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Would you buy this for peace of mind?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by all ferris, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    I know around here almost all farmers buy what they call "crop insurance". This means if their crop does not produce a good yield they will still get paid from the insurance. Would you buy something similar for lawn care to guarantee a certain amount of income even if it was a dry year or some natural disaster happened? I think if it was offered I might be interested in this just because I worry all the time about not being able to make enough money to pay the bills and still save some for retirement.
  2. A+ Lawncare

    A+ Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    all ferris....

    if your smart you'll have all your lawns/services based on an annual contract.. contract means no matter how many cuts you actually cut u get an flat rate for that season.... example here in va. seasons vary from 28-32 cuts per season... i have my contracts based on a 30 cut rate... i studied the amount of cuts per year b4 i set any certain fee of charge... i do the same for snow plowing.

    so it doesn't matter to me if i had insurance or not... its called a contract & smart business thinking ;)
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    aaaahhh yes contracts. hey everyone uses them. that's why I always I see thread after thread, "we need rain". and here I am scratching my head thinking, "why? who cares if it rains? we all are getting paid whether it rains or not right?" :rolleyes:

    Now to answer the original question, no, although tempting, we would not buy that insurance. There is a lot of other work available in the green industry. When it dries up, you just have to sell other services... retaining walls, paver patios, hedge trimming, installation of new beds, etc...
  4. A+ Lawncare

    A+ Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    hell Tom, i know if i was of age... thats where i'de focused in @.... their more money in landscaping & hardscaping then mowing lawns...
  5. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    I've been there with the contract thing and have found that a contract is about as worthless as the paper it is written on. If it is really dry outside and you start charging people for cutting their grass when you actually didn't cut it you are going to make some people very mad. I do have people sign contracts for for larger jobs (i.e. landscaping) but not for lawn cutting and trimming. I have very good customer retention and generally do not loose a customer unless they die or move. Another thing with contracts is that sometimes I want to drop the customer because they are a PITA, with a contract I don't feel I can do that. I have all my maintainance set up as an ongoing service. So in other words I just keep comming back to cut the grass from one year to the next unless I am other wise notified. I do quality work and treat everyone of my customers as I would want to be treated. If I was them I would not want to pay for 30 cuts a year even though the grass only got cut 28 times. This is where the insurance might come in handy because if I only had 26-28 cuts on all my customers in a bad year I could still get paid for 30-32 cuts. The insurance thing is just a thought. I'm just trying to see what every one else thinks.
  6. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    One more thing about a contract:

    IMO, if you send a customer a contract every year and want a signature you are inviting them to "shop around" for a better deal. If they don't see a contract in the winter they don't think about looking for someone else. For me a note is sent out with the last mowing invoice of the season that states service will continue at the begining of the next season. It's just the way I prefer to do business. As I said, I have excellent customer retention with this method and no complaints.

    keep the responses coming. It is nice to hear how everyone else does it.

  7. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    All Ferris -

    I don't run contracts, but I do run contracted rates.

    I too do this with the snowplowing as well for 15 of my 35 clients.

    I only do commercial work, as you've probably read before, so it's a little different than when you try to bill some residential people if you're not there mowing.

    Here in MN, we average around 22 cuts / year, so I base it on that, throw in the spring and fall clean-ups and 4 rounds of fertilizing / weed control.

    It's taken me 17 years to get to having the same 35 accounts, knowing I can depend on my money whether they water or not, knowing I get my money whether I plow or not, but it's there now.

    I've got enough work where I work 80-100 hour weeks in the summer, and then plow about 15 times in the winter for 10-12 hours each time.

    Last winter it didn't snow until February here in MN, but I got all my money for November, December and January paid.

    I do take the extra step once in a while though.

    Last winter it didn't snow enough to plow, but there were a couple of days where it did "rain" enough to make the sidewalks slick, so I didn't charge for spreading some salt here and there on the sidewalks, told the managers / owners that "I'll get this one".

    I know I'm probably on the lower end of the pay scale, but not the lowest, but this keeps the property managers from shopping around extensively.

    It's nice because you can budget all year. I also make that point to my commercial accounts, because they can then in turn budget their outdoor maintenance costs for the year as well.

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