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How many times have you heard this one this Fall?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Greatdane612001, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. Greatdane612001

    Greatdane612001 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I Thought That The price for a Fall clean-up was the same for a weekly mowing?

    I get about 5 customers a week after they see their Bill for the Fall clean-up They call me up all pissed off saying "I Thought That The price for a Fall clean-up was the same for a weekly mowing?"

    After I tell them How much I charge and that I go at an hourly rate then I have to tell them If I charged how much I charge to mow their Lawn I tell them that it wouldn't even be worth it too set foot on their yard at that price!:dizzy:
  2. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    hear it once in a while...they learn quick.

    often i hear it from the spouse who i didn't originally call for the FCU.
  3. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,847

    You need to outline the price ahead of time in the contract so their are no surprises. If you are going to run it hourly, say so and tell them a lawn of their porportions will usually run between $x and $y.
  4. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    I hear it to. I tell the it takes alot longer. If they dont believe me, they can sit and watch. I let them know that even if the leaves are done weekly its still takes about 1 1/2 to 2 times longer. I try to price it by the hour but some customers dont like to hear the hourly wage, they just about croak, it seems like. If they insist on a set price, here's what I do, however long I think it will take, I multiply that by 2 or even 3. If you think its gonna take 4 hours, its probably gonna take 6, 8 or even 10. I hate leaves, so I price them way high.
  5. rcav8er

    rcav8er LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    I lost a customer this week to this very thing. I had been cutting this property all year and now with fall in full force I starting charging for leaf removal. This property is about 5 ac. with 2 1/2 to 3 in trees. Pretty large cleanup for my one man show. Customer flipped out with the November billing stating she could not pay $175 for leaf removal. She had been paying $145 for mow and trim. Backpacking and tarping is pretty labor intensive but customers don't seem to understand that.
    To top it all off as she is paying for my final bill and giving me my walking papers, she comments she needs a full crew to service this property and mow along with leaf cleanups for $145 a pop.
    Oh well easy come easy go!:dizzy:
  6. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Greenman, you're right on with your post!

    MacLawn, you too.

    Customers don't like surprises. And many times they are totally clueless when it comes to leaf/yard clean ups.

    If my regular mowing customer gives me the go ahead, I explain to them that this is going to take quite a bit more time than just mowing. However, we've found that if we have some kind of miscommunication and I lose, at least the yard clean up for the following year, they call me back the year after that, when another LCO has come along and really put it to them.

    Beyond that, I still haven't really come up with a good solution to deal with those who refuse to admit to reality. I think we all have those in our areas.

    A few years ago, a man called me from a neighborhood that has no "wannabes." That means that if you're not absolutely, filthy rich to the point of vulgarity, you can't afford to live there. He wanted me to haul off some leaves that he had had his handyman blow into piles. When I got there, the piles were huge!! And there were about 20 of them. It took me 4 trips to the dump to dispose of everything. I turned in a bill for $500. Now for this man, this is the dust on top of his night stand. But he pitched a holy fit - called me every name in the book, questioned my family heritage and my wife's too. Then he said he wasn't going to pay it. I told him if he didn't pay it, I would simply deposit every last leaf I collected for the following month in his yard. I was looking for a way not to have to drive all the way to the dump. He wrote the check.

    Last year, I was unloading a trailer full of leaves and here comes the guy's handyman. He was taking care of the leaves that my $500 the year before was too much to pay. He was getting $10 per hour and had been on the leaf job for over 2 weeks now. He had some 90 hours in it and was pretty sick of it, but the customer was happy. The moral of THIS story is that many times it's not the money. It's all about control. Sure, he didn't call me back, but it was a one timer anyway. If you let your customers buffalo you, you'll lose your shirt. I'd rather lose the customer than lose the money. When we get to the point that we give away work in an effort to keep from losing it, we're scrubs. That's really the problem with scrubs. They don't have the courage to charge a price they can stay in business with. They don't know how to put a stop to the hoop jumping that their controlling customers are making them do.

    So when I'm faced with this, I'm polite, I explain how I arrived at my price, why I have to have "x" amount and I stand my ground, even if I lose the customer. And I HAVE lost customers over this but I've been patient and low and behold, they come back.

    However, losing customers is a fact of life. We all lose them. If they don't jump ship over this, it'll be for something else. The sooner you learn not to worry about it, the better off you'll be.
  7. cajuncutter

    cajuncutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 626

    We charge regular fee to show up and round up leaves. Then we charge $7.50 a bag, we use the 55 gal bags from home depot and we pack them full till they won't hold anymore. This is a whole lot cheaper than paying us $25 a man hour. Every once in a while I will get some old bag that is still living in the 50's and wants something for nothing or tell me the fixed income story. And yes there are those out there on the "fixed income" but I usually can tell if they really do not have money or not. The ones I know are on a fixed income we generally cut them a big break but the others with the brand new Caddies and freshly arranges patio plants get no break what so ever. Same goes for lawyers and doctors. They won't cut the little man a break so why should I cut them a break. When I hear the complaints of high prices I usually give the plumber analogy to them. If they are willing to pay some fella $55 to $65 to unplug a toilet and they won't even pro-rate then why should I budge off my prices? Also the Van a plumber drives might be loaded down with 7 grand worht of tools etc and we haul around 15 grand worth of equipment. I can go on and on and on. Perhapse I should stop rammbling. Anyway yes I still hear it.
  8. Nope, can't say I have ever had that.
  9. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Not once.

    I would say you are not communicating correctly. Five customers a week? You need to make things clear or you will be losing customers. :eek:
  10. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    20 year client, first year client, one time cleanup: they all get it on paper -

    $xx.xx per mowing, monthly or biweekly edging included
    $xx.xx per fertilizer appl
    (couple of other services given with $$ per service)
    $xx.xx per hour ornamental work, spring and fall cleanup

    Estimated total annual cost: $xxxx.xx

    sometime Estimated cost for balance of season: $xxxx.xx (new client in mid-season gets both cost for full season, so they know that up front, and an estimate of what to expect for this partial season).

    Have been $400-$500 off on some over the years, by over- or underestimating, mainly on cleanup times. (But once 10 yrs ago, I missed a part year $800 something estimate by only 25ยข.) Charges listed separately for mowing and cleanup. Cleanup charges figured by hourly rate for excess beyond average mowing time, 5 minutes or 5 hours. Never had cleanup charges disputed.

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