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imdawrlus
06-19-2006, 01:16 AM
so i picked up a lawn account last fall. the guy had me cut the lawn once before the winter. (it only needed it once more anyways). so while talking to him he asked me how often i thought it would need to be cut. my response was "in the spring its probably going to NEED it every 5 days, but i'll mow every 7." in the summer it will slow down quite a bit but not enough to go more than 7 days" his response was "well i would like to slow down on the mowing as the lawn stops growing as much." so i didnt really think much of it, i kept it in the back of my mind. so in the spring i called him and asked when he wanted me to start mowing, he said he wanted me to 'wait another week'.....so when i finaly get to mowing it, clumps galore.

i have been mowing it weekly since then, but every week it clumps up a little. its not me or my mower, its just the lawn. its a swamp and grows like craaazy. the lawn in always wet. but like i said the clumping has gotten less and less worse every week. its finaly starting to look pretty good.

so i saw the customer today. he dosent even live in this house, he lives an hour away. him and his wife are 'sitting on it' until they can sell their other house. anyways i saw him and we started talking. he told me how good the lawn looks and how happy he is with the way it is turning out. he said "hopefully with this hot weather the lawn will slow down a little bit and we can extend the schedule some"....once i heard that it was like nails being driven into my spine. i told him that it will slow down, but not enough to really skip a week.

so anyways when the time comes, how exactly do i explain to this guy that i'm not going to put the lawn on a "9 day cycle" ??? i've told myself that i'm not going to deal with any of the b.s. from anyone this year, and so far i havent. i think if it becomes a problem i'll try to talk to his wife about it, she seems wayy more 'sensible' with this kind of issue.


sorry guys i just needed to vent a little

Evergreenpros
06-19-2006, 01:25 AM
Just tell him you only mow weekly, schedule gets too messed up when clients change the mowing frequency, it doesn't work. All you would be doing is running around mowing 5 yards a day some days and 30 the others. In other words, just tell him the truth. Weekly only.

topsites
06-19-2006, 01:33 AM
I think in the end it boils down to this:

- If you can afford it, do it your way.
- If you can't, compromise.

How would we say it, is this what it feels like to be agriculturally frustrated?

DFW Area Landscaper
06-19-2006, 01:50 AM
At some point we have to expect our clients to understand our need for revenue. I don't think a reasonable customer will ignore that.

Ever tried just telling them you don't care if it needs mowing every 7 days. If they want reliable service on a weekly basis when it's growing fast, they have to take reliable service when it's growing slow too.

I have never tried this approach, but I am tempted to start experimenting with it. I bet it would go over a lot better than trying to tell the customer their lawn needs mowing when we both know it doesn't.

The "switchers" are the ones that drive me nuts. "Let's switch it to every other week for a while because our yard isn't growing very fast right now."

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

garth1967
06-19-2006, 01:52 AM
i agree with topsites and plus he doesnt seem to be complaining about your workmanship.this is only my opinion.but if you have made a deal with yourself not to deal with these people ,sure give him the bullet.as soon as i read your post that comment really stood out.im only going on the details you have given sometimes you just have to back yourself .we all learn in time .have a good think about it at least.can you afford to lose it is a question to ask first

All_Clear
06-19-2006, 02:27 AM
Basically it boils down to.... "who's business is this?" and "when is it my way, my rules, take it or leave it"

Letting customers dictate when to mow is very tiring....

Like topsites said if you need it... compromise... Know when to say No! or people will take full advantage.

Point blank approach works best.... you don't have to be an @sshole but sometimes you just have to say what you really mean, some people need it spelled out!


All Clear

cwlawley
06-19-2006, 02:49 AM
I think Topsites hit the nail on the head with this one. If you can afford it, do it your way, if you can't compromise.

Roger
06-19-2006, 08:11 AM
At some point we have to expect our clients to understand our need for revenue. I don't think a reasonable customer will ignore that.




Or stated differently by another component of our industry: "At some point, as an equipment dealer of commercial mowers, we have to expect the LCOs to understand our need for revenue. I don't think a reasonable LCO will ignore that."

Can we use the same logic to explain a complaint by an LCO how they believe a dealer is expecting excessive payments for products and services? As users of products and services of an equipment dealer, most of us don't feel the need to supply unneeded revenue to a dealer. As a customer of lawn services, why would they feel the need to supply unneeded revenue to an LCO?

