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Suggestions For The New Guy

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grasscutterman, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. grasscutterman

    grasscutterman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Hello, I am need of some suggestions on the following:

    1-What do you do when you arrive to cut a lawn and find out that the customer did their own only because they felt like it? I was considering charging a fee for my time. workers pay etc..

    2-how many cuts do you let a customer fall behind? For example, alot of my customers leave the money on the door, but what happens if I go back the following week or two weeks and still no payment? CUT OR NO CUT?

    3-Where do you find good help? At this time we can not afford to pay alot, but we also can not grow without the help?

    Thanks for helping the new guy:
  2. "Ground Control"

    "Ground Control" LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    1- I have never had this happen to me but if it did....I would definately charge a fee. Just figure out how much time you wasted and how much you could have made in that time.
    2- I ask my customers not to pay me each visit. I dont want them to hand the check to an employee or even to myself because it could blow out of the truck (I live in one of the windiest cities in the US...:rolleyes: ) or I could put it somewhere and not remember. I bill all of my customers once a month, that way I get the check in the mail and cant lose it. I will keep mowing for a month after I send the bill before I try to figure out whats up.
    3- As far as finding good help....im having trouble myself. Anybody else have an ideas?
  3. xtrim

    xtrim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    1 - I would still do the "job" most cases, they wouldn't have trimmed or edged.

    2- I bill customers in advance for the month, the due date is the 2 days before the 1st mow the following month. If no payment is received, service will not be provided.

    3- I go to: http://www.ablebody.com. The place is a block away from my house, so I can pick up workers. I usually do this when we have large landscaping jobs that require more people.
  4. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    1. Although I'm still just as green as most other n00bs on the site, I have a clause in my contract that if I show up and I can't gain access to areas because of locks or anything else, I still charge the fee. If I were to show up and no service is required, I charge the full service fee. If they mow and call me before I show up, I just move on to the next lawn.

    2. I tell my customers that if I don't have payment before the next scheduled service, I will not mow the lawn until I have payment. I also have a clause that states if we go longer than scheduled, I add a $5 charge for every week we go past the scheduled cut plus a late fee for late payment. This hasn't come up yet, so I can't tell you how easy it is to implement this.

    3. I haven't had this problem, in fact, I've had several people almost beg to help me out. I actually had a customer tell me that if I needed help this summer, he'd be more than happy to give me a hand. Then he said he'd help if we split what I made, I had to hold back a laugh. Luckily for me, I've got two brothers that live close so for now, I've got all the help I really need (at a great rate too)
  5. ACutAbovesiny

    ACutAbovesiny LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 590

    1-This never happened to me but I would edge, trim, and blow...customers usually dont get everything. Then I would charge them as usual. I would aslo give them a call to see if they want my services in the future.

    2-I bill at the end of the month. Payment due the 5th for example and if pament not received by the 10th for example would receive $10 late fee.

    3-When you find it try to keep it. Its so hard to get. I was actually loading the trailer last week when a guy came over to me looking for work. He has experience and needs the work. This could be something good.
  6. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,806

    1, if you want to keep the costomer and keep them happy i would simply give them one warning and skip the lawn that week. if you want to take it a step further you make a proposal for them to sign that states they agree to pay you for you work etc etc etc, and should you arrive to find it already cut you will charge a $_____ for the drive time and fuel.

    2. clearly your a cash business and people are leaving you money, so if its not there most people forget about you much more than you forget about them. do it, call if you need it or wait till next week.

    3. if your just starting out you probably arent charging enough which is why cant afford help. even if your starting you should be able to charge the same amount as larger companies with overhead. not to say you have to, but you can. on the same token, you are new so most likely spending alot on new, more, and bigger/better equiptment. again, a reason to charge as much as larger companies assuming you are doing quality work. for typical hand labor most are charging at least $40/hr. if your running equiptment that amount should go up or you can charge by the job guessing the amount of time you think it will take, and be careful, usually it takes longer than you think
  7. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    We get screwed all the time.....

    at day care " for my child" if she's there or NOT it's 75.00 a week....
    they say they can only have so many. so if my child is NOT there then that would leave an empty slot. so we have to pay.....

    We should do this too.....

    THIS IS YOUR TIME SLOT... If you dont use it you have to pay anyway...
  8. Shawns Lawns

    Shawns Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 638

    I agree. Our customers are paying for a time slot or our availability. If they choose not to use it for that week that is there priority but they still have to pay its up to them. I have only had one customer that when i showed up had half their lawn done and when i got there only the husband was home and i always talked with the wife well i called and called her cell phone and not response i waited about 30 minutes at her home and was not able to reach her so i left and never went back. :waving:
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No doubt, but first you need the customer base (money) in order to justify a hard-nose attitude, not trying to knock the advice, but I've been there. Either you can afford to lose them, or you suck it up, plain and simple, I still suck it up somedays, to a point you have to.
    That having been said ...

    1a. Always speak to them and ask what the deal is first and be open minded. There are some cases where the customer gets antsy and doesn't like the lawn to get as tall, usually if you accelerate their schedule that fixes it (so if they're on 10-12 then take their lawn down to 8-10 day intervals), I've had a few like that and accelerating the schedule fixed it because one would hate to jump the gun and if it's not the case that they want it cut more frequently:
    > 1b. If it's a penny pinching issue I cross them off the schedule, my services here are no longer needed, I am being replaced and I am also unable to properly predict and hence schedule when it needs it. Beyond that thou, a little tolerance might save the day, still.
    >> They hire me, or they don't. I take care of the lawn, or they do, no part-time nonsense.
    It all depends again, either you can afford to lose them or you can not, but you need to find out the deal first, maybe it got really tall, who knows? Always politely ask, and find out, take it from there.

    2. New customer is no pay = no cut, first time. Established customers UP to 10% of total money spent thus far (so a 3-year customer has spent $1,800 so far with me, I let it go until they're UP to 10% behind that, so 120-150 maybe 2-3 or 4 cuts). I use my own judgement, I've let a few ride for some time but very few, the general rule is don't fall more than 1-2 cuts behind.

    3. Sorry, I haven't hired anyone in a few years, if demand exceeds supply perhaps my prices are too low.
    > Right now I'm backed up a week, and two doesn't scare me, but you'll have to find your limits here.
    >> This is also a good opportunity to get BUSY, tests like this tend to make the Lco leaner, not entirely a bad thing.

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