Flat rate billing?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by spitfire3416, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 554

    I'm going to start billing my customers a flat rate this year and I'm a little stuck on how I should structure the payments. I'm in NJ so the growing season runs from Apr 1st - Oct 31st. That's about 32 cuts a year. So I know that, but what about lawns that have sprinkler systems or have their lawn fertilized regularly. These lawns ALWAYS grow thicker, longer and faster. Originally I was thinking I would just charge everyone 32 cuts no matter if they had a sprinkler system or not, and then just tell them that I bag on an "as needed" basis. So if I had to bag the lawn or cut it twice on any particular visit, then I would just charge them a dumping & maintenance fee accordingly on top of their monthly bill. Now I don't know. I feel like it might be better to just charge 36-38 cuts for these people. This way they won't constantly see an extra charge on their bill when I have to bag the grass and hopefully cause less confusion. What do you think?
  2. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,050

    You don't do spring and fall cleanups:waving:
  3. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 554

    yea i do, but I'm not really concerned with that aspect of the pricing. i'm just trying to figure how guys charge for lawns with sprinkler systems and fertilization.
  4. fastlane

    fastlane LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    Charge more per cut. Charge for 32 cuts. Charge for extra cuts if needed at end of season.
  5. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,157

    How do you plan on charging for 36 or 38 cuts in a 30 week period?

    Even with irrigation and the fact that we are further south occasionally we will have a 32 week season. We charge by the cut if its 28 one year or 32 the next.
  6. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 554

    well there's 31 weeks to be exact.. but in May you are either double cutting every lawn or bagging to keep them looking good. so i would think that extra work is enough to warrant a 32 cut estimate. I admit 36-38 cuts is probably a little extreme but the grass definitely grows faster if they water it year round, not to mention fert apps. 34 is probably more accurate. The reason why I'm suggesting charging for more weeks is to offset the added time due to cutting grass that grows exceptionally fast because of this. Even though I wouldn't be actually cutting them this many times, it would merely serve as a way of accounting for my extra time.

    for example: if you have a lawn that you charge $35 a cut and you estimate their lawn for 34 cuts, then that's 2 extra cuts OR $70 extra to cover any additional time and costs. The other guy above mention charging more per cut which I guess I could do also. So let's say $2.25 more per cut, bringing me 32 x 2.25= $72. Roughly the same outcome..
  7. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,157

    Basically your price is your price when it takes a little longer in May its the same as when its July and August and the grass hasn't grown much are you going to discount then? If your lawns are over fertilized and growing to fast you need to change your program some or change who ever is doing it for you. There are definitely times when the lawns grow like mad but also periods that it slowly growing. You just need to figure on a price per cut that averages what you need it to be. If you suggest to a customer that you are going to charge double in may because it takes longer they will be timing you through the season.
  8. H & M Yard Improvements

    H & M Yard Improvements LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    I charge by the cut. If it warrants a double cut or if i have to bag I let the customer know ahead of time and charge accordingly. Havent had a complaint yet.

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