Do you charge a Trip Charge?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by AJ Lawnscapes, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. AJ Lawnscapes

    AJ Lawnscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Do you charge a Trip Charge?

    When I show up to a lawn that does not need mowed, due to weather being dry or the customer mowing it, I charge a trip charge.

    I think it is common courtesy of the customer to look at their lawn and say "hey, I don't think this needs mowed, why don't I save some money and advise my LCO to skip me this week"

    Well, I just lost a customer because of this trip charge. She refused to pay it on her last invoice, and canceled service today because I advised her, when I sent her another one, that when I figure out the price, I include employee hourly rate, insurance, fuel prices, etc.

    Her letter wrote " I told you to mow it when it needs it "

    There are only 3 ways to find out if it needs it.
    1. Show up and Mow
    2. She calls and says it doesn't
    3. I call to ask.

    So I showed up, it didn't need mowed, she didn't call, so I didn't mow and charged a trip charge. Payment for wasting my time basically.

    Oh well, I didn't care for her to begin with, should have a paid attention to my warning bells in my head. Her last LCO just quit coming so she says. Then she didn't want to pay a disposal fee nor my company's full hourly rate for us to come out and take care of her landscaping. So I did it myself to save her some money, and she complained about a disposal fee. Saying if I had asked, I could have dumped it locally in her borough. Even though she was there, she didn't mention this.

    Blah. good riddance.

  2. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I don't think it is her responsibility to tell you when her lawn does and does not need to be done. Unless you state that in some sort of contract.

    The only time I charge this type of fee is if some customer decides he wants to stop service and doesn't tell me, mows it himself, or hires someone else to mow it. My customers agree to this charge when signing up.

    There has only been a few exceptions when a new customer has had problems with their previous lawn service refusing to stop service lol.
  3. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    Good thread - I don't do this BUT I do count on my customers to notify me in advance if mowing isn't needed that particular week (due to dry weather mainly). My commercial accounts...those I just call the shot based on recent weather and mow when I show up regardless. Just not sure how a trip charge would go over, haven't had to deal with that.
  4. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I guess I dont worry about my customers telling me because I have some fairly tight routes. Even then, this rarely happens to me. Houston doesn't really get into those drought type conditions. The humidity alone is enough precipitation to keep the St Augustine growing. :laugh:
  5. mybowtie

    mybowtie LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 683

    90% of my customers are weekenders..If I charged them a "trip charge" because it didnt need mowing when I showed up, I'd wouldn't have to mow them ever again....:usflag:
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No but that BS about them mowing it themselves doesn't fly with me either!
    Watch it!
    DO find out what is the deal first, some customers simply want you to come out more often!
    Do need to find out, if that's all it is then it's an easy fix, a few other things might fly as well.

    But any other reason that stuff comes up on me like "HA gotcha, SURPRISE!"
    Like yeah hahaha, how about I take a dump on this here front porch then?
    See I can leave nice little surprises too, maybe stick a marker flaggot in it.

    It might not bother me as much if they would at least call to let me know,
    but they never do and I don't care too much for that. Why, if you already
    HAD to get out and do it, why not have the courtesy to call and tell me?

    Now if I drive up and it doesn't need it, that's cool, no problem.
    Also if they want to call to tell me, that's absolutely fine.

    But I pull up and this crap looks freshly mowed, that sends me the message my
    services here are no longer needed, and I usually say as much too.

    I just don't care for it, feels like the customer is playing games with me.
    So trip charge or not either way it's a goner, never had much luck with it once that bs starts.
    Once or twice I can let it go, but watch out because...
  7. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    We never charge a trip charge for a lawn that does not need mowing. The customer is not expected to know if their lawn could be damaged due to cutting it when it is too dry, that is the job of the LCO. A trip charge in that instance is just bad business and a recipe for losing customers. We will charge for the service visit if we show up and are unable to mow due to a lawn being covered in equipment because the customer is having a roof installed or something of that sort. Those things are scheduled, and a courtesy call is expected to rearrange a visit.
  8. MImower

    MImower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I tell all of my customers up front I will be cutting once a week and if they want to save a few dollars by skipping a week when it is really dry, they have to call me before I show up.

    If I don't get a call, and spend time and money to get there, I cut it and charge for cutting it just like my contract says. If the grass is too dry and has not grown I will just touch it up by maybe cutting a few shaded areas and trimming or edging a little.

    This way I make money, and the customer does not see a charge for a week that I did nothing for them.
  9. Icepuck72

    Icepuck72 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    I always send an email or call them before I show up regardless.
  10. bigclawn

    bigclawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    It's amazing that customers will pay 'trip" charges for every service contractor that comes to their door except us! sears, the locksmith, plumber elctrician, cable guy etc etc all have 'trip" charges right on their bills.....which people blindly pay with no comment!!!!!

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