Do I separate my lawn care from landscaping duties now?

Gypsyjoshua

LawnSite Member
Location
Chattanooga, TN
I recently landed a customer for $228/mo to "maintain his property". I've visited the property twice where I mowed both times and trimmed some (6) shrubs and a few small limbs from a low-hanging oaks. We're now going to mow every other week, but I'll still be showing up once a week to do other things. Would you treat (and charge for) the lawn maintenance services separate from the landscaping duties? I need to do some math and see if the price works out for what I would otherwise charge for these landscaping tasks separately I suppose. Curious how you've handled lawn maintenance along with landscaping maintenance; together for a set price or charging separate for everything, or went in a different direction.
 

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Hawkshot99

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
New York
Based purely on what you said here, for 57 a week, ir 228 a month you will maintain his property. To a normal person this would mean mowing, bushes beds, maybe other things in a all inclusive deal.
Sounds like you should have figured this out BEFORE agreeing to a price with the customer.
What does your agreement with him say? I don't do a written contract for basic mowing, but would be for something that could have grey area.
 
OP
Gypsyjoshua

Gypsyjoshua

LawnSite Member
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Based purely on what you said here, for 57 a week, ir 228 a month you will maintain his property. To a normal person this would mean mowing, bushes beds, maybe other things in a all inclusive deal.
Sounds like you should have figured this out BEFORE agreeing to a price with the customer.
What does your agreement with him say? I don't do a written contract for basic mowing, but would be for something that could have grey area.

This is my first weekly-scheduled client as I've mostly been doing bigger one time jobs (brush removal, small tree removals). This client was with a large landscaping company and wasn't happy with their service due to inexperienced crew members so I'm taking over. No written contract btwn us. I quoted this client $240/mo and he told me he was paying $228/mo and didn't want to pay more. That could've been a lie to get a cheaper price. There weren't any big items that stood out to me. I'm in agreement with what people have said here so I'm happy about that.. that I'm not off-the-mark in thinking they could or even should be separated.
 

Freaky Fido

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Northeast USA
A price without a defined scope of work is useless. And now that you've got the job you're going to figure out if the price works for you. That's not how you should be operating.

For residential accounts, usually our mowing is at a fixed rate per mow and all other tasks are billed hourly, with the rate dependent on the task, plus any disposal. If the mowing is above and beyond what we consider a "normal" mow due to excessive growth or storm cleanup etc. a surcharge is applied, typically a multiplier of 1.25 to 1.5 times the base mowing price. It's when we get into commercial/industrial properties where fixed all-inclusive monthly rates are used or in some cases a not-to-exceed contract price for the contract period.
 

Hawkshot99

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
New York
This is my first weekly-scheduled client as I've mostly been doing bigger one time jobs (brush removal, small tree removals). This client was with a large landscaping company and wasn't happy with their service due to inexperienced crew members so I'm taking over. No written contract btwn us. I quoted this client $240/mo and he told me he was paying $228/mo and didn't want to pay more. That could've been a lie to get a cheaper price. There weren't any big items that stood out to me. I'm in agreement with what people have said here so I'm happy about that.. that I'm not off-the-mark in thinking they could or even should be separated.
So what did you agree to was included with the customer?
 
OP
Gypsyjoshua

Gypsyjoshua

LawnSite Member
Location
Chattanooga, TN
So what did you agree to was included with the customer?
I don't remember verbatim what was said in our initial convo, but it definitely included "cutting the grass, trimming some trees and bushes, blowing off the driveway, and maintaining the vines on the back wall of the house".

I could be charging more (and maybe should be), but I'm not doing a ton of work and feeling I'm being completely underpaid. In the future I plan to tackle the weeds in the grass (mostly lespedeza) and I will charge for that separately. Other bigger ticket items we agreed would "cost extra from time to time".
 
OP
Gypsyjoshua

Gypsyjoshua

LawnSite Member
Location
Chattanooga, TN
For residential accounts, usually our mowing is at a fixed rate per mow and all other tasks are billed hourly, with the rate dependent on the task, plus any disposal. If the mowing is above and beyond what we consider a "normal" mow due to excessive growth or storm cleanup etc. a surcharge is applied, typically a multiplier of 1.25 to 1.5 times the base mowing price. It's when we get into commercial/industrial properties where fixed all-inclusive monthly rates are used or in some cases a not-to-exceed contract price for the contract period.

I like this a lot and it makes the most sense to me. I picked up a new client yesterday and this is exactly how I set up the work to be completed.
 

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