smaller lawn prices. Some tiny 25 dollar cuts mixed in with mostly 30-35s. My best bi weekly is 2 properties a rental that's 35 and a machine shop that's 65 so its 100 every 2 weeks. Most of my bi weekly's are on my partners list and reflect that the lawns are smaller and houses denser on that side of town.

    But we try to split them up as evenly as possible so ideally 15 being done each week. In reality someone always asks for a favor or something causes us to skip them on the on week and by the end of the year it seems to always be 10 one week 20 the other. And thus we talk in terms of heavy week and light weeks. But never all on one week that would be unworkable.
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Lawnking...sounds like you have a pretty good handle on it. One of the nice things to me about them is that I'm billing them higher year round, but in summer they cut fast because they're generally not fertilized and none are irrigated.

    Thinking about my numbers vs Kelly's a little more, I'm billing my bi-weekly accounts on average over twice what he is $1,103 vs $547. Something just doesn't seem right about that. His average $ per account is lower than every single one of mine.

    P.S. - I see Kelly replied while I was typing. Yeah, some of mine are good sized lawns.
  9. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    You are correct. During the summer, these type of yards are gravy, non fertilized with little growth very nice profit margins. I will not skip these yards, they get mowed no matter what. If I could find more of these yards within my perimeters I would take them. My business is built on high end accounts clustered in the same developments. These are nice steady streams of income. But the fences, swingsets, pools, edging, ect .... wears you down by the end of summer. These EVO week accounts are just wide open mowing, no sidewalks or mulch beds to worry about. Pull up, run the grandstand for a bit, collect payment and leave. Nice break from the high end yards.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    A few years ago I just stopped taking on bi-weekly accounts. Slowly but surely I have replaced all but 3-4 with weekly just by various reasons like customer moving, divorce, bought mower etc. etc. Less paperwork, easier scheduling and routing makes my life easier. After all one weekly account eliminates the need for two bi-weekly.
    Posted via Mobile Device

Share This Page