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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge

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formally just lawns
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#1

After today I have reached boiling point with the amount of overgrown lawns I am being called to from "regular" customers,   the worst offender being a real estate job that was qouted as a 2 weekly job then soon after changed to "on demand" 

now its getting to be 2 months between mows and I would drop them if it wasnt a $80 job that took around 40 mins  ( when maintained properly )

 

today it took me just over an hour, which is still pretty good for a $80 job cash wise but i wound up with a nice cut on my leg from hitting some glass that couldnt be seen before i hit it due to the growth

 

 

I prepped  the attached letter earlier and was just wondering on your opinions ?

 

it would be a letter a keep a few off in the folder in the car to just drop into the letterbox of offending propertys and emaile15972511_384884998533243_190721057195777d to the particular real estate


Posted 16 January 2017 - 10:56 PM

crocster
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#2

Yep, agree we need some kind of strategy to deal with them - only a handful of mine will agree to just lock in a date for the next visit at the end of a mow - any that abuse this flexibility with me I advise that my "cleanup" rate of $60/hr (I need to put this up) will apply if they let it get overgrown - and I don't bust a gut when this kicks in - most would take 1 1/4 or more.

 

Others I've seen use a sliding scale for the number of weeks it's gone over - your letter looks good - it's courteous and let's them know the rules - and the bottom line is anyone who jacks up at any of these methods you don't want as a client anyway.


Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:00 AM

Lucky
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#3

Very well worded IMO.

 

I dont get this problem with real estates but do with the "odd" customer. One of which i have recently dropped.

 

In regard to the RE work are you quoting per mow or on a monthly maintenance? If you quote on a monthly maintenance then the fee is the same- every month. Do the lawn at whatever freq you want through the year and whenever you want (u may need to send a text to the tenant so they dont have cloths on the line or be nude sun baking etc). Simply present invoice at end of month every month.

 

Works great when the grass isnt growing as you may not mow it for 5 weeks and still get paid.The accountants like it as its easy and predictive to work the figures. Budgeters like it as its easy to budget for. We like it cause we are in control and its a regular income. Its a win/win 


Posted 17 January 2017 - 07:30 AM

Macka
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#4

NO way don't use that letter.

 

When they call, Just say it maybe extra if its long.

 

Real Estates on demand, just charge them what it costs.

 

You did a job $80 that normally takes 40min in a hour. that's normal next time do a good walk over the site for glass take your time etc  if it takes you 1 1/2 then charge a extra $40 for  Site cleanup and excessive Growth

 

Tip:  overgrown lawns think of a price and then double it.


Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:40 AM

plucka
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#5

Being new to this I've been caught out a couple of times with overgrown lawns taking longer than I initially quoted for.  It's a learning experience but now have a good idea how much extra work long grass it.  Problem is at the moment in Brisbane with the heat and rain buffalo lawns virtually need weekly mowing to keep in check yet no one is willing to go any more frequent than fortnightly.

 

Speaking of quoting what do you do when you've realised you've under quoted a regular?  If have one that I priced on less than an hour but it actually takes me closer to 90mins which I'm a bit annoyed about.  She's a fortnightly regular and otherwise an ideal customer.  Options:

 

1. Suck it up and stick to the original price.

2. Increase the charge at the risk of losing the customer

3. Try and do the job faster at the risk of doing a poorer job.

 

Given I'm new and still building my customer list I'm thinking 1 is my best option.


Posted 17 January 2017 - 10:31 AM

crocster
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#6

Hi Plucka, 1 and a bit of 3 sounds pretty good to me (while you're building a client base) -

 

when I started out I gave everyone Gold Class service - but, over time, I've realised a lot of people don't care that much. They just want it all the same length and neat looking every few weeks - and I found there's a definite resistance in my area to a $60+ quote - you don't win many -

 

so I started to trim the service level for existing and new clients - I stopped blowing down before and after the moiw unless there's a lot of mess on the paths and gutters - I stopped vertical edging wherever possible - with some rentals I started running a thin line of zero along fences and round things that were hard to whip -  and I started mulching wherever possible.

 

So you could try just trimming back the service a bit at a time and see if she's bothered


Posted 17 January 2017 - 12:03 PM

Lucky
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#7

Agree with Croc.

 

People just want their lawn mowed. Mulch, open flap, weed spray fence lines etc. Saves a heap of time.

 

If someone is perticuler about how they want the lawn done let them tell you, dont assume they want the best lawn in the neighborhood. Most people dont spend anytime out side these days anyway.

 

By far the majority of my customers are 3 week mows. We are not a cheap service and im happy to do it at 3 week intervals. But my job reflects this. I mulch the majority of my lawns. open flap is next followed by bagging. I dont bag a single full lawn. I do bag two rear lawns (front is mulched) and a front lawn (rear is mulched). I do have one customer who thinks i bag the whole property but i bag a small side yard near her clothes line and stealth mulch the rest.