We have all read many threads on LS, complaining about a dealer wanting more money than the LCO wants to pay. Does this mean the LCO is not educated on why the money should not be paid, and the need for revenue to keep the dealer in business?

This is not to say the property in question that started the thread needs to be cut every seven days, or even every five days. That is not my point. My issue is with the notion that the customer needs to be educated on supplying revenue to an LCO to keep them in business.

OMG
06-19-2006, 08:20 AM
At some point we have to expect our clients to understand our need for revenue. I don't think a reasonable customer will ignore that.

Ever tried just telling them you don't care if it needs mowing every 7 days. If they want reliable service on a weekly basis when it's growing fast, they have to take reliable service when it's growing slow too.

I have never tried this approach, but I am tempted to start experimenting with it. I bet it would go over a lot better than trying to tell the customer their lawn needs mowing when we both know it doesn't.

The "switchers" are the ones that drive me nuts. "Let's switch it to every other week for a while because our yard isn't growing very fast right now."

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper



That's almost exactly what I say. I also add the question if they would be happy with only getting 1/2 of their monthly income.

Moretta Lawn Care
06-19-2006, 08:30 AM
Just tell him the truth... if you are only in that area on Monday's and it dosn't need it that Monday then wait a week. It is his fault. If he dosn't like the way it looks when it is cut 2 weeks down the road that is fine. Add on a bagging charge and make your money back up from the previous week. WE ALL HAVE LIVES TO... and NO ONE makes exceptions for US!

topsites
06-19-2006, 10:15 AM
That's almost exactly what I say. I also add the question if they would be happy with only getting 1/2 of their monthly income.

Ok... I have a lady who earlier this year hem-hawed and see-sawed and back and forth and FINALLY I got 30 dollars out of her, sort of... When I say sort of, she then wanted me to wait TWO more weeks and ohhhh-kay fine I agreed, and by the time I finally went out there to cut the grass as scheduled, she had decided to save money by hiring the neighbor's kid to do it... Of course, I never got a phonecall to let me know that the grass would not need cutting, but I knew what was coming, and I made a choice at the time.

Sure enough, have we noticed the temperature gauge? Yes, so did the kid... Yesterday I get a phone call that I can come out now and cut her grass. I'm getting ready to call her back and let her know it will be 35 dollars to resume scheduled services at this time.

The thing is, I have my winter money saved and a little bit more on top of that, so I have that choice. Would I compromise if I didn't have my winter money saved? The simple answer is, what are my options if I don't have the choice?

Lessons learned: Always bank some money, unfortunately there is no such thing as having TOO much money but yes, more is better.
For some, 5k is enough... For others, 10k is more like it <- Always put this whatever amount you need away first, yup, every year, first thing in spring, priority one.

p.s.: This is not intended to make anyone feel bad, this is my 5th year but the first time I've decided to do the money thing like this, so yeah I went down this road a few times before I realized how smart this idea was.

PROCUT1
06-19-2006, 06:47 PM
Or stated differently by another component of our industry: "At some point, as an equipment dealer of commercial mowers, we have to expect the LCOs to understand our need for revenue. I don't think a reasonable LCO will ignore that."

Can we use the same logic to explain a complaint by an LCO how they believe a dealer is expecting excessive payments for products and services? As users of products and services of an equipment dealer, most of us don't feel the need to supply unneeded revenue to a dealer. As a customer of lawn services, why would they feel the need to supply unneeded revenue to an LCO?

We have all read many threads on LS, complaining about a dealer wanting more money than the LCO wants to pay. Does this mean the LCO is not educated on why the money should not be paid, and the need for revenue to keep the dealer in business?

This is not to say the property in question that started the thread needs to be cut every seven days, or even every five days. That is not my point. My issue is with the notion that the customer needs to be educated on supplying revenue to an LCO to keep them in business.


Good point here.

I understand all points of view here.

1. Dealer makes his money on parts and service, so a "purchase only" customer is not as valuable to him.

2. Its very hard for a per cut lco to deal with people who want you to skip just at the time you finally are making a couple of dollars on the lawn. Many times in the spring it may even cost you money to mow the lawn and its a real stab in the gut when you finally catch up a bit that the customer wants to yank those couple of dollars from you.

3. As the customer, why would you want to pay for lawn service when the lawn dosent need to be cut? Especially when there are a 100 guys begging to cut their lawn when they want it done.

