View Full Version : Lawn just does not need mowed

10-21-2006, 05:53 PM
3 of the 7 lawns I went to today just did not need to be mowed. I did not do them because I felt it would be ripping of my customers. But.... on further consideration, should they have called me and told me not to come? Perhaps I should work that into my contracts for next year? Does everyone else have customers call when the grass just does not grow this time of year? :confused:

10-21-2006, 05:58 PM
If I think it may not need it I call the customer the night before. Saves me a trip and the customer knows I was thinking of their yard!

Jason Rose
10-21-2006, 06:21 PM
If they are new customers they are probably used to how you do things. Now the new ones might be suprised the first time you just don't show up. I'm bad about this myself. I just treat them all the same, and kinda forget that I should probably call them and say "hey I went by and noticed the grass didn't grow much and there isn't many leaves, I'm probably going to skip this week if that's ok". On the other hand I have many customers that NEVER get skipped reguardless of the lack of growth. They want it spiffed up every week whether it needs anyhting or not.

I feel the same as you about ripping people off. Personally I look down on the guys I see out cutting when it's a drought and the lawn is totally dead or dormant, but then again, I don't know, maybe they are like mine that just want it looking clean.... I have asked the LCO doing it a couple times and got the same answer from both, "I know it dosn't need it, but I still gotta make money". To me that confirmed that it's just their greed and not what the lawn needs or what the customer wants. Sad.

10-21-2006, 06:22 PM
I try to call a day or two ahead or we work a schedule out for the dry months. I have some that call me when it needs it.

Summertime Lawn
10-21-2006, 06:31 PM
Quick question; Are you getting paid extra in the spring for all of the extra work you do when the grass is growing faster than normal?

Tom c.
10-21-2006, 06:35 PM
3 of the 7 lawns I went to today just did not need to be mowed. I did not do them because I felt it would be ripping of my customers. But.... on further consideration, should they have called me and told me not to come? Perhaps I should work that into my contracts for next year? Does everyone else have customers call when the grass just does not grow this time of year? :confused:
I feel the same way most of my lawns are slowing up, I dont like cutting lawns that dont need it. I generally call a couple of days before and ask how the lawns doing and try to condense the route instead of going out and finding out only some need to be cut. Its gonna be in the 50's this week so :usflag: its definately gonna slow down. Time to get ready for fall clean-ups!! Then snow plowing!!!

10-22-2006, 11:59 PM
With experience, especially on particular lawns, you get a good idea of when lawns start slowing down in the fall, based on the weather conditions. I send out a bill for the month and tell them to call me first if they have a problem with my planned schedule. But no running out the front door waving me off after I've arrived. Tis a good idea to specify your policy on this, whatever it is, in writing, before the season.

And, by a certain time of year, you may decide that doing a "drive by" to check on a lawn is ok with you, in the interests of avoiding conflicts with customers. It also impresses the customer that you care about their expenses, and are not just trying to squeeze "make work" out of them. It's just another thing you factor into the price. There are some lawns I'd do for $30 if I was guaranteed weekly cuts for 36 weeks a year, but since I have agreed to cut them as-needed after a certain time of year as growth slows, they may be paying $33/cut. Everyone's happy. I may only cut a lawn 33 times instead of 36 if growth is slow, but I make about as much as if I cut it on a more strict schedule. Plus I save the extra work.

Sometimes I'll get irritated at certain customers who call and say the lawn doesn't need mowing in Oct or Nov as often as i'd like to mow it, but then I check and see that they're paying top dollar (for example, one pays $42 for a 33 min avg mow time) and i decide to let it slide rather than get into it with them and have to replace them with another lawn that might not be such a profitable one.

My experience is that 90% of the hassles come from trying to squeeze the last 10% of income potential out of a customer. I find it easier to just go find an extra few customers. I have a waiting list of extra work to be done anyway. I just use the free time to catch up on that.

10-23-2006, 12:39 AM
once u skip one time it will open it up for customers to ask u to skip again if you never skip you never have to worry about it.

10-23-2006, 12:53 AM
If it really doesn't need cut, then don't cut it. I don't understand the mentality of "I didn't charge enough in the Spring, so I'll have to screw the customer over the rest of the year to make up for my mistake..." Come up with a better pricing scheme.

If you charge per cut, you should be providing SOME sort of service other than running the mower over the lawn...

10-23-2006, 08:06 AM
I'm starting to skip several this time of year. Just as well as it's raining so much I could never keep up if I did them all.

WJW Lawn
10-23-2006, 08:12 AM
Same here...if it doesn't need to be cut...Im just not gonna cut it. But I'll let em know...and I think they respect that.

David Haggerty
10-23-2006, 10:32 AM
You can market honesty and integrity like any other service.
I've been advertising myself as a "groundskeeping service"

I decide the mowing schedule. Of course that wouldn't last very long if I was out there mowing dead grass.

