How to charge bi-weekly lawn care customers.

Every lawn care customer is different and each will have a different view on how well they want their lawn maintained. Some customers will want their lawn to look as nice as possible and require a weekly mowing while others will want a cheaper job and have the lawn cut every two weeks. How should these different customers be charged though? Should there be a difference in price between weekly and bi-weekly customers? That is what a lawn care business owner was curious to see how other business owners handle this situation when he asked his question on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

He wrote “there always seems to be a lawn care customer that wants to be cheap and let his lawn overgrow for two weeks during the growing season. Should I bill the customer my regular price for mowing but instead of weekly, only bill him twice a month? I asked a friend who is also in the business and he suggested to cut the lawn very low so it’s not such a pain on the return trips. He said the bi-weekly folks are great. They don’t want manicured lawns. You can just get in, cut it low and get out. I am not so sure about that advice as I want to continue providing a high quality service even to my bi-weekly customers.”

One lawn care business owner suggested “if you are going to mow a lawn bi-weekly in the summer, you need to charge more for it. I charge it as a cut & a half. So if a lawn is $30 weekly, it then becomes $45 bi-weekly. I have found it takes nearly twice as long to mow the lawn because it has grown a lot more since the last time I was there. It requires more gas and it’s harder on the belts & blades too. If you allow a lawn care customer to save nearly 50% on lawn care expenses by switching to bi-weekly cuts, they will never shift over to weekly & have it done right. There is a reason most lawn care business owners won’t do this (actually several).

1) You can’t make any money doing lawns bi-weekly.
2) These are usually the same customers that don’t pay or are very slow to pay.
3) It’s abusing the equipment, even though most of us run commercial gear that can take it, it will last longer if you don’t abuse it.
4) The lawn will never bring you any referals because they look bad almost all the time. By the time you get there after 2 weeks it looks like hell. Then there’s hay left when your done so it looks crappy after too. Or you spend extra time, everytime to keep cleaning it up.

Charge a cut & a half. It will cover the added expenses & they might then figure for the lousy 25% they save by going bi-weekly, they’d rather have the place look good & ask you to do it weekly.

Along the same lines…. when I get a call for an overgrown lawn I bid it pretty high.

Example: If the lawn looks like I would normally charge say $25 & it appears to have 2 months worth of summer growth on it, that’s approx 8 weeks that they should have spent $25/week = $200 so $125-$150 to knock it back down is not unreasonable. These lawns beat up your equipment, wear you out, and dull your blades to hell. My blades run almost $40 bucks a set and you’ll probably hit something you couldn’t see in there & ruin em’ anyway.

Which brings me to another point. I have a disclaimer in my estimate stating If the lawn is so tall that objects like sprinkler heads, landscape lighting, well pipes etc. are not clearly visible, we are not responsible for damage to such items (or anything they may hit when they come flying out). Cover your butt! You are gonna hit this stuff. I explain we try not too & we aren’t asking for a license to be careless but you can’t avoid what you can’t see.”

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