4. As the lco, why would you spend $8 for an oil filter at your dealer when you can get one online for $3? To be a nice guy? Your customers wont pay you if youre not cutting foot tall grass every week and youre supposed to pay dealer inflated prices for what you need?

imdawrlus
06-19-2006, 08:01 PM
I think in the end it boils down to this:

- If you can afford it, do it your way.
- If you can't, compromise.

How would we say it, is this what it feels like to be agriculturally frustrated?

i CAN afford to lose this customer, but i dont want to. they are a plowing customer also, and they always pay on time, no problem with money.

i think he just dosent know any better. maby if i explain my point of view to him he will understand better. either way, i'm holding my ground.

Dashunde
06-19-2006, 08:10 PM
I deal with these sorts by simply saying "Call me when you want it cut, it will be completed within 3 days, my price will vary based on how tall it is and whether or not it will need double cutting - payment is due upon completion".
I call before I head their direction to make sure they are home so I can collect. They always seem to call, and they always pay-up.

Doing it that way frees me completely of worrying about them... its just a few extra bucks when they do call and I service it when I am nearby - no special trips for the pita's. :nono:

Palmer'sLS
06-19-2006, 08:27 PM
Good point here.

I understand all points of view here.

1. Dealer makes his money on parts and service, so a "purchase only" customer is not as valuable to him.

2. Its very hard for a per cut lco to deal with people who want you to skip just at the time you finally are making a couple of dollars on the lawn. Many times in the spring it may even cost you money to mow the lawn and its a real stab in the gut when you finally catch up a bit that the customer wants to yank those couple of dollars from you.

3. As the customer, why would you want to pay for lawn service when the lawn dosent need to be cut? Especially when there are a 100 guys begging to cut their lawn when they want it done.

4. As the lco, why would you spend $8 for an oil filter at your dealer when you can get one online for $3? To be a nice guy? Your customers wont pay you if youre not cutting foot tall grass every week and youre supposed to pay dealer inflated prices for what you need?

Nice post.....:clapping:

indy2tall
06-19-2006, 09:03 PM
It seems to me that you caused your own problem when you agreed to only cut it every 7 days in the spring. Now let me say that this is only my third year in business so my method may be different than other more experienced guys and I have a very compact route with very little drive time. I tell all my customers that I will cut their lawn when it NEEDS IT. In the spring (April thru mid June) that may be as often as every 4 days if they use heavy fertilization. In the hot summer it may slow down to every 14 days if they do not have a sprinkler system. I guess the key for me is their yards never get the clumped look and I never have to double cut and they get lots of compliments from the neighbors. I end up working my ass off in the spring and part of the fall but it slows down in the summer and that gives me time to more closely pursue the important things in life like golf and loose women. :drinkup: :drinkup: :laugh: :laugh:

lawnboy dan
06-19-2006, 10:40 PM
i also would resolve this issue by having them call when they want it done i understand you cant do this for everyone and i only allow 1 or 2 tops to do this .

Ramairfreak98ss
06-20-2006, 11:57 AM
i offer clients to change their plan from weekly to bi-weekly but thats only for lawns that dont grow much and ill tell them its not going to look good bi-weekly, if they dont care, hey i dont either, grass left over isnt bothering me at all.

Freddy_Kruger
06-20-2006, 01:01 PM
This is what I have done however I don't necessarily know what I'm doing.

I do what justmowit does.

your either a weekly or a bi-weekly I charge more for bi-weekly (But but but you just have to go over the same amount of times) ferget about it's more work. I can't do a 10 day shedule because it don't sync with my shedule.

I did this to a couple customers but just mowit has it on their website the rules. you can skip two cuttings a year (parties rain whatever) if you skip just to save money then switch your account to bi weekly.

don't like the rule get a new service provider. It's much easier to do this when you got a 1000 clients I guess.

and yeah it might not look great with bi weekly but you cant spend twice the time unless you charge twice the money. (then make it look all clumpy, don't go out of your way to make it look good. I havent had the guts to do this part of the scheme yet, I end up bagging so it still looks nice :() It's so much easier to give advice then take it.

