If you charge per month instead of per cut...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Can I Mow Your Lawn?, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Can I Mow Your Lawn?

    Can I Mow Your Lawn? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I just read the lawnsite articles in Turf magazine about the guys who are charging per month instead of per cut. Not to mention the guys who were ok with the price but then decided to cut their bill in half by switching to bi-weekly service, which DEVESTATES my schedules.

    I would LOVE to do this, but I am scared to death of a trend I have noticed, especially with the bi-weekly lawns. I get a TON of cancellations every year starting in September.

    For a weekly client who also takes chemical treatments, the annual cost is $1,126.50. If the clients who are always calling to skip cuts would just look at that monthly nut, $93.88/mo, instead of $25.50 every week, they'd probably be fine with the service.

    The problem is, EVERY fall I get people calling in to cancel because they are cheap. If I flat rated my service to a monthly fee, I can already see the problems. 12 months at $93.88...they will call to b!tch and play dumb that we still charged them full price every month in the winter when we only did 2 chemical treatments. Even worse, they'll cancel in September and October and essentially stiff me on the winter payments. What if they actually did sell their home??? I don't think I want to be involved in that conversation.

    If I try to charge 8 months at $140.81, (Mar,Apr,May,Jun,Jul,Aug,Sep,Oct) I can aleady see the comparison...Jose in the rusty pick-up truck is only $25 per week = $100/mo. Even still, if I bill it that way, $140.81/mo X 8 months, I've still got to deal with people calling to cancel in mid September, when I was planning to get paid on October 1st.

    Do you think a market that is geared towards a per-cut charge of $25 would welcome a flat rate service of $140.81 X 8 months????

    Can I Mow Your Lawn?
  2. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,925

    this is where a contract comes in. Here we have a 10 month season and still apear in December and January. I have had to add a clause that the monthly rate is based on a 12 month contract. You can cancel with 30 days notice but I will add up what we have done and subtract what they paid. If I owe them I send them a check for the balance. If they owe me I send them a bill. I usually only have people cancel if they move out of my service area or go into a old persons home, or pass away. I have had no problems with it. Make sure you cover yourself leagally. contracts are not always binding but sure keep the honest, honest.
  3. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    All my cuts are by the month. All are condos/commercial. Some sign from Apr 1 to Oct 31. So in April, we visit site and piddle around, clean up a bit, but there is still frost in the ground so not much to do. In October, we get the month to clear the leaves. So 2 months out of 6, we don't cut grass much, just clean and smile. :)

    Other sites go from May 1 to Oct 31, so they save a bit...cheap skate :cry:

  4. jpmako

    jpmako LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 593

    The answer is simple.
    Put a clause in your contract that states " In the event of cancellation, the client will be responsible for all costs of services rendered up to the cancellation date. A final invoice will be sent to the client approximately 30 days after such date for balance due. "

    I have a had a few people bail out before the year was over due to various reasons and I just sent them an invoice with all of the services that were performed and subtracted the payments that were made.

    Hope this helps,

  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,374

    And more important state what the charge will be for each type of service that you perform.....TG taught us that they charge more for a visit when a customer
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Yes, you have to cover yourself with a contract.

    And yes, people will try to cancel early and/or stiff you for the winter payments.
    Even commercial sites.

    This is what the contract is for.
    All of them pay me in advance... meaning they pay me the first month up front when they sign, and then the first of every month after.

    On the installment plan, I offer customers options. The first year I do not offer 12-pay plans. I now only extend that on rare occasion by request. Instead I do 8 or 9 pay... sometimes 10 for an earlybird that's going to have fall leaves.

    In any event, I want first-year customers done paying as soon as possible. Then in December or January I offer them the option of 12-pay if I so choose. That means they start paying in January, which I like a lot better than 12-pay's that start in March or April.

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