Morning guys, sorry to bring the subject of winter up when we are in the middle of summer! I was just wondering how much of it people tend to work for? I saw somewhere somebody said as a rough guide to base pricing on 46 weeks of the year but that included holiday. I realise the weather is all over the shop these days and winters can vary quite dramatically. Im thinking by the end of November there isn't going to be much to do and there probably won't be until the end of January at least. Is it possible to get maintenance jobs where the client pays the same monthly fee even in December based on there being above average workloads at peak times of the year? i.e. you guarantee a certain amount of visits per year and you divide the annual fee into 12 equal payments like paying direct debit for gas etc? Or is that likely to be a hard sell with a lot of customers?

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  • PRO
    I've found it a hard sell! Got a couple but would not take anymore. The ones I have were asked for as well!
    Loads on here do so it works for some.
    I'd rather have the money in my hands not waiting for Christmas and after to get paid for June!
  • PRO

    Was busy until early Feb last winter, was my first so didn't know what to expect.

    Lots of border work, shrub pruning, bits of small tree pruning, veg plot preparation, couple of pre Christmas tidy ups etc.

    Most work came from exsting summer clients, very little new work until early March this year. 

    By March I was sick of the sight of borders and couldn't wait to get the mower out!

  • PRO

    Almost 40% of our customers pay monthly dd (lawn care) using gocardless. We find an easy option, plus many (25%) also pre-pay for a discount (4%).

    We take 2 weeks off at Xmas, and are now fully busy late autumn / winter with aerations and moss controls.When I was starting out, we also filled the gaps with ad-hoc work such as leaf clears, gutter tidy, patio cleans, small fencing jobs, border tidies. So lots to do over winter if you want to AND make the customer aware you're providing services.

    I would send out an email around October to all customers and the winter diary would be full within a couple of weeks quoting. Strong demand, as it was for small jobs that would be hard to find someone else to come and quote for and you are trusted.

    • Some useful tips there Andrew. Sounds like you've got a good thing going there. So you're only off for two weeks over winter doing lawns then?
    • PRO
      What do you say in this email? I need to do something similar to get some winter work in the diary for my 2 employees. Thanks, Helen.
  • So do you guys still charge the same each visit even though the amount of work varies or charge by the hour? I was thinking if you have the schedule all set out to show what you will be doing each month and include short visits even in the middle of winter then it might not be such a hard sell. Especially if you add extra visits in the peak periods, say extra mows of the lawns in summer so they still get 52 or 26 visits in the year. A standing order makes it easy for them and means they aren't paying more in the busy periods. I could see younger people preferring that.
  • PRO Supplier

    Gritting for commercial customers can be a very good earner  - If you are not busy its great as automated call -out texts get sent at zero degrees celsius and if you have 4 or 5 sites you can be done pretty quickly....stick to walkways and pedestrian access and your kit requirements will be minimal...

  • Someone has just pointed out that she at least would never sign up for a standing order until a certain level of trust had been reached so looks like I'll be charging by the hour initially.
    • PRO
      Charge by the hour initially is fine, just make sure your hourly rate is a good one ... don't fall into the £20 per hour camp, start as you mean to go on with pricing..
      • You seem a bit derogatory about £20 an hour!!  I make a comfortable living on that though admit I'll never be rich. I'm in quite an affluent area but round here, £20 is really the top anyone pays........... Its above the national average so can't complain.

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