Mowing programs... Your terms vs customer terms

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassmasterswilson, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    As my business grows I start to lean towards dictating the mowing frequency and program as opposed to the customer telling mesh at they want.

    I do mostly weekly and every other week. Some are year round, some are seasonal, and some are til leaves stop falling. So I could theoretically offer 6 services .... 3 for weekly and 3 for eow.

    In my area we still get leaves up on the regular mowing frequency as opposed to one time clean ups.

    Since the mowing side is where my labor is I would like to try to consolidate my programs going I to 2014. I thought about offering the following...

    1-- eow or weekly visit - regular service from a designated start date at green up to a date at the end of leaf season only(would cover growing and leaf season and stop when winter comes with dormant turf)

    2-- eow or weekly visit- similar to above but we continue to come in the winter after leaves and grass are done. It is possible to back off the frequency to eow or once a month depending on the clients growing season frequency.

    I'm curious what you guys have found that works, especially in the south and transition zones. Snow up north dictates mowing but we rarely get snow.
  2. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,128

    I offer weekly service and bi weekly service for mowing. No other options for mowing. From there, clients can either receive a 12 month agreement that outlines a specific schedule of services, or they can just go month to month and things end when the grass stops growing. I dictate the mowing schedule but add ons are at the discretion of the client. If a client wants to end the mowing season earlier than it should be ended, I let them know where I stand on it and that there will likely be a clean up fee involved in the spring that looks oddly similar to the price the rest of the fall mowings would have cost if things get out of control before the growth stops. The more streamlined you can make your set of service offerings without alienating a large portion of your potential client base, the better. I'm not saying try to squeeze every client into the same pigeon-hole, but for your own sanity, try to keep things as close to the terms you are comfortable with as you can.
  3. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,292

    I would not want mowing customers calling me every week telling me what to do, that's for sure.
  4. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 748

    I certainly can't have people calling me when they want it done because I have a tight schedule, especially in the spring and early summer. But a lot of people on here don't understand that we offer a service to make our customers' lives easier. We're here to help them, not the other way around, and that's why they pay us. I have the same agreement with every customer - I'll mow it as it needs it. Now, they get to pick how they want their lawn to look. Some want it pristine all the time (i.e. never looks like it needs cut) while others want it cut just about the time it looks like it needs cut. There are a select few who want it done every 5, 6 or 7 days and I have no problem with that because I can schedule that in advance.

    From a customer's perspective, I would never hire someone to perform a service if they insisted that the only way they'd do it is on their terms...such as "I'll change your oil every 2 months whether it needs it or not". There are just too many providers to choose from to be treated like that.
  5. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    Thanks guys. I only cut customers lawns every week or 2 week. However I offer a year round level, a 10 month level that includes growing and leaf season, and then a 7 month growing season only. I handle call ins in a way that they understand it may take a few days to get to it or I may have to say no due to previously scheduled jobs.

    I have thought about streamlining what I offer.
  6. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    I don't care, but I categorically REFUSE to cut it "shorter."
  7. yardguy plus

    yardguy plus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    I offer it both ways......

    premium service. my responsibility I call the shots. basic service. your responsibility you call the shots.

    with the basic though it's weekly on the day I set up at the beginning of the season so I don't get clients calling me when it does need it. only when it doesn't.

    caddy said it best though. enough providers there's no need to hire the "my way or the highway" guy.
  8. Landscraper1

    Landscraper1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Southeastern Ma.
    Messages: 753

    All of my accounts are on contract. One price for the season, divided by 8 equal, monthly payments. Price includes Spring cleanup, grass cutting, weeding and roundup apps, shrub trimming, and Fall cleanups. If it's a dry season and I skip cuttings, I make out. If it's a wet season and I have to put in extra cuts, they make out. No matter what the price stands.
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,099

    think about other call out services:

    "you have to be home between noon and 5 to receive the technician"

    Do they dictate the terms to you, or do you dictate them?

    If you have tight routes to give people the best price you can, you cannot let them tell you when you will be there.

    Do you tell the paper boy "I want the paper delivered before the neighbor on the left, but only on wednesday, the sunday paper, I want it before the neighbor on the right, but not if the news is bad, then I don't want the paper at all, and I dont want to be charged for a paper with bad news in it"

    Does that really facilitate getting you the paper easier?

    these are the types of customers you fire and hope your competition gets... the answer to the above is "find someone else please"

    In my experience those someone else's are people who don't know what they are getting themselves into, always think they know how to build the better mouse trap with no education or experience in business, go off half cocked with preconceived notions on how things 'ought to be' and then go out of business in 3 years...blaming everything that has happened to them on "the competition"......

    You ever been to lone star, outback, cattle company? How different ARE those steak houses from each other, really?
    Because they are all competitors, they pretty much do things...well almost the same.

    Now look at Ruth Chris...zoinks... I was really confused the first time I went there... where was my food... I had a bare plate with a steak on it!

    Ruth Chris does things different but they are SO much more expensive....

    IF you want to be very particular about the service, you are willing to pay ALOT for it.

    People don't buy an Aston Martin because they are hoping for a 'good deal on a car'

    Keep in mind exactly who you are 'catering' to. A catered lunch is not a Big Mac and you can't offer that type of service with out charging for it. That's how chuck-a-rama put beef steak charlies out of business. That's why the new better mouse trap LCOs barely make it past the 3 year mark (that's IF they make it past the 1 year mark!)
  10. yardguy plus

    yardguy plus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    personally I'm gonna stick with the way I've been doing things for the 8 years I've been in business so far. and that's:

    setting up a spring schedule with a specific day each client is scheduled for service. if they are basic clients I expect a call if/when they don't want/need service for the week. if they are a premium client I will either make the decision myself, some will be so kind as to call or I will dry by and check it out for myself.

    I'm not and never will be opposed to clients calling and cancelling service when it's not needed. I prefer the saved trip out and encourage EVERY client basic or premium to call when service is not needed.

    but understand also they are all aware if they are to cancel and it really did need it and extra work is needed the following week extra money will be charged for the extra work.

    I treat all my clients like I would want to be treated. I'm not hiring a service that has the "my way or the highway" attitude so I don't have that attitude with my clients.

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