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Charging extra for the first cut if needed

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 31, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    What is the number one mistake LCO's make?

    I think the number one mistake most commonly made by LCO's is doing the first cut on an over-grown lawn for the regular price. Or allowing the customer to go bi-weekly when they are fertilizing. I may be wrong, but I think a lot of LCO's are quoting $25 bucks and mowing a jungle or near jungle the first time for 25 bucks. It's just such an easy mistake to make. It surprises me that there aren't more threads related to charging extra for the first cut. Especially as we enter the summer solstice period.

    Although most customers understand when I tell them the first cut may have to be billed at the hourly rate, a few try to play dumb. "How can it take you longer just because the grass is tall?" As an industry, we need to put an end to this mentality.

    There is an LCO cutting a jungle across the street and three doors down from me right now. They have a two man crew and they've been working for over an hour. This is at most a $25 lawn if done weekly. Probably, with today's lower prices, $22 or $20. $35 if done bi-weekly. They mow it every other week and the lawn is as dark green from nitrogen as it can be. They are cutting off about 6 inches of bermuda growth with each pass of the mower. I seriously doubt this customer will pay a penny more than $35 for today's cut.

    How often do you charge extra for the first cut? Do you have fert restrictions in place for bi-weekly customers?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Appalachian landscape

    Appalachian landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    I charge more for the first cut. It also kind of eliminates anyone wasting my time with a one time cut or letting me get the lawn in shape and then cutting it themselves.
  3. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    If the place is a wreck, I always charge more for the first cut. My pricing is the same system as Justmowits (and yours) by lot size. A lot will try to save a month and call at the end of May. I always tell them a higher price and that I will be hauling the grass off the first time, then mulched/side discharged the rest of the year.
  4. kilpatrickshrub&turf

    kilpatrickshrub&turf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    First cut is always half or double as much more than routine service but I hardly ever do just the grass. First time cuts include hedge trimming, edging, spraying, etc etc etc to bring the property up to my standards.

    I carry business cards of mow and go LCO's Im happy to pass along to homeowners that simply want the grass cut. Even have a few that other guys cut and i come do the hedge/bed work as a sub.

    On occasion I will take on new yards whereas I will space out the chores over several weeks. Each visit doing something beyond mow/trim/edge to save customer a large initial bill but only if this can be done with the yard still looking respectable during the process and only if they are a regular customer.
    My prefered way of doing business is to assume all landscape maintenance responsibilities. I do whatever needs doing in the yard when it needs to be done no questions asked.

    I will tame a jungle yard so homeowner can do it themselves but I bid them very high. <100+ per hour min.
  5. ProCare Lawn Service

    ProCare Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    I always charge more for the initial cut if it has not been maintained. I have one now that I am going to do, if it will stop raining, that will be $65 the first cut and $45 a cut after that.
  6. topdog

    topdog LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 205

    i get a lot of bad shape homes....due to city getting on them to cut the grass, and i always charge more for them. my favorite one was last year the grass was soo, high you couldn't even see there steps on there back deck.
  7. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    Oh ya, we most certainly do charge extra for a first cut that is overgrown and out of control. In fact, we have had customers that will call up 23 days into April when we've been cutting for three weeks, and their lawn hasn't been touched yet. Matt will say to them, "This is three weeks of growth that should have been cut, you'll be charged for each week. "
    We don't do bi-weeklys at all anymore. We did when we first started out, but that's a thing of the past now.
  8. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    It's written in our contracts that there is an extra charge for first time cuts. It may be a double cut or even higher if it's really out of control. We also have a high cut fee of 30% to cover rain and over feeding on the lawns we do not spray. Cleanup is also extra, and bagging ( if desired) is an additional 20% plus $ 2.00 per 21" bag of clippings, and $ 5.00 for the Stander 4.4 bags. Not one person has ever complained about it..

    JOEWOOD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146


    With the excitement of a New Cutting Season opening up, yes!... I agree many LCO's will take the loss on Tall Turf.

    Joe... :realmad: :realmad: :realmad:
  10. ince8728

    ince8728 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    What about if a lawn hasn't been cut for only 2 weeks, how much more would you increase the price for that one time? The property is 50X280, i'm charging $50 / cut. Should i just bump it up to like 60, or more like 75 for the 1st cut? (They have a sprinkler system.) Also, i have a feeling these people may ask to have the price lowered to 45 (there new, they just bought the house this week), i've pretty much made up my decision but i wanted some input from you guys also. I'm prob gonna hold my ground & stick w/it, any thoughts?

    - Matt

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