My Strategy's for 2008-Your Input Please

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Pro-Turf LLC, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. Pro-Turf  LLC

    Pro-Turf LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    Hey guys I just want to check with you and see what you think of these ideas for next season….
    1. Signed Season Contracts-Only take on customers that will sign my season price maintenance contract (this way I know what I have to do on their property and I can have a very accurate budget for the year) also if there are any issues with payment this will hold up in court.

    2. Require Credit Card Number-I am tired of getting checks late and all that crap and even not getting paid by some people this way I have their credit card on file and will bill it at the end of the month. I know most commercial accounts will still send checks but I will still ask/offer the cc option to them.

    3. Paperless Office-This will be great I think! Email invoices. That will save a lot of time and money with stamps, envelopes, paper, ink, running to the post office, excreta. I will be purchasing some software that friend told me about where I scan in all papers and it stores them in and this will be good for invoices, receipts, and checks I do receive also for the contracts to have those stored on the computer too.

    4. Additional Work-Requests will be sent via email and quotes will be returned via email. I am not sure how all this would hold up legally because its not a signed contract or anything so I am wondering do I need to do a signed contract or require prepayment before we perform the work. If I have their credit card on file I can just bill them and do the work immediately but if they pay via check then I will have to wait a week or so for the check to come in the snail mail.

    5. One Timers-Generally for spring and fall clean ups (I hope to have enough work lined up to not have to do one timers but who knows that’s how you grow!) But for the one time customers I am thinking I will require prepayment only. I have been screwed out of too much money this year from one timers I am done with that crap! So I think that I am going to require prepayment with check or credit card. Even getting them to sign a contract doesn’t mean I am going to get paid so I think if they want my services I will only perform the work if I have received payment.

    I know I wrote a fair amount here but I think this is really important and I want to get my business more professional and less stressful for me next season and make things a lot easier for me as far as paperwork and all that stuff goes. I am aware I will scare off some potential customers with all this technical stuff and I will probably loose some customers as well but its worth it because those are the customers paying 30 days late and sometime not paying at all! Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I’m looking forward to your input!
  2. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    sounds like you are on top of things
  3. DaveinSWFL

    DaveinSWFL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    Looks great. Great idea. The area that I feel will be your biggest challenge will be the credit card on file issue. With identy theft out of control this is an issue for a lot of folks and could be a deal breaker if required to do business with your company. I guess it will depend on the way you present it to the potential customer.
  4. Pro-Turf  LLC

    Pro-Turf LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    yeah im not exactly sure how i want to do this. Especially sense i am leaning towards strictly commercial properties and most of them pay via check so i dont think cc will be an option but i am going to be very strick with the contracts NO work will be completed without a signed contract in my hand!
  5. Pro-Turf  LLC

    Pro-Turf LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    and i relize this will probably scare away a fair amount of work atleast from the residential side which is fine im much more set up for commercial work anyways and they are willing to sign my contracts.

    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    i use paypal for my credit card purchases. i simply send the customer an invoice and i can put the credit card payment button in the email. if they want to pay with credit card, they press the button and it puts money in my account.

    the only thing i would think about is, you may save .42Cents on stamps, but what is the cost to take a credit card with their fees and all? I would talk to customer about emailing them an invoice and letting them know that they can leave you a little white envelope with green paper in it under the mat.

    this really simplifies things come tax time. wink wink
  7. Pro-Turf  LLC

    Pro-Turf LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    i havent done any research on accepting credit cards. Obvisously taking checks is cheaper but then theres the chance they wont pay me. But thats when only services customers that sign my contract comes in so i can take them to small claims court.
  8. deere615

    deere615 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,676

    Good luck, lol hope it works out for ya!
  9. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    average price of cc is 35cents a transaction + 2.9%. There will be a monthly fee from $10 to..... depending on what you choose. You can get software to do online (very expensive), buy or rent a machine (fairly expensive), or just call them in (cheap). I call them in, its a pain punching in the number, exp date, numbers of address and zip code, amount............ but its cheap and I dont do cc's for everyone so it works for me.

    All your ideas look good. Especially the one time paid in advance. I have done that since my first year. I actually charge everyone in advance, but down here we all do a flat monthly rate that doesnt change depending on number of cuts, ect......
  10. PaproskiLandscaping

    PaproskiLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    I am definetly with you on trying to get ride of "one timers" a strategy that I know guys use to get rid of nasty driveways to plow is to jack up the prices next year. This way if they still want you to come, the price you qouted them will make it worth your while.

    You will find that if you work your contract accounts right and keep them for a few years that you make more money on them the second and third year. Here is an example of an account I have:

    Year one: new customer calls me to qoute on their fall cleanup. The plantings badly needed prunning, the property was entirely bordered with brush and there was many years worth of nuts, twigs and thatch clogging the yard. I gave the customer a price and i qouted for two hours more than I thought it would acctually take me. Needless to say, as it sometimes happens I spent two more hours on the job over the extra two hours I had qouted. They were happy with the finished product so they called me in the spring to begin yearly maintenance.

    Year Two: I sold them on doing aggressive restorative prunning on alot of their plantings as well as removing some of the over crowded ones. I also convinced them to let me cut all the brush down at the edge of the yard (to make it easier to blow leaves into the woods). I also convinced them to have an arborist come in and remove some of the larger trees and prune the ones that they were keeping (this reduced the ammount of leaves that fell)The fall cleanup that year took less than half the time it did the year before. I made modest profits on the prunning and brush clearing but i made a huge profit on the fall cleanup.

    Next year will be year three and I am hoping that the prunning will also take half the time. I am planning to keep the brush down with a monthly agressive weedwacking.

    So whenever I do work on a contract property I try to think about making things easier to maintain. This is why now when i take one times i don't even give them a price i just give them my hourly rate, if they don't like that I don't work for them.

    Hope this helps. Be on the lookout I am going to start a thread for tips and tricks to making contract accounts easier to maintain.

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