Freddy_Kruger
06-20-2006, 01:03 PM
It seems to me that you caused your own problem when you agreed to only cut it every 7 days in the spring. Now let me say that this is only my third year in business so my method may be different than other more experienced guys and I have a very compact route with very little drive time. I tell all my customers that I will cut their lawn when it NEEDS IT. In the spring (April thru mid June) that may be as often as every 4 days if they use heavy fertilization. In the hot summer it may slow down to every 14 days if they do not have a sprinkler system. I guess the key for me is their yards never get the clumped look and I never have to double cut and they get lots of compliments from the neighbors. I end up working my ass off in the spring and part of the fall but it slows down in the summer and that gives me time to more closely pursue the important things in life like golf and loose women. :drinkup: :drinkup: :laugh: :laugh:
Do you charge them by the cut?

eyes&earsopen
06-20-2006, 02:02 PM
3. As the customer, why would you want to pay for lawn service when the lawn dosent need to be cut? Especially when there are a 100 guys begging to cut their lawn when they want it done.

This is a great point to me.

indy2tall
06-20-2006, 06:33 PM
Do you charge them by the cut?

Yes, I have always charged by the cut.

SWD
06-20-2006, 06:58 PM
I do not accept service on demand customers.
My crews and their schedules are full so I have a certain freedom in this.
Provided I get a call about skipping a week, the monthly bill is still the same as I estimate a minimum number of cuts per year to be in compliance with the contract stipulations.
And nothing aggravates me more than when I get a call from a customer wanting me to skip then expecting a price break. CAN'T THESE FREAKIN PEOPLE READ?!

Drew Gemma
06-20-2006, 07:29 PM
no every 10 days or what not we either mow it or we will see you next week. The efficiency of the route saves and makes money. Then when they get skipped you could be charged more next cut if it takes more time. Plus if you make me drive way out of my route and tell me it doesn't need cut you will pay. I started this last year with the drought I am a real nice guy let me know and we skip you pull the it doesn't need cut once I drop the gate I am raising your price.

Precision
06-20-2006, 08:51 PM
make a route, run the route, cut all accounts on the route.

anyone who wants you to deviate from the route pays triple or goes away.

This business is about being efficient not being on call.

All of my clients are on weekly cutting schedule during growing season and EOW in slower season. If they want it cut more often, pay triple and we will gladly do it. If they want cut less often, pay triple and we will gladly do it.

I explain it in cost. Mr. Jones I am 3/4 of a mile from your property on Wed so it is no big deal to add you to the Wed route. Now on thursday, I would have to drive 20 miles to get to you. the extra price of gas, wasted time paid in salary to the 3 guys doing the work and the fact that I could have done another lawn instead of driving makes it impossible to do it for less than triple the stated amount. I hope you understand. We would be happy to keep you on the weekly route on Wed at our previously agreed price.

Then let them decide.

imdawrlus
07-15-2006, 01:12 PM
update

so the lawn is STILL growing like crazy. 3 weeks ago it grew so quick that there were a few clumps here and there. so he calls me up to complain about the clumps. "ok sir i'll keep an eye on it".

after that the lawn natually slowed down A LITTLE and we didnt get so much rain. the lawn looked imaculate, BUT it still grew like a son of a gun.

so i see him today and as hes handing me a check for the past 2 weeks he says "i'd still like to skip a week once it slows down a little" i told him that its probably not going to slow down, and he says "well we'll see how it goes"

what is wrong with people??? now it seems like this guys got it set in his mind that its gonna be some great event to skip lawn mowing for a week. ooooo and then he gets to save 50 bucks and the lawn looks like sh!t and the poor lawn boy gets the blame. had to vent.

Precision
07-15-2006, 03:57 PM
update

so the lawn is STILL growing like crazy. 3 weeks ago it grew so quick that there were a few clumps here and there. so he calls me up to complain about the clumps. "ok sir i'll keep an eye on it".

after that the lawn natually slowed down A LITTLE and we didnt get so much rain. the lawn looked imaculate, BUT it still grew like a son of a gun.

so i see him today and as hes handing me a check for the past 2 weeks he says "i'd still like to skip a week once it slows down a little" i told him that its probably not going to slow down, and he says "well we'll see how it goes"

what is wrong with people??? now it seems like this guys got it set in his mind that its gonna be some great event to skip lawn mowing for a week. ooooo and then he gets to save 50 bucks and the lawn looks like sh!t and the poor lawn boy gets the blame. had to vent.


Life is too short to deal with losers like that.

I have a client who is on EOW a hold out from my early / stupid days. She wants me to start cutting at 2 inches so she can stay EOW. (we cut at 4). I told her, no she can go to weekly like the rest of the world or she can find someone who doesn't know any better to cut her yard.

she says what is that supposed to mean.

