PDA

View Full Version : Scratching my head...why is it that...


DFW Area Landscaper
06-22-2006, 11:43 AM
Why is it that none of the other lawn mowing companies on Lawn Site ever post that they are having problems with work availability for their shrub trimming guy?

I know a lot of guys on here don't have a designated shrub trimming crew, but typically what that means is they don't mow on Mondays or Tuesdays and those two days are reserved for clean-ups and shrub trimming. Either way, this business, the business of residential maintenance, is feast or famine. You simply will not have any work during the winter. So you'd better make darn sure you are working a full 5 days a week during the growing season. You can't be in this business and only work Wed thru Fri...there is no way to crunch the numbers and have it look good at the end of the year.

If part of your weekly schedule has been intentionally kept vacant to accommodate requests for clean-ups and shrub trimming, does that vacancy on your schedule not turn into idle time around late May and remain pretty much idle until next March?

I just can't imagine I am the only one that struggles with this issue, but I don't recall anyone else posting about this subject and what to do about it?

I was naive enough to think that with 375 clients, they would call for enough shrub trimming to keep one guy busy trimming shrubs all season. It looks like, if you let them decide and make the call on when it gets done, it would take closer to 3,000 to 4,000 residential clients to keep one shrub trimming guy busy after spring fever ends. Demand for this type of work drops by 85% when spring fever ends in early May.

Note: Please leave in the lawn mowing forum because this is addressed to residential lawn mowing companies

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

BCSteel
06-22-2006, 01:33 PM
Either way, this business, the business of residential maintenance, is feast or famine. You simply will not have any work during the winter. So you'd better make darn sure you are working a full 5 days a week during the growing season. You can't be in this business and only work Wed thru Fri...there is no way to crunch the numbers and have it look good at the end of the year.

Oh ya, now I remeber why I quit reading your posts. Where do you come up with such stupid remarks? Maybe you should try and blame your lack of expertise and knowledge of owning and operating a landscape maintenance business on your employees again :nono:

dkeisala
06-22-2006, 01:33 PM
Are you actively marketing shrub pruning services to your clients or just waiting for them to call?

z_clark
06-22-2006, 01:49 PM
We manage this by using overtime on Saturdays. From our 6 employees that are mowing 5 days a week, there are usually 3...if not all of them that like to work on Saturday.

When the work dries up...no more Saturdays.

Paying overtime is a pain. BUT, we use our mowing truck on Saturday for the pruning...meaning we don't have a truck sitting when shrub work dries up. Better to spread all fixed cost per truck over 6 working days than 5.

LwnmwrMan22
06-22-2006, 02:16 PM
I just don't do pruning, and in fact I personally don't know anyone that does.

I've asked the other guys in the area if they do it, and they don't.

I've asked the landscapers that I sub work to, and they don't.

I DO know that every year I have at least one property that pulls out all the landscaping and redo it.

It's almost like the mentality around here is let the stuff grow until it's 1/2 dead and completely overgrown, then it's time for something new.

SproulsLawnCare
06-22-2006, 02:55 PM
I take care of any of that kind of stuff on Saturdays. I could squeeze something small in on other days of the week (usually Monday since I mow mine and some other less important properties that day), but I try to stick to Saturday for extra work.

skurkp
06-22-2006, 03:20 PM
I don't understand this, if it is a full time customer then I trim on every visit needed. I don't get any calls just for trimming.

Surf'n'Turf
06-22-2006, 03:37 PM
why not have them do other basic simple neccessities like mulch and bed work, weeding, flower installation and rotation, etc. to keep them going all week? or do you wanto follow the justmowit business model exactly?

29 Palms Property Management
06-22-2006, 03:52 PM
You simply will not have any work during the winter. So you'd better make darn sure you are working a full 5 days a week during the growing season.
We have work all year round here!

TurfProSTL
06-22-2006, 04:11 PM
First off, rename this crew as your Landscape Maintenance Crew, instead of your Pruning/Trimming Crew.

Sell mulching, rock installs, plant removals, more pruning & trimming, gutters, sod jobs to keep them busy in June and July. If you have a slow week, have them do some doorhanging for this type of work. Solicit your present customers along with their monthly billings. Have this crew help your dog-tired fert crew during this time. September-October have them do aerations/seedings. After that, its cleanup time.

Be creative when things get slow. Don't get hung up on the fact that they 'like' to do trimming. I'm sure they like steady paychecks more.....

bullethead
06-22-2006, 04:23 PM
Focus on building the mowing revenue, fill up MON - FRI - if you are like all the other blow&go gigs - then you have M-W option or TH/Fr option, right? If they are all willing to pay the extra $ for TH/FR then jack the price up some more in order to force them in the Mon-Wed time slots.

With this type of customer, they will honestly only think of pruning once a year in the Spring, if you are lucky. Either hit em with some promotional crap once you get past the Spring push, or focus on building more mowing revenue.

My high-end clientele never bat an eyelash when quoting bedwork rates, but the blow&go people - "Ugh... really a $100hr, one hr minimum...(pause)...let me call you back"(end of conversation, permanently).

Like Hess said, just use Saturday to tackle the extra work - much rather have them bringing in consistent revenue M-F

DFW Area Landscaper
06-22-2006, 06:13 PM
Well, I think I've got a fix for the problem (hopefully). Only time will tell. As soon as our shrubman is caught up, he'll walk neighborhoods soliciting one time work for clean-ups. He'll be leaving a hand written estimate for the front landscpe that includes man-hours and mulch requirements. These offers will be left primarily at the really ugly properties. I am optimistic we can stay busy through November because there are a TON of ugly properties in my area. It won't take a very large response rate to keep one man busy.

Next spring, when clients call for non-recurring work, our policy will be very firm: We only trim shrubs and do clean-ups for clients who agree to have our bed & bush crew out on a regular basis...three times per year plus a winter clean-up. No commitment...no service.

I am beginning to believe that the "call us when it needs it" offering is just as stupid for clean-ups and shrub trimming as it is for lawn mowing. It just isn't a good way to run a business in my opinion. You need regular, recurring revenues from all crews...not just mowing.

I am just surprised that no other lawn mowing companies on LawnSite ever complain about this problem.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

jwscroll
06-22-2006, 07:11 PM
Our crews pull double duty on a regular basis doing both the lawn maintenance and trimming the hedges. During the winter is when we shift to doing the side jobs( mulch, trees, installation's).