Dear lawn/landscape owner,
You need to charge more.
Every day, hard-earned profits bleed out of your pocket.
If you want to KEEP your clients, there are 5 critical steps you must take to raise your lawn service prices.
Bonus: at the end of this post, we will give you a Free Template for an “Official Price Increase” Letter you can send to clients.
The 2 Reasons You Might Need to Increase Your Lawn/Landscaping Prices:
- The Unprofitable Client:
The estimate was wrong. You thought it would take you 30 minutes to mow Mrs. Smith’s yard… but you discovered it always takes an hour.
According to our Lawn Care and Landscaping pricing guide, this job costs you money. If you don’t raise your prices, you are essentially spending money to work for Mrs. Smith.
- The Unprofitable Service:
You priced your lawn services years ago. Even your Gran-pappy doesn’t remember the last time you changed prices.
Thanks to inflation and the increased quality of your work, this service doesn’t make the money it used to.
5 Key Steps to Raise Your Lawn Care and Landscaping Prices and Keep Your Clients
The phrase “Price increase” strikes fear in the hearts of most people – especially business owners.
You worry you could lose clients if you raise your prices … but without an increase, you risk working for ZERO profit – or worse.
With these 5 steps, you are guaranteed to keep as many Clients as possible AND turn a healthier profit.
1. Know Your “Must-charge” Numbers
We talked about this in our article on the best way to price lawn care services.
You need to know these numbers:
- Drive time
When you can establish these operational costs, you will know the minimum dollar amount you need to charge to make a service profitable. The fastest, easiest, and most accurate way to find these numbers is with Service Autopilot, our business management software for lawn care and landscapers.
This will give you hard data that will prove if you need to raise prices.
Example: if you sell a mowing service for $30 per yard, but your operational costs add up to $29.99 … that’s a waste of time. You need to charge more, or find a way to cut down on operational costs.
2. Escape the “Unprofitable Client” Trap
You would be surprised how many lawn owners fall into this trap and never figure it out:
Two new clients, Jack and Jill, sign up for your services. You charge them both $35 to mow, trim, and edge their yards.
After a month of work, you realize something is wrong. Jill’s yard is filled with:
- tough spots,
- trouble areas,
- and delicate flowers.
It takes you 60 minutes to cut Jill’s yard, while Jack’s only takes 30.
You need to raise Jill’s prices ASAP, otherwise you are paying to work for her.
At worst, you lose a client who wasn’t profitable anyway. At best, you turn an unprofitable client into a money maker.
The question is: when should you raise prices? And how do you do it without losing Jill, or anyone else?
3. When is the Best Time to Raise Your Prices?
In the Lawn Care and Landscaping Industry, we run in seasons.
This is both a blessing and a curse.
You can make a ton of money in a short few months… but you also have to sell a lot of work before the mowing season starts.
The absolute worst time to raise your prices is in the selling season.
Because this is when all of your competitors will…
- pound the pavement
- put up door hangers and flyers
- market and spend money to steal your clients
…this is a dangerous time to raise prices.
Note: sometimes, you can’t avoid raising prices at this time. See #4 for advice.
These are 3 best times to raise your lawn service prices:
- The middle of your season (See strategy #4)
- The end of the Summer
- The beginning of Fall/The end of your season
You are far less likely to lose a client if they have a fresh, RECENT memory of your good work.
In addition, your competitors are swamped with work (Summer) – or finished with their season (Fall) – which greatly lowers the chance your clients will get poached.
4. Test Your Clients before All-in Price Increases
Start with a small section of clients. 3, 5, or 10 will work fine.
Raise your prices on this test group first. Make sure you aren’t serving their next-door neighbors, because neighbors talk.
Listen to what your test group says. They will teach you how to deal with a larger group.
You will find out how to handle any push-back on a larger group. Basically, it’s like scouting out your enemy. You get to:
- hear their objections,
- arm yourself with strong responses to those objections,
- and you only risk losing a small number of clients – instead of your whole client base.
Example: maybe your clients refuse to pay $5 more for a complete lawn package.
If this is the case, you can plan out a pared-down package that costs less. This will give your clients more options, and increase the chance they will stick around with you.
5. Sell Them on Why You Have to Charge More
Lawn Care Owners: a price increase is a golden opportunity.
Don’t miss it.
When you increase your rates, you get one chance to RE-SELL your clients on why they need you. Done right, a letter will increase your retention rates while you are increasing prices.
The best “Price Increase” letter will:
- Explain – You aren’t charging $2 more because you want to buy three new Ferraris. You need to explain to your clients that it costs money to provide such great service. Be honest. Lay out your case.
- Educate – Most clients will understand that prices always go up. It is your job to educate your client on what costs are increasing in your business: training, equipment, fuel, etc.
- State the benefits to the client – this is the most important part. You want to sell to your clients? You need to talk about benefits, not features. Explain to them that this price increase means better employees, and safer procedures, and higher-quality service.
When writing the letter, think about it from the client’s point of view; focus on THEM, not YOU.
To make it look more official and personalized, put the owner’s signature on the letter.
Lastly: give them a way to contact you – “Sign here and return this letter by mail, or call the office to update your services.”
Free Letter Template: “Official Lawn Care Price Increase”
Dear [client’s name],
Due to rising economic factors, [company name] will be raising our prices soon.
Our billing reflects the labor, equipment, maintenance, fuel, office and billing expenses, and many other costs which make up for the price of our services.
In order to continue providing you with the high-quality service you deserve, our lawn maintenance price will increase to $XX.XX on X/Y/Z.
We will continue to invest in the best materials, equipment, and training available. This will allow us to send the best employees and use the safest procedures on your property. We guarantee that you will always be 100% satisfied with our services, or we will come back and fix it for free.
The price change will be reflected on next month’s invoicing.
For any concerns, or to update your services, contact our office at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.
Signed: [Owner’s Signature Here]
Keep your clients happy while you increase your prices with these 5 Lawn Care “Price Increase” strategies.
These strategies will safeguard you against angry clients and help you make more profit.
Patrick Hoffman is Marketing Director at Service Autopilot. He specializes in managing marketing campaigns and giving marketing strategies to the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's reading books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction.