#03 - January lawn care tip - Should I prepay for services?

Hey, hey, what is up, everyone? This is Ete Ahping. I hope you're having a great day. Got a short episode today. So it's January here in Utah, and I guess, everywhere in America and everywhere in the world. And so most people are not thinking about their lawns or their landscape. Here I've got 2 or 3 feet of snow. People are thinking about skiing. I'm thinking about music, everything but grass, but my lawn. 

Why am I doing a podcast about it in January? Because there is something for you to do right now. If you hire a service, whether it's a lawn mowing company, sprinklers, fertilization, weed control, tree spraying company, whatever it may be. Now there's one thing I would recommend doing and that is taking advantage of their prepay offers. 

Now let me talk about that from the customer end and from the back end. So, generally, most companies, not everyone but most, start, you know, over the next week or two, mid-January through March, trying to take care of their prepaying, and they'll generally offer discounts. Some I've seen go as low as, you know, 3%. I know some companies that may offer up to a 10% discount on the year’s services. I mean, if you like the service first of all, you trust them, you feel good about them, um there's your chance to save, you know, up to 10%. I know often some companies may start, you know, so early January might be 8%. And then if you...then the next wave is February, the prepaid amount comes out to 5%. Maybe March, 3%, and so forth. Different companies have different ways. But generally, about now is the time you're gonna see Scott's, Chemlawn, all the big companies and a lot of smallers, send out a prepay letter.

 So if you love the company, you've had good experiences, you trust them, I would recommend: do it now. That's the one thing I would recommend to do for January is get it over with. Figure out what company you want, take advantage, save some money, you know, up to 10%, maybe more, on the discount and get the billing done, out of the way, so that you can just have a good season. You don't have to worry about it. You don't have to worry about every month, every six weeks, hopping on and checking the service and paying the bill. 

Now I want to talk about the back end for those of you who are homeowners, who are customers. So I do own a service company, EcoLawn, here in Utah, and the reason we love pre-pays–for those of us who do; some companies don't like them–I will tell you why I love prepays. I love prepays because when the season hits, generally here it's, you know, mid-March through October, it's just go, go. And so it's intense, you know. We're running, everyone's running, from the production team to customer service to the back end, just full speed. And there's, there's just so much work and so little time. And so to get billing out of the way...because, when I sat down and analyzed it, the amount of time spent for billing throughout the season was just insane. It was ridiculous, especially in 2020 when we have so many automations and so many options, it really shouldn't be a painful experience. But yet, I mean, I still have, you know, almost $20,000 unpaid from last year. I'm still trying to collect money. So for me to collect that money, I've got to hire, you know, I’ve got to pay my crew or my customer service rep to make the phone calls. I’ve got to keep people putting checks in. I’ve got to, you know, chase that. There's just a lot of work, time, and money for me to get my money, and it's kind of backwards. Um, and so for me, if I didn’t get the prepays in...the number one reason for me is then it's just over with. 

It’s...I know what the customer wants, you know. Um, I hope when they spend the money with us, they already trust us, and so they don't have to worry about oh, well, what if I prepay and they cheat me or something. With my company, where I stand, if you prepay and this is what you're going to...this is what you paid for, you will get it. Regardless. If an issue comes up, we're going to work with you. We're not going anywhere. 

So for me, I have so many moving parts during this season that I want billing to be done with and why that's important is it allows...it takes a lot of pressure off the companies, off the customer service, a lot of time energy during the season, and allows us to put that energy right back into the customer experience. We want to give you guys the best experience that you could have. We want you to be happy and stay around with us for years. All companies want that. And so by removing some of these things, that we, when we’re already slammed throughout the season and putting them in a time, you know, here we don't do anything from October to, you know, well, let's say November to March. And so we're trying to spread out the workload. And so we try to get all the billing done before then and that allows us to focus on you, on the customer. 

So that is my big tip for the day for the month of January is you don't have to do too much, but just look around, find out your provider, figure out you know, what you want to do this year and take advantage of the best prepay discount that you can get, which generally is going to be rolling out over the next few weeks to you. Um, and to do that, obviously, a lot of companies are offering discounts for autopay, which is where you keep your card on file. I think that's fantastic, too. Nice thing about prepays: it's just done. You know, if a card expires or anything you don't have to...that's a downside of aut pay is you could put your card on file, but they expire all the time. I mean, we have hundreds of them that expire. So again now that's a lot of hours and time taking away from serving our customers that we have to call and get the updated, uh, credit card info, etcetera. 

So go ahead, pick your provider, lock in that prepaid get the best rate that you can, obviously with a company that you trust, and that is my big tip of the day for you. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day and good luck.

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