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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm very angry and almost flipped out at this one customer yesturday!

At the begining of the season all my cleints sign a service agreement which stats that i will come on a weekly basis throughout the season.

Now that it finnally stopped raining and i'm cutting super fast.
I have these customers telling me not to come everyweek.
For instance this one guy calls me asks me "what happened?" I'm like what do you mean did i break something?!?!
his reply "you cut the grass!"
I was thinking to myself D---it,
I said yea thats what i'm supposed to do.
cust."but it didn't grow anythign since last week"
this guy is yelling at me at this point! I knew what he was getting to so i broke out

Mr.-------- I didn't complain or charge you double when it was raining everyday and it was taking my 3 times as long, y because we had a agreement that said thats what i'll charge you for the service no matter what....
so this guy breaks out "so what about last year when we had that drought and the grass didn't need to be cut for 6 weeks you would come here and do nothing?" that was an a lil overboard of a example cause i did everyother week since i was a scrub and didn't have to pay for anything except for gas.
So i told him that the company has to maintain the cashflow throughout the season to stay afloat and its not possible for us to not have the income for a whole month worth of service while i'm paying all the bills.

So this a------ asks me if this is my sole purpose of income! Like he was expecting me to not make money. This is the point where i was like I can't talk about this right now i'm at my other job! I'll see you tommorrow!

I had to carry that phone since my other cell had a dead battery!

We agreed that i'd come everyother week when its not raining but i told him that next season i cannot operate like that and he is going to have to sign a contract....along with the rest of my customers.
since about 5 more are taking advantage of my mistake on the service agreement
 

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Contracts, contracts, contracts.

I get paid every month all year by every single customer I have. If they won't sign a contract I don't work for them.

It makes it all very simple.
 

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I have no contracts, no agreements. If it's dry and the grass didn't grow and I don't mow them, I don't charge. If they call off every now and then because of weather conditions, I don't charge them. But my customers do understand I don't skip lawns that truly need mowing, and if they are not willing to have the work done in drier conditions when the lawn really needs it, they go. It's a tough way to do business, but what really does a contract get you? When a customer gets mad that you are mowing when the weather is dry, if they get mad enough they will quit. Then what can you do? Sue them? That takes more time and money, and even then you aren't gauranteed your $$.

But that's the way I work, and other's do things differently. I think if I were to mow and charge people regardless, I wouldn't have any customers left.

:D
 

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i agree with MTDmaster. In my neck of the woods i would be out of a job too. I would love to operate like others do but cannt.
 

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What I HAVE done is try to push pre-payments for the season, and service packages where I charge the same every month all season long regardless of the weather conditions. For the prepay, I charge the customer for 26 mowings. If at the end of the season they don't get all 26, I try to make it up with other services like edging or leaf cleanup. I've never had to repay any $$ for a prepaid account. For the service package, I put several services together and total it up for the season, discount it, and charge them 7 equal payments. No refunds for bad weather, but with the bad drought we had last year, I did give a few makeup services like I do with the prepay. I get about 20 prepays and 20 package people on average, which is about half of my customer base.

:D
 

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I only do contracts on commercial accounts.

Most residential customers are really turned off by signing a contract. It's kind of an honor system. When it needs mowed, I mow it, if it doesn't need it, I won't mow and charge you for something that doesn't need done. When it's really dry here, I mow almost every account at 10 days or 2 weeks because it doesn't grow enough to mow it.

Put yourself in the customer's place. Would you want to be forced into paying for something you don't need to have done?

If I mow too often when it's really dry here, my accounts will have dead, brown yards, and that's no way to keep your business going.
 

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same here.. just do contracts on commerical accts
 

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Originally posted by SpudsM15 At the begining of the season all my cleints sign a service agreement which stats that i will come on a weekly basis throughout the season.
It obviously does no good to tell any client about your needed cash flow, it's none of their business, neither is the matter of it being your main source of income or not.
Why should they care, trying to explain your situation in that manner makes it appear as if you're grasping for straws.
What's the difference between the service agreement and have and the contract you say you're going to have?

This is residential, correct?
How many of us are actually going to take a homeowner to court because of a piece of paper, if they say they want us to skip mowing for a week? None of you bright bulbs needs to huff and puff and b.s. a 'well I'll tell you want I'd do' answer, it's a rhetorical question. You really think it would be worthwhile to spend your time, and maybe even a lawyer's fees to go to court, even if you win, what have you won? A guaranteed cancellation at the first opportunity.
OK, it's a giant property, lots of time and money for a single cutting, you're going to work something out with the client or you might as well urinate in your own cereal, cause that one is going to be gone too if 'you' insist on mowing a no growth lawn.

This is the Lawn Care Business, we cut grass (etc) for a living. Admittedly I don't live or work in the high rent states where some of you do, where evidently, some clients expect a marriage license between themselves and the guy that cuts their grass (and I'm not referring to other services where COD is the norm).
Contracts don't fly down here, we're a handshake and take you at your word kinda place.

Is it possible to get burned? Yes, it's possible, but I've never been, seems like I'm always picking up extra work or referrals from my clients I never expected in the first place.
If your business success or failure depends on something as changeable as the frequency of grass cutting, maybe you need to think expansion.
 

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I feel that you shouldn't have to justify yourself regarding your finanical information with the customer. Just tell him straight up that this is the policy and if he doesn't like the policy then the relationship will not work and he needs to find someone else
 

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man, screw him. start doing good work, make a few customers happy, and your business will grow. u dont need ---- like that. i must admit, i used to get real mad at stuff like that, now, its just business. u lay down the law, if he cant live by it, adios. im dumping customers at the rate of like one every other week, and my business is growing!
 

