Quote after first mowing?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dsmrolla06, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. dsmrolla06

    dsmrolla06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    Im looking for a way to be able to quote a commercial property after a first mowing. This would server for two reasons: to be able to quote the property more accurately, and for the customer to see the quality of work with out signing into a contract. I was thinking of doing somthing like a letter of intent or something along those lines to be able to start signing them up early.

    Also, how would I be able to contract a client for a regular monthly billing, without them calling a saying they dont want it mowed such and such a day. If i was to contract a client and tell them they would be sent an invoice every month for 12 months, would it get around this?

    Your thoughts and suggestions
  2. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    dsmrolla--my suggestion does not help you with what you are looking for. I'm sorry.

    but I would suggest to you rather than cut first, bid later...you should learn to bid accurately first and move on.

    time is money in this biz and if you are messing with mowing and then bidding a property you are losing alot of time every time you don't get the contract. good luck.

  3. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    not really, if time only = money, then , if he does get paid for that first mowing, but doesn't get the contract, he still only traded time for money. my advice- doing commercial work = putting all your eggs in one basket, drop the basket, you're out of eggs. with a residential acct, if u quote innacurately, and u then have to raise it, and u lose the client, who cares? it's only one of thousands
  4. dsmrolla06

    dsmrolla06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    Im trying to get away from the residential properties. I feel that residential customers put more emotion into their yard then do commercial clients. Its hard to get them to stay on a regular schedule because theyre always calling and telling you that they want it done such and such a day or dont want it mowed a week etc.

    When you say time is money, if i quote a property to low, and contract it, im stuck with that property the rest of the year and have the potential of losing money then. I also think a commercial client many be less likely to just have you mow it once just to get it for free. The person dealing with it is probably not having it come out of his paycheck, and it is probably alredy in their budget for the year. I was also considering offering the first time free as a promotion.
  5. Its better to have highend or mid level res. than to have commercial. Why? because your res. is going to be faithfull. Commercial will drop you for next low bid that comes along. Its alright to 1 or 2 commercial, but unless you have a huge operation I would fill the rest of my time with res. or very small commercial lots.

    If you want to keep your accounts on a reg schedule quote them a monthly price to take care of it weekly. You have to let them know that they're not the only customer and in order to service everyone they have to stick with your schedule, not you with their's.
  6. befnme

    befnme LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

    try these in your contract :

    2. Contractor agrees to perform the following services as outlined in the Landscape Maintenance Plans*. Service under this agreement will be:
    o Basic Plan o Weekly o Biweekly
    o Standard Maintenance o Weekly o Biweekly
    o Custom Program o Weekly

    5. Customer shall pay to Contractor at the rate of $ __________________per service call for the service herein agreed to be performed. Contractor will bill Customer and Customer shall make payment within ten days of billing date.

    6. The terms of this Agreement shall commence on 200____ and shall continue in full force and effect thereafter for atleast 12 months and then until it is terminated by thirty days written notice by either party to the other.

    you can try these in your contract and maybe include a clause that will allow you to increase your "estimate" only one time by ?? % before your second cut. that will give you a signed contract plus you can be sure you are cutting for the correct amount.dont just raise the rate because you can, only do it if you need to.because if you raise rates everytime and you give all those customers out as refs and they "all" say you raise rates it might hurt you in the long run.

    thanks gopher software !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    What you're doing is not a bad idea as it gives you the opportunity to come up with a price closest to actual. Had you to estimate it, the price may end up on the high side as you'll have to account for variables and unforeseen circumstances that may or may not materialize. I do more than a few jobs price-blind, meaning I don't think much about it until after it is done.

    One of the local mechanics works on my bmw NEVER gives me an estimate upfront (lol), he won't even give me an idea of how much he thinks it will cost (lol x 2). But, he's a good guy, does good work and has never ripped me off, the only requirement is I have to ASK if he'll fix something before I bring my car in (he wants to know what the problem is, first).

    Once he says he'll do it, I bring my car to him no questions asked.
    He fixes it, calls me when it's fixed, tells me how much it is, and I pay.
    Never a problem. The repair is right, and so is the price (customers ain't stupid).

    Guess you gotta have the b@lls to bid blind AND a customer trusting enough to take it from there... That and if they go for it, absolutely resist the temptation to get over on them (I shouldn't have to say this but their back door would be wide open so I thought maybe I better mention it).

    At the same rate, I've had customers where I accidentally (sometimes on purpose) left the back door wide open. Some will take advantage of the opening, some will not <- Stick with those who don't, and you got yourself the gold mine.
  8. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Commercial customers are looking for contractors that already know the business. If you need to cut it first to quote it you will be hard pressed to find too many accounts.
    Stick with residentials until you can quote accurately and have the resources to properly service commercial accounts.
    Personally I wouldn't waste my time with commercials.
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I agree with the first 2 sentences of this post.

    Again, like with most other posts on this site, areas so vastly differ, that I wouldn't waste my time with residentials.

    Also, against what a previous post said about customers being loyal, I've got commercial accounts that I've had for 17 years now. 90% of my accounts I've had for over 7 years. I only do commercial because they've got a set budget for the mowing / property maintenance.

    My fees are piddly compared to building payments, property taxes, water / electric bills, etc. Also, no one is going to cut the business hours in 1/2 because they don't have anything to build that week. The business always has to look good.

    If a residential gets laid off, or they lose their disposable income, the disposable services are the first to go, not the car or the house payment.
  10. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    although true that real commercial accts are not going to let you go due to a slight downturn, if you are getting real commercial accts. (ones paying 10 - 50 times what a resi acct pays) it will be a lot more painful when one changes.

    Unless you are really big (and I doubt the poster is) then having only commercial accts each paying $750-3000 per month is not nearly as safe as having tons resi accts paying $100-200 per month. Realistically how many commercial accts in that range can a solo guy maintain?

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