Charging Per Visit Vs. Monthly Contract????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jphag, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. jphag

    jphag LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    1. What do most of you do? Charge per visit or monthly broken down over 12 months.

    2. Do you give them an option or only offer one way?

    3. Do residential clients perfer one over the other?

    4. What do you do if they cancel after fall season?

    5. Do clients mind paying for services over the winter if you are never on their property again til spring?

    6. Do your contracts normally run April 1 through March 31?

    7. Do you charge an extra monthly charge if you offer snow removal?

    8. What are some extra ways to make money over the winter besides snow removal?

    TREEGUARD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    1. I charge both ways weekly & monthly

    2. I give them 3 options Weekly, monthly or in full before the season starts

    3. no

    4. after fall were done with all work

    5. Some of my big contracts I bill over 12 months to make it more affordable. all other are 9 months.

    6. My contracts get billed March thru November

    7. Snow is by push price depends on how much snow

    8. Take everyone to court who has been avoiding paying you.
  3. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    from OH
    Messages: 2,331

    if u do end up doing the pay per month system, make sure the customer knows that you get paid the full amount even if you only do show up 2 or 3 times for that month. I make sure to let them know at the beginning of the season that i guarantee a minimum of 3 cuts and max of 5. Yet somehow when we had our draught this year and they would call for me not to come out, they would get upset when i still charged the full amount for only 2 cuts. And i reminded them what their billing method was. I am switching back to all pay per cut billed at the end of the month. I just created a pretty in-depth customer database that automatically tallies up costs after each visit into a monthly total and then i know exactly how much to make the invoice for which i drop off at the last cut of the month and pick up on the first cut of the following month.
  4. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    1. I usually charge per visit, although a few customers prefer otherwise.

    2. I usually give people an option. (unless I'm worried that they won't pay) ;)

    3. I'd say it's about 50/50. Most people are flexible.

    4. Let 'em go, and find a replacement for the spring.

    5. Yes, most of them would probably have a problem with that.

    6. Most do, yes.

    7. I don't currently offer snow removal.

    8. Give music lessons (ok, so everybody can't do that)
  5. Gator Lawn

    Gator Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    All depends on the situation.

    Here I charge monthly, in advance, but the grass grows all year here. About 40 cuts/year. I get an easy ride during the winter, but everyone knows that if they want me back when the god-awful heat comes in the summer they have to stay onboard through the winter.

    You live in an entirely different world. I lived in the springs for 20 years and I know how drastically short the growing season is there. I bet you'd be lucky to get 30 cuts in, and when the grass stops growing it stops cold. No way will you get payed through the winter no matter how much hand waving or explaining you do. No one there is going to sign a yearly contract for 6 months work. You need to charge by the cut, and I would bill monthly in advance. Take advantage of the couple months that you cut 5 times.

    That's a tough market you're in, good luck.
  6. verant

    verant LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 484

    i charge per time and bill them monthly or every two months depending on the lawn
  7. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 829

    I push for monthly payment plans. Some customers would rather not to do this, because if they pay per visit it gives them more freedom to have you skip visits during the off season. I have customers that I bill both ways. I push for the monthly plan. If the customer does not want to do that, then I may offer them a pay per visit plan. Pay-per-visit customers do not get priority with me. If they seem like they will be easy to deal with I may take them on. Somtimes when they start about wanting service every 2 weeks and only during the active growing season, I tell them I am not interested. The ones I do take on may get bumped if a better year-round customer comes along.
    If I do a year-round plan, I usually tell the customer that I will service the property every week for 6-7 months, and every other week the other 5-6 inactive season (I specify in writing which months will be weekly and which ones are bi-weekly). I always show up as scheduled, and they pay the same each month all year.
    I generally don't require a written contract for residentials, but if they cancel on me in the fall or winter, I will not take them back in the spring. I don't include snow removal in my area because we don't have snow.
    Winter is a great time to tackle some landscaping projects, do extra cleanups, mulch and straw jobs. If your area is covered in snow all winter, I don't know what else you could do.
  8. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

  9. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    from OH
    Messages: 2,331

    must be nice to be able to pick and choose clients like that. in my area, the people are soo used to the lowballing kids with their homey depot mowers pulled behind durangos offering them "lowest prices guaranteed" that the bigger companies have to wait on them hand and foot. ive been lucky this season and got some customers who want a more professional outfit and thats what we stress, we cost more but u get what you pay for.
  10. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    here in northern ca. this is how i do it.
    1. monthly(weekly or bi we charge the same each month no matter how many weeks )
    2. weekly or bi-weekly
    4.we mow one a one year contract with two months cancellation fee if they stop early
    5.we mow all year long no snow........
    6.contract is for one year after the sign
    8.redo flower beds reseed or trim limbs.

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