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Charge more for storm debris cleanup?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassgirl4, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. grassgirl4

    grassgirl4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    Okay, here is the situation:

    Last week we finally got some much-needed rain here. Unfortunately, it came too fast, causing a lot of flooding and washout. When I arrived to mow one of my customer's yards the day after the rain, I discovered all her mulch had floated out of the beds and into the grass!! So I stopped the mower, walked back to the truck, got out the rake, and proceeded to rake it all back into the beds. The whole ordeal added about 15 minutes to my job time.

    Question: should I charge extra for my additional time (15+ minutes at each job over the course of a day really adds up!!), or should I just consider the extra time and effort 'good service'?

    Thanks for the input...:)
  2. avjohnson

    avjohnson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    If the customer is not a PITA, I do it and charge a little extra. If they are a PITA and not likely to pay, I work around it unless the mess is really bad...in which case I'd talk to them first.
  3. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Messages: 213

    I agree with AVJohnson. Usually, when we've had storms, I don't have to clean up at every yard. Very rarely, actually. If it's been a long-time customer, who has treated us well, then 15 minutes is no biggy. I would say it would depend on the mess. If you are talking more than 15 minutes, I guess a few extra dollars wouldn't hurt.

    Also consider if it's an elderly person vs. someone who is very capable of picking up the mess. It's not your fault there's a mess. But not their's either. Unless their yard is trashy to begin with.

    I hope all of that makes sense.
  4. jpp

    jpp LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    If I understand this, you want to charge for something that the customer did not ask for? Don't do it cause you will likely get into a hassle with the customer. You can let the customer know what you did and who knows they might surprise you and say add it to the bill.

    How many properties did you do this on?
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I've worked and dealt with estimating businesses for some time, it is a general rule of thumb that you're allowed to exceed estimated cost by UP to 10% due to unforeseen circumstances, but no more. I think it's actually a law, but don't quote me on that.

    Now you really can't ask this question after you've taken it upon yourself to deal with it, 5 bucks maybe but any more is a no no in my book...

    You have to be ready for flack thou, some customers you can do it with, others you can't. That's what I do thou, 5 bucks when there's inconvenience, may not sound like enough but me thinks we make out at times, too, with the right customer the choice comes automatically.

    Take the good and the bad, I think it adds out in the long run.
  6. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    We had a huge hurricane come through probably six years ago in September. It literally took twice as long to do each property and we had to send an extra truck w/ each crew to handle extr debris. Our contracts clearly state that for spring/fall clean-up and/or any other necessary clean-up that we chare $XX.00 per manhour plus incurred tipping fees and driver time to the dump. We lost less than 2% of our accounts that fall, and believe me the ones we lost were replaced by ones who appreciate a job done properly. And yes, I believe all but one did pay their bill. If it takes more time, charge for it.

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