I just completed a letter informing my current residental customers informing them<br>of a change in my billing procedures.<p>If you would like to plagiarize the following<br>please do so for IMHO plagiarism is the highest form of flattery.<p>If you have any constictive criticism that is<br>also welcomed.<p>Any snide remarks by the barking dogs of the<br>peanut gallery will be ignored as usual.<br>==========================================<br>Tuesday, February 15, 2000<p>Dear Residential Customers,<p>Due to the 3 month long drought of the 1999 growing season I must request that <br>all existing full service lawn maintenance customers pay for my services on a budget plan.<p>I cannot afford to lose thousands of dollars from an act of God that is beyond my control.<br>There is no way I can sustain the past agreement and keep current pricing levels with the possibility of only five months of available work with twelve months of overhead.<p>The mowing maintenance schedule for all customers will be as follows for the 2000 season:<p>April-4, May 4, June-4, July-2, August-3, September-4, October-3, and November-1.<br>This will consist of 25-service +/- a couple as weather conditions dictate over a 33 week long growing<br>season starting April 1, 2000 through November 18, 2000.<p>With this agreement I can hold my pricing at 1999 levels. Plus this will help with your household<br>budget by spreading out the top heavy spring services over the course of eight months.<br>You will still have the right to cancel my services at any time for any reason with a 30-day<br>written notice, which at that time you will pay me for actual costs services rendered.<p>To activate my services and insure a spot on my schedule this year you will need to include a check for<br>the first monthly payment with a signed copy of the enclosed proposal. Upon receipt of your check and<br>signed proposal I will issue you a payment schedule and seven SSAE envelopes in which to return your<br>future payments. This way I will eliminate any need to invoice on a monthly basis which lowers my<br>cost of doing business and keeps your pricing levels low. The removal of dead fall tree limbs after a<br>severe storm is not included nor is any other landscaping work not mentioned in your contract, and<br>will be invoiced as those services are performed.<p>If you find this new agreement unacceptable I will provide service on a per occurrence per cost basis invoiced monthly net 15 but expect a sizeable increase in the price of my mowing maintenance services.<p>If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me, for I am always available to<br>discuss you needs.<p>I am looking forward to servicing you needs yet another year and provide the quality lawn care and<br>landscape services that I have provided in the past.<p><br>Sincerely,<p><br>Lawrence Stone<p>LS:ls<p>Enclosure<br>


LawnSite Senior Member
SW Missouri
With the title of your post &quot;I dropped the hammer&quot;, do you expect to lose some customers?<br>How much (%) do you plan of raising customers not on the budget plan?<br>You defined your mowing schedule to include 25 per season. Will the charge for additional mowing be at the same price as 99?<br>I would be curious as to the response from your customers. I have been debating on setting up residential in a similar fashion.<br>Letter will go out this week and we plan on mowing March 27 - Nov. 17.


Moderator, Friend, Angel
South East
Since in my area we have drought periods every year. I don't consider a drought a loss. I mean I look at it as the kinda business I am the some years this is all I am suppose to make. Upstate sc is very drought prone. Now the rest of the country is getting a taste of what we get every year. Sometimes the drought is short. Sometimes it is long. And at different times of the year. I think I would make a new deal with new customers. I don't think I would upset the cart of my whole customer base. Since that took along time to build up. And with all the competition out there looking to take it from you. Fisherman, farmers, real Estate people etc go through fluctuations in their businesses just like we do. It just may rain alot this year to make up for last year and you will come out on top. You never know.


LawnSite Senior Member
i would also like to here what your customers say from all the stuff i have read i have decided to go on a per month price schedule instead of the per cut i started with, thank you


LawnSite Silver Member
Central CT
Ive been putting the bug in customers ears about going this route, I get the same response, doesnt matter as long as the work gets done and Im still doing it.<p>Ive said it in other threads, customers do not shop around unless you seriously mess up their property. As long as they percieve value in what you charge, price is secondary. <p>Bill


central fl.
I have never charged a client for service not<br>rendered. If they want it cut 5 or 6 times a month they pay on top of there monthly bill which is based on 40 cuts per year.


LawnSite Member
ne Pa
larry, you redeemed yourself with this one. I think you are treading on thin ice when you blame everything on the drought. the cold hard facts are that us green professionals have let our customers dictate the terms that they are going to pay us. They ignore the fact that we are covering the equipment costs for the entire year so they may utilize us when they want to. they have to be constantly informed as to the services that you are providing them and the real costs of that service. I think that if you start off your letter by citing the drought you will lose them because all they see right now is 6 inches of snow. they forgot about the drought so you have to put your plea in todays context. <p>How about:<p>Dear Customer;<p>The reason that I can't charge you what I charged you last year is<br>1. The price of gas went up 33% over last year(notice your last fuel oil bill?)<br>2. The price of labor is going up (President Clinton wants to raise the minuium wage)<br>3. Insurance prices are going to raise 6% this year(quote your insurance co here)<br>4. My banking costs are increasing(Alan Greenspan just raised the interest rate)<br>5. Lesco my main supplier is raising prices 3%(see their annual report)<br>6. Equipment costs are going up 5% (quote Scag here)Whoever thought a pickup truck would cost $30,000 today<br>7.Global Warming could cause future droughts which result in loss of revenue to Larry's Landscaping rendering him unable to cover his overhead.<br>8. Continue with more examples if you want to but always quote a verifible source for the increase.<br>There is no way I can substain the past service levels that you received with the current pricing levels. I must request that all existing full service lawn maintenance customers pay for my services on a 8 month budget plan. Your price of _____per month will include 33 mowings, one spring cleanup, aeration, fertilizing, fall cleanup(you have to spell out what you are going to do for them for the eight months) if this is not acceptable per diem cuts are ____per cut and all other services are time and material basis. Hourly charge is 48.00 per labor hour<p><br>What you are trying to do is the hardest thing in the green industry. Getting people to realize what they are paying to maintain their $100,000+ investment on a yearly basis instead of a per time basis. Once you do this, your life gets a lot easier.<p>There is no way I c


LawnSite Senior Member
mark me down for doin' the monthly thing.<br>Something I thought alot about last year, & after the drought, It seems to be a feasible way to keep income leveled out during a very seasonable type of industry.<br>Let's get some votes from out there-<br>How many charge/bill monthly during the mowing season vs. billing monthly for 12 months- that's a way to keep $$ coming in during winter mths. when snow can't be counted on for dependable income<br>Any opinions?<p>----------<br>Smitty ô¿ô<p>


LawnSite Bronze Member
I guess I don't understand.<p>You want to charge the same every month regardless of mowings/drought, etc. That's cool.<p>Why not do the same with snow?


Larry,<br>Looks like you put some thought into this. I agree with the post by fireball about not putting all the blame on the drought. I would not give any reasons, simply state that you are changing your business practices.

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