10-23-2006, 11:24 AM
I mow as-needed. The majority get cut once a week with a few bi's for most of the year. During drought or in fall I run my route as usual if I am not sure of growth, and just skip the ones that don't need it. Almost all know that if I skipped it I didn't think it needed cut, and I think they appreciate it. No complaints that's for sure. A few key phone calls keeps everone else informed. I just never understood the guys who cut weekly duning times of drought/slow growth. I would feel like i was cheating them. I don't figure people pay for other services that are not neccessary, why should lawn maintenance be any different?

desert rose gardening
10-23-2006, 11:42 AM
I used to skip mowing when it was not needed, but the last 10 years I mow if it needs it or not because I need the $$$$ If they don't want it mowed all they have to do is call, Its up to them.

10-23-2006, 12:11 PM
i would keep going around the the accounts to make sure they dont need cut, ive had a lot of people tell me that it doesent need it this week and when i show up next week it takes twice as long to do it b/c its so tall

10-23-2006, 01:01 PM
Yet another good reason to go to a set price yearly contract. I would guarantee the grass would be cut as often as needed from Jan 1 to Dec 31. in some months it was cut 4-5 times, in other months maybe once or twice... when the season started getting slower in that months invoice ot the month before i woudl jot a note lettingthe customers know that as the season gets cooler the grass wont grow as much(florida) and that i would most likley be going to a 10 day cut schedule and then on to a 14 day cut schedule as the weather dictated.

I also put a note stating that if anyone had any special events parties, ect schedules at their house to let me know the dates and Id make a point to swing by and check on the lawn a few days before to ensure nothing was needed.

Never had any complaints. I made sure to stop buy each property at least twice a month and if nothing else, check the sprinklers, prune some shrubs or just blow off the drive way...

J&R Landscaping
10-23-2006, 01:14 PM
I have run into that problem as well. I like to go over to the customers house to see though. If I don't think it needs to be mowed, I dont mow it. Bottom line, its MY CALL, not my customers call!

I also like to go past the property incase tree brqnches or such have fallen or there is trash on the property. If there is, I will clean in up and take it away. My customers properties reflect my companies image and I want that image to be an excellent one!

10-23-2006, 07:14 PM
I have not mowed for 2 weeks now...Even saw some of that white stuff falling from the clouds.

10-23-2006, 07:29 PM
Most of my customers are yearly contracts and they get a copy of my yearly frequency schedule. jan-1
april -2
may weekly
june weekly
july weekly
aug weekly
sept weekly
oct -2
dec -1
Of course every october some one always calls asking why I didnt show up and I tell them this is the transition month from weekly to biweekly.

Now I have some that are not contracts and they have to call and prepay.

10-23-2006, 09:14 PM
I used to skip mowing when it was not needed, but the last 10 years I mow if it needs it or not because I need the $$$$ If they don't want it mowed all they have to do is call, Its up to them.

Shoddy business practice. It's all about the $, right?:dizzy:

It's YOUR job to determine if the turf needs cutting. YOU are doing the lawn care, and it's what you're being paid for. YOU are supposed to be the "expert", who has some degree of knowledge of turfgrass.

10-23-2006, 09:41 PM
My contracts state that mowing will be done on a weekly basis through October 31st. Mowing in November is done on an as needed basis and will vary with each season, depending on the weather conditions.

No lawns have been skipped this season. I plan on finishing this week out and seeing how things go from here on out.

I also have no worries in the summer since 95% of the lawns maintained are irrigated.

I stress reliability. Maybe too reliable at times, but nobody has had a problem with the way things are handled.

10-24-2006, 10:40 PM
I think if the lawn doesn't need it the customer needs to call the day before, other wise I'm cuttin it

10-24-2006, 10:52 PM
We drove by about 10 today that look just fine. If I had to guess we will not need to cut them again this year.:cool2:

10-25-2006, 01:08 AM
When you say it doesn't need it, what's your criteria? Are you saying that if you cut it at the same height as the last time, you wouldn't be able to tell it was cut? Or are you saying that in your judgement, it doesn't look like it's grown enough that you'd be comfortable charging for it?

There are lawns that if I were paying for, I would call in the night before and say don't mow. On the other hand, I've mowed lawns that I was in doubt of, saw the customer smile and wave at me midway through, that made me realize that if I had skipped mowing it, the customer may have gotten upset. Plus, there have been lawns that I didn't think really needed it, but after I did it, I thought it did look nicer.

You can argue that as professionals we're supposed to know whether it needs it or not, but there's always variables. The reason the customer may not have called in and said, "Don't mow me today," is because they wanted it mowed that day. They are counting on your being professional and showing up to do the lawn that day like you have been doing for the past 6 months. I mean, they don't call every week and ask if you're going to show up, right? They take it for granted that you will.

Bottom line for me: It's all subjective and there's no way yoiu can apply the same standard to every lawn and get it right.

For the record, all I'm mowing is St. Augustine grass, and while the cooler weather has significantly slowed growth, the @ 4 inches of rains we've gotten in the past couple of weeks is causing it to grow more than usual.

10-25-2006, 05:02 PM
Most of my customers are on a contract with a set cut schedule. If I drive up and it does not need cut then I pass up and call and leave a message or leave a business card on the door saying that I was there. All of my contracts state "Lawn will be cut every 6-10 days during regular mowing season depending on weather and grass growth" That gives me the chance to mow 5 times per month or 3 during the regular mowing season to keep it looking nice....