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Practical distance/time to travel???


LawnSite Member
Just hoping for some input on travel distance/time. I am in a fairly small (30-40K) with a solid customer base as I have no local competition right now. There are quite a few more customers/clients to get right here in town but there is also a large number in some of the nearby towns. One to SW 30-35 miles and a very lucrative retirement town 25-35 miles east. Plenty of lake homes at two large lakes within an hours drivetime. Looking at 1 hour drive time each way by from point to point. Is it worth it? Would I add fuel/milage surcharge or just maybe up my application price? Then there is the issue of customer calls/complaints. I really don't want to drive 2 hours to tell the homeowner "that is not crabgrass, it's dallisgrass", etc. I guess some of the big city boys have long trips across town but it just seems like a long way down the 4-lane through the country. Any input be appreciated. Thanks!


LawnSite Senior Member
charge additionally for services to accomodate the travel. Do not travel for one or two customers. If you're going to service the area, be serious about it and put some effort into having a full day there every couple of weeks. Spread your route out like that (every couple of weeks in the area) so that if you need to service call a property, you can do it in a reasonable time and stillbe there earning revenue for the day. Do not offer 24-72 hour responses to service calls outside of your daily area. People that live of the beaten path know that they cannot recieve the same services as those in larger areas, par of the trade off, but if they know you will be checking on it within a week to ten days, instead of 5 weeks, that will usually suffice. Exceptions are emergency calls where the lawn is dying and may not make it without significant damage before your next visit to the area. In that case, strusture your agreements so that if you respond and it turns out to be an act of the homeowner (i.e. not watering, "sprayed something", etc.) that they will be charged for an emergency call out, you set that rate. Do a premium program with a premium price loaded heavily on preventative controls and you should find that to be a happy route with good margins. Best of luck.


LawnSite Member
Paris, Tn.
I don't care how far I travel, as long as it's worth the trip. As the above post says, make it worth your while. I tell my route men that it has to be worth the trip. Starting out though, it's not going to be worth the trip unless you make it worth the trip. I call on houses next to the lead I am going to see. Ask for referrals, offer a free application to my few customers I have in the area for new customers, etc. Before you know it you are building a route in the area. This has worked for us. Go for it, and build your business in that area.
Greg Pierce, CTP