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jc1
04-16-2007, 11:13 AM
We have had high temps in the low 40's for 2 weeks after having a week in the upper 60's. Now it's raining like crazy here and I've got customers calling about dandelions. This season is my first and currently I am using granular applications for weed control and following up with spot treating with a back pack sprayer. I am not scheduled for the next round which will include broadleaf weed control until early May. Should I spot treat or move up my granular application on the lawns that are popping dandelions. Any opinions are appreciated.

Rtom45
04-16-2007, 01:00 PM
I would spot treat.

philk17088
04-16-2007, 01:14 PM
THats a tough one. Either way you get jammed up. I suggest next year that you set expectations with your customers. You have to educate them on the process of gettin a lawn in shape and keeping it that way. I wouldn't worry too much about them finding somebody else,everybody is going to be busy so they would have to wait even longer than for you to get there. I would keep to your route and take them in order and explain to them why.

Turfdoctor1
04-16-2007, 01:25 PM
Communicate with them that you can spot treat now, but your program is scheduled for an early May application. In your professional opinion they are going to be better off waiting until then. but, if they choose to have the application, make the application. Tell them that you will come out and spot spray every day if they want to pay for 365 applications for the year.

Uranus
04-16-2007, 01:25 PM
Spot treat it if you in the neighborhood. If you not going that way with your route then she is going to have to wait. You will find that 90% of you complaints come from the lower 10% of your client base. Dont sweat the small stuff. Tell them that you will note it in their file and address it on your next application. Isn't that the point of the second round anyways.

xpnd
04-16-2007, 03:07 PM
Spot treat it if you in the neighborhood. If you not going that way with your route then she is going to have to wait. You will find that 90% of you complaints come from the lower 10% of your client base. Dont sweat the small stuff. Tell them that you will note it in their file and address it on your next application. Isn't that the point of the second round anyways.

And those are the clients that should be given a hefty price increase. Enough to make it worth your while to listen and do something about their problems. If they don't stay with you, so much the better; if they do at least you won't be gritting your teeth.

Granular fert combined with broad leaf control is tough. Move it up and you'll need to bale the lawn. Spot treating is harder. Consider 2 broad leaf apps per year. The last one in the fall and then again in the spring. Most broad leafs act like a biannual of sorts. They start out as a small rosette in the fall then blossom to full size in the spring. Least in TX

Tscape
04-16-2007, 04:28 PM
Wow, a lot of renegade LCOs in here. I would spot treat. It is your opportunity to let your customer service shine. Don't forget to leave info that you did it. (It's the law you know) It'll pay off at next year's renewals I guarantee you.

lawnservice
04-16-2007, 04:49 PM
I agree Turfscape

.... I wouldn't worry too much about them finding somebody else,everybody is going to be busy so they would have to wait even longer than for you to get there. ....

we guarantee next day quotes (so the attitude of 'screw them' will bite you)

americanlawn
04-16-2007, 07:46 PM
jc1....our new customers with weedy lawns often get their 1st two applications within 3 to 4 weeks. I know that's pretty close together, but they never complain. Actually, they appreciate the fact that you're trying to clean their lawn up as quickly as possible.

You may want to leave them written info as to why you do this. We do.

Broadleaf weed control ............. granules just don't cut the mustard.
Liquid herbicides coat the entire surface of the weed.
Granules tend to bounce off.

We have 5 apps. 4 are dry + spot spray. Early fall is liquid weed & feed.

But on new customers with weedy lawns in the spring, we do a double treatment: dry + then we pull the hose out to kill the weeds. No extra charge - hoping they stick with us for years to come, and they tell their neighbors.

Spot spray when you can, but you better be thorough. If it's a weedy lawn, you better have a spray tank with plenty of hose. We use 300 feet 1/2 inch.

We also use battery-powered backpacks that make it much more effective.

We never spray liquid herbicide intil mid to late April here in Iowa.

Hope this helps. Good luck. [grad hort for 30 years. 3000 customers] Not a senior member cuz my number of posts have not reached the required amount. LOL

turfsolutions
04-16-2007, 07:51 PM
Sorry but I disagree. If I have a customer call me up and say that their is a dandelion on their lawn I make a note of it and am sure to raise prices for this customer for the hassle of dealing with him or her. You can be sure that if a few dandelions are being called in, that their will be more calls on other major issues as well. I had a customer call me one time and say that she had a single dandelion growing in her front lawn. I had another nightmare customer that would literally email a question a day about his lawn. This guy was the biggest PITA little whining moron on the planet. No amount of money was worth dealing with this guy. I am all for letting my service shine, and I am always ready to answer questions for my clients. But there are those customers who are just not worth the hassle.