I point blank told her, I don't like having my lettered truck parked in front of your house when we mow as it is, but to have us scalping your yard and killing it off slowly, just isn't gonna happen. Consider the last mow we performed your last mow. Thank you and good luck with finding someone to cut your lawn the way you want.

Opens up a slot for a well paying non-annoying client.

Howard Roark
07-15-2006, 10:36 PM
I would suggest trying to not worry about it until it actually happens (although when you're the one doing the work, the thoughts sort of stew in your mind replaying the image over and over again in your mind).

If he's causing you this much stress, and you're not barely getting by just by the take off his lawn, just dump the guy. You'll feel so much better not having to go to his lawn next time and wonder if he'll complain about clumps.

Groomer
07-15-2006, 11:26 PM
Cut as needed, charge accordingly, simple. someone wants cut twice a week. no problem, charge accordingly.

dcondon
07-15-2006, 11:38 PM
Just tell him the truth... if you are only in that area on Monday's and it dosn't need it that Monday then wait a week. It is his fault. If he dosn't like the way it looks when it is cut 2 weeks down the road that is fine. Add on a bagging charge and make your money back up from the previous week. WE ALL HAVE LIVES TO... and NO ONE makes exceptions for US!

Thats what we do, if they want to skip a week then I tell them I'm not doing any extra work when I return. END OF STORY!!!:nono:

AAELI
07-16-2006, 02:09 AM
Life is too short to deal with losers like that.

I have a client who is on EOW a hold out from my early / stupid days. She wants me to start cutting at 2 inches so she can stay EOW. (we cut at 4). I told her, no she can go to weekly like the rest of the world or she can find someone who doesn't know any better to cut her yard.

What kind of grass are you mowing at 4"? I mow bermuda hybrids at anywhere from 1/2" to 2" and zoysia at 1" max for weekly mowings and raise it an inch for bi-weekly. Even our seaside paspalum and centipede grass is mowed no higher than 3". The lawns are great looking just like the fairways at the golf resort. If you mow weekly then this is easy money. I find once a month mows for zoysia at this height works just fine without scalping.

We mow year round with over 96" of rainfall a year. It is indeed a challenge to keep up.

I just don't understand how you guys can keep customers by the way you talk about them. It would seem that you would almost always be looking for new ones around here with the attitudes I see posted here.

Good mowing to you all!

OMG
07-16-2006, 10:15 AM
What kind of grass are you mowing at 4"? I mow bermuda hybrids at anywhere from 1/2" to 2" and zoysia at 1" max for weekly mowings and raise it an inch for bi-weekly. Even our seaside paspalum and centipede grass is mowed no higher than 3". The lawns are great looking just like the fairways at the golf resort. If you mow weekly then this is easy money. I find once a month mows for zoysia at this height works just fine without scalping.

We mow year round with over 96" of rainfall a year. It is indeed a challenge to keep up.

I just don't understand how you guys can keep customers by the way you talk about them. It would seem that you would almost always be looking for new ones around here with the attitudes I see posted here.

Good mowing to you all!



http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/IMAGES/PESTMANIM/abioscalp.jpg

Precision
07-16-2006, 10:38 AM
What kind of grass are you mowing at 4"?
Good mowing to you all!


bahia and st augustine

If you cut st augustine at 2 inches you have cut off the crown of the stolon and will rather quickly kill the plant

bahia - - in summer heat and rain will grow 6-8 inches per week if you cut it below 2.5 inches. This will exhaust the plant and cause severe thinning leading to weed invasion.

cutting at 4 inches will slow growth (4 inches weekly)as it does not need so much top end growth to catch the sun and it will shade out the runners so they don't get burned and it will thicken up and choke out and shade out many weeds.

Precision
07-16-2006, 10:41 AM
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/IMAGES/PESTMANIM/abioscalp.jpg
yes. exactly.

most of my clients are extremely happy when they get used to my cutting way higher than they did. after the grass stops being stunted, their yards are more drought resistant, more weed resistant, thicker and with less dramatic top end growth.

But I always have a few who cut there bermuda (up north) at 1 inch so we should obviously cut the grass here that way too. And of course the cheap asses who want it cut at 1" so they only "need" it cut once a month. Yeah right.

imdawrlus
07-16-2006, 03:03 PM
so what exactly should i say? i really dont want to lose this account. its an extra 200 bucks a month in my pocket. maby this guy just dosent understand my point of view? who knows.

anyways what exactly should i say? i think he might need a 'dose of reality' to get the picture.