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I only have one contract on approximately 20 accounts. Its for a HUGE nursing home. I only did it because they had to have one for their expense reports.

I usually make good enough friends with my clients that they have no problem with the way I work. People usually water their grass anyway so its always grown enough to cut even in August when it starts to get to hot it burns it.

I could see how that would be annoying though.

I have a similar problem sometimes with people wanting me to come every 10 days and stuff. That doesn't work for me! Biweekly or weekly!!! Hehe.
 

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mtdmaster. maple city and Rustic Goat asking for a little reality in your handling of the customer. And bobbygedd & tiedman saying the customer is not in control of your business. It's all good advice!

If you're really determined to stick to your "Come hell or high water" type contracts, I'd advise you to find some US Government contracts. They want it mowed every week even if it gets so dry you have to put spark arrestors on the lawnmower mufflers.

Otherwise prepare yourself for a little give and take. It's the nature of this business.
 

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Do you guys charge extra if you have to cut more than 1 time per week?
If the contract is explained to the customer in a way as to show them that it not only protects your source of income but also protects them when the grass needs mowing 2 or 3 times a week.
I do mostly commercial work so I dont have to put up with this headache.
Most res. custs do not complain about signing a contract or the terms that are in it. But I make sure that they understand the terms completely.
Knock on wood I have never had anyone complain about the situation that you are going through.
The purpose of the contract is not so much to take them to court but, its purpose to to avoid a he said she said situation. It lays out what you promise and what they promise. You never have them come back with I dont remember you saying that.
A contract or agreement (a better discription) is used to lay out the guidelines and avoid confussion, distrust and future arguments.
 

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AWWW MAN! Don't tell him you're mowing just to maintain cashflow and stay afloat! That sounds terrible!

You should have explained that the weekly rate takes into consideration that some weeks will take longer and that some will be quicker or may not even need it at all. This helps to eliminate the need to charge extra when the lawn needs to be double cut, or raked, or bagged. Billing would become more difficult if you had to calculate the rate each time you mowed or didn't mow (ex $80 one week, then $75, then 80, 100, 50, 30, 0, 0, 30, etc. plus in this example there could always be haggling involved, chance of the owner not being present and not understanding why he/she was charged more than the last week etc.) in this example it would be better to charge the average $50 per week.
 

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Lol, how many normal lawns go for 80 and 100?! I wish I could find those. I just mow, trim, edge, and blow though, I don't do landscaping or hedging or anything like that (I hate that stuff).

Most of my lawns are about $25-45. Then 2 commercial properties at $160 and $65.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok I admit i made a mistake telling him that I did phrase it a little differently.


I was thinking for next season i try to get most customers to prepay for the season on a payment plan where everything is together(lawn cutting leaf cleanups, hedgetrims.etc...)
But i'm sure this won't float with everyone.

So you guys don't cut it everyweek in dry weather or atleast goto the property and spend the same amount of time as cutting doing weeding or cleaning up..
I have only a few good clients now the rest of them are penny pinchers, If i want something good i'll pay for it no questions asked. plus I always want the best....

Need some way to resolve this that is fair both ways... it was very unfair to me at the begining of the season when it was raining everyday, and this guy haggled me down 5 bucks a cut. This is my first year legit and I wasn't expecting to make anything, but i guess i'm getting stressed out cause i'm going to be in the hole very deep!
 

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Originally posted by SpudsM15
Need some way to resolve this that is fair both ways... it was very unfair to me at the begining of the season when it was raining everyday, and this guy haggled me down 5 bucks a cut. This is my first year legit and I wasn't expecting to make anything, but i guess i'm getting stressed out cause i'm going to be in the hole very deep!
It does suck when things dry up, and the past 2 years were very dry around here, and very hard business wise. I think that's what drove my partner outta the business, finally. But then again, you have this year where it wouldn't stop raining and things are still growing fine in July. What you will learn about the business is there are ups and downs, successful companies will roll with those ups and downs. It's your job to figure out how to survive lean times, just like any other business.

The longer you are in the business, and the bigger, better reputation you get, the less cheap-o customers you will get. I didn't think any of my customers would go for the prepay or package deals, and I was very surprised when as many went for it that did. You gotta sell it from the discount, money saving end.

Feel free to check out the way I do it at my website (link in my sig) on the Service Plans page. And email with ?? if you have any.

:D
 

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Even if I dont cut I still visit the property to blow off the driveway or parking lot.
I pull weeds and just make sure everything looks good.
I dont necessarily take up the same amount of time as if I was mowing.
 

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does anyone in FLA.,ALA.,MS.,and LA. use contracts for residentials?
these homeowners look at me like im crazy when i mention contracts.
commercials seem to be fine with contracts.but the homeowners around here seem to be happy with any clown with a pickup and pushmower.
they dont care that i have insurance to protect there property interest.they dont care that i dont leave clumps like the other guys.they dont care that i blow off all cars,window sills,etc.
all they care is that they dont have to get out in this mississippi
heat.regardless of the quality of the cut.
here we have two main grass types;st Augustine and centipede.
both need to be cut around 2.75 to 3.5 inches to really look good.
yet everyday i see yards scalped down to the dirt by these scabs.
and these homeowners are just as happy with their dead yard cause they saved 10 bucks.
we have hi humidity here with almost daily afternoon showers.
when those roots soak up the water it seems that the intense sun just boils em.
and when you tell em that to have a really great yard it takes a combination of effort between them the homeowner and me the LCO they laugh and say "aint that what im payin you for?"

do yall face things like this or is this a regional problem?
 
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