Tscape
04-16-2007, 09:48 PM
Sorry but I disagree. If I have a customer call me up and say that their is a dandelion on their lawn I make a note of it and am sure to raise prices for this customer for the hassle of dealing with him or her. You can be sure that if a few dandelions are being called in, that their will be more calls on other major issues as well. I had a customer call me one time and say that she had a single dandelion growing in her front lawn. I had another nightmare customer that would literally email a question a day about his lawn. This guy was the biggest PITA little whining moron on the planet. No amount of money was worth dealing with this guy. I am all for letting my service shine, and I am always ready to answer questions for my clients. But there are those customers who are just not worth the hassle.

Wow, do I ever disagree here. With all due respect, I would take that customer in a heartbeat. And I'm not just saying that because business is down in my area. You see, that dandelion in the middle of the lawn is something you can control. It's real easy, that's what you are trained to do, that's what you sell. It is the stuff that customers complain about that you can't control that frustrates me. I really can't believe that this is your stance on the issue. It boggles my mind that you would give up a reasonble customer like that.

Grandview
04-16-2007, 10:43 PM
I would do a three way application to the entire lawn if I had a customer complaining about dandelions asap.

xpnd
04-16-2007, 11:17 PM
Wow, a lot of renegade LCOs in here. I would spot treat. It is your opportunity to let your customer service shine. Don't forget to leave info that you did it. (It's the law you know) It'll pay off at next year's renewals I guarantee you.

I spot treat for Dalis Grass. Anymore that is about it. Sometimes crab grass on late season starts when they haven't had pre emergents early on. Spot treating broad leafs will drive you crazy. There are so many small ones that go unnoticed it will drive you crazy. Each year all my jobs receive two broadcast liquid applications of broadleaf weed killer. I don't care if there is but one broad leaf or none at all. It is so cheap it is like an insurance policy against complaints. Spot treating these weeds is like trying to drive up an icy hill. You spin your wheels a lot but you don't get very far.

A customer is so impressed when you come in and do a thorough spray job and the broad leafs start curling up the next day. Quit saving pennies and wasting dollars. I have had "0" complaints about broad leafs for many years by using a late fall early spring blanket apps.

philk17088
04-17-2007, 07:50 AM
I agree Turfscape



we guarantee next day quotes (so the attitude of 'screw them' will bite you)
Next day quotes, but what about next day service?

turfsolutions
04-17-2007, 10:36 AM
Wow, do I ever disagree here. With all due respect, I would take that customer in a heartbeat. And I'm not just saying that because business is down in my area. You see, that dandelion in the middle of the lawn is something you can control. It's real easy, that's what you are trained to do, that's what you sell. It is the stuff that customers complain about that you can't control that frustrates me. I really can't believe that this is your stance on the issue. It boggles my mind that you would give up a reasonble customer like that.

I am not saying I would give up that customer. I would answer their question, as I stated. I would explain to them that spot broadleaf applications are done every step weather permitting and that I would surely take care of it the next time around. I would make a note of the call in and that if this "new" customer becomes a regular PITA I would raise prices for that customer to make dealing with extra call ins worth it. If they become a total PITA, I cut em. Sorry, no lawn ap for you. Come back one year. As a whole I rarely get a call from any of my customers regarding weeds as I am usually on top of them. My customer base knows me and they know I will take care of them. 12 years of service usually translates to mutual respect.

By the way, if anyone wants any total PITA customers let me know, and when I get them, I'll freely pass them on.

lawnservice
04-17-2007, 10:42 AM
philk, my point was that someone said 'not to worry about losing a customer because everyone is so busy that noone will get there quick enough' (paraphrasing)

our policy is simple...someone calls for a quote...we're there the next working day.
They like our quote....we'll do the app right then and there. Most of the time there is noone home, right? So we call them....if they say yes we're back out there the next working day



All I'm sayin is that we are in a service business. so we provide the best and fastest service we can
(if a company in our service area were to think that dandilions arent worth doin a free service call on....they would lose that customer)


What I find so disappointing is the attitude of what seems to be most heard of (at least on this thread) "I'll get there when i get there which might not be until your next scheduled application"
This is a major problem with this industry (unlike the old days when it was ALL ABOUT SERVICE...not so much anymore)

turfsolutions
04-17-2007, 11:27 AM
Your right, it is all about the service. Not the point here. We are talking about a PITA customer, not the other 99% of the customer base. My service must be OK since I retain 95%+ of my customers each season and the list keeps growing.

