Charging for service calls?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by grassguy_, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. grassguy_

    grassguy_ LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 633

    How many of you charge on service calls? We have always done them at no charge unless it required something beyond what was part of the customers normal program and until this year wasn't really ever an issue as I would route the calls with normal treatments within a day or so. Now with fuel prices and the obvious skyrocketing materials debacle I've considered a minimal service charge for service call visits or have the service call scheduled as part of their next treatment if its in the near future. Our service industry is really no different in materials, labor, etc than a plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc and if you call one of them, they aren't going to come out and use their expertise or materials for free. I have seen some in our industry beginning to charge, and wonder what your thoughts are on it. Thanks!
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,987

    It sounds like a great way to reduce your work load..........
    less clients!
  3. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,148

    I think that is a great idea!

    I think we have to be careful though!

    If we screwed up something, need to respray or they have a legitimate problem, I would have no problem charging them!

    But if they have something to "show us" or "just want to talk", then I think a charge is warranted.

    I have had customers call me to come out and once I get there they say "Oh, it isn't as bad as I thought" and then they want to stand around and talk! :dizzy:

    They need to cover our fuel and time in that case! Like you say, would the guy working or refrigerators, tv's and phones come with no charge?
  4. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    This free service call deal that we all have been doing for years was a Chemlawn instituted service from way back. Just about every company out there doing lawn applications followed suit and offered the satisfaction guaranteed " or we keep coming back " until your a peta and we have to cancel you. We have been trying to reduce free service calls as much as possible by weeding out ( pun intended) the frivolous call backs. Last week we had a customer send in a payment with a note that he had weeds. Six days after an application. This customer is in the process of being educated. If our application failed to produce results or there was a problem that was indeed our fault, then we should do the service call for free. If the problem was something other than our application then we should by all means charge something. The list of bogus service calls could fill a book. Dog spot, pool cover damage, customer applied chemicals, lawn mower injury, not watering enough, suspected ornamental injury from chems, etc..... Time is money. I never have enough time or money. We start charging Monday.
  5. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,148

    Good for you! :clapping:

    Great topic Grassguy! I think you will get the wheels turning with this topic!
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Here is our policy exactly as it is stated on our service agreement.
    SERVICE CALL POLICY: Clients scheduled to receive 6 (six) seasonal treatments, and indeed does receive 6 (six) season treatments, will receive service calls at no charge between treatments within 30 days of their last received service. Service calls requested by the Client after 30 days of the previously scheduled treatment will receive their next scheduled treatment. Clients receiving less than the 6 (six) treatment schedule will incur a $59.00 service call fee for any received service calls.
  7. garydale

    garydale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 813

    Our service call policy is vertually the same as Runner's. Almost identical verbage except we only charge $25.00.
  8. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,498

    question, if the charged svc call leads to an additional sale of say a fungicide app,
    do you still charge the full price of the svc call?
  9. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,148

    Don't know what they will say...but I would say no because that service call just turned into a sales call (which is great)!

    I think charging for the sales call should only be done when called out for stupid crap!
  10. Frank Fescue

    Frank Fescue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    STUPID STUPID STUPID... not the suggestion, but the actual carrying out of it. If this became and industry standard that the smaller companies charged for SVC calls Chem Lawn and Scotts would have an entierly new way to advertise to customers.

    Heres a better idea. When you finish a lawn, leave a brutally detailed note. Dont skip a beat, give 'em your number and dont beat around the bush. Most service calls can be handled by a phone call. Its basically free and saves you the trip out there. If a customer is adamant about you coming out (usually for a weed spray) find a day when you're close to that area and tell them they'll be the frst stop of the day. Communication is key. This makes them feel important. Instead of saying "I'll be out there, but gas is expensive so its twenty bucks to spray your clover"

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