Posted 17 January 2017 - 12:39 PM

plucka
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#8

Yep I'm already mulching most of mine already, as you said almost all people don't care or notice.  Only difficulty is when it's wet or very overgrown.   Looking forward to getting my HRX217, can stealth mulch all day long.  

 

Was going to ask about fence lines.  It's a real pain trying to line trim inside corners, can't the line in the corner- just weed spray the corner instead?


Posted 17 January 2017 - 01:19 PM

Lucky
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#9

yep


Posted 17 January 2017 - 01:50 PM

CGAHS
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#10

50% minimum, they will shrug off 25% and you are working too hard for bugger all extra....I've charged double many times over the years, they are PITA's that you either make it worthwhile or drop


Posted 17 January 2017 - 02:03 PM

crocster
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#11

This really becomes an issue in Bris in the height of summer - ie now - when even 3-4 days can make a big difference to some jobs - I need to harden up with a few that take 4-5 days to respond to a text, apologise, and then want it done before the weekend - I just advised one such that I need to put the job in my diary as a fortnightly cut for the rest of summer and that I can mow tomorrow - if he doesn't get back to me he'll have to go.

 

Edit: He got back within 20mins giving the OK - I'm going to change the way I do this for the rest of summer - going to try a bulk mailout to the worst offenders courteously advising them of the new rules for the rest of summer and see what happens.


Posted 17 January 2017 - 02:46 PM

john22
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#12

Being strict from the start is the best way, once they turn to "on demand" you'll never enjoy working for them. Bad customers make you hate your job, either they go or you go back to working for the man. I only do private work now and have around 80 clients that I manage around my kids so I'm there to drop and pick them up from school. The fact that they are now older I'm bringing on more clients, I tell them up front there is no phoning me when it suits you, if that is no good find someone else. I like Lucky's idea with dealing with real estate that is a smart way to do it.


Posted 17 January 2017 - 03:47 PM

drewebb
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#13

Did one ( overgrown ) this morning that would have been $70 if on a regular run but one off $140 and it didnt take me twice as long and i didnt take anything away.

 

Love them mulching mowers, whatever the brand  :)


Posted 17 January 2017 - 03:47 PM

Lucky
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#14

Just a thought on texts.  Ive found its better to not ask a question, just make it a statement.

 

"Mow day tomorrow, I'll be there in the A.M" - Thats my standerd text I have a RE job and he has a dog and ill add "Please secure the dog and pick up any loose items".

 

Ive found thats way better than something whishy washy like "Would you like your lawn mowed tomorrow?"

 

Ones a statement of fact and an instruction and one is asking for permission. 


Posted 17 January 2017 - 04:38 PM

crocster
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#15

Gotta love this forum - great points Luck and John, I haven't set it up properly from the get go and now it's biting me on the #### - I was too accommodating in the beginning and it's evolved into mainly me sending a block of texts on a Sunday and waiting for responses before I can organise my runs - definitely time  for that to change.

Cheers


Posted 17 January 2017 - 05:37 PM

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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#16

Very well worded IMO.

 

In regard to the RE work are you quoting per mow or on a monthly maintenance? If you quote on a monthly maintenance then the fee is the same- every month. Do the lawn at whatever freq you want through the year and whenever you want (u may need to send a text to the tenant so they dont have cloths on the line or be nude sun baking etc). Simply present invoice at end of month every month.

 

 

 

i only quote per mow,   learned early not to bother with monthly maintenance rates :D


Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:26 PM

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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#17

 that's normal next time do a good walk over the site for glass take your time etc  if it takes you 1 1/2 then charge a extra $40 for  Site cleanup and excessive Growth

 

 

i did a walk around mate,

lawn was simply to overgrown to be able to see everything


Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:27 PM

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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#18

50% minimum, they will shrug off 25% and you are working too hard for bugger all extra....I've charged double many times over the years, they are PITA's that you either make it worthwhile or drop

 

good point,

I had a think about this todayw hile stuck in traffic and was wondering if 25% was to low


Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:29 PM

Lucky
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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#19

i only quote per mow,   learned early not to bother with monthly maintenance rates :D

Really?

 

Ive been doing them for 3 years. One is a set of 12 units that i have been doing before i started mowing lawns as a business and would be for 5 or 6 years now.

 

What did you find didnt work out?


Posted 18 January 2017 - 06:48 AM

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Overgrown Lawn Surcharge
#20

Really?

 

Ive been doing them for 3 years. One is a set of 12 units that i have been doing before i started mowing lawns as a business and would be for 5 or 6 years now.

 

What did you find didnt work out?

 

just that people expected more and more to be done as part of the monthly maintenance 

got to the point  people were leaving crap out over the place and expecting me to get rid of it despite being told i was their to maintain the lawns not be rid of the rubbish

 

and given i was locked into a set price i end up getting the shits  and ditching them, swearing never to go again,.


Posted 18 January 2017 - 12:29 PM




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