M.C.L.C.
04-17-2007, 05:33 PM
Wow, i'm really suprised at some of your guys response to this. On one hand i would hate to be one of your customers and on the other id love to be your chemical applicator :) Here is the way my business runs things for those who care lol. I have two chemical crews running, we do a 6 step program all of which include granular and liquid treatment. First two steps of the year are a Pre-emergent treat, and on the second app we usually blanket spray for broadleaf just to get the ones popping up that you cant see yet. Every time one of my guys visits your lawn he is going to drag that hose around and spray any and all weeds he sees. On top of that i have another 200 gal spray tank in my work truck so that when any customer calls about weeds i can drop what im doing and go spray. This is a pain yes, but after all thats what they are paying for, and thats what our guarantee is about. Maybe that explains the lack of angry customers and my retention rate. Just a thought

lawnservice
04-17-2007, 06:05 PM
nice job MCLC

we are in a service industry. we are also in an industry that is fairly simple to grow a company. so...some feel its ok to develope an attitude towards some pita customers. And thats fine, i suppose, if you plan on being a one man show for ever. And there is nothing wrong with being a one man show, though eventually age will catch up to you.

to build a business one must remember Service. we show up at our customers property to Serve them. surely a client list will grow much faster with this approach?

turfsolutions
04-17-2007, 08:34 PM
Who was talking about a one man show?

Suprisingly no takers on any future PITA customers yet:laugh:

Shades of Green LService
04-17-2007, 09:29 PM
I am not saying I would give up that customer. I would answer their question, as I stated. I would explain to them that spot broadleaf applications are done every step weather permitting and that I would surely take care of it the next time around. I would make a note of the call in and that if this "new" customer becomes a regular PITA I would raise prices for that customer to make dealing with extra call ins worth it. If they become a total PITA, I cut em. Sorry, no lawn ap for you. Come back one year. As a whole I rarely get a call from any of my customers regarding weeds as I am usually on top of them. My customer base knows me and they know I will take care of them. 12 years of service usually translates to mutual respect.

By the way, if anyone wants any total PITA customers let me know, and when I get them, I'll freely pass them on.

I agree w/ turfsolutions, i have a new customer and she called me saying she has a huge dandilion problem. I go to her house today to mow and to check out the " outbreak" and i sware, there were 2 small dandy's by the sidewalk;) , This has PITA written all over it. If a customer is a persistent PITA and is affecting me getting work done, then i can see dropping them, because now it's costing me time and money.

GrazerZ
04-17-2007, 09:34 PM
I would tell them I will be by to spray the lawn. Bring invoice with you. This type of complaint I never hear, sorry,but we don't. I explain that the lawn if in poor condition will not be instantly transformed into the nicest on the block. Then they know, or I could refer them back to our previous conversation about this to remind them. Dandelions, big deal, just spray them and bill them. If they are tweeked over a couple of them, you should be able to sell them on just about what ever you want to.
As far as lawns that we treat year to year, I don't have problems with spring dandelions like others I guess. We blanket apply to most turf once, and spot spray for no additional charge on returnn visits. And depending on the customer we will do the blanket app in the fall to prevent this very problem.
Also, I don't belive in the "stick it to them" theory that some here subscrib to. I get paid well for what I do at my established rates. If I don't want to service someones lawn or they are getting to me, I TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT. I have found that most issues are resolved this way. If that does not work I wish them well. I don't charge extra for "dealing" with them. Because if you can "deal" with them only through extra money, you have the problem. In fact, if you have the ability to continue for what ever reason, shows that you could have done it in the first place without the self imposed brib.

GrazerZ
04-17-2007, 09:40 PM
Quick story: I was treating a lawn when a guy stopped by to see what I was doing. he asked a few questions them asked me to look at some spruce trees that were not doing well he thought they were dying. He gave me the impression that he would be a "pain" as some here have said. so i go to the estimate and find a home with a 10 acre lawn at his house and a 4 acre lawn at his sons house next door. The aformmentioned spruce were 14 35' tall spruce with needle cast. We visited his house 2 times and did some work for @ $2200.00 with about 10 hrs into it so far.