Spring cleanups can be used to set client expectations throughout the season and assure them that they are in good hands. One choice you’ll have to make is if you want to offer this service as a single-time offering or as part of a maintenance contract.
Jay Rotonnelli, vice president of business development for Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service, based in Eliot, Maine, says in the past they used to offer spring cleanups as a single service. Now clients sign up for a minimum of five services to start with.
They had found that for the one-off services these customers were very demanding and it was hurting their efficiency. Because they work on fixed contracts, not time and material, pricing can be a gamble at times because they are forecasting what it will cost for the team to do the job.
“Somebody might not come in that one day,” Rotonnelli says. “It might be pouring rain or just stopped raining and things are wet. There are all those variables that come into play. We’ve just found that single service just doesn’t work for us.”
He adds that clients who want you to manage their property find far more value in your services than someone who wants you to do a job once. Rotonnelli says that they are able to do a better job managing the property as a whole over time instead of having to nail it in a single service.
“If it is a new account, sometimes it takes a year or two to learn the property,” Rotonnelli says. “So out of fairness to the team we try to have that conversation ahead of time with the client and say ‘Listen, we might not nail it the first time, but we’ll get pretty close. If it’s not, just reach out to me, and we’ll make sure that if there’s anything we missed, we’ll take care of it.’”
Similarly, Joe Lewis, LIC, growth and development manager for Environmental Management Inc. (EMI), based in Plain City, Ohio, says because spring cleanups are labor-intensive they can cost more as an a la carte item.
At Highridge Landscapes based in Bozeman, Montana, they do offer spring cleanups as one-offs.
“Spring cleanups are an area of focus that we are offering qualified leads as a one-off, intending to make them part of our regular program,” says owner Tyler Lindquist. “Interaction creates opportunity!”
Incorporating New Clients
Once you’ve landed new spring cleanup clients, they might be concerned about becoming the last account on your list. For companies like EMI and Piscataqua, they tend to incorporate these new sites into their existing schedule after meeting with the new client.
“First we must review the current plan and assess if we can perform the service, and then communicate to the client a general timeframe when the service will be performed,” Lewis says. “Site inspections must be conducted by the sales and productions teams prior to committing to the work. If the work requires our teams to work overtime to accommodate the new client’s needs, that will need to be communicated to the client and possibly added to the proposal.”
Rotonnelli says during their kickoff meeting the client and account manager will walk through all the services as a whole and then talk scheduling. This ensures effective communication.
Sometimes clients want spring cleanups conducted on a certain day and it’s important to communicate effectively with them if this is not possible.
“We have a fantastic and organized garden services manager and team that knows how to align clients’ expectations and timing,” Lindquist says. “Many properties are vacation homes and can provide us flexibility in a demanding spring.”