There are so many different ways to bill your lawn care customers, the number of choices can make your head spin. What methods works well for some lawn care may not work so well for others. There are many factors to consider when you are creating your billing frequency.
That is what a lawn care business owner was concerned about when he wrote on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and asked “I have a question regarding billing customers. This is the beginning of my second season and I have picked up my first new customer of the year. I asked and she shared with me the reason why she left her old grass service. Last August she got billed 4 times during the month even though she only got her grass cut twice. I have heard that some older people get charged 32 weeks a year regardless if their lawn gets cuts or not. I only charge if I mow. If it is too dry then I don’t cut and don’t charge them. What is the industry standard? Do you charge on a per year basis? I just charge per cut and feel that’s fair. Otherwise I think there is a psychological issue the customers have to handle and that is they think at times they are getting billed for work that didn’t happen. What do you guys think?”
One lawn care business owner shared “I have both per cut & annual customers who are billed monthly. With the annual customers, I multiply the number of cuts typically performed during the year to service the customer’s particular turf type by the mowing fee. Then I divide that figure by 12 to get a price I will charge per month. The customer will then pay the same amount each month, year round. Heavy rains or a longer season means more cuts with no change in rate for them. A light year means less cuts to be done, still at the same rate. It’s done on an “average year”. If you are new, it may take you a little while to get these numbers accurate for your area.”
A second lawn care business owner said “I usually charge per cut. If I don’t cut due to weather then I don’t charge. I think that’s the best way to handle it. I usually go around once a week to cut. I mark down on a spread sheet when I mow, then I give out invoices at the end of the month.”
A third business owner said “I mostly charge per month. I just explain to the customer that I may work a little less through the winter, but it evens out when I am mowing their lawn in the summer and it is 115 degrees out. They understand that I have bills to pay all year. Most people are ok with it, but you MUST explain it to them in the beginning how you will be billing them.”
As you can see there is no lawn care industry standard concerning billing methods that I have seen. Each business owner does things their own way. One thing that holds true no matter how you bill is this. It’s always better to get paid in advance for your work than it is to wait for the customer to get around to pay you. So keep that in mind when you are crafting your lawn care businesses billing frequency.