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Do You Notify The Client In Advance?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawn, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. lawn

    lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    Hi guys, do you notify the clients in advance that you will be charging more per cut because the higher fuel cost or you just do it and bill them?
    I do not have contracts but some clients have a written estimate that they sign, some others do not have anything they just pay me year by year.
    What do you guys do? I guess I am afraid that if I send them a note saying that I raised the cutting price the will drop me. :(
  2. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    Well, just tack your unannounced fuel surcharge on the invoice and see how many drop you.

    A note in advance, or better a face-to-face, explaining the increase will make it a lot smoother.
  3. T Edwards

    T Edwards LawnSite Member
    Messages: 230

    Here's an example of what we are including with our invoices this week:

    "Due to the recent rise in fuel prices the charge for maintaining your lawn will change from $____ to $____ starting with our next visit. Gas usage is our number one expense and we all hope it doesn’t reach $3.00 per gallon."

    Our $49 lawns are increasing to $52 and no one has dropped us yet. People are very understanding.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    Your letter is exactly what I would do. $3 might be a little harsh. I would only go an extra $1 per lawn for mowing. Does the truck use $2 more to get there these days? Everything costs more these days and customers might get sticker shock at that price.
  5. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Send a letter. or you can put it on the door for the next cut.

  6. T Edwards

    T Edwards LawnSite Member
    Messages: 230


    We average about 3 gallons of fuel for each job which includes the trucks, mowers and handheld equipment. Fuel costs have increased roughly 75 cents per gallon since our last adjustment. If we only charged the customer an additional dollar we would be taking a pay cut and that's not a good business practice.

  7. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Starting last year we started a fuel surcharge. Not a single complaint or dropped customer. Honest.

    Here it is....

    1.75-1.99 ----> $1
    2.00-2.24 ----> $2
    2.25-2.49 ----> $3
  8. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    Gas hit 3.00 around here yesterday, I expect 3.25 before its all said and done.
    Unless, I heard correctly that Bush ordered the Oil reserves open. (I hope!)
    that may stabilize the prices a little, but with the refineries that shut down for that storm, it will still increase until they can get back to full production. with nationwide refineries running at 90%+ I really don't see recovering from that very soon.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    That's a cold, direct way to put it but jerrywm is 100 percent right: You raise a price on someone without notice and you will catch serious backlash. No, you absolutely NEED to let them know that you're going to raise prices AND I would suggest doing this in the form of a question AND leaving it OPTIONAL as some will drop you regardless of notice should you try and force the increase.

    At least that's been my experience as well.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    And you just tacked it on without letting them know, after you did the job, here's your new, revised bill and have a nice day? Somehow I don't see that happening, at least not with my regulars.

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