Mowing contracts

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by sms8921, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. sms8921

    sms8921 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    How many of you have mowing contracts with your residential accounts? With this drought I thought about implementing some sort of contract so I am still making some money. I dont charge extra in the spring for the heavy growth, trimming and such, so I figured a small cancellation fee due to drought. 10.00 cancellation fee maybe would really help out during the stretches with no rain. There for if they move their cut from tuesday to friday there is no fee. If they move from a tuesday to a monday there will be a 10.00 cancellation fee for that week. Thanks
  2. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    Like per pushes in snow ,no snow no pay. Just need to suck it up.
  3. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,920

    We made it simple. ALL of our clients are on the same program with the exception that some have more fertilizer applications then others. I fired all of my clients who didn't enjoy watching their properties progress & where to far away from out core service area.

    With doing this we were able to put all clients on the same program. Mowing,fertilizer program,shrub trimming,weed control, ornamental pruning etc... all added up and devided by 12 equal payments. Times like this month I might not do anything on our properties because of the heat....but we are still getting the same money now as we do in the winter! Not to mention we weeded out all of our late payers. All of our clients pay within the month the service is being rendered.

    No need for a cancellation fee...lock them in for the complete year with the idea that you are going to keep EVERYTHING looking good at all times. Sot there is no "spring cleanup" with a large fee. Remove the leaves as they fall, trim the shrubs when they are in need to trimming, fertilizer when its needed....etc..
  4. sms8921

    sms8921 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Bunton Guy I really like this idea. Can you explain a little how you add the clean ups and hedge trimming into the mix. You never know really how many leaves there are gonna be. I would like to go this route, just need a little help with figuring out the numbers.
  5. kyia

    kyia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    I see how this can be done on places you know, because over time you can get a fell for it. But What about on new yards that is where would like some more info on how you come up with you number.
  6. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,920

    Most neighborhoods we work in we already have 4-5+ yards in so we have a good idea of how much leaves etc... we will see.

    I wanted to make a system to stop confusion for employees trying to learn which lawns get roundup,fert,leaf removal etc... This really helped when weaning myself out of the field.

    I would say 90% of our residential homes are $350K+ and have aggresive HOA's. So between no time and very little outdoorsy skills :laugh: we sell our clients on the "hands off" approach. We do everything from mulching,flower rotations,fert programs,lawn maintenance & landscape renovations for our clients. They LOVE the fact that we take care of everything....
    As far as pricing our programs start with the lawn mowing,shrub trimming,leaf removal,fertilizer program & weed control. Aeration over-seeding & mulch/flowers is extra. All services are figured up on materials per sq. ft. pricing & estimated man hours. Then devided by 12 equal payments :drinkup:

    Because we stay on top of mulching,leaf removal & shrub trimming the maintained natural areas never get out of shape. So "cleanups" in general are not needed. Now when we take over a new clients yard we charge a "startup" fee which includes trimming the shrubs to our specs and fresh layer of mulch, weed control in turf & natural areas if needed and a fertilizer application. This gets them up to speed so they fit in with the rest of our yards.
  7. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,920

    Like I said most of the time we try to only market and take on new yards in neighborhoods we have lawn in or really close by. So we have a general idea of how much time it takes to get the leaves out and to the curb to be sucked up. Worst case scenerio I use my best judgment...I haven't been in the game forever (11 years) but I have done a lot of leaf removal so just staring up at the trees for a few minutes helps give me an idea of what kind of trees & how many leaves we will be dealing with.

    Also when I visit a new property I have a list of questions I ask and write down the answers. Getting them to walk through the lawn and describe as much of it as possible really helps give me a idea of what we are getting our selfs into and gives them a chance to really see that we are LISTNERS and that we care. I think it really helps in the selling process that we listen and ask a ton of questions. Usually at the end of a meeting we get a hand shake and a " thank you" " you asked so many questions that we have never been asked before"

    Lately I have come in as much as $40-60 and even as high as $80 more per month on residential lawns...and been able to sell them on a few key skills that their current providers are missing out on (communication !!!)
  8. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,920

    Sell your clients on the fact that because you are going to trim their shrubs more often and add in a few key services that it will save them from getting large spring cleanup fees & it will keep things looking more orderly ALL YEAR LONG!

    If they are not willing to consider evening the hit to their wallet all year long V.S. big bills a couple times a year then ask yourself are they really your ideal client?
  9. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    You provide full service for 40/ month? Where are you located and how do you cover your costs? I feel like on even a small property 40/month will not cover payroll? I'm I understanding you?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,920

    No was to late to edit.

    I've come in as much as $40-60 per month MORE then the next guy.

    lets say you were doing Mr. Smith's lawn for $180 per month
    I might have came in at $230+/- and still got the contract.

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